Saturday, December 16, 2017

6 Easy Steps to Advocate for Safe and Accessible #LASidewalks

Background: In 2010, a class action lawsuit (Willits v. City of Los Angeles) was filed against the City of Los Angeles to repair damaged City sidewalks that were out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In May 2015, the City Council approved a $1.4 billion settlement term sheet (Willits Settlement). Until the Willits Settlement there has been no meaningful or adequately funded sidewalk program for the City of Los Angeles. For the past two years the City has been developing a sidewalk repair program to address its failure to provide access to persons with mobility disabilities in accordance with local, state, and federal accessibility requirements. 


One of the tasks in the Willits Settlement term sheet is to create a repair prioritization and scoring system for the City’s 11,000+ miles of sidewalks. Investing in Place and others participated in the development of this scoring system through the City’s Safe Sidewalks LA Citizen Advisory Committee in the Summer of 2017 .

Key input from the Citizen Advisory Committee was to prioritize sites within 500 feet of the City’s Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN) and Action Plan. The HIN is one of few transportation planning methodologies that reflects the disproportionate need for severe safety improvements in our most vulnerable communities. This fall, the HIN priority criteria was included in the City Bureau of Engineering’s proposed prioritization and scoring system. 

Therefore, we were stunned at this month’s Council Budget & Finance Committee meeting when Councilmember Paul Koretz made a motion undoing this coordination and removing the HIN from the scoring system.  (See Streetsblog LA for more coverage on this meeting)

It is critical that safety and equity be restored to the City’s first meaningful sidewalk repair effort in the last 40 years.  How can we fix this?  The next step is for this item to go before the full City Council the week of January 15th.  (Stay tuned for an exact date).  In the meantime, please contact your Councilmember and submit a letter to the Council File with your support for reversing this decision.

See the letter we submitted and borrow any ideas/language from our letter.

How to submit your idea to the LA City Clerk regarding this issue?

  1. Send a email to or Click here to make that happen.
  2. Write in the subject line – comment for Council File: 14-0163-S3.  
  3. Copy for the email body:

    I would like to submit a comment letter to Council File 14-0163-S3. I think it is critical that the City’s sidewalk repair funds be prioritized for the locations where they will have the biggest impact on pedestrian safety. Please retain the Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN) in the proposed Sidewalk Repair Program prioritization methodology. The HIN represents the only prioritization criterion in the proposed program to include City interdepartmental coordination, social equity, and a tool to potentially accelerate and scale-up this program.

    Signed: Your Name, Address 

  4. Hit Send.
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back for advocating for a more accessible and safe City for all.
  6. Email us ( so we can double check that your email is on the Council File so all Councilmembers will see it.



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