The safety of residents in Los Angeles has been a topic of concern following the recent alarming occurrences. One of such incidents is the physical assault on an Asian woman by two suspects on the Metro Blue line train near the Compton station.
This occurrence has necessitated inquiries into the whereabouts of law enforcement officials, security operatives, and ‘Metro ambassadors’ who were expected to be on the scene. L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn has questioned why with such elaborate layers of security, no one came to the woman’s aid. Hahn’s inquiry is necessary and the public needs to receive answers.
Another upsetting incident happened to a man on Hill Street, Downtown Los Angeles involving an attack by a group of ten teenagers on bicycles. The man suffered severe physical assault through punching and kicking by the swarm of youngsters. \
Witnesses said the victim’s face was covered in blood. This type of violence is not new in the Downtown area, and people working in the region expressed their fears of similar incidents occurring often. Concerted efforts must be made to increase public safety and curb such violent activities in the city.
The city of Los Angeles is set for an initiative called Healthy Streets LA, an offering for bicycle enthusiasts yearning for the implementation of Mobility Plan 2035. Although this plan is old and regarded by some as a hypocritical concept, Healthy Streets LA aims to change that narrative. In 2015, former President of the Los Angeles City Council Herb Wesson stated on record that the Mobility Plan 2035 was only a concept, and its adoption would not take place immediately. As of August 2020, only 3% of Mobility Plan 2035 has been completed by the city.
This mobility plan seeks to modify roads and turn car lanes into bicycle lanes covering 1,500 miles, and constructing pedestrian walkways and traffic systems that allow for slower speeds. This might sound excellent in theory, but in practice, only a minuscule fraction of Los Angeles residents use bicycles to commute daily. In fact, if street thugs and muggers are taken out of the equation, the number of such commuters becomes even more negligible.
Healthy Streets LA is the initiative that purports to make this mobility plan a reality. This new initiative will require additional ‘enhancements’ to be made, including adding more bike lanes, whenever a stretch of 660ft of a currently used street is repaved or altered. The coalition of interest groups who are in the business of peddling the notion that bicycles help prevent climate change is backing this initiative.
Under the new initiative guidelines, the citizens will also have the right to sue the city of Los Angeles for having failed to comply with the regulations of Mobility 2035 to its fullest extent. Such a development might not lead to an increase in bicycle usage from Angelenos. On the other hand, it has the potential to worsen the public safety crisis in the area, hence reducing commuter numbers, causing empty trains, vacant bus stations, and long traffic jams that are saddled with locked doors and rolled-up windows.
The problem is not about bicycle lanes or the love for automobiles. It is about the safety of Los Angeles residents, who are currently at risk with rising incidences of violence in the city. The lack of public safety poses a significant challenge, and the various levels of law enforcement, security guards, and ‘Metro ambassadors’ must provide adequate security to safeguard all citizens. Uncontrolled violence would only lead to more non-commuters and emptier stations and platforms. It is a simple equation of demand and supply; without a sense of safety, the demand for using public transit would be low, hence decreasing the number of passengers.
Improved public safety measures will lead to more residents using public transit, which is why the authorities must act fast to address the growing problem of uncontrolled violence in the city. It is vital that the safety of citizens is top priority, and the concerns of various interest groups do not outweigh the safety of over 4 million Angelenos. They will need reassurance that they can enjoy safe commuting without fear of violence.
Public transportation hubs like trains and buses are essential components of a functional city system. Without them, the headache of traffic congestion and hazards commuters face every day on the road will worsen. The security of passengers and employees in these facilities should not be compromised. The common understanding is that they are already stressed by the hustle and bustle of daily commuting, and any additional stress may only lead to more commuters switching to vehicles and worsening the public transit demand.
To increase passenger safety, more stringent measures should be enforced, such as better vetting of personnel and necessary equipment upgrades and repairs. More CCTV installations and better communication and coordination between law enforcement operatives and dispatchers will all go a long way to improve public safety.
The Healthy Street LA initiative is only one aspect of the overarching issue in the city of Los Angeles. The public safety crisis is not just about people biking to work. It’s about the safety of every commuter and resident of the city, and that calls for the implementation of urgent reforms for heightened public safety.
The authorities must be proactive in mobilizing resources to curb the security challenges in the city and safeguard the lives of its inhabitants. Addressing these issues head-on will make the community prosperous and free from violence and chaos. Los Angeles needs a stable public transportation system that is efficient, safe, and reliable to run seamlessly—no matter the inhabitants’ political or social leanings.
When transit hubs are safe, well-lit, functional, and free from pollution, commuters are more likely to switch from personal vehicles to transit. This might look like a beautiful dream, but given the increasing need to deal with climate change and the attendant natural disasters and natural disaster responses like floods, wildfires and mudslides, investing in public transit must become a priority. A more reliable, safe transit system will contribute to reducing the number of vehicles on the road and improving overall public safety.
Angelenos, quite understandably, demand to have access to quality public transportation systems that are safe to use. The rising number of violent assaults and lack of public safety has made riding a nightmare for many, leading to a decrease in commuters, thereby deepening the city’s public safety crisis. It’s high time the authorities sprung into action to tackle this situation before it gets even worse.
The concerns for safety cuts across multiple demographics, and it’s evident that a balanced approach that meets the needs of every group is necessary. Nobody wants to live in a chaotic, uninhabitable city; hence laws and regulations must be put in place to ensure security is a top priority. Stricter enforcement of safety protocols and pre-emptive measures will go a long way in reducing incidents of violence and call on commuters, irrespective of their mode of travel, to have a sense of safety while moving around the city.