The City Budget Can Fix the Biggest Health Crisis Facing Children in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition urges the City of Los Angeles to invest in saving lives by equitably funding in Vision Zero implementation and bike program.
Today we shared some bad news and good news with the Los Angeles Budget and Finance Committee Members. The bad news is that we have a public health crisis facing children in Los Angeles in our streets–with traffic collisions being the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 2 and 14. The good news is that the City has the power to put an end to these injuries and deaths with the right investment. That is why the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) strongly encouraged the Committee to revise the 2017 proposed City Budget and robustly invest in saving lives and preventing injuries by adequately funding Vision Zero in an equitable manner.
The City has a plan, Vision Zero, to end traffic fatalities by 2025. However, the City is not living up to their promise with a current proposed budget allocation of $16 million, which is insufficient to fully implement Vision Zero.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s General Manager, Seleta Reynolds, has said it will cost $80 million to achieve the City’s Vision Zero goal of 20% reduction in traffic deaths by the end of 2017. This leaves the City with a $64 million shortfall in this year’s proposed budget. This extreme shortfall shows the City’s lack of commitment to providing meaningful funding to meet its Vision Zero goals. In addition to the lack of adequate funding for Vision Zero implementation, the City’s budget items related to the Bike Program have remained flat over the past few budget cycles. This is unacceptable and provides missed opportunities for making investments that can save lives and provide a more enjoyable environment for all Angelenos who walk, bike, or drive.
For LACBC, saving lives through improved neighborhood infrastructure, such as bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks and funding for programs like Safe Routes to School, are just a few steps towards equitable transportation investment in communities. Nearly half of the streets on the High-Injury Network are neighborhoods with a greater percentage of people of color, immigrants, and low-income families. Transportation investments must not harm the communities they aim to protect. We must make sure that the folks whose lives are being improved through transportation investment in their neighborhood are able to remain. In addition to increased funding for Vision Zero implementation and the budget line items related to the City’s bike program, LACBC encouraged the Committee to ensure that increased resources are coupled with anti-displacement measures that preserve affordable housing and increase tenant protections.
At today’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting, we were encouraged by some of the comments that committee members made regarding the importance and urgency of meaningfully funding Vision Zero. We agree with Councilmember Bonin that “People are dying in the street and we (the City of Los Angeles) have a moral obligation to stop that.” We need to ensure that the urgency expressed today is reflected in the proposed budget moving forward.
Please take action today by emailing the Budget and Finance Committee to let them know you want to #makeLAcity a safe place to bike and walk (Click here to learn how). Together we can eliminate traffic fatalities in Los Angeles!