Thursday, January 25, 2018

#LASidewalks Keep Safety a Priority – Los Angeles City Council recap

Last month, Los Angeles Councilmember Koretz moved to take out the Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN) from the City’s new proposed Sidewalk Repair Program (SRP) prioritization criteria. This sparked nearly 40 organizations and individuals* to write into City Council, urging Los Angeles legislators to recognize the importance of safety and equity when investing in our City’s infrastructure. Why did all those people care?

On a most basic level, it is increasingly unacceptable that the City of Los Angeles has allowed its sidewalks to descend to such a level of disrepair. In 2015 the City finalized the Willits Settlement, a $1.4 billion class action settlement and the largest disability settlement in the nation, acknowledging that nearly half of its 11,000 miles of sidewalks and numerous crosswalks prevent access for people with disabilities. And the City needs to decide what locations to repair first.

 

“For our population, it is imperative that the needs for safe street design and safe sidewalk infrastructure exist and certainly are interrelated and impact each other. Consider the example of a sidewalk with a missing curb ramp: a person using a wheelchair or a walker might have to find a midblock driveway and enter the roadbed just to cross the street. This severely endangers the path of travel for our already vulnerable road users. It’s our understanding that the SRP is about more than trip-and-fall incidents; it is about a coordinated and cohesive transportation network that accommodates travelers of all abilities, ages, and modes.” – Hector Ochoa, Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (in a letter to City Council – 1/12/18)

 

The HIN is a data-backed methodology created by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (DOT) that highlights streets and intersections where the City’s highest rates of severe and fatal collisions occur for people walking and rolling. Approximately half of the HIN is located in underserved communities, as defined by the the City’s health element, Plan for Healthy LA. While not a perfect tool for defining social equity disparities, the HIN was the only sidewalk repair criteria that reflects the disproportionate need for severe safety improvements in our most impacted communities.

And on Wednesday January 24 Los Angeles City Council heard these concerns and voted unanimously to reinstate the Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN) as a priority location to repair our crumbling #LASidewalks. It was a great win for transportation safety and smart planning, fueled by community partners and organizations!
Other updates to the Sidewalk Repair Program prioritization criteria include adding the Metro First-Last Mile Priority Network, which captures the 661 most frequently used transit stops in the County; adding points for residential streets; and differentiating between sidewalk trip-and-fall incident reports and general sidewalk maintenance complaints.

A copy of the final prioritization criteria can be viewed here.

*We can’t thank our partners enough!

AARP, ACT-LA, American Heart Association, Advancement Project California, Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST), First 5 LA, Investing in Place, JCDecaux/Outfront, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Los Angeles Walks, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, LURN, Pacoima Beautiful, Palms Neighborhood Council, Prevention Institute, Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living, Trust for Public Land, TRUST South LA, Vision Zero Alliance, Anna Adams, Azad Amirghassemi, Mehmet Berker, Darrell Clarke, Ben Creed, Jordan Fraade, Andy Freeland, Angelica Frias, Ellen Isaacs, Michael MacDonald, Cecilia Mejia, Ron Milam, Colin Piethe, Audrey Stanton, Alissa Walker, Will Wright, and Ross Zelen.


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