Board Chair Villaraigosa Responds to Bike/Ped. Funding Requests

Villaraigosa Talks to Reporters After Addressing the Move LA Conference in January

At today’s Metro Executive Management and Audit Committee Meeting both myself and Joe Linton presented the case for a small set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects in Metro’s mammoth $40 billion plan to spend the funds brought in by its proposed sales tax increase.

The Mayor, who is now Chair of the Metro Board, said:

We all recognize that bike path treatments are important to the region.  I can’t tell you today that there will be a set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the program.  This program is already too cumbersome, but I know that many municipalities will look into using a portion of the Local Return funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

In other words, bicycle and pedestrian advocates should feel free to lobby the 85 municipalities in the LA County region for the 20% 15% of the budget that belongs to the locals and leave the Metro Board alone to deal with larger issues.  Nevermind that many of these municipalities don’t exactly have the best track record for funding these sorts of things.

Before testimony was taken on the plan, Villaraigosa ended his pro-sales tax monologue by calling for transportation advocates to come together and support this proposal regardless of whether their region receives the funds it should because "100% of $0 is $0."  During testimony I noted that "0% of $40 billion is also 0."  Linton reminded the Metro Board that a similar ballot measure in the East Bay failed without any funds for non-motorized transportation.  After tweaking the measure so that 10% went for non-motorized projects it passed.  Only time will tell if Metro is repeating the mistakes made in the Bay Area by only considering motorized transportation options?

If you feel that Metro should include a small set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects, you should read this article and then send an email to 

Photo: Damien Newton 

  • Big surprise from Mr. Pico-Olympic one-way.

    “Local Returns” money not going to bikes has to do with the MTA’s own funding guidelines! The

    Here is the relevant quote:

    “Bicycle and Pedestrian Paths – Construction of a bikeway and/or pedestrian path is prohibited unless the bikeway or pedestrian path is designed so that the sponsor can demonstrate that it will not have to be relocated or removed to allow for construction or operation of a future transportation project. This will have the effect of limiting bikeways to wider right-ofways and will require that the bike path and associated pedestrian path and landscaping be contained within a limited area along the outer edge of the right of way.”

    -from pg. 19 of the MTA’s 2007 Call for Projects guide

    The money dolled out during the call for projects is part of a biennial “Transportation Improvement Program Call for Projects” that is run through the MTA’s TDI department. The whole thing is overseen by the MTA’s Countywide Plannind and Development Department.

    This policy is total crap and is more fundamental to obtaining a locked in amount of money, I feel. Plus, it is easier to ask for a change to something like this!

  • It sounds like the mayor is still resistant to the benefits of bicycling. Just a few days ago we have Boston’s mayor pedaling around. London also has a “Bicycle Mayor”….

    what do we have here in LA?

    Tony “Cookies” Villaraigosa.

    Are we going to get through to the MTA Board next week?

    What about Sharrows? Can we ask that in light of the City Council’s recent motion to put more sharrows on the road, that some of the sales tax increase be dedicated to that?

    Explain to them that failing to include bikes and peds in transit plans is a mistake. Here is a chance to fix that!

  • David

    The Mayor’s response is typical of the problem with the region’s transit system overall. Let all the local governments (politicians) fight it out for small chunks of the pie and you’ll get what we have now…a disjointed system of rail lines that don’t connect to each other. Thus the need for the Downtown Connector. What good are a bunch of bike paths that don’t connect with each other. The answer is leadership Mr. Mayor. A concept that is obviously foreign to you!

  • It would take next to nothing for the Mayor to make the policy changes that would local agencies to have access to Local Returns funds, by amending the funding guidelines to allow bike and pedestrian improvements to access these funds.

    Come Villaraigosa – this is low hanging fruit! You can make this part of your spiel about how you are the “Greenest Mayor in America”, or whatever.

    Here is a sample replacement policy for the section from last years’ CFP guidelines:

    Bicycle and pedestrian projects may occupy the right of way, and may be allowed to reduce the Level of Service, Average Daily Trips, and “mobility” on that portion of right of way they occupy if the local agency can show that the following criteria will be met:
    automobiles will drive the less than the speed limit in the improved area
    fatalities and injuries from vehicle on bike, and vehicle on pedestrian, crashes will be reduced
    If located in a commercial business district – retail foot traffic and sales tax income will be increase
    Livability, as measured by a survey administered in a 300′ radius from the improvement, will be improved (where livability is an index of social cohesion, general happiness, feelings of safety, a large “home” area for individual residents, and a general match of roadway users with census data).

    All the onus to prove these things is on the local entities – and the MTA staff can judge using these criteria before allowing LOS, ADT, etc. to be degraded.

    This amendment of MTA policy would be BETTER than a locked-in 1% – because it could be more lucrative and would allow for more sweeping changes in the way bicycle and pedestrian projects are discussed in policy making circles.

  • how can we get them to amend that policy?

    I’m going to this thursday’s board meeting BTW…. maybe i’ll get a chance to speak this time!

    Regular Board Meeting – Metro Board Room
    9:30 a.m.

  • Marino

    I hope he breaks his elbow.


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