Los Angeles Announces Makeover Candidates for Great Streets Program

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

Improvements are already planned on this stretch of Figueroa Street south of Downtown Los Angeles (above), but a new Great Streets plan brings improvements to additional portions of the street. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

As the United States’ prototypical car-oriented freeway town, Los Angeles continues to edge its way toward becoming a pedestrian-friendly metropolis. The city’s Great Streets Initiative, a program intended to redesign public space to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friend, officially moved forward this week as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets that will be targeted for improvement throughout the city.

Great Streets Logo (LA Mayor's Office)

Great Streets logo (LA Mayor’s Office)

According to the mayor’s press release, changes will start with plazas and parklets and expand to changes to curbs, street lighting, street trees, and street furniture. The mayor pointed out that streets make up 13 percent of the land in the city, so it makes even more sense to change them into what he calls “transformative gathering places.” Garcetti stressed the need to build off of existing successes and funding, and to create Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) where they are needed to continue with such work.

Rios Clementi Hale's Sunset Triangle Plaza. Sunset Boulevard in Silverlake is already considered a "Great Street" (Rios Clementi Hale)

Rios Clementi Hale’s Sunset Triangle Plaza. Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake is already considered a “Great Street.” (Rios Clementi Hale)

Each of the city’s 15 council districts (CDs) will contain one of the streets. Already-active areas like Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction (which Garcetti focused on while a councilman there) and Larchmont Village’s Larchmont Boulevard are not on the list, because they’re already considered “Great Streets,” despite their remaining issues. Garcetti’s list includes many wide streets full of cars and strip malls and short on character. In other words, the city has its work cut out for it.

The city’s budget for Great Streets this year is $800,000, meant mostly for seed funding. The undertaking, announced last fall, is slated to include up to 40 streets as it moves ahead.

Here’s the full list of streets that made the first cut:

CD1: North Figueroa St between Avenue 50 & 60

CD2: Lankershim Blvd between Chandler & Victory

CD3: Sherman Way between Wilbur & Lindley

CD4: Western Ave between Melrose & 3rd St

Western between Melrose and Third as it looks now. (Google Maps)

Western between Melrose and Third as it looks now. (Google Maps)

CD5: Westwood Blvd between Le Conte & Wilshire

CD6: Van Nuys Blvd between Victory & Oxnard

CD7: Van Nuys between Laurel Canyon & San Fernando

Van Nuys Blvd between Laurel Canyon Blvd and San Fernando Rd. (Google Maps)

Van Nuys Blvd between Laurel Canyon Blvd and San Fernando Rd as it looks now. (Google Maps)

CD8: Crenshaw Blvd between 78th St & Florence

CD9: Central Ave between MLK Blvd & Vernon

CD10: Pico Blvd between Hauser & Fairfax

Pico Blvd. between Hauser and Fairfax. (Google Maps)

Pico Blvd. between Hauser and Fairfax as it looks now. (Google Maps)

CD11: Venice Blvd between Beethoven & Inglewood

CD12: Reseda Blvd Plummer & Parthenia

CD13: Hollywood Blvd La Brea & Gower

CD14: Cesar Chavez Ave between Evergreen & St. Louis

CD15: Gaffey St between 15th St & the 110

Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice is also considered a Great Street already (yovenice.com)

Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice is also considered a Great Street already (yovenice.com)

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