The Override Node Options module allows permissions to be set to each field within the Authoring information and Publishing options field sets on the node form. It also allows selected field sets to be set as collapsed and / or collapsible.
Many compare the bohemian Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles to Brooklyn, its sister hood in hipsterhood. Having lived in both, I can attest that the comparisons are legitimate. Yet, for all its late night dance parties, vegan cafes, yoga studios, indie retailers, facial hair, and tattoos, one element is glaringly missing from Silver Lake’s environs that sets it apart from its east coast compadre – pedestrian-friendly streets. Despite Silver Lake’s cracked, buckled, narrow, and encroached-upon sidewalks, many people journey to the area’s abundant recreation, retail, dining, and nightlife opportunities on foot; some even go car-less, like their Brooklyn brethren. However, in the city’s grand plan to remake Los Angeles as a more livable, sustainable, denser and transit-served city to what extent will its deplorable sidewalks stand in the way of planners and officials’ best intentions?
I’ve navigated the different pedestrian routes in Silver Lake with varying success in the nearly two years I’ve lived there, but the truly shameful state of the sidewalks became readily apparent to me when my wife and I embarked on our first local outing with our newborn twin boys to see their grandparents, who were staying a convenient 1/2 mile away. Unfortunately this trip happened to take us, and our oversized stroller, along Griffith Park Boulevard, a central thoroughfare winding between the hills of the community.
With as many bike lanes as automobile lanes, the street should serve as the "backbone" of the area’s pedestrian network. In reality, it’s more likely to cause a broken bone. With sidewalks filled with hazards and obstacles including cracked and buckled pavement, the absence of curb ramps at crossings, bisection by copious inclined driveways, and signage and utility poles placed in the middle of the right-of-way, even an able-bodied pedestrian has a difficult time reaching their destination unharmed. For anyone else who may want to ply the street on foot – be they disabled, elderly, child, or proud papa – the hazardous and obstructed journey is arduous, if not impossible.
I know what you’re thinking: who cares about pedestrian-friendly streets, doesn’t everyone in L.A. just drive anyway? Well, you’re partially right, the automobile is still the dominant form of transportation in the city. But, in case you haven’t been paying attention recently, the city is investing enormous sums of effort, money, and political capital in creating a city much more accessible by alternatives to the automobile. Led by mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the region’s voters, Los Angeles is pursuing a historic expansion of its bicycle and transit infrastructure, and, as the recently updated Hollywood Community Plan demonstrates, directing future development around public transit towards a goal of “elegant density”.
A key element of the mayor’s vision for the city is Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for Los Angeles County approved by voters in 2008 to finance new transportation projects and programs. The measure, which a new November ballot measure seeks to make permanent, will raise a projected $40 billion over the next 30 years to fund such efforts. Several lines are now under construction as a result of the measure, with dozens more in the pipeline.
So what is the connection to sidewalks? As eminent Danish planner Jahn Gehl said in September 2010 lecture at the AIA New York Chapter, “A good public realm is a crucial factor for good public transportation.” And, he continued, essential to the success of any transit system is the ability to walk to and from a station in style, comfort, and safety, day and night.
Functional sidewalks and quality pedestrian-friendly environments are essential to capitalizing on Angelenos’ $40 billion investment in the future. And the city’s sidewalk problem isn’t just limited to Silver Lake, broken neglected sidewalks are endemic throughout Los Angeles. According to Ari Bloomekatz, of the Los Angeles Times, “By the city's own estimate, 42% of its 10,750 miles of pedestrian paths are in disrepair.” The cost of improving them all is estimated at a staggering $1.5 billion.
And to suggest the city has been anything but negligent in serving the pedestrians of the city would be a mistake. In another article on the topic, Bloomekatz notes that the city stopped funding most permanent sidewalk repairs in 1976! Three years ago, Damien Newton with LA Streetsblog estimated that, “If the city continues to fix sidewalks at its current pace, 67 miles per year, it would take 69 years to complete repairs. And, that's assuming that no damage occurs to our sidewalks in that time.“
"’The city has never developed a comprehensive plan to address this issue, even when economic times were good,’ said Surisa Rivers, an attorney with the L.A.-based Disability Rights Legal Center, to Bloomekatz. ‘Such failure hasn't been a story about the city's inability to finance disability access, but the lack of political will to do so.’"
To make matters worse, elected leaders such as City Councilmember Bernard Parks, would like the city to do even less, and shift responsibility to homeowners. "The city has no money to fix sidewalks," says City Councilman Bernard Parks. "We should go back to the 1911 Act, say they belong to the adjoining property owner. Allow them to fix their sidewalks so everybody in the area can pay equal amount and keep their sidewalks up."
ADA related lawsuits, a bill making its way through the State Assembly, and funding for pedestrian improvements earmarked in Measure R may eventually force the city to confront its pedestrian problems. The hiring by the city of two professional consultants to help develop a Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan for one year is a positive, but paltry, first step.
The lack of political will to solve what may be the most critical piece in weaving together the compelling vision for a more livable, sustainable, and prosperous city for future generations of Angelenos is incomprehensible and appalling. By the time my sons are old enough to walk on their own to one of the stations that make up the region’s expanding transit network, can I have any confidence they’ll be able to do so in style, comfort, and safety, day and night?