To accommodate outdoor dining for local restaurants, Culver City recently closed several Downtown corridors to automobile traffic. One of those streets – Culver Boulevard – could soon be incorporated into a new transportation corridor connecting with Culver City Station and the Helms Bakery District.
In a presentation given on July 13 to the Culver City Council, Transportation Department officials outlined plans to dedicate portions of right-of-way along along Culver and Washington Boulevards as “tactical mobility lanes,” capable of accommodating cyclists, emergency vehicles, and public transportation. The lanes would remain in place for up to 24 months following design and implementation.
The project, which builds on plans for dedicate bus and bicycle lanes from the City’s 2017 TOD Visioning study, would run approximately 1.4 miles between Sony Pictures Studios and the Culver City Arts District. The concept presented to the City Council would terminate with a loop at Madison Avenue in the west and a U-turn at Hutchinson Avenue in the east.
While the tactical mobility lanes would accommodate existing transit providers such including Culver City Bus, LADOT, Metro, and Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, Culver City also intends to operate a new circulator service along the corridor. Plans call for open-air, trolley-like vehicles – potentially running on electricity or CNG – with space for up to 30 passengers. However, vehicles would operate at a maximum of 50 percent capacity to accommodate social distancing due to COVID-19.
The circulator would operate seven days per week between 8 am and 8 pm, with 10-minute headways during peak hours and 20-minute headways during off-peak times.
The Transportation Department has engaged consultants to undertake a study of the project over the next six months, with consideration given to issues such as street parking, lane configuration, and potential impacts to vehicle traffic. Existing transportation funds are expected to cover project costs, including the estimated $165,000 for leasing two vehicles for the circulator service for a period of six months.
The project received a warm reception from the Culver City Council, with several Council members pushing for extensions west to Overland Avenue and east to La Cienega Boulevard.
An eastern extension, according to Vice Mayor Alex Fisch, would provide improved access to new developments in the surrounding area – including Kilroy Realty’s Blackwelder office campus and the Cumulus housing and retail complex.Council also considered extending the turn around to La Cienega Ave (known as Little La Cienega) with potential future expansion to La Cienega Blvd.
The Transportation Department representatives agreed to explore a larger service area, but cautioned that longer trips could lead to less frequent service on the circulator.
The project area overlaps with Culver City’s existing plans for a two-way cycle track along Washington Boulevard between the Arts District and Downtown. While that project is already partially funded through its design phase, implementation will be delayed for 18-to-24 months while the City pursues the mobility lane pilot program.
Transportation officials will present plans to the Culver City Council prior to implementation.
Future projects along Sepulveda and Jefferson Boulevards could be considered in the future, according to the staff report.