A 'Walk in the Park' Needs a 'Walk to the Park'

Several strategies and initiatives seek to make parks more accessible on foot in the county of Los Angeles. Clement Lau, an L.A. County planner, summarizes a few of these strategies and initiatives.

March 19, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By wadams92101

Los Angeles County is employing a multi-pronged effort to make its parks more accessible. L.A. County planner Clement Lau writes about these efforts. Most of these efforts or initiatives have neither originated nor are limited to L.A. County. They are intended to apply everywhere they are needed in the Country. Under a half-mile from residence to park has become the standard for an adequate number and dispersion of parks. However, distance isn’t the only barrier to parks. Other barriers include lack of sidewalks and bike lanes, speeding vehicles, crime, and other things that can make a walk or bike ride to a park feel unsafe or unpleasant. 

  • Safe Routes to Parks – A joint effort of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to provide evidence-based best practices to create safe access to parks.
  • 10-Minute Walk Campaign – A joint effort of the aforementioned NRPA, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to promote the development of parks within a 10 minute walk of all residences. The initiative provides grants and technical assistance to support planning efforts that further the 10-minute walk goal. It has also created a useful and widely used park planning tool called ParkServe.
  • Step by Step Pedestrian Plan – A plan developed by the LA County Dept. of Public Health is a "tailored approach" to pedestrian planning by involving residents, businesses, and other stakeholders to meet community needs. 
  • Vision Zero Action Plan – LA County, like many other municipal and regional governments, has its own "vision zero" plan. While the term has become somewhat overused, LA County’s VZ Plan prioritizes the obvious but rarely adequately implemented approach that involves "acknowledging that people make mistakes."

For a more detailed description of the these initiatives, as well as links to the programs, please refer to the source article.

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