The $1-trillion Federal infrastructure bill could one day be a boon for some of L.A. County's boldest transit aspirations. But in the shorter-term future, it will pay dividends on some of the region's most dangerous roads.
This week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $800 million in grant awards through the new Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program, including funding for 510 projects nationwide and 50 within California.
“Every year, crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy; we face a national emergency on our roadways, and it demands urgent action,” said Buttigieg in a news release. “We are proud that these grants will directly support hundreds of communities as they prepare steps that are proven to make roadways safer and save lives.”
Of the total $800 million awarded across the country, nearly $30.5 million will go toward safe streets projects within the City and County of Los Angeles. The two projects include:
La Brea Avenue Complete Streets Project
The City of Los Angeles has secured $9 million in funding for a planned upgrade of La Brea Avenue in the West Adams and Baldwin Hills neighborhood. The project corridor, stretching between Adams Boulevard in the North and Coliseum Street to the south, is known for heavy, fast-moving traffic moving through Baldwin Hills, as well as limited pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. The City of L.A. intends to use the new money to construct new pedestrian crosswalks and signals, add new pavement markers, and repair crumbling sidewalks - all in support of the city's elusive Vision Zero plan.
The new funding comes at a time when the City and Metro are preparing to implement bus priority lanes on La Brea between Coliseum Street and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. And coincidentally, just weeks after Thrive Living announced plans for a large mixed-use project in the near vicinity which would feature 800 apartments atop a new Costco.
Florence-Firestone for All: Achieving Vision Zero in South Los Angeles
Several miles east, Los Angeles County has been awarded nearly $20.5 million to implement new safety features along key corridors in the unincorporated community of Florence-Firestone. The range of improvements will include new curb ramps. curb extensions, raised crosswalks, raised medians, pedestrian refuge islands, speed cushions, high-visibility crosswalks, signage, and the removal of sections of roadway to reduce conflicts at certain intersections.
The physical improvements will be accompanied by a new education campaign at schools with teen drivers to discourage distracted riving and street racing. Additionally, the money will go toward an education program for a Safe Routes for Seniors program and public art to encourage traffic calming.
Federal funding comes at a time when L.A. County has already started taking steps to address road safety within Florence-Firestone, as well as new planning efforts to steer development around existing and future transit infrastructure.
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