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Currently viewing the tag: "Focus Cities"

This post, by our partners at Los Angeles Walks, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At the upcoming Tuesday, October 10th Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee meeting, LA City Council members will consider a spending plan for integrated road reconstruction and Vision Zero safety projects that span three City departments. A collaboration between the LA Department of Transportation (LADOT), Bureau of Engineering (BOE), and Bureau of Street Services (BSS), the spending plan is an effort to increase the departments’ efficiency and impact, and encourages a more holistic approach to public works projects that are developed with a health equity lens.

We love it! But, we want more. 

We want to see departments work together on complete streets projects that don’t just go curb-to-curb, but wall-to-wall. We want to see smooth, safe streets AND sidewalk repair, curb ramps, street trees, and bus shelters.

Have you ever stood at a bus stop with people gathered in the shade of one skinny utility pole because there is no bus shelter or trees to provide relief? Los Angeles can avoid that by leveraging our transportation dollars to improve the entire public realm from wall-to-wall in the creation of true complete streets. When we do that, we are making investments that prioritize safety and, importantly, show an immediate return on the quality of life for our communities.

>> Join Los Angeles Walks and Investing in Place at the October 10 meeting.

BACKGROUND

During the 2018 budget negotiations in the City of Los Angeles this past May, policymakers settled on an important compromise – one that most of us would consider common sense, but that a City staffer might call magical.

Before the compromise, Council members were in disagreement: with limited funds available, some elected officials wanted to prioritize spending on critical roadway repairs, fixing potholes and reconstructing “failing” streets. Others wanted to direct funds to Vision Zero projects – those that redesign the highest need streets for safety in order to address the public health emergency of traffic fatalities in LA.

After dramatic deliberations, Councilmembers decided that the City can accomplish both goals by having departments work together, and that funding should go towards projects that incorporate both roadway reconstruction and redesigns for safety.

To be fair, Los Angeles Walks initially balked at the notion of diverting funds to roadway repairs at a time when fatal and severe pedestrian collisions continue to rise. But, we have come to see the value in this compromise and the importance of cross-departmental collaboration, one of the pillars of the Vision Zero framework. We also see that as an opportunity for the City to execute an efficient use of public funds.

>> Join us at City Council on October 10.

We would like to have the City Council include wall-to-wall complete streets alongside all other potential plans for the City’s  integrated road repair/Vison Zero project list, including access and sidewalk repair, street trees, and bus shelters.

MORE ABOUT THE PLAN

Since the City Council passed the FY18 budget this past spring, LADOT, BOE, and BSS have worked together to develop a Vision Zero 2017-18 workplan that includes both street reconstruction and Vision Zero components. At the September 20th Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee meeting, leaders of each department together presented the names of 11 corridors that light up on all of their individual lists: those “D” and “F” streets in need of reconstruction that are also on the City’s Vision Zero High Injury Network.

As outlined in a report by the City Attorney’s Office, the initial source of funding proposed for these projects is the Measure M Local Return Fund, which includes $12.84 million for street reconstruction and $6.62 million for Vision Zero (total: $19.46 million). The use of funds from the remaining Measure M Local Return Fund ($650,00) and SB1 Special Gas Tax Improvement Fund ($24.06 million), which includes $11.95 million for street reconstruction and $12.76million for Vision Zero, will be proposed in subsequent reports, and will cover salaries and other resources necessary for 2017-18 work during the construction phase of these projects.

NEXT STEPS

In a city where everybody walks, bikes, rides the bus or drives a vehicle, our transportation investments don’t have to be separated into silos like “bus,” “walk,” or “vehicle speed.” By expanding departmental coordination and improving all aspects of the street from wall-to-wall, we can increase safety directly, through Vision Zero safety projects, and indirectly, through higher quality and more dignified infrastructure for people walking, biking, and taking transit. By encouraging more people to walk, bike, and take transit – and making it convenient and pleasant, we will increase safety for all.

>> Join Los Angeles Walks and Investing in Place at the October 10 Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee meeting.

Join us at the Tripping Point advocacy training summit!

>> Boost your advocacy skills for sidewalks, crosswalks, street trees, and bus shelters at The Tripping Point: Valley Edition, a FREE one-day advocacy training summit on October 21st at Panorama City High School. Food, childcare, and Spanish-English translation available!

Cross-posted at Los Angeles Walks’ site.

This post, by our partners at Circulate San Diego, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Crossing the street is one of the most dangerous activities a person does every day. That’s why Circulate San Diego has been working with the City of San Diego to adopt and implement a Vision Zero strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025.

In February, 2017, Circulate San Diego released a list of the Fatal Fifteen, the most dangerous intersections in the City of San Diego. Shortly after, the City Auditor released the Pedestrian Safety Performance Audit, which included a list of 15 dangerous intersections. Circulate’s Fatal Fifteen intersections had the highest collision rates in the City, whereas the City Auditor’s list included the intersections with the highest collisions and which were also lacking in three basic improvements: continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, and countdown audible signals. These lists had some overlap but were mostly different, resulting in 26 intersections across the two lists. Circulate reviewed a tracking table from the City for both lists of intersections, which includes valuable information such as recommended improvements, the status of those improvements, and the cost. It shows that the City has made progress by installing improvements at many of these intersections but that there is still more work that needs to be done to save lives.

1. Many intersections have been improved.

Circulate San Diego is thankful for and encouraged by the progress the City has made to install improvements to the City’s most dangerous intersections. Below, we have highlighted two intersections that show the City’s progress:

University Avenue and Menlo Avenue

University Avenue and Menlo is a Fatal Fifteen intersection on a Vision Zero corridor in City Heights. At this unsignalized intersection, on a four-lane major corridor, the City added a pedestrian refuge, repainted a continental crosswalk, and added a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon.

Before

After

Paradise Valley Road & Deep Dell Road

Paradise Valley Road and Deep Dell Road is perhaps the most dangerous intersection in the City of San Diego. According to data provided by the City, It is one of the top five locations with the most fatal or severe pedestrian crashes and is one of Circulate San Diego’s Fatal Fifteen. The City identified 10 projects to improve this intersection, including installing a red curb, upgrading pedestrian ramps, and adding high visibility crosswalks (pictured). Seven out of 10 improvements have been funded and completed.

Before

After

2. Improvements are still needed at dangerous intersections.

While the progress on many of the Fatal Fifteen intersections represents an improvement, numerous projects remain unfunded even though the City has identified those projects as integral to improve the safety of dangerous intersections. Of the Fatal Fifteen intersections, all are partially or completely funded for at least some improvements. Of the 15 intersections identified by the pedestrian audit, eight intersections contain at least one recommended improvement currently lacking funding. Of those eight intersections, we have highlighted below two that call for serious improvements.

Cass Street & Garnet Avenue

The City identified this intersection in Pacific Beach as one of its top 15 priorities for installing improvements. The City has stipulated seven recommended improvements, yet only four have been funded and completed: installing pedestrian countdown timers, high visibility crosswalks, audible pedestrian signals, and Left Turn Yield signs. The City’s recommendations of installing “needed accessibility improvements,” upgrading 8 inch signal indications to 12 inch, and updating street lights to latest standard LED lack funding. The City puts the cost of the three unfunded recommendations at $68,500.

Before

After

Mission Boulevard & Garnet Avenue

Populated by locals and tourists and located in the heart of Pacific Beach, this intersection is also one of the City’s most dangerous. Circulate San Diego designated Mission Boulevard & Garnet Avenue as a Fatal Fifteen intersection and the City placed this intersection on its top 15 list for intersection improvements. In order to improve the safety of this intersection, the City made six recommendations: 1) install continental crosswalks; 2) install pedestrian countdown timers; 3) install audible pedestrian countdown timers; 4) install needed accessibility improvements; 5) install Left Turn Yield signs; and 6) upgrade street lighting. The City has installed continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, audible pedestrian countdown timers, and Left Turn Yield signs; however, installing needed accessibility improvements and upgrading street lighting remain unfunded. According to the City, completing the rest of the recommended improvements would cost only $14,500.

Before

After

The City has made great strides to install continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, red curbs, and/or left turn yield signs on most of the 26 (the combination of both lists of most dangerous intersections) intersections where those improvements were needed. Based on the data from the City on high pedestrian crash locations, the City has been proactive by installing these and other low-cost improvements.  Unfortuantely, the more costly recommended improvements such as upgrading street lighting and accessibility improvements frequently lack programmed funding.

Since the City has been proactive in implementing numerous, low-cost improvements and financing others, 16 of the 26 dangerous intersections have all their recommended improvements either completed or funded for implementation by the City. However, crucial improvements for the remaining intersections have been placed on the unfunded needs list.

The following table lists the names of the 26 dangerous intersections and the recommended improvements yet to be funded. The Fatal Fifteen intersections are in bold while the City’s top 15 intersections are in italics, and the four intersections that overlap are in bold and italic.

Name of Intersection Council District Listed Estimated Cost ($) Recommended Intersection Improvements that Currently Lack Funding
Mission Blvd & Garnet Av 2 14,500 Install needed accessibility improvements, upgrade street lighting
Palm (SB) Av & 16th (SB) St* 8 0 N/A
Paradise Valley Rd & Deep Dell Rd 4 14,356 Upgrade street lighting, install 2 signal heads
University Av & Marlborough Av 9 0 All improvements funded or completed
4th Av & B St 3 0 All improvements funded or completed**
5th Av & B St 3 0 All improvements funded or completed**
6th Av. & Broadway          3 0 All improvements funded or completed**
Broadway & 5th Av 3 0 All improvements funded or completed**
Coronado (SB) Av & Thermal Av 8 0 All improvements funded or completed**
El Cajon Bl & 36th St 3 0 All improvements funded or completed
Euclid Av & Naranja St 4 0 All improvements funded or completed
University Av & 52nd St 9 0 All improvements funded or completed**
University Av & Fairmount Av 9 0 All improvements funded or completed
University Av & Menlo AV
9 0 All improvements funded or completed
University Av & Park Bl 3 0 All improvements funded or completed**
1st Av & A St 3 61,000 Develop project scope for pop-out on northwest corner
30th St & North Park Wy 3 2,500 Upgrade lighting to LED
Cass St & Garnet Av 2 68,500 Install needed accessibility improvements, upgrade 8” signal indications to 12”, update street lights to latest standard LED
Cesar E Chavez PY & Logan Av* 8 0 N/A
G St & 6th Av 3 0 All improvements funded or completed
Ingraham St & La Playa Av 2 2,500 Upgrade street lights to latest standard LED
La Jolla Village Dr & I-5 Off-Ramp* 1 0 N/A
Ocean View Bl & 32nd St 8 0 All improvements funded or completed
Robinson Av & 6th Av 3 11,600 Install needed accessibility improvements
University Av & 30th St 3 0 All improvements funded or completed
University Av & Vermont St 3 11,600 Install needed accessibility improvements
Total $186,556

 

** Listed Recommendation is to “Evaluate for audible pedestrian signals”

As shown in the table, the total amount of funding required to implement all the currently unfunded, recommended improvements is $186,556, according to the City’s estimates. The City of San Diego has made many intersections safer by implementing infrastructure improvements that Circulate San Diego advocated for: continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, and audible pedestrian signals. Still, now is the time to prioritize pedestrian safety at intersections where lives are at risk, and where safety improvements have already been identified.

Cross-posted at Circulate San Diego’s site.

This post, by our partners at Los Angeles Walks, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It’s been almost four months since Los Angeles Walks joined Investing in Place and other partners to host the Tripping Point, which, as far as we know, was LA’s first advocacy training summit focused on complete street issues, like sidewalks, bus stops, crosswalks, and street trees.

Since the first Tripping Point, safe and complete street issues have gained significant attention as Los Angeles embraces the challenge to create safer neighborhoods by reorganizing streets and public spaces.

Based on the turnout at the first Tripping Point, we know that the demand for healthy, active communities is out there. And based on our experiences over the past four months, we know how critical it is to voice and make visible the demand for updated streets and sidewalks that serve everyone’s needs.

So, led by Investing in Place, LA Walks is co-hosting the Tripping Point 2: The Valley edition along with AARP, the American Heart Association, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, Koreatown Youth & Community Center, LURN, Outfront/JCDecaux, and Southern California Resources Services for Independent Living.

WHY ATTEND?

To set the stage, we’re providing a recap here of the first Tripping Point, held on June 10th, when over 150 people from all across the city came together at El Puente Learning Center in Boyle Heights for workshops and skill-building sessions.

Our goals for the first Tripping Point were the same as they are for the upcoming Tripping Point 2:

  • Participants will better understand City initiatives, programs, and plans.
  • Attendees will boost their skills in advocating for safer streets and healthier communities.

For the Tripping Point 2, on October 21st, we’re also adding that participants will connect with one another to leave with a local network of fellow activists and allies.

Speakers on June 10th included two extraordinary community members, Cleo Ray (above) and Vanessa May, as well as Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero (top image), City Councilmember Nury Martinez, and Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds. It was an all-star line-up of women working to make our communities better!

Throughout the day, experts from community-based organizations and advocacy groups offered a slew of sessions, all offered in Spanish and English. Topics ranged from how to request a bus stop shelter to how to communicate effectively with elected officials. Attendees learned about stormwater capture, the urban tree canopy, and more.

Los Angeles Walks offered two sessions, both centered on connecting individuals with one another in order to build community power. First, during “Hands-On Walk Audit,” we taught participants how to conduct a walk audit and we shared a basic tool for coordinating a walk audit in their own neighborhoods. A walk audit can be a very detailed exercise that focuses on intense data collection. But, it can also be an opportunity to build relationships, share an experience, and establish common interests among community members — all steps toward building community power to create local change.

For the second session, America Aceves of Proyecto Pastoral led a training in community organizing called “Organizing for Change: The Power of Relationships.” America dove straight into what power is and who has it, how to create change through individual and institutional transformation, and what exactly organizing entails: community listening, research, action, and evaluation. We explored leadership and how to identify and develop leaders; learned how to conduct a “one-on-one,” the foundation of relationship-building in community organizing; and we each practiced telling our personal story, a useful skill for connecting with neighbors and decision-makers.

WHY BUILD PEOPLE POWER?

As an advocacy organization working to make Los Angeles a safe, equitable place to walk, Los Angeles Walks is, of course, focused on public policy, like the City’s sidewalk repair program, Safe Sidewalks LA, as well as Vision Zero and Mobility Plan 2035. But, increasingly, LA Walks is focusing on developing relationships and building people power. Recent events in Westside neighborhoods confirm that this is the way to go: only one week after the Tripping Point was held, vocal opposition erupted in response to the Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative project on Venice Blvd., the Safe Streets Playa del Rey road redesigns, and the Vista del Mar reconfiguration. The situation required intense mobilization and organizing of safe street supporters in the area.

In the months after, LA Walks joined the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in making visible the constituency for safe streets in Council District 11: we identified supportive stakeholders and community members, trained residents in how to provide public comment at a community meeting, encouraged constituents to email their elected officials in support of Vision Zero and roadway redesigns that control speed, and organized 60 people to attend and speak at the Mar Vista Community Council meeting.

The immediate outcome was positive: the Mar Vista Community Council voted to keep the Venice Blvd. project in place in order to allow the City time to conduct a thorough evaluation. But, opposition to street changes remain, which has led to the reversal of safety projects already in place and the threat to block projects currently in the works.

Now is the time to build our skills and our power as community members who know that another world is possible:

  • one in which traffic collisions are not the leading cause of death of children in Los Angeles County;
  • a city in which seniors in our neighborhoods feel comfortable traveling to the corner store, connecting with their friends along the way and strengthening their social support networks;
  • a city in which the preservation of human life takes priority over the swift movement of cars.

RSVP today for the Tripping Point 2: The Valley edition on Saturday, October 21 from 9:30am to 2pm. Boost your advocacy skills, meet like-minded people, and leave inspired to create a safer, healthier city. See you there!

Find info on the Tripping Point 1 below:

Tripping Point 1 agenda

Tripping Point 1 presentations

Tripping Point 1 photos

Cross-posted at Los Angeles Walks’ site.

This post, by our partners at Walk San Francisco, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Armed with speed detectors and surveys, Visitacion Valley seniors from the Asian Pacific American Community Center took to their local street to audit the safety of the intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Arleta Avenue. Staff from Assemblymember David Chiu’s office, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) representatives, and local Vision Zero advocates, joined the seniors to document the daily dangers of walking on their local city streets.

The Asian Pacific American Community Center is located near the high-injury intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Arleta Avenue in Southeastern San Francisco. Most of the seniors who rely on the Asian Pacific American Community Center’s programming get to and from the center using bus lines and light rail service that stop by the busy intersection. The street audit was a perfect opportunity to invite city officials and local politicians to learn more about the seniors’ experiences using this dangerous intersection.

Walk San Francisco began the event with a training to introduce the seniors to Vision Zero and provide them with skills to advocate for safer streets in their neighborhood. In the battle against traffic violence, knowledge is power. The training not only educated seniors about the issues at hand. but also the design solutions available to make walking safe. Walk SF’s Safe Streets for Seniors presentation highlighted street engineering treatments for safer streets, so the seniors could ask for these improvements from city officials and politicians.

Following the presentation, Walk SF led the seniors on a walk audit to study the safety conditions at the dangerous, five-way intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Arleta Avenue. During the audit, seniors split into smaller groups that were paired with city transportation officials and politicians in order to share their experiences and concerns about walking at the audit site.

The seniors raised street safety issues around the lack of crossing times, restricted access from cars parking on the sidewalk, and general navigation issues with narrow and poorly-maintained sidewalks. The walk audit also allowed seniors to share concerns about motorists speeding and blocking the crosswalk, after sighting multiple examples during the walk. Armed with the skills from the presentation, the seniors were able to make a request for larger bulb-outs and road diets to help reduce speeding traffic and make the street safer for pedestrians.

In San Francisco, speeding is the top factor in severe and fatal collisions, causing 10 times more injuries than drunk driving. Every mile per hour can be the difference between life and death. If someone is hit by a car going 20 mph, they have a 10% chance of being killed. At 40 mph, that chance increases to 80% for an average adult. For seniors, the risk is at least 90%.

During the walk audit, the seniors also used radar guns to measure the speed of traffic on Bayshore Boulevard. During the assessment, the seniors clocked cars speeding up to 42 mph on Bayshore – seven miles over the 35 mph speed limit.

After the walk audit, the seniors returned to the Asian Pacific American Community Center to review and discuss what they had noted in their small groups. SFMTA staff and Assemblymember Chiu’s staff took notes assured them that their concerns would be shared with the engineers and planners already working on longer term projects that included a redesign of the intersection. Since the training, SFMTA staff has expressed interest in returning to the Community Center to share next steps with the seniors.

The day’s training event highlighted the inequities in traffic violence facing seniors. Although seniors make up only 14 percent of San Francisco’s population, they make up at least 50 percent of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes each year. The City’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic deaths and severe-injury crashes by 2024 is a critical effort to create safer streets to address the higher risks of traffic violence for seniors.

Cross-posted at Walk San Francisco’s site.

This post, by our partners at Walk San Francisco, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So far this year, three people over the age of 70 have already been victims of San Francisco’s unsafe streets. 76-year old Jeannie Yee lost her life in Cow Hollow, 93-year-old Ka Ben Wong was killed in Russian Hill, and 77-year-old Meda Hacopian died near Lake Merced when she was struck by a car.

When seniors make up only 15 percent of San Francisco’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of all traffic deaths, it is time for the City to make its streets safe and accessible for ALL seniors and people with disabilities.

Since seniors are five times more at risk of dying from their injuries as those under 65, it comes as no surprise that the majority of those who are severely hurt or lose their lives are seniors and members of the disability community.

Beginning in 2014 when the City adopted Vision Zero – the goal to end all serious and fatal traffic-related crashes by 2024 – community members have begun to speak up and consistently demand progress towards this life-saving objective. Nonprofit organizations like Senior and Disability ActionChinatown Community Development Center, and Mercy Housing have partnered with Walk San Francisco and the Vision Zero Coalition to challenge legislators and policymakers to experience what it’s like to try to get around local streets every day as a senior or a person with one or more disabilities. At rallies, public hearings, and through organized formal appeals, safe street advocates have repeatedly urged elected leaders and decision makers to engineer streets that prioritize people walking and the safety concerns of the city’s older population.

After 68-year old Priscilla “Precy” Moreto was hit and killed by a tour bus in a crosswalk in front of City Hall, advocates pushed for and won legislation to prohibit tour bus drivers from simultaneously acting as tour guides.

In 2015, after Ai You Zhou, 77, was killed while crossing the intersection of Kearny and Clay streets, Chinatown advocates pushed for and won a “pedestrian scramble,” an engineering solution that stops traffic in all directions while allowing pedestrians to cross in all directions, including diagonally. This simple solution removes all vehicle-pedestrian conflict.

Less than a year later in 2016, Thu Phan, a 38-year-old Department of Labor employee, was killed while she was crossing Market Street in her wheelchair. Following an emotional rally at the site of her death, the Vision Zero Coalition formed a Senior & Disability Workgroup to focus specifically on policies to shape engineering, education, and enforcement efforts to increase the safety of seniors and people with disabilities.

This Workgroup has won key changes including:

  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs), walk signals that provide people crossing with a head start, at six intersections along Market Street, including 7th
  • More visible turn restriction signage at Market & 7th Street where Thu was killed
  • A City Administrator’s policy memo that explicitly states that City drivers are NOT exempt from turn restrictions (a key factor in Thu’s death)
  • A new required driver training and education program for ALL City staff that specifically highlights how to drive safely around seniors and people with disabilities

How to Build Safe Streets for Seniors and People with Disabilities
While the senior and disability advocates have won great progress, much work remains to be done. The Workgroup is now actively urging the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to respond to the primary safety challenge faced by seniors in San Francisco — the lack of adequate crossing times at dangerous intersections.

In addition, the group is supporting solutions to address the leading cause of serious and fatal injuries in traffic crashes: speeding, which is responsible for 10 times the number of injuries as drunk driving. Moreover, a senior that is hit by a car driving 40 MPH has only an 8 percent survival rate, compared to 20 percent for the average adult, making speed exponentially more dangerous for seniors and people with disabilities.

Solutions to protect seniors and people with disabilities who are at higher risk from unsafe speeding include concrete bulb-outs and medians, which shorten crosswalk lengths and reduce the time that seniors spend in the street, increase visibility between drivers and pedestrians, and slow down turning vehicles; leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs), which activate the walk signal for pedestrians before vehicles are given the green light signal; and raised crosswalks and intersections, which slow traffic moving through intersections, where most crashes occur.

Cross-posted at Walk San Francisco’s site.