It was another year of incredible advances for Los Angeles walkers. From the mayor’s Great Streets initiative, to a month-long celebration of Walktober, to three (yes, THREE!) WalkLAvias, we saw more walkers than ever on our streets. Of course, we’ve still got a long way to go: A hit-and-run epidemic is still plaguing our city and the current jaywalking crackdown by LAPD is a horribly misguided attempt to make our streets safer. Want to help us work to make L.A. a better place for walkers? Support us and get involved in 2014!
Mayor Garcetti announces the Great Streets Initiative: On 10/10/10—two years to the date after the first CicLAvia—Mayor Garcetti introduced his first Executive Directive, a plan to create 40 “Great Streets” focusing on enhanced pedestrian activity and access across the city. We couldn’t have been more excited about this announcement, which shows the city’s commitment to its walkers. He even included a photo of Los Angeles Walks in his presentation!
KCET debuts City Walk: We were thrilled to learn about City Walk, a new public television show on KCET that traveled to different cities across the country covering stories about walking and walkability. We were especially thrilled when Los Angeles Walks was featured on the show as part of a segment on our Westside WalkLAvia!
Pedestrians got counted: For the second time in three years, pedestrians were counted as part of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Bike and Ped Count. Los Angeles Walks proudly partnered with LACBC for the initiative, which will provide a more complete picture of where people are walking and how the city can better serve them.
L.A. celebrated Walktober: October was great for walking in L.A. as we and many other groups around the city worked together on a month-long series of Walktober events. We kicked off the month with a day of action as our walking superheroes took to the streets to protect pedestrians, coordinated four Walktoberfest events with different walking groups around the city, and partnered with LADOT and LAUSD for the city’s first coordinated Walk to School Day. Also during Walktober, the first national walking summit convened walking leaders in D.C. We can’t wait until next year!
LADOT prioritized safe routes to school: As one of the first initiatives of the city’s new pedestrian coordinators, LADOT prioritized the concept of creating safe routes to schools for all 495 schools around the city. Working closely with many partners, the city will make sure that streets and sidewalks are redesigned to be more accessible and equitable to all families, helping more kids stay healthy and safe as they walk to school.
Pedestrian-Enhanced Districts added to the Mobility Element: The City’s Departments of Planning and Transportation worked together this year to revise the city’s Mobility Element, coming up with new ways for using streets and moving around L.A. Recommendations now include some pedestrian-enhanced districts, where walkers and their needs will be prioritized over vehicles.
Pharrell’s Happy showed walking all over L.A.: This 24-hour music video (which claims to be the first-ever 24-hour music video) features 400 Angelenos dancing their way through L.A. to Pharrell’s irresistible track. But it’s also a 24-hour movie of people using the streets, sidewalks, parks, and train stations across the city, highlighting the fact that walking in L.A. is a beautiful act, indeed.
3 CicLAvias = 3 WalkLAvias: When the city gave us three CicLAvias, we responded with three WalkLAvias! As the streets were opened to walkers and bikers, we organized three large group walks—Westside, Wilshire, and Heart of LA—which connected Angelenos to their city and introduced them to different neighborhoods. Here’s to many more CicLAvias in 2014… will we have four???
The L.A. River got serious love: This was a big year for the river, from being actually named a “river,” to the kayaking program in the Glendale Narrows, to an ambitious proposal to complete all 51 miles of bike and ped path by 2020. A walkable river with access to green space means a more walkable future for the city and we can’t wait to see what the next year holds. We took a stroll along the river to talk about its future and called for stronger pedestrian connections for the redesigned Hyperion Bridge.
re:code.LA launches to change the city’s outdated zoning: One important component of a more walkable city are enacting better laws to govern that city. Kudos to the city for launching re:code.la, a five year effort to update its zoning code, which hasn’t been fully revised since 1946. Another bonus: the Planning Department named Los Angeles Walks steering committee member Mark Vallianatos to the advisory group which will help them shape new zoning rules.
Los Angeles Walks launched our Hey I’m Walking Here! campaign: Thanks to you, we raised $13,000 and plenty of awareness for our new campaign to make L.A. streets safer, accessible and more fun. Keep an eye out for more events, opportunities for action, and our State of Walking publication early next year!
People St. will bring L.A. more parklets and plazas: The opening of four parklets earlier this year was just the beginning: LADOT announced the formation of People St., a new initiative that allows neighborhoods to design and implement their own parklets, street plazas and bike corrals that will increase pedestrian activity and make walkers feel more welcome. While People St. won’t launch until early next year, we’re already excited for the way it will change the city.
Two LA Walks steering committee members are nominated for Streetsie Awards: We were thrilled to learn just last week that two of our steering committee members are nominated for annual awards from Los Angeles Streetsblog! Jessica Meaney is nominated for Advocate of the Year and Alissa Walker is nominated for Journalist of the Year. Now they need your votes to win: Vote for them here by January 3!
Happy New Year to all and see you in 2014! Want to look back at how far we’ve come? Check out the best things to happen to L.A. walkers in 2012!