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Oakland Proposes Parking-Protected Bike Lanes on Telegraph Avenue

Bikes and buses jockey for position along Telegraph Avenue in Temescal. Planners say protected bike lanes are “likely” options on most of Telegraph in Oakland — except for this stretch. Photo: David Jaeger / Jonah Chiarenza, www.community-design.com

The City of Oakland has released preliminary design options [PDF] for a redesign of Telegraph Avenue, which include parking-protected bike lanes, improvements to speed up AC Transit lines, and pedestrian safety upgrades. Planners will hold open house meetings to collect input on the design options starting next week.

“We’re very excited they’ve released a lot of different options,” said Dave Campbell, advocacy director for Bike East Bay. “It’s a very robust set of choices and allows people to make an informed decision on the best ones.”

This is the first time Telegraph is being revisited for a redesign since was taken out of the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit route that begins construction this fall. The proposal to extend BRT on Telegraph to Berkeley was dropped after merchants fought to preserve car parking.

The Telegraph Avenue Complete Streets Implementation Plan looks at the stretch from 57th Street, at Oakland’s northern border with Berkeley, to 20th Street, a few blocks short of Telegraph’s end at Broadway in downtown Oakland, where the Latham Square pilot plaza was prematurely removed. Under some of the proposals, much of Telegraph could get parking-protected bike lanes (a.k.a. “cycle tracks”) by re-purposing traffic lanes and preserving parking lanes.

Oakland’s project website notes that “despite the lack of bike facilities, Telegraph Avenue is one of the most heavily traveled routes for cyclists, with over 1,200 daily cyclists.”

Bike East Bay is “super delighted to see proposed cycle tracks for a good segment of the street, and think there are some good options as well through the section with the freeway underpass,” said Campbell.

Read more…

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How Does LA City’s Mobility Plan Modify Its 3-Year-Old Bike Plan?

LA City Planning Dept graphic showing how the bike plan does and doesn't become the Mobility Plan. From the DCP handout: Where did the Bicycle Plan go?

LA City Planning Department graphic showing how the bike plan does and doesn’t become the Mobility Plan. From the DCP handout: Where did the Bicycle Plan go?

Streetsblog readers are probably aware that the city of Los Angeles Department of City Planning (DCP) is currently updating the Transportation Element of the city’s General Plan. The Transportation Element has a great deal of influence over what L.A.’s streets look like, and which uses they prioritize.

The new Transportation Element, called Mobility Plan 2035,  has been released in draft form. For a plan overview, read SBLA’s Mobility Plan review, and also read SBLA’s series of Community Voices on the Mobility Plan: part one, two, and three. Read the plan documents and summaries at the DCP’s LA/2B website. DCP just concluded a series of community forums, but is still receiving public comment through May 13, 2014.

In the past, the Transportation Element included a somewhat independent bike section, called the Bicycle Master Plan. In 2011, after much controversy and struggle, the city adopted its latest bike plan, titled the 2010 Bike Plan. That plan is currently in effect, governing what streets are approved for bike lanes, as well as a host of other bicycle related policies.

At its community forum meetings, DCP distributed a handout entitled Where did the Bicycle Plan go? which states, in part:

The goals, objectives, policies and programs of the 2010 Bicycle Plan are incorporated into Mobility Plan 2035, which lays the policy foundation necessary for the City to plan, design and operate streets that accommodate all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists. [...]

A few components of the 2010 Bicycle Plan have been modified during the Plan’s integration into Mobility Plan 2035. These modifications were made in order to reflect the latest input from the community, as well as to reflect further refinements of the bikeway system.

The details of the “few components [that] have been modified” are not entirely clear.

Bike Plan facilities have been carried over into the new Mobility Plan, but there’s no clear thorough accounting of what’s in and what’s not in. DCP lists a category called “Deferred Backbone” (the gray oval in their chart above) of 195 miles of streets that were approved in 2011, but, in DCP’s designation, just won’t happen before 2035, so they’re out.

The handout also states that the Neighborhood Network is “relatively unchanged.” Relatively unchanged never quite means a little more bikeway mileage. According to the stated totals, the Neighborhood Network appears to have lost 5 miles. The 2010 plan totals say there will be 825 miles of bikeways. The draft Mobility Plan shows a total of 820 miles: 50 miles in the Bicycle Enhanced Network (BEN) plus 770 miles in the remaining Neighborhood Network.

Which 5 miles are missing? Or was new mileage added, and more than five deleted? It’s hard to tell. It’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

Read more…

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Community Voices on LA Mobility Plan – CHC’s Carson and Lewis Ctr’s Huff

Streetsblog L.A. is continuing coverage of Los Angeles’ draft Mobility Plan 2035. The draft plan is out for comment; SBLA profiled it here. The public is encouraged to submit comments via email, or at a series of Planning Forums taking place through April 12th. The next forum is tomorrow, Saturday March 29th, 9 a.m. to noon, at Boyle Heights City Hall, 2130 E. First St., L.A. 90033.

communityvoices

Streetsblog has asked some local livability leaders to respond to a few simple questions telling us their opinions of the city of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035. Earlier in the week, SBLA published responses from Betty Avila, Jeff Jacobberger, Carlos Hernandez , and Lois Arkin. Today’s respondents are Community Health Councils’ Malcolm Carson and UCLA Lewis Center’s Herbie Huff

One quick note on terminology: For this article, the following words are more-or-less interchangeable: Mobility-Transportation  and Element-Plan. The document calls itself the “Mobility Plan” though it’s also referred to as the “Mobility Element” or the “Transportation Element” of the General Plan.

D. Malcolm Carson

D. Malcolm Carson

D. Malcolm Carson is General Counsel and Policy Director for Environmental Health at Community Health Councils, a nonprofit health policy organization located in L.A.’s Crenshaw District. Malcolm and his team at CHC work to improve mobility, create more open space, improve air quality, and reduce exposure to toxics in low-income communities of color around Los Angeles. Carson is a former City of Los Angeles Transportation Commissioner and current Mayoral appointee to the South Area Planning Commission.

What’s your overall opinion of Mobility Plan 2035?

Carson: Mobility Plan 2035 is a great first step in encouraging and supporting non-motorized modes of transportation and transit through advancements in design, technology and investment. I do think that it could be improved with stronger and more specific policies and guidelines.
What do you like best in the plan?
The Plan has a strong emphasis on multi-modal safety, infrastructure and encouragement. The “Enhanced Network” framework recognizes the importance of transportation choices. There’s recognition of streets as “public space” for people, not just motor vehicles. The Complete Streets Manual introduces new street design guidelines that supersede outdated engineering policies. The Plan recognizes transportation’s impact on public health.
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Community Voices on LA Mobility Plan – LAEV’s Arkin, Bikesanas’ Hernandez

Streetsblog L.A. is continuing coverage of Los Angeles’ draft Mobility Plan 2035. The draft plan is out for comment; SBLA profiled it here. The public is encouraged to submit comments via email, or at a series of Planning Forums taking place through April 12th. The next forum is this Saturday March 29th, 9 a.m. to noon, at Boyle Heights City Hall, 2130 E. First St., L.A. 90033.

communityvoices

Streetsblog has asked some local livability leaders to respond to a few simple questions telling us their opinions of the city of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035. Yesterday we published responses from Bicycle Advisory Committee chair Jeff Jacobberger and Multicultural Communities for Mobility chair Betty Avila. Today’s respondents are L.A. Eco-Village’s Lois Arkin and Bikesan@s Del Valle’s Carlos Hernandez

We’ll have even more community voices on the Mobility Plan later this week.

Los Angeles Eco-Village's Lois Arkin photo Somerset Waters

Los Angeles Eco-Village’s Lois Arkin photo Somerset Waters

Lois Arkin lives and works in the Los Angeles Eco-Village demonstration neighborhood, which she co-founded in 1993.  She is the Executive Director and founder of CRSP (Cooperative Resources and Services Project.) She is the co-author and editor of two books on urban sustainability and cooperatives, and represents the Western U.S. on the Council of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas.

What’s your overall opinion of Mobility Plan 2035?

Arkin: I am very pleased with much of the attention to pedestrian and bicycle strategies, with good quality-of-life language. It makes one appreciate that city planners are actually transitioning from 1950s thinking, seen especially in the LADOT.

What do you like best in the plan?

The ideas expressed regarding safety and happiness. Possibilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, kids, seniors, disabled.  The beginnings of language that suggests that there are too many cars and trucks and that a multi-modal approach is gaining acceptance.

What do you think is missing or needs work?  Read more…

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Community Voices on L.A.’s Mobility Plan: MCM’s Avila and BAC’s Jacobberger

Streetsblog L.A. is continuing coverage of Los Angeles’ draft Mobility Plan 2035. The draft plan is out for comment, SBLA profiled it here. The public is encouraged to submit comments via email, or at a series of Planning Forums taking place through April 12th. The next forum is this Saturday March 29th 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Boyle Heights City Hall, 2130 E. First St., L.A. 90033.

communityvoices

Streetsblog invited some local livability leaders to respond to a few simple questions telling us their opinions of the city of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035. Today, our two respondents are Betty Avila and Jeff Jacobberger.

Avila is the chair of Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM.) Jacobberger is the chair of L.A.’s appointed Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC.) They’ve responded to the draft plan in their own words below.

We’ll have more community voices on the Mobility Plan later this week.

One quick note on terminology: For this article, the following words are more-or-less interchangeable: Mobility-Transportation  and Element-Plan. The document calls itself the “Mobility Plan” though it’s also referred to as the “Mobility Element” or the “Transportation Element” of the General Plan.

Betty Avila photo via Facebook

Betty Avila photo via Facebook

Betty Avila is Board Chair for Multicultural Communities for Mobility. She has been on the board since 2012 and her work has focused mainly on board development and organizational best practices.

What’s your overall opinion of Mobility Plan 2035?

Avila: Multicultural Communities for Mobility is still reviewing the document. We haven’t read all of it yet, but we have these preliminary thoughts: Where is the equity piece? There’s no clear statement on how each component will be prioritized for implementation throughout the city or what neighborhoods are most in need of improvement. This is particularly important because implementation is contingent on availability of funds from year to year. There was so much outreach and advocacy work done to have the 2010 L.A. Bike Plan include equity as a priority – now that the plan has been absorbed into the Mobility Plan 2035, the equity component should remain.

What do you like best in the plan?

The plan has a lot of potential in terms of how it can support low-income communities of color by transforming the use of space  - a healthy, vibrant community is one where people feel safe on their streets, feel empowered to activate the public spaces around them and feel comfortable using the most accessible and affordable mode of transportation available to them. It’s great that the plan includes an educational component with a goal of growing the number of people that participate in bike/ped safety and education workshops by 10 percent. This is, however, a modest number and one that can likely be higher by 2035 given the organizational capacity that exists in this city.

What do you think is missing or needs work?  Read more…

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Los Angeles Revisits Its Zoning Code via “re:code LA” Process

The city of Los Angeles Department of City Planning is hosting a series of seven community planning forums running now through April 12th. Tonight’s forum is at Metro HQ in Downtown L.A. from 5-8pm. The forums are for public feedback on three citywide planning processes: re:code L.A.Mobility Plan 2035, and Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles. Streetsblog is previewing the citywide initiatives; today it’s the city’s zoning code update. See earlier SBLA coverage of the Health Plan and Transportation Plan.

From re:code LA website - the original zoning code pamphlet from 1946, next to the 1978 and 2013 versions

From re:code LA website – the original zoning code pamphlet from 1946, next to the 1978 and 2013 versions

L.A.’s Department of City Planning (DCP) has been busy with three initiatives that have the potential to shape livability for many years to come. The three plans are for health, transportation, and, well, something that just doesn’t lend itself to a jargon-free soundbite: modernizing the zoning code.

Zoning code is the city’s set of rules that mostly determine what can be built, where it can be built, and how it’s used. It specifies various aspects of development from how tall a building can be, how much signage is allowed, what industries are allowed in what areas, and how much off-street parking is required.

Here is a sample from the current zoning code:

Off-Street Automobile Parking Requirements. A garage or an off-street automobile parking area shall be provided in connection with and at the time of the erection of each of the buildings or structures hereinafter specified, or at the time such buildings or structures are altered, enlarged, converted or increased in capacity by the addition of dwelling units, guest rooms, beds for institutions, floor area or seating capacity.  The parking space capacity required in said garage or parking area shall be determined by the amount of dwelling units, guest rooms, beds for institutions, floor area or seats so provided, and said garage or parking area shall be maintained thereafter in connection with such buildings or structures.

The new zoning code effort goes by its nickname re:code LA, billed as “A New Zoning Code for a 21st Century Los Angeles.” Of the three citywide initiatives, re:code arguably the least comprehensible to the general public and the least far along. The re:code project started in 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2017. 

From this early in the process, the final results aren’t entirely clear, but a lot of re-code work appears to be neutral; it’s mostly re-writing and re-organizing rules that are already in place. Generally, the re-write doesn’t change policy. If you work in an commercial area, re:code won’t change it into a residential area. Zoning has been established for every part of Los Angeles, and re:code generally won’t be changing what’s approved. It will add new options that can take effect later. The format will change, too. Instead of a paper pamphlet, it will be a whizbang contemporary user-friendly web-based document.

For example, if a neighborhood has too many liquor stores, the new code won’t change the number of liquor stores allowed, but may provide streamlined rules that could help limit future liquor stores. Generally, that streamlined rule wouldn’t go into effect when re:code is adopted in 2017, but would become available to be later added to local planning documents – community plans, specific plans, etc. So, don’t expect to see any re:code changes affecting your street any time soon.

Read more…

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L.A. Kicks Off Citywide Plan Forums, Additional Forums Coming to Your Area

Attendees learn about and comment on L.A. City's draft Mobility Plan 2035 - at last Saturday's community planning forum in Granada Hills. Joe Linton/LA Streetsblog

Attendees learn about and comment on L.A. City’s draft Mobility Plan 2035 – at last Saturday’s community planning forum in Granada Hills. Joe Linton/Streetsblog LA

This past Saturday in Granada Hills, Streetsblog L.A. attended the first of seven planning forums hosted by the city of Los Angeles’ Department of City Planning (DCP.)

The next forum will be held in Downtown L.A. this Wednesday, March 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Metro HQ, just behind Union Station. Following that will be this Saturday, March 22nd from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at South L.A.’s Martin Luther King Recreation Center on Western at 39th. Planning forums continue through April 12th – full schedule after the jump.

The forums are basically an open house format. Show up any time during the open hours, peruse plans and display boards, ask questions, and submit comments. DCP is seeking community input on three citywide initiatives:

Mayor Garcetti’s staff are also promoting their Great Streets Initiative. Various local initiatives, including the Boyle Heights Community Plan Update, will be featured at the forum taking place in the corresponding location.

Saturday’s forum at the Granada Hills Recreation Center  was attended by several hundred people. Attendees included members of San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Councils, hillside homeowner associations, and members of the city of Los Angeles’ appointed Bicycle Advisory Committee. With the open house format, it’s difficult to get much of an overall sense of how the draft plans were being received. Issues overheard discussed ranged from concern over toxic soils, to the taxpayer cost of large-scale planning efforts, to the loss of a “great cut-through [for cars]” on Wilbur Avenue. Read more…

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L.A.’s Draft Mobility Plan 2035: A Concrete Future Direction?

The city of Los Angeles Department of City Planning is kicking off a series of seven community planning forums starting tomorrow (Saturday, March 15th) and running through April 12th. They’re at various locations from Granada Hills to San Pedro. The forums are for public feedback on three citywide planning processes: re:code L.A.Mobility Plan 2035, and Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles. Streetsblog is previewing the citywide initiatives; today it’s the city’s updated Transportation Plan, called Mobility Plan 2035. See also earlier coverage of the city’s new Health Plan.

Cover of the City of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035

Cover of the City of Los Angeles draft Mobility Plan 2035

The city of Los Angeles is revising the Transportation Element of its General Plan. What used to be called the Transportation Element has now been renamed the Mobility Element. The title of the plan is Mobility Plan 2035, but it’s also known by its eminently hashtagable nickname “LA/2B” which is where you can hang out with the plan online, including via social media.

The Department of City Planning (DCP) released a public review draft of Mobility Plan 2035 (pdf available via LA/2B documents page) on February 13th for a 90-day review period. DCP is requesting public comment on the draft, via the upcoming forums which conclude April 12th, 2014, or via email or in writing. The deadline for comments is May 13th, 2014.

The city last updated the Transportation Element of the General Plan in 1999. The 1999 plan is available on-line (click on General Plan, Elements, Transportation Element.) It has quite a bit of relatively-good livability language, from “parking-pricing strategies,” to “transit priority arterial streets” to making “the street system accessible, safe, and convenient for bicycle, pedestrian, and school child travel.” 

Despite worthwhile policies and objectives, the 1999 Transportation Element didn’t make too much of a dent in the Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) car-centric practices. Approving good plan language doesn’t always translate into on-the-ground change. At least, not in and of itself. And not quickly.

Back to the Mobility Plan at hand. Outreach for the Mobility Plan got underway a in 2012. Through the project website and community meetings, DCP formulated plan objectives and mapped networks.

There’s a lot in the plan – from disabled access to parklets to green streets – but there are four main on-the-ground components: districts prioritizing walking and three networks prioritizing transit, bicycling, and vehicles, respectively. 

Read more…

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Introducing L.A.’s Proposed Health and Wellness Plan, What It Isn’t and Is

The city of Los Angeles Department of City Planning is kicking off a series of seven community planning forums starting this Saturday, March 15th, and running through April 12th. They’re at various locations from Granada Hills to San Pedro. The forums are for public feedback on three citywide planning processes: re:code L.A., Mobility Plan 2035, and Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles. This week, Streetsblog will preview each of the citywide initiatives. First off, it’s the city’s new health plan.

From the Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles Health Atlas, map of zero vehicle households - click to go to health atlas website

From the Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles’ Health Atlas for the City of Los Angeles, chapter 8, map of zero vehicle households – click image to go to Health Atlas website

There’s a brand new plan on the block.

Until now, the city of Los Angeles hasn’t had a stand-alone health and wellness plan as an element of its General Plan. Formally, the new plan is titled Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles and it has its own website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, mailing list, and RSS feed.

The Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles (Health Plan) is a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Department of City Planning (DCP), with the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the California Endowment, and the project consultant Raimi + Associates.

A draft Health Plan (pdf available via Plan download page) was released February 13th for a 90-day review period. DCP is requesting public comment on the draft, via the upcoming forums which conclude April 12th, 2014, or via email or in writing. The deadline for comments is May 13th, 2014.

What may be most interesting about the Health Plan is what isn’t in it.

Streetsblog readers are familiar with the clear connections between transportation and health. Collisions kill in the short run. Car-centric systems decrease physical activity, which kills in the long run.

The Health Plan contains very little transportation planning, but instead acknowledges “the connection between health and mobility” and directs Angelenos to “please see the Mobility Plan 2035” for actual transportation plans and policies. The only transportation policy in the health plan is “increasing community access to open space and recreational opportunities, as well as to medical care facilities.”

Similarly, the Health Plan mentions but does not focus on economic development, equity, environmental justice, or housing. These are covered by the city’s General Plan Framework and the General Plan Housing Element, respectively.

So, what’s left? Quite a bit, it turns out.

The health plan focuses on six main areas:

  1. “A City Built for Health” includes: increasing goods and services in underserved neighborhoods, and promoting active design and disabled access.
  2. “Bountiful Parks and Open Spaces” includes: expanding parks (especially in underserved neighborhoods), revitalizing the L.A. River, safer parks, and community stewardship of parks.
  3. “Food that Nourishes Body and Soul” includes: urban agriculture, farmers markets, and more equitable access to healthy affordable food outlets.
  4. “An Environment Where Life Thrives” includes: reducing air pollution, increasing the number of smoke-free places, reducing impacts of oil extraction, and remediating brownfields.
  5. “Lifetime Opportunities for Learning and Prosperity” includes: supporting early childhood, lifelong learning, arts, libraries, workforce training, and youth employment.
  6. “Safe and Just Neighborhoods” includes: supporting gang prevention programs, innovative public safety, community policing, and reintegrating the formerly incarcerated.

Read more…

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City Asks For Your Input on How to Spend Federal Dollars

Obama enjoys CicLAvia. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

The federal government might be shut down right now, but that doesn’t mean that we have to stop thinking about how to spend the federal funds that will (eventually, hopefully) come our way.

The Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) is going to be hosting six community forums throughout the city this month to discuss the Consolidated Plan, and they would really like it if you would stop by to say hello and offer your thoughts on how federal money should be spent in your community.

“Hell, yes!” you’re surely thinking. Because who doesn’t want money spent in their community, right?

Yet, you remain slightly confused, wondering, “Hark, what is this Consolidated Plan you speak of?”

Great question.

With the ascension of team Garcetti to the reins, city planning has seen some shuffling of the cards, er, departments. The Community Development Department (CDD) was dissolved and reconstituted in the form of the HCID. Its mandate, according to the website, is “the development of citywide housing policy and supporting safe and livable neighborhoods through the promotion, development and preservation of decent and affordable housing.” Within that category also fall a variety of family services and youth programs.

The Consolidated Plan is the city’s strategic plan to utilize “the annual allocations of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grants to develop viable urban communities” in line with the HCID mandate. They work to do that by using the funds to provide viable housing and living environments and to expand economic opportunities, especially for lower income residents.

The city’s 2013 – 2017 Plan is the first such plan that is specifically transit-oriented. It seemed fitting that, given the unprecedented level of investment in transit of recent years, funds directed toward housing and generating economic opportunities be integrated or leveraged with those directed towards transit to maximize the benefits to communities. And while the city does have the plan guidelines established through 2017, federal funds are disbursed yearly. Therefore, priorities need to be revisited on a yearly basis.

Which makes your input important. Read more…