News Flash!: Metro has received $100 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help fund the Purple Line Extension’s first section to Wilshire/La Cienega. This is the second installment of the $1.25-billion federal grant that Metro was awarded for the project. Ching-ching!L.A. will add bike and bus lanes in sweeping policy shift (L.A. Times)
L.A. City Council approves new mobility plan, including Vision Zero (Streetsblog LA)
As expected, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new long-range mobility plan that calls for adding many miles of bus and bike lanes — often at the expense of car traffic lanes — and reducing transportation-related deaths to zero by 2035. The vote was 12 to 2 with members representing the Westwood and Northeast L.A. area voting against, in part because of concerns about the impact of bike lanes on car traffic.
As summed up nicely by David Zahniser in the LAT:
“The plan represents a major departure in transportation policy for a city so closely identified with cars, and reflects the view of many planners that the old way of building more road space to address traffic is no longer a viable option.”
And as Joe Linton notes at Streetsblog:
Ultimately, it is just a plan. The 1999 plan had similar language about “transit priority streets” and “safe and convenient bicycling” that has, for the most part, failed to materialize. Communities will need to organize and press to translate the Mobility Plan’s multimodal vision into improved safety and broader mobility choices in L.A. neighborhoods.
Joe is correct. One thing important to understand: this is a policy document that lays out the vision. Individual projects are subject to more study, more review and more outreach. Funding, in many cases, will have to be found. And it very much remains to be seen whether merchants and homeowners alike are willing to surrender a traffic lane for transit and/or bikes.
As I noted yesterday, the plan if implemented could certainly impact Metro — after all, this agency’s buses run on the city’s streets and the plan could seemingly speed up some buses and possibly slow others if road diets are enacted. The plan, if enacted, may better connect pedestrians and cyclists to Metro Rail Stations, present and future (the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Purple Line Extension, Expo Line and Regional Connector are partially or entirely in the city of L.A.).
I think the plan has the potential to do some great things for L.A. neighborhoods. If you go to great neighborhoods in many cities — including parts of our region — they often share one attribute: the streets aren’t crazy wide as they are in many parts of L.A. and So Cal. Things are built to a human scale. You don’t feel like you’re walking next to a freeway or through a parking lot. See: Larchmont Village, for example. Or parts of Leimert Park.
I also think the plan works best if there is a robust transit system that people in the city of L.A. are more willing to use. I do think that some of Metro’s projects that are underway or in the planning stages have the potential to lure more people to transit.
As for the inevitable lawsuits against the city’s plan: whatever. That’s the price of doing business these days. One Westside opponent threatening a suit has been at this for years, fighting density and fighting transit and fighting anything that would make L.A. more like Manhattan — a fear that is laughable. The plan isn’t going to turn L.A. into Manhattan any more than it will turn L.A. to a cute Swiss Village. 🙂A fun debate about this on Twitter:
Transit: if you build it wrong, they may not come (State Smart Transportation Initiative)
The article looks at two recent bus rapid transit projects in San Diego and Washington D.C. that have struggled with poor ridership. In San Diego, the bus isn’t that fast — business owners didn’t want to surrender a lane on local streets (see above item!). In D.C., the bus is fast but little was done to better connect bus stops to nearby jobs. Lesson: pay attention to those first mile/last mile concerns, people.
All that said, this gives us the chance to point out that it’s quite nuttyballs that there is no train service between L.A. and Vegas, given the car and air traffic between the two and the sometimes 250-mile traffic jams on the I-15. If not mistaken, the only passenger train car along the way is part of a McDonald’s in Barstow.
It’s not that X Train isn’t barking up the right tree. They just need to learn how to bark.
Things to read on transit: A good photo gallery in the New Yorker titled “Flash Points” with images from protests in Ferguson and Baltimore and street frisks in Newark.
Musical interlude: Belle and Sebastian at KCRW earlier this year. They’re among the many performers at the Expo Line-adjacent FYF Fest on Aug. 22-23 at the Sports Arena and Expo Park. Metro is adding extra service and will be running trains until about 2 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday nights.
Categories: Transportation Headlines