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City’s Infrastructure List for Stimulus Could Use Some Greening

12:56 PM PST on December 11, 2008


Yesterday a joint meeting of the Los Angeles City Council Transportation and Planning Committees got a first look at the city's first draft of its list of "Ready to Go" projects for a potential Obama stimulus investment in our nation's infrastructure.  The draft list, which first appeared on the City Clerk's website this morning, is certainly long on a variety of different projects,  but short on the kinds of Green Investment that the President-Elect claims to be looking for.

Jim Clark, the Director of Federal Relations for the City, stressed that they believe that any project funded by the Obama stimulus would have to be ready to begin construction within six months.  While that doesn't seem like a lot of time, remember that the potential six-month countdown clock wouldn't begin until Congress approved and President Obama signed enabling legislation.  That would be done at February at the earliest.  So "six months" means August or September, not May or June.

Both those testifying and some of the Council Members spoke about the need to find more of the kind of transformational transportation projects focusing on improving and increasing bicycle and transit infrastructure.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl asked about more funding for the Expo Line so that the controversial crossings in Phase I, and the future Phase II crossings in his district, could be above-grade.  Community activist Colleen Mason Heller from Cheviot Hills echoed the Councilman's comments during public comment.

Councilman Tom LaBonge, who took some heat on Streetsblog forums earlier this week for his comments during discussion of the Cyclists' Bill of Rights, spoke up for more funding for bike trails along the L.A. River and Beach Trail.  His comments were echoed by Joe Linton and Dorothy Le who also pointed out that there are plenty of bike projects that are "Ready to Go" from the 1997-2002 Bike Master Plan.

The next chance to weigh in on the city's list, which will doubtless be expanded and ammended, will be next Monday when it goes before the City Council's rules committee.

One thing we can all do to help make the list "More Green" would be to provide some of our own transportation projects that would be better than they might first appear on paper, to help them stand out from the rest of the pack.  One example I floated yesterday was the repaving of 4th Street.  If the city wants to send a list of repaving projects to the Obama administration, 4th Street would stick out if it were presented as a major thorofare for cyclists.  If the city took counts of bicycle traffic, they would probably realize that 4th Street has an unusually high mode share between bicycles and cars and that would make it a perfect project for a president that wants to invest in infrastrucutre, boost the economy and build a green transportation network.

Image: Natural

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