New Life for Highland Park, Boyle Heights Streets

By City News Service

Mayor Eric Garcetti officially announced Tuesday the first 15 Los Angeles streets that will undergo a makeover under his Great Streets urban renewal program.

The mayor’s office chose one street in each of the 15 council districts to receive improvements aimed at making them more pedestrian-friendly and livable.

The thoroughfares range from San Pedro’s Gaffey Street to the San Fernando Valley’s Van Nuys Boulevard, and from Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista to Cesar Chavez Street in Boyle Heights and Figueroa in Highland Park.

Angelenos soon can expect to see temporary additions at these streets, such as plazas and parklets, Garcetti said.

The city eventually will put in long-term upgrades such as curbs, lighting, trees and street furniture, he said.

Garcetti said his goal is to transform these “main streets” into “dynamic and safe places to meet, to shop, to spend time with their families.”

“It’s about focusing on the basics — more cops where needed, business improvement districts to clean up our streets and sidewalks, and amenities like improved medians and pocket parks to restore neighborhoods and attract investment,” he said.

A team of City Hall staff, dubbed the “Great Streets Studio,” will do outreach and develop projects for the 15 streets, Garcetti said.

Los Angeles has 6,500 centerline miles of streets, more than any other place in the country, the mayor’s office said.

These streets, which take up 13 percent of the city, are “our largest public asset,” according to Garcetti.

“The city’s 2014-15 budget, which the mayor signed Monday, allows for $800,000 to be used for Great Streets planning and outreach.

A few of the streets already have funding through grants or other projects already in the works, he said. His office also plans to work with individual council offices and stakeholders to get more funding.

In the First District, North Figueroa Street between Avenue 50 and Avenue 60 in Highland Park, has been selected, while in the 14th District, Cesar Chavez Avenue between Evergreen Avenue and St. Louis Street in Boyle Heights is slated for a Great Streets makeover.

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June 5, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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