Metro Westside Subway Extension (Wilshire Corridor)

At a Glance:

Location: Los Angeles, California

Date: 2012

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Belonging and Civic Muscle, Reliable Transportation, Thriving Natural World

Determinants of Health: food access, healthcare access, clean air, neighborhood safety, nutrition, belonging and civic muscle, noise, active transportation, clean water, physical activity, active transportation

Affected Population: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Children and Youth, Older Adults, People Experiencing Homelessness, People Living in Poverty, People with Disabilities, Urban Communities

Research Methods: Literature review, Qualitative research, Primary research

Community Types: urban

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The University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, conducted an HIA to assess the potential health effects of a proposed subway and other mass-transit alternatives through Los Angeles’ high-density, highly congested Wilshire Corridor, running from mid-town Los Angeles to the city of Santa Monica. The HIA addressed a range of health risks and benefits, such as the potential impacts on residents’ ability to find a safe place to exercise; community cohesion and safety; traffic-related injuries; and problems related to air pollution such as asthma and cardiovascular disease. The HIA found that the Westside Subway Extension, along with integrated improvements to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, would likely improve health by increasing neighborhood walkability, providing increased opportunities for active transportation and providing greater access to health-related services. The Westside Subway Extension will likely bring changes in land-use and economic activity to the area, providing the potential for greater access to healthy foods, community connectivity, and increased social capital.

The HIA made several recommendations, including assessing and making applicable improvements to the active transportation infrastructure within a one-mile radius of proposed stations; modifying the fare structure to make accessing the subway cheaper by bus, versus by car; and using lighting, visual and acoustic design, and regular patrols by transit staff and police officers to ensure that the stations and adjacent public spaces are secure, inviting, and conducive to positive social interactions.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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