Safe streets are good politics

Michael Schneider
3 min readApr 4, 2024


In 2015, when the City of Los Angeles passed its visionary Mobility Plan, there were a series of public meetings and engagement. But at the end of the day, only 15 people — all Councilmembers — voted on it.

Today the City has only implemented 5% of its plan. While there are many reasons why the City neglected its own street safety improvements for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and drivers, lack of political will was a factor that killed projects that aimed to implement the Mobility Plan.

For years, when LADOT (and Councilmember offices) conducted community meetings in anticipation of a planned bus or bike lane, there would be a few loud voices in the room yelling things like “the community doesn’t want this!” Too often, Councilmembers and City Hall staff listened to these loud voices of opposition, assuming that despite the City’s community engagement during the creation of the Mobility Plan, Angelenos actually didn’t want what was in it.

Measure HLA disproved that. Measure HLA was a measure to mandate that the City implement its own plan during routine road maintenance, like repaving. And with nearly two thirds of voters supporting HLA, City leaders now have a mandate to implement the City’s Mobility Plan.

Win % broken down by council district.

The depth of Measure HLA’s win also proves that safer, more multimodal streets are good politics. Even in more suburban districts like Council District 7 and 12, the measure won; and in denser parts of the City such as Hollywood, Downtown, Koreatown, South LA, and Northeast LA, the measure won with over 75% of the vote. And with only 28% of registered voters participating in this lower turnout primary election, it’s likely the measure would have done even better in a November general election.

What does this mean for future elections in Los Angeles? The paradigm has shifted, and candidates that support things like bike lanes, bus lanes, and pedestrian improvements will have an easier time winning election (or reelection) than those who still stubbornly refuse to believe that their constituents want these improvements.

This is an opportunity for politicians reluctant to support these issues to get behind them, and for those that opposed them to change course and give their constituents the street improvements Angelenos are demanding.

Current events show the winds are changing. Recently, within one week, Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez announced the transformation of Hollywood Bl into a pedestrian and bike friendly street, and the Mayor and others celebrated the opening of the Valley’s first 24x7 bus lane.

The benefits of safer, more multimodal streets are numerous. Not only can we save lives, but we can provide Angelenos exhausted by traffic more options to get around. As some people choose to use something other than a car for some trips, we can enjoy cleaner air and safer streets. And we can go a long way towards addressing our housing affordability crisis if we can more quickly and inexpensively build homes near high quality transit that don’t require parking.

If the car capital of the country can make this change, it signals that many more cities across Los Angeles County and the country as a whole may also be ready for such change too.

This is a once in a generation opportunity for our elected leaders to change Los Angeles forever. Let’s grab it.



Michael Schneider

Tali, Mika & Sofi’s dad, Katerina's husband, LA native. Founder, Service. Founder, Streets For All. Board Member, Mid City West Neighborhood Council.