LADOT: Finally Getting Serious About Safe Routes to School?
For years the LADOT’s applications for state and federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding have been an object of ridicule among transportation advocates. But over the last year, there are signs that the city is taking the funding and designing of safe school routes more seriously.
Following a batch of applications this summer that included a lot more community outreach than in years past, the City of Los Angeles is looking for two transportation planners to work on a city-wide SRTS plan for one year. The funding for the positions is part of the “bicycle-pedestrian set-aside” from the city’s share of Measure R “Local Return” dollars. While there has been some grumbling that Measure R funds are meant to go towards Capital Improvements, spending money to improve the city’s woeful SRTS program was supported in committee by L.A. Walks, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (the Partnership.)
For now, a top priority is finding two people best able to fill the positions at LADOT. The job applications can be found on the city’s website by clicking here. The Partnership urges anyone interested in the positions to apply while noting that even with these positions, the Los Angeles is well behind other cities when it comes to dedicating staff for pedestrian improvements. Even these positions will be somewhat split between bicycle and pedestrian work as bicycle access is a major component of SRTS planning.
Of course, hiring new staff is one step on a journey. Cyclists well remember the frustration felt when seemingly progressive ideas disappeared from drafts of the Bike Plan before the city settled on a plan that was acceptable to advocates at the eleventh hour. There’s no reason why a progressive Safe Routes to School Plan wouldn’t involve some advocacy campaign as well.