Pico Great Streets Update Oct 2017

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Category: Community News
Published on Thursday, 02 November 2017 20:47
Written by Gerardo Reyes
Phase 1

OCT17Pico1The Pico Great Street Collaborative hosted an Open House for Destination: Pico on Sunday September 17th at Saturn St. Elementary to showcase the map of improvements that the community has chosen for Pico from Curson to Burnside. The Collaborative submitted the plans to the mayor’s staff in mid-August. The improvements, made possible by a $500,000 grant from the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, were illustrated by two Powerpoint presentations and additional graphics. Members of the Collaborative, volunteers, and consultants made themselves available to explain the nature of the project and to answer the visitors’ questions. Mukul Malhotra, Director of Urban Design at MIG and a consultant on this project, feels strongly that the changes we’ll see on Pico by the end of next year will have a positive impact on the boulevard.  He sounds very convincing because he has been doing this work in many cities throughout the country for the last fifteen years, and has seen what happens when cities and community groups collaborate.

Destination: Pico
is a grant awarded by the Mayor’s Office through the 2016 Great Streets Challenge.  The Challenge is a way for the city to partner with local community groups in order to direct funds to projects that local business-people and residents support. In the City’s Great Streets website one can see projects taking place in locations as varied as Venice Blvd. in Mar Vista, Cesar Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights, and Reseda Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. 

The Open House was the culmination of a six-month community outreach process for Destination: Pico led by the Collaborative.
Working to build a vision for improving Pico, the Collaborative held eight community workshops with close to 400 attendees, visited every  business owner on the corridor twice, and collected almost 700 survey responses. Now that the outreach phase is complete, the city will be working to get the projects shovel ready. They plan to break ground in the summer of 2018.

As a result of the Collaborative’s outreach, a number of the community’s priorities came to the fore: landscaping, safer crossings, public  gathering places, traffic calming, pedestrian lighting, and public art. The map of improvements the Collaborative submitted to the city directly reflects the priorities the community identified.

OCt17Pico2Landscaping was the number one request from both residents and business owners. With fifty new trees planted on Pico in May, the Collaborative got an early start on the greening effort between Fairfax and Cochran. Mayor Garcetti and Council President Wesson responded to the call and led a large group of volunteers in a civic effort that says a lot about our community’s interest in having a thriving and beautiful main street. We continued to add more greenery by including several landscaping features in the Destination: Pico map.

A new crosswalk with flashing lights at Masselin will cut through the median and provide a safer crossing in an area where marked crosswalks are very far apart. Masselin is a bustling commercial area where jaywalking is rampant. 

Public gathering places are a common request in this park poor neighborhood, especially by families with children. The Pico Collaborative announced an additional grant that will provide funding for a temporary pilot project for the small “plaza” on the southeast corner of Pico and Hauser. The wide sidewalk will be the site for a colorful gathering place for families. In addition there’s funding set aside for signage, street furniture, planters, and landscaping for tree wells with small fences. 

Traffic calming is definitely on people’s minds after the recent tragedy at The Fish Spot where an out of control van ran a red light, jumped the curb and injured nine people having lunch at the restaurant located at Pico and Redondo. The LA Dept. of Transportation recently reported that 26% of drivers on Pico are speeding. Measures such as curb extensions, medians, and retimed lights will hopefully discourage people from speeding on Pico.

Lighting is another important item. There’s no getting around the fact that people will stay away from Pico at night unless it’s well lit. The Collaborative’s designers are working with the city staff to choose among the options available for pedestrian lighting.

People are also asking for public art that reflects the varied cultures of this community, and that would make Pico a recognizable destination. Brainworks Gallery (owned by Erin Adams) has already been the site of several gatherings of local artists who worked with art consultant and creative catalyst Alan Nakagawa to produce a Pico Zine with artists’ ideas for the boulevard. Zine It On Pico has been distributed around the city, and those interested can find it @zineitonpico. 

Phase 2

The Collaborative has evolved into a group that rallied around the cause of working for the betterment of the community. Some joined up because of their interest in urban design, others are business owners who want to attract city funds and improve services, artists who use the city as a canvas, or parents who want their children to have safe routes to school and a playground within walking distance. There are still many identified projects that will require additional funding. It may come from additional grants, or from private/public partnerships. The Collaborative invites those interested in participating in Phase 2 to get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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