Los Angeles Walks
Deborah Murphy, a native Angeleno, founded Los Angeles Walks in 1998 after a key appointment as the Chair of the City of Los Angeles Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which she continues to hold today. Deborah has consistently worked to bring attention to the act of walking in the city of Los Angeles as a way to build a healthier, more livable city. For 15 years, Los Angeles Walks has been the go-to organization for the press regarding pedestrian safety issues, appearing in media including KCRW, KCET, KPCC, LA Times, LA Weekly, Curbed LA, Streetsblog LA, LAist, Atlantic Cities and more.
Starting in the fall of 2011, Alexis Lantz, Jessica Meaney, Colleen Corcoran and Alissa Walker joined Deborah under the fiscal umbrella of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to launch a major grassroots efforts to increase awareness of walking in L.A. In 2012 the group expanded even more, adding My La, Karen Mack, Mark Vallianatos, Daveed Kapoor and Tilza Castillo to the Steering Committee.
Key accomplishments include:
- Advocated for the City’s first Walkability Checklist that is used by City Planning Staff in their review of new development projects
- Organized the Great Hollywood Walkabout in 2006
- Organized the Great Glassell Park/Cypress Park Walkabout in 2007
- Organized the Downtown Pasadena Walkabout in 2008
- Part of the team that prepared the Nationally recognized Living Street Model Street Design Manual in 2011
- Part of the Green LA Coalition Living Streets Campaign
- Served on County of Los Angeles Pedestrian Safety Task Force
- Advocated for 15 years for Continental Crosswalk installations in the City of Los Angeles
- Advocated for 20 years for the creation of the Pedestrian Coordinator positions, which were finally created in 2012
- Advocated with a coalition of Active Transportation advocates for a 5% set-aside of Measure R Local Return funds for pedestrian projects and 5% for bicycle projects in the City of Los Angeles
- Advocated for pedestrian and bike safety projects in Silver Lake including a Road Diet for Rowena Avenue for six years, which was implemented in 2013
- Facilitated pedestrian safety charrettes in two Los Angeles neighborhoods: Silver Lake community in August 2012 and Leimert Park in November 2012
- Conducted pedestrian-related events during CicLAvia including a WalkLAvia in October 2012 on three miles of Figueroa Street
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2 Submitted Ideas
- PLAY ·2023 Grants Challenge·🎉 Winner
LA traffic deaths are the highest in two decades and dying at record rates are our K-8 students, who are especially at risk, given many of their schools are long wide, fast streets. An effective solution is Walk to School Day activations (Safe Streets Slow Jam), where community members walk students to school and slow traffic with large, attention-grabbing signs and performances. These events create safer streets, educate the public, and give parents critical data that can pressure City officials to implement long term infrastructure change.
- 2013 Grants Challenge
"The future of the city is walking. Redesigning our cities for walkers and walking will help make our cities places where people want to be. But it’s not something we consciously think about. So every time you’re out there walking I want you to think “Hey, I’m Walking Here!” — Alissa Walker, Journalist and Los Angeles Walks Steering Committee member, at WIRED 2012 Last December, Alissa’s talk at the WIRED 2012 conference in London became a dinner table discussion at a Los Angeles Walks meeting. We laughed over the clip Alissa referenced from Midnight Cowboy where Dustin Hoffman yells “Hey, I’m Walking Here!” at a fast-moving car rolling into a New York City crosswalk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c412hqucHKw But in all seriousness, shouting “Hey, I’m Walking Here” was far too representative of our own Los Angeles experience—a place where walking doesn’t get enough respect. We found ourselves becoming inspired by other entertaining yet educational stunts that highlighted pedestrians, like a group of pedestrians that actually moved a car which had stopped in the middle of the crosswalk in Brazil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UqhUeDTAyYs Or Peatónito, who takes to the streets in Mexico City as the masked Mexican defender of pedestrians: http://m.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/02/if-only-every-city-had-masked-lucha-libre-defender-pedestrians/4804/ We realized we needed the same kind of cultural touchstone for Los Angeles: a movement bringing attention, safety and a bit of fun to walking to help build a healthier, more vibrant Los Angeles Walking is a “magic app” for creating a healthy city. As the most common type of physical activity, walking is an easy and effective way to improve fitness. It reduces body fat and bad cholesterol, cutting the risk of some of the leading causes of death in Los Angeles. Walking extends life—walking 75 minutes per week adds 1.8 years of life; walking 2.5 hours per week adds 7 years of life. Walking regularly also improves mood and reduces fatigue. The benefits of walking reach beyond individual fitness to make communities into healthier places to live, work and play. Walking instead of driving, even for short car trips, decreases air pollution and reduces respiratory and cardiovascular ailments as well as some kinds of cancer. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Angelenos under the age of 5 and the second-leading cause of death for children and young adults ages 5 to 24. Making the city safer for pedestrians can also make the city more equitable: Most pedestrian deaths in L.A. occur in low-income neighborhoods where many residents do not own cars. But the solution is not simply to get more people walking—it also requires that streets and sidewalks be redesigned to protect pedestrians from roadway traffic, slow down cars and trucks, and keep walkers feeling safe. With these ideas in mind, Los Angeles Walks proposes to launch "Hey, I'm Walking Here!" (or in Español, “¡Ay, Estoy Caminando!”)—a campaign which will not only increase pedestrian safety, but also highlight and celebrate walking as a conscious act that’s happening all over the city. And by expanding upon our existing Los Angeles Walks work including awareness, events, community meetings and action, we’ll be able to support long-term efforts to build a more walkable Los Angeles by 2050. Activities funded through our “Hey, I’m Walking Here!” campaign will include: Creating a bilingual “Hey, I’m Walking Here!”/ “¡Ay, Estoy Caminando!” publicity campaign using posters, stickers, public art, infographics and social media. Authoring “Hey, I’m Walking Here!”/ “¡Ay, Estoy Caminando!” materials which will highlight the benefits of walking as a healthy and civic-minded action. Convening community meetings in three neighborhoods where residents will assess the “good, bad and the ugly” for pedestrian activity, highlighting unsafe or unsavory walking environments to improve on the “Hey, I’m Walking Here” action days. Organizing “Hey I’m Walking Here” action days where local communities will be empowered to make temporary, attention-getting improvements to local walking infrastructure (like a Parking Day focused on pedestrians). Designing a pilot program for a pedestrian-focused urban wayfinding system that also serves as a publicity campaign throughout the city, to help Angelenos to understand the distance between neighborhoods and landmarks, and see that more places are walkable. Holding regular group walks to underscore how walking is a fun way to explore the city and promote healthy lifestyles, where we will provide “Hey I’m Walking Here” materials. Promoting pedestrian parades and events during CicLAvias (WalkLAvia) to make sure walkers have a welcoming space when streets are closed to traffic. Educating local residents about how to ask for higher-visibility crosswalks and lower speed limits on their streets (especially near schools).