The Los Angeles Department of Transportation held the first of a series of spring community meetings last night in Venice. The goal of these meetings is to introduce the community to the Westside Mobility Plan, which will examine mobility challenges and needs in the notoriously congested Westside.
The impetus for this plan comes from the Los Angeles City Council, who — like perhaps all Angelenos — had seen mobility deteriorating on the Westside and so “requested a comprehensive study to develop potential short-, mid- and long-term multi-modal solutions,” according to the plan’s website.
While the study’s primary focus is the city of Los Angeles, LADOT and its consultants are coordinating their project with neighboring cities, L.A. County and Metro.
In particular, the plan will:
- Create a Westside Transportation Demand Model to better understand how and where people are traveling on the Westside.
- Determine how to best connect the existing public transit system to future rail lines, namely Expo Phase II and the Wilshire Subway Extension.
- Implement a Westside Parking Study to manage existing parking demands and anticipate future needs.
- Update the Coastal Transportation Corridor Specific Plan and West L.A. Transportation Specific Plan. In short, those plans determine what fees developers have to pay when their developments increase traffic. The existing plans, however, are outdated, according to the city. They don’t collect enough fees and don’t consider the role that transit, biking and walking can play in addressing travel needs.
- Consider ways to transform major streets into “Livable Boulevards” — those that are hospitable to people as well as vehicles — through the addition of enhancements such as street trees, sidewalk furniture and bike facilities.
Now would seem to be a particularly important time to take stock of this region’s transportation needs. The arrival of the Expo Line, the Crenshaw/LAX line and the Westside Subway in the coming years will transform the transit landscape by re-introducing passenger rail for the first time in half a century.
At the same time, one of the region’s big-picture challenges persists: The large imbalance between employment and affordable housing on the Westside — something, in fact, the City Council discussed Tuesday as part of its approval of the Wilshire Boulevard peak hour bus lanes. The result is that over 200,000 people commute into the region each day to reach job centers like Century City, LAX, Westwood and Santa Monica.
This imbalance heavily strains the existing transportation system during morning and evening rush-hour. While future Metro Rail projects will play an important role in providing alternatives to being stuck in traffic, land use and parking reforms will be required to address those underlying problems.
In addition to considering the macro-level mobility issues, the project’s planners will have an ear to finer-grain issues at the community level.
At Monday’s meeting it was apparent that each neighborhood’s unique geography and makeup shaped its community members’ transportation interests.
For instance, some Venice residents were concerned with improving the management of parking for visitors to the beach and the boardwalk, while other attendees expressed a desire to see a system of rapid shuttles connecting neighborhoods to Phase II of the Expo Line.
To weigh in with your own thoughts or concerns, you can send a comment to the project team here or attend one of the two community meetings listed below. Last night’s presentation is also available here [PDF].
Monday, June 20, 2011
Westchester Municipal Building
7166 W. Manchester Ave., Rm. 9
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Felicia Mahood Senior
11338 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028