Following a DTLA inter-departmental planning workshop hosted by Councilmember Huizar and LADOT, the Complete Streets advocate introduces a series of motions today to increase, promote and protect pedestrian access, improve traffic flow and improve neighborhood connectivity in Downtown Los Angeles
Councilmember José Huizar launched his “DTLA Forward” initiative today with a series of legislative motions designed to consolidate and coordinate planning in Downtown Los Angeles in order to make traffic flow better, increase public spaces, multi-modal and pedestrian use and safety, and better connect adjoining neighborhoods in one of the fastest growing downtowns in the United States.
The motions, in part, come out of a recent inter-departmental planning workshop sponsored by Huizar. In that discussion Huizar, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and a host of other city departments mapped out a plan of action. The workshop was hosted by Gensler, a Pershing Square Renew partner.
“While Downtown Los Angeles residential population has increased nearly five-fold in the last decade and development is booming, DTLA lacks a clear focused plan to address the strain on traffic flow, increased pedestrian and bicycle activity – which we want to encourage – and ways to create more public spaces and better connect its distinct neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Huizar. “Our ‘DTLA Forward’ initiative will be the platform to create a well-thought out plan of action for smart multi-modal transportation growth now and in the future.”
DTLA’s growth is expected to continue with over 80,000 residents expected to call Downtown home in the next five years and $11 billion worth of development currently underway. As a major economic engine for the Southern California area, DTLA is also home to more than 500,000 workers, with an additional 10 million people visiting the Downtown area each year.
Highlights of the four motions being introduced today by Councilmember Huizar include:
Report on DTLA Street Configuration
Huizar’s motion calls for a plan to reevaluate the configuration of streets in Downtown, beginning with Spring and Main Streets, analyzing pedestrian and multi-modal transportation options, to make Downtown a more walkable and safe environment for pedestrians while improving traffic flow and reducing unneeded vehicular congestion, and integrate these solutions into the Mobility Plan for the City of Los Angeles.
Expands Pedestrian Head Start Program
A call to expand the successful pedestrian “Head Start” (Leading Pedestrian Interval) traffic light pilot program instituted as part of Councilmember Huizar’s Broadway Master Streetscape Plan. The program gives pedestrians the green light to walk a few seconds before automobiles get the green light, and have proven to increase pedestrian safety.
Create Formal Green, Walkable Alleyway Program
The Downtown community has shown interest in creating more pedestrian alleys and green alleys in their community. Recently, the South Park Business Improvement District released a report that provided a framework for enhancing South Park’s alley network in an effort to create more economic development, walkability, and public green space within their community.
The City should adopt the “Harlem Alley” as a “pilot” project for a vacated pedestrian alley and identify other appropriate spaces and opportunities for pedestrian alleys and green alleys in Downtown under the existing program.
South Park Tree Guidelines
The South Park neighborhood of Downtown is currently experiencing tremendous growth and development. With this development comes the need for developers to upgrade their streetscapes to comply with current city policies. Often times, conditions are placed upon developers without prior consultation with the Urban Forestry Division.
Huizar’s motion calls for the Bureau of Street Services Urban Forestry Division to work with the Department of City Planning and the South Park Business Improvement District to develop a street tree palette and guidelines for tree removal and replacement in the South Park neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles.
Besides LADOT’s GM Seleta Reynolds, other participants at the recent workshop included
Board of Public Works Commissioner Matt Szabo; representatives from Mayor Garcetti’s office; the City Attorney’s office; Bureau of Engineering; Bureau of Street Services, Urban Forestry Division; the CAO’ and CLA’s office; Contract Administration; Department of Cultural Affairs; DWP; Planning Department; Recreation and Parks; GSD; Bureau of Sanitation, and L.A. County Metro.