Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Next meeting 12/8: City of LA – Sidewalks Working Group Meeting

Background: The City of Los Angeles has not has a comprehensive sidewalks funding and maintenance policy for close to 40 years. And it shows in the broken, inaccessible and unreliable sidewalks throughout the city.  It is critical that a $1.4Billion infrastructure plan for the most basic form of mobility has an inventory, strategic plan that includes prioritization based on data and need, supports sidewalks as part of the transportation network, and a funding plan that leverages transportation and other funding opportunities to accelerate this critical public infrastructure element.

Next working group meeting – Tuesday 12/8: Investing in Place has been convening open working group meetings over the past few month with partners from the city and community to discuss these issues and develop recommendations. Please consider joining us at our next meeting on Tuesday December 8th from 10am – 11:30am in downtown Los Angeles.  Kindly RSVP to jessica@investinginplace.org for more details and the meeting location.

Update from the November 16th Hearing: Earlier this month the City of Los Angeles convened a Joint Policy committee hearing to discuss their approach (LA Times coverage). The Chief Administrative Office (CAO) provided a report to the Council Members outlining a sidewalk decision tree (11/16/15 staff report). No decisions were made at the meeting regarding any of these issues (StreetsblogLA coverage). Next steps are for the Chief Administrative Office to report back at a future joint committee hearing on establishing caps on the City’s obligation, incentive programs  and revisiting the proposed fix and release policy.  Thank you our partners at Pacoima Beautiful, Trust South Los Angeles and Los Angeles Walks for attending this meeting and providing critical public comments.

For the past several months the CAO’s office has been recommending to the City policymakers a “fix and release” policy for the City’s sidewalks and paths of travel. Proposing the City hand over responsibility for maintenance and repair to homeowners and business after it fixes their sidewalks. But at the November meeting, support for this recommended policy was called into question. According to KPCC Council members Mitch Englander, Bob Blumenfield, Curren Price Jr. and Paul Koretz were opposed to transferring responsibility to homeowners.

Next steps: In early January 2016 it is likely that there will be another hearing – let’s come together with partners from communities representing transportation, disability, senior, schools, public space, urban forestry, social equity, the city – and more to talk out ideas and potential solutions as the City endeavors to address the over 11,000 miles of sidewalks across Los Angeles.  Please consider joining us on Tuesday December 8th at 10am by emailing jessica@investinginplace.org to find out more.

Working Group recommendations:At our previous work group meetings we have come up with the following recommendations (join us and sign on in support by clicking here):

  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. Commit to developing an inventory of existing and missing sidewalks out of the $31M that must be spent this year. Also 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 (HIN), social equity and public health metrics, and pedestrian volume and transit use data to establish a prioritization plan for repairs.
  4. Accelerate the repair program to fix the City’s sidewalks in 10 years, not the proposed 30 years. Enable the sidewalk repair program to successfully compete and leverage existing and future funding and other potential investments. Environmental sustainability funding sources could include, Integrated Regional Water Management Program (IRWMP), Prop 1, and California Climate Investments (formerly the cap-and-trade Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund) to integrate water infrastructure into sidewalks to create green streets. Transportation funding from the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP) 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 and support active transportation and multi-modal mobility.
  5. Integrate the sidewalk repairs into larger City and Countywide programs.  Recent initiatives such as Vision Zero, the City of Los Angeles Mobility Plan, the Los Angeles Mayor’s Great Streets Program, the Department of Public Works Green Streets Working Group, and Metro’s First Last Mile Strategic Plan and Active Transportation Strategic Plan aim to 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, implement 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. This creates 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. Support meaningful community participation through the development of the repair program (another round of community meetings).  Develop a comprehensive outreach program and educational campaign to ensure communities will not be surprised by the final program.
  9. Develop a comprehensive replacement program that promotes responsible deconstruction, reuse and disposal of materials.  Work with communities where solid waste material recycling/disposal facilities (selected for this program) are located to ensure that impact is minimal to populations living near facilities and along routes that will provide access to the facilities.

Previous working group meeting notes and letters:

Media related to 11/16/15 hearing:


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