It Just Got Easier To Set Up 'Slow Streets' Programs In LA
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law a bill that makes it easier for Los Angeles to institute "Slow Streets" programs that permanently or temporarily close streets and highways.
Writing in favor of the bill, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti noted that cities across the state created temporary “Slow Streets” programs during the pandemic “to provide safe recreational spaces close to home,” according to the Assembly floor analysis.
L.A.’s program has more than 50 miles of Slow Streets across 30 neighborhoods, with many in poorer communities “with dense housing and poor access to parks,” the mayor said.
“Providing Angelenos access to safe spaces for fresh air has been essential to mental and physical health,” he wrote, adding that there was “overwhelming demand” to keep the program going.
AB 773 could also make it easier for al fresco dining programs to stick around after the pandemic. Those programs allow cities to close off streets so restaurants, bars and cafes can set up tables and serve people outside.
The law will only affect Los Angeles County because it is limited to counties with a population of at least 6 million people. L.A. County, the state's most populous county, has just over 10 million residents. It's followed by San Diego County, which has 3.3 million residents.
AB 773 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
Under the new law, local authorities will be able to adopt "slow streets" programs that prevent or limit vehicle traffic on some roads. To do that, officials must meet certain conditions:
- There must be a determination that halting or restricting vehicle traffic is necessary for the safety of people who use the street.
- They must conduct an outreach and engagement process.
- They must clearly designate the street closures and traffic restrictions with signage.
- They must maintain a website with info about the slow streets program and a list of streets that are part of the program or being considered for it.
The bill was authored by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood).