Friday, September 30, 2016

Measure M Will Invest in High-Ridership Corridors Across LA County

Measure M, known as the “Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan,” is a comprehensive transportation plan that will allocate over $850 million per year to improving transportation and mobility options for all in Los Angeles County, with nearly two-thirds of the measure dedicated to transit improvements. Every day, Metro supports 1.4 million rides and Measure M would serve even more people.

In Measure M, high-profile projects like the tunneling under the Sepulveda Pass, building a new rail line through the Southeast Cities, and extending the Crenshaw Line to Hollywood will totally reshape commute patterns across the county. To put it lightly, these projects are game-changers — but will take years, if not decades, to complete. There is a lot we can do sooner to make travel easier for transit riders by focusing resources on the corridors where people already take transit.

Flying below the radar are all of Measure M’s improvements for buses. 20 percent of the measure is dedicated toward bus operations — meaning more bus service and affordable fares. Measure M also includes projects that will make the most popular bus lines go faster, like Vermont Ave. and Lincoln Blvd. Others are bundled together as “Countywide BRT Projects.” This funding is for improvements that make buses go faster and stop for less time, like all-door boarding, signal synchronization, and dedicated bus lanes.

Other high-ridership corridors have more demand than buses can handle. Accelerating the Purple Line extension is one of the most important projects in Measure M. Even with a rapid bus every few minutes running in dedicated lanes, the 720 still takes over an hour to go from Westwood to Downtown L.A. The subway extension will cut that in half, saving transit riders time. Delivering this project a decade earlier means more job opportunities for Angelenos.

The Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley is incredibly popular and runs at capacity during rush hour. While many Valley advocates are pushing to convert it to rail — and Measure M would do that eventually — some strategic grade separations at congested intersections can provide most of the benefits for a fraction of the cost in just a few years. By taking a smart two-phased approach, Measure M would provide the greatest benefit to transit riders as quickly as possible.

Measure M will invest in high-ridership corridors in every pocket of LA County. While the county is projected to add two million people in the next two decades, getting real improvements from Measure M on the ground quickly will help determine whether these new residents become solo drivers or transit riders. By focusing on improving service in corridors where people already take transit, Measure M will connect people to where they need to go and get them there faster.

For a link to the PDF of this policy brief, please access here.

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