Smoky Hollow Specific Plan 2018 (web version)
3.2 Mobility and Streetscape Improvements
The public realm improvement strategies establish street standards and guidelines to ensure long-term provision of sidewalks, landscape amenities, and active transportation infrastructure that encourages walking and biking, that maximizes curb-side parking resources throughout Smoky Hollow. Addressing the lack of adequate sidewalks and basic streetscape facilities is a key Specific Plan objective. Figure 3-1 (Mobility and Streetscape Improvements) outlines planned roadway improvements. This mobility plan represents a schematic roadway strategy. Improvements will require additional analysis based on existing conditions prior to implementation.
Figure 3-1: Mobility and Streetscape Improvements
3.2.1 El Segundo Boulevard
El Segundo Boulevard is classified as a “minor arterial,” running east/west along the south edge of the Specific Plan area, bordering the Chevron Oil Refinery. El Segundo Boulevard links the Smoky Hollow area to downtown El Segundo to the west and the office parks east of Sepulveda Boulevard, and beyond to the Metro Green Line El Segundo stations and I-405 freeway.
Transformative strategies for El Segundo Boulevard aim to increase parking and improve the pedestrian environment. Understanding that change is incremental, the Specific Plan identifies easy-to-implement improvements for the near term as well as longer-term solutions. In the short term, the 60-foot right-of-way will be restriped to accommodate an eight-foot parking lane on the north side of the roadway. This change does not require any widening and maintains the existing four-lane configuration solely by reducing lane widths. This adjustment would yield approximately 100 additional on-street parking spaces. In addition, high visibility-crosswalks will be added along El Segundo Boulevard, marked with traditional continental stripes (sometimes referred to as zebra striping). Contrasting and high-visibility crosswalks indicate pedestrian pathways and have been shown to improve safety behavior
of motorists. Complete Streets provide options for modes of travel.
Complete Streets provide options for modes of travel.
Figure 3-2: El Segundo Boulevard Proposed Improvements
In the longer term, El Segundo Boulevard is envisioned to be reconfigured to remove the four-foot landscape strip on the south side of the roadway; the sidewalk on the north side would be widened to eight feet. A wider sidewalk will improve sidewalk vitality by facilitating a more enjoyable environment for pedestrians through wider walking spaces, an increased buffer between traffic and pedestrians, and improved options for landscaping and amenities. This long-term reconfiguration will also provide new opportunities to build curb extensions, where the sidewalk and curb are extended into the parking lane. Curb extensions serve to calm traffic by visually and physically narrowing the roadway. Curb extensions also provide placemaking opportunities by creating more space for landscaping, benches, and even outdoor dining, providing a place to experience and build the Smoky Hollow identity. Tree planters can also be installed among parallel parking spaces to provide additional shade and placemaking opportunities. Other traffic calming measures will also be considered. See Figure 3-2: El Segundo Boulevard–Proposed Improvements.
Tree Planter: Parallel Parking Space
3.2.2 Grand Avenue
Grand Avenue is classified as a “minor arterial”, running parallel to El Segundo Boulevard and forming the northern boundary of a portion of the Specific Plan area. Grand Avenue is configured with two 12-foot travel lanes and two 12-foot combination travel/parking lanes, where parking is allowed during off-peak hours.
Figure 3-3: Regional Transit and Bicycle Routes
Through the Specific Plan, Grand Avenue is envisioned to facilitate a more cyclist-friendly environment. Creating enhanced bike access on Grand Avenue will facilitate connections between Smoky Hollow and the El Segundo and Mariposa Metro Green Line Stations located approximately 0.5 and 1.2 miles, respectively, east of the Specific Plan’s eastern boundary. Bike facilities along Grand Avenue will also facilitate access to the 22-mile Marvin Braude Bike Trail, also known as The Strand, located at the western terminus of Grand Avenue, one mile west of the Specific Plan’s western boundary. See Figure 3-3: Regional Transit and Bicycle Facilities.
Transformation strategies include a roadway reconfiguration to modify lane widths on Grand Avenue to provide additional space for bicycles to share the road and narrowing internal travel lanes to encourage drivers to remain within the speed limit. There is a strong correlation between lane width and speed (narrower lanes encourage lower vehicle speeds), although it varies based on factors such as time of day, amount of traffic, and even the character of adjacent land uses. Interior lane widths on Grand Avenue should not exceed 11 feet to avoid unintended speeding. As the interior lane widths are narrowed, the peak travel/off-peak parking lane width is increased to a 13-foot shared lane, allowing additional space for bicycles in that lane. See Figure 3-4: Grand Avenue–Proposed Improvements.
Figure 3-4: Grand Avenue-Proposed Improvements
The shared lanes will have identifying markings called “sharrows” to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles. Among other benefits, sharrows reinforce the legitimacy of bicycle traffic on the street and recommend proper bicyclist positioning to avoid open doors of parked cars.
3.2.3 Franklin Avenue
Franklin Avenue, a two-lane street parallel to Grand Avenue and El Segundo Boulevard, functions as the district’s spine. Franklin Avenue runs the length of the plan area and provides easy access to the north/south streets and alleyways. For approximately half of the district (between Center and Illinois Streets), Franklin Avenue is a 50-foot right-of-way, configured with two travel lanes and two parking lanes. Between Main Street and Center Street, Franklin Avenue is a 40-foot right-of-way, with two travel lanes and one parking lane.
The transformative strategy for Franklin Avenue encourages land uses, activities, and pedestrian-oriented design standards that facilitate a shared sense of space. In the near term, this can be accomplished affordably by restriping the existing roadway and painting creative crosswalks and paintings within the roadway. In addition, parklets on Franklin Avenue will allow for outdoor conference rooms and casual meeting places. Parklets are described in more detail in Section 3.4 (Pedestrian and Open Space Enhancements).
Creative crosswalks incorporate art within standard crosswalk markings. Special crosswalk improvements can showcase local history and character, serve as an identifying feature of the district, and further the Specific Plan’s aim to support a vibrant pedestrian environment. Additional street paintings, such as painted intersection emblems, also enhance the district’s public realm. See Figure 3-5: Franklin Avenue Near-Term Proposed Improvements.
Figure 3-5: Franklin Avenue Near Term - Proposed Improvements
In the long term, Franklin Avenue is envisioned as a creative space that merges the boundary between sidewalk and street to provide a common public space shared by pedestrians, cyclists and low-speed vehicles. Such streets, called “woonerfs” (pronounced /voōonərf/), or living streets, are pedestrian-oriented travel ways. The long-term concept for Franklin Avenue includes two multi-modal lanes shared by automobiles and cyclists, parking lanes that integrate stormwater planters and street trees, and two six-foot curbless sidewalks. Transforming Franklin Avenue into a pedestrian and bike-friendly woonerf will facilitate connections between Smoky Hollow and Main Street to the west and destinations east of Sepulveda Boulevard. In addition, Franklin Avenue will provide an enjoyable pathway toward the El Segundo and Mariposa Metro Green Line Stations located less than one mile east of the Specific Plan’s eastern boundary and to the Marvin Braude Bike Trail located one mile west.
A reconfigured Franklin Avenue will be designed to allow drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians to share the same space, making the street welcoming and appealing. Once reconfigured, Franklin Avenue will function as a social space and will not be limited to just vehicular mobility. Franklin Avenue enhancements will include the addition of tree planters among the parking rows, enhanced street paving, and improved crosswalks and pedestrian lighting. The woonerf concept is a long-term goal that will likely be achieved through incremental changes, such as the gradual replacement of key parking spaces with trees or other sidewalk amenities such as street furniture or bicycle racks. Enhanced paving and full build out of the woonerf concept may occur on a block-by-block basis; the priority location for the woonerf is the western edge of Franklin Avenue, near Main Street (see Figure 3-6: Franklin Avenue Long Term/Incremental Proposed Improvements-Woonerf).
Figure 3-6: Franklin Avenue Long Term/Incremental-Proposed Improvements-Woonerf/Living Street
3.2.4 North/South Streets
Thirteen side streets run perpendicular to the three east/west streets in the Specific Plan area. The majority of businesses have their primary entrances on one of these north/south streets. Most of the north/south streets are 50-foot rights-of-way, developed with one travel lane and one parking lane in each direction and five-foot sidewalks on both sides of the street. Three streets (Standard Street, Eucalyptus Drive, and Center Street) have 60-foot rights-of-way thus the sidewalks on these streets are primarily 10 feet wide. The key transformative strategy for north/south streets in Smoky Hollow is a reconfiguration of the majority of these streets to one-way directions to increase the supply of on-street parking. Figure 3-1: Mobility and Streetscape Improvements shows a conceptual map of one-way north/south streets in Smoky Hollow. This orientation is optimized based on the potential to increase on-street parking spaces due to street and driveway configurations. As designed, no more than two streets in a row would be oriented in the same direction. Streets will be reconfigured to one 20-foot one-way. Improvements will require additional analysis based on existing conditions prior to implementation to best optimize on-street parking spaces. See Figure 3-7: North/South Streets–Proposed Improvements.
Figure 3-7: North/South Streets - Proposed Improvements
In addition to the expected increase of an estimated 85 parking spaces, designating one-way streets is expected to efficiently move north-south automobile traffic and limit curbside activity conflicts such as service vehicle loading and unloading, which can be less disruptive on a one-way street given proposed lane widths. However, loading is encouraged to occur in alleys wherever feasible.
Towards the west of the Smoky Hollow district, narrow alleys running north/south provide access to rear-of-lot parking and servicing of businesses. Alleys were historically designed into cities for trash access, deliveries, electrical, plumbing and mechanical services, emergency vehicles, and parking. As a secondary circulation pattern, many pedestrians, cyclists, and even autos use alleys for shortcuts or back access. Alleys not only provide important space for services but also an opportunity to recapture underutilized public space for outdoor activity. Additional temporary uses for alleys such as event space, retail, cafes or art venues can enhance the public/pedestrian environments in Smoky Hollow. While most alleys in Smoky Hollow will continue to serve a primary function of access to properties for parking, trash, and loading as needed, flexibility in development standards facilitates the use of loadings spaces located off of alleys for alternative temporary uses such as picnic areas, removable landscape amenities, public recreation, or art. See Figure 3-8: Alleys–Proposed Improvements.
Figure 3-8: Alleys-Proposed Improvements
3.2.6 Bicycle Facilities
Smoky Hollow is an ideal location to provide enhanced opportunities for bicycling. Bike facilities will be expanded along roadways.
- Along Grand Avenue, as outlined in Section 3.2.2 (Grand Avenue) above, the street reconfiguration will create two 13-foot shared lanes for cyclists and automobiles during peak travel times. In off-peak travel times, automobile parking will be permitted in this lane, which will be wide enough to accommodate both parked cars and bicyclists. Bicycle facilities on Grand Avenue will be marked with additional signage and sharrows.
- Re-imagined Franklin Avenue (Section 3.2.3 above) will be designed as a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly street that allows drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians to share the same space, making the street much more welcoming and appealing. Once reconfigured, Franklin Avenue will function as a social space and will facilitate all modes of travel within the enhanced streetscape.
- The planned reconfiguration of north/south roadways provides new opportunities for bicycle parking within street areas at the end of rows, striped for no vehicle parking. Creative bike racks that function not only as attractive and functional street furniture but also as public art will enhance streetscapes, encourage the use of bicycles in Smoky Hollow, and contribute to the area’s eclectic character.
The Specific Plan area is served by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), City of El Segundo, City of Redondo Beach, and Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) for bus transit. Public transportation in Smoky Hollow area consists of fixed route bus service and dial-a-ride service, most of which is located at the plan area’s periphery along Grand Avenue to the north, Main Street to the west, and Sepulveda Boulevard to the east. The City of El Segundo provides lunchtime shuttle services between corporate offices east of Sepulveda Boulevard and the downtown Main Street area, just west of the Specific Plan area.
The Metro Green Line, a 20-mile light rail line running between the cities of Redondo Beach and Norwalk, has two nearby stops: the El Segundo and the Mariposa Metro Green Line Stations located approximately 0.5 and 1.2 miles, respectively, east of the Specific Plan. See Figure 3-3: Regional Transit and Bicycle Facilities. The area will also be served by the Metro Crenshaw/LAX Line when it is completed in 2019. The Aviation/LAX rail station for the Green and Crenshaw/LAX lines is located just over two miles from the Plan area at Aviation Boulevard just south of I-105.
Improved transit options and clear connections to transit services, stops, and stations result in reduced traffic and parking demand. In Smoky Hollow, safe, attractive, walkable environments for workers and visitors encourage pedestrians and the use of bicycles. In addition, the City’s lunchtime shuttle presents an opportunity to enhance connections between business districts and transit stations. A key implementation strategy will be to explore appropriation of the lunch shuttle during peak travel times to provide connections to Smoky Hollow from the Nash Metro Green Line Station.