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Proyecto Pastoral Crowdfunds for Pico-Aliso Neighborhood Project

The residents living in the Pico Aliso neighborhood are squeezed in between busy corridors, freeways, the river, and now a growing series of art higher-end galleries. They are hoping to make the streets safer for the many families that walk there. (Google maps)

The advocates from Proyecto Pastoral living in the Pico-Aliso neighborhood are squeezed in between busy corridors, freeways, the river, and now a growing series of art higher-end galleries. They are hoping to make the streets safer for the many families that walk there. (Google maps)

Squeezed in between the major thoroughfares connecting Boyle Heights to downtown, the Pico-Aliso community has long been treated by the city as an area to be passed through, and as quickly as possible, at that.

With the demolition of the 6th Street Viaduct and the subsequent increase in commuter vehicle traffic during peak hours along 4th and 1st Streets, safety for lower-income families who must cross those thoroughfares to get to transit stops, school, or recreational opportunities has become even more of a concern.

This past January, a new stoplight was installed at 4th and Pecan Streets after the youth from the Boyle Heights Technical Center conducted a study that demonstrated the clear need for traffic calming there. And a new signal is planned for 4th and Clarence Streets (where one person was killed when a car slammed into a taco stand, recently) along with improvements to sidewalks and pedestrian lighting that will help Pico Gardens’ residents access the new park planned for underneath the 6th Street Viaduct (thanks to $5 million in funds secured in the second cycle of Active Transportation Program funding).

But members of Proyecto Pastoral’s Comunidad en Movimiento (CEM) seem to believe there is more to be done. And they would know best – volunteers from the group have been helping children navigate busy corridors as part of their Safe Passage/Camino Seguro program for almost 20 years now. The program began in 1999 as a way to help children move unscathed through a public space that was heavily impacted by gang activity.

The drop in violence in the neighborhood, thanks in part to their efforts, has allowed them the space to turn their attention to traffic safety over the last several years. Read more…

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#DamienTalksSGV 13 – Amber Hawkes and a New Wayfinding Campaign

For more information, click ##http://www.glendaleca.gov/Home/Components/News/News/2943/16?backlist=%2fgovernment%2fdepartments%2fcommunity-development##here.##

For more information, click here.

Welcome back to #DamienTalksSGV. This week, we are discussing a best practice from outside the SGV, a new pedestrian wayfinding signage campaign in Glendale.The campaign combines traditional wayfinding with a call to action to get involved with Glendale’s process to develop a news pedestrian safety plan.

Damien Talks SGV logoOutreach for the campaign includes the signs, a social media campaign and outreach through traditional venues. Interestingly, the signs include information not just on how to be involved in the plan, but an invitation to join the conversation online by posting with the hastag #GlendaleWalks.

If you want to contact Amber Hawkes, who is overseeing the campaign on behalf of the city of Glendale, email her: ahawkes[at]heredesignla.com.

When #DamienTalks returns in July, we will return to the “two interview” format with regular discussions with staff and volunteers with BikeSGV. We are also booking conversations with Metro Board Members and executives with Foothill Transit and the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority to discuss the upcoming vote on extending and increasing Metro’s transit sales tax. What will it mean to the San Gabriel Valley and its communities? We’ll have a lot of different viewpoints in the lead up to the election.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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Los Angeles Sidewalk Repair Program Could Restore City’s Public Stage

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/waltarrrrr/6382328885/sizes/m/in/photostream/##Waltarr/Flickr##

Photo: Los Angeles’ new sidewalk repair policy program will fix root-damaged sidewalks, then release sidewalks, making property owners responsible for future upkeep. Photo: Flickr/Waltarr

Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any one place is always replete with improvisations.
– Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of  Great American Cities 

In 1961, Jane Jacob’s The Death and Life of American Cities revolutionized urban planning policy with a pertinent lasting legacy for urban planners. Jacob’s condemnation of the then-popular “orthodox urbanism” policies opposed the pragmatic modernity ideals of mid 20th century American planners with the notion that cities could be livable, sustainable, and enjoyable, supported by an artful “ballet” of social interactions supplemented by mixed-use planning and a supportive community structure. The stage of this ballet, to Jacobs, is the sidewalk – an integral and ubiquitous piece of urban infrastructure that connects city residents, community leaders, businesses, and property owners alike to a common shared public space.

While many variables are necessary for a vibrant, healthy, and walkable city, one obvious necessary factor are accessible and safe sidewalks – something that the city of Los Angeles hasn’t particularly been known for. Writing in Access Magazine in 2010, Donald Shoup estimated that 4,600 of the city’s 10,750 miles of sidewalks were in some need of repair. Shoup noted that between 2000 and 2008 the city averaged only 67 miles of sidewalk repair a year.

Despite a welcome but modest recent city-owned sidewalk repair program, the rate of sidewalk repair has not changed much in recent years. A 2015 Los Angeles Times analysis found that 40 percent of sidewalk damage complaint cases received no repairs, and that the city estimated nearly 5,000 miles of sidewalks were in need of replacement.

Until this year, the city was considered responsible for most sidewalk repairs. A 1973 ordinance gave the city responsibility for sidewalk damage caused by tree root growth, the primary cause of sidewalk disrepair. According to Shoup, at that time federal funding for sidewalk repair was readily available. Federal funds dried up decades ago and Los Angeles sidewalks have deteriorated into disrepair without significant dedicated revenue or consistent financial support.

However, a string of legal rulings forced the city to face its sidewalk disrepair and neglect. In 2002, the landmark Barden v. City of Sacramento ruled that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) applied to public sidewalks. That decision led to the unprecedented Willits vs. City of Los Angeles settlement in 2014. The settlement terms require L.A. to spend $1.3 billion (the largest settlement of its kind) over thirty years to repair sidewalks that impede movement and access.

Confronted with the Willits settlement, city officials developed and approved a citywide sidewalk repair policy [PDF] last March, which dedicates sidewalk repair funding and attempts to ensure long term maintenance through a “fix-and-release” strategy. After initial repairs, the fix-and-release shifts sidewalk repair responsibility to property owners. Before this transfer of responsibility the city will coordinate a one-time repair to all root-damaged city sidewalks, with a 20-year warranty for residential properties and a 5-year warranty for commercial and industrial properties. Following the warranty, property owners will be responsible for sidewalk repair, consistent with California state law. To accelerate the one-time repair, the city will offer sidewalk repair rebates [PDF] for residential and commercial properties.

The “fix-and-release” policy appears promising in the short-term by finally addressing Los Angeles’s massive sidewalk repair backlog. However, the transfer of sidewalk repair responsibility from the city to property owners raises many questions regarding the future sustainability, effectiveness, and efficiency of sidewalk repair.  Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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California Brings Home Four TIGER Grants, Three for Passenger Rail

Map of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project. For more information, click ##http://www.sanbag.ca.gov/projects/redlands-sb-rail/RPRPFactSheetFebruary262014FINAL_000.pdf##here.## (PDF)

Map of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project. For more information, and a larger map, click here. (PDF)

The State of California earned four federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants to improve transportation from the federal government totaling $40 million, Senator Diane Feinstein announced earlier today.

“Upgrading our transportation infrastructure is key for economic growth and improving the quality of life for Californians,” said Feinstein in a press release. “Our state is home to 40 million people and it’s critical that we invest in a wide range of transportation options. This important federal funding will allow California to do just that.”  

Three of the four grants will improve transit service with another grant funding a one-mile road widening project in the small Sutter County city of Live Oak. The four grants are:

  • $15 million to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to separate the roadway and rail tracks at the intersection of Rosecrans and Marquardt Avenues in Santa Fe Springs, which sees more than 45,000 vehicles and 130 train crossings daily.
  • $8.7 million to San Bernardino County to construct the Redlands Passenger Rail Project from Redlands through Loma Linda to San Bernardino.
  • $6.3 million to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to refurbish the 19th Street Oakland BART station, including better bicycle and pedestrian access.
  • $10 million to the City of Live Oak to redesign a one-mile stretch of State Route 99, adding a fourth lane and a two-way turn lane.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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67 Congress Members Tell Feds: Measure the Movement of People, Not Cars

A proposed rule from U.S. DOT could undermine transit. Image: Transportation for America

If U.S. DOT doesn’t change its proposed congestion metric, 50 people riding in a bus will count as much as one person in an SUV. Image: Transportation for America

The federal government hands states about $40 billion a year for transportation, money they can basically spend however they want. The result in many places is a lot of expensive, traffic-inducing highways that get clogged with cars soon after they’re finished. Can measuring the effect of all this spending lead to better decisions?

U.S. DOT is developing a metric to assess how well states address congestion. This is a minefield — if the new congestion rule only measures the movement of cars, it’s going to entrench 60 years of failed transportation policy. Unfortunately, the first draft of the DOT rule left a lot to be desired.

Reformers have been pushing the agency to revise the rule so it takes a broader, multi-modal view of congestion. Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America reports 19 senators and 48 U.S. representatives have written a letter to U.S. DOT [PDF] demanding a healthier approach.

The Congress members write:

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Carnage: Car Crashes Into Harbor Gateway Home, Kills One, Injures 11 (LAT)
  • Metro Bike Share Opens To Public Monday, Special Introductory $1.75 Walk-Up Rate (The Source)
  • Part of Sixth Street Bridge Arch To Be Included In Planned River Park (Eastsider)
  • L.A.’s Mansionization Problem (LAT)
  • Tennants and CM Ryu Stop Hollywood Hotel Conversion (LAT)
  • Long Beach Court Victory Could Halt Port’s SCIG Rail Project (KPCC)
  • Prevention Institute Strategies For Equitable Healthy Land Use In L.A. (Investing in Place)
  • L.A., Caltech and Google Trying To Work Out High Tech Way To Count Street Trees (LAT)
  • Glendale’s Wayfinding Signs Aren’t Just For Tourists (Mike Thinks)
  • Parking Minimums Make Traffic Worse (SB Denver)
  • What Bombs Did To Rotterdam, Parking Did To Houston (CityMetric)
  • The Problems With Having Property Owners Pay For Sidewalk Repair (CityLab)

Get National Headlines At Streetsblog USA
Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA

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Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share Nears 30,000 Active Users

Councilmembers Kevin McKeown, Ted Winterer, and Gleam Davis join Assemblymember Richard Bloom to cut the ribbon in November, officially opening the Breeze Bike Share system to the public. Photo via city of Santa Monica.

Councilmembers Kevin McKeown, Ted Winterer, Tony Vaquez. and Gleam Davis join Assemblymember Richard Bloom, community activists, and city staff to cut the ribbon in November, officially opening the Breeze Bike Share system to the public. Photo via city of Santa Monica.

Eight months after Santa Monica launched the first public bike-share program in L.A. County, the system is working.

According to a report delivered to the City Council Tuesday night, Breeze Bike Share is nearing 30,000 “active subscribers” and has been used for roughly 170,000 trips since the system launched in November.

“[Breeze Bike Share is a] key component of our overall mobility strategy for the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce vehicle trips, to improve mobility options for all residents, employees, and visitors to Santa Monica and to really serve as a last mile-first mile connection to the Expo line and other transportation options here in the city,” Kyle Kozar, Santa Monica’s bike-share coordinator, told the Council Tuesday night.

He noted that the first year of the system’s operation would help establish a baseline going forward.

Kozar noted that Santa Monica residents “ride bike-share more than any other geographic group.”

From Kozar's report Tuesday, a graph showing the breakdown of Breeze users according to area of residence.

From Kozar’s report Tuesday, a graph showing the breakdown of Breeze users according to area of residence.

Currently, Santa Monica residents make up 18 percent of the system’s subscribers, but they account for almost half (44 percent) of the trips made.

Users coming from other parts of L.A. County make up a little more than a third (34 percent) of subscribers and account for 23 percent of the trips taken while visitors from outside of L.A. County make up 47 percent of the subscribers and take 33 percent of the trips.

Councilmember Kevin McKeown saw this as a sign of success since he believed it demonstrated that people in Santa Monica who may not have ridden before have begun riding bikes as a result of bike-share.

And there are plans to make the system more accessible to the city’s lower-income residents.

McKeown announced that the city and Breeze will be partnering with Community Corporation of Santa Monica, the city’s single largest provider of affordable housing, to offer a special $60/year membership for residents of CCSM buildings and a program that would let them seek up to 90 percent reimbursement.

Breeze Bike Share is restructuring its fee schedule starting on August 1, which will have the effect of making the system overall less expensive for those who have monthly or annual plans.

Screenshot 2016-07-27 at 2.22.59 PMThe current price menu has two tiers of plans: basic and premium. A basic plan, which costs $20 a month, $119 a year for nonresidents, or $79 a year for residents, includes 30 minutes a day of ride time. A premium plan, which costs $25 a month, $149 a year for nonresidents, and $99 a year for residents, includes 60 minutes of ride time. The student plan currently costs $47 for a sixth-month term and also includes 60 minutes of ride time. The pay-as-you-go rate is currently $6 an hour.

The new pricing structure, which was approved by the City Council on June 14, replaces those with four pricing options: $99 a year, $25 a month, $7 a month for students, or $7 an hour for pay-as-you-go users. The annual and monthly passes include 90 minutes of ride time and the student membership no longer needs to be bought for a six-month period at a time.

The changes reflect overall price reductions for all but the pay-as-you-go, which will see an increase of a $1 an hour.

According to Kozar’s report, overwhelmingly users opt for the pay-as-you-go option, whether they are from out of town or locals.  Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Report: Access to Car-Share and Bike-Share Is Worse in Communities of Color

Graph: Shared use Mobility Center

In many major American cities, communities of color have worse access to car-share and bike-share than majority white neighborhoods. Chart: Shared Use Mobility Center

Car-share and bike-share services are making it easier to go without owning a car in American cities, but access to “shared-use” systems remains limited in communities of color compared to majority-white neighborhoods, according to a new analysis from the Shared Use Mobility Center [PDF].

Urban areas with low car-ownership rates and strong transit are ideal for car and bike sharing. But a SUMC study found communities of color were being left out. Map: Shared Use Mobility Center

SUMC’s map of where car-share and bike-share would be most useful in Portland.

SUMC developed a method to analyze which places have the most potential for car-share and bike-share usage across 27 American metros. Areas with relatively high transit ridership, low car ownership, and small blocks (which enhance walkability) are where share-use systems can be most useful, according to SUMC.

SUMC then compared these areas of “opportunity” for car-share and bike-share to areas where the services are actually available. In many cities, SUMC observed that dense low-income neighborhoods lack access to shared-use systems even though they have the necessary characteristics for success:

While they have been often passed over by private operators, these neighborhoods have many of the key qualities — including high population density, transit access, and walkability — needed to support shared-use systems. Additionally, the opportunity to scale up shared modes in these neighborhoods is especially compelling since they stand to profit most from the benefits of shared mobility, including reduced household transportation costs and increased connectivity to jobs and opportunities outside the immediate community.

A clear racial disparity is apparent in many cities. In Chicago, for instance, 72 percent of low-income, majority-white neighborhoods have access to shared-use systems, according to SUMC’s analysis, but only 48 percent of low-income communities of color do. The disparity persists regardless of income levels. In well-off majority-white Chicago neighborhoods, 77 percent of households have access to car-share or bike-share, compared to just 49 percent in affluent majority-minority neighborhoods.

Not all cities have these disparities, but the pattern is alarmingly common.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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Can a Major Minneapolis Bus Rapid Transit Project Survive Regional Dysfunction?

The Twin Cities’ Orange Line bus rapid transit project ought to be a slam dunk. According to Sean Hayford O’Leary at streets.mn, it will provide frequent service and travel times similar to the region’s successful light rail lines, which carrying tens of thousands of passengers daily. At just $150 million to construct, the Orange Line will be a bargain.

The funding agreement for the Orange Line, which would connect communities south of downtown Minneapolis, is in jeopardy. Map via streets.mn

But dysfunctional regional politics may cut off $45 million in funding, O’Leary reports, threatening the project:

Residents of South Minneapolis, Richfield, and Bloomington got some very bad news last week. In response to a move by Dakota County to leave the Counties Transit Improvement Board, CTIB is considering withdrawing its funding for the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit.

Although end-to-end, the line connects Dakota County to downtown Minneapolis, the vast majority of the capital investment, stops, and riders are within Hennepin County. Although I do not agree with Dakota County’s decision to leave CTIB, I am outraged that the CTIB board is playing political games with a much-needed, cost-effective transit line that will serve my community.

I spoke with Christina Morrison, the Metro Transit project manager for the Orange Line. According to Morrison, 92% of the 2040 Orange Line boardings are anticipated to be from Hennepin County. This is overwhelmingly a project that will serve Hennepin County residents and businesses.

What’s more, according to Morrison, CTIB’s $45 million contribution would come from the years 2016, 2017, and 2018 — and Dakota County’s payments to CTIB would not terminate until the end of 2018. Even with their withdrawal, Dakota County would still be paying their fair share toward this project.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Urban Edge shares survey data showing that Houston Metro riders, not long after a major bus network redesign, are largely satisfied with service. And Transportation for America reports from North Nashville, where the neighborhood is trying to repair damage done by an urban highway with an assist from U.S. DOT’s Every Place Counts initiative.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Metro Bike Share Opens To Walk-Ups Next Monday August 1 (Daily News)
  • 18 Kid- and Family-Friendly Metro Destinations (The Source)
  • Mixed Used TOD Planned In Hollywood Across From Barnsdall (Urbanize)
  • Help Solve California Housing Crises By Building Granny Flats (LAT)
  • Beach Streets Midtown Will Open Anaheim Street on November 12 (LB Post)
  • Downtown Santa Monica’s Past Informs Its Future (Santa Monica Next)
  • Olympians To Meet and Greet Metro Bus and Train Riders (SGV Tribune)
  • San Francisco Critical Mass Bicyclist Sentenced (LAT)
  • Anti-Growth Ballot Measures Across California (Voice of San Diego)
  • Zoning Turns 100 (NYT)

Get National Headlines At Streetsblog USA
Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA