Thursday, December 19, 2019

Where we’ve been and where we are headed…..2019 Accomplishments and 2020 Goals

What Investing in Place is trying to change/do:

We believe families in Los Angeles county can’t get ahead in life if they can’t get around, which is why our core mission is to support transportation investments that strengthen communities.

Over the past five years, Investing in Place has been part of collaborative efforts that successfully advocated for hundreds of millions of dollars of public investment for accessible sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle lanes, bus operations and improvements, safe routes to school and more. Now we need to do the hard work of ensuring that these dollars benefit the communities that need them most and support goals related to increasing housing, education, economic opportunity, and public health, among others.

We worked with partners across the region to build support for (and pass) Measure M. Then we collaborated with allies to see Metro adopt an equity definition based on race and income and fought to prioritize resource allocation based on need, in order to address historic inequities in our county. With those hard-earned wins behind us, we now turn to implementation. 


2019 WINS: Our top 7 accomplishments of 2019


1. Metro Equity Definition Adopted

Metro adopted its first-ever agency wide definition of Equity Focused Communities; this definition identifies two demographic factors that have historically been determinants of disinvestment and disenfranchisement: (1) race/ethnicity and (2) household income. Metro adds a third factor to the mix: households with low vehicle ownership. This definition is based on the recommendations of the Investing in Place Transportation Equity Work Group and the policy paper published by the work group in 2016. Using these 3 factors to create a map of high need neighborhoods and communities in Los Angeles County, Metro can now apply this definition to evaluate planning efforts and resource allocations – first up, NextGen and Congestion Pricing.


2. Metro 101 Advocacy Trainings

In partnership with Advancement Project California,  Investing in Place developed a day-long “Metro 101” advocacy training and produced our 2 minute plus minute video on Metro and their role in the region. Participating Los Angeles-based nonprofits strengthened and developed their organizational and coalition advocacy strategies. These trainings pave the way for more effective advocacy at Metro and leverage Investing in Place’s transportation policy knowledge to support community leaders in their own advocacy campaigns.


3. Better Buses for LA Work Group

In the Summer of 2019, Investing in Place launched the Better Buses for LA monthly workgroup meetings, which are focused on Metro’s NextGen Bus network redesign project. The Better Buses for LA workgroup is an interdisciplinary collection of grassroots community leaders, public agency staff, and grasstops policy experts with the shared goal of increasing community understanding of and engagement on improving the region’s bus system. The group has developed a focus on implementing bus only lanes in downtown Los Angeles in 2020. 


4. Bus Shelter Blitz

A critical, yet often overlooked, component to public transportation is the wait experience at stops and stations. In the City of Los Angeles, less than one in four Metro bus stops are serviced by a transit shelter. The region has experienced declining transit ridership in the past five years and we consider the lack of safe, comfortable, and dignified bus stops as one contributing factor, especially as urban heat becomes more extreme. Investing in Place,  Pacoima Beautiful, Slate-Z, and Climate Resolve are coordinating a campaign to make installing bus shelters easier. Through this collaboration, we are modeling a community-driven siting process to get more bus shelters in historically underserved neighborhoods. 


5. Engagement Guide for Public Agencies working with nonprofits

Investing in Place partnered with SCAG and Estolano Advisors to develop a “Public Engagement Guide” which provides an overview of SCAG’s 2019 experience initiating funded partnerships with nonprofits to improve the agency’s engagement process by soliciting feedback community organizations across the region. This guide describes how partnership process unfolded for SCAG, shares lessons learned, and provides recommendations so that other agencies can adapt this model to suit their public engagement needs and enrich the public input they receive – particularly from communities often not included in the traditional transportation and land use planning process.


6. Gender Equity in Transportation

Investing in Place positions mobility needs of women and mothers as a transportation priority. This year we built on this campaign of Moms and Mobility with South Central LAMP and Lyft  for discussions on ride share and how existing bike share and scooter services may or may not meet the needs of community members.  Private mobility companies have entered the transportation provider space and are not going anywhere; how are advocates preparing ourselves to hold them accountable to serve all communities equitably, especially women and moms who are traditionally overlooked when these programs are developed.


7. Strengthening Los Angeles Transportation Advocacy Collaboration

To increase collaboration and power, Investing in Place co created with Los Angeles Walks, People for Mobility Justice, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Move LA and CicLAvia, all transportation non-profits working in Central Los Angeles, a monthly space for senior staff to strengthen relationships, sharing information and develop ideas for shared work and potential campaigns in 2020. Shout out to great work from for their partnership in all their various efforts for all the work they are doing across the county.


2020 VISION: Our work will focus on the implementation of policies and equitable investments to increase access for all.

We envision a region where people of all resources and abilities have safe, affordable, dignified transportation choices to access resources and opportunity. This means reliable and secure public transportation; safe and accessible sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle and scooter facilities; and affordable access to car rides when needed. 

In 2020 we look to build capacity with partners to collaborate on campaigns and project development that invests our billions of transportation public funds back into a system that prioritizes the needs of our most vulnerable first.  


Campaigns and Organizational Strategies in 2020 

  1. Better Buses for LA – with targets for bus only lanes to be implemented in 2020 in downtown Los Angeles

  2. Advocacy and Budget Training/Support for non-profit partners advocating at Metro and the City of Los Angeles

  3. Free Transit – Supporting partners and agencies (i.e. Los Angeles Unified School District) advocating for Free Transit 

  4. Congestion Pricing and Community Partnerships

  5. Transportation Advocacy – Strengthening power with collaboration and coordination

Better Buses for LA Work Group: Previous Meeting Materials and Upcoming Meeting January 14th

by Jessica Meaney

10 New Bus Shelters Coming to City of Los Angeles Council District 8

by Jessica Meaney