On Tuesday March 29th, Investing in Place hosted a discussion on LA Metro’s draft expenditure plan at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. The room was packed with over 85 community partners, some including Metro agency staff and Metro board transportation deputies. The goal of the meeting was to get feedback on how we can shape Metro’s plan for the better. For a Twitter recap of our event, check it out here.
We list our key takeaways below:
- Pies are tasty but not necessarily nutritious. There was a resounding consensus from partners that Metro’s expenditure pie chart is a good start – but we can only have a serious dialogue when we focus on what’s in the plan and where we can improve. We all appreciated Metro for structuring a complicated plan and budget, and for taking the input from stakeholders seriously. For example, Metro’s plan tackled active transportation and State of Good Repair for the first time.
- … and there’s still room for improvement to strengthen active transportation, Complete Streets, and Safe Routes to School. Active transportation projects are front-loaded, starting as early as 2018, but the projects lack consistency and commitment from some Council of Governments. The plan allocates $2.5 billion for active transportation projects, or 6% of the plan. Combined with Great Streets allocations, the total reaches 8.9%. This is a great start – we’re looking forward to integrating first and last mile planning elements in other projects like bus rapid transit ($625 million is allocated) and Complete Streets when doing station and stop improvements.
- Equity needs to be better defined. Several partners were concerned about defining social and economic equity – not just geographic equity. They reasoned (and we agreed) that Metro should define their success and outcomes based on a universally shared narrative of equity. Investing in Place is working on this effort with USC PERE, Advancement Project, Metro, LACBC, SCOPE LA, LA County Department of Public Health, and the Public Health Alliance of Southern California in our recently launched Transportation Equity Technical Working Group.
- We can’t focus on reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets while focusing on expanding highways. Metro’s draft plan estimates a 4% VMT reduction over the next 40 years while investing in expanding highways (and essentially sprawl) in the desert. This target is inconsistent with SCAG’s Regional Climate targets calling for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 13% by 2035 and VMT per capita reduction of 10.2% by 2040. Our partners at EnviroMetro are working to ensure we do not add highway capacity and call for reallocating highway funding to active transportation projects.
- What’s success look like to us? 10% for Active Transportation and complete streets/communities. Making sure a good measure passes. Saving more lives.
- Investing in Place will draft a comment letter and second policy analysis memo with feedback from the 3/29 meeting. We encourage you and your organizations to sign the comment letter once we have it finished in mid-April.
- For a timeline of events, please refer to this timeline. We encourage you to attend one of the Metro public feedback meetings this month and to write your Metro board member while carbon copying Investing in Place (firstname.lastname@example.org) – https://www.metro.net/about/board/
- Stay tuned for future Investing in Place updates.
Thank you to all who joined, thank you to Far Bar for catering, and thank you Marlene from JACCC for hosting us! Special thanks to Stephanie Wiggins for a great summary of Metro’s draft plan and for joining us in the break out groups, to all our community partners who participated and provided valuable feedback, and our advisory board members for leading discussion groups.
If you attended and didn’t fill out an evaluation form, we still would appreciate your input on this meeting and future Investing in Place quarterly convenings. Please use this online form.
Materials from the meeting:
- Our meeting notes are available online (thank you Caro Jauregui from California Walks for helping!).
- Stephanie Wiggin’s Metro plan presentation
- Investing in Place presentation
- Investing in Place analysis
- Pictures from the event
- Guest List
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