Centinela Avenue could one day become a vibrant street full of pedestrians and bikers heading to a local farmers market.
About 25 community members on Saturday met at the Marina del Rey Middle School to discuss hypothetical scenarios that would transform Centinela Avenue into a walkable street – focusing on both simple and ambitious ideas.
“The City of Los Angeles has committed to making this a more walkable city, and it’s time to start holding their feet to the fire,” said Dr. Peter Hoffman, director of the Urban Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University. “One of their goals is to provide an identity to Del Rey.”
Hoffman’s students conducted surveys of businesses and Del Rey residents within two miles of Centinela Avenue and presented their findings on Saturday.
Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said Centinela Avenue needed better landscaping and 37 percent said traffic and walkability were a problem.
Some of the potential changes to Centinela Avenue include narrowing the street surface by adding a grass median, widening the sidewalk and adding roundabouts – all in an effort to slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety.
Many residents gathered at the middle school agreed that Centinela needed a facelift, and mentioned Culver City’s success in revitalizing its downtown. However, some worried that if traffic was purposely slowed, cars would speed through side streets to avert congestion.
“How do you get people to come to Centinela, with no parking and no public transportation?” said resident Steve Glassman. “Downtown Culver City is very walkable...once you get there.”
He suggested implementing a main-street-feel in phases, perhaps first between Culver Boulevard and Short Avenue. Others mentioned building a parking structure to deter downtown shoppers from clogging neighborhood streets.
Aware of the difficulties in procuring funding for a major street renovation, residents also suggested that minor pedestrian improvements, such as more cross-walks, could first be implemented.
Additionally, residents proposed establishing a historical society to promote walkability and neighborhood pride.