City Councilman Kevin de León on Wednesday proposed an idea for a pilot program that would expand open space in residential Los Angeles neighborhoods and convert more streets to pedestrian-friendly zones.
De León seeks to implement the first pilot block of city parks in his district. The proposal is modeled after Barcelona’s Superblocks, a block grid system that restricts traffic to major roads outside. Since the Spanish city implemented the program in 2016, the areas have seen a reduction in air and noise pollution, according to studies.
“Other parts of the world are showing that big cities can be pedestrian-centric, using parts of streets in neighborhoods for residents to own and widen open spaces, give kids more room to play and allow cyclists safer transit on neighborhood streets,” said de León.
“It’s time for Los Angeles to be a leader in America by showing that great American cities built around car-centric infrastructure can be transformed into livable cities,” he added.
In 2021, there were 294 traffic-related deaths in Los Angeles, a 20% increase from the previous year.
The councilman’s motion asks the city’s Department of Transportation to report on the funds and staff needed to start a citywide park block program. Also, develop an application process to prioritize the program in communities that have the fewest open spaces and the highest rate of vehicle accidents.
“We must rethink our streets to center them around pedestrians, bikers, transit and residents,” said Eli Lipmen, executive director of Move LA. “I’m excited to see Leon Councilman’s Park Blocks proposal because it will create more accessible, equitable and sustainable places for Angelenos to gather and engage.”