It Takes A Village: The Surprising Number of Agencies Behind The Design Of LA’s Streets

The Complete Streets Initiative is a UCLA Lewis Center (part of the Luskin School of Public Affairs) program working to achieve more livable and complete streets for people in the Los Angeles region. Complete streets enable people to travel safely regardless of their transportation mode, ability or age. The Initiative expands beyond complete streets to also encompass living streets concepts in street design in areas such as street-water management, landscaping and fostering economic development.

Courtesy Huma Husain of UCLA Urban Planning. Click to zoom in.

The Complete Streets Initiative recently held its Urban Planning Capstone Presentations, which showcased research on complete streets projects with special focus on Los Angeles. As part of a capstone project, graduate planning student Huma Husain produced the above info-graphic in response to the research question: “What is the institutional capacity for implementing Complete Streets in Los Angeles?” At least a dozen local and state agencies are listed, all with regulatory power over the design of streets in Los Angeles. It isn’t hard to imagine, then, that creating complete streets likely suffers from an ostensibly complicated bureaucracy.

Here are the agencies listed on the infographic:

Department of City Planning; Department of Building and Safety; Department of Transportation; Bureau of Street Lighting; Bureau of Engineering; Bureau of Street Services; Bureau of Sanitation; Cultural Affairs Commission; Metro; Caltrans; Property Owners (Not listed: the Los Angeles Fire Department also has a say over the width of fire lanes, location of fire hydrants, and the aspect ratio of address signage on buildings.)

This system of giving multiple agencies responsibility for the different aspects of streets was probably put in place when Los Angeles was a quarter of the size it is now. Now, it seems an illogical system of government for a complex, world-class city.

Have you ever been out and about in Los Angeles and wondered who could and/or what it would take to change certain street and neighborhood designs for the better?

Read On:

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One Response to It Takes A Village: The Surprising Number of Agencies Behind The Design Of LA’s Streets

  1. klugo1215 says:

    Sadly the bureaucracy isn’t just limited to world-class cities. Here in Gettysburg it took almost a decade to get a short, simple bike lane due to multiple stakeholders: the local school district, municipality, PennDOT, National Park Service, and couple more.

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