Bruins for Traffic Relief Raise Measure R’s Profile

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In an effort to boost the profile of Measure R, the proposed tax that would raise $40 billion for Metro over the next 30 years by raising L.A. County’s sales tax by half a cent, a group of UCLA undergraduate and graduate students have taken to some real grass roots campaigning.  Standing at the corner of Wilshire and Gayley for the previous two weeks, the students waived signs at cars trapped in traffic gridlock and passengers getting off both Metro and Big Blue Buses.  The following interviews and pictures are from last Friday’s rally.

Bruins for Traffic Relief hope that their efforts lead to greater involvement of young people in the campaign because they see the future of Los Angeles as closely tied to the greater transit investments that Measure R should bring.  Juan Matute, a member of UCLA’s graduate student council, authored a resolution supporting Measure R and challenging the graduate students for USC and Pomona College to match or exceed UCLA’s outreach efforts and media coverage.  In addition to sign waiving, the students have set up a table at the Greenwalk, a popular pedestrian route for UCLA students.

Mattew Vogel, one of the undergraduates who founded Bruins for Traffic Relief, believes that the funds generated by Measure R could be a tipping point for congestion problems in Los Angeles.

When you see how many people use the roads, buses and freeways and then see how much Los Angeles does with so little money; it puts the whole problem into perspective.

Chris Santiago, a first year undergraduate at UCLA, recounts his experiences growing up in an area not served by transit and how it limits people’s options as a teenager and believes more funding for transit is the key to saving Los Angeles from a future of Car Culture dominance.

Before I had my license, I wanted to be independent.  But we had really poor public transit and I wasn’t able to get around like I wanted.  Anything for more public transit I support.

"Proud Angeleno" Brigham Yen is not a UCLA student, but joined the event anyway because he believes a subway for Wilshire Boulevard is key to keeping the area he refers to as a "defacto downtown" thriving into the future.

We need to get the word out because we need to catch up with the rest of the world.  Tokyo, New York, Taipei are all major world cities and they all have extensive transit systems.  It’s pathetic that we’re still debating whether to build more transit in Los Angeles.

For more pictures from Friday’s event, click on after the jump or visit the LA Streetsblog Flickr Page.

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