LAPD Crackdowns and Complete Streets: City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee Puts its Foot Down

The city' pedestrian advisory committee has had trouble attracting crowds, but even this medium-sized attendence is an improvement and a sign that Livable Streets advocacy is starting to include pedestrian safety as a major issue. Photo: Roger Rudick. Caption: Damien Newton
The city’ pedestrian advisory committee has had trouble attracting crowds, but even this medium-sized attendance is an improvement and a sign that Livable Streets advocacy is starting to include pedestrian safety as a major issue. Photo: Roger Rudick. Caption: Damien Newton

Thursday afternoon, in a fluorescent-lit conference room on the third floor of the east building of City Hall, Sean Karmody, a police sergeant, addressed over 20 people at the Los Angeles City Pedestrian Advisory Committee about jaywalking tickets. He stressed that police traffic enforcement’s “biggest priority is to reduce hit and runs.” He also said of the 500,000 or so tickets issued each year, only five percent are given to pedestrians.

PAC- and just outside--LAPD car parks on bike lane--of course
As LAPD representatives talked the importance of safety for all transportation modes, an LAPD car blocked the bike lane outside of the meeting. Photo: Roger Rudick

But Brigham Yen, pedestrian advocate and editor of “DTLA Rising,” wasn’t having it. “Cops in LA grew up driving. They look at crowds of people crossing the street in downtown and all they think is: `they’re stopping those cars from making a right turn!’” he said. “Instead, they should be celebrating the rebirth of a pedestrian environment.” Miguel Luna, representative for CD #13, complained that pedestrian tickets target minorities.

Another attendee remarked that LAPD isn’t part of the solution to better pedestrian and cycling access; it’s part of the problem. Just outside the conference room, there were police and LADOT cars on the bike lane on Los Angeles street. Karmody said its good to make the department aware of such infractions.

Jennifer Charles, a 43-year-old architect from Sherman Oaks, represents CD-4, which includes parts of Hollywood and the Valley. Originally from Virginia, she lived in New York City for five years. “I loved not having a car,” she said. In 1997, she came to LA to study architecture. “LA doesn’t have to be New York, but there’s no excuse for it not being more walkable and bikeable.

Despite their advocacy, half of the attendees drove to the meeting; City Hall is only a few hundred feet from the Civic Center subway station. City Planner Claire Bowin gave a presentation on the mobility plan and the “Complete Streets” initiative. She said some streets will be re-designed to promote pedestrians, bikes or buses, but many will remain primarily for “vehicles.”

Before the meeting, Deborah Murphy, Executive Director of Los Angeles Walks and chair of the committee, passed out agendas. Topics included collaboration with cycling advocates, safety education, and the “Complete Streets” initiative.

“The committee was started in 1998 by then City Councilman Richard Alarcon, whose son was killed in a car crash,” Murphy said. Its charge is to help create a safer environment for walking in Los Angeles. The issue was highlighted Wednesday when Mayor Eric Garcetti’s SUV struck a pedestrian just a block from City Hall. Nevertheless, the Committee still struggles to fill all of it’s seats.

“We’re missing appointees for six City Council districts,” said Murphy.

The next meeting of the committee is March 20 at 2 pm, 100 S. Main Street, in the CalTrans Building, conference room 01.037.

  • Steven White

    I bike this lane often… I have never seen it clear at this spot, there is always at least one, more often two LAPD cruisers parked in the bike lane. Oftentimes, there is another, non LAPD car or two there as well (many times these other cars have someone sitting in them, waiting for someone inside, presumably).

  • Alex Brideau III

    Yes. If this is really be a buffered bike lane, some pylons or curbs are needed to ensure it doesn’t continue to be curb parking for exempt (or press or waiting) vehicles. The sad irony is that across the street (right at the entrance to City Hall East!) there is an *existing* vehicle turnout for that is currently blocked with planters. I say remove the planters and let the exempt vehicles “stop” there, rather than on the other side of the street blocking a bike lane that’s supposed to remain free of parked vehicles. This is not rocket science.

  • Alex Brideau III

    BTW, does anyone know which committee seats are still available?

  • Was gonna ask the same thing.

  • Just asked Deborah Murphy, and she says the following districts need reps: 3, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 15.

  • bikesinla

    Who represents district 1 & 14?

  • Alex Brideau III

    Check out this page for councilmember names and links to their pages:


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