Planning Commission Approves L.A. City Mobility Plan, Includes Vision Zero

The latest cover of the city of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035. Image via DCP [PDF]
The latest cover of the city of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035. Image via DCP [PDF]
At its meeting this morning in Van Nuys, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission unanimously approved Mobility Plan 2035. The Mobility Plan is the official transportation policy component of the city’s General Plan. Before taking effect, the new Mobility Plan will need the approval of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) and Transportation committees and, then, the full City Council.

Department of City Planning (DCP) staff emphasized that the city “cannot widen our way out of congestion” and that this multi-modal plan will provide choices, by making a “conscious shift toward complete streets.”

The commission heard just over thirty people provide public testimony on the plan; the vast majority of speakers spoke in favor of the plan’s livability components. Speakers urging plan approval included representatives of L.A. Walks, Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST), Pacoima Beautiful, T.R.U.S.T. South L.A., the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, the L.A. City Bicycle Advisory Committee, Community Health Councils, Climate Resolve, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Business interests in favor of the plan included the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) and Lyft.

Livability proponents tended to emphasize the health and safety benefits of the plan, especially Vision Zero. The Vision Zero component of the plan would specifically “decrease transportation-related fatality rates to zero by 2035.”

One lightning rod issue that drew critical testimony was the inclusion of a half-mile of bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard between Wellworth Avenue and Le Conte Avenue, immediately south of UCLA. The Transportation Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz attended today’s hearing, testifying specifically for removing Westwood Blvd from the Bicycle Enhanced Network (BEN) in the plan. About a dozen speakers expressed support for the Westwood Blvd bike lanes, with one speaker in opposition. Commission president David Ambroz asked DCP staff their opinion regarding the Westwood bikeway; senior city planner Claire Bowin recommended that the Westwood lanes remain in the Mobility Plan, but that they not necessarily be implemented right away. Ultimately the disputed half-mile remained in the approved plan, although Councilmember Koretz may push to remove it when the plan is heard before the City Council. 

A few livability advocates, testifying in favor, said that they would have liked to see the plan be better and stronger, and go further. Though the plan greatly scales back the city’s wasteful and destructive practice of road widening, it stops short of taking the more fundamental step of simply ending all city road widening. The plan replaces and, to a small extent, scales back bikeway mileage approved in the city’s 2010 Bike Plan.

Most commissioners expressed nothing but commendation for the Mobility Plan, but one unlikely source expressed a fair amount of criticism before ultimately voting to approve. Former state lawmaker and long-time Los Angeles transportation leader Richard Katz expressed concerns over potential emergency vehicle response time delays and a lack of planned one-way street couplets. Katz questioned the plan’s inclusion of on-street bicycle facilities, stating, “I’m a supporter of expanding the bike network, but … we will never be Boulder or Davis.” DCP staff Bowin and Ken Bernstein both vigorously defended the Mobility Plan as not only having no adverse impact on already car-congestion-impacted response times, but as a positive affirmation of Los Angeles’ shifting multi-modal present and a future rich in transportation choices.

 

  • BK

    With all due respect, [expletive deleted] Paul Koretz.

  • asdfasdfkj;asdklafj

    “I’m a supporter of expanding the bike network, but … we will never be Boulder or Davis.”

    Says the man who wants 30 Billion more for light rail to nowhere. Get outa here KATZ

  • jennix

    Hyperion Bridge anyone?

  • robertoihus

    You beat me to it!

  • Ryan Drnek

    all this talk, but we end up with wider traffic lanes and minus a sidewalk on the hyperion bridge. vision zero or no vision at all?

  • Michelle Klein-Hass

    Oh wow, cool! I was thinking that Katz would be the lone “no” vote on the panel with the pointed, car-centric questions he was asking.

  • Sirinya Matute

    I’m thrilled that Planning Commission supported the plan 6-0, the questions from Mr. Katz not withstanding. The plan now goes to PLUM on 6/17 and Council (I don’t remember the date). Supporters are not out of the woods yet.

  • Joe Linton

    The Hyperion Bridge project was designed circa 2005 (and it was even worse then.) Things are changing. I think it’s still important for the city to adopt Vision Zero… though I don’t expect that that policy will change everything overnight.

  • Walker

    Bike folk. Civility please.

  • Person

    First of all, we prefer simply the term “folk,” since we are just people concerned with our safety. Secondly, why is there any reason to be civil when Paul Koretz has not only opposed safety and sustainability measures, but actively sought to remove the potential for any safety and sustainability measures on Westwood into the foreseeable future?

  • Steve Spacek

    Los Angeles has passed stronger, over-sighted, “Green” source reduction provisions that’s significantly reducing illegal waste and debris off local streets and roads that beforehand breed disease and killed many a motorist from vehicle-debris crashes. TRAVEL+LEISURE “America’s Dirtiest Cities” with millions of citizens and plenty of cars—New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas–they are still AFRAID to act bold, proud, leader-like and GREEN as has LA!

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