LA Council Committee Sounds Alarm on Mandated Street Widening

Los Angeles City Hall

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Committee today recommended exploring how to minimize mandated street widening, which some council members contended in a motion ``degrade neighborhood character, undermine active transportation, reduce transportation, and expand impermeable surface area.''

All of that is ``contrary to the city's mobility and sustainability goals,'' according to a motion filed by Council Members Nithya Raman and Bob Blumenfield and former Councilman Mike Bonin in December. The motion, also previously approved by the council's Public Works Committee, is next set to come before the full council.

An increase in housing through new state legislation and city regulations that come with street dedications or improvements to new multifamily and commercial developments will subsequently result in more street widenings -- which ``provide minimal public benefit and make our neighborhood streets more dangerous and inhospitable,'' the motion states. Without changes to regulations, the widenings will happen automatically without considering the context of the neighborhood, according to the motion.

The committee approved recommendations that the council instruct the Bureau of Engineering to report within 60 days on potential ways to do away with mandating street widenings in most cases. Other recommendations included: -- ensuring that sidewalks, parkway width and interfaces result in a consistent pedestrian experience; -- minimizing crossing distance at intersections, aligning pedestrian paths of travel, crosswalks and curb ramps, minimizing curb radii and promoting curb extensions; -- protecting trees and parkways and incorporating green infrastructure elements;-- ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities; -- creating a checklist of public benefits to a street dedication or improvement resulting in a road widening before it is approved; The committee also requested that the council seek a report on the impact of the current street dedication and improvement process on affordable housing projects, especially projects created under streamlined review pathways such as Senate Bill 35.

It also sought recommendations on removing cost and time delays on affordable housing that are currently present in the city's street dedication and waiver process.

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