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New Freeway Ramp Would Dump Cars Onto Bike-Friendly Zone

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The lovely St. John's Cathedral could be in trouble too

The big pedestrian- and bike-friendly MyFigueroa Figueroa Street makeover project has jumped a lot of hurdles and is supposed to (finally) be getting underway this spring, but a recently proposed flyover ramp coming off the 110 Freeway might add an unforeseen pain point to the otherwise smooth new walking and biking experience along the corridor.

The Caltrans ramp ("Interstate 110 High-Occupancy Toll Lanes Flyover Project") would allow ExpressLanes drivers to get off the northbound 110 and end up on Figueroa just south of 23rd Street, right onto a section of the street that's going to have brand-new bike lanes, says Streetsblog. MyFigueroa is supposed to be a haven for walkers, cyclists, and non-cars, but freeway offramps don't usually jibe with that goal.

The ramp is being proposed in order to "bypass the bottleneck intersections at Flower Street and Adams Boulevard and NB I-110 High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) off-ramp to Adams Blvd," Caltrans says in the preliminary environmental documents for the project. (Those 110 ExpressLanes, which allow people to pay to drive in the carpool lane, are a little too popular for their own good.)

Yes, a project meant to symbolize that Los Angeles is a place for more than just cars could be jabbed in the side by a powerful reminder of car-centricity: a steady stream of automobiles hot off the 110.

Their worry is that the new concrete structure would "create a new physical barrier" between the fantastic, Romanesque Revival St. John's Cathedral on Adams (between Flower and Figueroa) and the rest of the neighborhood, as well as ruin the view of the church for everyone and generally "[degrade] the overall character of the community."

Caltrans doesn't seem to see it that way, stating in their rundown of environmental consequences of the project that "This is an urban area, so the proposed project would not intrude the existing visual character," and adding that the "visual character" of the flyover bridge will attempt to blend in with that of the neighborhood.