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‘My Figueroa’ project hears from local stakeholders

OW Staff Writer | 4/3/2014, midnight

The My Figueroa project may break ground before the end of the year. Last week, the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee heard from staff and the public about the most practical ways to include along the Figueroa Corridor a stretch of protected bicycle lanes as well as various improvements to make travel between downtown and South L.A. safer and more efficient.

The project has been under consideration for six years—stalled once when an auto dealership voiced concerns about customer access and parking—but has worked its way through various city hall commissions. One of the biggest concerns is cycling safety; the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition conducted analysis covering the past 10 years and reported that 1,453 persons were seriously injured in car crashes along the busy thoroughfare, and two persons were killed.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (DOT) may have to remove one southbound lane on South Figueroa (from 7th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) to add two-way protected bikeways. Ninth District Councilman Curren Price has expressed interest in a “paired couplet” of one-way bikeways which will proceed northbound only on Figueroa Street and southbound only on adjacent Flower Street. The DOT advised against this idea because it would require removing two travel lanes on Flower Street and could result in “more traffic bottlenecks” than the new street configuration could endure.

The public wants the project to start as soon as possible. Speakers included youth, downtown and South L.A. residents, USC students, organizational representatives from PLUM, the bicycle coalition, and a number of other groups. Opposition has come from the California Science Center, USC, and the Motion Picture Association of America each citing disruption of business as well as access to their properties as reasons to reconsider the plan.

“I am excited to see the ‘My Fig’ project get one step closer to completion,” Price said. “From the start, I have said that this is a visionary project with the potential to be an incredible asset for the city and for the district I represent—if we get it right.” Price added that Ninth District stakeholders are an integral aspect of the project and that discussions will take place several times this month to ensure that all interested parties can comment on the best way to move forward.

“The goal here is to make this project a success, and get all of the community’s buy-in,” Price said.