Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dangerous Sidewalks of Los Angeles | Fountain and Fairfax | Is this sidewalk safe?


For years I've walked along this sidewalk and marveled at how unsafe and unwelcoming it is for pedestrians to navigate, especially with speeding motorists driving in excess of 45mph inches from you.


I decided to call my local councilmember, Tom Labonge to see what can be done about this. After leaving a message and waiting a few days, I never heard back, so I called again and was put in touch with Rick Alatorre, Tom's Chief of Staff. Rick said he would send someone out to look at the sidewalk and would report back to me. Rick called me back a few days later and said there's not much of a problem at the location, which seemed shocking. So he said I could take some photos and send them to him and he would be happy to take another look.


As you can see in the photos, at some points you have less than 20 inches of space to move along the sidewalk. I decided to look up what a normal sidewalk width ought to be.


According to Accessible Sidewalks and Street Crossings - an informational guide, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

The pedestrian zone is the area of the sidewalk corridor that is specifically reserved for pedestrian travel. This area should be free of all obstacles, protruding objects, and any vertical obstructions hazardous to pedestrians, particularly for individuals with vision impairments. The pedestrian zone should be at least 1.8 m-3.0 m (6-10 ft) wide or greater to meet the desired level of service in areas with higher pedestrian volumes. This allows pedestrians to walk side by side or for pedestrians going in the opposite direction to pass each other. The pedestrian zone should never be less than 1.2 m (4 ft), which is the minimum width required for people using a guide dog, crutches, and walkers. Wheelchair users need about 1.5 m (5 ft) to turn around and 1.8 m (6 ft) to pass other wheelchairs.



It would appear that the north sidewalk on Fountain Ave shown in these photos falls well short of the minimum standards, this sidewalk doesn't even provide half the minimum recommended width for a safe and accessible sidewalk.

I hope Rick and his staff will take another look and hatch a plan to remedy this pronto.


6 comments:

pt2311 said...

It's illegal for you to ride on the sidewalk when you have a bike lane (as indicated by your third photo).

15.53.010 Bicycles.
It is unlawful for any person to ride or operate a bicycle on or over any sidewalk or part of a sidewalk in the city when there is a designated bicycle lane in the adjoining street. Where there is no designated bicycle lane in the street, bicycle riders riding or operating a bicycle on the sidewalk shall travel in the same direction as traffic in the adjoining lane of traffic, shall yield to pedestrians and shall not ride in a wanton or reckless manner as to endanger any person or property."

Alex said...

@pt2311 thanks for the comment! The third photo indicates the presence of a sharrow, which is not a dedicated bike lane. Besides that, I am not making any statement about riding bicycles on the sidewalk. :)

Ben H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben H. said...

@pt2311 That is from the West Hollywood municipal code, but the part of the street in question is on the east side of Fairfax, thus falling in Los Angeles City jurisdiction (which is why Tom LaBonge's office is the relevant city council rep). For Los Angeles City, the law is as follows:

LAMC 56.15
No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, rollerskates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

It's perfectly legal, as long as you do so safely. Also, as Alex noted, that's a sharrow, not a lane, so it doesn't matter either way.

K Hollywood said...

That was very cool of you because NOOOOOOOObody cares unless it's their street their family uses I mean that is a shitty spot I drive by sometimes but you're right our streets are supposed to have wheelchair access!
@pt2311 shut up douchebag who cares about the bike. Here hows this ... Have your mom walk there by the traffic. Or better yet your dog have your dog walk there and tell us how you passed the 250 pound person walking on the street ...No I'll tell you ...you had to go in the street and a car hit you!

K Hollywood said...

That was very cool of you because NOOOOOOOObody cares unless it's their street their family uses I mean that is a shitty spot I drive by sometimes but you're right our streets are supposed to have wheelchair access!
@pt2311 shut up Douchebag who cares about the bike. Here hows this ... Have your mom walk there by the traffic. Or better yet your dog have your dog walk there and tell us how you passed the 250 pound person walking on the street ...No I'll tell you ...you had to go in the street and a car hit you!