Editorial: Measure HLA win shows Angelenos really do want walkable, bikeable, safer streets

A cyclist descends down the Sixth Street Viaduct.
A cyclist descends down the 6th Street Viaduct, aka the 6th Street Bridge, which connects the Arts District and the Boyle Heights neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles.
(Silvia Razgova / Los Angeles Times)

If there was any doubt in Los Angeles City Hall about whether residents actually support bike lanes, bus lanes and other pedestrian and safety improvements on local streets, Tuesday’s election provided a definitive “yes.”

Measure HLA, which requires that the city implement its ambitious Mobility Plan 2035, looks like it will pass by a wide margin.

The Healthy Streets L.A. measure is the first citywide vote on the city’s transportation vision, and voters sent a clear message that they want safer streets and climate-friendly transportation choices. It’s no wonder why. There were more traffic deaths than homicides last year, with 336 people killed in traffic collisions — more than half of them pedestrians.


Some of L.A.’s most powerful interests are trying to sabotage a March 5 ballot measure aimed at making streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and even drivers.

Feb. 21, 2024

People are frustrated with congestion but they don’t have great alternatives to driving. Buses get stuck in the same traffic. There aren’t enough protected bike lanes. And too many neighborhoods lack smooth sidewalks, crosswalks, shade trees, streetlights and other basic amenities that make it easier for people to walk.

Measure HLA will ensure those alternatives finally get built, after too many delays by City Hall.

In 2015, the City Council and then-Mayor Eric Garcetti adopted the Mobility Plan, which called for redesigning the city’s streets over two decades to make it safer for people to walk, bike and take public transit. But city leaders too often ignored or killed the projects at the first sign of opposition. And there’s always some opposition to projects that carve out street space for bikes or buses or anything that might slow down motorists.

Gascón has to articulate his progress in building a more just and equitable criminal justice system, as voters wanted when they first elected him.

March 6, 2024

But what Measure HLA’s victory now shows is that the loudest voices don’t necessarily represent what Angelenos actually want. Voters support safe streets.

Opponents tried to argue that L.A. is a city of cars and nobody wants to use bike lanes or bus lanes or pedestrian amenities. But they missed the point of Measure HLA — which is that the streets today are bad for everyone, motorists included. If the Mobility Plan isn’t implemented and people don’t have safe alternatives to driving, then traffic congestion and, most likely, the number of traffic fatalities will only get worse.

Fortunately, the passage of Measure HLA means the Mobility Plan is no longer a choice for city leaders. It’s a mandate.