As Downtown Los Angeles becomes a home and hangout for more and more people, and a hotbed of building for more and more developers, the stream of sidewalk closures that usually accompanies the big construction has become more and more of a problem. Not only do the closures create safety issues, but part of the allure of DTLA is its walkability, which makes it that much more frustrating for residents and pedestrians who find sidewalks blocked or closed off while seemingly simpler solutions (like making the effort to keep walkways open) are ignored. But that's no longer going to be the case, says the Downtown News. The Department of City Planning's adopted new rules (in effect since June) that now require big construction projects to keep pedestrian pathways open during construction.
The new regulations say that pathways have to be open for walkers, and that they have to be protected from potential falling objects. If keeping the sidewalk open isn't an option, new walkways have to be created; developers may even be required to install protections that separate cars from pedestrians. The rules do allow an out, though: "Walkway closures will only be allowed when no other option is feasible, according to the guidelines," says the DN.
The new requirement is being included in the environmental review process; all new projects that have to perform a review will also have to comply with these new rules. Follow-up to make sure that projects are actually keeping sidewalks open will happen via monitoring and complaints lodged with the LA Department of Building and Safety. Previously, the environmental review process did not consider sidewalk closures at all, and developers weren't required to even try to keep sidewalks open for people on foot.
· City Sets Guidelines to Preserve Sidewalk Access Amid Construction [DN]
· South Park Getting Screwed By South Park Building Boom [Curbed LA]