Thursday, July 16, 2015

Los Angeles Times Reporting: Making the case of increasing investments in walkable communities

This week the Los Angeles Times ran a front page story on the most dangerous intersections for those traveling on foot in Los Angeles.  In an effort to move multi-modal transportation policies and investments into a data-based and prioritization framework at Metro, this coverage and data analysis comes at a crucial time for policymakers. As Los Angeles County look to reduce car trips and increase trips made via transit, walking and bicycling, this data helps move into a new frame and target need and opportunities.

Los Angeles Times research found from 2002 through 2013,  people walking compromised 35% of all roadway deaths.

“Using data collected from reports that law enforcement agencies send to the California Highway Patrol, The Times analyzed more than 665,000 traffic accidents in L.A. County from 2002 through 2013 and identified 579 intersections in Los Angeles where the reported rate of crashes between cars and pedestrians was significantly higher than the county average.”

Over the past several years, a growing movement throughout Los Angeles County has been advocating to increase the region’s transportation investments in improving walking, bicycling and first/last mile connections to transit. Yet, as recently as last summer, Metro’s leadership continues to underfund making a safe and encouraging region for those not driving for their trip, by electing to invest less than 1% of the region’s transportation funds in active transportation (Metro Short Range Transportation Plan 2014).

While Los Angeles County is one of the strongest self-help counties in the nation for transportation investments, with close to 70 percent of the county’s transportation funding coming from existing local sales taxes (Propositions A and C and Measure R), none of these existing three county transportation sales taxes dedicates a significant amount of funding towards improving safety and convenience for people walking, bicycling or accessing transit. Since 2000, several California counties have set aside as much as 11 percent of sales tax revenues for walking, bicycling and safe routes to school projects and programs, providing a potential model for Los Angeles County as Metro again considers an additional sales tax measure. (See more of our research here.)

In our review of the Los Angeles Times data, the Metro transit system – particularly rail and highly used bus lines start to emerge in conjunction with identified dangerous intersections.

“In Koreatown, near the nexus of two Metro rail lines, more than 400 people on foot were hit by cars over the same period, 11 of them fatally.” Los Angeles Times 7/12/15

Investing in Place supports efforts like this from the Los Angeles Times and our partners like Los Angeles Walks to use data to prioritize public funds to ensure we are supporting investments that target need and put safety and mobility for all first.

We are inspired by the model from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency framework from 2010,  to “shift from planning for cars to planning for people,” and are working with our partners to support this framework becoming the heart of Metro’s planning and investments as the County Transportation Commission prepares to update its Long Range Transportation Plan and investment priorities as the region begins consideration of a 4th transportation sales tax for voters in 2016.

SFMTA - Planning for People Not Cars

See Los Angeles Walk for more coverage on this important data and its implications.

One response to “Los Angeles Times Reporting: Making the case of increasing investments in walkable communities

Comments are closed.

Active Transportation Program - Apply today for the Technical Advisory Committee

by Jessica Meaney

Update: Metro schedule for 2016 Potential Ballot Measure

by Jessica Meaney