By Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020
We are thrilled to announce an upcoming mini series of articles, each dedicated to one of the five student projects noted below. We will share the ideas high school students on traffic safety along five East LA streets and will present their unique zines, maps and recommendations crafted by the next generation of traffic planners. Stay tuned!
On April 23rd, 2019 the East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy (ELARA), Public Matters, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works; and USC Sol Price School of Public Policy joined at Esteban E. Torres High School to present "Greetings from East LA," a day at USC to showcase ELARA student projects addressing how to improve traffic safety. The projects and the event were generously supported by the ELARA and the LEAP Program at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
The East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy is one of only three high schools in the country with a focus on urban planning and design. These projects, led by Public Matters, a Los-Angeles based social enterprise for civic engagement, enable ELARA students to explore, document and interpret their neighborhoods, learn urban planning concepts, and interact directly with professional planners and engineers on proposed plans that will impact their community. As an added bonus, the project is also building a model pathway program with the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Students with their presentation boards on Cesar E Chavez Ave
For this year’s project, ELARA students were divided into five teams, each to examine of five East LA corridors identified in LA County’s Vision Zero Action Plan, the initiative on reducing traffic deaths and severe injuries on unincorporated County roadways over the next five years. Based on students’ education and their lived experiences of existing traffic safety conditions, the teams shared their visions on improving safety along the collision concentration corridors of East Cesar Chavez Ave, Eastern Ave, First St, Ford Blvd and Whittier Blvd.
Each team created and presented zines that highlighted local and personal narratives and perspectives in each corridor, with maps that documented traffic safety incidents and conditions and their recommendations for enhanced traffic safety.
This is the fourth year of the program, which has given a multitude of students the opportunity to students to explore their neighborhoods, get exposed to urban planning and policy, and contribute to transportation safety of their own city.