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Figueroa, finally. Here's what 10 years and $20 million can do for 4 miles of street.

A $20 million project to remake a four-mile stretch of Figueroa Street with better access for walkers, bikers and transit is nearing completion after 10 years of planning and setbacks.

A lawsuit and construction delays, in part to relocate utility lines, slowed the work. The project also began under the Community Redevelopment Agency but was shifted to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation when the CRA closed down. 

The My Figueroa project area runs from 7th Street in the heart of downtown south to Exposition Park, covering short portions of 11th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The improvements will add three miles of bikeway, portions of which are fully protected or buffered, wider sidewalks, high-visibility crosswalks, improved signal timing, landscaping, art and floating transit platforms.

The new transit platforms will allow buses to pick up passengers without cutting through the bike lane.

A transit platform is under construction near Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard in downtown L.A.
Meghan McCarty Carino/KPCC
A transit platform is under construction near Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard in downtown L.A.

Funding comes from Proposition 1C, which in 2006 authorized $2.85 billion in general obligation bonds for housing, transportation and development programs. 

The Figueroa project concept is known to urban planners as a "complete street," one that is designed to serve all road users, not just cars. 

"It’s really incredible," said Deborah Murphy, the founder of the organization Los Angeles Walks who helped write the project's original grant. She said My Figueroa is the biggest and most significant project of its kind in the city of L.A.

"I think we’ll see a great transformation of movement on Figueroa and people’s perceptions of what our streets can be," she said.

But the project does eliminate a lane of car traffic on some stretches, an action that has caused considerable outrage in Playa del Rey and other parts of the city.

Figueroa Street, though, is already a high-traffic corridor for walking, biking and transit use in the most densely urbanized part of the city. Car traffic flows more slowly there.

Construction began in October 2016 . The L.A. Department of Transportation expects the project to be completed by mid-April.