Completing Streets, Measure M

Action Alert: Help Us Advocate for More Accessible, Greener, and Walkable Streets in Los Angeles!


3.29 completing streets action alert.png

As many know, LA County’s game-changing transportation plan — Measure M — passed in November 2016. A portion of the estimated $860 million per year for transportation improvements across the county will go back to the cities — something called local returnto be used on local infrastructure, like sidewalks, crosswalks, or traffic signals.

Sales tax revenue for Measure M will start to flow on July 1st, 2017 — less than 4 months from now. The big question remains: How will cities across the county set policies for how to spend their local return money?

Help Us Advocate for Accessible, Greener, and Walkable Streets!

For the City of Los Angeles, that process will kick off next week at the City Council’s Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilmember Mike Bonin, on Wednesday, March 29 at 1:00 PM in Room 1010. We encourage all our partners that care about funding for safe streets and vision zero, transportation equity, sidewalks, bike paths, and safe routes to school to come weigh in with testimony at next Wednesday’s hearing.

Join us by signing up here!

This is a key moment for Los Angeles. With the passage of Measure M, HHH, and JJJ last fall, and the rejection of Measure S earlier this month, Los Angeles voters have clearly given city leaders a mandate to build a more equitable and transit-oriented city. Mobility Plan 2035—recently adopted by the City Council—is the roadmap for how investments in the city’s streets and public spaces can support a more multimodal future.

How we spend Local Return is one of the most important decisions the City Council will make to actually fund and implement this vision. Indeed, it is the first major implementation action for Mobility Plan 2035. We need to ensure that Local Return policies put safety first and invest in a network of complete streets and sidewalks for all people who travel in our city.

We Need a Comprehensive Approach to Rebuilding Our Streets

At the heart of Mobility Plan 2035 is the idea that the City needs to look holistically at how its streets function. The quality of a street is about more than just potholes. These questions come to mind:

  • Is it safe for people to walk and bike?
  • Does it promote economic activity?
  • Does it capture and clean stormwater?
  • Is it accessible to children, older adults, and people with disabilities?
  • Does it address the needs of low-income communities and communities of color?

These are all direct, measurable outcomes of the way streets are designed and maintained. There is a lot of support on the City Council for paving streets, but Investing in Place urges the City to take a comprehensive approach to rebuilding streets to meet current and future needs, rather than just replacing outdated infrastructure. This integrated approach is exactly what is called for in Mobility Plan 2035, but it is up to the City Council to now implement it with the resources made available by the potential ballot measure.

What We’re Advocating For…

Here are some policy ideas for Local Return we’re hoping to see discussed next week:

1. Comprehensive Performance Metrics for Street Projects

As called for in Mobility Plan 2035, complete streets and green streets upgrades should be integrated into regular street repaving. That doesn’t necessarily mean every residential street needs a bike lane or a bioswale, but it does mean that LADOT, City Planning, and Street Services need to work together to identify where the opportunities are for more comprehensive improvements and make sure that these elements are integrated cost-effectively. City departments should look at a range of measures of street condition in addition to pavement quality, such as:

  • Safety (Vision Zero)
  • Sidewalk condition
  • Vehicle speeds
  • Bike/ped counts
  • Transit ridership
  • Economic activity
  • Stormwater quality and capture
  • Tree canopy

2. Dedicated Funding for Vision Zero and Active Transportation

Mobility Plan 2035 calls for a minimum of 20% of Local Return for walking, biking, and safe routes to school. This is a good starting point, but the reality is that less than $12 million per year is not enough money to achieve zero traffic deaths by 2025. Vision Zero is a comprehensive safety program that benefits people who walk, bike, take transit, and drive. It is also the City’s top transportation priority. City Council should allocate a minimum of $20 million per year for Vision Zero.

3. Accelerate Sidewalk Improvements with a 30-10 Plan for Safe Sidewalks

The City recently settled a $1.37 billion lawsuit to fix its sidewalks so that people with disabilities can move around Los Angeles safely, requiring the City to spend over $30 million per year for 30 years. Fixing our sidewalks is a critical issue for children, older adults, and people in wheelchairs, and for many of our most vulnerable residents, waiting 30 years for safe sidewalks means they’ll never see improvements in their lifetimes. While the City is obligated to spend a minimum amount from other funding sources, how can Measure M augment the Willits settlement and accelerate these improvements so that our communities can benefit from safe sidewalks sooner?

4. Regular Reporting and Accountability

The public deserves regular reporting on the status and effectiveness of Local Return investments. The City should produce an annual report documenting program expenditures and the status of projects in planning, design, and construction. The report should highlight the way in which the City has incorporated complete and green streets into routine projects. The Mobility Plan 2035 Technical Advisory Committee should be convened quarterly to review program updates and provide input into upcoming projects. The report should include a five-year capital improvement program of street projects.

These are the ideas we’re most passionate about, but we want to hear yours too! Email us at jessica@investinginplace.org with your priorities for Local Return in the City of Los Angeles.

Sign up here if you can join us at Wednesday’s Transportation Committee meeting!

Don’t forget to sign up for our #CompletingStreets work group for more updates.

More background:

Just Growth, Measure M, transportation equity

Agenda for #JustGrowth: Healthy, Sustainable, and Equitable Mobility


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If you live in Los Angeles County, you’ve probably heard about — or have experienced — some of the most challenging issues with mobility we need to solve in Los Angeles County.

Yes, traffic and congestion are important issues — but, for some of our most vulnerable neighbors and families, the issues with transportation are so intertwined with housing, jobs, school and household income that we can’t afford to ignore them any longer.

Some of these crucial issues preventing our region from growing stronger are:

  1. Our housing crisis is worsening (long-time families are being displaced and living further away from job centers),
  2. The costs that the average family is spending on housing and transportation is going up (many have to take on multiple jobs in order to survive),
  3. Youth who are poor in Los Angeles County (areas that are mostly low-income communities and communities of color) face the worst odds getting out of poverty, and
  4. The access to quality careers near major transit, especially for our most vulnerable residents, is looking bleak (but getting better with more awareness on connecting people experiencing homelessness and our veterans to entry-level jobs).

Leading With a Just Growth Agenda

To help build a stronger region and economy, we are developing a draft #JustGrowth advocacy agenda with six key policy outcomes. We’re using guidance from our Transportation Equity Technical Work Group, the policymakers who participated in our Just Growth Forum in November 2016, and the elected officials and policymakers who shared their thoughts at last week’s breakfastBut, we want feedback from anyone in Los Angeles County.

These six outcomes will guide our work on the 2017 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Measure M guidelines, Metro Strategic Plan, and other upcoming policy opportunities. In each of these opportunities, we seek to set measurable objectives and align public investment directly to achieving those goals:

  1. Metro promotes access to opportunity by concentrating and prioritizing investments in communities with the greatest need.
  2. Metro engages the community as a partner in developing the transportation system.
  3. Metro supports economically stable and culturally diverse neighborhoods by promoting integrated transportation and land use policy.
  4. Metro invests in a frequent network of bus and rail transit service.
  5. Metro leads on transportation safety throughout Los Angeles County.
  6. Metro builds an integrated, connected, and sustainable transportation system.

Next Steps

Throughout February, we’ll highlight each draft outcome in a blog post. We invite your questions, comments, and critiques. Please email us any thoughts, suggestions, and questions: jessica@investinginplace.org.

Also, we hope our Transportation Policy Advocacy Resource Manual can be of use to you, your advocacy, and your organization.

To dive deeper into how we plan to advocate for #JustGrowth, please feel free to register for our first work group meeting next week on Thursday, February 16 2:30-4PM.

Just Growth, Measure M, transportation equity

Recap of #JustGrowth March Meeting


Last week, we were joined by over 20 partners to discuss Investing in Place’s Equity Opportunity Zones strategy. We discussed indicators for equity, census tracts, and visualizing the data. Big thanks to Madeline Wander, Senior Data Analyst at USC PERE, who presented maps and led the discussion on Equity Opportunity Zones.

For the last two and half years, Investing in Place has vetted with partners and discussed which indicators would adequately address the issue of transportation inequity in Los Angeles County. The three variables we narrowed down to were based on research, best practices and our discussion with partners: race, income, and low vehicle ownership.

A key discussion last week was the idea of adding collision data as a factor in the Equity Opportunity Zones. Collision data is a poignant indicator that not only speaks to where disproportionate number of crashes are happening, but it’s also a real need that affects everyone.

This Spring, we are working to incorporate the feedback we heard from the first two #JustGrowth meetings of this year. If you haven’t already, please review the great feedback and comments we received at our January meeting.

Many of our participants at the last meeting, like Reuben De Leon from First 5 LA, also expressed the need to elevate diverse stories and experiences from community members and decision makers. We agree — and our experiences talking with mothers, fathers, and youth from First 5 LA’s Best Start Communities across Los Angeles County shows us that having more reliable and frequent buses, safe sidewalks and crosswalks, and having a bus stop can be a lifeline for many, but there’s still work to be done.

In regards to feedback: the invitation still stands for our partners to write a guest blog and highlight the different indicators discussed in our meeting. Please send to Jessica Meaney at jessica@investinginplace.org.

Again, thank you to all who attended! We appreciate it.

Next Steps:

  • Save the Date for next month’s Just Growth Work Group for April 20th from 2:30-4:00pm at Teach for America’s office by Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. We will be providing our thoughts on the recently released Measure M Guidelines and continue to develop the EOZ maps and ideas.
  • For those who haven’t kept up on our Equity Opportunity Zones policy campaign, please click here for the Executive Summary and report.
Completing Streets, Convenings, Transportation Finance

Update: Join our Completing Streets strategy conference call on March 27


Calling all City of Los Angeles advocates for:

  • Safe #LAsidewalks and crosswalks
  • Complete streets
  • More bus shelters
  • Healthy trees for shade
  • And more!

Please join us for a City of Los Angeles Completing Streets work group conference call on Thursday March 30th Monday March 27th at 4:00PMClick here to RSVP

Two key opportunities we’d like your feedback and discussion on:

  1. Measure M Local Return in the City of Los Angeles will be decided this Spring: On this call, we’ll talk about how a whopping $50 million per year will (and should) be invested. Update: And encourage you to join us at City of Los Angeles Transportation Committee at 1pm on Wednesday when this item will be discussed.
  2. We’re having an advocacy training summit this Spring on Saturday, April 29 about improving the City’s sidewalks, crosswalks, urban forestry, and more — we want you to join us in this effort and get your advice!

We’re at a critical point in ensuring this funding goes to the neighborhoods where we need it most. Join our call to better learn how you can get involved and to provide advice.

Click here to RSVP
FYI, agenda for the call:

  1. City of Los Angeles local return
    • Organizing for 3/29 1pm T-Com meeting
    • Strategy and talking points
    • Process/timeline
  2. Tripping Point summit
    • Date
    • Breakout groups and content
    • Outcomes and Outreach
Just Growth, transportation equity

Metro’s 2016 Quality of Life Report Offers Preview of Potential LRTP Metrics


Late last month, Metro released the full version of its 2016 Quality of Life Report. As we wrote when the initial report was released in May 2016, “With this report, Metro broadens its focus from just commutes and congestion to a suite of objectives that provides a more complete understanding of how safe and reliable transportation options enrich our communities.” The full report builds on the foundation laid last summer and — more importantly — offers a starting point for the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) update process that is just getting started.

Aligning Metro’s Quality of Life Outcomes with #JustGrowth

Metro is a large agency with many responsibilities, so the Quality of Life Report understandably includes a broad range of metrics with varying degrees of relevance to our #JustGrowth agenda. However, we are encouraged to see so many of the metrics we care about included in this report.

Let’s break it down for each of our six #JustGrowth outcomes: Is this goal measured in the report? Is Metro using the best metric for the goal? What does this mean for the LRTP?

1. Metro promotes access to opportunity by concentrating and prioritizing investments in communities with the greatest need.

Central to this goal is mapping the communities using a shared definition of need, and then measuring investments and outcomes. The Quality of Life Report does this to some extent. When discussing the residents and jobs served by rail, BRT, and bus services, the report includes maps showing those communities identified by CalEnviroScreen 2.0 as disadvantaged communities (p42-47). The report even highlights the fact that 59% of residents in disadvantaged communities are served by frequent bus service, compared to 41% of the county as a whole. Additionally, through its ridership survey, Metro tracks the racial makeup of its ridership and compares those demographics to the communities surrounding its stops and to the county as a whole (p23).

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Racial makeup of LA County and Metro’s riders and adjacent communities. Source: Metro’s survey results.

These metrics indicate Metro’s willingness to consider the specific needs of vulnerable communities and to consider race in analyzing its service decisions. This is the right direction—now we just need to be more precise with our definitions and to more proactively incorporate the needs of these communities into policy and funding decisions.

That is the idea behind Equity Opportunity Zones, which would use race/ethnicity, household income, and vehicle ownership to define high-need communities and measure transportation investments and outcomes in these places. Equity Opportunity Zones would be more precise than CalEnviroScreen 2.0 by focusing more on transportation-related metrics. Let’s work together to identify those communities that experience the greatest barriers to accessing economic opportunity and target these places for strategic transportation investments in the LRTP.

2. Metro engages the community as a partner in developing the transportation system.

We’ll be honest—community engagement is the weakest part of the Quality of Life Report. While the report goes to great lengths to talk about who benefits from Metro services and projects, there are virtually no metrics of how those individuals and groups were engaged in decisions that affect them. To us, this indicates a lack of systemic thinking about engagement.

On the one hand, we have seen specific instances of exemplary community outreach for some decisions. And, Metro does have a Public Participation Plan that is supposed to guide these activities agency-wide. Yet the importance of community engagement hasn’t trickled up into the Quality of Life Report’s assessment of how Metro is doing across the board and that’s a problem.

We think it is critical that Metro think more holistically about how early and continuous community engagement factors into all major decisions, and that Metro consistently demonstrate how that input was incorporated or not. To help bridge the gap between Metro and the communities it serves, we propose that Metro establish a bench of qualified community-based organizations to expand the agency’s capacity for authentic engagement.

3. Metro supports economically stable and culturally diverse neighborhoods by promoting integrated transportation and land use policy.

One of the strongest parts of the Quality of Life Report is the detailed reporting on what is happening to housing prices and commercial rates near station areas compared to the county as a whole (p54-57).

Rent stability is critical for long-time renters to be able to afford to remain in their neighborhoods and benefit from new transportation investments that are intended to serve them. The report also tracks changes in household income near stations as well as new housing construction (p58-61). The news is generally not good: rents are up and income is down pretty much across the board, which is consistent with recent headlines proclaiming Los Angeles as one of the least affordable regions in the country. The only silver lining is that Metro’s data shows that rents aren’t increasing faster near transit than in the surrounding community as a whole.

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Average income in communities near Metro stations. Page 58 from Metro’s Quality of Life report.

This is a problem that needs more study and more policy solutions. While it is important to track overall housing prices—and we encourage Metro to continue measuring this—we also want to know whether individual families are being displaced. Average rental rates are the tip to the iceberg and may conceal instability in the lower end of the market that provides the overwhelming share of the affordable housing stock our families rely on.

Other indicators, such as the number of affordable housing covenants or rent-stabilized units, are important to provide a complete picture. We need reliable data that can underpin an “all of the above” housing strategy near transit to increase the supply of both market-rate and affordable housing located near transit.

4. Metro invests in a frequent network of bus and rail transit service.

Frequent transit is useful transit. It is the difference between transit being there when you need it and having to rearrange your life around transit. For many riders, this is the make-or-break decision point for whether they will take transit or find another way to get around, such as on-demand ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft. We want Metro to precisely define a frequent network (

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Map of CalEnviroScreen 2.0 disadvantaged communities and in blue, the high frequency bus stops. Metro acknowledges that 59% of these disadvantaged communities have access to a high frequency bus service — but many disadvantaged communities outside of Central Los Angeles lack frequent bus service.

The Quality of Life Report does map a frequent network and measures how many people live near it, both in disadvantaged communities and the county as a whole (p46-47). This is a good start. But the report doesn’t define what it means by frequent service. Is it measuring headways at rush hour or all day? What about weekends? Judging from what lines appear on the map, it looks like Metro is counting lines that drop to 20-minute headways or longer.

The LRTP is an opportunity to identify the resources needed to actually provide reliable, frequent service to more communities. The report says that frequent service is currently available to 41% of the county’s population and 59% of people in disadvantaged communities. We want to see these numbers boosted to 70% and 85%, respectively. This is the kind of game-changing transit investment that can turn around Metro’s ridership slump by providing useful service to more people.

5. Metro leads on transportation safety throughout Los Angeles County.

Traffic deaths are the leading cause of death for children in Los Angeles County, and 2nd for everyone else under age 45. As the primary transportation planning agency, it is shocking that Metro is silent on this critical issue, aside from reporting collisions with its own light rail vehicles (p13).

Traffic safety is a crisis in Los Angeles County—one that unfolds with a new death every 15 hours on average. Being able to get safely from Point A to Point B on Los Angeles County’s transportation network is absolutely a “quality of life” issue, perhaps the single most important one.

We are pushing Metro to adopt Vision Zero, like the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles, and to aggressively pursue traffic safety in partnership with local jurisdictions. Metro should integrate safety into all of its planning, policy, and funding decisions and provide robust technical assistance on street design and other strategies to local partners. The Quality of Life Report should identify countywide safety trends, including how many people are killed on our streets and highways, who they are, and what the leading causes are. Traffic deaths are preventable, with comprehensive strategies including street design, education, and enforcement. Metro already convenes the partners needed to pursue Vision Zero, but is not taking advantage of the many resources it has at its disposal.

6. Metro builds an integrated, connected, and sustainable transportation system.

The Quality of Life Report has a whole section on sustainability, plus metrics on bikeway implementation and first/last mile. It’s great to see continued reporting that the vast majority of Metro riders walk and bike to transit (88% for bus riders and 72% for rail), and we hope to see this metric increase over time in future reports (p38). Metro has also increased bike parking at stations with more on the way (p39) and more than doubled the mileage of bike infrastructure since 2007 (p41). These metrics should continue to be reported as Metro implements the Active Transportation Strategic Plan.

As Metro integrates sustainability into more of its projects, it’s important to develop a set of metrics to measure the benefits. In 2016, Metro adopted a new Green Construction Policy requiring new stormwater measures in all projects over $5 million (p63). Projects covered by Metro’s 2014 Complete Streets Policy will enter construction in the near future. Over time, these policies will pay dividends and their benefits should be measured and reported.

What is still missing is a comprehensive view into how Los Angeles County’s overall transportation network is being managed to address sustainability goals. The report includes the Metro fleet’s direct GHG emission reductions (p51), but how does that compare to regional goals? What are the GHG effects of Metro’s highway projects? We are encouraged that a regional air quality metric was included (p51), but the report makes no connection between Metro’s regional planning activities and attainment of Clean Air Act standards. The LRTP must bridge this gap by working with regional agencies like SCAG and SCAQMD to set shared emissions goals and hold each other accountable to meeting them.

Closing Thoughts

The Quality of Life Report is an important addition to the conversation about how transportation investments strengthen our communities’ well being. By recognizing that transportation decisions do impact health, sustainability, and equity goals, the report sets the stage for a more comprehensive discussion about these connections during the next LRTP update. As the LRTP sets clearer goals on safety, sustainability, and equity, the Quality of Life Report can adapt to measure progress towards achieving them.

To learn more about our work on Just Growth and the LRTP:

Just Growth Champions, Measure M, Public Participation, transportation equity, Viewpoints from the Movement

Advocating for Health Equity: A #JustGrowth Interview with Councilmember Jeannine Pearce of Long Beach


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Note: Header photo was taken by Joe Linton. The Just Growth Champions interview series is a collection of conversations with elected officials, public agency staff, advocates, and community members who embody the values of the “Just Growth” concept — a concept developed by Dr. Chris Benner and Dr. Manuel Pastor, focused on equity, inclusion, and investing in the most economically-challenged neighborhoods first to develop a sustainable regional economy. Just Growth is a central concept for our Equity Opportunity Zones vision in Los Angeles County.

In our second interview, we talked with Councilmember Jeannine Pearce, who is serving her first term in the City of Long Beach. We covered Measure M, views of transparency in city government, and advancing health equity through transportation. See a snippet of our interview here:

Thank you Councilmember for sitting with us today. Can you tell us what motivated you to serve in the Long Beach City Council?

I have always been somebody who has been really active in my community. Whether it was recycling when I was in the 5th grade, and trying to get my mom to take bags of recycling down. Or being involved with where our money was being spent around the war in the 90’s.

I went to college at Cal State Long Beach, and had the opportunity to get involved with the community here. One of the things we were really engaged in was responsible development, ensuring there was transparency with tax dollars and that the community had a process to get involved in that.

As I moved on, I worked at LAANE as a community organizer and a policy director. Then I had my daughter. And then we had an election. It was an opportunity that I did not see myself taking many years before. Raising a family and investing in my neighborhood was something I really wanted the opportunity to do.

Long Beach has a long history of growth and trying to reinvent itself. It was important to me to have a seat at the table where we could invent ourselves with everybody at the table, making sure that every community member from 10th Street to Downtown had a voice in the process, which is something I hadn’t always seen before. That is what drove me to decide to run to be City Councilmember and it’s been a very rewarding 7 months.

What are the top issues in your community?

Most of the time, the top issues are mobility and transparency. My district is one of the most parking-impacted areas, it also is an area that has a downtown, a tourism zone. What I find people are most concerned about is spending time with their families. Transparency and access to transit are things that really impact them.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.06.44 PM

When they’re saying, “I’m upset there’s not enough parking,” they’re upset about parking because they’re spending time trying to find parking instead of spending time with their families.

Another issue is with small businesses trying to open up and have access to local government. And a clean environment to raise our families.

When we talk about how we govern, it’s about government being simplified and transparency. As a community organizer, I always try to have community at the table. It’s been exciting to be a community organizer in office, because what it’s meant is that, when we have a community meeting it’s not 10 people that show up, it’s 100 people because we go door-to-door and say, “We’re having this meeting about the budget, we want you to be a part of it.” Or “we’re having a meeting about parking,” which I had this morning. It’s exciting to see people get involved who have not historically been involved to talk about transportation, mobility, clean air, and business investments in our areas.

What is your vision for better transportation in Long Beach?

My husband and I have always had one car. We’ve always tried to live near a bus or train line. In Long Beach, we’re not only trying to invest to make sure our Long Beach transit is more robust, but we’re also doing things like the bike share program. Looking at instead of building new parking structures, we’re doing something where people can rent out their driveways to people.

We try to think outside the box with mobility and transportation. One of the biggest things that came to my attention — when I was walking the neighborhoods — is that we have two main corridors in my district. We have Ocean Boulevard that connects to a tourism zone, and we have a free bus line in that tourism zone. And, we have 10th Street which goes through the artery of Central Long Beach which has some of the highest poverty in the entire city. We don’t have bus lines on 10th Street on Saturday and Sunday. So you’ll drive, walk, or ride your bike on 10th Street and you’ll see grandmothers with their carts walking blocks from the grocery store because they don’t have public transit on the main thoroughfare.

One of my first meetings with the Director of Long Beach Transit was asking, “What do we have to do to fix this inequality?” We need to make sure that transportation is equitable, that it’s accessible to everybody, and that even though we might not have 500 people on that bus on a Saturday, the people that are on that bus really depend on it.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.06.52 PM.png

It’s a really important issue for me to make sure that equity is there. For my area, we’re making sure we look at all of the bus lines — we had a lot [of buses] that were taken away and we’re trying to get those back. We also have more people that are trying to get on the Blue Line and I think it’s educating our residents and our neighbors about how safe our public transit is.

I’m from Houston and I’ve spent a lot of time in Chicago, we have those other cities where everybody in the neighborhood is on public transit and part of that is educating folks about it. My team has taken the bus and we ride our bikes into the office — we make sure we practice what we preach.

How did you feel about Measure M passing?

Measure M was something we did a lot of research on in the beginning. We had a conversation on Measure R and where resources were going. When it came to City Council, we had a lot of discussion about it, and we decided to support it as a city.

Another step that happened in addition to Measure M passing — and Measure M passed overwhelmingly — was we got a seat at the table on the Metro board. Having our Mayor [Robert Garcia] have a seat at the table is really important to be able to have transparency and a real discussion about the needs in our neighborhood. Everything from the I-710 to main corridors that haven’t been invested in in a long time are things that are on the table that have already been talked about with Measure M.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.07.03 PM.pngI’m excited [Measure M] passed. With any policy, measure, or tax, the big question is process. We can pass everything, but it’s about the process and having a seat at the table. I feel really good about it. And I feel hopeful about the dollars that will come in and how the city also has Measure A money which was another tax around infrastructure investment. How are we partnering these together?

Recently, we passed our mobility plan. In Long Beach, we have a unique opportunity with dollars coming in with some of the greatest minds working on how we transform our streets from just being cars to all the other modes of transportation. It’s a really exciting time. And in the next 10 years, we’re going to see a real change in not only transportation, but health equity and the way that people live in our city.

Great. Can you tell me more about your vision for health equity?  

Sure. We have several hotels in downtown [Long Beach] and about 90% of the hotel workers live in Long Beach. And Long Beach is half a million people, it’s a large city. How do we ensure that our bike lanes, our bus, and our trains are going to the neighborhoods where people work and where they play? And that they feel comfortable taking those routes and can depend on them?

One of the challenges with transportation is just depending on them. “Is that bus line going to show up when I need it to? Because if I get to work late I’m going to get written up.” Making sure our transportation is really connected with those that would benefit the most from it is really important. For 10th street, we have a lot of density there, and trying to make sure those folks have access to bus lines and trains for that same reason.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.07.11 PM.pngWhen we talk about equity, having a bus line that is free for a tourist that comes into our city versus someone who works two or three jobs that doesn’t even have a bus line is really important. When you look at a map in Long Beach, you see a gap in the middle.

We really have to make sure that we are now taking a holistic approach instead of a patchwork approach towards transportation. That sometimes is the biggest challenge for cities to take a step back and say, “This might not come forward for 10 or 15 years, but we need to have that plan and we need to have the dollars in place to do that.” When those people have access to that, we’re going to see a decrease in particulate matters in the air and we’re going to see a decrease in asthma rates.

You talk about planning for future events. Sometimes sudden and tragic events do happen. Not too long ago there was a hit-and-run of an elderly woman on the 600 block of Redondo Ave. Can you tell me about how you felt about the incident and what actions you will take?

I’ve been in office for 7 months, and we’ve had 2 instances where someone has been hit and killed unfortunately by a car. It didn’t happen at the busiest thoroughfares or during traffic hours. But it brings up the issue of safety in our communities and how people get around — how people in cars see people. And what we can do to lower fatality rates.

In Los Angeles, they’re working hard on Vision Zero. In Long Beach, we started the conversation on Vision Zero — and it’s a big conversation we need to have and we’re trying to incorporate that into all aspects of the work. Getting to zero fatalities. Getting to zero accidents that impact people’s lives.

On 10th street, we had an elderly gentleman that was hit at 10 o’clock at night. On Redondo, we had an elderly woman across the street. She lived in a senior facility. Grocery store is across the street. 6 o’clock in the morning, she wanted to go to the store. She didn’t make it there.

One of the challenges is trying to look at land-use and think intentionally about that community and neighborhood. Asking “what are the needs here?” If we have a senior facility that has hundreds of people living there, we need to make sure we are creating a safe space outside for them. Everything from crosswalks that are lit up, to education, to slowing down streets in the neighborhood are really important things that not only the city needs to think about — but we need also be working with business owners and neighbors about how we can do that.

It’s jarring. I went to the press conference for that moment. You’re in a space with the family members and her granddaughters. It’s heartbreaking whenever you think about people losing their family because our streets aren’t designed in the safest way.

It’s really important to think outside the box and think long-term and having urgency in a city bureaucracy. Sometimes it’s challenging. When I first got into office, I asked the city to look at 10 different crosswalks in the city. We had these checklists to decide if there’s going to be a crosswalk. It’s frustrating for people whenever they see a need every day. They’re on the streets every day. That’s one of the reasons why I try to walk, I try to ride my bike as much as I can so I also have that experience that I can take back and say, “this is urgent and important for us to prioritize a crosswalk here, because it’s needed.”

Thank you for sharing your time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I really am excited about the work you all are doing at Investing in Place. With organizations like yours, engaging in communities and with local leaders like myself, the outcome is going to be substantial.

When we talk about transportation, air quality, and investing in place, it’s about transparency and participation. It’s been a key value of mine to engage everybody. We’ve engaged in a participatory budgeting process and we’ve engaged in governing for racial equity — our whole staff is trained on equity.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.07.33 PM.png

We’re taking those core values of transparency, equity, and participation into all aspects of our city government. Doing that with police, with Long Beach Board of Transit, is something that’s never been done in Long Beach before. It’s large part because we’ve had organizations on the outside really pushing and engaging us in a meaningful way. I’m excited about the next 10 years are going to look like in Long Beach with that process. Thank you for all your work.

Viewpoints from the Movement

Making Headway: Planning for Bus Rapid Transit on Vermont Avenue


Last month, I wrote my first blog post for Investing in Place, introducing my project on “how we can work together to push Los Angeles into a future when bus riders can count on the same high-quality, frequent service that rail riders receive on a regular basis.” In practice, this means investing in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) — city planners’ catchall term for a variety of bus improvements that increase frequency and speed, decrease time buses spend waiting at stations, and ensure that buses don’t have to sit in traffic.

Back in 2013, Metro released a study identifying 9 potential BRT routes throughout the county, and two of them, Vermont Avenue and the North Hollywood-Pasadena connector, were given more funding when we passed Measure M in November. In early February, Metro released a Technical Study for the Vermont Avenue BRT, which provides 4 alternatives for what the line might look like.

The agency has a decision to make…How can we ensure that Metro makes the most of this exciting opportunity for Los Angeles’ bus riders?

Case Study: Bus Rapid Options for Vermont Avenue

The stakes are very high. Vermont Avenue is the second-most-travelled transit corridor in the city, second only to Wilshire, with an estimated 45,000 bus trips every weekday — for comparison, the entire Metrolink system serves more than 39,000 riders a day. The neighborhoods adjacent to the Vermont Avenue corridor are mostly low-income, densely populated, and have a high percentage of households that commute by transit. There is already frequent transit service on the 204 and 754 buses, but because the corridor is so congested, the buses are overcrowded and slow.

Metro estimates that if BRT is implemented along Vermont, we could be looking at nearly 75,000 riders per day by 2035.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.13.39 AM.png
Median household income in Los Angeles with Vermont Corridor highlighted. Map by Scott Frazier.

The study area for Vermont BRT is just over 12 miles, stretching from Hollywood Blvd. to 120th Street. Metro’s proposals include:

1. Side-running BRT for the entire corridor (12.4 miles). Currently, each side of Vermont Avenue features 2 or 3 travel lanes, plus a parking lane on the far right. This proposal would take the travel lane next to parking and convert it into an exclusive lane for buses.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.18.07 AM.png

2. Side-running BRT for the northern end of the corridor and center-running BRT for the southern end. South of Gage Avenue, where Vermont becomes wider, the exclusive bus lanes would be placed in the center of the road instead of along the side.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.18.15 AM.png

3. Converting the on-street parking lane into an exclusive bus lane. This would remove more than half the on-street parking on Vermont. Where the road isn’t wide enough to accommodate a bus lane, buses would travel in mixed traffic.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.24.08 AM.png

4. Converting the on-street parking lane into an exclusive bus lane during rush hour only. Buses would have to travel in mixed traffic at all other times, but this proposal would allow almost all Vermont Avenue’s on-street parking to stay in place.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.24.16 AM.png

Making Headway on Bus Rapid Transit

Each of these proposals has its upsides and downsides in terms of cost, time savings, and inconvenience to existing drivers, but one clear trend is that the less space you dedicate exclusively for buses, the harder it is to make BRT work well. And if (like me) you are a frequent rider of bus line 720, which goes along Wilshire Boulevard corridor like me, Proposals 3 and 4 might seem familiar to you: their designs are very similar to Wilshire’s dedicated bus lanes.

How well have those dedicated lanes been performing? Let’s take a look:

  • Like most of Metro’s bus lines, ridership on the 720 has declined over the last few years.
Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.24.29 AM.png
Source: Metro Interactive Estimated Ridership Stats. http://isotp.metro.net/MetroRidership/IndexAllBus.aspx
  • The 720 is also one of the 5 worst-performing buses when it comes to on-time performance, based on records kept since 2010.
Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.24.37 AM.png
Source: http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/05/12/60250/data-metro-s-buses-and-trains-having-trouble-stick/

There’s no doubt that the bus lanes on Wilshire were an important step forward for the city, but on a basic performance level, they’re just not working as planned. I think the planners at Metro know this, which is why they recommend choosing Alternative 1 or 2 for Vermont BRT — plans that set aside permanent bus lanes, show the greatest potential for increasing bus speed, and will do the most to improve the mobility for residents and workers along the Vermont corridor.

Next Steps

Now comes the hard part. We have the beginnings of a plan that improves public transit in an area that really needs help. (Several writers have made the case that this corridor should have rail, not a bus, and their analysis is worth reading.)

How do we make sure it gets implemented? And how do we guarantee that riders and community members have a seat at the table when Metro planners and city lawmakers sit down to hammer out the details of Vermont BRT?

These are the questions I’ll be trying to answer over the next several months — and to answer them, I need your help. If you have thoughts about the Vermont corridor plans or bus service in L.A., please reach out to me at jordanfraade@g.ucla.edu. In the next few weeks, with the help of Investing in Place, I’ll be convening focus groups to discuss how better bus transit can improve communities throughout L.A., and I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

Public Participation

Investing in Vision Zero: Recap of our meeting with First 5 LA Panorama City parents


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Last Tuesday, Investing in Place met with parents of the First 5 LA Best Start Panorama City community in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles to talk about their transportation issues. We were joined by over 75 parents and children — many who were primarily Spanish-speaking, Latino, and rode public transit.

The work we’ve done with First 5 LA is centered on creating safe and walkable communities for older adults and youth. Unfortunately, traffic crashes are the number one killer of children in Los Angeles County — this speaks to the need for better street design to accommodate people of all ages and abilities to get around…

After all, advocating for better transportation investments is not only about strengthening access to economic opportunities, but to also support the development and physical health of our youth.

What were some of the Transportation Issues Identified in Panorama City?

For background, the Panorama City neighborhood is mostly an immigrant and Latino community with one of the highest crime rates of any neighborhood in the city. There’s a palpable anxiety around immigration issues under the current federal administration (a group of attorneys followed our presentation to cover questions on immigration).

But, another serious issue is traffic violence and safety on streets. It’s widely cited that 65% of the most severe and fatal crashes happen on just 6% of Los Angeles’ streets. Panorama City is home to some of the most dangerous intersections in California, like Roscoe Blvd. and Van Nuys Blvd — streets that many of the parents that night travel through (see slides below).

Our discussion centered on the key question: what are your transportation issues in your neighborhood? Here’s the top 3 themes we heard that night:

  1. Safety: Hands down, safety was one of the biggest concerns. Buses, bus stops, and walking routes to get to school, work, and to run errands feels unsafe in Panorama City. One parent said, “When I take the bus, I don’t feel safe. There’s lots of bad people. It gets scary. I have to walk a lot.” Another parent, Miguel, concurred, saying “We don’t feel safe when riding the bus,” and that the crosswalks felt dangerous because drivers in cars don’t stop for pedestrians. Another participant commented, “We also recognize the need for safety of our kids when they walk to school” — his concern was with students being accosted by gang members near Monroe High School.
  2. Affordability: Several parents commented on the unaffordable fares for the Metro buses. There was also concerns for student transit affordability.
  3. Reliability: These included issues like the cleanliness of bus stops and buses, DASH services terminating service too early in the day and not operating on weekends (parents who worked late at night felt it was unfair for services to end too early), and the large gaps of time between buses.

Designing Access for Students

I’ve been at Investing in Place for a little over 2 months, but before that I was a teacher and a community organizer. These discussions with First 5 LA parents — really connecting heart-to-heart with parents and youth — helps me appreciate how issues of transportation and mobility is really a connector for all of us.

Our streets, if designed for people, can be bridges to opportunity and must guarantee that when we say goodbye to our loved ones when they go off to work or to school, that they return to us safe and sound.

Simply put: better transportation investments should have the end goal of strengthening our families.

Next Steps

We’re grateful to have had Nat Gale and his team from LA Department of Transportation (LA DOT) available to answer questions and connect heart-to-heart with some of the parents.

We look forward to representatives from Councilwoman Nury Martinez’ office working and coordinating with Nat’s team on Vision Zero efforts, and with parents of the First 5 LA Best Start Panorama City group. She has been an outspoken supporter of better and safer sidewalks and community safety, and we look forward to her team addressing some of the issues highlighted in this blog.

Next steps:

  • Align funding from Measure M’s local return with High-Injury Network corridors and intersections in the Panorama City neighborhood.
  • To follow our work on improving sidewalks, crosswalks, and safe routes to school in City of Los Angeles, follow the conversation on social media on #LASidewalks.
  • Stay tuned for our next Completing Streets work group meeting. To sign up to learn more or to join Completing Streets, please click here or email me at amanda@investinginplace.org.
Just Growth, Measure M, transportation equity

Mobilizing for #JustGrowth: Recap of our 2/16 Work Group Meeting


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Investing in Place presented its 2017 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Advocacy Agenda at our #JustGrowth work group meeting two weeks ago. We were joined by over 50 partners, including representatives from NRDC, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office, Los Angeles Walks, American Heart Association, SCAG, TRUST South LA, LA THRIVES, and many more.

Investing in Place created the #JustGrowth work group to bring our partners together on a more frequent basis to integrate equity metrics in Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan update — which we believe has tremendous opportunity to address accessibility, social equity and public health with clear intention and strategy. The work group builds on the groundwork of our Transportation Equity Technical Work Group.

Below are the three takeaways from our meeting last week, but you can read all the feedback and input we got here.

Top three takeaways:

  1. Race Matters
  2. Students Exist
  3. Mobilizing and Organizing are Critical

1. Race Matters

Metro adopts a clear definition of high-need communities called Equity Opportunity Zones that addresses historical factors of disinvestment — like race, income, and vehicle ownership — and to begin mapping priority areas for investment at the census tract/urbanized zone area (UZA) level. Without policy consensus on high need areas in Los Angeles County it is impossible to strategically target public resources, strategies and measure impacts of investments for access, opportunity and safety.

Most of the time, transportation funding is allocated by population, irrespective of needs and existing resources. IiP and its Transportation Equity Technical Work Group recommend that these zones are identified by three criteria: race, income, and households with low car ownership. One key reason? Declining transit ridership. 92% of Metro bus riders are people of color,and the metropolitan average of housing burden for people of color is 49 percent.Regional inequities are apparent in our transportation network, with a Metro bus rider’s annual household income averaging $15,000.3

If our regional goals are to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips and building out the transit network, we need to address race in our strategies and investments.

We know that the Los Angeles metro area has the state’s worst income inequality,and the significant gap between the region’s wealthy and low-income communities manifests itself spatially. In Los Angeles County, where you live can greatly affect educational attainment, job access, health outcomes, public safety, environmental quality, mobility, and more.

Simply put, place matters. In Los Angeles County, carless households are overwhelmingly located in communities of color.9 A focus on transportation equity requires an understanding of how class, race, and ethnicity can have profound effects on social, socioeconomic, and health outcomes.

It also requires an acknowledgment that policy decisions regarding the allocation of funding can exacerbate or ameliorate existing inequities. During our research and through our partner convenings, we consistently find race and ethnicity matters to address social equity.

2. Students Exist

As a former teacher, I was so glad to see participants prioritize students and our youth when it comes to Just Growth.

Students and youth today are our future — especially when thinking of cultivating the next generation of transit riders. But, many of them currently have limited mobility options. Getting to school and back home, for many, means taking long rides on the bus or train, biking through traffic congestion, or walking. We’ve all seen this before.

Their needs, however, are not often reflected in our transportation decision making. Our transportation modeling data, the tools we use to project ridership and prioritize investments, do not include any data on how youth travel.

Who is actually losing their life on our streets requires us to look at the needs of youth. In LA City, traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for those between 2 and 14 years old and the number two cause of premature death among those between 15 and 25 years old.10

Our school districts have responded to decreasing district enrollment, losing out to their charter school partners, with increasing magnet school options. Also, Los Angeles Unified School District has created more than 15,000 early transitional kindergarten seats in the highest concentrated areas of poverty in the district.11

The transportation patterns of our students attending school outside of their “neighborhood school” has presented unforeseen issues in safety and public health.  Some estimates predict 10%-14% of morning congestion is caused by private car drop off at school.12

By not incorporating the mobility needs of students — especially those in K-12 — we are ignoring a critical need and opportunity. Nationally, statistics cite less that 15% of K-12 students walk or ride their bike to school — in Los Angeles County that number doesn’t compare. In fact, about 36% of K-12 students walk or bicycle to school in Los Angeles County.13

But, we don’t invest in ensuring they have a safe, reliable, and accessible path of travel, and as a result we see their leading cause of death from motor vehicles. Engaging our school districts with our Metro partners is critical in developing our issues to not only safety and students, but also environmental impact for years to come.

3. Mobilizing and Organizing for our Communities is Critical

The Long Range Transportation Plan is an important opportunity for our most challenged communities. Infusing equity metrics into the long range plan can result in sustainable development and prosperity across Los Angeles County. Without defining or even measuring for equity can hold back the region’s growth — and worse, negatively impacting vulnerable communities.

The best part of all this is that it has been done before. The City of Los Angeles Safe Routes to School program is a robust program that follows an equity model targeting our highest need areas and providing resources accordingly.

We are encouraged by the strong leadership we have on these issues. Therese McMillan, Chief Planning Officer at Metro, integrated equity metrics into a long range transportation plan at transportation agency before too. Fifteen years ago, as the Deputy Executive Director of Policy at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission serving 7.5 million people in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, she worked on a similar program Communities of Concern to align high need areas with public dollars.

Phil Washington, Metro Chief Executive Officer, has also made it a priority to create and update the Quality of Life Report for Metro’s users to monitor and enhance quality of life for all users using models to evaluate impacts such a CalEnviroScreen and the Environmental Justice Screening Method developed by USC PERE.

We have proven models. We have the leadership. We need to mobilize.

Next steps

We will map key decision makers and create a targeted advocacy strategy. We welcome partners and skeptics alike to be part of this process.

Did you miss the first #Just Growth meeting? Join us at our next #JustGrowth meeting on March 16th. We plan to hold these workgroup meetings monthly at least through July as we work to finalize the Investing in Place Long Range Transportation Plan advocacy platform.  
Want to join the work group or have suggestions and recommendations? We want to hear from you — check out our Just Growth agenda blog series here and email amanda@investinginplace.org to find out more and share your ideas with us.

Sources
Metro, Quality of Life Report (2016)
National Equity atlas; national equityatlas.org.
Metro 2015 Ridership Survey, http://thesource.metro.net/2015/08/05/results-of-metros-latest-customer-survey/
Quality of life scores run along racial lines in California, Los Angeles Times 1/22/15
A Portrait of California, Measure of America: A project of the Social Science Research Council 12/9/14
Why Place Matters, PolicyLink 2007
Addressing poverty and pollution: California’s SB 535 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Review, Vien Truong.
An Agenda for Equity: A Framework for Building a Just Transportation System in Los Angeles County, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. November 2013.
Metro 2015 Ridership Survey, http://thesource.metro.net/2015/08/05/results-of-metros-latest-customer-survey/
10 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology. 2012 California DPH Death Statistical Master File for Los Angeles City residents, compiled 7/31/15, L. Lieb.
11 KPCC’s LA school board candidate survey: Steve Zimmer, District 4.
12 McDonald, Noreen, Austin Brown, Lauren Marchetti, and Margo Pedroso. “U.S. School Travel 2009: An Assessment of Trends.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 41 (August 2011): 2, 146-151.
13 Investing in Place. https://investinginplace.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/travel-to-school-in-la-county.pdf

Completing Streets

The Tripping Point: #CompletingStreets in Los Angeles


Note: This blog was cross-posted on the TreePeople blog and co-authored by leaders of the City of LA Completing Streets Working Group, a project of Investing in Place which is co-led by TreePeople, Los Angeles Walks, and AARP California. The goal of the Completing Streets Working Group is to create an educational and organizing space to improve the City of Los Angeles’s sidewalks, crosswalks, bus stops, urban tree canopy, and other efforts that improve the City’s sidewalks and roads for everyone —especially for low-income individuals, youth, older adults, individuals with disabilities and transit-dependent communities.

Over the next 30 years, the City of Los Angeles plans to spend $1.4 billion dollars to make our sidewalks more accessible in response to a lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Far too many Angelenos struggle just to move around our city. Our broken sidewalks present some of the biggest obstacles for pedestrians — especially for differently-abled Angelenos and older adults and moms. As climate change brings more extreme heat  and severe storms, we will need to make sure that our streets are climate safe as well as accessible.

Here lies an opportunity — and TreePeople, Investing in Place, Los Angeles Walks and AARP California are on the frontlines to advocate for the City to be more equitable, safe and shaded. Our diverse partnership speaks to our core vision: public rights-of-way where everyone regardless of age, income or neighborhood can travel safely, reliably, and in comfort. This means sidewalks and crosswalks — free of barriers to mobility — and safe places to wait for the bus along with a healthy urban forest for protection from heat and flooding.

What is the Safe Sidewalks LA Advisory Committee?

The work has already begun! In late January, the City of LA kicked off its Safe Sidewalks LA Community Advisory Committee. The City’s Bureau of Engineering describes the Committee as an effort “to partner with residents, advocates and activists throughout the city who share our goal of ensuring that the Safe Sidewalks LA program is a success.”

We have been keeping a close eye on the City’s sidewalk repair program for several years now and are working with community partners to make sure the program meets our shared goals. We are working on planning a larger community half-day meeting on these issues to be held in Spring/Summer 2017. Join us for our next planning meeting in March.

The first meeting of the Safe Sidewalks LA Community Advisory Committee was attended by an impressive room of advocates representing public health, transit and mobility, disabled and older residents, urban forestry and stormwater, and equitable community development advocates.

City staff provided updates about the sidewalk repair program to-date: The City has kicked off repairs citywide and launched a website as a resource to all residents who want to learn about and participate in the program.

Repairs are being conducted through the:

  1. Access Request Program, which prioritizes repairs requested by or on behalf of Angelenos with a “mobility disability”; and the
  2. Rebate Program, which provides a reimbursement for property owners who want to expedite sidewalk repairs in front of their homes and businesses.

What’s Next for Completing Streets?

The City is currently mapping all of our sidewalks and other characteristics of our streets to identify and coordinate opportunities for other improvements. We also learned that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will launch this spring and hold a public comment period — this is required per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and would spend approximately a year studying a variety of impacts this program will have on the environment, health and safety of communities.

The meeting wrapped with advocates in the room identifying key priorities for discussion moving forward, which include:

  • Preserving tree canopy and promoting tree health
  • Ensuring multi-lingual public engagement & participation in shaping program priorities
  • Addressing the need for sidewalks in areas of the city that don’t have them, like South LA
  • Coordinating planning and funding opportunities with other City departments to accelerate and amplify the program’s impact
  • Ensuring the EIR is comprehensive, and that we address impacts already taking place while it’s being completed
  • Make sure the program addresses entire paths of travel – like crosswalks, clean streets and bus stops – not just sidewalks
  • Prioritizing Access Request repairs to be completed in a timely fashion
  • A plan to prioritize repairs that are most urgent, and will result in maximum benefits for communities that need them most

As advocates, we’re looking forward to continued engagement with the City to inform this critical program. We’ll also continue to build efforts via the City of LA Completing Streets Working Group, led by Investing in Place and advised by all of our organizations.

By regularly convening stakeholders representing older Angelenos, people with disabilities, pedestrian advocates, transit-dependent communities, urban forest and local water advocates, and equitable community development we are creating a dynamic platform to design and advocate for better streets.

For more information and to get involved in our Completing Streets Working group, visit our website.

Completing Streets, Measure M, Transportation Finance

Don’t miss: Next week’s Complete Streets training with Metro


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This week, Investing in Place attended Metro’s 2-day Complete Streets training workshop in Huntington Park. The training included engineers and planning staff from LA Department of Transportation and the cities of Rancho Palos Verdes, Baldwin Park, and Norwalk.

We highly recommend the training for walking and biking advocates, engineers and planners implementing Vision Zero, Complete Streets, and other transportation infrastructure improvements, advocates for  individuals with disabilities, and older adult advocates. If you missed it, there’s still time to sign up for next week’s training on Tuesday February 28 and Wednesday March 1 in the South Bay.

What is a Complete Street?

Many cities and jurisdictions define it differently. But you know an incomplete street when you see one — when your life is in danger while crossing the street to get to the local park or to school, when there’s too many injuries and deaths at a single intersection in your neighborhood, or when individuals with disabilities and older adults are having a tough time walking on a sidewalk to get to the grocery store.

Metro defines a Complete Street as a comprehensive and integrated transportation network with infrastructure that allows safe and convenient travel along and across streets for all users.

Here’s another breakdown from when advocates helped to pass Metro’s Complete Streets policy:

Why Attend the Training?

If you work for or are an advocate in a city without a Complete Streets policy, you may be missing out on future funding opportunities. Moving forward, Metro requires that all cities competing in Call for Projects for capital grant funding have a Complete Streets policy adopted. We’ve been told that a majority of the 87 cities in Los Angeles County do not have a Complete Streets policy on the books. Is your city one of them?

If you need a refresher on how to move forward a Complete Streets policy or a review of modern engineering concepts for Complete Streets, this free training provides great resources and a professional team of trainers from Fehr & Peers and Here Design to guide you.

Don’t miss out on a free resource. Consider signing up for next week’s training here.