Jessica Meaney, managing director of Investing in Place, is a transportation advocate who has been living intentionally car free in Los Angeles for over 15 years. Academically trained as a sociologist, Jessica’s approach to transportation policy began with looking at the key roles public transit, walking and bicycling play in social cohesion and community health. Jessica’s policy approach has focused on using transportation finance research and advocacy efforts to achieve those outcomes, particularly in low income communities and communities of color.
The sidewalks in the City of Los Angeles represent one of the most critical public spaces, but are not yet afforded the same luxuries many other transportation infrastructure projects enjoy such as strategic planning, data and inventory collection, comprehensive funding or being viewed as a core part of the transportation network. The City of Los Angeles has backlog of broken and unmaintained sidewalks totaling over 10,000 miles with a estimated price tag to fix over $1 Billion. Since the mid 1970’s the City has not kept up with maintaining its sidewalks, and for the past ten years has been discussing this issue in committees that consider motions, staff reports, and numerous public testimony on how sidewalks should be funded and maintained. Yet still no inventory or strategic plan exists on this basic infrastructure need (see recent Los Angeles Times article). A recent legal settlement with disability advocates on the quality of the City of Los Angeles sidewalks has the potential to change all this.
And currently, Public hearings on this issue are being held across the city. City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Joe Buscaino are hosting a series of joint meetings of the Budget and Finance and Public Works committees to get input from the public on what the city’s program to repair sidewalks next to homes and businesses should look like. See meeting flyer here. For questions on the Public hearings call City Clerk Michael Espinosa at 213 -978-106. For substantive questions about Los Angeles Sidewalks call Staci Sosa in the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) at 213-978-2752.
Tuesday, June 30, 6pm
Estelle Van Meter Senior Center
606 E. 76th St., Los Angeles 90001
WEST LOS ANGELES
Tuesday, July 28, 6pm
Mar Vista Recreation Center
11430 Woodbine Street, Los Angeles 90291
Wednesday, July 29, 6pm
Center for Performing Arts
2225 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles 90041
Thursday, July 30, 6pm
Van Nuys City Hall
6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Los Angeles 91401
And the Los Angeles Times is asking people to share their broken sidewalks (and location) using #lasidewalks andsubmit them here. Share your LA City sidewalk pictures and stories with #lasidewalks with the Los Angeles Times or email Investing in Place – we’d love to hear them.
Through transportation finance research done over the past few years, it has shown that sidewalk maintenance and quality are consistently underfunded and represent great infrastructure need. As the region considers a new transportation sales tax for the ballot in 2016, should sidewalks be part of this conversation? According to Los Angeles County voters polled by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the answer is a resounding yes.