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The Planning Commission will discuss proposed changes to Lincoln Boulevard at their Sept. 2 meeting, including significant changes to traffic patterns along the heavily traveled road.

The City has been working on improvements to Lincoln Boulevard for several years. Caltrans transferred ownership of the street to the City in 2012 prompting several projects including street resurfacing, additional signage and clarified crosswalks.

However, more substantive changes have been specifically left to the Lincoln Neighborhood Corridor Plan, which will be up for discussion Wednesday night. The project area includes 17 blocks of Lincoln Boulevard from the I-10 Freeway to Ozone Avenue.

In addition to street improvements, the project includes upgrades to businesses, including the eventual formation of a Business Improvement District.

“Envisioned to be a mixed-mode and livable street environment for pedestrians, transit and vehicles, the ability for bicycles to coexist with other modes on this busy boulevard has also been explored,” said the staff report. “Once complete, portions of the Plan will be implemented incrementally as private and public funding allows, creating a high quality streetscape and pedestrian environment that removes existing barriers, expands accessibility, and increases pedestrian comfort.”

The plan has several goals including reducing barriers to pedestrian access and comfort, improving connections to destinations, improving and diversifying landscaping and tree canopy, maintaining and improving vehicle flow, enhancing transit ridership and efficiency, enhancing land use offerings serving daily needs, supporting facade maintenance and public realm improvements and creating a cohesive business community.

Public meetings have been held on the proposal and some City documents already outline a vision of the final product. The Land Use and Circulation Element describes the changes as facilitating a more pedestrian-oriented environment and providing better links to neighborhoods.

“The core effort for the Lincoln Neighborhood Corridor Plan project is to identify a preferred detailed and technically accurate streetscape configuration that is complemented by a range of innovative strategies for improving the character and functionality of the Boulevard,” said the staff report.

The most significant policy discussion Wednesday may focus on proposed medians.

“Medians would be located in selected areas that are currently striped as a center turn lane, and where possible would abut existing and proposed crosswalks to provide a refuge for pedestrian to improve crossing comfort,” said the report.

There are two alternatives, one that would locate medians in areas where left turns are already prohibited. This installs far fewer medians but preserves current traffic conditions.

The second would expand the median program, increasing the amount of landscaping, but impeding turning onto some little-used roads.

According to the staff report, staff has responded to community concerns and requests to transition Lincoln Boulevard into a more pedestrian-friendly road.

“Design elements include new landscaping and trees, additional crosswalk locations, curb extensions, medians and pedestrian-refuge islands, low impact development infrastructure for stormwater capture and infiltration, and a host of pedestrian furnishings such as street lights, benches, trash cans, and way finding enhancements. The streetscape design also incorporates dedicated peak hour bus lanes in the parking lane,” said the report.

The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. on Sept. 2 in City Hall, 1685 Main St.

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...

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