[Image via Joey Zanotti / Curbed LA flickr pool]
Mayor Eric Garcetti has named 15 roads throughout Los Angeles as the first to get people-friendly makeovers for his Great Streets Program, including San Pedro’s major artery, Gaffey Street, which was the first to get the ball rolling on upgrades, in the form of vibrant neon-blue updates to a sign over the road. Some were underwhelmed by the effort, but it seems like a sign was a smart, safe choice, because San Pedro does not actually like it when you mess with its streets. When residents got wind of the possibility that a car lane might be removed from Gaffey as part of the Great Streets plan, the Daily Breeze reports, 200 of them filled a public meeting to protest.
Taking out a car lane would calm traffic on the street and perhaps make room for a bike lane, which would help make the area more friendly to people than to cars for a more lively neighborhood feel. But before the meeting even took place and without any firm plan to remove lanes, 1,000 people had signed an online petition, “virtually overnight,” against removing a lane. When planners, likely overwhelmed by the response compared to the low turnout for the previous two Gaffey meetings, announced there would be no lane-removal, “Applause immediately broke out.”
Okay, so if they’re not going to take a lane out, what’s the plan for greatening this road up? According to Councilmember Joe Buscaino, “The bottom line is that the Great Street Initiative is meant to get rid of undesirable businesses along Gaffey, like the pot shops and the fast-food restaurants.” (Huh, no one mentioned that before…) After the fries and weed clear out, Buscaino would like to see the addition of pretty landscaping, and family dining with outdoor seating. That does sound nice, but what are the odds it will actually happen? At that same meeting, planners revealed both that there’s a chance that San Pedro could get its hands on $ 1.7 million toward realizing this idyll, and that such a project would “take decades and much more money than that to complete.”
· San Pedro residents at meeting applaud news that Gaffey won’t see lane reductions [DB]
· LA’s Great Streets Makeovers Begin With a Sign in San Pedro [Curbed LA]
· The First 15 LA Streets Getting Big Great Streets Makeovers [Curbed LA]
· Eight Amazing Changes on the Way to the Streets of LA [Curbed LA]