At Los Angeles Walks, we are building a grassroots movement for a more walkable, connected and just LA by rooting ourselves in the very communities our City's transportation system has failed. They are the heart of LA's movement to fight traffic violence, reduce congestion and improve mobility for ALL.
Today, we highlight the work of four of our partners:
She's a maven of LA bureaucracy. This April, Safe Street Promotora Severiana won more pedestrian infrastructure for her San Fernando Valley neighborhood of North Hills, an area notorious for its wide, high speed streets. Years of organizing and navigating City bureaucracies is what makes her such an effective promotora on City contracts and an invaluable resource to her neighbors.Read more
During my childhood, I rarely walked or biked to school as I lived in a suburb and my home was located four miles from the schools I attended growing up. I relied on my parents to drive me from place to place and this dependence on cars only continued as I grew older. My experiences did not differ much from many American children growing up in car-oriented suburbs, and moving to Los Angeles for college was not too different from my childhood. I lived in a fairly walkable area during my time as an undergraduate, but venturing to other neighborhoods by foot or on bike was either not feasible or not safe. Instead, I relied on public transit and friends with cars to explore my new home.
"I was determined to live a car-free lifestyle and solely rely on walking, biking, and using public transit"
It was during my first post-college job as a teacher in Japan that I developed an interest in active transportation and pedestrian advocacy. For three years I lived in Takasaki, a small city two hours outside of Tokyo that I often compare to Fresno for its similar population size and location in an agricultural region in the center of Japan. However, it differed greatly in terms of ease of mobility. From the start I was determined to live a car-free lifestyle and solely rely on walking, biking, and using public transit. This proved to be an easy endeavor, as I walked to and from the schools I taught at each day and used my bike to travel further distances.Read more
Having grown up in a household that neither owned nor drove cars, riding public transit provided me with many opportunities to survey my surroundings and envision ideas to make our communities more transit-friendly and walkable. Throughout those numerous bus rides, I was able to identify key aspects that transit riders encounter. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that people who rely on transit to get around have sufficient resources — which I will refer to as the four cornerstones of transit riders’ experiences.Read more
It took three years but after steadfast organizing, Wilmington parents and safe street promotoras finally got a decorative crosswalk on January 15, 2022. The new infrastructure, designed by the community to reflect Wilmington landmarks, can be found at L St. & Figueroa St.
This is further proof that through a grassroots Safe Street Promotora organizing model, City power will respond to community pedestrian safety needs and infrastructure demands.Read more
This past Fall Los Angeles Walks partnered with LA City's Safe Routes to School to pilot a global trend in student safety: School Streets. A School Streets activation is when you open up a school's drop off/pick up street to children walking, biking, or scooting to school. By transforming a street usually filled with u-turning cars, honking horns, and gas exhaust to a space of play, fun, parents gain a powerful tool to create safer passageways for students and reclaim their streets.
Did you catch the news about our sidewalks?
Recently, the LA City Controller released an audit of our City's sidewalk repair program and it wasn't too flattering. Some of the major points include:
- In the past five years, the City paid over $35 million in settlements related to sidewalk injuries. In 2020 alone, the City paid $12 million.
- Less than 1% of sidewalk parcels have been certified as repaired and there is a backlog of 50,000 repair requests.
- It takes on average 41 days to complete a sidewalk repair with asphalt, compared to only 3 days for potholes.
Growing up in Watts and Florence-Firestone in the early 2000s, I remember the neighborhoods being really unsafe due to high levels of crime. I avoided walking and only walked when it was truly necessary, such as if neither of my parents were available to pick me up from school. My parents emphasized that the best way for us to stay safe was to stay at home; the weekends were the time when we would go run errands by car. After having experienced the walkability of college life and becoming more comfortable walking and riding public transportation, I was eager to explore that within my own neighborhood once I had moved back, even though Watts and Florence-Firestone are very, very different environments than Berkeley.
Walking gives you a perspective on neighborhoods in a way that driving around (and navigating Google Maps) simply cannot.
I wanted to walk more and get to know my neighborhood (with the added benefit of increasing my daily steps). And that’s exactly what I did for about five months - along with my younger brother, we walked to the library, to the park, to the grocery store, to and from his elementary school, and to nearby convenience stores. Walking gives you a perspective on neighborhoods in a way that driving around (and navigating Google Maps) simply cannot.Read more
Did you hear? We're half way through 2021 and Los Angeles is already on its way to exceed last year's traffic death count. According to this LAist article:
[the] normal relationship in L.A. means a person is killed as a result of a crash about every 36 hours on average. For the first half of 2021, the city is averaging one traffic death about every 30 hours.
We've had enough.
Around 40,000 Americans are killed every year from traffic violence, which has worsened in cities across the country in the past decade. In 2021, LA saw a 45% increase in pedestrian injuries from traffic crashes.
Our parents & friends wave signs at a memorial for siblings Eli & Lexi. February 2020
When it comes to your street and community design, who knows better than you and your neighbors? That is the central belief when it comes to our Safe Street Promotore Educators: that community members - armed with organizing tools and technical expertise - are best equipped to direct cities and governments on their infrastructure needs.
Through a 10-month Ped Power Workshop series, LA's Wilmington and San Pedro parents gained knowledge on topics like safe street infrastructure, navigating City programs and systems to secure said infrastructure, Google Earth/GIS mapping tools, and more. Now as graduates they're prepared to not only deftly navigate City systems and power to secure safe street infrastructure but train their neighbors and peers to do the same.
So say hello to our first graduating class of Safe Street Promotore Educators!