Will Los Angeles Get Behind Livable Street Model Published in GOOD?
The description of American urban city streets printed in GOOD Magazine pretty much sums up Los Angeles:
Throughout the 20th century most of the human beings designing our streets were traffic engineers. For the most part, they viewed the city from behind a windshield and saw the street as a problem to be solved for automobiles. The result is the American city that most of us know today: sprawling, traffic-choked, hostile to pedestrians and cyclists, dependent on a vast, never-ending flow of cheap oil, and deeply unsustainable.
Here's our experience from one of LAist's many mobile headquarters (hey, we telecommute). Coffeeshops, yoga studios, restaurants all make up Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. One block north is Moorpark followed by residential homes. A walk to Ventura Blvd. should only be a few minutes and is when it's not rush hour. But during rush hour getting across the street in an unmarked crosswalk is a dangerous and timely one. For the most part cars won't stop, even with you standing a few feet out in the street obviously trying to cross. If you want to avoid this, it's a 10 minute round trip to get to the other side of the street by going to the nearest traffic light. At one point, the city came out to study the intersection and said they did not observe enough pedestrians trying to cross, therefore there was no need to help the situation. And they were right, no pedestrians could be found because they have all been trained not to walk. Catch 22?
With that said (and many more experiences like it), today GOOD introduced the Livable Streets Initiative, which is part of the Streetsblog network and has been around for many years. There, you can learn how to redesign your street to be more livable.