Los Angeles Walks Congratulates CD4 Councilmember-elect David Ryu

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Los Angeles Walks congratulates David Ryu on his victory in yesterday’s Council District 4 election

As LA’s pedestrian safety advocacy organization, Los Angeles Walks has been strongly advocating for the two-sidewalk option (known as “Option 3″) for the improvement project planned for the Hyperion Bridge. Although it is only one bridge in a city of many, the Hyperion Bridge renovation is critical as this project will set a precedent — and the proposed design fails to serve all users in the City of Los Angeles. We are pleased that Councilmember-elect Ryu, who counts the bridge in his council district, supports Option 3.

During the campaign, the Councilmember-elect showed himself to be a strong supporter of making our streets safer for all road users. On the eve of the election, Ryu even sent his campaign manager to a Board of Public Works hearing to fight for more sidewalk space on the future Glendale-Hyperion Complex of Bridges.

Ryu’s campaign gave this testimony for the Hyperion Bridge:

“I am writing to you to express my strong support for “Option 3″ for the Glendale Boulevard-Hyperion Avenue Complex of Bridges Improvement Project. I first expressed my support for  “Option 3″ at a Democrats for Neighborhood Action (DNA) meeting because this option would maintain 2 sidewalks and buffered bike lanes on both sides, all while improving traffic flow. This option has wide community support and many dedicated community members have been working for over a year and a half on this issue. From sidewalk access for students walking to school, to families seeking to travel by foot to local businesses, I believe “Option 3″ is the best option to help meet the mobility needs of our community…I stand with both the Silver Lake and Los Feliz Neighborhood Councils and support the need to save the sidewalk on this historic bridge.”

How you can help

Please join us congratulating Councilmember-elect Ryu on his victory and thanking him for his support and leadership on the bridge project so far.
Email: info@davidryu.com  |  Twitter: @davideryu


Some updates on Hyperion Bridge from the news this week:

Can LA Make “Great Streets” If the Mayor Won’t Stand Up for Good Design? (Streetsblog)

Making LA walkable? Hyperion bridge remake brings only one sidewalk
  (KPCC)

Silver Lake and Atwater Village Getting New Pedestrian/Bike Bridge Over the LA River  (Curbed)

To Road Diet or Not on Glendale-Hyperion Bridge
(KCET)

Call to Action: Please join Los Angeles Walks and other Complete Streets advocates to champion Save our Sidewalk on the Glendale-Hyperion Complex of Bridges

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Please come out and show your support this Friday:
Public Hearing on Friday May 15th 10:00 AM 
Los Angeles City Hall
Board of Public Works Session Room
Room 350
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE THE HEARING ON FRIDAY PLEASE EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS AND LETTERS TO:

Elinor.Mondok@lacity.org, Fernando.Campos@lacity.org, Geraldine.Rodriguez@lacity.org, Heather.Repenning@lacity.org, Kevin.James@lacity.org, Matt.Szabo@lacity.org, Mike.Davis@lacity.org, Monica.Rodriguez@lacity.org, Shelley.Wong@lacity.org, Teri.Schmidt@lacity.org

PLEASE CITE PROJECT TITLE

Glendale Blvd-Hyperion Avenue Complex of Bridges Improvement Project


PLEASE COPY YOUR EMAILS TO LOS ANGELES WALKS AT
hello@losangeleswalks.org

Following the Press Conference today by Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Tom LaBonge regarding the Red Car Trolley Bridge over the Los Angeles River and the release of the Bureau of Engineering Staff Report to the Board of Public Works, we have been made aware that the City of Los Angeles proposes to move forward with a bridge design that includes a sidewalk only on one side of the Hyperion Avenue portion of the Complex of Bridges (Option 1). This proposal disregards the 6-3 vote by the O’Farrell and LaBonge-appointed Community Advisory Committee which supported Option 3 with sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, as there are currently (see photo below).

The councilmembers  presented the Red Car Trolley bridge as a solution to the Option 1 design with only one sidewalk. However, Los Angeles Walks and the other Complete Streets advocates recognize that the trolley bridge only provides connections between the two sides of the river and does not connect the Silver Lake/Los Feliz communities with the Atwater community as the trolley bridge is at a different elevation and does not provide people with disabilities safe access.

Your support to Save our Sidewalk is critical as the design of this bridge will set a precedent for the design of bridges and streets in the City of Los Angeles for years to come.


 

Los Angeles Walks joins neighborhood councils, small business owners, parents, principals and residents to call on the City of Los Angeles to preserve sidewalks on both sides of the Hyperion Avenue Viaduct between Atwater Village and Silver Lake. At the request of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the Bureau of Engineering convened a Citizens Advisory Committee to study alternatives that would enhance the safety, accessibility and mobility benefits of the bridge retrofit project. This committee voted 6-3 to recommend an option that would preserve two sidewalks, add bike lanes and calm traffic driving into Atwater Village by reducing an extra lane that is not needed to maintain traffic flow. With the community-supported “Option 3,” the bridge can support wheelchair-accessible sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, new protected bike lanes and business-friendly traffic speeds on Atwater Village’s main street.

The community’s support for Option 3 is overwhelming. Businesses and organizations have written over 150 letters of support and more than 1,200 stakeholders have signed petitions in favor of Option 3. In addition, the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council and Silver Lake Neighborhood Council both voted unanimously to support Option 3. Both Council District 4 candidates, Carolyn Ramsay and David Ryu, have pledged support for Option 3 as well.

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Option 3 Conceptual Design Sketch from Enrich LA

 

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“Everybody walks, but not everybody drives. The City of Los Angeles shouldn’t build a bridge that only allows you to walk on one side of the bridge. Without both sidewalks, pedestrians—children, students, seniors, the disabled, parents with strollers and everyone else—would have to walk, roll or be pushed almost a 1/2 mile, over 2200 feet, over a 12-minute walk (up to Glenfeliz Blvd, across Glendale Blvd and back) to get to destinations on the other side of the street like Red Car Park,” said Deborah Murphy, Executive Director of Los Angeles Walks. “If a driver was detoured this far out of their way, the City would never find that acceptable and they should not find it acceptable to require pedestrians of all abilities and disabilities to go that far out of their way just to make connections in their community.”

Los Angeles Walks is thrilled that Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Tim La Bonge have plans for a permanent pedestrian and bike bridge over the Los Angeles River on the Red Car Trolley tiers that will connect the north and south sides of the river, but it does not replace the need for a ‘Complete Street’ bridge on Hyperion Avenue that will truly connect our communities for all users.

With so many pedestrian-friendly policies and plans in place for the City of Los Angeles, now is the time to ensure our most long-lasting infrastructure reflects the forward-thinking values of our community. The new Hyperion Bridge will last over 100 years. Los Angeles Walks hopes that the City makes people walking this project’s top priority, by preserving and enhancing the sidewalks on this beautiful and historic structure.

 DOWNLOAD FULL PRESS PACKET HERE

Download BOE Staff Report

Download BOE Agenda

Excerpts from community support letters in favor of Option 3:

“Please let’s not take a step “backwards” and consider anything other than sidewalks and bike lanes on BOTH sides of the Hyperion Bridge.” – Gareth & Christine Kantner, owners of Sunset Junction Center & Cafe Stella

“…in a presentation to the citizen’s advisory committee, the City showed the results of its technical study, which analyzes how the different options can be expected to perform and Option #3 not only improves traffic flow, but is the only one to do so.” – Ava Bromberg, Senior Vice President Business Development, Atwater Crossing

“Please make sure that the historic Hyperion bridge keeps BOTH sidewalks, has bike lanes on both sides and crosswalks at the base so that the future generations can get to the L.A. River from our part of town safely with their families young and old…Any loss in commute time will be worth the unprecedented safe access to the L.A. River that people will gain.” – Jim Ferraro, owner of Dresden Restaurant in Los Feliz

“A large part of our children and students’ development occurs in our neighborhood and it is crucial that

we create a safe neighborhood where our families and children feel comfortable exploring, learning and

growing. The burgeoning Los Angeles River continues to develop into a beautiful recreational and

artistic learning space — one to which our children and families must have safe access. We must keep both sidewalks on the bridge in order to provide our children and families safe access between Atwater Village and Silverlake, whether they be walking, jogging or getting pushed in a stroller or wheelchair.” – Executive Board, Friends of Atwater Elementary School

“Right now, only a small percentage of Atwater Village and Silver Lake residents venture into the other neighborhood except by car. This is tragic.” – Dustin Lancaster, owner of Eastside Establishment Inc., which owns 8 local restaurants, 4 of which are within a few miles of Hyperion bridge

“Bike lanes and sidewalks spanning the Hyperion Bridge would encourage people to spend time in Atwater, enjoy its life and culture…rather than just driving through it…Keeping sidewalks on both sides [of Hyperion bridge] allows for the special vantage point of the L.A. River, an amenity and destination in and of itself that Golden Road wholeheartedly endorses.” – Tony Yarrow, owner of Golden Road Brewery in Atwater Village

“The first thing I noticed about our customers was how many chose to walk or bike to get their morning coffee…keeping BOTH sidewalks…[and] bike lanes in BOTH directions [is] the only option that truly considers the future of our city and the incalculable potential it has yet to unlock. The loss of a single lane heading into Atwater is unequivocally miniscule by comparison.” – Alexander Mirecki, owner of Kaldi Coffee in Atwater Village

“Atwater Village has a thriving community of young people. Many of these students have to walk or bike to school over Hyperion Bridge. We feel it is vitally important to keep both sidewalks on the bridge…” – Executive Board, Friends of Glenfeliz Elementary School

“The success and growth of our studios depends on these neighborhoods [Atwater Village and Silver Lake] being as walkable and livable as possible.” – David Trumfio, owner of Kingsize Soundlabs in Atwater Village

“My business, LA Sports Acupuncture, is located on Glendale Blvd in Atwater Village, where it has been for the last 6 years. For the last 17 years, I have lived on Monon St., just off of Hyperion…For the past few years, I have chosen to ride a bicycle rather than drive for a great deal of my commuting. This decision has increased my quality of life…Riding my bike down the Hyperion Bridge is generally fun, but there are times when I am frightened…As a cyclist, a health practitioner, and a business owner…I am unequivocally in support of Option 3 for the redesign of the Hyperion Bridge.” – Jorga Houy, owner of LA Sports Acupuncture in Atwater Village

“I am a business owner in Los Feliz and a father…I live on Rowena just down the street from Hyperion Bridge. My son is 6 years old and one day I want to be able to get to the LA River on our bikes or by walking safely. Let’s not leave my son a world in which using your own two feet is not a protected form of transportation…Please support Option 3.” – Nicolas Hipolito, Macho’s Tacos in Los Feliz

“Preserving a sidewalk on both sides of Hyperion Bridge and installing wide, buffered bicycle lanes are crucial to attaining safe and convenient access to our neighborhoods.” – Jesse Rogg, President & Producer, Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake

“I am very well aware that traffic can get backed up [around Hyperion bridge], but I believe part of the solution to that is to do everything in our power to encourage as many people as possible to seek out alternative transportation methods…it is incumbent on us…to encourage the flow of foot traffic into our local businesses.” – Emiliana Dore, President of Friends of Glenfeliz Elementary & long-term Atwater resident

“As advocates, as residents, as property owners and as business operators, we ask that you join us in advocating for a more livable Los Angeles with significantly improved access to our Los Angeles River and pedestrian-scaled connectivity between our communities and we request that you support Option #3 at a minimum for the future of the Hyperion Bridge.” – Kevin Mulcahy, AIA, Managing Partner, RAC Design Build, Inc. in Elysian Valley

“As a current automobile commuter, I cross the bridge every weekday morning and evening…I currently walk the Hyperion Bridge every weekend…Maintaining sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, adding bike lanes and providing pedestrian crosswalks are all vital…” – Mark Motonaga, co-owner of The Kitchen in Silver Lake & Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios

“…Customers with dogs on leash and children that visit my shop have often inquired about a safer alternative to cross the [Hyperion] bridge. My response has always been “By car!”. It is unfortunate that currently there is no safe way of crossing the bridge by foot, thus, negatively affecting our business.” – Jacob Gonzales, owner of Woof Dog Boutique in Atwater Village.

LA will invest $1 billion in new sidewalks

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After several years of litigation the City of Los Angeles agreed to fix the city’s broken sidewalks and ensure accessibility and safety for all. This legal agreement represents the largest disability payout in the country. The settlement calls for a citywide sidewalk repair plan and spending over $1 billion in funds to fix and improve sidewalks throughout the city (see LA Times and Legal Aid Society coverage and analysis).

Next steps include developing a work plan and prioritization of efforts. Right now the City has over $27 million in approved budgeted funds to get started on this work this year. The source of transportation funds for this work beyond the initial $27 million has not yet been identified. The city is also creating a position to monitor the work and will draft reports on its progress twice yearly.

In order to leverage the funds for this scale of infrastructure rehab (over 10,000 miles of sidewalks within the city), an inventory and prioritization process is needed to develop a citywide strategic plan. The data collected and metrics used will enable articulation of detailed costs and an implementation program. Social equity and public health data will need to be critical parts of the performance metrics process to ensure the best outcomes for the highest needs communities in the City. Having a solid strategic plan will enable the city to compete for federal, state and regional transportation funds to complete the infrastructure repair.

Project delivery, transparency and coordination with other Citywide transportation projects will be critical for the sidewalk repair program. 30 years seems like a long time to wait to fix the city’s broken sidewalks, and this process should be accelerated to be completed within 10-15 years. Metro’s 30/10 program offers an example of how this could be done.

However, the City of Los Angeles struggles with delivering transportation projects in timely manner. During the October 2014 Street Transportation Project Oversight Committee and Transportation Committee meetings (audio of meeting, discussion at 58 minute mark), staff discussed the current backlog of safe routes to school, walking, and bicycling projects. This backlog of projects, totaling close to 1/4 of a billion dollars, is waiting for delivery by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Bureau of Street Services (BSS). These are combination of federal, state, and Metro grant funds that the city has been awarded but has not yet implemented.

It is exciting to see the City of Los Angeles ready to fix its broken sidewalks and focus on improving multi-modal travel as seen in the draft mobility plan and DOT strategic plan, but it is critical that the funding and efficient project delivery becomes aligned with these policies goals.

—Jessica Meaney, Investing in Place

Photo via @sidewalksinla

How to Make Walking Better in Your Neighborhood

Photo by LA Times

Photo by LA Times

By Marc Caswell – Pedestrian advocate and transportation policy expert. Download 311 at lacity.org/myLA311 

From our 2014 report Footnotes: A Report On the State of Walking in LA. Donate to get a printed copy. Special thanks to Melendréz for funding the printing of our 2015 Footnotes report. Read more from Footnotes.

311 is a walker’s best friend

While Los Angeles Walks continues to push for large-scale changes across the City, we need you to help make sure the City is aware of needed repairs and improvements in your neighborhood. The City of L.A. has launched 311—a one-stop customer service program where residents can let the City know what they need, and we want to make sure better walking infrastructure is a top issue.

To get started, you can dial “311” on your phone or go to lacity.org/myLA311. If you have a smartphone, you can download the MyLA311 app.

So, what walking improvements can you request with 311? 

Curb ramps: If you see an intersection crossing that doesn’t have a curb ramp, be sure to include not only the intersection but which corner specifically.

Uneven pavement: If there is a broken sidewalk or some other defect that could cause someone to trip, be sure to note the nearest address.

Blocked sidewalks: If there is garbage or a plant that is making walking on the sidewalk difficult, you can report the offending address to 311.

Crosswalk repairs and installations: If crosswalk paint is faded (or was never painted), snap a photo to make your report more clear.

Signal timing: Federal law require all traffic lights to have a pedestrian countdown that is white for at least three seconds, and then flashes red for at least one second for every four feet of street width.
If the timing seems too quick, you can report it.

Broken streetlights: If you notice a damaged or missing streetlight, you can easily request a repair.

To get your issue prioritized higher, identify these repairs as a “hazard.” Once the city is made aware of a dangerous condition, there is a greater legal urgency to fix it if it can help them avoid lawsuits. So, by mentioning that it is a hazard, you can expedite your request. While the City might not act upon your requests immediately, it’s important to show the demand for better walking conditions by making as many requests as we can. Thanks for your help!

Stories from the Streets: Remembering My Cousin Marlene

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By Andy Martinez – Board Member of Multicultural Communities for Mobility, find more at multicultimobility.org

From our 2014 report Footnotes: A Report On the State of Walking in LA. Donate to get a printed copy. Special thanks to Melendréz for funding the printing of our 2015 Footnotes report. Read more from Footnotes.

On Valentine’s Day, when people normally spend time with their loved ones, I received the terrible news that my cousin Marlene Barrera was killed by a driver in a crosswalk at the intersection of Bronson and Fountain across from Le Conte Middle School. As my cousin and her nine-year-old daughter walked into the crosswalk, the driver of the big rig truck sped through a stop sign into the intersection. Her maternal instincts immediately came into play, and she pushed her daughter out of the way to protect her from the oncoming truck.

The dangerous intersection now serves as a memorial site where many of the parents’ biggest fears came to reality. Right now, the daughter is experiencing intense trauma from witnessing the death of her mother. It has impacted her to the point where she can hardly speak. She directs the very few words she does manage to say to her grandmother: “When is Mom coming back?”

Emotionally, it has taken a toll on me, and I feel regret for not having seen her as much during the last few years. My extended family, including Marlene and I, lived together in the early 90s in MacArthur Park after they had recently immigrated to the U.S. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are playing with her when I was four years old.

The intersection currently lacks a traffic light or significant safety design. Parents had been pleading with the City of Los Angeles for years to get a crossing guard but the City claimed there weren’t sufficient financial resources. Parents became discouraged after such a minimal response and disappointed that their families’ safety wasn’t considered a priority. Parents of Le Conte students I have spoken to after the tragedy now refuse to let their children walk by themselves to school because of the
fatal collision.

Last year, as an active board member with Multicultural Communities for Mobility, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering low-income cyclists, pedestrian, and transit users, I spearheaded several pedestrian and bicycle safety workshops throughout L.A. County. Only five months ago, I planned a pedestrian safety workshop right here in Hollywood.

This is why I feel ever more determined to seek justice for low-income pedestrians. We have met with Council Member Mitch O’Farrell’s office and are working to both rectify the intersection and look at citywide legislation to improve safety for pedestrians.

 

Los Angeles Pedestrian Bill of Rights, 1987

car in crosswalkLos Angeles City Council file Number 87-2261 S4, dated December 18th, 1987

My, how far L.A. walkers have come—or have we?

“In the City of Radials, it’s nothing short of radical” claimed LA Times writer Patt Morrison in 1987 after the “Pedestrian Bill of Rights” was first declared by two councilmen. 27 years later, we’re still fighting for many of these basic pedestrian rights.

Improving streets is an ongoing process between many partners. It is important that we do not miss the mark on safe street designs. Strong policies and leaders will help us realize the rights granted to all walkers in Los Angeles decades ago.

Los Angeles City Council file Number 87-2261, dated December 18th, 1987

MOVE that Council adopts the following statements as the “pedestrian Bill of Rights” for Los Angeles

The People of Los Angeles have the right to:

  1. Safe roads and safe places to cross the street
  2. Pedestrian-oriented building facades, trees, flower stands, trash cans, awnings, etc.
  3. Safe and comfortable bus stops and public
  4. Transit stations
  5. Appealing use of landscaping and available
  6. Open space
  7. Full notification of all street widening that impinge on public open space and sidewalks
  8. Access to streets and buildings for disabled people
  9. Clean surroundings, requiring removal of graffiti and advertisements from public property
  10. Have needs of pedestrians considered as heavily as the needs of drivers
  11. Public works of Art

FURTHER MOVE that City departments use this pedestrian Bill of rights of Way to evaluate the needs in future decisions

From our 2014 report Footnotes: A Report On the State of Walking in LA. Donate to get a printed copy. Special thanks to Melendréz for funding the printing of our 2015 Footnotes report. 

Mapping LA’s Pedestrian Collisions

Map researched and designed by Rosten Woo – an artist, designer, writer, and educator in Los Angeles. 

Safe streets bring positivity to our communities. Currently, 20-25% of all trips taken are on foot or bicycle, but they account for 39% of fatalities and only 1% of funding. Take a look at some of the most dangerous streets in our city and help us build the solutions for a SAFE city.

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Click to enlarge.

From our 2014 report Footnotes: A Report On the State of Walking in LA. Donate to get a printed copy. Special thanks to Melendréz for funding the printing of our 2015 Footnotes report. 

Map: The Worst Intersections for Pedestrians – LAist

Mapping LA’s Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Curbed LA 

Confessions of a Ped

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D.J. Waldie is the author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir and Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles among other books. His essays on the politics and history of Los Angeles appear weekly at KCET.org. Portions of these pieces, in a substantially different form, were originally posted to KCET.

Place. The other day while walking to mass, I crossed the cement apron that leads out of the alley behind the houses on Clark Avenue. I’ve crossed the alley from the time I was a boy and through the 32 years I walked to work following my father’s death.

But this time, a sheet of water—probably leaking from a backyard hose—spilled across the concrete.

For the first time, I noticed that inscribed in the concrete were names, but almost worn smooth. Children had written awkwardly, haphazardly in the wet concrete but with respect for each other. Their names didn’t overlap.

The loose water had brought out the faint letters.

I’m not inattentive. The qualities of the everyday interest me. Yet here were persistent marks of lives that had neighbored mine for years and which I had never seen, would never have seen except for the contingencies of that moment.

I stopped. Continue reading

People St. Invites Communities to Reimagine Streets Across L.A.

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Valerie Watson is the Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles. For more information on People St visit peoplest.lacity.org or e-mail peoplest@lacity.org.

Bring plazas, parklets, and bicycle corrals to life in your neighborhood through this new citywide program

Are you interested in ways to make your neighborhood better for people walking, bicycling and taking transit? Is the street you spend time on challenged by narrow sidewalks, fast-moving vehicles, or a lack of nice places to linger, meet a friend, read a book, check your email, have a coffee, sit with your charming canine companion, or people watch?

We ultimately want to bring permanent physical changes to our streets that address mobility, quality of life and public space accessibility issues within our communities. Typically, we think about our local government and elected officials initiating big projects to create public space opportunities, like neighborhood parks with grass and trees, or streetscape plans and road diets with physical infrastructure. However, these types of projects can sometimes take years—even decades—to come to fruition. The funding required is nothing to sneeze at, involving hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars. At the same time, neighbors don’t always agree on improvements like sidewalk bump-outs or cycletracks for bike riders. Pouring concrete is permanent, and we all know people sometimes don’t like change. Continue reading

Sign the Step in the Right Direction

PeopleStWebsiteGraphicWalking is the active solution to a safe, accessible, fun, and equitable city. Everyday freeways are set in gridlock emitting noxious fumes and make the need for immediate change more apparent. The February 2015 report prepared by UC Berkeley and UCLA, found that transportation causes nearly 40% of the carbon emissions. However, 90% of California’s state budget is currently invested into highway development. As of now, CA’s spending is in direct conflict with its environmental goals.

SIGN THIS PETITION TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION

Increasing the budget for active transportation will provide the critical resources that will actually improve air quality, health, and happiness in our communities. 1 in 5 trips in CA are already on foot or by bike; if you design for pedestrians, then you get more pedestrians. There is no more time to invest in highways, we must take the steps to mitigate these problems.