City Council Talking Local Return on Wednesday: Help Me Prepare

6_8_09_pedestrian.jpgPhoto of a pedestrian packed Broadway via DLIU Photography/Flickr

Let’s rewind to about a year ago.  We still weren’t sure whether or not the sales tax measure now known as Measure R would make it to the fall ballot, and activists of all ilk were rallying to try and make certain their favored mode of transportation wouldn’t be left out in the cold.

At the time, Streetsblog helped lead the charge for a set-aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects to make certain that Local Return funds, which make up 15% of the total Measure R allocation, wouldn’t just get funneled into wasteful expansion and synchronization projects.  Unfortunately, we failed to get anything put into the legislation or Measure R; but we did get assurances from Mayor Villaraigosa that the city was really, really serious about using an unspecified portion of its Local Return for projects to promote walking and biking.

Well, it’s time to put Villaraigosa’s promise to the test.  This Wednesday, the LA City Council Transportation Committee will debate and vote on a motion directing the LADOT to create its plans for those Local Return funds.  I’m going to be on hand to remind the City Council of the Mayor’s promise and the 200 signatures we gathered last year; but I’m looking for your help.  Besides the letter and a copy of the article announcing the Mayor’s promise to us; what if anything else should I take with me on Wednesday?

  • A flame thrower.

    HOO AHH!

  • Scooby snacks!

  • In 2007, the City Controller released an audit of the department’s Office of Transportation Development and Transit Services. The audit recommended the creation of a transportation policy and planning unit that is responsible for transportation policy, short and long range transportation planning, and capital program management.

    The LADOT asked that Prop C money go to hire 5 people to be part of a new division. The mayor turned the idea down. The LADOT sat on its hands and the mayor’s office didn’t do squat.

    We have no long-range transportation planning in this city. WTF?!

    If the LADOT isn’t going to do it, cut the grant writer’s money in the LADOT and turn some Urban Design Studio people into transportation planners. Get us local return money to do planning in a department that will work with the community.

    Also, the mayor’s “Tiger Team” has been going around the city “improving” and studying various corridors and intersections on surface streets. This “improvement” usually entails a re-design of the road to carry more cars at faster rates of travel through busy commercial and residential destinations. Has the mayor’s “Tiger Team” seen any increase or decrease in the crash and injury numbers in LA? Couldn’t we turn that “Tiger Team” into a “Livability Team” instead and see our local businesses flourish and the number of dead and wounded pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and car drivers decrease?

    He needs to get his transportation priorities straight – or we’ll help straighten his priorities for him.

  • Brayj makes some good points about the need to have a logical process.

    The Audit Brayj mentions is available on the Controller’s website:

    http://www.lacity.org/ctr/audits/LADOTManagementAuditFinalReport03.pdf

    The Transportation Element of the General Plan done through the Planning Dept. should be providing a element of structure to transportation priorities. To be honest I am not sure how much the city itself gives it anything but lip service.

    http://cityplanning.lacity.org/cwd/gnlpln/transelt/index.htm

    A DASH needs assessment was done some time ago. It would be nice to implement some of the lines in the report but we known some of the existing routes are very poor performers. Some process is needed to not just expand DASH but give the Department the means to consolidate or eliminate the weak lines so we can ensure public funds are being well used.

    http://clkrep.lacity.org/councilfiles/04-0823-s1_rpt_ladot_6-1-05.pdf

  • In January of 2007, 15 cyclists rode to the City Council’s Transportation Committee to protest the lame bikeways projects proposed as part of the Metro’s Call for Projects. Ininspired, disconnected, irrelevant and lacking community support…the usual work project of the “Dept. of No!”

    The LADOT (Gloria Jeff and Michael Uyeno) said it was the best they could do under the time constraints.

    Committee Chair Wendy Greuel said what time constraints, the opportunity for funding comes up all the time. Don’t we have projects ready? Don’t we have a plan? DON’T WE HAVE A STRATEGIC TRANSPORTATION PLAN?

    Crickets chirped.

    Since then the City Council had a one-topic Council Meeting and focused their collective energies on the creation of LA’s Strategic Transportation Plan.

    We all know what happens when the City Council of the largest City in the most populated State in the most powerful Country in the world put their heads together and work together!

    Nothing!

    The LADOT is a funding Department. They will fund anything with the word transpo in it regardless of it’s impact on the community.

    I’m with Josef. Planning is a Charter Department. Transportation is an Ordinance Department. Absorb Transpo into Planning. Get behind Planning and give them the resources necessary to create a long-range transpo plan that is in sync with the other elements of the General Plan and then give them the support necessary to make it a reality.

  • btw, when we left that Transportation Committee meeting of January 2007, we left with the following assurances:

    The Transpo Committee instructed the LADOT to come up with a process for establishing a STRATEGIC TRANSPORTATION PLAN for the City of Los Angeles and for involving the public in the process.

    The Transpo Committee repeated its instruction to the LADOT that the public would be involved in the formation of the new Bicycle Master Plan.

    The Transpo Committee acknowledged that now is the time for the LADOT to begin planning for the 2009 Call for Projects and that now is the time for the community to begin the input process.

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