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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.
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.