Tuesday, November 15, 2011


WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 17, 8:30 am - 3 pm (Workshop is free; lunch is included.)
WHERE: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple Street, LA 90012

For decades transportation planning and policies have focused on increasing the "through-put" of traffic — with the result that the built environment has become ever more hostile to non-drivers and Americans have become ever more sedentary. On Thursday the national nonprofit Transportation for America teams up with the East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and the Coalition for a Safe Environment to talk about state and federal transportation policies, goals and investments that can:
• Reduce premature deaths, cancer and asthma through reductions in air pollution;
• Reduce the incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and other conditions through active transportation;
• Improve safety for all transportation modes with an emphasis on reducing bicycle and pedestrian injuries and fatalities;
• Addresses impacts on disadvantaged and low-income communities and the disabled, elderly and youth through health equity and environmental justice policies and goals.

AGENDA: 1) Federal and state overview of priority transportation policies pertaining to public health. 2) American Public Health Association's lessons on communicating about the interface between transportation and public health. 3) Expert panel on transportation planning for public health. 4) Break-out sessions to ID key public health criteria, objectives, and goals, and ways to incorporate these into federal and state policies. 5) Presenters and facilitators will include the American Public Health Association, UCLA, and other experts from agencies and universities. (For more information call Ryan Wiggins at Transportation for America, 818-209-8521.)

Monday, November 14, 2011


The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted unanimously to approve the draft transportation bill (MAP-21) last week, providing an opportunity to move forward on the long-overdue transportation authorization. Key reforms in the bill include a stronger emphasis on repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges, and performance measures that ensure funds are focused on addressing the backlog of deficient bridges and roads, and also monitor safety, air quality and freight movement. For each of these states and large regions must create targets and report on the progress to meeting these targets.

Move LA applauds the committee for moving ahead, and for maintaining the historic 20 percent share for mass transit as well as the flexibility to use a significant portion of funds for transit and bike and pedestrian projects. And we support the committee’s decision to continue to provide dedicated funding for projects that help improve air quality and reduce congestion in regions with significant air pollution — such as Southern California.

We are particularly excited that funding for the TIFIA program, a key opportunity for the America Fast Forward 30-10 plan, has been expanded from $122 milliion to $1 billion, and that there would be modifications making it easier for public transportation agencies with dedicated revenue sources to apply. The committee decided to base the selection of of projects on a first-come, first-served basis, however, and we believe it would be better if the selection criteria emphasized the performance of projects, like other parts of the bill.

We are also concerned that funding for bicyclists and pedestrians has been reduced. A proposed “reserve” fund within the CMAQ program would both decrease current bike/ped funding by 30 percent and add new projects — including HOV lanes and wetlands mitigation — that could compete for this reduced funding pot.

Lastly, we urge the committee to include more comprehensive workforce development programs and local hire provisions in the bill.

Read Transportation for America’s summary and analysis of the bill (this will be a hot link, amendments made during the bill’s mark-up, and talking points.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


SCAG’s policy committees and 83-member Regional Council voted almost unanimously Nov. 3 to release the “preferred alternative” for the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) on Dec. 1. Move LA’s technical analysis of the plan suggests that it’s a pretty good one, with a general shift in growth toward cities that have transit and the other infrastructure needed to support it, a much better mix of jobs and housing across all counties so that commutes aren’t so long, and most transportation funding going either to preservation projects, transit, or for some road-widening but with little funding going to new roads.

In sum, the plan is very much about smart growth and transit-oriented development and sets the region on a more sustainable course. (SCAG is the Southern California Association of Governments, the metropolitan planning organization for the six-county SoCal region, which is charged with adopting a regional transportation plan and sustainable communities strategy every four years.)

There was a tremendous showing at the meeting of advocates, including doctors, for bike and pedestrian improvements and “active environments” that provide the opportunity for more physical activity and that produce less air pollution. SCAG has more than tripled funding for bike and pedestrian improvements over the previous plan, the 2008 RTP. But bike and pedestrian advocates argue that the 2009 National Household Travel Survey shows nearly 21 percent of all trips in the region are by bike or on foot — while only 0.46 percent of funding goes to non-motorized transportation.

SCAG is different than other metropolitan planning organizations in California in that it has no funding of its own to dedicate to projects but rather builds the RTP/SCS using the transportation project lists prepared by the six county transportation commissions (CTCs). This gives the agency limited authority over the projects and priorities of its member cities — rather, the agency has to work by building consensus among its member cities and government agencies.

For more details on the plan see the analysis on the right side of our homepage. At this point in the process Move LA is focused on getting more ambitious transit, bike and pedestrian investments into Alternative C, which like the preferred alternative will go through the EIR process. That provides us with more time to build support among elected officials and agencies for an expanded Metrolink system and other transit improvements and expanded bike and pedestrian investments, as well as some of the other programs listed in the story to the right on our homepage.

The draft RTP/SCS and the programmatic EIR will be formally released to the public on Dec. 1, followed by a 45-day comment period. SCAG will hold workshops on the draft with elected officials during the month of January. The final RTP/SCS is scheduled for adoption in April.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Last week was a big one for Move LA: SCAG’s 83-member Regional Council almost unanimously agreed on the “preferred alternative” for the RTP/SCS — which we supported. And the Move-LA-sponsored survey of voters, which showed they overwhelmingly favor investing in transit, bikes and pedestrians (you can read more about it in the previous blog post or see link to the right “Click here to read the Land Use and Transportation Survey Results”), made it onto the LA Times blog, Streetsblog, the KPCC blog, and the NRDC blog. An op-ed authored by Denny Zane and Gloria Ohland, about how the San Gabriel Valley is leading the way on smart growth and transit-oriented development, was printed in the Pasadena Star News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the Whittier News. Links are below, including a link to a blog by NRDC’s Amanda Eaken, who wrote about the huge turn-out of advocates for active transportation and public health at the SCAG meeting.

Note: RTP/SCS stands for regional transportation plan and sustainable communities strategy, the 30-year plan that lays out transportation investments and land use strategies. SCAG is the Southern California Association of Governments, the metropolitan planning organization for the six-county region.

Here are links to the LA Times, Streetsblog, KPCC, NRDC, and the Pasadena Star News. Here is a link to Amanda Eaken’s blog on the bike/ped/public health turn-out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


The survey, of voters in the six-county Southern California region, shows that four of five voters support investing in transit, and they favor investing in transit over roads by a 2-to-1 margin. Move LA sponsored the poll with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Lung Association in advance of a vote at the Southern California Association of Governments on Thursday, November 3. At that time Regional Council members will vote on a “preferred alternative” for the regional transportation plan and sustainable communities strategy, which lays out transportation investments and land use strategies for the next 30 years.

The poll also shows that voters want to shift development into cities with a good mix of jobs and services, and that they believe transit, bike and pedestrian projects and infill mixed-use development is the best way to reduce traffic congestion and commute times — and that these strategies will also save them money, create jobs, and improve the economy, air quality and public health. And voters indicated they would prefer to live in smaller houses on smaller lots with shorter commutes than in bigger houses on bigger lots with longer commutes.

Here is a link to the press release, a summary of key findings and the poll results.