Valley from Mission to Soto

Add dedicated bus lanes. Reduce railroad crossings. Create more green space.

The above are a few of the ideas that have been proposed and contemplated for a 4-mile stretch of Valley Boulevard and Mission Road that runs through El Sereno and Lincoln Heights.

The city has been holding public meetings to gauge reaction to possible improvements and changes under the Valley Boulevard Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Project.

It is one of three street makeovers -- including Huntington Drive and Eastern Avenue -- in the city that will be partly funded with money released after the 710 Freeway extension was canceled.

A survey found several challenges and problems along Valley, from traffic congestion and waiting for trains to a lack of sidewalks and bus stop amenities.

Potential changes include:

  • Add dedicated bus lanes but leave two car lanes in each direction
  • Synchronize traffic signals to improve traffic flow
  • Create protected bike lanes, build more sidewalks
  • Build a trench for freight trains to reduce railroad crossings
  • Add a shuttle bus stop near Cal State LA
  • Create a park with space for residential development just beyond the northern end of the 710 Freeway
  • Build an L-shaped pedestrian bridge at Beatie Place, which has one of the highest pedestrian accident rates along Valley Boulevard

All these and other potential changes are still theoretical and are years away from being implemented.

Construction might start in five to 10 years, depending on which alternatives are chosen and after environmental impact reports and design and engineering plans are completed, according to Mary Nemick with the city’s Bureau of Engineering.

The next public meeting should take place sometime in September, and an analysis of the alternatives is expected to be finished early next year.

Should the Cesar Chavez Bridge over the L.A. River be widened by about 30 feet to add a bike lane? Or should a separate pedestrian bike bridge just be built alongside?

How about the intersection of San Pablo Street and Valley Boulevard? Should the railroad simply be lowered and covered? It would simplify the San Pablo Street crossing, and create green space. But it would probably also be more expensive than just building a tunnel to cross under the tracks.

Either way, the landscape will change along four miles of Valley Boulevard, from Union Station to the northern terminus of the I-710 freeway. The question before the city is exactly what kind of changes it wants.

Answering that question could take a few years, and is currently the concern of the Valley Boulevard Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Project.

The options

All of this is still theoretical, and none of it will be decided overnight.

How long will it take?

The city will complete the Alternative Analysis early next year, at which point they’ll also have some idea what some of this might cost, according to Mary Nemick with the city’s Bureau of Engineering. She confirmed, however that, yes, lowering the railroad by the San Pablo crossing would be the more expensive option for that section, and would also take the longest to construct.

Then three or fewer alternatives will be carried forward for the environmental document, That will take another three to five years. Then comes another three years for the design.

Actual construction? Another five to 10 years beyond that, depending on which alternatives are chosen, Nemick said.

According to Chester Britt of Arellano Associates, which has been managing the community outreach for the project, the next public information meeting should take place some time around September.

Map of Valley Boulevard Multi-Modal Improvement Project
Cesar Chavez Bridge widened
Pedestrian crossing
Railroad trench

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News That Hits Home

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Assistant Editor

Barry Lank has worked for newspapers on the East and West Coasts, and earned an MS in journalism from Columbia University. He formerly produced "National Lampoon Presents: The Final Edition." A native of San Gabriel Valley, he now lives in East Hollywood.

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