Design of the Marmion Way Corridor

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Metro Gold Line Light Rail Transit Project, Metro Gold Line Construction Authority (2000-2004), South Pasadena, California. Formerly known as the Pasadena Blue Line Light Rail Transit Project, Phase 3 involved completion of the 30% urban design documents for the portion of Marmion Way from Avenue 50 through Figueroa, including the design of the Avenue 57 Station vicinity. Pedestrian amenities there include: a two block long pedestrian/transit plaza, street trees, benches, landscaping, pergola, special paving design commemorating the historical roots of the neighborhood, and Arts & Crafts era architectural compatibility. Fred Glick coordinated the contract for the Construction Authority for quality assurance/quality control from 2001-2003. Construction is now complete. The Avenue 57 Station Transit Plaza and Marmion Way Corridor dedication was held on Saturday, May 10, 2003. Recipient of 2004 National Transportation Planning Award of Excellence, Safety Conscious Planning, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and the American Planning Association, Washington, D.C. Awards Jury consisted of ITE, AASHTO, APTA, and AAA.

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Design of the Marmion Way Corridor

  1. 1. Design of theMarmion Way Corridor Metro Gold Line Light Rail Transit Project National Transportation Leadership Conference FHWA – FTA – APA Washington, DC 2004 Fred Glick, PLA • Urban Design • Master Planning • Landscape Architecture
  2. 2. Purpose of Presentation  Demonstrate extensive public involvement effort resulting in dramatic physical improvements to community  Consensus building through urban design  Use of historically compatible and green materials helps achieve sustainability
  3. 3. Principal Challenge From a physical standpoint, the challenge was to fit light rail into an existing, historic community fabric in a way that improved the quality of the urban environment.
  4. 4. Agenda  Marmion Way: Overview  Community Workshops  Urban Design Process: 1996-2001  Construction: 2001-2003  Operations: 2003
  5. 5. Overview: Marmion Way Southbound Before construction: 100 year old freight corridor, single track, undersized RR worker homes built at turn of 20th century.
  6. 6. Overview: Marmion Way Northbound Before construction: Utility poles both directions, minimal setbacks from street, poorly delineated intersection.
  7. 7. Overview: Unique History100 years as freight rail line - single trackLAMTA original lead agency13.7 mile LRT corridor•  Chinatown - Highland Park•  South Pasadena - PasadenaMarmion Way segment•  Avenue 50 to Figueroa•  Nearly 1 mile long
  8. 8. Overview: Socio-Cultural Composition Diverse ethnic composition Latino, Asian-American, other minorities Generally low to lower-middle income Mistake to consider Highland Park a “rollover” area •  Language differences •  Little education among some minority residents •  Economic hardship Well-spoken, well-educated professionals as well Neighborhood is well-organized Relentless in seeking improved quality-of-life
  9. 9. Overview: Project BackgroundImminent addition of light rail transitwayPavement - concrete walls - LRV speedsChanging configuration - community concernUrban design process initiated in 1996Engineering needs vs. community adaptationUrban design analysis implemented•  Support of elected officials•  Two EIS’s had previously overlooked real issuesFrom exclusive transitway to street running
  10. 10. Overview: Major ChallengesNeighborhood:•  Neighborhood character – use of sustainable materials•  Local Historic District (City of Los Angeles)•  Livability•  Pedestrian and bicycle safety•  Functional use of private properties - access & egressProject:•  Emergency vehicle access•  Street closings and gated RR crossings•  Noise from LRV’s•  Speed of trains
  11. 11. Overview: Proximity of homes Narrow setbacks: Majority of homes have minimal setback from public right-of-way; in some cases, as little as three feet.
  12. 12. Overview: Tight tolerances Circulation movements: Some homes have unsafe driveway locations relative to intersections. Note how utility poles crowd the intersection.
  13. 13. Overview: Zero setback multi-family Setback dilemma: Narrow gate openings create turning movement difficulty for motor vehicles.
  14. 14. Overview: Garages @ ROW Line Setback dilemma: Proximity of garage doors to public right-of-way creates turning movement difficulty for motor vehicles.
  15. 15. Overview: Kids play here Open space? Kids used the existing right-of-way for parks and recreation space.
  16. 16. Overview: Narrow driveways Turning movements: Narrow driveway gate openings create access-egress difficulty for motor vehicles.
  17. 17. Overview: R.O.W. used for parking Parking. Residents and visitors previously used the BNSF RR-ROW for parking.
  18. 18. Overview: Alleyways @ mid-block Turning radius issues: Narrow alleyways create access-egress issues onto Marmion Way.
  19. 19. Overview: Avenue 57 Station SiteProposed Highland Park Station Site: Right-of-way widens at thestation location shown center above; Marmion Way street corridorruns south of and parallel to station site (in left of photo).
  20. 20. Community Workshops: 1996Initiate new round of dialogue & build consensusCost containment measures – Redesign Stations mandated by MTA BoardClarify MTA’s position - Design Marmion Way - Gain community supportFacilitation by urban design consultant
  21. 21. Community Workshops: 1996Initiate new round of dialogue & build consensusCost containment measures – Redesign Stations mandated by MTA BoardClarify MTA’s position - Design Marmion Way - Gain community supportFacilitation by urban design consultant
  22. 22. Workshop #1Place: South Pasadena Library - April 6, 1996Purpose:•  Revisit project impacts & design with community •  8’ high concrete sound walls enclosing transitway •  RR crossing gates, bells, horns, etc.•  Achieve consensus for Marmion Way design•  Introduce community to urban design consultantsResults:•  Exchanged information•  Developed communication tools
  23. 23. Workshop #2Place: Highland Park Senior Center - April 20, 1996Purpose: Present MTA’s revised scheme for M.W.•  32 foot trackway, fenced both sides•  6’ high chain link fences•  13’ southbound travel lane; 15’ northbound•  Only 4 cross-streets closed to motor vehicles•  High LRV speeds of 45 mph; avg speed of 31 mphResults:•  Community response still negative•  Diverse attendance reflects of Highland Park
  24. 24. Workshop #3Place: Elementary School in Chinatown - May 4, 1996Purpose: Present another iteration of Marmion Way•  32’ trackway; 4’ metal picket fence (both sides)•  13’ and 15’ travelways (peds & motor vehicles)•  Pedestrian crosswalks at all intersections (striped paint)•  4 cross-streets closed to motor vehicles•  Highest LRV speed 20 mph; avg speed 15 mphResults:•  Semi-exclusive scheme still non-responsive•  Private property impacts first raised at this meeting
  25. 25. Right-of-Way AnalysisBlock-by-block evaluation of public right-of-way and individual propertiesconducted to determine impacts to private properties.
  26. 26. Workshop #4Place: Pasadena Doubletree Hotel - May 16, 1996Purpose: Finalize consensus on preferred scheme•  Analysis done by MTA engineer & urban design consultant•  MTA position - functional impacts to private properties required scheme minimizing or eliminating such impactsResults:•  Street running system - preferred approach•  Proposal well-received by community•  Modest center fence prevents errant transitway use by motor vehicles, while directing pedestrians to intersections
  27. 27. Vision StatementThe Marmion Way Corridor . . . is unique to the overall PasadenaBlue Line Project in that it is the core of the historical neighborhoodof Highland Park. The narrow right-of-way requires a sensitiveapproach to the provision of urban design principles in promotingsafety for the accommodation of pedestrians, bicycles, motor vehiclesand light rail transit. Neighborhood character and livability are vitalaspects the community seeks to maintain. They can be achievedthrough the efficient and creative composition of various materials,textures and colors that form the separate use areas and provide fora neighborhood compatible corridor that promotes safety, maintainsor adds value and preserves the character of the community.
  28. 28. Marmion Way CorridorMetro Gold Line LRT, Los Angeles Original engineering proposal for design of public right-of-way. Marmion Way Corridor before construction.
  29. 29. Urban Design Vision: 1997 Right-of-way design concept prepared by urban design team, meeting both neighborhood compatibility and engineering requirements.
  30. 30. Project ShutdownProject terminated in early 1998 by LAMTAdue to forecasted budget shortfalls.All work ceased.All consultants released from contracts.
  31. 31. Project ResumptionConstruction Authority formed in January, 1999•  Sole purpose: to build the project•  Hired Chief Executive Officer•  Retained Program Management Consultant•  Retained same urban design consultant•  Design-Build method chosenMarmion Way -•  Refined Avenue 50 - 57 segment•  Urban design approach - Avenue 57 – Figueroa including Highland Park Station Plaza
  32. 32. Marmion Way Right-of-Way Rooftop photo of Marmion Way after construction.
  33. 33. Marmion Way Right-of-Way A corridor residents can Functional & aesthetic live with. transitway materials.
  34. 34. Marmion Way Trackbed Rough-texture of transitway materials thwarts errant use by pedestrians, bicyclists and even motor vehicles.
  35. 35. Marmion Way Typical Crosswalk Use of historically compatible materials consistent with Craftsman era – Greene & Greene inspired architecture.
  36. 36. Marmion Way - Ave 56 Intersection Corridor is “emergency vehicle friendly” Typical intersection design
  37. 37. Design CharacterStreet lights on catenary pole Arroyo stone tactile strip located between mountable curb and trackway Typical arroyo-stone pilaster
  38. 38. Highland Park Station Plaza Gateway pilasters at Highland Park LRT Station transit plaza
  39. 39. Highland Park Station PlazaHeavy timber pergola Craftsman-era combinations of timberCopper light fixture and arroyo stone
  40. 40. Highland Park Station & Plaza Note use of Arroyo-Stone washed aggregate in Highland Park Station trackway
  41. 41. Highland Park Station & Plaza Consistent use of Marmion Way Corridor construction materials at Highland Park Station – stone, steel picket fence & concrete
  42. 42. Project Summary•  Public involvement process resulted in dramatically upgraded neighborhood – use of green materials, sustainable solution•  System, civil, urban design all changed•  Pedestrians can now walk safely•  Driveway access/egress maintained•  Residents taking new pride in neighborhood•  Public right-of-way -- neighborhood asset rather than a liability
  43. 43. Project Summary (cont’d.)•  Vehicles operate at streetcar speeds - 15 mph avg•  System design functions as streetcar Traffic lights & signal pre-emption, rather than crossing gates, bells & horns•  Relates well to neighborhood•  Relates well to private properties•  Community takes ownership of corridor•  System has become well-integrated
  44. 44. Summary: Project Operational Through four years of revenue service, Marmion Way’s responsive design has functioned well, with no pedestrian accidents to date.
  45. 45. 2004 Transportation Planning Excellence Award Project Name: Metro Gold Line Light Rail - Marmion Way Corridor Category: “Safety Conscious Planning” Co-Sponsors: • Federal Highway Administration • Federal Transit Administration • American Planning Association Awards Jury: - Institute of Transportation Engineers - American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials - American Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations - American Automobile Association45

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