2023 Grants Challenge

Building a Better Future Together on LA's Streets and Sidewalks

Transit is about more than buses: getting more people to ride requires increasing access by fixing broken sidewalks and adding ramps; increasing safety with shade, shelter and lighting; respecting people by adding bathrooms. LA fails at this, but not for lack of money: the system is broken and doesn't deliver the services we deserve. That's why we're leading LA's first community-informed, citywide, long-term infrastructure budget. Both the process and the outcome will lead LA toward a more equitable future for streets, sidewalks and transit.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Public Transit

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

City of Los Angeles

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

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

In 2022 we published The Bus Stops Here: first-hand audits of 6 LA bus lines. We partnered with SAJE, Bus Riders Union, KIWA, Move LA, Community Power Collective, ACT-LA, Transit Coalition, South Central LAMP, and Climate Resolve. Reliability: 44% said the bus did not arrive when they thought it would Bus stop conditions: Nearly half were dirty, 27% lacked shade Accessibility: In more than half, there was at least 1 person using a mobility device. Yet, 8 stops lacked accessible boarding, 21 had narrow sidewalks, and 19 felt too close to moving cars There's no transit without shade, lighting, ramps, bathrooms and more. LA has at least $1 billion/year for these assets, but no long-term budget. A Capital Infrastructure Plan is a community-informed, budgeted plan. We are creating one as a model, institutionalizing a new participatory budgeting process for LA. Why now: new mayor prioritizing public works, new federal infrastructure money, and 2028 Olympic infrastructure planning.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

We are seeking this grant to enhance our community engagement strategies aimed to identify and amplify the infrastructure priorities of: low-wage workers; and Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and historically underinvested neighborhoods in LA. The more we increase and amplify community input on infrastructure priorities, the more informed, powerful, and widely supported our campaign for LA's first Capital Infrastructure Plan (CIP) becomes. That signals to the Mayor and City Council that investing in LA's sidewalks and streets with a real equitable strategy is a citywide priority. We will accomplish this by 1) engaging Angelenos where they're at via community events to learn about their infrastructure priorities, 2) hosting "Infrastructure for the People" Luncheons with community-based organizations and civic leaders to elevate community infrastructure priorities and identify best practices for developing and institutionalizing LA's first CIP, 3) hosting workshops and trainings centered around why LA needs a CIP and how to join us in creating the first for LA, 4) engaging with LA's City and Neighborhood Councils network and constituents to ensure that our data on community infrastructure priorities are reflective of the demographic and socio-economic landscape of LA, and 5) conducting media-based organizing to promote awareness of our campaign and empower Angelenos to join us in creating a better future for LA's streets and sidewalks.

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

1-Year: We will have a community-informed Capital Infrastructure Plan (CIP) for LA's sidewalks and streets. Our model CIP will show how equity can be applied to budget decisions. We'll have demonstrated a participatory budgeting process that LA can institutionalize. Our model CIP will move the Mayor and Council to implement a city-adopted CIP. We'll have generated an intersectional vision for LA's sidewalks and streets, and awareness that transit is more than buses and transportation is more than the roadbed. Long-Term: More functional assets like shade, lighting, ramps, crosswalks, etc., and fewer broken assets. A CIP clarifies what projects are being considered, making it possible for people to have a voice. This distributes power among people who have not been able to participate in decisions about their own communities. LA will have a transparent process ensuring public investments prioritize neighborhoods that have borne multi-generational systemic racism and disinvestment.

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

To measure our 1-year outcomes, we will assess the status of our model Capital Infrastructure Plan at that stage. We will assess the City of LA's progress toward being open to implementing a City-adopted version. To measure the long-term outcomes, we have a tool already in place. We just published the only existing inventory of City public right-of-way assets, including those mentioned in this application. That is our baseline. We will update the inventory and compare future numbers to today's numbers to track the City's progress toward adding more trees, lighting, bathrooms, etc. We have plenty of evidence that a Capital Infrastructure Plan is possible. We researched CIPs from 30+ other cities, and have studied them to learn how they're created and how other cities incorporate public input. We are targeting engagement activities to hear from diverse voices across LA. We will keep track of the geography and other demographics to make sure we're meeting that goal.

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

Direct Impact: 4,000

Indirect Impact: 3,800,000