The Project to Make DTLA Roads Safer for Pedestrians Is Finally Breaking Ground This Summer

MyFigueroa fights for the underdogs: walkers and cyclists

After years of compromise and delay, the MyFigueroa streetscape project—an ambitious plan to make Figueroa Street and other DTLA roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists—will start construction this summer and open in March.

Many have been keeping a close eye on this effort, which will add bus-only lanes, wider sidewalks, better lighting, landscaping, bus shelters, transit platforms, public art, improved traffic signals, repainted crosswalks, more street signage, and separated bike lanes (removed from vehicular traffic by raised curbs, parking lanes, and bus platforms) to Fig, from Exposition Park to 7th Street in the heart of DTLA. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., near USC, will also see similar upgrades; 11th Street in booming South Park will, as well.

The project is exciting to many (and wrong-headed to some) because it cedes space from cars and gives it to alternate forms of transportation. When it was first conceived six years ago, local car dealerships that line Fig near USC dug in their heels; eventually they came around. The idea of making neighborhoods more foot- and wheel-friendly makes sense everywhere, but especially in increasingly urban DTLA. The project intends to better knit together  the center city and Expo Park/USC area, turning the latter into more of an extension of the former (something already aided with the opening of the Expo Line four years ago).

Don’t worry, drivers. The busiest part of Figueroa, near the Convention Center and L.A. Live, will definitely make room for cars, according to the project’s website: “In constrained segments of the corridor, including the segment of the corridor that is adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center, Staples Center and LA Live, and the narrow segment south of there to 21st Street, as well as a narrow section of the street south of Exposition, buffered bike lanes are being designed. In these segments, four vehicular lanes of traffic can be provided, as well as a center turn lane. In these areas of increased vehicular capacity, buses will still board at the existing curbs, and bike lanes will not be physically protected with on street barriers, or separate bike signals at intersections.”

The $20 million project is funded by a Proposition 1C grant that mandates work must finish by March 2017.