Is Los Angeles Becoming More Pedestrian-Friendly?
Our Pedestrian Accident Attorney Explores This Question
One of the largest cities in the USA (and in the world), Los Angeles has long been a city of cars. It seems the entire city was designed for cars: multi-lane streets, extra-wide lanes, sprawling parking lots and expansive freeways. There are cars every brand, model and size everywhere. This emphasis on cars have resulted in streets that are often unappealing, stressful and unsafe for pedestrians. Talk to a pedestrian accident attorney if you are injured or have suffered damages while walking.
Several years ago, the city’s authorities realized paving all the open spaces is not the way to the future. Increasing the number of lanes and miles of roadways does not improve traffic. The city tried that for many years and the traffic jams and accidents continued to get worse. They knew that they had to approach the problems differently. The solution, as they saw it, was in creating more public spaces, which means building more parks, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
Of all the different forms of modern transportation, walking holds the most potential to enhance the livability of a city. The easier it is to walk from one part to the city to another, the safer and more livable the city becomes. Yet, pedestrians often get the lowest priority in a city’s infrastructure and policy development. This is what had been happening in Los Angeles for several decades and the city meant to change it.
With this in view, the city embarked on a mission to make the city more pedestrian friendly. Initiatives were launched to build more sidewalks and widen the existing ones, install additional bike lanes, expand the public transit lines, plants trees, and increase the number of urban parks. The Los Angeles River Revitalization program was launched to restore the river’s ecosystem and turn both banks of the river into a park with walkways and bicycle lanes. And then there is Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets program, which has been working to make the city’s streets more pedestrian friendly.
The walking advocacy group in Los Angeles has come up with a very novel concept that makes it easier for pedestrians to walk to popular destinations. It involves streets signs showing walking time, such as Florence Blue Line Station 30 minutes, rather than the usual distance. The idea is that pedestrians can relate to time more easily than to distance. Another project called MyFigueroa is working to bring a bike path and pedestrian-friendly bells and whistles to a section of the street running between Downtown and South LA.
These programs and initiatives have had remarkable impacts and the city has made some real progress in walkability in recent years. Once known as the city of cars, Los Angeles today has a walk score of 66, which places it in the 16th position among the 30 largest metros in the United States. The city has become much more pedestrian friendly than it was a decade ago.
Some of the city’s biggest recent achievements in making the city more livable include:
- Nearly 20,000 new continental crosswalks: The city has installed 19,770 new continental crosswalks that have contributed to a 25% decrease in pedestrian accidents.
- Tens of miles of new bike lanes added each year: The city has been adding tens of miles of bike lanes each year since 2010. From 1996 to 2009, the city added 4.5 miles of bike lanes each year. From 2010 to 2011, the city added 50 miles of bike lanes. Between 2014 and 2015, 38.2 miles of bike lanes were added.
- Grand Park: This new park in the heart of the city provides the city’s denizens a place where they can come to exercise, relax, socialize and celebrate. Throughout the park, there are open spaces for causal sitting and leisurely strolling.
- Great Streets: Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets program has been working to make the city’s streets more accessible and livable.
- CicLAVia: A regular event that shuts down miles of the city’s streets to cars and opens them for pedestrians and bicyclists to “take over” and enjoy.
Although Los Angeles is still a city of cars, it has become more pedestrian-friendly in recent years and will continue to improve in the future. The fact that the price of real estate has increased by a higher percentage in areas with a higher walk score than in areas with a lower walk score makes one hopeful that the city will continue to move in that direction.
If you are injured in an accident while walking, phone a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as you are able to.