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Proposed “Uplift Melrose” Streetscape Project Enjoys Widespread Community Support

11:34 AM PDT on August 27, 2020

The city of Los Angeles has been working closely with neighborhood leaders to craft a proposed $40-50 million complete streets project that would transform 1.3-miles of Melrose Avenue from Highland Avenue to Fairfax Avenue.

For readers interested in learning more about the ambitious Uplift Melrose, zoom into a virtual community tonight at 6:30 p.m. Interested stakeholders who can't make the meeting can support the project by filling out a short online survey.

Uplift Melrose rendering
Uplift Melrose rendering - via Streets L.A.

The project would includes extensive improvements prioritizing bicycling and walking. Features include landscaping, street furniture, wider sidewalks, a road diet lane reduction, protected bike lanes, scramble crossings, pedestrian lighting, and more. Project details are available at this Streets L.A. project webpage. The city of Los Angeles plans to seek project funding via the state Active Transportation Program (ATP.)

Uplift Melrose schematic - via BSS fact sheet
Uplift Melrose schematic - via Streets L.A. fact sheet

Uplift Melrose grew out of a planning process initiated by the Melrose Business Improvement District. In a statement to Streetsblog L.A., Melrose BID boardmember and owner of Sportie LA Isack Fadlon wrote that "Melrose has long been recognized for its flair of independent retailers, one that attracts locals and tourists alike. Yet without improvements that would make Melrose a safer street for pedestrians and bicyclists, the street, and the retailers on it, will be challenged moving forward." Fadlon further expressed support for Uplift Melrose "because the plan calls for a complete revitalization, including widening sidewalks, protected bike lanes, pedestrian lighting, shade, and, most importantly, slowing down vehicular traffic... by implementing these changes, Melrose will thrive even more as a community of merchants and residents - a true neighborhood that is safe for all."

The project is also supported by the local neighborhood councils: the Mid-City West Community Council and the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.

Melrose BID Executive Director Donald Duckworth noted that Uplift Melrose "needs Council Office support in order to be submitted for funding by the State Active Transportation Program [due September 15] for... construction in time for the 2028 Olympics." The project area is represented by City Councilmember Paul Koretz, who voted to approve it (as part of the city's overall ATP project list) at last week's Transportation Committee, though he characterized his approval as "a placeholder" that he reserved the right to reverse in the next couple weeks. Koretz noted that he had "some concerns" over one fewer lane, loss of parking, and loss of turn lanes.

Duckworth counters that though the project "will result in reduced on-street parking, when the Melrose BID Universal Valet Parking Program is fully operational there will be a net increase of sixty parking spaces" or possibly more "if shared parking can be implemented at Fairfax High School."

Tune in tonight at 6:30 p.m. for more information on Uplift Melrose.

Uplift Melrose rendering - via Streets L.A.
Uplift Melrose rendering - via Streets L.A.

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