Streetsblog Transition Team: The First 100 Days

Garcetti layed out his own transportation agenda in our interview series during the primaries.

It’s been a busy week for Livable Streets Advocates. Last week saw the redesign of the Spring Street Green Buffered Bike Lane approved by the City Council. Then was CicLAvia outraged the residents, businesses and road users of Downtown Los Angeles. Later today, the Metro Board of Directors will go to war with itself over various budget issues, both present and future, that could impact the Crenshaw Line, the Wilshire BRT, the Gold Line Extension, the LAX Connector project, Expo Phase II, highway improvements in the South Bay and the I-405 widening.

Quite a swan song for Mayor Antonion Villaraigosa after eight years serving on the Board.

But the good news for incoming Mayor Eric Garcetti is that a lot of major decisions will be made before he takes office, somewhat absolving him of any fallout from what may come. Since it’s traditional for media to judge elected executives on their “First 100 Days” Streetsblog wants to help the incoming team by setting out five simple things that can be done in the first 100 days of Garcetti’s first four year term to continue the momentum towards livability set out by Villaraigosa.

1) Make good appointments for Deputy Mayor and LADOT General Manager

It’s no secret that Streetsblog and Livable Streets advocates have a far better relationship with  LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega than with his predecessors  Borja Leon has quietly impacted policy even though he’s hardly a household name.

De la Vega and Leon have been good, but many mayors wamt to bring in their own people. Any new appointments to these positions will be heavily scrutinized for signs of what is to come from the next four years. Putting the right people in the right jobs, or leaving the right people in the right jobs, is perhaps the most important thing a mayor can do in his first days in office.

2) Throw Cyclists a Bone after Spring Street Debacle

The “good news” from last week’s dissapointing setback on Spring Street is that the design approved by the City Council is quite a bit less expensive than the current design. Instead of a solid green bike lane, LADOT will stripe the borders of the lane green with the conflict zones filled in. If this design is really 25% as expensive as the old design, than the city should move quickly to paint four more bike lanes with the new design. If they want, we can make some suggestions.

3) Attend a Pedestrian Advisory Committee

For years, the city’s official advisory body for pedestrian issues has been chaired by Deborah Murphy. At times, Murphy was the only persona actually appointed by a Council Member anywhere. It was kind of depressing of the city, but Murphy toiled away anyway. Murphy was appointed by the Council Members from CD 13, including Eric Garcetti.

While Garcetti and Murphy may have kept the committee alive during leaner years, it now includes a handful of appointees besides Murphy; now is the time the new Mayor can really make an impression on how important making L.A.’s streets safer and more accommodating to pedestrians by showing up to one of the meetings himself.

4) Continue Occasionally Commuting by Bike and Transit

In 2008, City Hall added some basic amenities for bicycle commuters, after being pushed by Garcetti. The Council Member required all staffers to commute via foot, bike or transit at least once a week. This simple act informed the Council Member and his staff on transportation issues and led to some of the most progressive transportation policy offices in the Council.

Just because he’s been promoted by voters doesn’t mean he should do away with this tradition.

5) Present a Vision for Accelerating Measure R Projects

Outgoing mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a national brand for himself as the transit mayor with his 30/10 and America Fast Forward campaigns that would have led to more federal funding and loans for L.A.’s transit expansion plans. Just because Villaraigosa had only moderate success doesn’t mean he didn’t lay the groundwork for more success in the future.

Villaraigosa has, perhaps inadvertently  positioned Garcetti as a national spokesperson on transit issues at the federal level just by being Mayor of Los Angeles. Garcetti should use this positioning to advance our own transit projects. But to take that mantle, Garcetti needs to present his own transit vision beyond Measure R and what Villaraigosa has already laid out. The sooner he can do that, the better.

Do you have any transportation decisions or policies you think Mayor Garcetti needs to address on day 1? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.


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