After more than two years of work, planning, outreach, and advocacy, Mid City West Community Council will bring to the neighborhood over $2.5 million in grant funding for bicycle, pedestrian and traffic improvements, reported Mid City West in their August newsletter. Below is the story.
In 2013, Mid City West Community Council began working on a plan to make Rosewood Avenue, and Formosa Avenue/Cochran Avenue into low stress bicycle and pedestrian corridors. In 2015, with the support of Councilman Paul Koretz City Council submitted the plan for granting funding from Metro LA.
“It’s really inspiring. I am proud of our neighborhood council for working hard for the community,” said Scott Epstein, the chair of the Mid City West Community Council. “Neighborhood Councils often act as gatekeepers, saying yes or no to proposed projects in their community. But this project was something we saw a need for, we developed a plan and now we’ll most likely get funding.”
Epstein began working on this project in 2013 when he was the chair of the MCWCC transportation committee. “At that time, it wasn’t clear how the project would be funded,” Recalls Epstein. “We submitted it to city planning and LADOT and they liked it. But there was nowhere to go after that.” Then one opportunity opened up: The Los Angeles County Metro Authority announced a call for projects. After a thorough review of applications Metro staff have revealed the list of projects they’re recommending for funding.
Metro received a total 178 proposals totaling $470 million. Metro approved 84 of the projects for a total of $193 million. Projects categories include regional resurfacing, transit demand management, goods movement improvements, signal synchronizing, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian infrastructure, and transit capital. The Mid City West proposal qualified in the Bicycle category (although the plan will also make the corridors safer for pedestrian and vehicle traffic). There were 39 projects submitted in the bicycle category, and Metro only approved 15 of the projects. Approved projects were ranked and will receive funding in that order. Mid City West’s project was ranked seventh and thus will most likely receive the funding.
Part of Metro’s evaluation process was to determine the total cost of the project and how much money Metro was willing to recommend for the project. For the MCW proposal, Metro determined the total cost to be $2.5 million and they were willing to recommend $2.1 million in funding from Metro. The other $400,000 will be funded by the City of Los Angeles.
In addition to Mid City West’s own Bicycle Friendly Streets project, Metro awarded funding for pedestrian improvements on Melrose Avenue. Mid City West supported the project put forth by the Melrose BID for pedestrian improvements along the world-famous shopping corridor. The project would include better lighting, sidewalk furniture, wayfinding signage and connections to mass transit. The Melrose BID’s project was one of 13 projects recommend for funding of 33 project submissions. The project ranked second for funding and will bring $5.6 million in improvements to Melrose Avenue.
“This is great news for Mid City West” declares Epstein. “We as community groups advocated for our community and received the funding we need to make our neighborhood a more vibrant and sustainable place. It’s a big deal for Mid City West.”