What a GREAT STREET!!

Aug16Pico
The Pico Blvd-Great Street Committee is a group of residents and business people in Council District 10 committed to implementing the Mayor's Great  Streets Initiative.
  We started meeting in January of this year to learn how the Mayor’s choice of Pico as one of the city's Great Streets could benefit our neighborhood. First, we took a detailed look at the fourteen blocks (between  Fairfax and Cochran) selected by our councilman, Herb Wesson, and found a vibrant community of shops that feed us (and our dogs), keep us fit, fix our cars, clean our clothes, style our hair and so much more. We walked these blocks numerous times and talked with people who work along the boulevard, asking them how they would improve Pico. We heard a common refrain involving sidewalks, trees, lighting conditions, trash, pedestrian and cyclist safety. Then we began meeting with an array of city departments and nonprofits to learn about the nuts and bolts of designing a better boulevard. We also visited Great Street events in other parts of the city, gaining insights and inspiration from what they had created with the first round of Challenge Grants awarded by the Great Streets Initiative last year. 
Along the way, Liz Carlin, a CD-10 deputy, introduced us to the people working in the different city services departments, like Naomi Iwasaki, program director of the Great Streets Initiative. She joined us at Councilman Wesson’s office to discuss ways to improve the safety of the pedestrian school crossing at Burnside Ave. We met an engineer from the Bureau of Street Services and discussed different possible solutions, including a  “curb extension” and moving a bus shelter that blocks views.There are an additional four signaled crossings that would benefit from big white stripes called continental markings .

Beautification and urban design have been regular themes for discussion at our meetings. We have begun studying options for unique lighting, small parklets, open plazas, public bike corrals, more tree planting and care, distinctive business signage and wayfinding signs that help people navigate from our Great Street to other places of interest. 

We feel that arts and cultural opportunities are always a part of any Great Street and two of our committee members have already gotten the ball rolling. Gerardo Reyes and Yvette McNally each received grants from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs designed to generate excitement around the notion of Pico as a Great Street. Both will enhance the “3rd Thursdays on Pico” events that have been happening for over a year now. Gerardo Reyes will present “Pico Hair”, a series of silkscreen prints based on the many different hairstyles being created in the numerous salons and barbershops on the boulevard. The project will culminate with public printing on the 5500 block of Pico Blvd. on August 18th, with free posters and silkscreenedJUNE16signin images decorating the street. Yvette McNally’s “Make it on Pico” consists of two evenings of free art workshops for children and parents. Look for the white tents on Pico on July 21 and August 18 where art educators will be leading the workshops. An exhibit of the participants’ artwork is set for late August.

On May 21, the Pico Great Streets Committee sponsored a Town Hall Meeting at the Holy Spirit Church to begin a wider dialogue with the community. Approximately 40 people gathered to learn more about the Mayor's Great Streets Initiative and what it could mean to people who live and work in Council District 10. This summer we will apply for the second round of Great Streets Challenge Grants and we foresee fundraising campaigns for all kinds of specific projects in the near future. 

We have only been working for a short time, but we have already succeeding in getting many people excited about reimagining our great street. It feels like our goals have struck a chord with many kinds of people who want to make Pico more attractive and user-friendly for all Angelinos. Please join us! Find out more on our Facebook page Pico Blvd-Great Street.

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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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