Community gives input on Figueroa Street renovations

first_imgArchitects, engineers, government officials, students and community members met Tuesday to discuss plans to renovate a significant portion of the Figueroa Corridor streetscape.The Figueroa Corridor Streetscape Project will create plans to redesign curbs, pavement, buildings, lights and landscapes across Figueroa in an effort to encourage community bonds, economic development and mobility.The workshop was held to hear feedback from the community about future plans and ideas for the $20 million Figueroa street renovation.“I believe the best streets in the world are those where the physical nature of the street goes hand in hand with the culture of the street,” said Oliver Schulze, one of the design directors from Gehl Architects pioneering the project. “In order to design a great street we need to understand what goes on at that street.”The Figueroa Corridor Streetscape Project covers more than three miles of Figueroa Street between 11th and 41st streets, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Figueroa Street to Vermont Avenue. The project is led by the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles.One of the biggest objectives is to make Figueroa more conducive for walking and bicycling, Schulze said. This means creating a  “comfortable and cool” environment that is safe and accessible for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders.Schulze also hopes to minimize the presence and impact of vehicular traffic by providing easier connectivity between housing and transit.“Figueroa can be an iconic street that can represent something great about its host city Los Angeles,” Schulze said. “Figueroa is waiting for an improvement and it needs to become a much more active place that’s fast and safe.”With upcoming infrastructure improvements on Figueroa, city planners said they hope to encourage more housing developments within the area.Paul Nagakura from Selbert Perkins Designs in Los Angeles said he hopes to some day use Figueroa as a weekend destination for his wife and daughter.“Right now Figueroa has some highlights, but as a whole it’s not well-connected,” Nagakura said. “There are some areas that are not as safe and it is difficult for people to see this as a destination.”Schulze’s architecture firm analyzed public space in Figueroa. It worked with students from USC, UCLA and other representatives to help determine what the culture and traffic activity is like on Figueroa.“The Figueroa Corridor does not become a dividing line between these activities, but more as a connector between these profiles,” Schulze said. “You should overlap evening activity with daytime activity in USC.“Alex Boekelheide, director of online and print communications at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, said he bikes from Downtown Los Angeles to USC nearly every day along Figueroa.“I’d like to see more safety for bicyclists, especially with more students living in Downtown,” Boekelheide said. “There’s a strip of fast food chains, [so] anything to add a bit of variety would help a lot.”last_img

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