One-Way Streets May Come to Downtown San Pedro
One-way roads may come to Sixth and Seventh Streets. (photo: SPB staff)
A local real estate developer’s proposal to convert a section of Sixth and Seventh Streets downtown to one-way streets is gaining traction, as he continues to lobby the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) officials to create a formal study on the concept.
Alan Johnson, president of Jerico Development, says reducing Sixth and Seventh Streets to one lane going one direction in the downtown core could be a boon for local restaurateurs by creating space for outdoor dining and shoring up about 90 additional parking spaces. The conversion would envelope a total of four blocks impacting only the 300 and 400 blocks.
“People want to see [the proposal] studied and that’s what this is all about. That’s going to be [LADOT’s] job,” he said.
Johnson, a member of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, has shopped the idea around to downtown business owners who overwhelmingly support his idea, he said. Johnson initially began working on the idea about a year ago and presented it to City Councilman Joe Buscaino when it was a more “elaborate” plan, but later scaled it down, he said.
LADOT conducted a preliminary analysis on a similar concept in 2012. In a statement, LADOT said, “A Draft Environmental Impact Report was prepared for the San Pedro Community Plan Update in 2012. The plan evaluated the conversion of Fifth Street to a westbound one-way street with angled parking; the closure of Sixth Street between Harbor and Pacific to create a pedestrian plaza; and the conversion of Seventh Street to an eastbound one-way street with angled parking.”
According to an LADOT spokeswoman, the Environmental Impact Report was not certified by the City Council because all community plan updates were on hold due to a lawsuit.
Downtown restauranteurs Phil Buscemi, owner of Philie B’s on Sixth Street, and Andrew Silber, owner of The Whale and Ale on Seventh Street, considered the idea of one-ways an attractive proposal that could increase patronage to downtown businesses.
Buscemi said one-way streets could also generate enough foot traffic downtown to influence more entrepreneurs to consider opening businesses on Seventh street.
“People are starting to realize that the lower downtown San Pedro district is on the rise and more business are going to thrive from that [proposal],” said Buscemi.
Silber said the redirection of traffic would also shore up parking to accommodate visitors as the waterfront continues to develop.
“The position of diagonal parking would would make more space for shoppers and the area feel like a more modern city. If you look at Manhattan or even San Francisco, there are many one-direction streets downtown,” said Silber.
For now, Johnson is only lobbying for LADOT to complete a new study that would evaluate limiting the direction of traffic on both streets.
“It’s one of those things that’s been done in many places and not one of those things that we can’t find some good examples of,” said Johnson.
“People could sit out front and watch the world going by. I think it would add to our cute downtown ambiance… The restaurants are some of the most successful businesses we have.”