Walking in South L.A.: A report from our Leimert Park community meeting

Last week we held our second community meeting in Leimert Park at the awesome Kaos Network. About 50 folks gathered at this beautiful space right on the Leimert Park square, admiring the colorful art from the community and enjoying some pretty delicious snacks.

This meeting was co-hosted by Los Angeles Walks and L.A. Commons, with help from our great partners Community Health CouncilsPrevention InstituteLos Angeles County Bicycle CoalitionMulticultural Communities for Mobility. We also had a visit from Valerie Watson, one of the city’s two new pedestrian coordinators, and Albert Lord, a deputy from city councilman Herb Wesson’s office, was also in attendance, giving out his personal cell phone number to attendees.

As people were arriving, they helped us to identify focus areas in the community by adding their thoughts on Post-its to three categories: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and the “Magic Wand”: if you could wave a magic wand and make anything appear, what would you want to make walking safe, accessible and fun for all.

Some of our best and brightest ideas for getting people out of their cars came from our six- and seven-year-old attendees.

Next, LA Walks founder Deborah Murphy walked the group through a brief primer on the concept of Living Streets—how everything from wider sidewalks to parklets to more street trees can improve the walking experience.

Afterwards, attendees divided in to groups geographically, organizing themselves around giant maps of the community according to where they lived and worked. Using stickers and markers, they identified troublesome areas for pedestrians and proposed changes for those areas.

Then each group presented their findings to the room, highlighting the five top issues. From all the groups, several themes emerged, including: the need to slow down cars, streets that are too wide, lack of greenspace and parks, more attention needs to be paid to the Crenshaw Corridor, too few street trees, and closed walk streets that should be reopened. Surprisingly, a big issue in the area are intimidating packs of stray dogs.

At the close of the meeting, several volunteers agreed to stay in touch with LA Walks to continue working on key issues in the neighborhood. We’ll be updating you on their progress. You can also read an excellent recap of the evening on Streetsblog by Sahra Sulaiman. If you couldn’t make it and want to know more about what we discussed, you can view the agenda below. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Leimert Park Community Meeting

6:30 pm Individual Exercise – Identify Priority Pedestrian Safety Problems and Issues
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and The Magic Wand

6:40 pm Welcome and introductions

  • Karen Mack, L.A. Commons
  • Deborah Murphy, Los Angeles Walks
  • Mark Glassock, Community Health Councils
  • Manal Aboelata, Prevention Institute

6:45 pm City of Los Angeles Pedestrian Program

  • Valerie Watson, City of Los Angeles Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator

6:50 pm Living Streets Presentation of best practices for making more pedestrian-friendly, complete streets. SAFE campaign: Safe, Accessible, Fun, and Equitable

  • Deborah Murphy, Los Angeles Walks

7:30 pm Breakout Group Session by Geographic Area: —identify problem areas and issues

8:00 pm Report Back from Breakout Groups

8:20 pm Summarize Findings and Define Next Steps

8:25 pm City of Los Angeles Pedestrian Advisory Committee Members needed for CD#8 and CD#10

8:30pm Adjourn to Post & Beam Restaurant
3767 Santa Rosalia Drive 90008
North on Crenshaw Blvd/West on Stocker St/West on Santa Rosalia Drive

Child Care provided by Para Los Niños
Spanish Translation provided by Mojito