Los Angeles Council members propose comprehensive plan for potential street safety law

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Los Angeles, California – Three members of the Los Angeles City Council have put forward a plan asking for detailed reports to get the city ready for a potential new street safety law that might be voted on this March. This law, known as the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, is being pushed by local residents. It says that if the city is fixing up a section of road that’s longer than one-eighth of a mile, they also have to add safety features that are part of a bigger plan called Mobility Plan 2035. This plan is about making LA’s streets better over the next 20 years by making it safer to walk, bike, or use public transport.

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If people vote yes on this Healthy Streets LA (HLA) proposal, when the city decides to repave a street, they’ll also need to add things like ramps that are easy for everyone to use, new places for buses to stop, safe places to cross the street, and lanes just for bikes.

Council members Nithya Raman, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Hugo Soto-Martinez introduced this plan on Tuesday. They’re calling it a “three-prong approach” to get everything in place if the law gets passed. They want to make sure the city’s rules for changing streets match up with what this new law wants. They’re also planning to set up a five-year plan to decide which projects to spend money on to reach the city’s goals.

Another part of the plan is to see how they can keep up with road maintenance while adding these new bike lanes and other changes required by the new law.

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This Healthy Streets LA measure is supported by groups that care about the environment, workers’ rights, and non-profit organizations like the Sierra Club and Streets for All. However, there are people who don’t like this idea, such as Keep LA Moving and Safer Streets L.A. They think it will make traffic worse, be expensive for the city and its residents, and be too rigid.

A group that includes firefighters and Keep LA Moving even started a campaign called “Don’t Slow Us Down!” on Wednesday, asking people not to vote for the measure because they believe it will make their jobs harder.

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“Each year our firefighters and paramedics respond to more than 500,000 calls for service — and in an emergency, every second counts,” Freddy Escobar, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, said in a statement. “HLA will increase response times, impede evacuations during mass emergencies, and endanger the public by slowing us down.”

Councilwoman Traci Park stood with firefighters in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday morning, voicing her doubts about a proposed street safety law. Park believes the law, known as HLA, won’t meet its goals and criticized it as a costly mistake.

“HLA is a $3 billion boondoggle that will result in a patchwork of road diets to nowhere,” she said in a statement.

Matthew Szabo, a city official, warned in a report that the law could end up costing over $2.5 billion in the next decade. He pointed out that some costs are still not clear, and the city might face more legal costs because people could sue if the street changes aren’t made. Szabo also mentioned that street paving work might slow down, potentially costing $73 to $139 million for each year of delay.

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On February 7, Council members Park, John Lee, and Paul Krekorian asked for detailed reports on how much this law would cost and how it might affect street maintenance plans. They’re worried about the city’s budget, especially since the city just had to cut back on hiring to deal with a big budget shortfall that might grow even larger next year. They also highlighted that people in the city are urgently asking for solutions to big problems like homelessness, the cost of living, and keeping communities safe.

Meanwhile, council members Raman, Soto-Martinez, and Harris-Dawson think the city can handle the cost of the law by using different sources of money. They argue that the law could help make streets safer. Last year, traffic accidents killed more people in the city than violent crimes did, with most of the victims being pedestrians or cyclists. Over the past five years, traffic accidents have seriously injured over 1,500 people in the city each year.

“The proponents of Measure HLA argue that the city has fundamentally failed to translate the funding we already have into progress on our safety, access, sustainability and equity goals,” the motion reads. “At the same time, despite unprecedented investment, pavement quality has remained virtually flat.”

Raman, Soto-Martinez and Harris-Dawson added, “This is a significant investment, but well within the city’s financial capacity after factoring in state and federal grants, partnerships with Metro, and efficiencies from better alignment between our maintenance programs and our capital planning.”

Council members Heather Hutt, Katy Yaroslavsky and Eunisses Hernandez have also backed Measure HLA.

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Both motions will be taken up with the City Council’s Public Works Committee at a future meeting.

Alex Burton
Alex Burtonhttps://latestusnewshub.com
Alex is part of US News Hub where he covers local news about Los Angeles and Long Beach. From LA crime news to local Long Beach events and happenings, Alex provides breaking stories keeping US News Hub readers informed and engaged.

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