Stories From The Streets: Walking To School In South LA

RANDY MANAL TAJ AND SADIQ on ASCS Campus 3.25.14

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It’s 7:20 on a brisk, sunny Monday morning in Crenshaw Manor. Brothers Taj and Sadiq check the velcro on their Hush Puppies and take one last look to make sure lunch pails and homework folders are tucked into their backpacks. Check. Off they go to the nearest Metro station, about a 12-minute walk. Many people walk in the neighborhood, so most days, Taj and Sadiq say hello to other walkers along the way.

If the car traffic on Coliseum Street isn’t too heavy and the lights at Crenshaw and Rodeo are just right, they’ll stroll up the platform just in time for the 7:40 train. They might even have an extra moment to find a penny someone’s left behind at the TAP machine. Some days they get stuck waiting for a lull in the steady stream of cars at an unmarked crosswalk at Coliseum or the light at Crenshaw won’t turn until they’ve seen the eastbound train bolt through the intersection. In that case, they wait for the 7:52 train. But, either way, the seven-minute train ride will get them to school well in time for their 8:05 bell.

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Street Vendors Can Help Make Great Streets

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(Photo Credit: Rudy Espinoza)

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Street vending is illegal in Los Angeles. This surprising fact is something that 40  L.A. organizations hope to change this year, thanks to a motion currently making its way through City Council.

Legalizing street vending will create thousands of jobs and bring healthier food into low-income food deserts through a proposed incentive program. It’s about  time that we embrace the thousands of vendors who are operating in the informal economy, many of them women who are chronically unemployed and in desperate need of income to support their families. They are not criminals; they are entrepreneurs.

But street vendors offer us more than just their food, they offer an example of how creativity and a people-centered approach to entrepreneurism can make L.A.’s streets safer and more pedestrian-friendly. Street vendors contribute to great streets.

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Help match our $25K donation!

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We are very excited to announce that Los Angeles Walks has received an anonymous end of year donation of $25,000! This donation is a HUGE step towards our goal of hiring a staff person in 2015. We are humbled by the generosity of this donor—THANK YOU!

As a volunteer run organization, we have been able to accomplishment a lot to date. However, we have some very big efforts in 2015 — like Vision Zero and addressing the hit and run epidemic — that need a lot of attention and time. We need to hire a staff person to move forward with this work.

Join us in honoring this anonymous donor by helping to match this donation. We challenge the rest of our friends, partners, and followers to donate $25, $250, or $2500. If we can raise another $25,000, we will be able to hire our first staff person to focus daily on our ongoing work. Until now, Los Angeles Walks has been entirely volunteer driven, and we need someone who can represent us at active transportation meetings and public hearings, organize walks and other fun events, communicate regularly with supporters like you. Your support will make the difference for our organization to build energy, constituency, and success.

We have seen many changes as the result of our efforts. Just last month, DOT installed a crosswalk at the unsafe intersection on Humboldt St. and Ave. 26!  We identified and reported that problem on our Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park walk, then DOT conducted a survey and fixed the problem. These actions matter and we need to make more of them to achieve our goals.

DONATE NOW TO MAKE OUR STREETS SAFE FOR ALL!!

Why isn’t there better pedestrian access to the Arroyo Seco?

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I started the DRY RIVER project to map out the legal and “homemade” entrances to the Arroyo Seco Bikeway as well as potential new points of access along the route.  As a resident of Highland Park, I commonly use the space for running, biking, and relaxing, however, I noticed several points of surprising oversight in its construction.

The Arroyo Seco Bikeway stretches through Northeast LA to South Pasadena winding beside the 110. It offers excellent pedestrian and bike only transportation through some of the largest parks in the region.  However, access to the bikeway is extremely limited by chain link fences lining each side.  Half of the entire bikeway does not have any access points as it runs alongside Ernest Debs Park and Hermon Park.

Opening access to the Arroyo Seco Bikeway opens access in NELA to parks and alternative transportation.  It is easy to add gates where there is fencing so that local residents can easily access the river.  As of now, NELA’s greatest alternative transit corridor is simply closed behind a chain link fence.

Read more about the project here!

-Jack Moreau

 

Become a Walk Ambassador!

B2gIDOPCcAE1aiRPassionate about your neighborhood, Los Angeles history, art, food, culture and walking? Then share your passion with the Los Angeles Walks community! We rely on passionate individuals to share their Los Angeles with us each month as Walk Ambassadors. Walk Ambassadors design and lead us on walks to explore the many diverse neighborhoods that make up the City of Los Angeles. Our walks range from being 1.5 miles to 10 and along the way we meet artists, residents, community leaders, and learn about the past, present and future of our communities.

Pitch your idea for a walk by submitting a completed Planning Your Walk form to hello@losangeleswalks.org. Walks need to be in the City of Los Angeles, but other than that there are no limits! Check out some of our 2014 walks by scrolling through our archives.

**Deadline extended through January 20**

Walk this Way, LA!

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We’re fundraising this week for an awesome new project we have in the works: a system of pedestrian wayfinding signage that gives information on walking times between different destinations to show connectivity between neighborhoods and change perceptions that many places are too far away to walk.

These signs are similar in concept to the Walk My City signs (walkyourcity.org), but we intend to create a visual language for our signs that references the eclectic hand-painted signs found all around Los Angeles, which is a visual language more inviting and more specific to LA. Two professional sign painters who love our work have offered to help us with the designs.

We are funding the project through an ioby crowdsourced campaign, with matching funds from Transit Center.

Please donate before Thursday, October 23rd at 11:59 p.m! Every dollar you donate will be matched by Transit Center, so your donation will help us 2-fold!

 

Apply to become a Los Angeles Walks Steering Committee Member!

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We’re expanding the Los Angeles Walks Steering Committee with up to five more members. Apply today to be considered! While we’re looking for any Angelenos who are interested in making LA more safe, accessible, fun and equitable for walkers, we would especially like to expand our geographic diversity and will be prioritizing candidates that live in South LA, East LA, West LA, and the Valley. We also strongly encourage people who speak Spanish and other languages to join our efforts and help us reach new communities.

Fill out our application here and follow the directions to submit it to us by Friday, September 19. Thanks so much, and we can’t wait to welcome some new voices to our team!

Union Station getting its much deserved makeover

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While policy makers and planners beefed up transportation options at Union Station with the addition of the Gold Line station and FlyAway bus, they neglected to make it a desirable location for travelers to use as a central transfer point. Now coming, a new terminal, train track redesign, and green public plaza will likely change everything you know about the station. With restaurants, outdoor seating, trees and flowers, Union Station is about to become your favorite pitstop on the way to anywhere in the city.

However, what might be most important in the upcoming development is the centralized focus on pedestrian and bike access to the station. Next up: The Regional Connector. By connecting Downtown together under a simple and efficient underground rail, several very critical gaps will be closed in the transportation loops. We can hardly wait to watch the city change.

Building Safe and Healthy Streets with Vision Zero

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LA Walks has partnered with LA Streetsblog and Place It on an LA2050 proposal in search of support for our Vision Zero campaign. Vision Zero aims to decrease fatalities and injuries from vehicle crashes to as close to zero as possible. Unsafe streets kill hundreds and injure thousands, thus discouraging residents from biking and walking in their neighborhoods. As part of this proposal, LA Walks will conduct community workshops, local walks, media coverage, and policy advocacy as a means to educate and build support for vision zero policies. Vote for us today!

Vision Zero policies will benefit large populations and regions of Los Angeles by making streets safer and encouraging active transport. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 5-14 and the second overall cause for people aged 15-44. More support for non-car based infrastructure and development can decrease these fatalities and encourage more active transportation. More biking and walking will reduce obesity rates and air pollution further making our cities healthier places to live. Safer streets directly benefit low-income families (who are more likely to live in areas with busy roads) that either do not own a car or suffer from high transportation costs due to their necessity of a car. Furthermore, women and elderly who currently are less likely to bicycle due to discomfort riding in fast and dangerous traffic are expected to bicycle at greater rates with Vision Zero policies.

We can only accomplish a #VisionZero goal with your help. You can vote for our proposal until September 16, so vote for us today and help us spread the word!

Hooray for People St: New parklets and plazas announced

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Congratulations to People St! Three plazas and four parklets supported through the LADOT’s program will find new homes in communities parched for the space in an effort to strengthen communities, build business, and improve health. We’ve seen how the first four pilot parklets in Highland Park, El Sereno and Downtown have provided pedestrian space for these communities. This time the lucky winners are North Hollywood, Pacoima, Palms, Pacific Palisades, Downtown, and Leimert Park.

These projects can have very profound effects on communities because they offer a special destination for community members and businesses to congregate. If we can gain more support for these projects then we can ensure that every community has public space to visit! Read more and check out the proposals at Curbed LA, and if your neighborhood didn’t get picked, don’t worry, there’s another application window opening on October 1.