Cities embrace the future — and determine their destiny — by constantly reinventing themselves.
In Los Angeles, we are in the midst of a historic transition away from our reputation as the car capital of the world. Today, a growing mass transit network is redefining how people think about commuting to work, getting to afternoons at the beach, and enjoying nights out with friends.Read more
On May 18, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled the Age-Friendly City Initiative: Purposeful Aging LA, which is his 17th Executive Directive in the three years he has been mayor. With the Initiative, Los Angeles joins 90 other American cities and three others in California—San Francisco, Saratoga, and West Sacramento—in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.Read more
Safe Sidewalks LA is the long-awaited plan to fix LA’s deteriorating (and sometimes non-existent) sidewalk system. The program is the result of a class action lawsuit filed by people with mobility disabilities, and requires the City to spend roughly $30 million every year for the next 30 years to make LA sidewalks meet accessibility standards.
This past Wednesday, November 30, as City Council members discussed and ultimately approved Safe Sidewalks LA in City Hall, 40 community stakeholders met in the Arts District to ask representatives from the Mayor’s Office and Bureau of Engineering all about the program.
The meeting, led by Investing in Place and co-hosted by Los Angeles Walks, AARP, and Tree People, brought together advocates, activists, representatives from community groups, and individuals who work on everything from water conservation and urban forestry to racial justice and disability rights.
Here is a snippet of what we learned about Safe Sidewalks LA:
- The City has created three repair categories: Access Repair Requests, General Repair Requests, and a Rebate Program.
- Access Requests must be made by or on behalf of anyone with a mobility disability.
- The City will prioritize Access Requests by type of repair or construction as mandated by the settlement (i.e. repairs on transportation corridors will be completed before sidewalks adjacent to hospitals).
- General Requests will consist of requests for repairs in the pedestrian right of way made by people not in the Settlement Class (i.e. people without a mobility disability).
- For the Rebate Program, the City will offer a rebate to property owners who fix sidewalks in front of their property using one of the city-approved contractors.
- The City will reimburse up to $2,000 per residential lot and $4,000 per commercial lot under the Rebate Program.
While the City began accepting repair requests online and over the phone (via 311) on Thursday, December 1, many details of the program are yet to be determined.
Other aspects of Safe Sidewalks LA are already concerning. Los Angeles Walks has many questions about the implementation and operation of the program.
Primarily these concerns have to do with:
- How the City will raise awareness of the program;
- How the City will ensure that all residents have the skills, knowledge, and ability to submit requests for repairs;
- How the City will prioritize projects and implement them equitably;
- Who will have discretion in determining the feasibility of repairs;
- How the City will interact with stakeholders and the public;
- The lack of consideration of crosswalks as part of the path of travel.
To address these concerns and many others, the stakeholder group will continue to meet as the City rolls out Safe Sidewalks LA. You are invited to join us! Let us know if you are interested.
Stay tuned. There's lots more to come on this in the future!
Here's what we covered in our update this month --
Keep Seniors on the Move this #GivingTuesday
Mr. Wong (top left) walks six miles a day through Westlake and Koreatown. But many of his neighbors are afraid to walk two blocks to Food4Less. This #GivingTuesday, you can make Westlake safer for hundreds of older adults by providing group walks, trainings, and workshops. Programming you make possible will bring attention and resources to the senior walking environment in Westlake and beyond. Learn more >
Footnotes 2016 is Out
This year's edition of our annual publication brought together gerontologists, policy advocates, and activists to address the mobility concerns of LA's seniors. How will Los Angeles accommodate this booming population? Find out >
You're Invited: Sidewalk Repair Info Session 11/30
The long-awaited City of Los Angeles Sidewalk Repair Program is underway. How will it work? Where will the City start? Find out directly from Ted Bardacke, Director of Infrastructure, Los Angeles Mayor's Office, on November 30, 1pm-3pm, Arts District. Presented by Los Angeles Walks, Investing in Place, and Tree People. RSVP now >
Bike Ped Count Numbers are In
The LA County Bicycle Coalition recently released the 2015 Bike Ped Count report. The effort, funded by AARP and supported by Los Angeles Walks, counted nearly 21,000 people biking and 140,000 people walking over six hours at 156 distinct locations. Go to the numbers >
See you on the sidewalk!
Los Angeles Walks
Over 40 Los Angeles artists will perform and present site-specific works along a two-mile stretch of Downtown LA this Sunday, November 20, 2016, to honor people who have been killed and seriously injured on our city streets this year.
The "Day of Remembrance Road Concert," produced by LA Road Concerts, commemorates International World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, and is part of a worldwide effort to bring attention to the fact that traffic violence is one of the leading causes of death around the world, as it is in Los Angeles and the United States. Globally, more than 1.25 million lives were lost in traffic crashes last year; 35,092 people were killed in traffic in the US in 2015.
The Day of Remembrance Road Concert is presented in partnership by LA Road Concerts, the Los Angeles Vision Zero Alliance, the City of Los Angeles Vision Zero Initiative, and Alan Nakagawa, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s Artist-in-Residence.
The Road Concert is part of the Vision Zero Initiative, a citywide effort to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Los Angeles by 2025 through engineering projects, education, and enforcement. The event intends to raise awareness of traffic violence in Los Angeles through creative, captivating, and curious works of art.
Participants are invited to join Los Angeles Walks at Spring Street Park from 11am-2pm to create memorials to people killed while walking in Los Angeles. At 2:30pm, Los Angeles Walks will offer a group walk of the entire Road Concert route, meeting and ending at Spring Street Park. RSVP here.
Find much more information here: Day of Remembrance Road Concert
Find a full press release below.
One year ago, your support allowed Los Angeles Walks to hire our first staff member, Emilia Crotty, as a full time policy and program manager. To mark this milestone, we’ve compiled a list of four things we are proud to have accomplished since then.
As a direct result of your support, these are your accomplishments. Thank you for making it all possible...
1. This year, you built a citywide coalition committed to creating safe, healthy streets.
Over the last 12 months, more than 20 community organizations and concerned individuals came together to form the Vision Zero Alliance. The Alliance is a unique coalition that supports and influences the City’s ambitious Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Los Angeles by 2025.
Your support allowed Los Angeles Walks to facilitate monthly Vision Zero Alliance meetings, liaison with City agencies, and foster the development of the Alliance, which creates a unified constituency for safe streets in Los Angeles.
Through your support, the Alliance has pushed the City of Los Angeles to (1) increase and improve its community engagement methods, (2) commit to advancing social equity through engineering investments, and (3) make enforcement strategies more transparent.
We are proud that these efforts have brought national attention to the Los Angeles Vision Zero Alliance. Thanks to Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Program for partially funding this vital program.
2. You offered seniors a chance to improve their quality of life.
Your support created the beginnings of a Safe Routes for Seniors campaign in the Westlake/MacArthur Park neighborhood just west of Downtown LA, a dense neighborhood where more seniors are involved in traffic collisions than anywhere else in Los Angeles. Safe Routes for Seniors engages older adults to identify and champion street safety improvements in their neighborhood.
Through the program, you’ve made it possible for residents to identify obstacles to walking, develop a set of design solutions to improve walkability and safety for senior residents, and advocate for physical changes on the streets and sidewalks they frequent. A more walkable environment will improve the physical and emotional health of senior residents, and reduce social isolation.
3. You installed wayfinding signs in South Los Angeles.
This year you also helped to launch the Walk This Way/Caminale wayfinding signage program. Along with the support of ioby (In Our Backyard), you made it possible for a group of teenagers to lead a community-based project that installed 11 wayfinding signs along Central Avenue, a main route in their South Los Angeles neighborhood.
The signs provide information on walking and biking times between various destinations, show connectivity between neighborhoods, celebrate community history and assets, and encourage walking. A pilot program, we will use this experience to develop a Walk This Way toolkit for easy implementation in other Los Angeles communities.
4. You got hundreds of people outside to walk their city.
Finally, you offered hundreds of people a chance to experience dynamic and diverse neighborhoods across the city through twelve group walks, all led by volunteer Walk Ambassadors. In addition to monthly walks, you made it possible for Los Angeles Walks to host four WalkLAvias - the simplest way to CicLAvia.
The best thing people can do for walking in Los Angeles is to get out and walk, and these group walks make that possible for so many people.
Thank you for all you’ve done this year to make walking safe, accessible, fun, and equitable for all Angelenos. We look forward to working with you to do even more in 2017.
All the best and safe streets for all,
Founder and Executive Director
My mom always told me she felt comfortable in her dented-but-charming 2011 black Toyota Camry. I’ve never bought into the notion that a car could be a sanctuary, but she thinks of her car as a second home. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley of the 1980s, a mall-centric autotopia, so it makes sense. But, at twenty years old, it’s not the sort of mentality that I’ve grown to share.Read more
The Day of Remembrance Road Concert loop traverses DTLA’s Historic Core, moving southwesterly along Spring and northeasterly along Main, passing LAPD Headquarters, the LA Times Building, $9 flat rate public parking lots, the Hotel Cecil, City Hall, and other landmarks. Works can be in one location, many locations, or no location in particular. Participating artists don't need to be physically present and may choose to make downloadable work.
Read the original City of Los Angeles Vision Zero post here.
Qualifications are due by 4pm on November 4, 2016. See below for complete timeline and instructions.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has received approximately $250,000 in funding from the California Office of Transportation Safety (OTS) to work directly with community based organizations to implement innovative, creative and engaging, site-specific interventions, outreach, and education along 10 specific corridors suffering from some of the highest rates of traffic deaths and serious injuries in Los Angeles. This Vision Zero Community-Based Outreach and Education will bring awareness and advocacy to the issue of traffic safety, and aims to help eliminate traffic fatalities along 10 high-fatality corridors, or Vision Zero Impact Corridors. LADOT has contracted with Community Arts Resources (CARS) to coordinate the community-based outreach and education campaign.
A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) went public on October 17, 2016 for organizations and individuals who have knowledge and deep experience with specific communities located along high-priority corridors. These organizations and individuals will work directly with CARS to develop and implement creative solutions to community engagement and education on the issue of traffic safety in their communities.
Organizations, individuals, or teams are invited to submit their qualifications to be eligible to receive a grant of approximately $25,000 per one-mile corridor (per Vision Zero Impact Corridor) to execute the scope of the Vision Zero Temporary Intervention Program.
The community-based outreach and education program will develop on-the ground, site-specific physical intervention(s) along high-fatality corridor(s). This may be accomplished by performing one or several of the following intervention strategies in any combination:
- Artist-led or creative interventions along the identified corridor(s) including sculpture, graphics, visuals, or time-based temporal projects
- Community specific solutions with a specific cultural vocabulary
- Interactive approaches that involve participation by residents of the area
- Iterative processes that develop a project based upon continual feedback loops to inform and refine the finished program
The community-based organizations may work independently or in collaboration with other organizations within the targeted community. Arts organization as well as individual artists are also encouraged to submit their qualifications.
Criteria for Selection
Qualifications will be reviewed based upon the following criteria.
- Direct experience with at least one of the identified communities and its challenges
- Proven experience executing community-based projects
- Past work using non-traditional approaches or creative approaches to community engagement
- Fiscally sound and responsible track records
- Understanding of the Vision Zero program and principles
Vision Zero Community-Based Outreach and Education Project Schedule
Specific engagement activities will develop from a planning phase that will occur after the contract has been awarded.
- RFQ Released (October 17)
- Questions regarding the RFQ (submitted by 11:00am on October 24 to [email protected])
- Posting of Answers (October 28 by 5pm)
- Qualifications Due (submitted by 4:00pm on November 4 to [email protected])
- Panel Review (late November)
- Contracts Awarded (December 2016 – January 2017)
- Planning Phase (January, February, March 2017)
- Roll Out of Installations and Activities (April, May, June 2017)
- Wrap-up and evaluation of efforts (July, August, September 2017)
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Look around Los Angeles and you’re bound to see crowds of people — including youth, individuals with disabilities, and older adults — standing in the sun waiting for a bus. Or you might see a senior pushing a walker across craggy sidewalks, navigating around bulging tree roots. Or worse, you might see communities already disproportionately impacted by extreme heat, poor air quality, and deteriorating sidewalks with very little shade. But, it doesn't have to be this way anymore…
In Los Angeles, we have an unprecedented and extraordinary opportunity to create safe, walkable communities while investing meaningfully in street trees, all while achieving countless public health, safety, sustainability, and resilience goals already in place.
How? The sidewalk repair program spurred by the Willits settlement in the City of Los Angeles, which is addressing the urgent and long overdue need to ensure safe sidewalk and pedestrian access for all Angelenos. The program, which will invest $30 million annually and $1.3 billion over the next 30 years, represents a tremendous opportunity to strategically invest resources to achieve countless health, environment, and equity goals in our city.
The program also presents an opportunity to leverage upwards of $20+ billion from local funding sources that is expected to be invested in water supply and quality improvements, flood protection, and transportation that will take place along the very same streets, sidewalks and parkways of neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
Where We Are Today
The City Sidewalk Repair Program, approved by the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor in March of 2016, lays out an ambitious plan for expediting sidewalk repairs while directing City departments to investigate a range of options for improving standard practices and leveraging infrastructure enhancement opportunities. This includes, but is not limited to, directives to: protect street trees and advance City urban forestry practices; explore alternative and sustainable designs, materials, and manufacturers; and investigate low-cost and ADA-compliant green infrastructure standard plans (and potential funding sources) to capture stormwater.
As of September 2016, the City is rapidly advancing deployment of sidewalk repair program components to target high-need repair areas, as it was mandated to do. However, there’s a huge problem: the City has yet to conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to understand the full impacts of the sidewalk repair program, and we still don’t have critical report-backs from various City departments on what standards the City will use to protect street trees from removal whenever possible.
This means that we are already starting to rip up LA sidewalks without any sense of how this program will impact our City’s street trees, or how we’ll mitigate for the damages. This is unacceptable, and will have long-standing consequences for Angelenos if we don’t do things right.
A protective, mature tree canopy can take decades to replace, and given the pressures already placed on our street tree population by drought and pests, unnecessary removal and/or inadequate replacement of canopy could result in permanent loss of the critical protections trees provide. Furthermore, an unintended consequence of rapid sidewalk repair program deployment is that many of the repairs, investments, and construction done in the early years of the program face a high chance of being undone, or redone, as other programs are implemented.
- Public Outreach and Education. Key stakeholders, including people with disabilities, low-tree canopy communities, City agencies and elected officials, neighborhood leaders and the people of Los Angeles, MUST understand the public health, environmental, equity, and fiscal impacts of the sidewalk program. We need greater transparency and appropriate communication forums to provide the public with opportunities to provide input on how the City prioritizes investments in our infrastructure.
- Protect against immediate threats to street trees. It’s critical to jumpstart repairs to improve accessibility for Angelenos. However, it is possible that we could see 1,000 trees removed in just the first year of the program. It is imperative that the City develops a thorough understanding of the heat and health impacts to communities if urban canopy is removed. We also need ironclad strategies for avoiding tree removals whenever possible and ensuring adequate levels of canopy are maintained. A critical first step is ensuring that the City commits to funding and caring for replacement trees that the sidewalk program removes. TAKE ACTION TODAY! Visit TreePeople's website to write to your Councilmember!
- Update and re-imagine urban forestry standards and practices. The sidewalk repair program provides a unique opportunity, given its impact on street trees, to re-imagine a robust, visionary urban forestry program that adequately protects LA’s urban forest for 30 years of sidewalk repairs and beyond. Key to this is updating standards around planting specifications, proper tree species selection, replacement ratios, pruning and watering cycles, and other best practices to reflect the reality of the health of our City’s current street tree population, as well as future drought and climate change scenarios. We also need a citywide framework that prioritizes a data-driven, needs-based approach for identifying high priority planting areas while providing communities in these areas with appropriate resources for maintaining healthy trees. To achieve all of this, the City’s Urban Forestry Division must be adequately resourced to maintain our current canopy levels and ensure we’re planting today for the canopy we’ll need tomorrow.
- Leverage multi-benefit opportunities through coordinated planning. Given the contributions trees make to public health, flood control, water quality and supply, and energy savings, the sidewalk program should be leveraged to bring together a range of City stakeholders to advance upgrades to our infrastructure. Spending time now, at the program’s inception, to collectively identify collaborative funding and planning opportunities around infrastructure investments can help ensure we avoid canopy loss and missed opportunities for enhancing public health and livability investments in public rights-of-way.
The City of LA is truly at a crossroads (streets pun=INTENDED). Are we going to join other cities around the US and the world that have recognized the critical life-saving and environmental benefits that a thriving urban forest provides its residents, and make worthy investments in trees as essential city infrastructure? Or will we fail our communities by leaving them vulnerable to heat-related health impacts because we were unable to see the value of our urban forest as we craft new sidewalk repair policies and programs? It’s up to us as a community to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear on this one. TAKE ACTION TODAY and make sure your voice is heard.
Jenny Binstock serves as Policy Coordinator at TreePeople. Contact [email protected] to get more information or to get involved.