The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday (September 20) approved a contract for the city’s transit amenities program that aims to install 3,000 transit stop shelters and 450 additional shade structures across the city. town.
Council voted 12 to 1 to approve Tranzito-Vector as the contractor to install, upgrade and maintain the bus shelters. The shelters would also include digital signage indicating bus arrival times. The 10-year deal also includes plans to have digital ads on 700 of the structures.
“We see this in all kinds of other cities,” said Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the council’s public works committee. “We are behind on this point. We are in Los Angeles. We have to face this.
Of the 1,884 bus shelters in Los Angeles, one-third are over 30 years old, half are over 20 years old and 96% are over 10 years old, according to a Bureau of Street Services presentation.
“I really think it’s embarrassing that the the city cannot provide the most basic infrastructure like bus shelterssaid Board Chairman Nury Martinez.
STAP is a new city program for sidewalk and transit improvements, replacing the Coordinated Street Furniture Program, which expires at the end of the year.
The objective of the program is to ensure that 75% of bus users in each municipal district will have access to bus shelters. It will prioritize the installation of new shelters in areas with high traffic and more exposed to heat. Other considerations include Metro’s equity-focused communities and bus routes that have longer wait times.
Digital ads will be placed in areas “appropriate for land use and zoning” such as residential areas, scenic corridors and special planning areas, according to the Bureau of Street Services.
The council voted separately to approve an ordinance allowing certain outdoor advertising structures to be placed on city streets.
Councilman Mike Bonin voted for the contract despite his opposition to public ads, noting that “in a balance between my distaste for digital advertising and my desire to make sure we serve bus riders, it’s a choice easy to do today. He cited statistics indicating that 70 percent of subway riders are low-income, the median income of riders is $19,000, and 84 percent of subway riders do not own a car.
Four neighborhood councils opposed the contract proposal. Six neighborhood councils opposed the ordinance while five were in favour, four more only supporting it if it was changed and one neutral.
Opponents of the council’s decision claimed more digital ads would lead to distracted driving and pointed to privacy issues with digital structures that collect cellphone data.
Data collection will be limited to information that is not personally identifiable and used to improve the delivery of city services, according to the Bureau of Street Services. None of the data will be made available to third parties without city approval, according to the office.
The council voted to set aside $1 million this year for the program, but the Bureau of Street Services is finalizing $30 million in funding through a trust fund and hopes to receive additional funding in the form of grants, according to Shirly Lau, Assistant Department Director.
Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who disagreed, said the contract contained many uncertainties, including the lack of a funding commitment and signs of promises that would not be kept.
The council has tasked the Office of Street Services to report on the status of the program on a monthly basis and develop an implementation plan to ensure that no district is left behind.
Blumenfield noted that the contract set the target number of shelters as a goal, not a requirement, because the city is assuming additional risk by funding the fabrication and installation of the shelters.
Over 60% of the revenue from the shared program will go to the city, which will own the shelters and intellectual property involved in the design.
“It will lead to more accountability, something we haven’t had for many years,” Blumenfield said.
Lillibeth Navarro, founder and executive director of CALIF, an independent living center in Los Angeles, told the council that people with disabilities will benefit from more transitional shelters.
“Bus stops are a welcome shadow amid the urban desert jungle,” she said. “Since our cities are often devoid of trees or rest stops, bus stops definitely provide the necessary oasis for a more comfortable trek from point A to point B.”