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Home / Impact / Sustainability / LA councilman proposes program to create more car-free zones

LA councilman proposes program to create more car-free zones

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City Councilman Kevin de León proposed an idea for a pilot program Wednesday that would expand open space in residential neighborhoods in Los Angeles and convert more streets into car-free zones that prioritize pedestrians.

De León is seeking to implement the city’s first park block pilot in his district. The proposal is modeled after Barcelona’s Superblocks, a block grid system that restricts traffic to major roads around the outside. Since the Spanish city implemented the program in 2016, the areas have seen a reduction in air pollution and noise, according to studies.

“Other parts of the world are demonstrating that big cities can be pedestrian-centric, by using portions of streets in neighborhoods for residents to make it their own and expand open space, give kids more room to play, and allow cyclists safer passage on neighborhood streets,” de León said. “It’s time for Los Angeles to be a leader in the United States by proving big American cities built around car-centric infrastructure can transform into liveable cities.”

Los Angeles saw 294 traffic-related fatalities last year, a 20% increase from the previous year.

De León’s motions requests the city’s Department of Transportation to report on the funding and staffing necessary to initiate a citywide park block program, and to develop an application process to prioritize the program in communities that have the least amount of open space and highest rate of vehicle collisions.

“We must rethink our streets to center around pedestrians, cyclists, transit and residents,” said Eli Lipmen, executive director of Move LA. “I’m excited to see Council Member de León’s Park Blocks proposal because it will create more accessible, equitable, and sustainable places for Angelenos to gather and engage.”

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