City Council Motion: Developers Traffic Counts Should Look at All Modes

Good data.

For transportation reformers in Los Angeles, good data is hard to come by.  This has proved problematic when it comes time for cyclists and pedestrians to make their claim for a fair share of transportation dollars.  Streetsblog gave Councilman Greig Smith a hard time for not supporting a bicycle and pedestrian set-aside because “10% of people don’t bike,” but it’s not his fault that the LADOT couldn’t tell him how many people “do bike.”

6_6_10_rosendahl.jpgRosendahl has a history of supporting the counting of all transportation modes. Here he’s at the kickoff of the LACBC’s bike count project last year. Photo:boc/flickr

Thanks to a resolution authored by Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl, and co-sponsored by City Council President Eric Garcetti, that elusive good data could begin to flow sooner rather than later.

Later today, a special agenda for this Wednesday’s City Council Transportation Committee will feature this motion, which would require that LADOT change its language for traffic studies completed for new development to require a bicycle and pedestrian count as well as an automobile count.  This small change will, over time, give a much more complete picture of where and how often people walk in different parts of the city.  It’s not going to suddenly produce the data advocates crave showing that more and more people are biking and walking, but it’s a step in the right direction.

In the interest of full disclosure, a small group representing “Livable Los Angeles” met with the Councilman and his staffer about this issue in December of last year.  As a habit, Streetsblog doesn’t report on advocacy efforts its reporters do “off the clock,” but in this case I reached back out to some of the other people in that meeting for their reactions to Rosendahl’s motion.

Roadblock wrote in that, “Finally, it looks like we have a chance for the LADOT to count people moved not just cars.” Joe Linton echoed his sentiment, “Counting all modes is one of the first steps toward creating safe and complete streets that support all modes”

In addition to providing a better picture of the transportation patterns of city residents and visitors, using  “transportation counts” instead of “traffic counts” will lead to better mitigation plans when new developments do spring up throughout the city.  It will be interesting to see how large projects, such as the “Evolution” project, will spend their mitigation dollars when its clear that many of the trips generated need not be automobile trips.  Heck, just reallocating 10% of the $100 million being spent to move more cars around Evolution could create a pedestrian oasis.

This isn’t the kind of motion that’s going to create headlines at the Los Angeles Times or other mainstream news sources; but Councilman Rosendahl deserves credit because assuming this becomes law it will help create the kind of change to make our streets safer for all users and our city more livable for its residents.  When you consider motions such as this in addition to Measure R, 30/10, the bicycle and pedestrian set-aside; it begins to create a picture that the car culture capital of the world is changing.

Headline creating or not, that’s a very good thing.



Four House Republicans Join Dems in Hailing LaHood’s Support for Bike-Ped

Four House Republicans yesterday joined 24 Democratic colleagues in a letter praising Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for his public support of federal bicycling and pedestrian investment — a stance that had generated some bad blood between LaHood and the trucking industry. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-VA), left, in the "congressional ride" during March’s National Bike Summit. […]

LaHood Talks Up Cities and Transit

Today on the Network, more uplifting commentary from Ray LaHood. Posting on his (still unfortunately-named) "Fast Lane" blog, the transportation secretary sings the praises of America’s cities as innovative economic centers, and pledges support for urban transportation systems and transit-oriented development. Photo: gravitywave/Flickr Because of the release of stimulus funds, cities will soon be humming […]

A Letter from Bill Rosendahl to the Bicycling Community

Today, we approved a Bike Plan which provides more opportunities for people in Los Angeles. More opportunities for people to discover the benefits of combining public transportation with a bike to finish that last mile. More opportunities for parents and kids to ride safely on streets. More opportunities for people to switch from gas to […]

State Complete Streets Bill Heading to a Final Vote Next Week

The Los Angeles County Bike Coalition reports that A.B. 1358, The Complete Streets Bill, will be heard by the full Senate next week. The legislation would require that cities and counties to design roadways that safely accommodate all those who use them, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, children, the elderly and the handicapped, as well […]