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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Why Isn’t LA Committed to Making the City’s Mean Streets Safe for Our Kids?

RETHINKING LA-Two weeks ago, 11-year old twin sisters Sydney and Alexis were hit by an 82 year-old motorist as they attempted to cross the busy intersection of Moorpark and Colfax, sending both girls to the hospital with severe injuries. (Link)
The incident prompted much wailing and gnashing of teeth from community members who came down on both sides of the issue, some calling for traffic calming and others suggesting that children need to learn the rules of the road.

As is the tradition with incidents such as this, the outpouring of concern over LA’s mean streets and the need to make them safer for our most vulnerable members of the community faded and was quickly replaced by grumbling over traffic congestion and the lack of parking.

As for the short-lived debate over the need to calm traffic vs. the need to teach children the rules of the road, both sides are correct. The tragic incident in Studio City is another call to action, one that could have been addressed and probably prevented if the City of LA were to put a premium on Safe Routes to School.

There are two Safe Routes to School programs. One is a Federal program that provides $1 million per project for physical infrastructure improvements and $500K for education and encouragement projects. The other is a State program that provides $500K million per project for physical infrastructure improvements.

The deadline for applications for this year’s State Safe Routes to School program is today. If the City of Los Angeles were sincere about making its streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, transit passengers, and motorists, the LADOT would be tendering a full portfolio of applications in an effort to claim our fair share of funding. But that is not the case.

The City of Los Angeles has a long history of underperforming when it comes to qualifying for Safe Routes to School funding, stirring complaints that it does not get its fair share, even prompting LA’s leadership to lobby Sacramento for special consideration.

This scenario is reminiscent of the story, told in many versions, of the pious believer who rose every day, early in the morning, went to church where he lit a candle and prayed “Please God, please, please, please let me win the lottery!” This went on for months and finally a miracle happened. A voice boomed out “Please, please, please go and buy a ticket!”

Year after year, the City of Los Angeles complains about not getting its fair share of federal and state funding, yet it regularly fails to turn in competitive applications that justify funding success.

The LADOT has a long tradition of turning in hastily assembled applications that come with the excuse, “We had no time to prepare, we were caught off-guard!’ This cycle of non-performance dates back to the days when Wendy Greuel chaired the City Council’s Transportation Committee and Gloria Jeff was General Manager. The faces change but the excuses stay the same.

Los Angeles is not serious about making its streets safer for children and the evidence is its lackadaisical approach to securing Safe Routes to School funding.

As for the current roster of Safe Routes to School applications from Los Angeles, Councilman Paul Krekorian is responsible for more than 20% of the proposals, demonstrating a commitment to the delivery of city services that exceeds LA’s tradition of underperformance.

Safe Routes to School is a funding commitment to increasing the number of children who walk or bicycle to school. The projects must specifically support safe walking or cycling and can include crosswalks, traffic calming such as bulbouts and speed tables, education campaigns and encouragement activities, and enforcement activity directed at the larger community.

For all the talk of greening LA and supporting alternative transportation, the brutal truth is this; LA’s Streets are Mean!

The pedestrian fatality rate for Los Angeles is twice that of New York City. (7.64 per 100,000 residents in LA vs. 3.49 per 100,000 residents in New York) [link] Of the pedestrians involved in collision with motor vehicles, 18% are under the age of 10.

The City of Los Angeles has one year to get ready for the next round of Safe Routes to School funding, a federal cycle that yields $1million per infrastructure project and $500K per education/encouragement project.

Now is the time for the City of Los Angeles to walk the talk, to develop 45 inspired and competitive Safe Routes to School applications that truly demonstrate a commitment to making the streets of Los Angeles work for everybody, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net. You can also find him on Twitter and on Facebook.)
–cw

Tags: Stephen Box, Rethinking LA, LADOT, Transportation Department, Wendy Greuel, Gloria Jeff, Safe Routes





CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 26
Pub: Mar 30, 2012

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