Safe Streets in Best Start Communities

In April 2018, Los Angeles Walks entered into a strategic partnership with First 5 LA to create a stronger movement for safe streets in Los Angeles.

We work with Best Start Communities (BSC) to challenge Angelenos' acceptance of street design, build capacity, train and mobilize BSC members to advocate for safe streets that meet their needs.

About First 5 LA and Best Start Communities

First 5 LA is an independent public agency with a goal to develop the health and safety of young children, so that by 2028 all children in Los Angeles County are ready to succeed in school and life. First 5 LA recognizes that to enact systems and policy change, neighborhood residents must lead the way -- a value shared by LA Walks.

That's why First 5 LA supports Best Start Communities, an organized effort to support leadership and capacity building for 14 community groups throughout the county. 

Since April 2018, Los Angeles Walks has been building relationships with the various organizations that support Best Start Communities, specifically Para Los Ninos, El Nido Family Centers, Providence Little Company of Mary, and Social Action Partners. These organizations are rooted in and focused on fostering the best environment for BSC members to thrive as local leaders.

With the help of these community partners, Los Angeles Walks has piloted a advocacy and engagement model to catalyze safe streets advocacy at a local level in Los Angeles City neighborhoods.

Through collective actions, community residents reclaim their public space, build relationships with community members, and start dialogue around their experiences in their neighborhood streets. This encourages a grounded approach to safe streets advocacy, one that is rooted in each community's history of urban development and knowledge of social and physical infrastructure.

Los Angeles Walks builds capacity through training sessions focused on challenging street design, questioning accepted notions of pedestrians’ rights to street space, navigating City processes for safe streets improvements, and more.

While working with BSC members, we begin to identify the factors that make it difficult and dangerous to walk in their day-to-day life. We also learn which elements or experiences they know will make walking more accessible, enjoyable, and safe.

Ultimately, BSC members collaborate on a collective action intended to enhance street safety, access, and comfort. These diverse efforts will culminate in a forum for all BSCs to share their process and experience, where Los Angeles Walks will release a guide to safe streets advocacy efforts co-developed by BSC members. 

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