Two projects in Los Angeles have received part of an $800 million grant award through the Safe Streets and Roads for All program, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced this month.
The grant program is part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law which provides $5 billion over five years for regional, local and tribal initiatives for redesigned roads and better sidewalks on the nation’s roadways.
“Every year, crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy; we face a national emergency on our roadways, and it demands urgent action,’’ U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “We are proud that these grants will directly support hundreds of communities as they prepare steps that are proven to make roadways safer and save lives.’’
The Florence-Firestone neighborhood in South Los Angeles received $21.49 million to install ADA-compliant curb ramps, curb extensions, raised crosswalks, raised medians, pedestrian refuge islands, speed cushions and high-visibility crosswalks. It also includes funding for educational campaigns with teen drivers in schools and a Safe Route for Seniors Program.
The Florence-Firestone neighborhood has seen an increase in crashes since 2016 with 32 fatal crashes and 177 severe-injury crashes between 2017 and 2021, according to data provided by the Department of Transportation.
The La Brea Avenue Complete Streets Project received $9 million. The project plans to make improvements along La Brea Avenue with new pedestrian crosswalks and signals, sidewalk repairs, upgraded markings, street tree planting and upgrades to support the city’s Vision Zero goal.
An average of 11.2 pedestrians and 3.2 bicyclists are injured annually in the corridor, according to data provided by the Department of Transportation.
The grant awards fund improved safety planning for communities through local and regional efforts that are comprehensive and data-driven, according to a release from the Department of Transportation.
Traffic fatalities reached a 16-year-high in the nation in 2021, and preliminary data indicate those numbers will remain near those levels in 2022. For pedestrians, bicyclists and skaters, and for incidents involving trucks, the number of traffic fatalities is higher. A new report shows the economic impact of traffic crashes was $340 billion in 2019, according to data provided by the Department of Transportation.
The Department of Transportation announced grant awards for 510 projects across the country. Seven of those projects are in California.