Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 10th Testimony to LA City Council

The following testimony was delivered by Damien Newton to the City Council concerning the potential closure of one of the Ballona Creek Trail Entrances.

Good afternoon, my name is Damien Newton, and I am testifying on behalf of LA Walks, a 10 year old pedestrian advocacy group for the Greater Los Angeles area.

We believe that closing this entrance for Ballona Creek is a mistake. In our research, we've found no instances where restricting access to a trail has resulted in lower crime in an area. We also believe that closing an entrance/exit will make the trail dangerous for those who use the trail as a walking trail. While one can argue a cyclist would have an advantage to speed away from danger towards the nearest exit, the walker will have no speed advantage that the cyclist might have.

Eyes on the street is our best way of providing safety in a neighborhood or along a path like Ballona Creek. Without the eyes of pedestrians and cyclists along the path, criminal activity can occur unnoticed.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Testimony to Metro Board on LRTP and Proposed Sales Tax Increase; 6/26/08

Good morning. My name is Damien Newton, and while many of you know me from Streetsblog, today I am here to speak on behalf of LA Walks. LA Walks is a 10 year old pedestrian advocacy group that promotes walkability in metro LA.

While there are many people here supporting a variety of different worthwhile projects, no matter what gets built or not built everyone in this room will still all be pedestrians at some point during the day. However despite some nice sounding language in the Long Range Transportation Plan about the value of walking there is too little actual funding dedicated towards pedestrian projects...less than 1% of the total plan. That number should be increased because after all, every Metro customer who takes the bus or train is also a pedestrian at the start and end of their trip.

Also, too many of the funds appropriated for pedestrian projects are difficult to access federal funds which have many restrictions. Metro should program more funds from Propositions A and B for improving sidewalks, crosswalks, transit facilities, and other amenities for walkers.

Lastly, there are no monies from the sales tax dedicated to pedestrian projects which is odd because walking is the one mode of transportation that everyone utilizes on a daily basis. We believe the funds generated by such a tax, if it passes, should benefit all members of LA County. The best way to do that is to embrace the mode of transportation that we all use.

As time goes on, Angelenos are becoming less and less dependent on the automobile for transit. No matter how much technology improves, we’ll all still be reliant on our feet.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008