Guest blog post by Slate-Z Communications Associate: Josie Clerfond
Less than 25% of bus stops in the city of Los Angeles have a bus shelter.
Given the scarcity of shade in Los Angeles, rising temperatures, heat-island effects of cement, this is a significant issue for riders who do not have a sheltered place to wait for their bus. Exposing people who ride the bus to rain, sun, and excessive heat is a public health concern. As noted in the New York Times article Why Shade is a Mark of Privilege in Los Angeles, this issue impacts community members in the South LA promise zone disproportionately, due to relatively higher rates of use of public transit in South LA neighborhoods and lower amounts of tree cover.
A grant from the 11th Hour Project, secured in partnership with Investing in Place, offers funds for community organizing for new bus shelters in Council District 8 — stops where people who ride the bus currently stand exposed to the elements. The Bus Shelter Blitz, as the project has been called, has been working to determine where the bus stops should go in Council District 8 has been a process led by SLATE-Z. (And in San Fernando Valley led by Pacoima Beautiful.)
New bus shelters will entail:
- Permanent shade structure with a bench
- Hydration stations (water fountains) where feasible
Where should new shelters go? Over 300 Surveys Conducted
SLATE-Z Conducted community outreach at events and in neighborhoods in South LA.
At the Central Avenue Jazz Festival on July 27th and 28th, 2019, we conducted written surveys on which respondents could circle their top 10 preferred bus shelter locations and provide feedback about the transit experience.
At the Taste of Soul Festival on October 19th, residents engaged with our digitized survey, through which they could select their top 10 bus shelter locations and provide feedback on various issues of transportation safety. Through this second iteration of our outreach efforts, SLATE-Z was able to collect useful data and achieve a greater understanding of transit needs in CD 8.
And this November, Slate-Z deployed a team of our partners at CD Tech on a door knocking campaign throughout the district. Our survey, which was available in both English and Spanish, facilitated discussions and the ability for residents to shape the transit infrastructure that affects their daily lives. In contacting over 300 South LA transit riders, our Bus Shelter Blitz campaign completed a large mobilization effort to obtain the necessary community input and ideas. This process allowed us to hear from those who regularly utilize the transit services we seek to improve.
Based on this outreach, the top 10 feasible and community prioritized locations in Council District 8 are:
- Western Ave & Adams Blvd bus stop (North bound)
- Western Ave & Exposition Blvd bus stop (North bound)
- Western Ave & Florence Ave bus stop (North bound)
- Figueroa St & Florence Ave bus stop (South bound)
- Vermont Ave & Exposition Blvd bus stop (South bound)
- Crenshaw Blvd & Slauson Ave bus stop (North bound)
- Florence Ave & Vermont Ave bus stop (West bound)
- Western Ave & Century Blvd bus stop (North bound)
- Western Ave & Florence Ave bus stop (South bound)
- Vermont Ave & Manchester Ave bus stop (South bound)
SLATE-Z is currently in contact with Council District Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and will submit the above sites for permitting. Stay tuned for bus shelter installations coming in 2020.
Other major findings:
We conducted comprehensive outreach regarding the public transit experience in Council District 8. Residents had the opportunity to provide open-ended feedback on what is necessary to improve their transit experience. Overwhelmingly, respondents identified the need for increased safety and security at bus stops and on buses. Safety—both on the buses and at bus stops—was determined to be a major concern for people who ride the bus.
The timeliness and frequency of buses was another challenge illuminated by survey respondents. SLATE-Z continues to advocate for community-led infrastructure improvements the improve transportation options for community members – especially those with the least options. We understand that ease of mobility for South LA residents is crucial to their safety, quality of life and economic success.