City Councilman Richard Alarcon has always been a vocal supporter for traffic calming and safe streets around schools and other places that children congregate. In 2007, he introduced legislation calling for the LADOT to report on how it prioritizes traffic calming devices around schools, parks and recreation centers. Last year, he introduced the resolution which created the "set-aside" for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the city’s Measure R Local Return funds.
We all know that the battle to slow traffic is a hard one, so yesterday must have been a good one for the Councilman. Surrounded by students from Langdon Elementary, Alarcon celebrated the installation of speed humps and curb cuts around eight schools in the 7th Councilmanic District, paid for with Safe Routes to Schools funds. At Langdon Elementary School, where the press conference was held, there have been 28 collisions on that block between 2003-2008, including 2 pedestrian related and 4 bicycle related accidents, as reported by LADOT.
"It is always fantastic to hear of leaders and communities addressing and prioritizing the needs of children and their families to safely and enjoyably access their schools," says Jessica Meaney, California Policy Manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
Streetsblog had been highly critical of the city’s grant writing efforts when it comes to "Safe Routes to Schools," the projects and proposals coming out of Alarcon’s district have always been superior to the fare offered by LADOT for the rest of the city. That the LADOT complains about the city not receiving its "fare share" of SRTS funding while eight schools in one district have traffic calming installed with SRTS funds over the course of one week tells the story. If anyone is interested in seeing these kinds of projects for their local schools, there is a Safe Routes to School’s training session at the Caltrans building Downtown at 9:00 A.M. If you’re interested, email Caltrans’ local SRTS Direcyor at firstname.lastname@example.org. The meeting occurs in advance of a July 15 deadline to apply for $24 million in California SRTS grants.
In addition to Langdon Elementary, traffic calming was installed in recent weeks a seven other schools. Here are the schools with the speed humps and curb cuts:
- Pacoima Elementary School
- Rosa Parks Learning Center School
- Sepulveda Middle School
- Chase Elementary School
- Maclay Middle School
- St. Didacus Religious Education School
- Sylmar High School.