Community members gathered at on Friday to share their vision for making the North Figueroa Street corridor more bike friendly.
The meeting was held in preparation for developments scheduled to take place along the corridor as part of the city’s , which was approved in March.
“If there were to be painted bike lanes, immediately it would be much easier to have an option of how you want to get through Northeast L.A.,” Flying Pigeon co-owner Josef Bray-Ali said. “We hope to make this bikeway have a maximum positive impact for pedestrian life, neighborhood retail and bike safety.”
The plan calls for 1,680 miles of bikeways, including the introduction of “bicycle friendly” streets, to be implemented throughout the city over the next five years.
Prior to organizing Friday night’s meeting, Bray-Ali spent approximately two years off and on studying old photographs of N. Figueroa Street, in addition to the history of bike traffic on the busy roadway.
“We really want this street to be a place where people can live and work, not just drive through as fast as they can,” he said.
Bray-Ali stood in front of the moderate sized group of attendees writing down a list of common goals on a giant easel pad of paper. Recommendations included creating a safer street, bringing the neighborhood together, improved bus service and stimulating the local economy.
Those on hand also brainstormed on a name for the group to work under. "Ride On Fig," "My Figueroa North" and "Sharing Figueroa" were some of the suggested names. The group will participate in an email survey to decide on the final moniker.
Bicyclist Kelly Thompson has lived in the community for 12 years and said the meeting truly sparked her interest in the project.
“Josef gave a great presentation on what we can do and how we can start to become a more environmentally friendly community,” Thompson said. “We had really great common goals ... and people that can make them happen.”
Bray-Ali said the people who showed up at the first meeting are an easy sell. The challenging part, he said, will be to find a way to locate community members who aren’t familiar with the pedestrian and cycling issues and to show them how it will benefit them and the neighborhood.
The next meeting will take place in a couple of weeks and will possibly be held at . By then, the group hopes to have selected a name and also have a logo designed. Aside from that, Bray-Ali would like to outreach to larger and diverse groups in the community.
member Jerry Schneider said, “We want to bring pedestrians and people back on this street, but we have to develop more of our vision before we can take it out and show it to other people.”