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!
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