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Pasadena's Colorado Blvd. Could Slim Down By Two Lanes

Vroman's on Colorado Blvd. (Photo by Clinton Steeds via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Pasadena's bustling Colorado Blvd. could go on a road diet. The city's leaders are expected to present a proposal to the City Council to shrink part of the street by up to two lanes to make room for parks and widened sidewalks.

Just imagine the street's sidewalks with landscaped medians and areas of lush greenery with seating areas. (This is starting to sound a little like Spike Jonze's vision of a future utopian L.A. in Her.)

The proposed area for the road diet would be on Colorado Blvd. between Los Robles Ave. and Hudson Ave., according to The Los Angeles Times. Although that five-block radius isn't nearly as busy as Old Town (it's actually east of the area jam-packed with shops and restaurants), but it's been growing steadily. The area, which the Rose Parade passes through yearly has the Playhouse District, Vroman's, the Laemmle's Playhouse and Target nestled there. Urth Caffe opened shop in that area in 2012 and Tender Greens in 2011. Erlinda Romo, executive director of the nonprofit Playhouse District Assn. told the Los Angeles Times that there are proposals for a mixed-use building with a medical office and three apartment complexes to be built this year.

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The proposed road diet would cover the area on Colorado Blvd. between Los Robles Ave. and Hudson Ave. (Image via Google Maps)
Colorado Blvd. has grown from a car-heavy area to being more pedestrian and bike-oriented. Since 2003, there has been more than 1,000 residential units added along the street and 2,000 within three blocks of it.

"Pasadena is pursuing a broader concept of what streets are about," Mayor Bill Bogaard told the Los Angeles Times. "They're not simply for moving cars as fast as you can. Streets are corridors of society and community."

The city has already slimmed down another road in the past. Cordova St. between S. Lake Ave to Pasadena City College went on a road diet back in July 2010, according to Brigham Yen. The city took a four-lane street and transformed it into two lanes with a center median and bike lane, San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported in 2012.

In addition, other areas in L.A. have slimmed down such as Spring St. and 7th St. downtown.

The U.S. Department of Transportation claims ones of the reasons for reducing lanes on a road include increasing safety both for pedestrians and drivers. One example they cite is that if there are multiple lanes and one car stops to let a pedestrian cross the street, but the car in the next lane doesn't stop, a crash could occur.

LADOT Bike Blog noted the success of the York Blvd.'s 2006 road diet in Highland Park from the California Highway Patrol's 2011 Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions:

...before the road diet, this portion of York Boulevard experienced 27 collisions and 28 injuries per mile per year. After the road diet, this portion of York Boulevard experienced 21 collisions and 20 injuries per mile per year, reflecting 23% and 27% reductions, respectively.

However, when Rowena Ave. in Silver Lake was put on a road diet in early 2013 for biker and pedestrian safety reasons, residents later complained the removal of one lane of traffic from each direction caused increased traffic, speeding and reckless driving, according to Eastsider L.A.

Some Pasadena residents are worried the proposed road diet on Colorado Blvd. could cause gridlock. Longtime resident Kim Moore, 50, told the Los Angeles Times that the street was already busy and it was hard finding parking as is.