The City of Los Angeles Safe Routes to School Action Plan and Progress Report, released in January 2017, guides investments for engineering, education, encouragement, and enforcement activities around schools in the City. “Every child should have safe, walkable streets on their way to school — and we can make that happen with strong partnerships, thoughtful planning, and wise investments,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
In Los Angeles, every three days, at least one youth is involved in a fatal or severe injury crash. They are also twice more likely to be hit during their travel to and from school than other times of the day. Redesigning streets, educating the public and enforcing laws are strategies to improve the safety of travel in school neighborhoods. A key desired outcome is to reduce vehicle speeds, a lead contributor to traffic deaths.
One of the most visible successes has been the City of Los Angeles Safe Routes to School program, which Nelson\Nygaard has led. Bringing communities together to walk to school helps reinforce the responsibilities that people walking, bicycling, and driving have to adhere to the rules of the road. Events have expanded two-fold over the past three years with over 170 schools and 65,000 students participating in 2016.
“Three years ago, we began our work in Los Angeles with a handful of schools,” says Drusilla van Hengel. “Through relationship building and strategic advice, we were instrumental in the development of what is now a deeply collaborative relationship between the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles Unified School District that prioritizes traffic safety for youth. We are honored to have informed the Action Plan, completed the Youth Safety Study, and supported the program’s Walk to School Day accomplishments.”