Monday, November 9, 2015

City of Los Angeles: Sign on to our comment letter and fund sidewalks as part of the transportation network

The City of Los Angeles is considering a policy to address the improvement needs extending over 11,000 miles of sidewalks and paths of travel on Monday November 16th. Investing in Place and partner organizations are concerned that many mobility, safety, sustainability and social equity goals and policies are not being strategically addressed in the recommendations from the City Administrative Offices (5/26/15: New policy for repair and management of sidewalks adjacent to private property).

Therefore, Investing in Place and partners are submitting a comment letter this week and ask others to sign on in support of our recommendations to address these goals. This letter states that we welcome the opportunity to work with the the City to develop a strategic, data driven framework for this policy and work plan. We encourage the City to look beyond sidewalk repairs as simply a budget issue, but to view repairs through a planning lens that examines mobility and quality of life issues,  and not only links but strengthens existing local, regional and state policies and goals. And click here to read AARP’s comments on the proposed policy. Thank you AARP!

Click here to see our full letter and link to sign on.



  1. Establish sidewalks as a core foundation of the City’s transportation network.Sidewalks are a critical part of the transportation network and should not be approached by piecemealing maintenance based on property ownership. The City of Los Angeles’ sidewalks should be funded and maintained the same way our roads are – with transportation funds. We do not support the fix and release approach for funding and maintaining the City’s over 11,000 miles of sidewalks.
  2. This year, commit to developing an inventory of existing and missing sidewalks out of the $31M that must be spent this year, and commit to using those findings and other relevant input to create a citywide sidewalk/path of travel strategic plan. In order to successfully move this program forward with public support, a transparent, strategic plan based on an inventory is crucial. This plan will also empower the City to leverage other sources of funds to accelerate and successfully implement this infrastructure program in a more effective and inclusive manner.
  3. Develop a prioritization plan based on data and need. Utilize the City’s Vision Zero High Injury Network, social equity, public health metrics, pedestrian volume and transit use data to establish a prioritization plan for repairs.
  4. Enable the sidewalk repair program to be able to successfully compete and leverage existing and future funding and other potential investments in order to have the opportunity to  accelerate the repair program to fix the City’s sidewalks in 10 years, not the proposed 30 years. These sources could include funding such as Integrated Regional Water Management Program (IRWMP), Prop 1, Cap-and-Trade, to integrate water infrastructure into sidewalks to create green streets. Transportation funding from the state’s Active Transportation Program Grant, CalTrans’ Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, and the potential 2016 Los Angeles County transportation sales tax revenue could also be used to upgrade our sidewalks to aid in multi-modal mobility.
  5. Integrate the sidewalk repairs into larger City and Countywide programs such as Vision Zero, The City of Los Angeles Mobility Plan, the Mayor’s Great Streets Program, the Department of Public Works Green Streets Working Group, and Metro’s First Last Mile Strategic Plan. This will improve safety and comfort for all users and create a more connected, less auto dependent City and integrate Citywide policy for successful, comprehensive and inclusive implementation.
  6. Protect and promote a thriving urban tree canopy through clear criteria and guidelines for tree mitigation and replacement, and a commitment to investing in best management practices to save as many trees as possible. If a tree does require removal, adoption of an appropriate tree replacement ratio  and a commitment to maintenance funding for new trees.
  7. Commit to review City-wide needs and goals that intersect with sidewalk repairs in order to maximize the potential to leverage other funding sources for water supply, water quality and flooding issues to augment sidewalk repair funding, creating the ability to ensure any infrastructure changes have multiple benefits and meet future city requirements such as the Stormwater Capture Master Plan and the Enhanced Watershed Management Plans.
  8. Supports meaningful community participation through the development of the repair program (another round of community meetings) as well as a comprehensive outreach program and educational campaign to ensure communities will not be surprised by the final program.

Investing in Place has been convening a open working group on the pending City of Los Angeles sidewalk program this fall. This working group help inform these recommendations and the comment letter.   Please see our meeting agendas and notes here for more background here:

Interested in finding out more?  Feel free to contact Jessica Meaney at 213-210-8136 or

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