About 60 people gathered at the , Tuesday for the third “Take Back the Boulevard” meeting aimed at making the Eagle Rock stretch of Colorado Boulevard more of a main street and less of a highway.
In partnership with the office of TBTB has been working diligently since September 2011 to revitalize Colorado Boulevard, making it a more user-friendly area for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers alike.
In the past two meetings, TBTB has listened to residents and drawn out a plan based on their requests. Issues discussed ranged from adding more parallel parking and bike lanes to widening the curbs and introducing a crosswalk near Trader Joe’s.
President and TBTB Chair Bob Gotham kicked off the meeting by thanking all the individuals who have been dedicated to the project, especially the residents who came out in support and to voice their ideas and opinions.
“I want to thank the Eagle Rock residents who moved away their dinner tables and are here tonight to advocate for our community,” Gotham said. “I would like to applaud the people who are on this team and applaud each other.”
Huizar spoke next about what the initiative means to the community. “We’ve got to make our streets more pedestrian friendly—it builds communities, it’s healthier if people are walking, it supports our local business,” he said. “This effort is one that I whole-heartedly support, and I am anxious to see some of the results.”
TBTB Steering Committee Member Jeff Jacobberger presented a Power Point presentation outlining the goals of the community and the progress so far. The goals include:
- Provide safety on the boulevard for all ages and various modes of transportation (pedestrians, bikes, buses, automobiles, etc.)
- Stimulate economic growth through greater pedestrian activity and reduced automobile speeds.
- Increase community health through reducing automobile emission levels and encourage alternative forms of transportation.
- Utilize sustainable approaches to storm water management and landscaping.
- Strengthen and nurture the relationships between businesses and residents along Colorado Boulevard.
- Recognize the importance of existing historic resources along the boulevard as valuable contributors to the community’s character.
“Our goal is an action plan that will get results,” Jacobberger told the audience. “We are in a funding-limited environment so we really want to focus on what things cost and what funding sources are available.” For example, Jacobberger pointed out that that using paint for certain projects such as crosswalks is less expensive than moving curbs.
Here are some of the main topics discussed during the meeting:
• Reduce from three to two the number of traffic lanes along the stretch of Colorado from Townsend to Eagle Rock Plaza.
• Introduce bumpered bike lanes and more parallel parking. Bike lanes can’t be implemented, however, until an Environmental Impact Report is complete, the audience was told. Some seemed divided over the idea because bike lanes may not necessarily increase cyclists on Colorado; others in the audience agreed that the measure would increase cyclists, especially among youth.
• Adding more street lights, benches, trees and better signage in certain areas, based on examples of improvements that have worked in other cities, including San Francisco and Old Town Pasadena.
The TBTB steering committee is working with the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce on parking issues, and a meeting with the Chamber is scheduled on June 26.
Jacobberger noted that some residents are worried about how traffic will affect the community if some of the proposed TBTB changes, such as reduced traffic lanes, are implemented.
Other issues of concern revolved around the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians; initiatives by store owners to keep sidewalks clean; and whether Eagle Rock can expect increased police presence if it becomes more of a walking community.
While TBTB has taken all community ideas into consideration, implementation depends on cost and feasibility, Jacobberger said, adding that the steering committee is still negotiating with possible funding sources for some of the proposed improvements.
A final proposal to the community will be presented during a public meeting within a few months. Meanwhile, visit the Take Back the Boulevard website for updates.