Earlier this month, the City of Los Angeles launched its "Slow Streets" pilot program, in which residents can apply to limit automobile traffic through neighborhoods to create more open space for recreation. A similar initiative is now in the works for other parts of Los Angeles County.
LAist reports that the Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to move forward with a "slow and safe streets" program in Los Angeles County's unincorporated communities, directing the Departments of Public Health and Public Works to report back in two weeks with guidelines and recommendations.
The program, which was initiated via a motion from Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, is dually motivated by an increase in speeding during the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbating an existing lack of open space in unincorporated neighborhoods. The County effort, which was initiated by a motion from Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, will tie together its 2020 Vision Zero Action Plan - which aims to eliminated traffic deaths - and its 2016 Park Needs Assessment.
The Vision Zero plan identifies 20 priority corridors in where traffic injuries and fatalities occur with frequency, many of which run through communities which lack access to open space. Pacific Boulevard, one of the priority corridors, bisects the community of Walnut Park, where residents have access to just .1 acres of park space per 1,000 people - 33 times less than the County average.
The move also comes as Los Angeles County streets see increased speeding due to decreased vehicular traffic during the pandemic. The motion notes that during April 2020, the California Highway Patrol saw an 87 percent increases in citations for speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The Department of Public Health and Public Works have been directed to develop guidelines - including signage and other interventions to reduce vehicle traffic on "slow streets" - and to identify five-to-ten street segments which may be viable candidates for the program.