Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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

On Monday morning, the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments (SFVCOG) Transportation Committee convened to discuss their subregion’s priorities for Metro’s potential 2016 sales tax measure. COGs provide critical input to inform Metro’s countywide investment priorities.

LACBC, Pacoima Beautiful, the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation and Los Angeles Walks submitted a policy memo consistent with our research recommending that 10 percent of any future revenue go to walking and biking. SFVCOG’s primary consideration was its competing transit priorities, including upgrades to the Orange Line, an extension to Burbank and Pasadena, and a new north-south line along Van Nuys Boulevard and through the Sepulveda Pass. After a robust discussion, the committee recommended setting overall policy priorities, followed by funding allocations to specific categories of projects. Most notably, the committee set safety–particularly for people walking and biking–as its first and foremost policy priority, followed by reducing travel time and increasing capacity. Committee members specifically expressed support for setting aside funding for active transportation countywide, instead of just through subregional allocations and local return. We are enthusiastic about this policy recommendation, as it is consistent with the best practices from other California counties.

The committee also decided to remain mode-neutral on upgrading the Orange Line and pressed Metro to declare the Sepulveda Pass transit project “regionally significant” so that it wouldn’t count against the San Fernando Valley’s share of future revenue. Any funds remaining after these priorities would supplement the $65 million allocated to active transportation, including the Los Angeles River and other projects across the Valley. The committee’s final recommendations allocated San Fernando Valley’s entire funding share to major transit projects and active transportation, undoubtedly a sea change in transportation priorities from decades past. Thank you to L.A. Councilmember Felipe Fuentes for championing funding for active transportation and to L.A. Councilmember and Metro Director Paul Krekorian’s staff for concurring with Fuentes’s position that active transportation should be funded regionally.

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