Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Metro Publicizes Draft Plan for First/Last Mile Improvements Near New Purple (D) Line Subway Stops


For the last year, Metro has been studying the areas within a roughly half-mile radius of the three new Purple (D) Line subway stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, and Wilshire/La Cienega, to figure out what kinds of improvements to streets and sidewalks in those areas would make the paths to the new stations safer and more comfortable for pedestrians and bikers.  And last week, Metro representatives discussed their new draft plan for these “first/last mile” improvements at a community Zoom meeting.

Opening the meeting, Metro planner Renee Ho outlined the three areas studied in the First/Last Mile project.



And she explained that following this and one more community presentation in late August, the draft plan – which includes an Executive Summary, “core documents” showing more specific pathway maps and a list of specific projects, as well as a “rough order of magnitude” cost estimate – will be presented to and voted on by Metro’s board of directors at its September meeting.


Creating the Plan


Bill Delo, from Metro’s consultant IBI Group, explained that Metro collected data for the plan using several techniques.  First, stakeholder interviews and roundtable discussions produced lists of suggested improvements, along with a map showing how frequently stakeholders said they would travel to/from the stations along specific routes.



Then, Delo said, community walks were used to create a “heat map” showing how frequently specific concerns were mentioned at specific locations in the target areas.



At that point, Delo said, the planners consulted two different “toolkits”:  one with items that could be used for pedestrian improvements, such as bus stop improvements, landscaping and shade, new or improved crosswalks, pedestrian lighting, sidewalk and curb extensions, street furniture, traffic calming measures, and wayfinding signs…



…and one with items that can improve bike pathways, including sharrows (painted arrows on streets that share both bike and car traffic), bicycle boulevards (slower streets that are specifically enhanced for bike travel), designated bike lanes, protected bike lanes, shared use paths away from the street, bike-friendly intersections (with designated areas for bikers to wait for traffic light changes), and mobility hubs with secure bike parking, repair facilities, and more.



Project Maps


Delo explained that the half-mile radius areas around each station represent what is usually a 15-minute walk to or from the station.  He said Metro specifically studied the “pathway networks” in those areas – the routes people will most commonly use to get to and from the subway stations – and then plotted the suggested improvements along each of the most-used pathways.  The result is a set of six maps that form the heart of the improvement plan – one each for pedestrian and bike improvements, near each of the three new station locations.

For example, in the La Brea station area, Delo said pedestrians will most likely use major arterial streets Wilshire Blvd. and La Brea Ave. …but also several “pathway collector” streets such as 6th St., 8th St., Cochran Ave. and Mansfield Ave.  So each of those paths were mapped with the kinds of single (“spot”) or larger area (“corridor”) improvements – such as bus stop improvements, new crosswalks and more that could be implemented along each route.




The same was done for bicycle paths heading to/from the La Brea Station, which were mapped with potential locations for sharrows, bicycle boulevards, bike lanes, and protected bike lanes.



And the process was repeated for the Wilshire/Fairfax station area, for both pedestrian and bike pathways…




…and for the Wilshire/La Cienega station-area pedestrian and bike pathways:




Interactive Mapping Tool


Finally in last week’s formal presentation, for those who would like to study the data even further, Chad So, from Metro’s design consultant Here LA, introduced the interactive mapping tool that was created to aggregate the data collected in the research phase of the project, plot the locations for specific improvements suggested by stakeholders, and create the draft project maps shown above.

The mapping tool is fully public and available to anyone who would like to explore the various layers of data, zoom in to specific locations in any of the three study areas, and see how it all fits together.



Next Steps


To learn more about the First/Last Mile draft proposal, you can visit the project website, read the draft plan and/or sign up for the second online community presentation on August 24 at 2 p.m.

The public is also welcome to attend the two Metro meetings where the project will be discussed and voted on in September:



And finally, for even more information, or to submit a comment on the plan or any of its specific elements, you can attend any of the upcoming meetings, contact senior project director Jacob Lieb at [email protected], or contact [email protected].


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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