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!

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