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‘Great Streets’ meeting set Saturday on Central Avenue


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced recently that the next CicLAvia cycling event will take place August 9 along Venice Boulevard. The “Culver City Meets Venice” event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will span six miles allowing residents to explore more of Culver City’s neighborhoods and to connect with such famous Westside destination points as Mar Vista Farmer’s Market, Abbot Kinney and Venice Beach. The latest “CicLAvia” event corresponds with Garcetti’s “Great Streets” program.

“CicLAvia gets riders out of their cars and into urban spaces while opening up the local Culver City businesses to Angelinos,” said Garcetti who also serves as chairman of the Metro Board. “And I’m proud to see this car-free event wheel down another of L.A.’s ‘Great Streets.’”

Metro this year awarded Culver City an Open Streets grant to make the partnership with CicLAvia possible. The funding was part of a $4 million Open Streets grant that was awarded to municipalities throughout Southern California to sponsor car-free events from 2014-2016. The program allocates $2 million annually for these types of events within Los Angeles County.

Late last month, consultants hosted a design charette (a session of design planning) for the city’s new “Venice Boulevard Great Street” project. Similar projects are taking place along Crenshaw Boulevard and on Central Avenue. The Venice Boulevard meeting saw city officials, urban planners, technical experts and designers discuss ideas involving increased pedestrian safety, more street crossing opportunities and public art installations.

“Great Streets” will also affect the historic Jazz Corridor along Central Avenue in South Los Angeles. Among the first new businesses highlighted is 3 Words Cafe,  3310 S. Central Ave., not quite located along the Jazz Corridor (historically from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard south to Vernon Avenue), but part of the new plan of refurbishment that will eventually extend from Adams Boulevard south to Slauson Avenue. The cafe debuted in 2013 as a partnership between students from nearby Jefferson High School, the Dole Food Company, the Coalition for Responsible Community Development (a local non-profit organization) and with award-winning celebrity chef Roy Choi. The cafe teaches South L.A. youth about operating a business while becoming certified as professional baristas. 3 Words Cafe has quickly become a popular meeting place for community forums and local activists.

On Saturday, a special “Walk This Way” Central Avenue “wayfinding” session will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Central Avenue Constituency Services Center, 4301 S. Central Ave. Officials with “Great Streets” are developing a system of signs and other notifications that will give people walking times between different neighborhood destinations. Officials said the signs will be installed to “change perceptions” that many places may be too far away to walk; all of these measures are part of the Great Street design to get more vehicle traffic off the road and have residents travel short distances either by foot or by bicycle. Representatives of Los Angeles Walks, Community Health Councils, the National Health Foundation’s Health Academy and T.R.U.S.T. South L.A. are expected to attend.