Here’s the latest from Green L.A. Coalition’s directors. Congratulations to Stephanie Taylor, Green L.A.’s new Interim Managing Director! (links added by Joe Linton)

May 11, 2009

Dear Colleague,

We’re pleased to share some exciting news regarding the GREEN LA Coalition.

First, we’re moving. After four years of existence, GREEN LA has matured to stand on its own two feet. On June 1, GREEN LA will leave the Liberty Hill Foundation and become a project of Community Partners.  Also, our offices will be at the California Endowment building in downtown Los Angeles. At this new location GREEN LA will be able to better serve our constituent organizations – and be closer to LA City Hall.

Second, as you may already know, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa chose GREEN LA’s founding director, Jonathan Parfrey, to serve on the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. This prestigious appointment, a five-year term, is however subject to significant restrictions in how Jonathan is permitted to advocate on environmental matters at City Hall.

On April1, Jonathan transitioned from serving as director of the GREEN LA Coalition to become director of a new program, the GREEN LA Institute – where he will exclusively work on educational and networking services for LA’s environmental community. Please stay posted for upcoming workshops, trainings and tours organized by the GREEN LA Institute.

Also, as of April 1, Stephanie Taylor began serving as Interim Managing Director of the GREEN LA Coalition. Stephanie brings years of organizing experience, not just as GREEN LA’s workgroup coordinator, but also with the Verde Coalition, LA Neighborhood Land Trust, Central City Neighborhood Partners and Coalition LA.

The GREEN LA Coalition is especially grateful to Michele Prichard and Liberty Hill for its critical role in nurturing GREEN LA by providing fundraising, administrative and programmatic support during our founding years. Liberty Hill will continue its support with Michele’s service on the Steering Committee.  Michele will also continue to staff the Cumulative Impacts Work Group.

Last, we wish to thank the Steering Committee for their guidance in this smooth transition and their leadership in ensuring the next phase of GREEN LA builds on our success and propels our work even further.  We also are grateful to you for your on-going faith in our work.

Surely, we live in trying times. Yet, our issues – protecting the environment, environmental justice and green jobs – are seen as the salvation of the economy and the planet.

We look forward to our continued work together in coalition and as organizational partners to win meaningful change in Los Angeles.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Taylor, Managing Interim Director, GREEN LA Coalition
Jane Paul, Green Economy Coordinator, GREEN LA Coalition
Shalimar Zabanal, Program Associate, GREEN LA Coalition
Jonathan Parfrey, Director, GREEN LA Institute

Advertisements
Complete Streets image from New York (from L.A. StreetsBlog)

Complete Streets image from New York City (from L.A. StreetsBlog)

In late 2008, one of the priorities that the Green LA Transportation Working Group (GLATWG) identified was “complete streets.”  This blog entry is an attempt to draft what we might mean by complete streets, and what the policy implications/goals might be for complete streets for the city of Los Angeles.

What are Complete Streets?

Here’s a definition from the completestreets.org website (from the National Complete Streets Coalition):

“Complete Streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across a complete street.”

There are similar definitions on Wikipedia, and on websites of other non-profits that are campaigning for them – for example, the Iowa Bicycle CoalitionGood magazine recently ran this interactive photo-simulation that does a great job of showing the Complete Streets concept.

Many states, cities and other municipalities have adopted various versions of complete streets policies (see listing of examples here.)  Cities that have adopted policies include Santa Barbara, CA and Colorado Springs, CO.  Some cities, such as Austin, TX have various principles and guidelines for their policies. Recently Complete Streets policy has gone into effect in the states of Hawaii (where it was adopted legislatively as SB718), and Delaware (where it was implemented via executive order from governor.)

The state of California adopted Complete Streets policy in 2008.  California’s policy was adopted legislatively as AB1358, authored by then-Assemblymember Mark Leno of San Francisco.  The state bill (per this press release) requires:

“…cities and counties to include complete streets policies as part of their general plans so that roadways are designed to safely accommodate all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, children, older people, and disabled people, as well as motorists.”

The state mandate applies when a city updates its mobility/transportation element of its general plan.  The city of L.A. actually pretty good language in our General Plan Transportation Element.  Some examples from the existing city of Los Angeles transportation plan adopted in 1999:

“…reduction of vehicle trips, and through focusing growth in proximity to public transit.”
“Provide bicycle access in or near mixed use corridors, neighborhood districts, and community centers…”
“…maintain pedestrian-oriented environments…”

In my opinion, this plan language generally doesn’t get carried out when it comes to actual street design (with a few notable exceptions, for example the city Urban Design Studio’s Downtown Design Guidelines.)

Some of the language from governmental policies is a bit more formal, and allows a bit more wiggle room in its implementation.  For example, in the above-mentioned Delaware executive order, after stating that Delaware’s streets will accommodate all users, it goes on to qualify that:

“Ensure that any exemption to the Complete Streets Policy is specific and documented with supporting data that indicates the basis for the decision”

What would Complete Streets policy/outcome/goals look like for the city of Los Angeles? (ie: what are GLATWG’s goals for our complete streets campaign?)

This is where we need to hear from you.  GLATWG has suggested using complete streets as a way of framing our demands.  All of our campaigns – from bus-only lanes to parking reform to tracking modal share – can be seen as parts of a larger overall campaign.

Should GLATWG push for the city of Los Angeles to adopt an explicit Complete Streets policy?  Should it be done legislatively (via the City Council) or via executive order (via Mayor Villaraigosa)?  What should such a policy include?  How can we make it most effective?

If you have recommendations, ideas, examples, concerns, please add them to the comments on this post.  Please include links to sample policies, images, ideas, etc.  Thanks!

Notes taken by Stephanie Taylor.

Green LA Coalition Transportation Work Group Meeting 4/14/09
at Coalition for Clean Air – 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Notes

AGENDA

1. Work Plan – Identify benchmarks and timelines
2. City Budget
3. Mayor’s Meeting Review and Confirm Accomplishment & Ask
4. Presentation on Cicolvia
5. Updates/Report Back
1. Federal Stimulus
2. Federal Reauthorization
3. Metro Board – new members
4. Measure R – any immediate steps (?)
5. National Bike Summit

Work Plan

1) Complete Streets:

* Need to create a statement about Complete Streets to add to the blog.
Legal definition… state level, Caltrans Deputy Directives 64.
Also, add resources. – walkability checklist.

Action Items:
1. Joe will write a statement.  Complete Streets has all modes, cars, bikes, transit, ped… doesn’t favor one mode.
2. Jerard will send out email asking for photos with a blog link
3. Joe made a blog, we could post comment with links and do a flickr page.
4. Stephen Box will add legal definitions.   Add the Good magazine links.
Find any research on sidewalk standards.
5. Stephen Villavaso will send links on Austin Complete Streets.

2) Wilshire Bus Only Lane:

Ask the BRU – to see what the status is.  Follow their lead.  If we wanted to we could generate a list of possible good prospects for additional bus only lane.  The city of LA is doing this but reluctantly… if there was an outcry for more, maybe they’ll move quicker.

Action Item:
1. Joe will follow up with BRU to see if pressure points.

City Budget:

City of LA- budget comes out on Monday.  Facing $530 million deficit.

The bike and ped budget is a mystery.

If we had an ask: Don’t gut the bike and ped budget.

We could look it at the budget and analyze to try to influence the council to modify it for bike and ped projects.   Budget should be tied to a departmental strategic plan to establish priorities to hold them accountable and let departments be rewarded for performance.

Action items:
1) Take a look at Measure R with budget.
2) Stephanie will ask Jaime de la Vega about how the Measure R Local Return allocation will be decided.

Parking Ordinance:

* Do we want to get CRA support on the ordinance?  Look at downtown parking study.  Yes, we should meet with CRA.
* Would it revise traffic impact analysis?  No in transit rich places, have 20% excess parking.  The traffic impact analysis guides the …
* Parking update- The City of LA is attempting to sell their parking revenue for upfront money.  Chicago  sold their parking revenue for $500 million.  Not a good idea- it would privatize meter readers… bust union labor.    City gives up control and ability to use parking policy as a tool.
* Damien will write a blog about it tomorrow.
* The Mayor’s office was excited, but the council liked the revenue but had questions about control.  The mayor formed a task force.
* Budget gimmicks for one time borrowing is bad because it doesn’t address the structural problems.
* Push to have city to have a public private partnership template.
* The TOD Parking report will be done by April 30. Next step to shop it around to city council.

Measure R/Local Returns:

How other cities are using local returns (report from Tom Johnson):
* City of Bellflower-  Pacific Edison train tracks – put a bike path.    Used their Fed Stimulus.
* Long Beach – wants to spend $1 million on bike improvements – shared road, bike box- safe place to weight.
* Lakewood Blvd – Caltrans is responsible for its a highway.  So if want to make a bike lane, need to go with city.  City has to submit plan to Caltrans, but Caltrans hasn’t told them what to submit.
* A lot of cities haven’t figured out what to do with Local Return money.
* Increase connectivity to LA and other cities.

Action Item:
1. Set up a meeting with Rita Robinson as a new Metro board member.  First need to develop an ask.

Ciclovia Presentation:

Stephen Villavaso and Bobby Gadda of the LA Bicycle Coalition gave a presentation on the Ciclovia and LA’s effort (ClicLAvia).  Would like to pilot a Ciclavia in LA in the summer. Talking to Garcetti’s office about Hollywood Blvd.

www.ciclavia.wordpress.com

Action Items:
1) Raise awareness of the Ciclavia concept.  Share the link on facebook.
2) Send the link to the workgroup
3) When the right time, the group can write a support letter.

Transportation Work Group
5/12/09
Coalition for Clean Air
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

AGENDA

1. Work Plan – Complete and Develop Campaign strategy

2. Mayor’s Meeting Review and Confirm Accomplishment & Ask

3. Bicycle Coalition Sign-On Letter to Mayor regarding Bike Plan

3. Updates/Report Back
1. Federal Stimulus
2. Federal Reauthorization
3. LRTP – before Metro in May

4. Announcements

5. Next meeting – Tuesday, June 9