April Aguirre of the blog I Am San Fernando has declared that a portion of Van Nuys Blvd (between San Fernando Road and Foothill Blvd) to become Mural Mile. These murals are projects born of passion, love and pride for community and create a connection between the residents and their community.
Last March, Adam Choit decided to make a video showing pedestrians trying to run across Sunset Boulevard in a particularly dangerous stretch where crosswalks loom far in the distance from one another. The video received a lot of attention from people who were alarmed by pedestrians taking such risks to cross the street – people like Los Angeles Walks founder and the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee Chair Deborah Murphy who sent the video to colleagues at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
In response, the Department of Transportation has added the intersection featured in this video to a list of new city crosswalks to be painted in the next fiscal year. Choit said that he thought this was a win for a more pedestrian-friendly Sunset Boulevard and says that he plans to make additional films that affect change in the city. Choit says: It’s definitely rewarding to know that hard work and having a vision can pay off, and one person really can make a difference.”
Street artist Calder Greenwood creates paper-mache sculptures of people and animals and places them around some neglected space in Los Angeles including our river (51 miles long and so important to our city’s history!), an empty pit in Downtown and a grassy knoll (also in Downtown L.A.).
These sculptures seem so out-of-place in these spaces but they allow you to imagine the potential of that particular space and in the case of the pit for example, you realize how large it actually is in comparison to a person and all of a sudden, that large space seems more like a wasted opportunity for something that can enhance our own quality of life.
At some point, you may have found yourself wondering why it can take so long to get a seemingly simple repair, amenity (bicycle racks, benches, bus shelters, etc) or design change made to our city streets. Huma Husain, a graduate planning student at the University of California Los Angeles created this wonderful diagram which could provide a very helpful answer to that exact question.
As you can see, Ms. Husain has labeled the Los Angeles city managing agency which oversees different portions of our streets, sidewalks and amenities. While each city has differing managing bodies and management roles, here in Los Angeles, as this diagram illustrates, any change could be a difficult process and large-scale changes (like design modifications that can help our streets become more friendly to bicycles and pedestrians) could be very challenging.
In addition to working with the number of managing agencies involved in street projects, our underground infrastructure (pipes, tubes, wiring, etc, which provides us with our utilities and services) as well as the time and labor needed for these projects can create further delays.
But understanding how our streets are managed is important because it also let’s you know which agency should be held accountable when change needs to take place.
The Los Angeles region has a new safety campaign called “Watch the Road” which encourages drivers and pedestrians to be aware of one another at all times.
The City of West Hollywood has a large gay community and one of the Watch the Road campaign ads feature a same-sex family, acknowledging and including a diversity of families in their campaign. Inclusiveness can foster a sense of civic pride and participation and by the city acknowledging the diversity of their community, the city is encouraging a feeling of inclusiveness.