Safe Routes to School: Little Street Demonstration
Community Improvement Project
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) brings safety improvements to the streets of school neighborhoods, and safety education programs into school communities, partnering Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) Vision Zero and City of Los Angeles Green New Deal milestones.
The 2019 SRTS Little Street Demonstration (Pop-Up) project at Esperanza Elementary School in Westlake brought together visionary engineering and educational programs to showcase the program’s mission to be agile and innovative. Engineering improvements trialed during the temporary transformation reflected the program’s community based approach to developing improvement recommendations – which began in Spring of 2017 with a community Walking Safety Assessment to identify local transportation challenges and guide the development of the school’s customized SRTS plan. Over the same three years, SRTS supported programs including annual Walk to School Days, the Student Travel Talley Project, monthly safety campaigns, and a Student Safety Valet to facilitate safety during drop-off/pick-up times.
In Los Angeles, SRTS has been driven by the passion of Margot Ocañas for student safety, innovative approaches to implementation, and persistence for building lasting inter- and intra-agency relationships to institutionalize change for school communities for nearly a decade. The Little Street Demonstration project was not only successful due to the immediate impacts on the community, but also because it became a rallying point for the SRTS program, garnering attention from Council District 1, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and LADOT. This success is visible in by Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s proactive identification of funding for final design and construction of the Little Street projects, and two additional demonstration efforts (one pending roll out as COVID-19 pandemic guidelines are loosened), and improved collaboration with LAUSD to formalize SRTS relationships.