Rachel Reeves

Road diets considered for Catalina Avenue and Prospect [REDONDO BEACH]

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The Redondo Beach Public Works Department is applying for funding to put Catalina Avenue and Prospect on “road diets.”

Estimated to cost about $900,000 and $470,000, respectively, “road diets” refer to projects that will reduce both streets from four lanes to two.

The idea came to light at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting when Public Works Director Mike Witzansky gave the council a breakdown of the projects for which his department is seeking funding from MTA.

Presently, the road diet project is “just paint on the ground,” Witzansky said, adding that the application seeks funding for a detailed engineering analysis and a traffic flow analysis to inform a potential project design.

The proposal reduces the width of Catalina Avenue between Torrance Blvd. and Palos Verdes Blvd., making room for landscapes in order to fit the street into a Living Streets framework, newly adopted planning guidelines meant to encourage pedestrian and bicycle activity. Road diets are also aimed at increasing parking space.

The Prospect proposal pertains to the section of street between Anita and Pacific Coast Highway.

Witzansky said studies have shown that “road diets” actually improve traffic flow, relieve congestion, and enable “multimodality usage.”

Prospect resident Frank O’Leary told the council Tuesday he is “absolutely delighted to hear this news,” but resident Jim Light was not as thrilled.

“This should be properly noted to the public and we should get the chance to speak to it… This just feels all wrong,” he said.

Councilman Steve Diels responded that the proposal has been floated at multiple public meetings and said there is “nothing stinky about it.”

Witzansky said the department “can always return the funding” if the project encounters a storm of public opposition, but reminded the council that “anytime you do not complete [funded] projects you lose credibility.”

The department has until tomorrow at 3 p.m. to submit its application and expects to hear back as to whether it was successful in September or October. If so, it will begin receiving the funding in the 2014-2015 fiscal year for a period of five years.

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