2021 Grants Challenge
🎉 Winner

WakLAvia - Powered by CicLAvia, LA Forward, and Los Angeles Walks

Idea by CicLAvia

WalkLAvia is a dedicated week for Angelenos to get back outside and have fun together! Designed to address the social and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, WalkLAvia activities will give people the tools and confidence to reimagine their streets in ways that promote safety and joy for all.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

The coronavirus pandemic is causing an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation, carrying with it, significant health and emotional risks for all Angelenos. Two-thirds of adults say they are experiencing social isolation, and 66 percent say their anxiety levels have increased during the pandemic. Meanwhile, in LA County, the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 have the least access to the safe streets and green gathering spaces that are so important for our physical and mental wellbeing. Black, brown, and immigrant communities have historically been left out of the city planning process and are not being served by LA's current street infrastructure, green spaces, and transportation systems. As a result, many Angelenos don't feel safe enjoying the outdoors in their own communities — increasing feelings of isolation and preventing a broad-based recovery from the pandemic.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

WalkLAvia is an engaging week-long experience designed to rebuild Angelenos’ confidence in communal, outdoor recreation while starting to address the pandemic’s social/emotional toll. We’ve planned for an in-person and virtual WalkLAvia launch. If large outdoor gatherings are allowed, the Dec. 2021 CicLAvia will bring thousands of people together to start WalkLAvia Week. By combining the data-driven goals of traditional “walk audits” with the joyful spirit of CicLAvia community gatherings, WalkLAvia will uplift the voices of diverse residents about how they want to live and play in their own neighborhoods. Angelenos will be able to provide concrete data and anecdotes to influence design and infrastructure projects by joining in. Our simple yet playful “How to WalkLAvia Guide” will include a series of fun and easy challenges—like selecting a local business to visit or picking a green spot for a picnic—along with survey questions to collect observations and suggestions related to the walkability, street safety, transit options, and open space in their communities. Then, a robust digital outreach campaign will be paired with in-person/virtual workshops and group walks to encourage participation. The project culminates in “WalkLAvia Next Steps Guide to Neighborhood Advocacy,” part of LA Forward’s acclaimed LA 101 Guide, and data shared with stakeholders at all levels, from our partners at the LA Department of Transportation to dozens of Neighborhood Councils across the city.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 50,000

Indirect Impact: 500,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

A just recovery from COVID-19 depends on Angelenos getting back outside and engaged in the process to make streets safer and more enjoyable for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. If WalkLAvia is successful, residents will have the tools and confidence to become active participants in their built environments. To start, WalkLAvia will get Angelenos outdoors and active, immediately relieving some of the social/emotional stresses of COVID-19. It will help people of all ages and demographics feel comfortable connecting safely together in public spaces again. Long-term, WalkLAvia is designed to give residents in LA County—especially those underserved and overlooked—a greater voice in neighborhood design, resulting in more accessible and inclusive public spaces that promote health, community wellbeing, and sustainability. Engaged residents equipped with measurable data will give communities what they need to push for meaningful changes that improve safety and quality of life for all.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

WalkLAvia will engage Angelenos in the city’s largest, most joyful, community organizing tool. It will build on the success and demonstrated impact of CicLAvia events, LA Walks’ community walk audits, and LA Forward’s grassroots advocacy. Together we will: *Engage thousands of LA residents in conversations and actions around safer streets in a fun yet meaningful way measured by: attendance at outreach workshops; social media engagement; and the number of community members engaging in the local community planning process. *Survey residents to collect measurable data around how they feel about their built environment, and ideas for improving safety and joy in local neighborhoods. *Share actionable data and insights with decision makers and local stakeholders, including community groups working on these issues, to aid their efforts in making streets and public spaces more equitable. We’ll leverage our deep relationships with local leaders to ensure this data improves urban planning.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

CicLAvia builds community and creates a unifying social fabric through a spirit of joy and well-being. They will: *Collaborate to engage agency partners/regional decision makers *Coordinate digital/media strategy *Host kick-off event LA Forward activates large numbers of people and makes complicated civic issues accessible to a wide audience. They will: *Drive turnout and organize their leaders to host walks *Co-host pop-up workshops during WalkLAvia *Lead production of new LA101 Guide section LA Walks trains and mobilizes Angelenos to advocate for safe, walkable communities. They will: *Lead development of How to WalkLAvia Guide based on extensive walk audit experience *Conduct outreach among members and community stakeholders *Co-host pop-up workshops during WalkLAvia

Which of the PLAY metrics will you impact?​

Walking and biking

Perceived neighborhood safety

Open streets gatherings