Solving Cities

Los Angeles to build better streets for walkers and bikers

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A major street in L.A. will soon add the city's first protected bike lanes, and build a more walkable transit-friendly street.

Figueroa Street, which runs through downtown Los Angeles and past Staples Center, will soon be complete. It will become a complete street, that is -- a street that accommodates all forms of transportation, not just the car. A $30 million state grant will fund the Figueroa Corridor Streetscape Project, a project that will add the city's first protected bike lanes and a create a more walkable, transit-friendly street on a three-mile stretch of Figueroa Street, Alissa Walker of GOOD reports.

And it's a long time coming for the city. L.A. Figueroa Corridor consultant Deborah Murphy told GOOD, "They've been doing this stuff all over the world for the last 20 years. We're the last kids to get with the program."

It's a good change for the city, but it's not just benefiting sport fans and downtown patrons. The changes will also reach transit-dependent communities in the affordable housing areas of Figueroa Street, Walker says.

South Los Angeles is an extremely transit-dependent community, with many people using the bus or light-rail lines. The "better" proposal adds elements that make waiting for a bus or train more pleasant, like increased shade shelters, trees, and areas with seating. This also benefits people living in affordable housing, says Murphy. "If we can improve connectivity, these people can have more money if they're not having to spend it on a car."

Head over to GOOD to see the street plans.

Photo: bORjAmATIC/Flickr

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure