Evaluating Streetscape Modifications in Los Angeles, California with a Health Lens
Background and Purpose: Despite growing evidence linking health and the built environment, local health departments are often not involved in the evaluation of a streetscape modification project. This paper describes an assessment conducted by a local health department to address this gap by using a health lens to evaluate the installation of painted curb extensions on a commercial corridor in Los Angeles. Methods: The local health department conducted an observational pre-post study of pedestrian and motorist data at both an intersection receiving the painted curb extension and a comparison intersection along the same corridor that had already received the extension. The study also analyzed streetscape features along the corridor related to walkability, to understand the painted curb extension in the context of the broader built environment. Results: The painted curb extension did not appear to significantly impact pedestrian and motorist behavior, though some slight changes were observed. Pedestrians along the corridor generally exhibited safe behavior at intersections, but encountered dangerous driver behavior and built environment barriers, which can discourage walking. Conclusion: This case study demonstrates how health considerations can be integrated into an evaluation of a streetscape modification project, and can provide guidance for other health practitioners developing such evaluation projects in their own jurisdictions.