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T-Committee Hears Vision Zero Motion, Holds for Changes

How LADOT’s Vision Zero program uses specific countermeasures to address reported crashes. Image via LADOT presentation

Yesterday, the L.A. City Council Transportation Committee discussed a motion that could impact the city's Vision Zero program. The news is that committee meeting was largely a non-event, as an anticipated westside driver backlash "ambush" was nowhere in sight.

The motion (council file 17-1137) by councilmembers Paul Krekorian, David Ryu, and Bob Blumefield calls for the city Transportation department (LADOT) to develop a specific Vision Zero implementation strategy. This would include a project list due each December, in advance of budget deliberations.

The Redondo Beach-based road diet backlash group Keep L.A. Moving had sent out a misleading alert letting their contacts know about the meeting and urging recipients to support the motion. Keep L.A. Moving's alert disparages L.A.'s nascent Vision Zero programs as "dangerous boondoggles" and "pet projects" for "special interests and personal agendas." They further portray the Krekorian/Ryu/Blumenfield motion to act as a step to "effectively putting an end to the misuse of road diets in our city" and that it "would require the LADOT to use honest data to determine what streets actually are most dangerous."

Biking in L.A. has a good rebuttal to various lies found in the alert.

At the Transportation Committee, the only public testimony was from non-profits L.A. Walks and the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, both in support of the city's Vision Zero program.

LADOT representatives presented on exactly how extensively they use extensive honest data to craft their Vision Zero program, including how the department implements specific countermeasures against reported crash patterns - see example above.

Councilmember and committee chair Mike Bonin stated that he welcomed the motion as a chance to get the message out about Vision Zero, stressing that the program is misunderstood by the public, and even city councilmembers.

Bonin questioned LADOT representatives as to whether the criteria in the motion would hamper Vision Zero efforts, especially current prioritization with regards to equity. LADOT representatives responded that motion would essentially not change the program. Though Vision Zero proponents and opponents have sought to "read between the lines" to find how the motion would hamper Vision Zero, this does not appear to be the case.

(LADOT representatives stated that, in their reading, the one new aspect in the motion would be to add city liability alongside current Vision Zero criteria. This is likely in response to recent city payouts for various traffic crash lawsuits. LADOT representatives stated that they are already in discussions with the City Attorney's office to devise how liability can be incorporated.)

At the end of the hearing, councilmember Bonin stated that he would hold the motion in Transportation Committee until the next meeting, in order to work with the authors to ensure that the motion language fully supports city Vision Zero efforts.

One other news tidbit from yesterday's T-Committee from a discussion on a Bonin motion regarding pedestrian safety: this Saturday LADOT will be installing a new flashing-light crosswalk safety sign at the Venice crosswalk - at Pacific Avenue and Sunset Avenue - where a reckless driver killed Damon Shear, who was walking legally in the crosswalk.

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