Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring Brings New…Policies: April PAC recap

Springtime is subtle in Los Angeles, but you can still feel it. Those chillier days of wearing (light) jackets are fewer and we get to enjoy the burst of blooms from seeds planted earlier this year. This is especially true at Metro, where several policies are being finalized before summer.

 

TOC moving forward

After months of refining a draft Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) policy with a working group open to Metro Policy Advisory Council (PAC) members, Metro staff presented the draft TOC policy to the full PAC last week. The draft will now be presented to the Metro Board, likely at the May 16 Metro Planning & Programming Board Committee, here are some of the main points:

 

  • Purpose of the policy:
    • Define the concept of TOCs
    • Define those “TOC Activities” that will be considered a “Transportation Purpose” and therefore eligible for Measure M funding, including Local Return
    • Establish criteria for which TOC Activities Metro will fund and implement directly and which activities Metro will allow local partners to fund and implement
  • Goals of the policy:
    • Increase transportation ridership and choice
    • Stabilize and enhance communities surrounding transit
    • Engage organizations, jurisdictions, and the public
    • Distribute transit benefits to all
    • Capture value created by transit

 

    • TOC Activities
      • TOC Activities are projects, programs, and policies that support, enable and incentivize TOCs
      • Metro can only fund activities deemed to have a Transportation Purpose*
      • Some TOC Activities are general, and others must take place, or be targeted within a half-mile walk shed of aHigh Quality Transit Stop** (HQTS) or within a 3-mile bike shed of the HQTS

The draft has been shaped through a collaborative and iterative process. Since January Metro staff has hosted work group meetings every two weeks and also incorporated feedback from external voices such as ACT-LA, a coalition of affordable housing and social justice advocates.

 

PAC members had mostly general feedback, but nothing that would upend progress from the PAC work group. To review the April TOC draft, click here.

 

PAC work group model works

Replicating this PAC work group model, Metro also hosted a 2% Active Transportation work group meeting last week, to discuss prioritization, community engagement, and other program guidelines. This pot of Measure M funding will generate approximately $17 million each year for the region to invest in active transportation improvements. Check out our primer here.

 

Due in part to the effectiveness of the PAC work group model, Metro staff also recommended a new structure for the PAC to start off next fiscal year. PAC member meetings will switch to a quarterly schedule starting in June and continue to utilize the work group model for opportunities to shape Metro and Measure M policies between PAC member meetings.

 

In response to concerns about PAC meeting participation, Metro also committed to revisit how representatives join the PAC and how attendance might be refreshed through new members. PAC membership currently runs for two years. Lastly, the structure of the PAC must retain its ⅓-split of jurisdictions, providers, and consumers so any new members representing one of those categories must be matched with equal new members representing the other two.

 

Updates: Equity & Budget

Metro Chief Planning Officer Therese McMillan reassured the PAC that Metro staff are working long hours to develop next steps for the agency’s first-ever Equity Framework. Opportunities for engagement have not yet been finalized, but PAC members weighed in with their thoughts, including establishing a checkpoint for the framework, perhaps every five years, to ensure it stays relevant.

 

Metro staff also presented on their proposed $6.6 billion Fiscal Year 19 Budget. A majority of the budget is allocated for transit construction and operations and 20 percent is dedicated to the agency’s fare subsidy program. Approximately $624 million of subsidy funding will be passed to local cities, for programs that include bus shelters, fare subsidies, bike infrastructure, and local bike share.

 

Metro is receiving written public feedback on the proposed FY19 budget until Friday, May 11 at 5pm (submit to: budgetcomments@metro.net). There will also be an in-person public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 at 12pm at Metro Headquarters (Third Floor Board Room).

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*Metro defines “Transportation Purpose,” using California Public Utilities Code Section 130001:
“(e) The Transportation system should offer adequate public transportation to all citizens, including those immobilized by poverty, age, physical handicaps, or other reasons,” and “(h) Transportation planning should recognize that transportation systems have significant effect on the physical and socioeconomic characteristics of the area served, and emphasis should be given to the protection and enhancement of the environment and restoration of blighted neighborhoods near community centers.”
**High Quality Transit Stop (HQTS): an existing or environmentally-cleared fixed-guideway transit station or the intersection of two buses with 15 minute headways, or fewer, at the peak. A planned fixed-guideway station may also be considered if its location is the only alternative under consideration for a transit corridor in the planning stages. This definition may change to match changes in the State of California definition of a High Quality Transit Stop.


The Road to Rolling and Walking in LA: A 2% Active Transportation Primer

by Naomi Iwasaki

No Longer the Road Less Traveled

by Amanda Staples