Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 16th Investing in Place Meeting Recap

Investing in Place is excited to work with partners across Los Angeles County to develop a policy definition and research best practices for prioritizing investments based on social equity and public health criteria.

As we start this effort four different models underway in California inspire us:

  • State of California: SB 535 – Cap and Trade
  • State of California: Active Transportation Program (ATP)
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC): Communities of concern
  • City of Los Angeles: Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan

These state, regional and city examples of prioritized investment areas for transportation funds provide relevant best practices and lessons learned for Metro to consider.

With this in mind, on June 16, 2015, Investing in Place brought together over 90 partners from across Los Angeles County to discuss developing a policy definition for disadvantaged communities/areas of opportunity in Los Angeles County for consideration in the LRTP update and potential 2016 ballot measure. The diversity of attendance from public agencies and community-based organizations was inspiring to all.

June 16th Meeting Materials:

A heartfelt thanks to AARP, Advancement Project, Community Health Councils, Bike SGV, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Pacoima Beautiful, LURN, Public Health Alliance of Southern California, USC PERE and Transform for helping out with facilitation and agenda development.

USC PERE researcher Vanessa Carter presented their research on equity and just growth, highlighting findings that regions with high rates of inequality had slower economic growth.  Pointing out that transportation is the “just growth sweet spot” where the right investments can yield outcomes of equity & growth.  PERE research has found that in addressing transportation equity, race/ethnicity matters, and it needs to be in the forefront of the discussion.  Vanessa also made the distinction between equity and equality, and that this effort should be rooted in targeting the investments where they are needed most. And as Los Angeles County partners work to develop this definition, a key to success will be “Measuring what Matters,” and the application of critical data set.  Vanessa highlighted key best practices/resources for partners to take a deeper look at:

Jonathan Nomachi from Advancement Project (AP) presented their approach to equity advocacy in communities throughout California.  AP uses a model of “Data + Community Voices = Change.” And shared the lessons learned through the successful policy efforts on Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) allocations, that used a data-driven approach for education investment. LCFF created framework and key indicators to identify target communities for high need.  This process included “non-traditional” indicators – health services/outcomes and youth safety/violence prevention programs/exposure and more. Read more about Advancement Project’s LCFF work.  In closing, Jonathan challenged the group that while the focus should be on creating the definition and framework – a critical component for success was continued and committed partnerships to support implementation.

With this research and experience in mind – we broke out in groups to discuss:

  • What is your definition of social equity? What does equity mean to you?
  • What data sets do you have access to?
  • What are other best practices we should be looking at?
  • Any best practices of equity and health-based transportation funding/prioritization?
  • Feedback or ideas not addressed by these questions or discussion?

We had over 9 breakout groups that spent the next 20 minutes discussing these questions.  Key words we heard in the breakout groups report back were: structural racism, access, resources, opportunities, INequity, win-win, engagement, process (not just outcomes). That is wasn’t just about data but also about stories and context. That there was a shared value and we needed robust community engagement to ground-truth policy and implementation.  Each breakout group submitted feedback in writing with ideas for Investing in Place that we are currently reviewing to guide our research over the next several months.

Next steps: Over the next several months, Investing in Place and key partners will be digging into these ideas, existing research and best practices, as well as conducting small group meetings with partners to build upon what we learned from our partners at this meeting. Our goal is to have a draft framework for partners to review and respond to at our next meeting on September 9th – please save the date. And email Jessica Meaney to find out more or get involved – we’re interested in many voices and perspectives in this effort.

A big thanks to all who joined us for this meeting to shape and inform this effort and excited to report back in September on the progress.

San Fernando Valley Goes All-In on Transit, Walking and Bicycling

by Jessica Meaney

City of Los Angeles Sidewalk Infrastructure Program

by Jessica Meaney