Author: Editor

Breaking Ground!

Breaking Ground!

Teams from the City are now breaking ground to start on our Great Streets implementation! We anticipate the work to roll out in phases, and to be complete by the end of the year.

Part of the reason it has taken so long to get to implementation is because we had to work with the City to make small adjustments to the community’s vision, in order to accommodate City technical specifications, and to minimize overall parking loss along the corridor.

We are excited to be piloting a number of elements which will be among the first of their kind in the city. These include:

  • A new decorative centerpiece crosswalk at the Gibson intersection. Designed by Alan Nakagawa based on community input, this crosswalk will feature colorful swirls that mimic the swirls of SORO NC’s “neighborhoods” logo which will appear beneath the white lines of the pedestrian crossing. (This intersection will also get a new traffic signal, timed to work with the additional new signal at Olin, and with those at Beverlywood.)
  • A new bus platform at the southbound stop in front of Emil’s Hardware. The platform improves accessibility for disabled users and makes on/off-boarding more efficient. Rather than having the bus swing into the stop area, then have to pull out again, the platform builds out in the parking lane to meet the bus, meaning the bus just makes a short stop in-lane to allow folks on and off. The whole system is modular, made out of 100% recycled materials, and can easily be removed if we find it doesn’t help things. One big advantage is that it allows us to preserve many more parking spaces since we don’t need to allow a long red curb to the bus to maneuver in and out. This will be the third platform in the City, although the platforms have been successfully used in Pittsburgh, San Jose, Oakland and New York.
  • Tree-well bench seating along the corridor that will provide pedestrians a shady spot to sit and take a rest, and also make the street more walkable, which is a plus for the businesses. Listening to community input, the benches were designed by LA-Mas with a stepped design, so as to discourage the benches becoming a sleeping spot for the homeless. The benches will be bolted over existing tree-wells, so they don’t take up additional space from the sidewalk. You can see them in mock-up form below (although the green will be a different shade in the final version).

Work will begin with the concrete poured bulb-outs and curb extensions at the Gibson intersection. Those are shown in grey in the graphic at the top of the post. The temporary painted bulb-outs, which will be painted in high visibility orange, will go in next, together with the protective bollards and planters. Over time, as we secure more funds, the idea is that these painted bulb-outs will also be poured in concrete.

A word on planters, for those who have expressed concerns. SORO NC has generously provided initial funding for watering and maintenance of new trees and planters, to allow everything to take root and stay beautiful. Over time, we hope our businesses will get on board with a little light maintenance to ensure things stay beautiful. The City has used similar planters downtown, which you can see in the image below. They weigh 700lbs, providing real resistance if struck by a vehicle.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Paul Koretz and representatives from Council President Herb Wesson’s office will be joining community and business leaders and residents for a ceremonial groundbreaking on Tuesday June 11 at 9:30am at the Olin intersection. We will share photos when we have them!

The Final South Robertson Great Streets Proposal

The Final South Robertson Great Streets Proposal

Our final South Robertson Great Streets plan was built from the ground up by the community. After months of meetings, surveys, working sessions, events, and one-on-one conversations, we landed on solutions that promote walking, encourage business activity, and tame traffic.

We’ll plant trees and create spots along the street to sit and relax. We won’t remove traffic lanes, but we do introduce sidewalk bulb-outs and bookend the area with medians. We’ve carefully chosen sites at red-painted corners that don’t require removing any parking—well, possibly one or two spots total if the nearby businesses agree. We’d also like to start a neighborhood discussion about new opportunities for public spaces.

The entire narrated presentation is about 30 minutes. Hint: put the video in full-screen mode to make it easier to see plan details.

Come see the final plans on Sept. 27!

Come see the final plans on Sept. 27!

After many months of surveys, conversations, workshops, dot exercises and design charrettes, we have finally arrived at a plan for the street! We invite you to come and join us for our final community meeting to see the plans and find out what’s next.

We’ll be meeting on Wednesday September 27th from 7-9pm at Shenandoah Elementary School‘s Multi Purpose Room. [Click for map]

We’ll walk you through what we heard, how we got here, and where the community landed when we put all the feedback together. Most importantly, come and see how the first $500,000 will be spent, and what the anticipated timeline is.

We’re excited to take the first bite out of what we hope will be a transformative journey for South Robertson over the coming years!

Summer Summary

Summer Summary

We have been a little overdue in posting an update. Between the summer slow-down and plenty of behind-the-scenes work, we realize we owed the blog an update. So here it is.

Our second community workshop back at the end of June was a big success. About 100 people attended, and we split into four groups for a very hands-on session where each group worked on a large-scale plan of the street and physically placed little cellophane representations of potential improvements such as bulb outs, pedestrian crossings, street trees etc. onto the map. Taking all the synthesized input from your surveys, our first workshop and the SoRo Festival, we narrowed down our improvement-options to the ideas that had risen to the top from community input, and started to place these into the physical space.

At the end of the session, each of the four groups presented their table’s plan to the rest of the larger group. Surprisingly and rather pleasingly, there was broad consensus between the four groups about what needed to happen.

Part of the challenge was to start to think of some sense of prioritization of improvements along the boulevard, knowing that the initial pot of money–$500,000–wasn’t going to get us much further than an intersection or two. So where would we start?

Overall, the groups agreed that we should think about the 0.6 mile stretch of the Project Area in terms of three distinct areas: a gateway to the north (near Cadillac), a gateway to the south (near Hamilton High School) and a commercial core at the center of the strip, between Beverlywood and Olin. If we could focus on ideas to calm and slow down traffic at the two gateways, and focus on a series of bulb outs and pedestrian enhancements in the commercial core, we could begin to shape the South Robertson experience with our improvements. Most importantly, we clarified and confirmed that there were no plans to remove a lane of traffic on South Robertson. Some attendees mentioned that they believed all Great Streets projects involved removing a lane of traffic, but that isn’t the case for South Robertson, and won’t be.

Finally, and most inspiringly, our friends from MIG put together a few photo-simulations to help us imagine how some of these improvements might actually look on the street. Please note: these are simply simulations, not plans, but they help illustrate what kind of impact these improvements can make.

Here are a few images from what the corner of Gibson and Robertson might look like – first with “temporary” bulb-outs built from paint, bollards and planters, then as more permanent planted concrete bulb-outs, and finally in a rendering with potential future outdoor dining.

Any final solutions would have to account for maintenance for planters etc., but it is eye-opening to see how these small changes can make big impacts!

We will be digging into much more detail about bulb-outs, how they work, and what they do for a street at our final community meeting, when we share our plans. Don’t miss this final meeting on Wednesday September 27th from 7-9pm.


Temporary paint, bollards & planters


Permanent concrete bump-outs with planting area and public seating


Concrete bump-outs with outdoor sidewalk dining



See change in action around the city

See change in action around the city

Not everyone is an urban planner. In fact, it’s safe to say that very few of us are. So what do we need to learn to understand what bulb-outs, parklets, people plazas and more actually mean? What do they look like in the real world?

We were confused too, so we set out around town to see examples in action around the city, and we put together a handy-dandy self-guided tour for you to check out some ideas for yourself. We’ve included pictures and highlights from:

  • Sunset Triangle People Plaza (Silverlake)
  • Spring Street Parklets (DTLA)
  • Motor Avenue Parklets (Palms)
  • Broadway & 3rd (DTLA)

Download and print the guide and set out to see for yourself!

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!


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.


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.


  • 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 ( 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
Phone: 909-627-2974

It’s also a good idea to copy our Council deputies ( and and the SORO Neighborhoods Council (

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!


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.


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!