At the Tuesday, January 24 City Council meeting, Councilmembers decided to experiment and authorized to have San Fernando Blvd. reconfigured to a single-lane, one-way street. After a discussion, which included shutting down all the traffic completely, it was decided to try the new approach.
There were many aspects looked at, including nearby parking, truck deliveries to businesses, and curbside pickup, which many businesses rely on. The new design would eliminate the southbound traffic lane.
Pedestrian safety was one of the large issues, although no statics were offered as to how many accidents there have been in the past several years.
When the discussion came up of closing down San Fernando altogether, it brought up the discussion of the old Golden Mall. Mayor Konstantine Anthony, who has been in favor of closing the road to all traffic, offered that the reason the Golden Mall failed was an economic downturn.
A look back at some of the reasons it was closed was also because of the City’s lack of maintaining the area. The water fountains were broken and not repaired, landscaping was not maintained, and the area was littered with trash. This, and the fact that parking was scarce, led many small and corporate businesses to leave the area.
A survey taken by the City’s staff this month showed that businesses did not want the street shutdown and wanted to keep everything as it currently is. 80% of the business and property owners wanted to keep San Fernando a two-way street, while 14% were good with the one-way option, leaving only 6% liking the complete closure.
A staff report favored the one-way design and argued that the configuration would stop illegal u-turns, increase pedestrian safety, and help alleviate issues such as parking in red zones and double parking. It would also create passenger drop-off zones and curbside pickup. The City would still be able to shut down the traffic on weekends for large community events.
San Fernando Blvd. will undergo the transformation in the next few months, according to the staff report, and should be completed by August 2023.