Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on all aspects of the Winnetka Avenue Street Improvement project throughout the outreach process. We appreciate the comments from community members and other stakeholders on this important effort.
Approximately 33 people attended the open house and public hearing held on January 29th, 2019, where City staff provided community members an opportunity to review the project’s conceptual design as well as the results of the traffic impact analysis. (For reference, the materials from this meeting can be found here). Attendees were encouraged to provide their thoughts on the project through written comments and/or oral testimony to a hearing officer. The 30-day comment period for this phase of the project closed on February 3rd.
We received a total of 63 comments (50 written and 13 oral) from a total of 50 commenters. More than one third of the commenters (35%) fully supported the project, noting that the project would be a much-needed safety improvement for those who already bicycle on Winnetka Ave, Supporters also saw potential for the project to calm the often fast-moving traffic on the street, and to provide important access to the existing high-quality bike facility along the Metro Orange Line. About a quarter of the commenters (26%) were generally opposed to the project. The remaining (39%) had concerns about the project, with the primary issues being the potential for overnight/RV parking and general requests that the project not be implemented south of Victory Blvd.
Below is a discussion of some of the recurring themes among the comments received.
The project proposes to remove existing peak-hour restrictions where they exist between Vanowen St. and Calvert St., restoring these lanes to full-time parking for residents and Pierce College. Several people supported the project because they want to see full-time parking restored in front of homes along Winnetka Ave.
However, many specifically requested that the City impose overnight parking restrictions on Winnetka Ave. and surrounding streets, noting their experience with RVs parking for extended periods of time, and worries about safety of students and residents walking at night in the area. LA Municipal Code (LAMC 85.02) currently prohibits overnight vehicle dwelling (9 PM to 6 AM) in residential areas and all day and night within one block of schools (more info). The project does not propose any changes to this rule, and does not preclude the ability of the City to install signage to help enforce LAMC 85.02, similar to signs currently placed along the Victory Blvd perimeter of Pierce College, which prohibit overnight parking.
Half of the commenters shared their thoughts on traffic congestion, with many raising concerns about conditions south of Victory Blvd. and around the Hwy 101 ramps, future growth in the nearby Warner Center, and concern about “cut through” traffic through the residential neighborhoods of Carlton Terrace and College Acres adjacent to Winnetka Ave.
The proposed project would remove peak-hour parking restrictions where they currently exist, which is between Vanowen St and Victory Blvd (southbound in AM peak hours and northbound in PM peak hours) and between Victory Blvd. and Calvert St. (southbound in AM peak hours only). This would eliminate the ability to use these parking lanes as travel lanes during the peak hours. No other travel lanes are proposed to be removed. LADOT prepared a traffic impact analysis report (link), which looks at impacts across all four signalized intersections in the project area and discusses the topics of related development and the potential for traffic diversion. Congestion further south was not analyzed as it is outside of the project study area.
Many of comments we received specifically requested that the project scope be limited to the segment between Vanowen St. and Victory Blvd., and not extend further south to Oxnard St. due to concerns about traffic impacts. The project was originally planned to end at Victory Blvd., but early feedback received led to adding an additional segment to link the project to provide bicyclists access into the Pierce College campus Brahma entrance and link to the existing east/west bike lanes on Oxnard St., which lead straight into the heart of Warner Center. Extending the project would have limited impacts to the roadway configuration between Victory Blvd. and Calvert St., and no impacts to the roadway configuration between Calvert St. and Oxnard St (no lanes removed.)
Some people noted that bicycle ridership is low or non-existent on the Oxnard St. bike lanes, especially due to the steep grade. However, others did comment that they use Oxnard St. and see the benefit of making this linkage and completing more of the bike network in this part of the Valley.
Among those that commented on the topic of bicyclist safety, they either noted how unsafe the current street is for bicycling, or how the proposed design for standard bike lanes could be made safer. Numerous suggestions were made regarding the design, in an effort to avoid potential “dooring” and other conflicts between bikes and cars.
Unfortunately, north of Victory Blvd. there is no room within the current roadway width to incorporate buffered or protected bike lanes. The proposed design for this segment reflects the same layout and dimensions that are currently found north of Vanowen St. South of Victory Blvd., where there is a bit more width, there may be a possibility of incorporating “protected” bike lanes (buffered area with vertical delineators) that can make for a safer more comfortable ride. The design team is exploring this potential.
In addition to bicycling, many expressed concern about pedestrian safety in the area, with a few people explicitly expressing support for the project’s proposed pedestrian crossing on Winnetka near the LA River. The team is continuing to study this potential crossing.
Thank you once again to everyone who came to the January open house and shared their thoughts with us! As we move forward in the design process, we will be considering the comments and suggestions we heard. Keep checking the blog for updates, or sign up for project notifications by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.