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Residents 'Break up' the Boulevard—to Take it Back

Take Back the Boulevard initiative sets sights on improving Colorado to better serve the community.

Eagle Rock residents and stakeholders gathered around six tables scattered with laminated diagrams of Colorado Boulevard, note-taking materials and their suggestions for a better, safer road Thursday night.

Approximately 50 people turned out for Take Back the Boulevard’s second public meeting held at the in an effort to transform Eagle Rock’s busiest street into a main corridor that suits a medley of travelers and gives pedestrians and bicyclists the right of way.

“We will begin as a community to try and articulate the changes we would like to see,” said Bob Gotham, chair of (The Eagle Rock Association).

Colorado Boulevard was broken up into four different sections for group discussion, from Avenue 64 to the Glendale Freeway entrance, and those in attendance chose an area of the roadway they were most interested
in modifying.

Group Discussions

At the first TBTB public meeting, which took place in September 2011 and attracted about 100 people, the presentation shed light on numerous changes that could be made to Colorado Boulevard to better serve the surrounding community. Thursday night’s meeting was much more hands-on.

Community members at each table examined various views of present-day Colorado Boulevard, bounced ideas off each other, pinpointed areas of concern and marked diagrams with features that could be added or subtracted to improve the busy street.

Toward the end of the workshop, each of the four sub-groups presented the ideas they came up with.

Here’s how the groups were divided: Area 1:Glendale Freeway to Eagle Rock Boulevard; Area 2: Eagle Rock Boulevard to Argus Drive; Area 3: Argus Drive to Dahlia Drive; Area 4: Dahlia Drive to Ave 64/Pasadena City Limit.

Val Zavala, a KCET anchor who lives in Eagle Rock, brainstormed with one of two groups working on Area 4. Zavala’s group liked the idea of implementing "bulbouts," which widening the curb at specific points by jutting out into the street, and creating a bike lane along this section of the boulevard.

Sub-group 3 was also pro-bulbouts, in favor of more trees and adding a crosswalk in the vicinity of Trader Joe’s. The group also suggested implementing textured crosswalks such as those that can be found in nearby Pasadena, because they are more pedestrian-friendly.

“Initially, I wasn’t so sure that we would come up with a lot of ideas about what could happen, but hearing the councilmember with his support and monetarily, I’m very confident that things are going to happen,” TBTB steering committee member Brian Cawley said.

There were mixed views from at least two different groups regarding the widening of existing sidewalks because of budget concerns. More
attractive bus shelters and a better shared parking plan were among other
changes community members would like implemented.

COSTS

Paul Habib, planning and transportation director in the office of , addressed the crowd prior to breaking off into groups. According to Habib, Huizar supports the efforts of TBTB and is committed to finding the funding to implement as many changes as possible on Colorado Boulevard.

During the overview of TBTB’s planning process, Jeff Jacobberger, an urban planner with Civic Enterprise Associates and a TBTB steering committee member, showed attendees the various options for Colorado Boulevard’s future and revealed costs for a handful of them.

Prices included $300,000 per block to narrow existing medians and $30,000 per mile to add a new bike lane.

Next Step

According to Zenay Loera, the , said as the process continues, materials from each meeting will be collected to assist in the planning process.

“That’s why we’re here tonight—they’re going to figure out what’s priority for them," Loera said. "As the city has the ability and finds the funding, we can implement what those priorities are.”

She added: “It’s a long-term process—it’s not going to happen overnight. There’s no estimates on the time it will take to start and complete the project until we have a final report.”

TERA's Gotham said there is no date set for the group’s next meeting. He did, however, say that based on the pace at which the previous two meetings took place, it will most likely be in four to five months.

Looking ahead, Gotham said, “I think the most challenging goal will be to develop a recommendation for the boulevard which is truly reflective of what the community wants to see.”

Joanne Turner January 22, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Reinstall the traffic signals at the Colorado/Highland View intersection (notice it's the only non-signaled intersection with built turn lanes) that were removed to speed up traffic before the freeway was built. Now that the freeway is in and has been since the early 1970s, a new signal there would help slow down traffic, as there are no signals for four long blocks, encouraging speeding. This part of Colorado is where I believe many fatal accidents have occurred over the years because of unregulated traffic. Also, consider adding traffic signals at the Colorado/El Rio intersection, where numerous pedestrians risk their lives running across the street from the Bank of America to the mini-mall directly south of it, or vice versa. I've witnessed this way too many times over the 26 years I've driven this stretch of our boulevard.
Jane Tsong January 23, 2012 at 04:50 AM
The TBTB Committee should be commended on a beautifully run workshop, in which so many very passionate community members could voice our concerns about the boulevard and consider practical ways to improve it. Thank you!
jayres January 23, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Bipediality, If you consider "Approximately 50 people" to be "so many" than Eagle Rock is in big trouble. That's approximately 1/10 of a percent of the population of Eagle Rock. It doesn't seem like the community is really all that passionate about TBTB, relatively speaking. That being said, my vote is the option that costs $500,000 a city block, with buffered bike lanes, and a replica trolley car the circles Colorado, ER Blvd, York and Fig. I think that would bring the right kind exposure to ER to really shape the future we all want to see here. Let's spare no expense! I'm setting up a steering committee with a CD 14 rep and the only living Trolley Car conductor from the old Pacific Electric Railway. I'm calling it "Indian Giving The Boulevard", because I'm taking it back, but that name was already spoken for. I'm not sure if I'm going to draw the passions of 1/10 of a percent of the neighborhood or slightly less support, and go it alone. My budget will be minimal because I don't know if spending a few thousand dollars on a website/flyers/paid ads on patch, is worth a fifty person turnout. I'd rather save that money to buy 40 ouncers for me and my Cholos down at Yosemite Park before we play handball.
jayres January 23, 2012 at 07:24 AM
You're right, I agree with almost everything you said
jayres January 23, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Now the exciting conclusion. Where I disagree is what is really being proposed here. You think TBTB is about a safer walkable, bikeable Colorado. I think its an attempt to use public funds to entice private development. This is an attempt to transform the blvd so there is economic incentive to build larger, more dense, mixed use buildings up and down the street. Most Patch readers think Pillar-Henge is an eye soar. I think the proposed project, if completed would have been complete and utter shit. The development on Hartwick, when completed will be shit. The ellenwood complex being built by Pulte Homes, will be, you guessed it, shit. Pulte is known for exactly that, not just in CA, but nationwide. They built homes in a subdivision next to mine back in Michigan, brought the property values down for the entire area. ER was built mostly during the pre-1950's, the height of architectural achievement in Los Angeles. Moorish/Spanish/Tudor/Arts and Crafts style, not the cheap look of the contemporary trash that is sure to come. Nothing that will resemble ER City Hall, ER Art Center, or the quaint brick buildings the Blvd is known for. Every small residential structure along the blvd will eventually will be torn down and replaced with relatively lost cost/low quality dense housing that does not represent the look and feel of what makes ER great. Phase II of the Colorado Terrace is right around the corner, because one giant pile wasn't enough. Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown
bbkong January 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Ah, the trolley. Hells yeah, let's bring it back! At least on Colorado with two tracks and 4 cars that go up and down the hill. With bulbout curbs and bike lanes! And ice cream! And don't forget the parking for all the people who will be drawn to such a friendly little place. Right after we get rid of all these scruffy homeless people. Who do they think they are, cluttering up Eagle Rock with all that ugly reality stuff? Jay, I'm afraid you and I need to sit down over a beer some time. I'll buy the first pitcher. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Joseph Goebbels
Dianne Ennis September 22, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Leave Eagle Rock alone...clean up the trash. Stop letting developers build businesses that can't and won't be occupied because the rents are too expensive. Or the buildings that end up not finished, like the eyesore Boston Transmission at Eagle Vista Drive and Colorado Blvd, the ugly dark green building on the southeast corner, as well as the one the shell of a building one block up from there. Make businesses responsible for the sidewalks and curbs in front of their store/shopes and leave Eagle Rock alone. Outsiders come, decide to move here because it is "such a wonderful community." They get here and then they want to change everything.go back to where you came from and chance that community. Make it better so you want to stay there! Just stop and leave us true Eagle Rockers alone!

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