Want to become a Walk Ambassador? Join us at our first planning meeting

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Get involved with Los Angeles Walks this year by leading walks around LA. We’re looking for a few super passionate walkers to help us organize one walk a month to explore a different part of the City of Los Angeles.

If you love your neighborhood, want to share your knowledge of LA and LA history, or want to share hidden gems, staircases, waterways and other treasures you’ve encountered while walking our marvelous city, then this is the meeting for you!

At this meeting you’ll help us plan our 2014 walk calendar. We’ll provide an overview on how to lead a group walk and then we’ll work together to help plan each walk we’ll be hosting in 2014.

This is your opportunity to get involved in helping Los Angeles Walks grow!

Walk Ambassador Meeting
Tuesday, February 4th
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
the HUB LA
830 Traction Ave #3a
Los Angeles, CA 90013

See who’s coming and invite others on Facebook

See you there!

Show your support for MyFigueroa on 1/28

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The City Council Planning & Land Use Committee is considering MyFigueroa, a proposed complete streets project in downtown and South LA which includes the city’s first protected bike lane. As the city’s first cycletrack, there is some fear-based opposition to change, which can only be overcome if those that believe in LA’s future turn out!

MyFigueroa will transforms an auto-dominated corridor and balances it with transit, bike and pedestrian features. It is the first of Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s Great Streets. If this project is successful, we could see streets all across Los Angeles transformed to better meet the needs of all who travel on them.

Figueroa is particularly important because it connects so many of LA’s great institutions: Expo Park, the Coliseum, the California Science Center, USC, Staples Center & LA Live and all of downtown Los Angeles. These destinations are spread over three miles of currently inhospitable streets. They are too far apart to walk, but perfect for riding a bike. The new Expo Light Rail Line has made getting around by transit so much easier along this corridor, but the last-mile connections would be incomplete without the MyFigueroa project.

Almost all other major cities in the U.S. have successfully implemented protected bike lanes along major thoroughfares, giving people mobility options and improving local business with every project. We know that it will work here in LA too, and we’re incredibly excited that South LA will be the first community to benefit from this investment in advanced bicycle infrastructure.

We need you! If you want to see better bikeways and complete streets in your community, we need to make sure that the first Great Street in Los Angeles is a success. Please join us:

Support MyFigueroa at the PLUM Committee meeting
Tuesday, January 28
2:30pm

LA City Hall, Room 350
200 N. Spring Street
Downtown LA

See who’s coming and invite others on Facebook

You can also email committee members at these addresses:
To: Councilmember.Huizar@lacity.org, Councilmember.Cedillo@lacity.org, Councilmember.Englander@lacity.org
CC: Councilmember.Price@lacity.org
BCC: alek@la-bike.org

LA Walks, Clínica Msr. Oscar A. Romero and Univision’s Unete al Reto

Standing: Noe Castillo, Lidia Castillo, Erika Flores, Mario, Tilza Castillo, Louis Vasquez and Marcos Bedolla. Kneeling: Deborah Murphy, Erik Al and Rebecca Pleitz.

Standing: Noe Castillo, Lidia Castillo, Erika Flores, Mario, Tilza Castillo, Louis Vasquez and Marcos Bedolla. Bottom Row: Deborah Murphy, Erik Al and Rebecca Pleitz.

Los Angeles Walks estaba encantada de unirse a Univision Unete al Reto de acogida Erika Flores, Rebecca Pleitez de Clínica Msr. Oscar A. Romero, Entrenador Marcos Bedolla para hablar de los beneficios de caminar.

A caminar al menos 20 minutos diarios. Ayuda al cerebro, corazon, huesos y evita estres. Vea las imágenes de la entrevista y filmación haciendo clic aquí. Univision gracias!

En Ingles: Los Angeles Walks was thrilled to join Univision Unete al Reto host Erika Flores, Rebecca Pleitez from Clínica Msr. Oscar A. Romero, and trainer Marcos Bedolla to talk about the benefits of walking.

A walk at least 20 minutes daily. Helps the brain, heart, bones and avoid stress. See pictures from the interview and filming by clicking here. Thanks Univision!

Call to Action: Prioritizing pedestrian safety in Los Angeles

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Yesterday, Mayor Garcetti’s driver, a Los Angeles Police Department officer, struck a pedestrian at the corner of 2nd and Spring, in downtown Los Angeles. The pedestrian, a 60-year-old woman, was alert and responsive when taken to a nearby hospital, where her condition is stable. The Los Angeles Times (whose headquarters are located at the intersection) posted security footage showing the collision.

As Angelenos are well aware, LAPD has been citing people with $197 tickets for crossing the street after the countdown signal has started, instead of addressing the thousands of violations that occur every day when drivers encroach on a crosswalk while pedestrians are present. In a single day of walking around downtown, we saw drivers routinely block the crosswalk, causing pedestrians who have a walk signal to have to walk around the cars.

In fact, this morning, at the very same intersection where the collision occurred, we saw this SUV blocking the crosswalk in a similar manner.

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Los Angeles Walks calls on Mayor Garcetti to convene a high-level working group of leadership from his office, LAPD, the City Attorney’s office, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Works, the Bureau of Street Services, the Department of Planning, and pedestrian advocates and community leaders to address pedestrian safety issues citywide by developing and implementing a City of Los Angeles Pedestrian Safety Action Plan to improve street design and address enforcement issues. In 2010, there were over 219 fatal collisions on our streets, 100 of those deaths were pedestrians. This is a significant public safety issue for all Angelenos.

We’ve seen leadership in the city among policymakers, community-based organizations, and local neighborhoods to support a safer and more walkable Los Angeles. We call on the Mayor to make this a priority by committing funds to this effort and making it central to his Great Streets initiative. We are thankful for Mayor Garcetti’s leadership as a Council member to create two pedestrian positions in the Fall of 2012, (when the city’s first ever dedicated pedestrian staffers at the Department of Transportation started), but we now need him to expand this effort and provide adequate resources and prioritization for these efforts.

“Now is the time for all good women, men and elected officials to come to the aid of pedestrians in Los Angeles by allocating more funding, more staff and more attention to the safety of our city streets for all users,” says Deborah Murphy, Executive Director of Los Angeles Walks. “The City of Los Angeles has funding to complete a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan but has yet to initiate the project. We must act now to assure that we have safe and great streets in Los Angeles. As we have counted on Mayor Garcetti in the past to provide strong leadership on pedestrian issues, we need him more than ever to walk the talk and provide the funding and staff to implement pedestrian safety measures that truly change how we all operate on our streets.”

We propose the following steps to increase safety citywide:

1. Fund the development of a robust Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, to be completed by December 2014. This Plan should include the following recommendations that have been shown to decrease pedestrian-related collisions:

  • Provide a pedestrian head start phase to signals, especially in high pedestrian traffic areas such as Downtown, Hollywood, near major transit stations and stops, schools, and commercial centers.
  • Restrict right turns on red in high pedestrian areas, especially near transit stations and stops.
  • Increase crossing times for pedestrians, especially around major transit stops and stations.
  • Increase enforcement of drivers encroaching on crosswalks rather than ticketing pedestrians in the crosswalk during the countdown phase.

The development of the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan needs to result in the implementation of both design interventions and enforcement strategies that improve the walking environment and decrease pedestrian related collisions in the City of Los Angeles.

2. Ask all Council offices to immediately appoint a representative to the City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee to ensure widespread City involvement, transparency and information sharing of this public safety and mobility initiative.

3. Support a street bond the City of Los Angeles considers to fund the entire street, including sidewalks, not just fixing potholes. End the city’s inaction regarding sidewalk infrastructure maintenance for the past 40 years.

If the Mayor of Los Angeles is truly committed to creating Great Streets, pedestrian safety needs to be a priority. No street can be a great street unless it is a great street for people. We need real solutions to making our streets great and our communities safer and we look forward to working with the city to make this happen.

Help us draw attention to #LAsidewalks

Not only is this sidewalk in disrepair but it's also not possible for someone in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller to naviagate.  Send us your pictures of sidealks or social media with #lasidewalks

Not only is this sidewalk in disrepair, but it’s also not possible for someone with a wheelchair or  stroller to navigate. Send us your pictures of sidewalks on social media tagged #LAsidewalks

Last month, our executive director Deborah Murphy took Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez for a walk in Koreatown. He was surprised by what he saw.

On Vermont, walking north, the pedestrian-heavy sidewalk was like a sloped mountain trail, with jutting uplifted chunks of concrete and crappy attempts to smooth over the worst of it with asphalt patch jobs. At Westmoreland Avenue and 6th Street, an orange cone and yellow crime scene tape marked cracked pavement that looked like it had been hit by a meteor.

If we’re going to spend $3 billion, Murphy said, shouldn’t a disaster zone like this get some of the money?

In the article published last week, Lopez discusses the upcoming $3 billion Los Angeles City Street Bond and why it’s critical that the bond includes funding for sidewalks.

“According to a 2012 Bureau of Streets report, Los Angeles has an estimated 4,600 miles of bad sidewalks, many of them dangerously buckled or uplifted by tree roots that haven’t been maintained in decades.”

Both columnist Steve Lopez and City Councilmember Buscaino, who is interviewed in the piece, encourage Angelenos to get involved to let policymakers know how they feel about the conditions of LA’s sidewalks. Los Angeles Walks supports prioritizing what sidewalks are repaired in this Street Bond. We recognize not all 4,600 miles of existing broken city sidewalks can be addressed with this potential funding source, but encourage using criteria to prioritize high need areas based transit use and intense commercial districts.

We have a few ways you can easily help!

  • Take the poll! We’ve teamed up with LA 2050 for an online poll to let Angelenos vote on whether the potential LA City street bond should include funding for sidewalks.
  • Send us your pictures of our city’s sidewalks—good and bad! The easiest way is to use social media and include #LAsidewalks so we can find them in our searches.  Not a social media fan?  Email them to us at hello@losangeleswalks.org and we will post them on our Flickr stream.

We love this wide sidewalk and community-provided shade for bus riders. Plus there are chickens to visit with at the school garden while you wait for the bus!

Thanks for your support of this important issue, and we’re looking forward to your photos!

The 13 best things to happen to L.A. pedestrians in 2013

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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—WestsideWilshire, 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!

LAPD misses the mark on strategies to improve safety on our streets

Pedestrians in downtown LA December 2013Has this ever happened to you? You’re waiting to cross a street at a marked intersection downtown. The signal changes to let you know it’s safe to walk and you’re all ready to stroll across the beautiful new continental crosswalk, except there’s a car in your way.

You might have noticed the story on the LAPD’s jaywalking crackdown that’s been featured in the Downtown News, KPCC, and, most recently, the New York Times. Tickets are being issued for jaywalking, even at marked intersections, if the pedestrian leaves the curb after the “countdown” begins. While we’re grateful to the pedestrian advocates featured in these stories like Brigham Yen from DTLA Rising, who provided great points that supported walking in LA and questioned the value of the LAPD’s intentions, we are very unhappy with this new “safety campaign.”

Los Angeles Walks finds the new LAPD strategy of targeting and ticketing pedestrians who are jaywalking deeply troubling.

Pedestrians in DTLA - December 2013

We walked around downtown during these past two weeks to see evidence of jaywalking pedestrians who were making our streets unsafe. Instead, this was the scene we saw happening most often. At almost every intersection, pedestrians had to navigate around cars which had blatantly disregarded the marked crosswalk. When the countdown began, we often could not make it all the way across the street in time because there were so many obstacles in our way.

The LAPD says they are ticketing pedestrians to improve safety. So here are some safety figures. In 2010, the City of Los Angeles had 219 roadway deaths. 100 of those fatalities were pedestrians (Source: 2010 SWITRS). That means almost half of the deaths on LA streets were pedestrians. Yes, we agree: Los Angeles absolutely has a safety problem for those traveling on foot.

That’s one of the reasons it’s unsettling to read LAPD Chief Beck’s rationale for the pedestrian ticketing in the KPCC interview cited by the New York Times:

“Chief Beck said the crackdown was a matter of public safety and traffic flow, noting the frustration of drivers trying to make turns and faced with crosswalks filled with people.”

And the Downtown News article quote from Lt. Lydia Leos:

“We’re heavily enforcing pedestrian violations because they’re impeding traffic and causing too many accidents and deaths.”

So close to half of our city’s roadway fatalities are people on foot—but we’re targeting the walkers instead of the drivers? How could pedestrians be the ones causing collisions when it’s illegal for cars to make turns or enter the crosswalk when pedestrians are present?

Quartz points out another inequity issue for our most vulnerable street users. A parking ticket in Los Angeles will cost you $58, while the tickets LAPD are handing out to pedestrians who start crossing during the flashing hand are $197! $200 is a serious financial burden, especially if police are targeting low-income residents who are most likely to be traveling on foot.

Here’s our question: When do the drivers blocking crosswalks get ticketed? And why is that not the focus of the crackdown?

Check out this short video taken at 5th and Spring last week. As you can see, the cars are impeding pedestrian movement. Moreover, on wider streets in many parts of the city, the countdowns are often far too short for walkers of varying abilities to safely cross the street. It’s clear that targeting people who are crossing at marked intersections with the signal is not the right approach to make LA safer.

Los Angeles Walks encourages LAPD to revisit this “public safety” strategy immediately. Protecting people who are driving at the physical safety and financial burden of those walking in LA must end immediately. Perhaps the LAPD could visit with Mayor Garcetti, who has launched the Great Streets Initiative earlier this year. Or talk to the City’s Department of Transportation, who have implemented many safety initiatives for all roadway users. Or perhaps they could speak with the City’s Planning Department who is hard at work on a Mobility Element update for the entire city to support walking, bicycling, transit and driving.

1987 Los Angeles Pedestrian Bill of Rights

We’d like to see city leaders and agencies support a more multimodal Los Angeles with a unified “people first” vision.  Maybe it’s time to dust off this Pedestrian Bill of Rights, created by the city way back in 1987(!) and remind LAPD especially of goal #9, “Have needs of pedestrians considered as heavily as the needs drivers.”

Support Los Angeles Walks this month – and get awesome stocking stuffers!

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Thanks to all of our friends and supporters for making 2013 an amazing year for Los Angeles Walks. All of our 2013 successes could not have happened without your support. But there is still so much to be done, and we need your help for 2014.

Donate to Los Angeles Walks by Friday, December 20 to receive one of our awesome gift packages in time for the holidays:

- New BUTTON SETS with 5 buttons each, including new button designs
- New 13×19″ POSTERS
Hey! I’m Walking Here STICKERS
- And new and improved BANDANAS (back by popular demand after our summer Kickstarter campaign, our new bandanas are slightly larger and fancier with even more pedestrians on them :)

All details here: DONATE TODAY!

And if it gets down to the wire for your gift-buying: our buttons and bandanas are for sale at The Library Store at the Central Library downtown.

 

 

Los Angeles Walks joins the steering committee of re:code.la

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The City of Los Angeles is launching re:code.la, a five year effort to update its zoning code, which hasn’t been fully revised since 1946. The City of L.A. Planning Department has named Los Angeles Walks steering committee member Mark Vallianatos to the advisory group that will help them shape new zoning rules for the City.

Los Angeles Walks cares about zoning because land use rules strongly influence the walkability of Los Angeles. When zoning separates homes from places where people work and shop, it stretches distances and makes it harder for people to walk for their everyday travel needs. Zoning can also harm or help the pedestrian environment at a local scale. Decades of mandatory parking requirements have filled Los Angeles with parking lots and encouraged driving. Better zoning rules can require pedestrian-friendly interfaces between buildings and sidewalks, creating more safe and attractive places to walks.

Los Angeles Walks looks forward to advocating for zoning rules that can make Los Angeles a more safe, healthy, sustainable, inclusive, prosperous, and of course, walkable city. And we’re excited to have Mark as our representative on this stellar team of Angelenos. You can read more at the re:code.la website or download a PDF of the announcement.

Our Volunteer Social & Holiday Get Together is December 4

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Isn’t one of your resolutions to get more involved with Los Angeles Walks in 2014? Well good news! We’re ending 2013 with a holiday get together and volunteer social at Angel City Brewery in the Arts District.

As an all-volunteer organization we rely on passionate individuals like YOU to help transform Los Angeles into a more walkable city. We want to get YOU more involved with LA Walks so we can grow and become an even more successful organization.

So join us on Wednesday, December 4th at 6:00 p.m. at Angel City Brewery in DTLA. YOU can learn about planning and leading a walk, how to get more involved in policy and advocacy, and help LA Walks grow in 2014!

Volunteer Social & Holiday Get Together
Wednesday, December 4

6:00 p.m. Arrive and mingle
6:30 to 7:00 p.m. Hear from LA Walks leaders about our plan for 2014
7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Talk to steering committee members and sign up for specific ways to get involved
Afterwards, you can hang out until they close at 10 p.m.!

Angel City Brewery
216 South Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
View in Google Maps

Please RSVP at our Facebook event here, or just show up—all are welcome!