Garcetti Unveils “Sustainable City pLAn” Includes Transportation and Livability Goals

Mayor Garcetti (seated center) signs executive order enacting his new Sustainable City pLAn. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Mayor Garcetti (seated center) signs executive order enacting his new Sustainable City pLAn. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At a public signing ceremony this morning in Echo Park, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced his ambitious new “Sustainable City pLAn.” The environmental plan [PDF] describes itself as “a roadmap for a Los Angeles that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all — now and over the next 20 years.” The mayor’s event was well attended by more than 200 people, including city department heads and many environmental leaders.

The document is extensive, but written very simply and clearly. For each category, the plan includes very specific, measurable goals for 2025 and 2035. Additionally, it includes near-term outcomes to be completed by 2017.

There is a whole lot to like in the 100-page Sustainable City pLAn – from water to solar energy to waste to urban agriculture. This article just summarizes outcomes directly related to transportation and livability. Those include:

Mobility and Transit: (page 54)

  • Outcome: Reduce daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 5 percent by 2025, and by 10 percent by 2035. 2012 per capita VMT was 14.7 miles/day, according to the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
  • Outcome: Increase the mode share percentage of all trips made by walking, bicycling, and transit to at least 35 percent by 2025, and to at least 50 percent by 2035. 2012 walk/bike/transit mode share totaled 26 percent, per SCAG.
  • Outcome: Increase trips through shared services – car share, bike share, ride share – to at least 2 percent by 2025, and to at least 5 percent by 2035. 2012 shared transportation mode share totals 0.9 percent, per SCAG.
  • Near-Term Outcomes for 2017: implement 1,000-bike bike share (Metro regional bike share underway), and increase multimodal connections at 10 rail stations.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: build bike infrastructure, expand and upgrade Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), expand rail network, expand dynamically priced parking, and revise parking minimums.

Livable Neighborhoods: (page 92)

  • Outcome: Implement Vision Zero policy to reduce traffic fatalities.
  • Outcome: Increase L.A.’s average Walk Score to 75 by 2025. Current L.A. average is 64.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: Adopt Vision Zero policy, establish multi-agency Vision Zero task force, incorporate pedestrian safety into all street designs/redesigns, expand People St, and increase number/scope of CicLAvias.

 Housing and Development: (page 48) 

  • Outcome: Increase the percentage of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) by ensuring proportion of new housing units built within 1,500 feet of transit is at least 57 percent by 2025, and at least 65 percent by 2035. In 2014, new housing was 24 percent transit-adjacent, per L.A. City.
  • Near-Term Outcomes for 2017: Issue permits for 17,000 new units of housing within 1,500 feet of transit.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: Leverage re:code L.A. to promote a transit-oriented city, work with Metro on affordable housing joint development opportunities (underway), update parking regulations to foster bike and car share.

Air Quality: (page 74)

  • Outcome: By 2025, zero days when air pollution reaches unhealthy levels. In 2013, there were 40 non-attainment days, per South Coast Air Quality Management District.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: Convert local goods movement to zero-emission and support electric vehicle infrastructure, including greening the city’s fleets.

 Environmental Justice: (page 80)

  • Outcome: Reduce the number of annual childhood asthma-related emergency room visits in L.A.’s most contaminated neighborhoods to less than 14 per 1000 children in 2025, and to less than 8 per 1000 children in 2035. In 2010, L.A.’s highest zip code saw 31 visits, per Plan for a Healthy L.A.
  • Outcome: Ensure all low-income Angelenos live within a half mile of fresh food by 2035.

Urban Ecosystem: (page 86)

  • Outcome: Complete 32 miles of Los Angeles River public access by 2025. As of 2014, 13.3 miles have public access, per L.A. City Bureau of Engineering.

Carbon and Climate Leadership: (page 34)

  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 1990 baseline by 45 percent in 2025, 60 percent in 2035, and 80 percent in 2050.

And that’s just the most Streetsblog-related items. There is a lots more in the ambitious visionary plan.

It is telling that the plan acknowledges the Bloomberg Associates sustainability team, including Rohit Aggarwala, the mastermind behind PlaNYC. Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg laid the groundwork for New York City’s streets transformation with the quantifiable framework outlined in PlaNYC.

The plan was praised wholeheartedly by environmental and business leaders at this morning’s event.

Mayor Garcetti pledged that this “is not a plan for the shelves.” At today’s event he signed a mayoral directive [PDF] that requires all city departments incorporate pLAn outcomes into their departmental activities. In addition, the directive establishes sustainability officers in applicable city departments and bureaus, and sets up a reporting mechanism to track city progress on pLAn outcomes.

On the issues that SBLA readers care about, the new Sustainability City pLAn is excellent. The extent to which the mayor is able to keep these outcomes at the forefront, sometimes in the face of other departmental and community priorities, remains to be seen.

  • Dennis_Hindman

    Meanwhile, the control of any changes to the streets lies with each council member who represents the district in which these changes are proposed. The council members control the short range planning. In doing that they are the ones who decide whether to proceed with implementing any of the overall plans in their district.

  • Guest

    I’ll start being impressed when the Garcetti administration starts makes tough decisions. Everyone can get behind solar panels, drought tolerant landscaping, and rail lines already under construction. The tough decisions will come through reducing automobile use. We need to approve affordable housing (or any housing) without any parking. Recode LA will probably allow for this but until that is implemented we need to allow for exemptions. We need to also convert more “car lanes” into transit lanes, cycle tracks, plazas – and not just where there “is room.” Garcetti will not be mayor by the time even the first benchmark is hit (2025) so this is a plan for the shelves as far as I’m concerned.

  • ijfsfj

    You said it!

  • ijfsfj

    Sounds really great but as we’re seeing in this city politicians are striping bike lanes on random patches of road that don’t really help build a cohesive backbone system, or are trying to divert bike lanes onto useless roads that are near the roads called out in the 2010 bike plan. Carolyn Ramsay doesn’t want lanes on Hillhurst even though that’s where they need to be and are planned. In order to fix this city, big bold plans have to be designed and KEPT! Not modified by local council people or nimbys when it comes time to modify behavior….

  • The best thing that they can do to “build bike infrastructure” is to set in place a complete streets plan with some real expectations.

  • ijfsfj

    the 2010 master bike plan and 2035 mobility plan outline the routes/backbone system needed to make cycling safe and viable for anyone who isn’t willing to ride in the street already (most people, especially women and older people). Whether the politicians actually follow it, is the challenge. It will involve giving up a lot of car lanes, something Angelinos hold dearest… more than almost anything…

    Will any politician step up to the plate and push for it? who’s to say…

  • LAifer

    Amen. What’s the point of a bike plan if we’re just gonna go ahead and make changes at the whims of electeds? Where’s the courage in our leadership? Even this “exciting” pLAn is lacking in real ambition and just more assuming that current trends hold. How about having some vision and forcing the issue?

  • Jake Wegmann

    Hey–at the end of the day, it’s going to be sophisticated, well-informed people like you who bring the passion and who hold the politicians’ feet to the fire to make this stuff actually happen. Keep on ’em and hold ’em accountable! That’s the only way even the best plan in the world becomes meaningful. My bet, however, is that the transformation underway in LA continues. The network of activists is too broad and too deep to go backward at this point IMHO.

  • brianmojo

    So what really needs to change… is that.

  • Chewie

    Is this plan just a mayoral decree, or does it represent some effort to build consensus among LA’s council members and the public? Perhaps the reason that Garcetti has to say this “is not a plan for the shelves” is that deep down he knows that the people who write most plans haven’t done the hard work of building consensus that would be necessary to actually carry them out. A plan can be passed to make a political statement and score points with certain groups, with the knowledge that it isn’t likely to be carried out.

    A lot of the targets in the plan can only be met by doing things that are very controversial such as changing zoning regulations and reducing car capacity. Without an honest and wide-ranging conversation about the specific changes that are needed to do that, this plan will start to collect dust as soon as it faces its first real test.

  • Joe Linton

    More mayoral decree – and the consensus building will be the hard work that needs to follow.

  • Meh, the 2010 BMP. It’s now 2015, an update is due. Especially considering all the changes in the design and regulatory environments in the interim that can warrant a much more aggressive timeline and a greater focus on good infrastructure.

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