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News Brief: Plans to improve Ward 2

Newly established traffic roundabouts in Riverside’s Ward 2 mitigate safety issues for pedestrians in the Eastside, but they are only one of several improvements planned for the area that will be funded by millions in state-awarded grant dollars.

Councilmember Andy Melendrez (Ward 2) said the neighborhood traffic circles have made a significant difference in the ward.

“That’s the exciting part about the Eastside, coming together to transform the community,” he said. “In my view, when you talk about the traffic circles, that’s the power of community.”

Along with safer road conditions and improved signage, he said the city is partnering with community-led groups to install better street lighting, conveniently placed bike racks, pedestrian signals and high-visibility crosswalks. A section of Park Avenue will be turned into a Ward 2 Arts District. Community leaders are organizing a mural initiative to combat vandalism and graffiti in their neighborhoods. The city also plans to develop greater access to public transportation.

State grant dollars are proposed to fund the development of the Entrada Housing Project, which would include 65 low-income housing units on Chicago Avenue.

Miguel Lujano, legislative field representative to Melendrez, said these are all community-driven initiatives, some that are seven years in the making. “The city just provided the tools and training the community leaders needed and essentially created a project around what they asked for,” he said.