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City’s Measure R Plan a Test for Villaraigosa

12:04 PM PST on January 5, 2009

Mayor Villaraigosa Mugs for the Cameras at Opening of Dodger Trolley

Back when Metro was preparing its project list for the potential funds that would be generated by what now is known as Measure R, there was a grassroots effort to get the agency a small set aside of the billions that will be raised by the sales tax over the next 30 years for bicycle and pedestrian projects.  While the Metro Board ignored the 200 people that made the ask, unfortunately we don't have a high-powered lobbyist; they did go out of their way to repeatedly tell us that we would be able to lobby the individual municipalities for non-motorized transportation projects from the 15% of the budget set aside for "Local Return."

Mayor and Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa was particularly adamant that municipal governments would be lining up to paint bike lanes and widen sidewalks.

Well, now it's time to see if he meant it.

At tomorrow's City Council meeting, the Council will direct the LADOT and the Department of City Planning to put together a list of projects that would qualify for Measure R funds.  If the list looks anything like the city's proposed stimulus list, the Mayor's promise of programming Measure R funds for bicycle or pedestrian projects would be reveaked as a farce.

Despite the car-centricness of the transportation projects on the list, a close look of the city's list of "ready to go" projects that they hope to get funded by a federal stimulus package show there are a lot of projects that would enhance communities and provide a safe alternative for those who choose to travel without an automobile.  Some of these projects include streetscaping in Chinatown and along Pico Boulevard, an extension of the L.A. River Bike Trail, accelerating the schedule for the Expo Line, and  a city-wide grating replacement project.

As Board Chair, Villaraigosa promised the hundreds of signators to our sign-on letter that Measure R would be a boon for cyclists and pedestrians.  As Mayor, he'll now have a chance to prove just that.

Photo: Phil Schilaci Kropoth/Flickr

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