ACT-LA Coalition Calling on L.A. City for Equitable TOD Policies

The Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles rally at Grand Park yesterday. Photo by Laura Raymond ACT-LA
The Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles rally at Grand Park yesterday. Photo by Laura Raymond/ACT-LA

The Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles (ACT-LA)  hosted a rally to press for equitable and affordable Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in the city of L.A. The rally took place at Grand Park, directly across the street from City Hall. ACT-LA representatives made visits to Los Angeles City Councilmembers to encourage them to get the ball rolling on enacting new TOD policy.

Formed in 2011, ACT-LA is an alliance of more than 25 non-profit organizations working in the fields of affordable housing, economic development, environment, public health, social justice, and transportation. The full listing of ACT-LA member groups is available online; it includes many organizations Streetsblog readers may be familiar with: East L.A. Community Corporation (ELACC), Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), Little Tokyo Services Center, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Public Counsel, Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA), Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Pacoima Beautiful, Investing in Place, L.A. County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), and many others.

From the campaign website, ACT-LA’s goal is:

a citywide Transit-Oriented Development policy that:
– Prevents Displacement by ensuring a net gain of truly affordable housing in transit-oriented neighborhoods through enhanced incentives for affordable housing production and strengthened tools for affordable housing preservation;
– Increases Access to Jobs so residents of transit-oriented neighborhoods can live near their work;
– Preserves Community Assets and Culture;
– Promotes Healthy, Green, Walkable, and Bike-Friendly Neighborhoods; and
– Ensures Deep Civic Engagement of transit’s core riders and residents most vulnerable to potential displacement.

It is early in the campaign process, so there is no specific council motion or ordinance proposed.

In the past, there have been a few proposed TOD ordinances floated, but never adopted by the city. Mayor Villaraigosa issued a directive creating a Transit Corridors Cabinet to work on TOD planning and policy, but no broad and lasting policies emerged from it. The Planning Department has received Metro and county grants to do TOD planning along the Blue, Green, and Expo rail lines with little to no results in the way of adopted policies or plans. L.A. faces a housing affordability crisis, but efforts to foster density and affordability are sometimes stifled by various factors, from neighborhood resistance, to outdated plans, to a lack of resources. Meanwhile, Metro CEO Phil Washington has taken steps to align Metro policies and resources to foster development of Transit-Oriented Communities.

Will the stars align for ACT-LA’s campaign for equitable TOD? It will take a smart campaign and plenty of pressure and persistence to change L.A.’s outdated TOD policies. ACT-LA’s broad coalition of effective community groups is just what is needed to make this happen.

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