A First Look at Metro’s Long Term Transportation Plan

Metro released its Long Term Transportation Plan earlier today outlining the plans for new roadways, transit projects, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements planned for the next 30 years. The $152 billion dollar project is as much a call to action as it is a vision. Metro CEO Roger Snobel writes in Metro’s press release, "With Sacramento and Washington caught in a budget squeeze, we have to come up with new revenue on the local level if we are to implement this plan."

L.A. Streetsblog will write a lot about the Long Range Plan in the coming days, but you can read a quick summary of the plan after the jump.

Metro repeatedly states that the goal of the plan is to reduce single-passenger vehicle trips. Recent census data shows that nearly 3/4 of all commuters in L.A. County drive by themselves to work. To reduce single passenger trips, Metro plans to build 160 miles of new carpool lanes, 32 new miles of Metro rail, and more than 400 miles of new rapid bus programs. There are also plans to add new highway capacity I-710 and State Routes 71, 90 and 138. Metro has not ruled out any of the carpool projects bing changed to HOT Lanes.

More funding is also set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars are set aside for "non-motorized travel" projects. While this commitment is a far cry from London Mayor Ken Livingston’s pledge to budget $1 billion for bike projects alone more than 30 years; it is still enough to nearly doubly bike capacity on the roads and improve sidewalks and crosswalks throughout the county.

The plan doesn’t just rely on engineering and construction to improve the transportation system, it also relies on new policies that encourage smart commuting and smart growth. Metro also discusses ways to improve car pooling, car share programs, work from home programs, smart growth planning, transit oriented development and even a "complete streets plan."

  • Simon

    I like what I hear, but I’m worried that even with the mayor always talking about the Subway to the Sea, no leader has actually stood up and said “here is how we’re going to get the money, now let’s go do it.”

  • That long range plan looks great. They have a pretty good design team at the MTA.

    The information in the Long Range Plan is a bit disappointing. The MTA claims to be all about reducing air pollution and improving traffic conditions – but 25% of the money they spend gets thrown into making automobile transport faster and easier for people.

    How, exactly, is that going to work?

    I’ve heard a funny one from some MTA planning staff in the past about this. This lady in the Transportation Development and Implementation (TDI) section told me that making cars go faster on the streets and freeways (by building more lanes) improved air quality!

    It sounds like the TDI section needs some waking up to reality: our regional economy is going to be in trouble if we don’t prepare for high energy costs. Relying heavily on private automobiles to move angelenos 20 to 30 years in the future seems like a bad way to plan.

    Carol Inge (head of MTA’s Countywide Planning and Development, with oversight of the TDI section) – what is going on?

  • Dan W.

    The City of West Hollywood and Santa Monica Blvd. isn’t mentioned anywhere.

    In the early Westside Transit Corridor Extension Project, the City of West Hollywood was left out of the scoping meetings. I find it ironic that they’d choose to have their one Westside scoping session for the Draft Long Range Transportation Plan in the City of West Hollywood along Santa Monica Blvd.

    If the MTA is planning to pat Santa Monica Blvd. alignment supporters on the head, thank them for participating, and then send them on their merry way so they can get back to their original plan of one alignment, Wilshire Blvd. only, then I guess in some perverse way they get points for the willingness to do it in person, face to face. But, I expect there will be many people attending that event to demonstrate support for SMB not being left out of the Long-Term Plan..

    Here’s the letter I immediate sent to the MTA:

    [quote]Dear MTA,
    Thank you for releasing today the draft of MTA’s Long Range Transportation Plan for comment.

    The greatest public transit priority the MTA is facing is completing the Purple Line out to Santa Monica via Century City and I congratulate and celebrate it’s inclusion in the draft plan.

    Unfortunately, there are two major things missing from draft plan.

    1) The City of West Hollywood and a potential heavy or light rail alignment on Santa Monica Blvd. isn’t mentioned anywhere (or even a rush hour bus-only lane). This is inconceivable to me after their was great support shown in the scoping meetings for a Santa Monica Blvd. alignment or two alignments on the westside (Santa Monica Blvd. and Wilshire Blvd.) Jody Litvak, of the MTA, expressed in City Beat that the MTA was surprised at how much support was expressed for a Santa Monica Blvd. alignment. This alignment would provide a valuable alternative to getting to/from Hollywood and the Westside, and if Alternative #9 is chosen, from the Valley to the Westside.

    2) Also missing is any mention of a line from LAX north/south to Metrolink or even Sylmar in the Valley. Not everyone travels to/from downtown and the countless people who snake through passes/canyons each day desperately need alternatives. Alternative #9 in the Westside Transit Cooridor extension project would offer an alternative for travel from the East Valley to the Westside and a Sepulveda based extension of the Green Line from LAX to Metrolink would offer a viable alternative for travel from the West Valley and the Westside.

    Thank you for taking feedback. I will be encouraging everyone I know, especially transit riders to have a look and also give their feedback too.

    Best regards,
    [/quote]

    I realize that the Alternatives Analysis is still underway for the Westside Transit Corridor Extension study, but as the map shows a Wilshire Blvd. alignment ONLY, it’s not a mystery where they have been predisposed to be leaning. We need both alignments and I will continue to work to advocate for both.

  • Dan W.,

    What you write does not surprise me.

    When the TDI section of the MTA puts together a plan like this, they skew heavily in favor of private automobile transit.

    The primary reason (I think) they would not want to take away a car lane on Santa Monica Blvd is because every measure they use for a road’s performance has to do with how many fast private automobiles they can put on it.

    To the MTA, a bus with 90 people, and a single occupant sedan are equal. They count vehicles when measuring roadway performance, not people.

    When you send your letter in, send it to the Westside staff in the TDI section. They are the folks who should be on top of this issue.

  • ubrayj –

    unfortunately, i think there is some substance to this:
    making cars go faster on the streets and freeways (by building more lanes) improved air quality!

    check it out:
    http://66.102.1.104/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:2Npf_WnRqEIJ:www.awma.org/journal/pdfs/2000/4/tong.pdf+car+emissions+related+to+speed

    not saying it’s good news, but still.

  • Where did you get the “88 new miles of Metro rail” figure? My PDF of the plan says 32 miles (p. 5) — Is there an inconsistency within the doc?

  • Damien Newton

    You’re right, it’s 32 miles. 88 is the total mileage that Metro rail will have after completion of the new lines.

  • “here is how we’re going to get the money, now let’s go do it.”

    Part of that is likely the Feuer package of bills that are just starting to work their way thru the legislature.

    http://www.socata.net/gm/archives/00000024.shtml

  • Thanks for that link, david p.

    I am satisfied with the science behind the following fact: all things being equal, faster cars can mean cleaner air.

    The problem, then, is that when you make a transportation network for fast car transport (that is not tolled), you can induce more driving. More cars driving means more total air pollution.

    Transit professionals I’ve spoken to about this study (and others) believe they should build more roads, and faster roads in order to improve air quality. However, buiding more roads only induces more people to drive – and that does not improve air quality.

  • ubrayj – yeah, i’m with you on the induced demand issue and i certainly wasn’t trying to justify additional roads – rather, hoping to explain their logic.

  • Metro Rail already has 72 miles. How can adding 32 miles add up to 88 miles?

    Perhaps that’s light rail only?

    72 (current total) + 33 = 105 miles total rail system

    subtract 17 miles (length of Red/Purple lines)

    Equals 88 miles.

  • Damien Newton

    32 is the total amount of new rail (light and heavy) being added. 88 miles of rail is the total after Phase I of the Expo Line is completed. I was a little hasty when writing the correction and should have written “when Expo Phase I is completed” instead of “when the new lines are completed.”

  • Actually, I read the document, and you are right.

    It says that Metrorail will have 88 miles after completion of the Gold Line Eastside Extension and Phase 1 of the Expo Line. This is correct. 72 + 6 + 11 = 88 (okay 89, it’s close) miles. 88 miles is in the ballpark.

    It says that after Phase 2 of Expo, “could add another seven miles,” bringing us to 95 miles.

    But this is just lines that we know will definitely be constructed. Over the course of 25 more years, who knows?

    If we have the Subway to the Sea and an extension of the Red Line to Sylmar (both indicated in the report as already funded) that adds up to 95 + 17 + 10 miles = 122 miles. Add in the Gold Line Foothill Extension (noted as not funded in the report) and extension of the Green Line to Metrolink in Norwalk and to LAX (22 + 2 + 2, Total 148 miles) and now we’re talking about a real rail network, and we’re in second place in the USA, after New York and above Chicago!

    A crazy dream, or a forseeable reality with 88 miles of track definitely in our near future?

  • Oops! I left out the Downtown Connector and the Crenshaw line! That’s about 8 more miles. 148 + 8 = 156 miles. Okay, I’ll stop now.

  • David Fitzpatrick

    I do agree with some of the other letters that the MTA’s long range plans place far too much emphasis on automobiles and buses instead of rail. Also I feel the purposal to build the rail line to Santa Ana using maglev technology is a bad idea since it’s not proven yet to be safe and reliable. It’s still an experimental (and theoretical) technology. It should be built as either as a light rail or an out-n-out electrified mainline rail-type commuter line.

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