South Park is officially now a victim of its own success: with nearly two dozen projects proposed or under-construction in the neighborhood, sidewalks are being shut down from Seventh Street to Pico Boulevard to make way for the hammering and scaffolding, reports the Downtown News. The city's modus operandi is to just shut a sidewalk down and make people find their ways around the construction; this is not only stifling street life and impacting businesses, it encourages jaywalking and just straight up walking, unprotected, in the street. While car traffic is one of the biggest factors studied in any development's environmental review, sidewalk closures are not even taken into account. And after the planning is done and work starts, the city does not require developers to keep pedestrian access open in front of their construction sites.
The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council is perturbed by the way sidewalk closures are handled now. The DLANC—putting together a formal letter to the City Council to change their policies—looked at how Chicago, Boston, and Washington, DC deal with closures. Many cities will make developers provide a protected path in the street by (shock) taking away some space from drivers. That method curbed jaywalking at the construction site of the Eighth and Hope mixed-user.
Before providing ped access, the LAPD just issued hundreds of jaywalking tickets to people trying to get around the construction, and pissed off lots of people in the process. "As we become a more pedestrian-oriented city, these [sidewalk] policies need to be reviewed and with pedestrians and cyclists as a focus, not just impacts to traffic flow," the DLANC's Simon Ha says.
· Sidewalk Closures Raise Concern in South Park [DN]