L.A. Complete Streets: Examples, Points and Council Motions

9 June 2009

This blog entry follows an earlier one which began to explore the possibilities for a Green L.A. Transportation Work Group campaign for a complete streets policy for the city of Los Angeles.  I recently spoke with Stefanie Seskin of the national Complete Streets Coalition and here are some of her recommendations for how to proceed in Los Angeles.

She recommended exemplary ordinances in the cities of Seattle, Washington and Orlando, Florida as potentially helping shape ours in Los Angeles.

The national coalition recommends ten specific points be included in the ordinance.  Per the national coalition, a good complete streets policy:

1. Includes a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets.
2. Specifies that ‘all users’ includes pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation passengers of all ages and abilities, as well as trucks, buses, and automobiles.
3. Encourages street connectivity and aims to create a comprehensive, integrated, connected network for all modes.
4. Is adoptable by all agencies to cover all roads.
5. Applies to both new and retrofit projects, including design, planning, maintenance, and operations, for the entire right of way.
6. Makes any exceptions specific and sets a clear procedure that requires high-level approval of exceptions.
7. Directs the use of the latest and best design standards while recognizing the need for flexibility in balancing user needs.
8. Directs that complete streets solutions compliment the context of the community.
9. Establishes performance standards with measurable outcomes.
10. Includes specific next steps for implementation of the policy.

Stefanie also alerted me to a local development that I wasn’t aware of.  There is actually already a Los Angeles City Council motion on complete streets – actually two.  Councilwoman Jan Perry put forth a motion CF 07-0002-S141 for the city to endorse the state Complete Streets legislation AB1358 (described in my earlier post.)  That motion is still pending, though it’s moot now because the state legislation already passed.

In December 2008, Councilmember Ed Reyes introduced a motion CF 08-3349, which was seconded by Councilmember Wendy Greuel.  CF 08-3349 calls for:

the Planning and Transportation Departments to prepare a report that delineates the City’s plan to implement AB1358

This motion is still pending, though the departments of Planning and Transportation issued a report on May 8th.  The report states that

a number of actions have already occurred and additional activities are underway that will facilitate the transformation of our roadways into “Complete Streets.”

The report continues by citing various plans that the city is working on.  I don’t think that any of these plans actually fulfill the Complete Streets mandate in the state legislation.  Most of these are a step in the right direction, for example: the Los Angeles River Improvement Overlay, the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan, Green Streets and Green Alleys, and the Downtown Street Standards.  Some are a bit more questionable as Complete Streets endeavors, including the Bike Plan,  the Transportation Strategic Plan and various Community Plan Updates.

Overall the report is rather frustrating to me, as Complete Streets legislation is meant to foster routine accomodation of all road users, while the city’s approach seems to be to a little bit here and there, while continuing its incomplete streets policy throughout most of the city.  The report should come before the city’s Planning and Land Use Management committee soon, and I expect that Green L.A. Transportation Work Group members will be there to make our positions known.

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2 Responses to “L.A. Complete Streets: Examples, Points and Council Motions”

  1. Joe Linton said

    City Council motion 08-3449 will be heard at the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee tomorrow – Tuesday June 16th at 2pm.

    Meeting agenda is here: http://lacity.org/clk/committeeagend/clkcommitteeagend2660808_06162009.pdf

  2. […] Linton, who wrote about this issue at the Green L.A. Transportation Working Group Blog, also testified that while it's great that the city is moving forward with a series of great pilot […]

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