LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A Los Angeles City Council committee Wednesday approved a request for a $30 million loan to replace and add bus shelters in underserved areas and improve sidewalks near them.
The Public Works Committee voted 3-0 to send the request by the Board of Public Works to the full council for further consideration.
The Board of Public Works is requesting authority to use a $30 million loan from the Public Works Trust Fund to install new shelters, prepare a loan repayment schedule and identify additional sources of funds to minimize the interest on the loan.
A letter from the City Administrative Office notes the trust fund was set to hold deposits from permit applications and is separate from the city treasury.
Lance Oishi, a contract administrator for the Bureau of Street Services, said there is a plan to use the $30 million to install 280 new shelters citywide.
About 230 shelters will replace existing ones, while 50 will be installed at locations without shade or shelter, he added.
Some existing shelters will be replaced and recycled, but the bureau has the option to refurbish and reuse existing shelters, Oishi said.
Oishi told the three-member committee that more than 50% of the installation costs go toward sidewalk rehabilitation to "ensure the site is compliant with access codes."
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, a member of the committee, supported the idea to repurpose recycled bus shelters, and asked whether this effort can be done while the new shelters are being installed.
Oishi said staff would have to develop a schedule. Work could begin before the end of the year, he said. He explained that a location needs to be improved as well in order to receive a refurbished shelter — improvements such as sidewalk repairs and power connections.
"There's an added cost for that. We estimate that added cost just to the site to work to be between $5,000 to $10,000 minimally," Oishi said. "So, by installing a brand new shelter, we save that $5,000 to $10,000 cost to redo construction at that site."
He added, "We also don't inconvenience the communities" if traffic was blocked off for a week or two to reinstall a bus shelter.
"So, that's where we see the ability for us to expand shade and shelter by installing new shelters at new locations, and increasing that quantity first as a viable option to move forward with," Oishi said.
The bus shelters will also generate revenue for the city through advertisements. The plan focuses on the "need" to address areas of the city lacking bus shelters while placing them in locations that will benefit advertisers — which will increase revenue that can be used to acquire more bus shelters, according to Oishi.
Before the vote, Eli Lipman, the executive director of Move LA, a nonprofit organization that advocates for improvements to public transportation, urged the committee to approve the plan.
"We've been working for many years to improve bus shelters throughout the city and county of Los Angeles," Lipman said. "It's really a climate resiliency issue and a climate mitigation issue."