Building Coalitions Around Health, Equity and Transportation

One slide from TransForm's Stuart Cohen's presentation yesterday. You can download the entire presentation ##http://www.cpehn.org/pdfs/Healthy%20Transportation%20Healthy%20Communties%20-%20Cohen%20-%20TransForm%204-11.pdf##here.##
The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) convened an informative one-day conference entitled The Road to Health: Improving Community Wellbeing Through Transportation. The Los Angeles convening was one of four in various parts of the state – with San Diego and Oakland events are upcoming on May 4th and 5th, respectively. The local event took place yesterday at the California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities.

Streetsblog readers are likely at least somewhat familiar with many of the  connections between health and transportation; conference speakers explored those connections, with an emphasis on their impacts on underserved communities of color. This equity/transportation/health dialog was then tied into calls for action on local, state and federal campaigns.

After an introduction from CPEHN’s Ruben Cantu, speakers got underway with a presentation from TransForm‘s Stuart Cohen. TransForm is the kind of San Francisco Bay Area group that Los Angeles’ livability advocates should be jealous of – and should emulate. TransForm advocates for transit, walking, biking – focusing from local to regional to statewide. Cohen outlined trasportation/health connections, including somewhat familiar statistics: rising rates of obesity nationwide, declining rates of walking and biking to school. And some not as familiar: inadequate transit as a healthcare access issue (folks miss their clinic appointments when it’s difficult to walk or take transit to get there – more info here.)

Cohen expressed optimism over current initiatives from the Great Communities Collaborative to SB375 (CA’s greenhouse gas legislation), but stressed that strong coalitions, centered on health and equity, will be critical to success. Cohen also stressed that respected health professionals can be key in selling livability: when an environmentalist testifies about greenhouse gases, it’s generally not as effective as when a physician or nurse testifies about childhood obesity.

Next was a “panel of fierce women” (Ohland’s description) featuring Los Angeles based efforts toward transportation, equity and health – all of which have been covered at L.A. Streetsblog. Panelists included:

  • Allison Mannos of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition – presenting on multiple bike advocacy campaigns, emphasizing the coalition’s innovative award-winning City of Lights program that organizes immigrant day-laborer cyclists, and how that program dovetailed with campaigns for planning and prioritizing bike facilities in Los Angeles’ immigrant neighborhoods.
  • SunYoung Yang of the Bus Riders Union – presenting on BRU’s organizing successes in preserving and enhancing Metro clean-fuel bus service, and further campaigns for Bus-Only Lanes, Clean Air, and Climate Justice.
  • Jocelyn Vivar Ramirez of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (and the L.A. Streetsblog board of directors) – presenting on EYCEJ’s coalition and community organizing work to combat the community impacts from international goods movement: from port pollution to 710 Freeway expansion to unsafe eastside streets.
  • Gloria Ohland of Move L.A. (and occasional L.A. Streetsblog writer) – presenting on Move L.A.’s support of bus and rail and complete streets and complete neighborhoods.
A fierce panel: Ohland, Vivar-Ramirez, Mannos and Yang. Photo: Joe Linton

Break-out sessions followed, with a focus on how health, equity and transportation issues can inform legislative campaigns, including these current State Assembly bills:

  • AB 441 (ensuring that health and equity are part of planning developent decisions)
  • AB516 (ensuring state Safe Routes to School grants prioritize disadvantaged communities)

Conference details, including presentations, are available on-line at the CPEHN website.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Schwarzenegger Proposes Making the 405 a Double Decker Freeway

|
To the casual observer, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seems like an environmental crusader.  He signs anti-sprawl legislation, he sues the federal government over emission standards for automobiles, he flies around the world to attend greenhouse gas conferences. But to those of us that live here and have been working to clean and green our transportation system; […]

Some Highlights From Yesterday’s Live Ride Share Conference

|
Yesterday Transit Center, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), Move L.A., and the Shared Use Mobility Center, joined forces with two dozen other organizations and businesses to host Live Ride Share. The conference was billed as the “first to focus on shared mobility in Southern California [and] highlighted […]

2015 CA State Budget: for Transportation, More of the Same

|
Governor Jerry Brown released his preliminary budget proposal [PDF] today in Sacramento, missing the opportunity to articulate the connection between spending on roads and meeting the climate change goals he proposed Monday in his inaugural speech. The draft budget holds no huge surprises for sustainable transportation advocates. It mostly follows last year’s budget for transportation spending. […]

L.A. and San Bernardino Inter-County Transit/Rail Planning Meetings Kick Off

|
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is seeking to develop a comprehensive overview of potential transportation and rail improvement options in the corridor bridging L.A. Counties and San Bernardino counties. Los Angeles and San Bernardino inter-county cooperation could expand transit access to cities near the county border. A number of significant inter-county transportation projects are […]

Good-bye #RoadBond, Hello #RoadandSidewalkTax

|
Sustainable transportation advocates from all parts of the city have weighed in on a draft proposal to repair large parts of the city’s road and sidewalk infrastructure through a fifteen-year half-cent sales tax increase. While they pretty much agree that the current proposal is better than previous ones, “better” still isn’t good enough, especially when […]