LA Walkability Checklist

The purpose of the Walkability Checklist for Entitlement Review is to guide City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning staff as well as developers, architects, engineers, and all community members in creating enhanced pedestrian movement, access, comfort, and safety– contributing to the walkability of the City.

This Walkability Checklist encourages pursuit of high quality City form, and have been incorporated into the Citywide Design Guidelines. It informs stakeholders about the tools and techniques that improve curb appeal, beauty, and usability through a location-specific approach. Placemaking - the act of designing buildings to make them more attractive to and compatible with the people who use them, is the primary design principle in creating walkable neighborhoods.

The Walkability Checklist provides a list of recommended strategies that institutional projects (i.e. Hospital, Schools, Civic and Cultural uses) should employ to improve the pedestrian environment in the public right-of-way and on private property. Each of the implementation strategies on the Checklist should be considered in a proposed project, although not all will be appropriate in every proposed project. Each project will require a unique approach. While the checklist is neither a requirement nor part of the zoning code, it provides a guide for consistency relating with the policies contained in the General Plan Framework. Incorporating these guidelines into a project’s design will encourage pedestrian activity, more appropriate forms, and placemaking. A project that is walkable is good for business and the environment.

The Checklist is organized by main topics (i.e., Building Orientation). Each topic includes a statement of objectives and goals followed by a list of implementation strategies to be considered for incorporation into a proposed project. The topics begin with public sidewalks, crosswalks and on-street parking; then move to building orientation, on-site parking, and landscaping and finally focus on detailed building features such as lighting and signage. The Appendix contains relevant policies from the General Plan Framework.

Table of Contents

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Chapter 1: Sidewalks

Support ease of pedestrian movement and enrich the quality of the public realm by providing appropriate connections and street furnishings in the public right of way.

  • Delineate the pedestrian corridor
  • Provide for pedestrian safety and comfort
  • Encourage pedestrian travel
  • Create active environments by supporting a variety of pedestrian activities
  • Create, preserve, and enhance neighborhood identity and "platemaking"
  • Comply with governmental regulations for all improvements in the public right-of-way

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Chapter 2: Crosswalks and Street Crossings

Pedestrian safety is the primary concern in designing and managing street crossings. Crossings that are safe, easy to use and well-marked support active, pedestrian-friendly environments and link both sides of the street physically and visually.

  • Appropriately locate street crossings in response to the anticipated traffic flow and convenience of the pedestrian
  • Provide for pedestrian safety and comfort
  • Increase the level of caution of pedestrians and motorists
  • Create a link between the two sides of the street or mark a block’s mid-point or end-point
  • Ensure crosswalks are in compliance with Departments of Transportation and Public Works regulations

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Chapter 3: On-Street Parking

On-street parking is often desired in residential and commercial areas for its convenient access to street front entrances. Residents, shoppers, and businesses are amenable to limited slowing of traffic as a trade-off for the economic benefits of on-street parking.

  • Maximize on-street parking
  • Directly serve adjacent street front entrances with on-stree parking
  • Create a buffer between pedestrians and the roadway

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Chapter 4: Utilities

The disruption of views and visual pollution created by utility lines and equipment should be minimized.

  • Locate utilities in areas that preserve the character of the street and neighborhood
  • Minimize the impact of utilities on the visual environment
  • Minimize the impact of utilities on the pedestrian path of travel
  • Ensure the location of utilities in the public right-of-way complies with governmental and utility regulations

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Chapter 5: Building Orientation

Use the relationship between building and street to improve neighborhood character and the pedestrian environment.

  • Enliven the public realm by siting buuildings, so they interact with the sidewalk and the street
  • Contribute to a sense of human scale
  • Support ease of accessibility to buildings

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Chapter 6: Off-Street Parking and Driveways

The safety of the pedestrian is primary in an environment that must accommodate pedestrians and vehicles.

  • Ensure that clear and convenient access for pedestrians is no minimized by vehicular needs
  • Eliminate auto-pedestrian conflicts
  • Increase awareness between pedestrians and motorists
  • Maintain the character of a pedestrian friendly street

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Chapter 7: On-Site Landsacaping

Contribute to the environment, add beauty, increase pedestrian comfort, add visual relief to the street, and extend the sense of the public right-of-way.

  • Add visual interest
  • Differentiate the public pedestrian zone from the private zone
  • Enhance pedestrian comfort
  • Create a neighborhood identity and contribute to "platemaking"

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Chapter 8: Building Facade

Use the design of visible building facades to create/reinforce neighborhood identity and a richer pedestrian environment.

  • Incorporate features on the building facade that add visual interest to the environment
  • Create compatibility between buildings, street, and neighborhood through architectural elements that add scale and character
  • Provide views beyond the street wall to enhance the public’s visual environment
  • Use views beyond the street wall to enhance the public’s visual environment

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Chapter 9:Building Signage and Lighting

Strengthen the pedestrian experience, neighborhood identity and visual coherence with the use of building signage and lighting.

  • Create visual cues for pedestrians
  • Complement the character of nearby buildings and the street
  • Add human scale to the environment
  • Enhance pedestrian safety and comfort