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Streetsblog L.A. and Sahra Sulaiman Honored By L.A. Press Club

Streetsblog's team at last night's L.A. Press Club awards: left to right

Streetsblog’s team celebrating last night’s L.A. Press Club award: left to right, Joel Epstein, Joe Linton, Jason Islas, and Doug Lewis. Photo by John Guevara

At the Los Angeles Press Club‘s 58th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards last night, Streetsblog Los Angeles was honored with two first place awards among eleven nominations for Streetsblog and our sister sites LongBeachIze and Santa Monica Next. L.A. Press Club award nominations are generated locally, then winners are picked by volunteer journalists from across the United States.

For the third year in a row, the Streetsblog L.A. team was honored as the Southern California first place in the Group Blog category. The award recognizes the core SBLA team of Joe Linton, Sahra Sulaiman, Damien Newton, and Jason Islas. The judges praised Streetsblog for a “[g]ood variety of interesting stories” and further commented that Streetsblog “demonstrates solid journalism.”

Streetsblog L.A. Communities Editor Sahra Sulaiman received a first place award for her coverage of the hard-fought community battle against the polluting battery recycling business Exide. Sulaiman’s August 2015 article Exide: Can’t Put Together Proper Closure Plan but Absolves Itself of Blame for Massive Public Health Disaster received the Press Club’s 2015 first place award for Online Traffic/City News. The judges commented:

The Exide story exhibited a rare “feel” for a story of such environmental complexity. Right from the start, we were compelled by the words of the 25-year-old man who said, “take a good look at me.” He believes Exide caused him damage which may well be irreparable. The significant graphics might have been too much for some readers but we found them all easy to understand and they clearly illustrated the scope of the problem. The explanation of Exide’s apparent wiggling to avoid blame was laid out in a clear, linear fashion. And with the nifty turn of phrase. “Good luck trying to get millions more out of us.” It was strong to the end and landed with a powerful thud as we, the reader, learned just how long and drawn out the process has been and will be. “DTSC anticipates asking for that input in October.” Just a wonderful job. A clear winner.

At yesterday's groundbreaking, South L.A. resident Dana Gilbert holds an L.A. Times article from 1992 about the plans to rebuild the vacant lots at Manchester and Vermont and the jobs the effort would bring to the area. The article features a photo of himself with then-Mayor Tom Bradley. Gilbert showed up to ask for the job he was promised 23 years ago. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

At the March 2015 groundbreaking for the Vermont Entertainment Village, Sahra Sulaiman took this photograph of South L.A. resident Dana Gilbert holding an L.A. Times article from 1992 about the plans to rebuild the vacant lots at Manchester and Vermont and the jobs the effort would bring to the area. The article features a photo of himself with then-Mayor Tom Bradley. Gilbert showed up to ask for the job he was promised 23 years ago. Read the full story.

Sahra Sulaiman also received two second place acknowledgements. Her March 2015 article What Does the “Failure” of the Ban on Fast-Food Restaurants in South L.A. to Curb Obesity Really Tell Us? placed second in the Online Non-Political Commentary category. Her photograph of South L.A. resident Dana Gilbert placed second in the News Photo category. The photo ran as part of Sulaiman’s April 2015 coverage of the groundbreaking for the Vermont Entertainment Village.

Streetsblog L.A. sister site LongBeachIze received a third place award in the Online Traffic/City News category. Brian Addison and Kate Rispoli were honored for their three-part series on the preservation of the nation’s first Taco Bell fast food restaurant building. The 53-year old Long Beach edifice was preserved and later moved to Taco Bell’s Irvine corporate headquarters. See Rispoli and Addison’s series at LongBeachIze: part one, two, and three.

Streetsblog boardmember and frequent guest author Joel Epstein received first place in the Individual Blog category for his Mermaid Avenue blog at the Huffington Post.

Sadly, last night’s Press Club ceremonies also commemorated the passing of two friends of the blog.

Former Los Angeles City Councilmember and former Press Club president Bill Rosendahl is famous for many great firsts, including being the first openly gay person elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Rosendahl is well known to SBLA readers as a champion for multi-modal transportation. This year the L.A. Press Club began a tradition of naming their annual Public Service Award after Bill Rosendahl.

Lastly, the L.A. Press Club commemorated the life and work of KPCC‘s longtime Morning Edition host Steve Julian, who died of a brain tumor earlier this year. Julian’s is survived by his wife Felicia Friesema, a Streetsblog partner who is our point of contact at Foothill Transit.

Rest in peace, Bill and Steve.

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Welcome Streetsblog L.A.’s New Intern Doug Lewis


Streetsblog Intern Doug Lewis

There is a new face at Streetsblog Los Angeles this summer. Readers will soon begin seeing the byline of Streetsblog L.A. Summer Intern Doug Lewis who started last week and will be with us through early August.

Below Doug introduces himself in his own words:

My name is Doug Lewis and I’m a rising senior at Pitzer College studying Public Policy and Sociology. My interest in transportation has come rather recently over the past few years.

For my first 18 years I was tethered to cars in a Massachusetts suburb. Driving wasn’t so much a choice but a necessity for the demands of everyday life and unpredictability of New England weather. (The walkability of my home according to is a dismal 8.) At 16, a driver’s license and car promised an unprecedented level of autonomy and freedom unreachable by any alternatives. To me, a license felt like a ritual stepping stone towards achieving adulthood. Without it, I was caged within a few square miles. Transportation alternatives were either non-existent or incredibly inconvenient.

It wasn’t until I moved to the edge of L.A. County in Claremont, CA for school that I saw driving as a choice rather than a requirement.

After a semester in Kathmandu, Nepal navigating a cartel-esque private shuttle system in ancient, pedestrian-based cities I came to see public transportation as the heart of city life. I found the daily rituals of transportation shaped rich traditions that mold cities’ character and community.  In the diversity and heterogeneity of Kathmandu urban life, shuttle transportation exposed my worldview to communities, ideas, and people outside my own pre-subscribed assumptions. The diversity of urban areas, I feel, is one of the great riches of urban life and is made possible by an equally diverse transportation system that confers accessibility and independence. To borrow from Jane Jacobs, “By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.”

I look forward to working with Streetsblog L.A. to cover local and regional efforts to challenge the notion of what Reyner Banham famously coined Los Angeles’s “Autopia.” Of my ever-changing future aspirations, one is to improve cities transportation systems to allow for multi-modal alternatives. Ultimately, I see transportation as a tool to ameliorate the inequities and restrictions of car-dependent regions.

Since arriving in California, Streetsblog L.A. has been one of my go-to sources for transportation news in L.A. County, providing a window to the often-overlooked local and regional efforts that are incrementally transforming Los Angeles from a car-dependent city to an interconnected multi-modal transportation system. I look forward to contributing to SBLA’s passionate community and provide discussions about Los Angeles’s transportation development.

As a SBLA writer, I see it as my responsibility to expand public awareness of Los Angeles’s public transportation developments. I’m optimistic about the future of Los Angeles’s transportation to provide healthy, sustainable, and congestion-free alternatives for everyday life’s demands. With the recent completion of the Gold Line and Expo line extensions in addition to the upcoming R2 ballot measure, it’s hard to look at Los Angeles’s transportation system and not have a sense of optimism about our cities’ future as an interconnected, multi-modal city.

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This Week Only! SBLA Winter Fund Drive, Win Sadik-Khan, Gabe Klein Books!

If you’re reading this, you are a Streetsblog Los Angeles reader. Our articles are brought to you by people like you – readers.

Streetsblog is a non-profit. SBLA is supported by donors, advertisers, and grants, but we need ongoing support from you to keep publishing. This week only we are sweetening the pot to get a few more of you than usual to donate. If you contribute $25 or more this week, you will be entered into a raffle to win one of two great new books by great livability leaders.

Click here to make a donation.

Street Fight by Sadik-Khan and Solomonow

Street Fight by Sadik-Khan and Solomonow

Street Fight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
2016 – Viking Press – hardcover
To be released in March 2016 – hot off the presses! Preview the book here.

Janette Sadik-Khan served as the head of New York City’s Transportation Department under Mayor Michael Bloomberg from 2007 to 2013. She oversaw an extraordinary transformation of NYC streets. Under her leadership, NYC added nearly 400 miles of new bike lanes including many protected bike lanes, plus more than sixty new public plazas, a 5,000 bike bike-share system, open streets festivals, and much more. Seth Solomonow served as chief communications strategist for NYC DOT during Sadik-Khan’s tenure.

Street Fight tells the stories of how Sadik-Khan, Solomonow, and others created massive change in a very short time frame. Sadik-Khan explains precedents for these projects: places where she “stole” her ideas from. Street Fight chapters focus on bus improvements, plazas, bike lanes, bike-share, safety in numbers, how to read a street, and more. Sadik-Khan is a livable streets hero; her new book is an inspiration.

JSK will be in Los Angeles on March 16 at the Hammer Museum and March 17 TBA. Watch her awesome TED talk here.

Start-Up City by Klein with Vega-Barachowitz

Start-Up City by Klein with Vega-Barachowitz

Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun
by Gabe Klein with David Vega-Barachowitz
2015 – Island Press – paperback
Signed by Gabe Klein! Preview the book here.

Gabe Klein is one of the United States’ top livability leaders. From the private sector, he became a maverick city transportation department head for Washington D.C., then Chicago. In leading those DOTs, he championed innovative multi-modal approaches that activate streets. He embraces bicycling, walking, and new technologies.

Start-Up City tells stories about lessons learned from Klein’s transportation transformation victories. Like Sadik-Khan, Klein is big on quick changes, often via pilot projects that can prove a concept before later expansion. Start-Up City includes great advice on public-private partnerships, river revitalization, protected bike lanes, autonomous vehicles, the shared economy (especially bike-share and car-share), and much more.

Streetsblog L.A. interviewed Klein during a recent visit.

What are you waiting for? Donate today!

Donate by midnight Friday, February 26, to be entered into a drawing to win one of these great books. Raffle will be held Monday, February 29. Winners will be contacted via email. Books will be mailed or dropped off on Tuesday, March 1.

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Friday Job Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are some current listings:

Store Manager, PUBLIC Bikes, Santa Monica
PUBLIC Bikes seeks a a results-driven, marketing-oriented, high energy Store Manager to lead a new Santa Monica store scheduled to open in late February. This person will be the literal face of PUBLIC bikes in the Santa Monica-area market, manage the local team, and work closely with that team to engage local merchants, neighborhood and city influencers, cycling advocacy groups to plan community-based events and partnerships in and out of the store.

5278 Planner II, San Francisco Planning Department, San Francisco
This position performs difficult city planning work and participates in all phases of city planning; assists in the preparation of planning, research, surveys and projects; conducts investigations, collects and analyzes data on zoning, subdivision design, urban renewal, rapid transit and other land use problems; assists in the conduct of environmental impact reviews; assists in the preparation of written and graphic reports; may supervise subordinate survey, clerical and office personnel; and performs related duties as required.

Public Service Director, City of Columbus, Columbus, Ohio
The City of Columbus is seeking a strong manager and a collaborative and innovative leader with previous executive leadership experience to serve as the Director of the Department of Public Service. This position will serve as an advisor to the Mayor, at the cabinet level, on a wide range of public and infrastructure services essential to the citizens of Columbus. This position directs the activities of four divisions, which have the primary duties of removing solid waste, snow and ice removal, transportation planning and operations, design and construction activities, graffiti removal and pothole repair.

Families for Safe Streets Organizer, Transportation Alternatives, New York
Supported by TA, Families for Safe Streets members engage in advocacy and targeted awareness campaigns to press for changes to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries on NYC streets. The FSS Organizer will play a critical role in supporting existing FSS members, growing the group by reaching other New Yorkers impacted by traffic violence, and coordinating new support service activities.


Hear Streetsblog On The Sound 100.3FM This Sunday At 7 a.m.

Tune in to The Sound this Sunday at 7 a.m.

Tune in to The Sound this Sunday at 7 a.m.

On Sunday morning, hear Streetblog L.A. Editor Joe Linton interviewed on Tina Mastramico’s 5900 Wilshire radio show on The Sound at 100.3FM. The 12-minute interview is scheduled to air this Sunday, January 17, between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Listen online here. Once it has been aired, the audio will be available here.

Joe talks parking, CicLAvia, Vision Zero, rail construction, bike lanes, bike-share, speed, safety, trade-offs and much more.

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Happy Holidays From Streetsblog Los Angeles

Enjoy some Metro rail caroling courtesy of RailLA! Streetsblog Los Angeles will be off for the holidays tomorrow and Friday. From the team who brings you Streetsblog, we wish you safe and fun holiday celebrations, a beautiful commemorative unlimited-use TAP card in your presents, and a year ahead of increasingly walkable and bikeable streets!

On Monday December 28, SBLA returns with three days worth of posts announcing the 2015 Streetsie award nominees. Please weigh in on your favorite livability leaders, from the elected, agency, business, media, and advocacy fields. Reader polls will be published December 28, 29, and 30 with voting extended through Tuesday January 5.

Lastly, if you enjoy SBLA and you’re in a position to give back, consider making a year-end donation.

p.s. if you’re looking for something streetsbloggy to pass the time on, check out and vote in Streetsblog USA’s polls for the best and worst of 2015.

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If You Value Streetsblog L.A., Please Make A Contribution

It’s that time of the year. The days are getting shorter. The air is cooler. The rains might actually be coming. And your inbox is peppered with pleas from worthwhile nonprofits asking for your year-end contribution. Streetsblog Los Angeles hereby joins that chorus. If you value the news you get here, we’d value your support. If you’re already ready to make a donation, click here and get started!

In 2008, when Damien Newton got Streetsblog L.A. off the ground, Southern California was a very different place. Few if any were predicting the dramatic shifts we’ve begun to see. Nobody predicted the generational decline in individual miles driven that we’re seeing. Nor the increases in bicycling, walking and transit.

Sure, before 2008 there were movements afoot for greater bikeability, walkability and transit, but there was little political consensus to move these forward. There was a sense that things could be better. Under Damien, Streetsblog quickly became an invaluable resource, highlighting local, national and international examples of just what livability could look like. Streetsblog gave Angelenos a sense of what was happening, and what could be.

Streetsblog told L.A.’s livability stories — from Metro’s expanding rail network to L.A.’s expanding bikeways. Streetsblog L.A. affirmed livability heroes and chided interests standing in the way.

In 2015, when Damien moved on to extend the California Streets Initiative’s reach to Streetsblog California and Streetsblog San Francisco, I became Streetsblog L.A.’s second editor. Los Angeles is a pretty different place. There are numerous elected officials who have made livability prominent in their words and deeds. In Seleta Reynolds, the city has its first truly pro-bike/walk/transit LADOT General Manager. LADOT now has standing People St programs where communities can transform streets into pedestrian plazas, or parking spaces into parklets. For the first time ever, LADOT is implementing protected bike lanes. The Planning Department is re-examining long-held car-centric mandates. Discussions that formerly focused solely on driver throughput, now take into account safety, equity, and quality of life.

Projects that agency staff said were impossible here – bus-only lanes, CicLAvia, bike-share, bike corrals, even sharrows – are becoming widespread and part of the everyday fabric of L.A. streets.

And it’s not just L.A., but success stories are coming in from all over Southern California: Temple City, El Monte, Pasadena, Santa Monica, and elsewhere.

We certainly can’t take credit for all this, but we’re proud of the roles that we’ve played to bring momentum to a truly transformative movement.

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But there’s still a long way to go.

During 2015, Streetsblog kept you up to date on Mobility Plan 2035, the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, North Figueroa, Rowena Avenue, pedestrian stings, parking reform, and much more. In each of these arenas, livability advocates squared off against backwards-looking opponents. Streetsblog attended critical hearings, interviewed decision-makers, plowed through voluminous documents, and quickly got coverage out so our readers would be informed and engaged.

If you turn to Streetsblog for important coverage of Metro, LADOT, transit, bicycling, walking, or even if you just keep abreast of current news through our daily headlines, we hope you’ll donate to keep us strong and courageous.

Streetsblog is a unique hybrid organization, both media outlet and advocacy organization. We have been watchdogs and witnesses, providing in-depth reporting on stories that other media ignore. We translated wonky bureaucrat-ese into everyday readable vernacular. We take a stand for a more livable, safer, and more equitable Los Angeles.

Did we mention you can win a Tern Folding bike? Every time you make a donation, you are entered into our nationwide raffle. Click on the image to go to our donation page.

Read more…

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Support Streetsblog Los Angeles This #GivingTuesday

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By now you’ve gotten at least a dozen emails about #GivingTuesday asking you to donate to an important and worthy non-profit.

Today, throughout California, staff are working on stories and podcasts to cover and explain issues both locally and statewide. In Los Angeles, Joe is doing a deep-dive into a new report on parking and Sahra is examining the unintended consequences of a proposed crime fighting measure. In San Francisco, we’re going to be announcing a new editor in the next 24 hours. Melanie is working on a story about how restrictions on state transit funds limit their usefulness. I just got my first #DamienTalks up for December. In Santa Monica, Jason is programming Streetfilms and Chill for this Friday. In Long Beach, Brian is exploring the Terminal Island Freeway Removal Project.

All of these publications are nonprofits and rely on reader donations to keep going.

If you value the news, analysis, broadcasts and event programming of Streetsblog California, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, LongBeachize and Santa Monica Next, then please consider making a donation today, right now. You can make your donations, here:

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Support Our Bid for an LA2050 Grant and Help Us Make L.A. an Affordable Place to Live for All

AbundantHousingNote: California Streets Initiative, the nonprofit that publishes Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog California, Longbeachize, and Santa Monica Next, is teaming up with Abundant Housing LA (AHLA) to compete for an LA2050 grant to help make LA an affordable place to live for all.

To earn the grant, we either need to win a popular vote or be selected by the Goldhirsch Foundation Board. Either way, your vote is important. You can vote once per category, so just because you support another #LA2050 proposal does not necessarily mean you can’t support our proposal as well. If you value Streetsblog, and you’d like to support us and see us cover a broader spectrum of housing issues, please please please VOTE ONLINE NOW.

Los Angeles has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the most expensive places to rent in the country, eroding the diversity that has made this one of the great places to live.

For decades, we haven’t been building enough housing to keep pace with a growing population. This well-documented housing shortage means that increasingly middle- and lower-income households are finding themselves priced out of once-affordable neighborhoods, having to commute farther distances just to get to work, or having to leave the state altogether.

More housing at all levels of affordability will allow current residents to remain here while making room for newcomers and future generations to make their homes here.

Streetsblog Los Angeles and our partners are competing for LA2050 grant funding to get the word out about how housing, affordability, and livability interact. We need your online vote today. If we win, we hope to educate and mobilize new voices to speak up for new housing in a debate too often dominated by misinformation and fear of change. Through community organizing, online tools, and media coverage, we want to empower those burdened by high housing costs to become informed, attend hearings, submit comments and champion the construction of more places to live.

Not only can abundant housing help stabilize the cost of living for all throughout the region, housing in transit-rich walkable bikeable neighborhoods can help take cars off the road, reinvigorate our streets as public spaces, and allow people to live in an overall more sustainable way than decades of auto-oriented and sprawl planning have.

An influx of new voices demanding more housing can help expand housing options for everyone.

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Ten Reasons to Come to the Streetsblog Party at Eco-Village Tomorrow

Come party with Streetsblog Los Angeles as we celebrate our success with the 2014 Los Angeles Press Club Awards banquet.

In addition to taking home the “Best Blog” award, members of our team picked up individual honors throughout the night including Sahra Sulaiman (Best Online Feature story, 2nd for Best Online News Story, 3rd for Best News Photo), and Damien Newton (3rd for Best Online Lifestyle Piece). SBLA sister publication’s Brian Addison also took home “Best Online Journalist.”

We’ll be returning to the home of our first fundraiser, the Los Angeles Eco-Village (117 Bimini Place) at 6 p.m. Admission is $25 on a sliding scale. Food and drink will be provided. 

If that thrilling introduction wasn’t enough of an incentive, here’s ten more reasons to come party with us tomorrow.

1) Streetsblog (and our sister sites under the umbrella non-profit Southern California Streets Initiative) won six L.A. Press Club awards in three years including Best Blog (twice), Best Online Journalist, and three awards for individual articles.

2) It’s been almost three years since our last party at L.A. Eco-Village. The last one was a going away party for Joe Linton.

3) If you don’t have plans for CicLAvia, you can meet a ride buddy. Seriously, like 90% of the people at this party will be going to CicLAvia the next day.

4) Damien, Joe and Sahra will all be there, so if you want to complain about a Streetsblog L.A. story, you’re almost guaranteed a chance to meet the author.

5) New t-shirts! For the first time Damien ordered women’s and men’s sizes instead of “unisex.” Read more…