VIEWPOINT: Vote No on HLA, Here’s Why

Traci Park is a resident of Venice and a member of the L.A. City Council

By TRACI PARK

On Tuesday, Los Angeles voters will decide the fate of Measure HLA, also referred to as Healthy Streets LA, an effort backed by bike activists who also want to tear down the 90 freeway.

Essentially, HLA would force the City of Los Angeles to remove lanes of traffic and street parking to accommodate dedicated bike and bus lanes. In many places where these roadway modifications have already been implemented, neighbors complain about gridlock and resulting cut-through traffic speeding down residential streets where children play, and local businesses have suffered financial losses due to lost parking and customer access.

Most dangerously, these road diets increase emergency response times, where seconds can mean the difference between life and death. They also impede traffic during mass evacuations, and ultimately, cost lives.

In places where these road diets already exist, like Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, fire engines and ambulances are frequently stuck in gridlock, with nowhere for cars to move out of the way. When you think about a road diet on an evacuation route, remember the people who died stuck in one in Paradise, California, during the Camp Fire. Just imagine the traffic hellscape Lincoln or Sunset Boulevards would be with road diets during an emergency evacuation.

Tellingly, the proponents of HLA never even bothered to discuss it with our Fire Chief, and local, statewide, and national firefighters unions have officially opposed HLA because similar measures around the state and country have slowed down paramedics and other first responders.

With a taxpayer price tag of at least $3.1 billion over the next decade, HLA will cost more per year than Inside Safe, and that doesn’t even include the nearly $1 billion needed just to clear the City’s backlog of about 8,000 requests for basic sidewalk repairs. With the City already in a hiring freeze and facing a half-billion-dollar budget deficit, voters must understand that HLA will come at the expense of resolving homeless encampments, more trash collection, cracking down on crime, and improving affordability.

Any tragic death on our streets is too many, but removing lanes of traffic only leads to gridlock, more distracted driving, and speeding in places where it’s even more dangerous. And, the sad reality is that most of the types of accidents we’re seeing would not be solved by the street modifications called for under HLA. Nor does HLA leave the City with the flexibility to respond to unsafe conditions with specifically designed solutions where they are needed and make sense. Rather, HLA simply mandates road diets every time the City resurfaces any 660-foot stretch of a mobility corridor, regardless of usage, efficiency, connectivity, safety, or community support.

Residents in LA deserve a safe, efficient, and well-connected system of car, bike, and transit lanes. But HLA is none of those things.

 

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3 Responses to VIEWPOINT: Vote No on HLA, Here’s Why

  1. Ann Smith says:

    Just look at the mess Santa Monica has done to their part of Wilshire Blvd.

  2. M says:

    I agree with Council Member Traci Park 100% – She states all of the valid reasons why.
    It will NOT HELP – What has already been done has been more of a hinderance than a help in all areas. Disabled persons with wheel chairs cannot get close to the curb to be safe to depart from a vehicle. They must depart into the traffic area and then look for a ‘driveway ‘area to get their wheelchair up onto the sidewalk.
    The Venice Blvd / Mar Vista area (already with this in place) is a nightmare for everyone INCLUDING EMERGENCY vehicles. It was a MISTAKE then and it would be a MISTAKE now….There are MANY valid reasons to VOTE NO on HLA.

  3. Sue says:

    Well said thank you

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