Thursday, June 8, 2017

Measure M Guidelines – Our Response to the June Revision

In March, Metro issued draft guidelines for Measure M, the $120 billion transportation measure approved by Los Angeles County voters in November. This 100+ page document, which will set the rules for how Measure M funds are administered, has attracted considerable attention from stakeholders around the region. This week, Metro released a revised draft based on comments from the Metro Policy Advisory Council (PAC), Councils of Governments (COGs), community-based organizations, and other stakeholder groups. For more background on the guidelines’ purpose, role, and relationship to the Measure M Ordinance, refer to Investing in Place’s April analysis.

Our April analysis reviewed the first draft of the guidelines and identified strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Then, in May, Investing in Place joined many of our partners on a comment letter further detailing our recommendations.

Today, we are publishing a new policy brief that analyzes the extent to which those recommendations were incorporated into the revised guidelines and offers further suggestions for changes before board adoption later this month.

The most substantial revision to the guidelines changes the way the Multiyear Subregional Programs are to be administered by articulating a collaborative process between Metro and the COGs that includes standards for public participation.

Key issues we’re still concerned about in the Measure M guidelines?

  • Still lack an affirmative statement that Metro’s Complete Streets Policy applies to all funding programs.
  • The final guidelines should anticipate a transportation equity policy in the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and include mechanisms to advance social equity in the implementation of Measure M programs, such as prioritization and/or set-asides in funding programs.
  • Include multimodal performance metrics that reflect current planning practice, such as travel time reliability and vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), rather than outdated metrics like Level of Service (LOS) in the highway programs. Add metrics addressing public health, sustainability, and social equity. Tie program metrics to regional performance metrics in the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) to ensure that projects contribute toward regional goals.
  • Traffic safety is still not integrated into the core purpose of investments in the street and freeway system and no specific procedures are proposed to make safety analysis a routine part of highway program administration.
  • The revised guidelines continue to consider state of good repair, maintenance, and beautification projects ineligible for highway program funding, without clearly defining these terms to ensure that complete streets improvements are not inadvertently excluded. The revised guidelines continue to hold projects on city streets to the same objectives as freeway projects. The application of Metro’s Complete Streets Policy to these programs remains unclear, despite these programs being the one of the primary funding programs for street improvements in Los Angeles County moving forward.

See the complete policy brief here for other issues and concerns we see address, partially addressed and not addressed.

Investing in Place appreciates Metro staff’s diligence in responding to comments and incorporating significant changes based on stakeholder input. The revised guidelines are a step forward for ensuring that Measure M implementation supports safe, healthy, and equitable communities.

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