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10 Cities, Including L.A., Chosen to Help Model U.S. Vision Zero Policy

The 10 cities chosen will help lead the movement toward Vision Zero in American cities.

Ten “focus cities” will lead the way in developing effective Vision Zero policies.

What is Vision Zero? Simply put, it’s a recognition that traffic fatalities are preventable, and a commitment to ensure that no one is killed in traffic. Cities that adopt Vision Zero set out to end traffic deaths within a specific time frame.

In America, a few cities have publicly committed to Vision Zero. So how should policy makers go about achieving this goal? What works and what doesn’t? Which places are making real progress, and how are they doing it?

The Vision Zero Network was founded with support from Kaiser Permanente to help ensure that “Vision Zero” promises result in meaningful and effective change.

Yesterday, the network announced 10 “focus cities” that will model Vision Zero strategy in the United States. These cities were chosen for having demonstrated a significant commitment to Vision Zero:

  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington

The “focus cities” initiative will bring together transportation, police, and public health officials from those 10 cities, as well as representatives from mayors’ offices. This network of public officials will share best practices and develop common strategies for eliminating traffic deaths.

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Today’s Headlines

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Garcetti, LADOT and Xerox Announce New GoLA Multi-Modal App

Mayor Garcetti announcing the GoLA app this morning. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Mayor Garcetti announcing the GoLA app this morning. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Los Angeles has a new transportation app that helps Angelenos choose ways to get around. The GoLA “Mobility Marketplace” App shows various transportation modes, including bicycling, transit, taxi, ride-hailing, driving, and parking and allows users to compare modes to see what is fastest, cheapest, or greenest. The app is a collaboration between Xerox and the city of Los Angeles, shepherded by the Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Chief Innovation Technology Officer, Peter Marx.

Mayor Garcetti demonstrated the new app this morning at a press event in the city’s Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) bunker, four floors below City Hall East. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield described the app as a “magic blender” combining transit schedules, Thomas Guide maps, traffic, and more.

 

Xerox Senior Vice President David Cummins stated that the app includes a broader spread of multimodal options than typical transportation apps, such as Google Maps. Cummins expressed enthusiasm about future features planned, including not just viewing multi-modal trips, but booking and paying for them via GoLA. Cummins also announced anticipated future features including gamification, “comparing your carbon footprint with your Facebook friends,” and possible Vision Zero features.

Streetsblog USA
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The Feds Aren’t Crowing About the Record Amount of Driving in America

Driving miles are again on the rise after a historically unprecedented dip. Graph: Doug Short

Driving mileage is on the rise again after a historically unprecedented dip. Graph: Doug Short

Gas is cheap again, and cumulatively, Americans are driving a record amount.

Newly released U.S. DOT data shows that through the end of November, Americans drove a cumulative 2.88 trillion miles last year, well above the same period in 2014, indicating that 2015 will set a new national record for driving mileage. Adjusting for population growth, driving is still about 6 percent lower than the peak in 2005, though that metric is also on the rise, reports analyst Doug Short.

On the bright side, at least this time the feds aren’t cheering the news, like they did back in August. Todd Solomon at U.S. DOT’s blog, The Fast Lane, wrote about the drawbacks of more traffic:

Each of those miles is wear and tear on the roadway surface. And when combined, those miles represent a significant challenge to our capacity. And that means traffic congestion. Which means lost time, lost money, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. So, while we appreciate that our roads made possible those 3+ trillion vehicle miles traveled, we aren’t exactly celebrating this new record.

Even if the average American isn’t driving as much today as 10 years ago, too many cities and towns are saddled with infrastructure that leaves people with no good alternative to driving for almost every trip. Without significant changes to transportation and land use policy, traffic isn’t going to decline on its own.

Hat tip: Tony Dutzik

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Today’s Headlines

  • LAT Editorial: Make Sure Griffith Park Serves People, Not Cars
    …Shuttles Planned May Not Be Enough For Crowds (CiclaValley)
  • Despite Rail Expansion, Metro Struggles With Declining Ridership (LAT)
    …When Regions Spend Heavily On Highway Expansion, Transit Share Doesn’t Expand (CityLab)
  • Mixed Income Mixed Use TOD Proposed Across From NoHo Red/Orange Line (Urbanize)
  • Sixth Street Bridge Demolition Deadline Draws Crowds (KPCC)
  • Expanded Exide Clean-Up Proceeding Slowly (KPCC)
  • Sustainable Little Tokyo Bucks Gentrification Trends (NRDC)
  • Billboard Company Illegally Cut Back Sunset Triangle Plaza Trees (Curbed)
  • Three Hyperloop Test Tracks Planned (KPCC)
  • Free Parking Is A Symbol, Paid Parking Risks Las Vegas Becoming “Failed State” (LAT)
  • How State Transportation Budget Cuts Affect Southern California (KPCC)
  • L.A. Among Ten National Cities Selected For Vision Zero Network (Vision Zero Network)
    More Thoughts On Vision Zero And Equity (Minneapolis BC)

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Via Streetsblog California
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Falling Gas Tax Revenue Leads to Slash in State Transportation Money

The timing seems less than coincidental, announcing a cut in transportation funding days after announcing a pilot program to study road users’ fees–but the message is just as stark. The State of California is running out of money to fund transportation.

Democrats in the Assembly are trying to keep the focus on the poor repair of the state's roads rather than the need to raise more funds to fix them. Image: ##http://asmdc.org/fixtheroads/##California State Assembly Democrats##

Democrats in the Assembly are trying to keep the focus on the poor repair of the state’s roads rather than the need to raise more funds to fix them. Image: California State Assembly Democrats

Last week, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) slashed its own estimates of what the gas tax would bring in by $754 million over the next five years. The Commission’s action impacts what the state budget will look like for transportation and heralds dire news for counties and municipalities that were counting on state dollars to fund infrastructure needs.

“What this means is that almost every county in California that relies on this source of funding for projects that improve traffic and air quality will have to cut or delay projects indefinitely,” stated CTC Chair Lucy Dunn.

“The commission adopted the most optimistic scenario we could make in good conscience, in the hope agreement will be reached on a number of reforms and new funding increases currently under consideration by the Legislature. But failing that, I fear we will be faced with even more draconian cuts next year.”

While the state is exploring the option of switching away from the gas tax, that change won’t be happening for years. In the meantime, raising the tax seems the most likely way to solve the problem in the short-term.

Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier is recommending a series of revenue enhancements including a ten-and-a-half-cent-per-gallon increase to the gas tax (from its current level of twelve cents per gallon). Frazier has been outspoken on the issue of repairing California’s roads and is one of the legislative leaders of the “Keep California Moving” coalition of business, labor, and government groups.

However, movement from the legislature has been slow, despite a special session that was called last year specifically to look at the funding crisis. No idea to increase revenue gained traction, and the issue was tabled even as the backlog of transportation projects on hold grew. With last week’s action by the CTC, three quarters of a billion dollars in promised funds to county and local governments will likely need to be with held. Read more…

Streetsblog NYC
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Evidence That Split-Phase Signals Are Safer Than Mixing Zones for Bike Lanes

Mixing zones, rendered above, are DOT's standard treatment for left-turns on corridors with protected bike lanes. Image: DOT

Mixing zones are DOT’s standard treatment for intersections where motor vehicle traffic turns across the path of protected bike lanes, but they are not as safe as intersections where pedestrians and cyclists get exclusive signal time. Image: DOT

When DOT presented plans for a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue, one point of contention was the design of intersections. How many intersections will get split-phase signals, where cyclists and pedestrians crossing the street get a separate signal phase than turning drivers? And how many will get “mixing zones,” where pedestrians and cyclists negotiate the same space as turning drivers simultaneously?

DOT tends to opt for split-phase signals only at major intersections, like where Sixth Avenue crosses 14th Street and 23rd Street. At other cross streets with turning conflicts, the mixing zone is the go-to treatment. Manhattan Community Board 4 wants to change that, asking DOT to include more intersections with dedicated crossing time for pedestrians and cyclists in the Sixth Avenue project.

The evidence backs up CB 4’s assertion that split-phase signals are safer. Data from previous protected bike lane projects in Manhattan show that the reduction in injuries on streets that mostly received split-phase treatments was more than double the improvement on streets that mostly received mixing zones.

A 2014 DOT report [PDF] analyzed three years of before and after crash data from Manhattan’s protected bike lanes. The last section of the report shows the change in total crashes with injuries on 12 protected bike lane projects — six with primarily split-phase treatments (segments of Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue below 23rd Street, and two unconnected segments of Broadway in Midtown), and six with primarily mixing zones (segments of First Avenue, Second Avenue, Columbus Avenue, Broadway, and Eighth Avenue above 23rd Street). We don’t have access to the raw numbers DOT worked with, but the aggregate data strongly suggests that split phase treatments are significantly safer.

On average, crashes with injuries declined 30 percent on the six “split-phase” redesigns and 13 percent on the six “mixing zone” redesigns.

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VerdeXchange Day One Highlights: Phil Washington, Earl Blumenauer

Day one of this year’s VerdeXchange conference is over. By the time you read this, the second and final day is already underway; Tuesday will feature discussions on the Los Angeles River, sustainable buildings, the sharing economy, new mobility models for cities, and much more! The full program schedule is here. Streetsblog L.A. is a media sponsor; follow @StreetsblogLA on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Below are a couple of highlights from the first day.

VerdeXchange's 21st Century Transit panel (left to right) Jeff Morales, CA High-Speed Rail Authority, Deborah Flint, L.A. World Airports, Phil Washington, Metro, and Renata Simril LA84 Foundation. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

VerdeXchange’s 21st Century Transit panel (left to right) Jeff Morales, CA High-Speed Rail Authority, Deborah Flint, L.A. World Airports, Phil Washington, Metro, and Renata Simril LA84 Foundation. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro’s CEO Phil Washington spoke alongside the CEOs of L.A. World Airports, Deborah Flint, and the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Jeff Morales. All these leaders spoke the need to build seamless, complementary, balanced transportation systems. Washington decried the “three-decade infrastructure vacation” throughout the United States where the nation has neglected to build and maintain the transportation infrastructure needed for future generations. The Metro CEO emphasized that local jurisdictions and private industry have played their roles, but that the federal government has been weak in dragging its heels to pass its re-authorization bills.

Washington made two important announcements:

  • The second phase of the Metro Expo Line will open in May. A mid-2016 estimate has been expected since Metro took control of the substantially completed rail line ten days ago, but no opening date has been publicized.
  • USDOT approved phase three of Metro’s Westside Purple Line Subway for expedited treatment. This should speed up the federal processes to all for an accelerated schedule, potentially extending the subway to UCLA in time for a possible 2024 Olympics.

Congressmember Earl Blumenauer

Congressmember Earl Blumenauer

Streetsblog caught up with Oregon Congressmember Earl Blumenauer. Blumenauer is a leader on livability issues, especially bicycling. At VerdeXchange, he was speaking on a sustainable agriculture panel. Below is a very brief interview.  Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • KNBC News Tracks Down Glendale Driver Who Aggressively Checked Cyclists
    CiclaValley Reviews the Case, Points Out Driver’s Lies
    Biking in L.A. Criticizes the Driver, and the TV News Coverage
  • Metro Trying To Buck Declining Ridership Trend (KPCC)
  • Environmental Double Standard: Exide vs. Porter Ranch (Fox11)
  • Garcetti Backs Away From Some 2024 Olympics Big Ideas (LAT)
  • Caltrans’ New Road Mileage Fee Program Getting Underway (Pasadena Star News)
  • Long Beach’s Gerald Desmond Bridge Reconstruction Getting Underway (KPCC)
  • Arcadia Students Using Dial-A-Ride Leave Seniors Stranded (Pasadena Star News)
  • Pasadena Votes To Further Study Parklets (@PasadenaCSC Twitter)
  • Pedestrian Prescription: Leading Walk Interval, Lagging Turn Arrow (Let’s Go L.A.)

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Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA

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#DamienTalks SGV2: Albert Ho on IWillRide and Wes Reutimann on the Puente Hills Landfill Park

puente

A view from the future Puente Hills Landfill Park.

This week, #DamienTalks with Albert Ho of the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Albert has been a booster of the project dating back to the mid aughts, helping to found the IWillRide campaign as an interested college student, managing the website early in his career and then working for the Construction Authority.

Albert talks about his experiences advocating for the project, touches on some of the highlights of the line extension, scheduled to open on March 5. Towards the end, we reminisce about our days of yore, sitting in the back of Metro Board meetings together, trying to come up with the wittiest tweet about the meeting.

Next, #DamienTalks with Wes Reutimann, the executive director of Bike SGV. Reutimann discusses the upcoming scoping meeting for the Puente Hills Landfill Park. The park promises to be one of the largest tracts of open space on the Southland. There will be an environmental scoping meeting this Wednesday, January 27 (for more information on the hearing and the park click here.)

Bike SGV is hoping that there we be a safe network of bicycle lanes leading to the park and a network of bike facilities within the park to create the largest bike park in California. If you can’t make the scoping meeting, click here to read and sign Bike SGV’s petition.

If, like me, you are unfamiliar with what a bike park is, here are examples in Marin County and Fresno County.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the #DamienTalks homepage on Libsyn.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”