Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Weighing in on Metro’s draft Active Transportation Strategic Plan

Investing in Place found much to look forward to in Metro’s draft Active Transportation Strategic Plan (ATSP), the agency’s plan to connect people to transit stations, bus stops, and local destinations through walking and biking infrastructure improvements.

It is informative to see this report released at such a timely moment, as Metro leadership considers a transportation ballot measure adding over $100 billion dollars in public funds over the the next 40 years, updates the region’s Long Range Transportation Plan, and makes critical investment decisions to align policy and practice to achieve improved mobility outcomes for the region.

The draft plan includes infographics and a detailed cost-benefits analysis of 661 stations and stops for purposes of first and last mile planning. With over 83% of Metro bus riders accessing transit by walking, these cost estimates can inform future Metro capital projects and retrofits for the transit and highway network. 

But with any guiding document of this scale, we believe there’s room for improvement.

First, Investing in Place and its partners see the ATSP as an important opportunity to develop a project prioritization plan that is methodical and creates a sequencing plan that is solely based on need, not political geographic boundaries.

Second, we want to underscore the need for a social equity policy definition at Metro to enable prioritization and implementation of these infrastructure needs for the stops and stations outlined in the draft ATSP. The ATSP provides a wealth of data indicators, but we see the need for Metro to define its areas of high investment based on social equity benchmarks.

And lastly, it’s all about the funding. While this plan does an excellent job detailing the needs and costs – it falls short identifying the funding to implement the plan. Metro funds close to 70% of the County’s transportation investments with existing local sales tax funds. We need a Metro-centric finance strategy to implement these critically needed improvements.

Please click here to read our full comment letter. Feedback to Metro is due by Friday March 25. If you or your organization wish to sign onto the letter, please email john@investinginplace.org.

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