Friday, April 27, 2018

No Longer the Road Less Traveled

Unpacking the Proposed City of Los Angeles 2018-2019 Budget 

Each year Investing in Place tunes in to the City of Los Angeles annual budget process. Our goal is to advocate for data-driven public investments in our city services that will produce equitable outcomes and an improved quality-of-life for the people of Los Angeles. We greatly appreciate the hours of hard work put in by our City departments and elected officials to craft a balanced budget that meets the needs of our 4.2 million neighbors.

The 2018-2019 budget hearing schedule begins today and stretches through Friday, May 11th. The major departments and agencies covering Transportation (LADOT, Public Works – Bureau of Street Services, Public Works – Bureau of Engineering) will be heard:

Wednesday, May 2nd, 1:00pm




If you would like to join us for public comment or more information, feel free to contact me at  

The Mayor’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2019 Proposed Budget is an indication of how far Los Angeles has come in recognizing the importance of the built environment on safety, accessibility, and opportunity. Three years ago, there were no City policies addressing the role of road design in the loss of human lives or the value of our sidewalks to serve our local businesses and people of all ages, incomes, and abilities. In that time of increased awareness, we also saw increased investment from the City: the Vision Zero program’s funding has increased from $3 million to $37 million proposed this year. This proposed budget also contains the largest sidewalk infrastructure investment the City has made in years, with a total annual investment of $41 million allocated to sidewalk repair and improved accessibility.

We have developed comprehensive charts on how the City of Los Angeles is proposing funding Vision zero, safety and sidewalk repair and accessibility. From Vision Zero to Safety all the way to Accessibility, the City of Los Angeles is investing in a system for people using all modes of transportation. The charts are available to be used and shared.


The $37 million dedicated to Vision Zero is especially promising, given that the Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN) is the closest proxy to a social equity measurement used by the City of Los Angeles to guide projects and investments.

Following the Money

This progress in awareness and resource allocation is exciting. And we don’t want the City to stop there. We see the following steps as a path to a safe and healthy City that provides access for people of all ages, incomes, and abilities:

With this dedication of dollars, we want to continue working with the City to develop a transparent plan with shared definitions, goals, and performance measures. The need for improving safety, access, and addressing equity disparities will always outweigh the available resources we have. We believe the City can most effectively leverage its existing funds by:

  1. Establishing Citywide goals for projects and programs funded by these resources that prioritize communities and neighborhoods with historical disinvestment, design standards;
  2. Creating shared prioritization and performance measures to evaluate success in achieving these goals; and
  3. Opening up the project selection and development process to community organizations and members who will benefit from and be impacted by these investments.

We have drafted a comment letter with these tables and asks. We are currently finalizing it and will be submitting next week for the Budget Hearing. We welcome input and advice – please email me and I am happy to share our working draft with interested partners.

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