Focus on Safe Routes to School
Improving the nature of these streets provides opportunities of further enhancement of the quality of life for all residents, down to the youngest of its users, children. Both State and National Safe Routes to School Funding Programs work to improve street conditions and encourage more walking and bicycling to school. Currently, the Safe Routes to School focus within these prototypes is aimed at involving the children who utilize these streets, and engaging them with the planning and development process. This not only creates avenues for community involvement of all ages, but also empowers children to take control and reclaim the streets they use. In turn, this will hopefully get more parents involved in the initiatives and prototypes.
Keeping the community involved through low cost immediate projects
One of the main values that drives Living Streets LA is involvement of the communities it works with. We strive to ensure the community is kept informed and involved. Currently this is being achieved through collaborating with the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) and Union de Vecinos in the form of salas publicas, or community living room type improvements, mercaditos and other functions. In such initiatives, residents take over spaces such as underused alleyways and street corners, and clean them up, recreating them into public space for the community. Such spaces then become representative of a public living room, a space where the community can come together and enjoy each other, interact, and share dialogue, ideas, etc.
Providing space for such dialogue then gives meaning to the streets and connects the significance of these prototypes with faces and stories familiar to the community. These events keep residents engaged in the improvement of the streets of Boyle Heights, and informed about opportunities to implement the prototype streets. As the case study thoughtfully states, “community change must be community driven”, and we must keep the community fueled and updated for this change to manifest.