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Second (and Final) Community Workshop: Sunday June 25 From 1-4pm

Second (and Final) Community Workshop: Sunday June 25 From 1-4pm

Our second Great Streets workshop will be held on Sunday 25 June from 1-4pm. This will be our final community working session. You don’t need to have attended our first workshop, but for those who did, this will build on the work done so far and narrow down to identify specific solutions. This is the meeting where the rubber hits the road.

As before, we’ll challenge folks to get into small groups and wrestle with how different ideas might impact our street and the way we all use it. It’s an exciting opportunity to play a critical role in shaping the future of our neighborhood!

Where/When?

Great Streets Workshop #2

Sunday, 25 June: 1-4pm

Simon Wiesenthal Center, Third Floor

1399 S. Roxbury Drive, Los Angeles 90035

**Parking is available underneath the building. Enter on Roxbury just north of Pico.

What?

Here’s the brief agenda for the meting. Rest assured, we’ll make sure we keep you entertained and enthused, and we’ll have snacks and light refreshments on hand.

Agenda

  • 1:00          Welcome from SORO NC
  • 1:20pm    Presentation by MIG (lead consultants)
  • 1:35pm     Design breakout groups (interactive table exercise)
  • 3pm          Facilitated large group discussion and report outs
  • 3:45pm    Key Next Steps
  • 4pm          Closing from SORO NC

What else?

Make sure to read our page introducing you to basic Complete Streets ideas, with links to a number of resources you can check. You can find that post here.

Your input so far…

Your input so far…

We’ve had a whirlwind couple of weeks on the GREAT STREETS project. A catch-up post was long overdue!

We’ve now had three major rounds of community input on the project so far–from the initial community survey, from the first workshop, and from the SoRo Festival. In addition, we’ve summarized some of what we’d heard from you in past years, together with some data from the City, giving us an overall picture up to now. Brace yourselves, it’s a long post…

Past SORO NC surveys of the community

South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (soronc.org) has regularly surveyed the community over the years. This baseline data has given us an interesting snapshot of what we’ve heard over the years as priorities for South Robertson.

Great Streets Community Survey

In just 11 days in May, 425 of you took the initial community survey for the GREAT STREETS SOUTH ROBERTSON project, with fairly consistent responses throughout. The survey was closed prior to the first workshop, so we could digest your input so far. Here’s a summary:

Workshop #1

On May 21st, close to 100 of you attended our first workshop. After some grounding information and contextual overview, we rolled up our sleeves, broke into small groups, and started to think about how and where we would want specific improvements to the streets, if we could have them. What was most important to each person in the room, and where would they want to see that improvement? There was a lot of discussion and some furious placing of icon-stickers, and a good time was had by all. Each group rounded up their top priorities, and all the input went back with the consultants, so they could make sense of it.

So in the end, what did we learn? The street section below summarizes the outcome of this workshop. For each intersection, the top 3 priorities the group defined are shown, as well as the overall preference ranking of improvements. Take a look at that below:

Other data

Thanks to our friends at the City, we were also able to pull collision statistics for the project area on South Robertson, during the 2009-2013 period. While South Robertson isn’t one of the worst offenders in the City in terms of collisions, it is certainly notable that there have been collisions at each and every intersection along the 0.6 mile project area. While each intersection has a fairly reasonable number of collisions, taken in aggregate, it tells a story about safety of the corridor.

SoRo Festival

Taking all this insight, Great Streets set up shop at the 20th Annual SoRo Festival, where we got to meet and talk to hundreds of you as you enjoyed the day. The booth was packed all day, including a guest appearance by Mayor Garcetti himself! At the festival, we reprised the table map exercise, starting with the data we gleaned from Workshop #1, and we also asked folks to weigh in with preference stickers on the top improvements. Here are just a few pictures to give you a sense of the enthusiasm. We’ll have formalized outcomes ready for our next meeting, Workshop #2 happening on June 25th. As we continue to hone down our ideas, this last workshop format will be one of the final opportunities to give large scale input, so we hope many of you mark the date and plan to attend. Here are some snaps from SoRo Fest for you to enjoy. Apparently our community is really, really keen on outdoor dining and street trees!

So what’s next?

A couple of important dates for June …

  • Sunday June 25th, 1-4pm, Workshop #2
    • Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1399 S. Roxbury Drive, 90035
  • Movies in the Park, Friday June 30th, at dusk (around 6:30pm)
    • Reynier Park, 2803 Reynier Ave, 90034

We’ll be setting up our final public meetings in August and September. Stay tuned for more information as those are confirmed…

10 Freeway Ramp Project

10 Freeway Ramp Project

Although it’s not part of the Great Streets project, a new effort to reconfigure all four I-10 Freeway ramps at Robertson will have a dramatic impact on the future of the neighborhood.

Currently, the ramps are located to the immediate south of the Great Streets area. One, the westbound exit ramp, is located directly across from Hamilton High School at Kincardine. At a minimum, it is fair to say they are confusing, contribute to accidents, cut off SORO from Culver City businesses and new development, and generate more traffic than Robertson can handle. The result has been a dangerous and uninviting walk to and from the Expo stop for students and residents, excess commuter traffic that overflows into our residential streets, and a struggling business district along South Robertson itself.

Where the new ramps are placed and how they direct traffic can either support the vision we’re setting with Great Streets, or compound our current problems for the next 50 years. Those plans are being drawn up now—you can read more about the plans on the SORO Neighborhoods Council site—and the project team is asking for your feedback.

Send Feedback

Send your thoughts on the I-10 Robertson Ramps project to outreach lead Laura Muna-Landa
Email: I-10Robertson@ArellanoAssociates.com
Phone: 909-627-2974

It’s also a good idea to copy our Council deputies (joseph.galloway@lacity.org and elizabeth.carlin@lacity.org) and the SORO Neighborhoods Council (vision@soronc.org).

It is important to note that while it takes time—years and years—to begin construction on a project like this, the time to act is now. As the project progresses, it will become increasingly difficult to affect the outcome. We need to ensure that the plan’s goals not only support moving cars on and off the freeway, but also addresses 1) safe pedestrian passage to the High School, 2) neighborhood traffic problems, and 3) our vision for thriving SORO business district.

Sunday’s Kickoff Workshop

Sunday’s Kickoff Workshop

We are counting the hours until we get to see you at our kickoff workshop for Great Streets South Robertson! Our first meeting is on Sunday and we’re going to have some fun!


Where/When?

Great Streets Kickoff Meeting and Workshop #1

Sunday, 21 May: 1-4pm

Simon Wiesenthal Center, Third Floor

1399 S. Roxbury Drive, Los Angeles 90035

**Parking is available underneath the building. Enter on Roxbury just north of Pico.

What?

Here’s what we have lined up for you. We’ll make sure we keep you entertained and enthused, and we’ll have snacks and light refreshments on hand.

  • Welcome / Orientation
  • Introductions
  • Agenda Overview
  • Great Streets Challenge and SORO
    • What is Great Streets and what does it mean for SORO?
  • Overview of the SORO Project
    • What have we heard from you so far?
  • What makes a Great Street?
    • Ideas that work
  • What is YOUR Vision for SORO?
    • Design Opportunities Exercise
    • Visioning Session

What else?

For those of you who are over-achievers, we’ve added a page introducing you to basic Complete Streets ideas, with links to a number of resources you can check. You can find that post here.

Thank you for your surveys!

Thank you for your surveys!

You bowled us over with your submissions for the initial Great Streets survey! Hundreds and hundreds of you weighed in and we’re so grateful for your enthusiasm for this project! The initial survey is now closed. Your input will shape the next step on the journey, the community workshop on Sunday 21st May from 1-4pm.

What’s next?

Come out and participate in Sunday’s workshop from 1-4pm. We’ll share survey results, do some hands-on visioning exercises, and collaborate in small groups towards our vision. It’ll be fun and we’ll have snacks. Bring your passion and your good ideas into the room! If you think you can make it on Sunday, let us know here.

I can’t come on Sunday…

If you can’t make it on Sunday, come out and see us at the 20th Annual SoRo Festival on Sunday June 4th along the South Robertson project area. We’re excited to see so many people face to face, and we’ll be showing some new and refined ideas based on the feedback so far.

Also, please save the date for our second workshop which will take place on Sunday June 25th from 1-4pm. More details about that soon…

Don’t forget, with so many polls, short videos, surveys and events built into this project, the very best way for us to keep you in the loop is if you sign up for email updates and follow us on Facebook.

See you all on Sunday, neighbors!

Are you a business owner along South Robertson?

Are you a business owner along South Robertson?

If you’re a business owner along South Robertson, we are especially interested in hearing from you. Since you’re right there along Robertson, what you have to share will have tremendous impact. We’ve created a separate survey just for you. It will take you less than 5 minutes to complete. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

IMPORTANT: Please answer the questions only as they pertain to the project area delineated on the project map at the top of the survey. Don’t forget to hit “submit” when you’re done!

Kickoff meeting and workshop: Sunday May 21 from 1-4pm

Kickoff meeting and workshop: Sunday May 21 from 1-4pm

We’re kicking off the Great Streets project with our first community meeting and workshop on Sunday 21 May from 1-4pm. At this meeting, we’ll get a quick grounding in what the Great Streets project is from the consultants who the City has engaged, and then we’ll dive right into a workshop where we can learn some urban planning basics and start to form a vision for South Robertson. We’ll catch you up to the work that has been done so far, and challenge folks to get into small groups and wrestle with how different ideas might impact our street and the way we all use it. It’s an exciting opportunity to play a critical role in shaping the future of our neighborhood!

Where/When?

Great Streets Kickoff Meeting and Workshop #1

Sunday, 21 May: 1-4pm

Simon Wiesenthal Center, Third Floor

1399 S. Roxbury Drive, Los Angeles 90035

**Parking is available underneath the building. Enter on Roxbury just north of Pico.

What?

Here’s what we have lined up for you. We’ll make sure we keep you entertained and enthused, and we’ll have snacks and light refreshments on hand.

  • Welcome / Orientation
  • Introductions
  • Agenda Overview
  • Great Streets Challenge and SORO
    • What is Great Streets and what does it mean for SORO?
  • Overview of the SORO Project
    • What have we heard from you so far?
  • What makes a Great Street?
    • Ideas that work
  • What is YOUR Vision for SORO?
    • Design Opportunities Exercise
    • Visioning Session

What else?

For those of you who are over-achievers, we’ve added a page introducing you to basic Complete Streets ideas, with links to a number of resources you can check. You can find that post here.

Everything you need to know about the Great Streets project

Everything you need to know about the Great Streets project

In early 2017, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced South Robertson as the recipient of a GREAT STREETS grant, with specific focus on the area between Cadillac and Kincardine, just south of Hamilton High School. South Robertson was one of only three submitted projects to win a BUILD grant. The opportunity for change on South Robertson is strong, and our community has been asking for this kind of attention to South Robertson for many years.

If you are interested in the transformation of South Robertson Blvd, and would like to stay on top of developments, please sign up for emails now at http://soronc.org/updates and follow SORO NC on Facebook and Twitter.

In the meantime, here are some frequently asked questions and answers.

You can read about the Mayor’s Great Streets program at the Mayor’s site. The idea is that every neighborhood needs a great main street that is an accessible and engaging public space for people. Using many complete streets ideas, the focus is on restoring a more healthy balance on the street between cars, bikes and people. Ultimately, the program hopes to revitalize Great Streets around the city, with thriving economic corridors, enhanced neighborhood character, and more closely connected communities using their local public spaces to their best advantage.

It’s important to understand that the Great Streets projects is about coming up with a feasible, actionable vision for the street with cohesive community input from all stakeholders including residents, businesses and organizations in the community. Implementation will be a separate project.

Great Streets has two types of grants.

Pop-Up Grants are for communities that are just starting to think about their work and want to try out some ideas. Pop-up grants allow communities to try out some inexpensive or semi-permanent ideas as they begin their work.

Build Grants are for areas that are further along in the process and have the organizational capacity to make a strong case for a more permanent fix. These grants provide up to $13,000 in starter funds for community outreach to come up with a shared vision, together with in-kind services provided by technical consultants, City partners and more. Build grant projects are expected to result in not only a strong community vision for the street, but also one that has been vetted and refined for feasible implementation by the City.

Yes and no. First of all, we’ve already secured additional matching funds from community partners, so we’re actually working with $22,000. And remember, the initial grant isn’t to actually implement a plan, but rather to develop a plan that is as “shovel-ready” as possible, with all the community, City and business input that it needs.
We certainly hope so. The City has committed to help successful final visions find resources to make them come to life. For starters, they will commit to a $500,000 investment to implement a piece of the overall vision at the conclusion of the process.
A number of things, some tangible, some less tangible. Over the lifetime of the project (roughly 18 months), we will be conducting a lot of input meetings in the neighborhood. With passionate residents, with business operators along South Robertson, with landlords who own those commercial properties, and with a bunch of City and private sector planning and design experts to help us come up with a vision that works for everyone. We will have to work within our limits–Robertson will always have to carry traffic–but hopefully through an iterative process with everyone coming together, we can come up with plans for substantive changes that will impact and begin to change our street. Things like traffic calming, parking, medians, areas for outdoor dining, façade improvements, beautification, lighting, street furniture etc. are all in the realm of possibility. Ideas like “let’s build all the buildings up to 3-stories and build an underground parking lot that runs the length of the street” won’t be in the realm of possibility.

When we’ve brought our best game and worked as hard as we can to create a vision that takes into consideration the needs of all our community, then we hope the City will throw its weight behind making our vision come true.

The project is an intense collaboration between City partners, Community partners and consultant experts. On the City side, we have the strong support of Council President Herb Wesson (who represents the east side of South Robertson’s project area) and Council Member Paul Koretz (who represents the west side of the project area). The Department of Transportation and the Department of Planning are also core partners. The idea is to innovate the planning process with the addition of a strong community partner who knows the community and is able to successfully gather local voices to give input as the project is being conceived.
We were notified that we won the grant in February 2017. Final completion of the vision project is August 2018.

  • In the first phase, March–September 2017 we will be convening a number of community meetings to get our ideas in order. Please see below for more details.
  • In the second phase, October–February 2018, these ideas will get a working over by the consultants and experts at the City and we will refine and shape them with their input.
  • Moving into the summer of 2018, we hope to see the beginnings of some of the ideas come to fruition on the street. Remember, the City’s initial investment of $500,000 will likely only get the ball rolling. We’ll need to find City, County, State and Federal funding for the larger, more expensive ideas, so this project is something we will be working to fully implement for years to come.
We’d love you to get involved. This project will thrive when your voice is part of it. There will be hard work, big thinking, compromise and consensus building and a lot of community-building as we get to know each other better and work through what this street means to us all. But we realize that everyone has different levels of interest and time, so there are a number of ways you can engage, according to your bandwidth.

Emails and social media sign up

The easiest way to keep track of what’s happening and the single most important and simplest thing you can do. We’ll be sending emails and posting about progress on Facebook, as well as sharing links to input surveys etc. If you sign up, you can be in the loop.

Sign up for email updates on the project at http://soronc.org/updates

Follow SORO NC at http://Facebook.com/SORONC

Tweet us at http://Twitter.com/SORONC

Download and print the meeting flyer, and tape it to your refrigerator.

I definitely want to learn more and I’m willing to attend a couple of meetings to share my opinions

Super! We’ll be hosting a series of large public meetings and workshops to help develop the concepts. You can download a flyer for all the meetings and pin it up on your refrigerator! We’ll also be using regular community events to offer input opportunities. We’re currently anticipating the following schedule of meetings:

Sunday May 21st, 1-4pm

Kickoff and Workshop #1: Visioning & Design Opportunities at Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1399 Roxbury Drive, 90035

Sunday June 4, 11-4pm

SORO Festival Great Street Booth, Robertson Blvd.

Friday June 30, 6-7:30pm

Displays at Council President Wesson’s Movies in the Park at Reynier Park

Sunday June 25th, 1-4pm

Workshop #2: Preferred Concept Development at Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1399 Roxbury Drive, 90035

August 15-30 (Date(s) and location TBD)

Community Meeting to prioritize improvements

Wednesday September 27th (Location TBD)

Final Design Demonstration

It’s hard for me to attend meetings in person

No worries. We will be distributing community surveys as the process moves along, seeking your input, and we’ll also be running various activities on Facebook such as polls, Facebook live events etc. Make sure you sign up to follow SORO NC on social media as outlined above 

Robertson Revitalization Committee meetings

SORO NC’s Robertson Revitalization Committee and Outreach Committee will be also be hosting regular committee meetings to share updates on this project. Like all SORO NC meetings, these will be open to the public, and we encourage you to come along. All committee meetings and agendas are always posted 72 hours in advance at soronc.org. We’ll also do our best to send emails and cross-post to Facebook and NextDoor so that you will know when meetings are coming up. Make sure you’re following us on one of our channels.

I want to attend meetings and I’m willing to commit to rolling up my sleeves and doing work. I’m so excited about this!

Hurray! You’re our kind of people. Drop an email to volunteer@soroblvd.com and we’ll chat more about this.

We know there is much work to be done in many ways to get us all to a perfect community. But, this project is very specifically for the portion of South Robertson that runs from Cadillac down past Hamilton High School to Kincardine. It’s not for filling potholes, it’s not for moving freeway ramps (although there is a concurrent separate project focused on freeway ramps that we’ll be coordinating with), it’s not for fixing alleys. Specifically, the focus of this project is for coming up with a vision for the commercial corridor on that specific stretch of the road.
For the better! We’re especially interested in connecting with you and learning more about your business and your needs. Please email us at businesses@soroblvd.com or call Marj on 323-640-4406. We can’t wait to connect with you and involve you in this work!
Do it! Send your happy dance to happydance@soroblvd.com and we’ll share it on our social media!
South Robertson selected as one of the LA’s Great Streets!

South Robertson selected as one of the LA’s Great Streets!

Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced South Robertson (SORO) as a recipient of a GREAT STREETS grant, with specific focus on the area between Cadillac and Kincardine.

The Great Streets initiative aims to revitalize Great Streets around the city with thriving economic corridors, enhanced neighborhood character, and more closely connected communities using their local public spaces to their best advantage. The grant provides funds to conduct community-wide outreach to garner input from stakeholders, together with with technical assistance and expertise from planning consultants and City partners. The goal is to create a vision that is driven by the community and viable for implementation.

“I am thrilled the Mayor selected Robertson Boulevard as a recipient of the Great Streets Challenge grant,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz of CD-5, who shares representation of the project area with Council President Herb Wesson of CD-10 . The border between their two districts runs down the middle of South Robertson. “I’ve been working with the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council to come up with creative ways to turn this major thoroughfare into a safer, more walkable, artistic and vibrant center for everyone. The grant money will allow us to further our goals of creating, attracting, and providing more community access, reducing commercial vacancies, improving parking while enhancing safety for those by car, foot, transit or bike.”

Doug Fitzsimmons, President of the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SORO NC) added at a press launch today:

“On paper, SORO is a community of borders. We have a border to the south with Culver City. To the north, Beverly Hills. We are in four community plan areas, three police Divisions. The border between Councilmember Koretz’s district and Council President Wesson’s district runs down the very middle of this street.

“As we’ve seen, these man-made lines can have real world consequences. And so too, in many small ways over the years, they’ve affected us. For us, Robertson—this Great Street—is not a border. This Great Street is not a passageway to somewhere else. This Great Street binds this community together.

“Today, we start a community-led change to Robertson. The end result will take time, and effort, and co-ordinated commitment from homeowners and renters, businesses and city staff. In the coming days and months, we’ll hold meetings within SORO stakeholders. We will share ideas, debate solutions, and together arrive at consensus.

“We are grateful to the Mayor and his staff for their vision of a City driven from the neighborhoods up, driven by the homegrown creativity this City is known for (Barbara Mendes’s beautiful and moving mural is an example of that). We are grateful to Councilmember Koretz and Council President Wesson for their unflagging leadership, co-operation, and belief in this community—and for together, helping us erase our own paper borders. ”

This process is in its earliest stages and will culminate in August 2018. Soon, you’ll be hearing much more about your opportunities to be part of the process and share your vision.

If you are interested in the transformation of South Robertson Blvd, and would like to stay on top of developments and learn about community input meetings that will be held over the next few months, please sign up for email updates here  and follow SORO NC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We need to hear your voice!