WHAT IS DESTINATION: PICO AND WHY IS IT DOING ALL THOSE NICE THINGS ON PICO?

SEPT21Pico4webDestination: Pico is a community nonprofit working to make Pico Boulevard more walkable, vibrant, and welcoming between Fairfax and Cochran Boulevards. We got started in 2015  in response to Mayor Garcetti granting a Great Street to each council district. At that time Councilman Herb Wesson’s office selected this 14-block portion of Pico between Cochran to Fairfax as CD10’s Great Street. We are your neighbors and reside close to Pico. We have a variety of experiences and skills which helps in our collaboration. Currently we have an artist, a retired teacher, a recording engineer, a business owner, an architect, a producer, and a new parent on our board.

SEPT21Pico3web2In the beginning of this process, we gathered a group of local residents and business owners. The concerns we heard were wide-ranging, so we started developing a list of priorities. In 2016, we won a $500,000 grant from the Mayor’s Office to make some community-led investments on Pico. Destination: Pico conducted extensive community engagement to determine how to make this section of Pico Boulevard more walkable, vibrant, and welcoming. Through eight workshops, multiple bilingual surveys, and private meetings with every business owner on the corridor, we had over 1,500 conversations with people in the community about what they wanted to see on Pico. In the process, we identified the community’s six highest priorities: landscaping, safer crossings, gathering spaces, traffic calming, pedestrian lighting, and public art.

Because our community outreach was so successful, the city responded by making even bigger investments than they had promised. While the original grant was $500,000, so far we’ve brought over $3 million in upgrades to Pico.

Here are some of the new things you'll see when you visit Pico.

- A new crosswalk at Masselin Avenue with landscaped curb extensions and a pedestrian signal

- A full traffic light at Burnside Avenue, in close proximity to two elementary schools

- Pedestrian headstarts at three traffic lights, to prioritize people crossing the street

- Two speed feedback signs to show cars how fast they are really going

- The Coloring Book plaza at Pico and Hauser, which provides a family play space where kids can color in outlines of flowers on the sidewalk. It also serves as a meeting place for other community functions.

We have:

- Painted curb extensions at the four intersections to protect pedestrians crossing Pico

- Five blocks of completely rebuilt sidewalks and curb ramps

- New landscaped parkways for drought-tolerant plants with drip irrigation, to be installed later this year

- Over 50 new trees, mostly African Fern Pines and Pink Trumpets

- Four modern concrete seating arrangements installed in front of businesses. They are arranged in pods of three with two different designs that will allow people to stop for a sit-down chat.

SEPT21Pico1webWith the help of LA Commons and DCA, we recruited 10 local artists to paint 10 signal boxes on Pico with a variety of subjects.

We also had a fruitful collaboration with Outfront/JC Decaux to exhibit local artists' work, related to the neighborhood, inside three bus shelters. You can still see one at the Cochran bus shelter.

We also worked with LADOT to create Slow Streets on Packard and Saturn, directly north and south of Pico Blvd. This very popular citywide program prioritizes space for people to walk, bike, and exercise. It has created more opportunities for neighbors to meet neighbors, for families to get outside in our park-poor neighborhood, and for cyclists to get to their destinations safely.

SEPT21Pico2webThe painted curb extensions just got a fresh coat of paint and replacement bollards. Maintenance is crucial to any project in the public domain. That’s why we like to encourage everyone to use the LA311 service to pick up bulky items and to remove graffiti as needed. We are grateful to the volunteers who came out to help us pull weeds in the newly repaved parkways on two recent Saturday mornings.

As the city changes, so do the people in charge. We have been delighted that our new Councilman, Mark Ridley-Thomas, has been both inquisitive and supportive of this ongoing project. The Mayor’s Office has continued planning and coordinating with us. Their collaboration and dedication through this challenging year have been invaluable. In the near future, we are planning further improvements to the parkways, lighting, tree plantings, and more.

Our vision for Pico is based on what our residents and business owners have told us to prioritize:

WALKABLE: We believe in increasing pedestrian activity by making Pico accessible and safe for everyone on the sidewalks and the crosswalks. We hope to expand access to the Boulevard by identifying nearby infrastructure projects that make it easier to walk or bike to Pico.

VIBRANT: We hope to foster economic vitality. We want to support existing community-serving businesses and attract new ones. Our goal is to enhance the experience of the Boulevard through beautification, art and landscaping, and to ensure excellent maintenance of public assets.

WELCOMING: Where possible, we intend to create welcoming public gathering spaces that invite visitors and neighbors to share the creative and collaborative spirit of our community. We want to ensure a vision for Pico that reflects the diverse voices of our community.

During the pandemic Destination: Pico worked to support our hardworking local businesses and to make it easier for people to get to Pico. We served as a business liaison to the city, facilitating al fresco outdoor dining permits and other matters.

It’s time to get reacquainted! We invite you to see the Great Street progress, take a stroll on the newly paved sidewalks, meet your neighbors, and patronize the nearby shops and restaurants. On your next visit to Pico you will discover at least a dozen new shops ready to welcome you. Join those who are coming here from far and wide; they come here for good reasons. Shopping local will help us create and maintain the character of the main street that serves our needs.

We always welcome new volunteers to help make things happen. Please follow us on FB: facebook.com/destinationpico, Instagram: @destinationpico, PICO NC website: piconc.com/destination-pico, and email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





 
 
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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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