No Objections to Rosendahl/Garcetti Mode Count Motion

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Count the people, not the cars. Photo:Tilda Show/Flickr

In 2008, then Metro Board Chair, and current Board Member and Santa Monica City Council Woman Pam O’Connor wrote during one of her online chats that,

…one problem is that current environmental review focuses on the movement of the single occupant vehicle and "mitigations" to keep those moving often have a detrimental effect on the movement of transit (much less pedestrians and bicyclists). We need to analyze proposals not on "level of service" based on how long a car is delayed, but on the "level of service" for transit and other modes.

Streetsblog readers were delighted, but nearly two years later; the mode count issue hasn’t gotten any better. The city, and Metro, continue to count cars and buses equally and cyclists and pedestrians not at all. Seeking to change that, Councilman Bill Rosendahl introduced a cost-effective motion that would require developers to include bike and pedestrian counts when completing studies for their mitigation plans. As we noted on Monday, the proposal is a good one and could lead to some major changes in the long-term as the data begins to create a bigger picture of how people are moving throughout the city.

Wednesday, the motion was heard at the Transportation Committee, and it provided a rare "kumbaya" moment as nobody in the room had anything bad to say about the motion. Metro planner Tony Jusay noted that there is "Definitely a lack of data for bicycling and pedestrian…this would definitely help us evaluate projects throughout the county." Bikeside’s Jeremy Grant voiced support for the proposal before asking that the program be expanded to include surveys as well as counts. While he had some concerns about the process creating the motion, it was just introduced lsat Friday, Bike Advisory Committee Chair Glenn Bailey praised any plan to bring better bicycle data to the city.

Even LADOT got in on the act.

A representative from their planning department seemed as enthusiastic as the advocates. "The timing is perfect!…We can start requiring these counts immediately!" he noted before giving all of the health and environmental reasons to support an increased mode share for people-powered transportation.

Councilman Paul Koretz had some concerns that the new data wouldn’t be as useful as advocates hoped and wondered about the impacts of placing a greater cost on developers. Again, LADOT defended the proposal noting that the costs are minimal and the benefits of having this data, at no cost to the city, is a positive step in creating streets that are safer and more comfortable for other mode users.

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