Please attend tomorrow’s Green L.A. Transportation Work Group meeting: Tuesday February 9th 2010 from 2-4pm at the offices of the Coalition for Clean Air.  Address is 811 West 7th Street, Ste. 1100, Downtown L.A. 90017. It’s located on the north side of 7th Street between Figueroa and Flower – directly above the 7th Street Metro Station where the Metro Blue Line and Red Line intersect.

DRAFT AGENDA

1) Intro (10min)
2) Updates and 1-sheet distribution (20 minutes)
-Wilshire Bus-Only Lane
-Measure R
-Living Streets
-Taxi Campaign
2) Meeting with Romel, Jaime de la Vega (February 26th)
3) Green LA Steering Committee Update
4) General Members Meeting Update
5) Invitation to DOT Surface Transportation Reauthorization Meeting
6) Announcements

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At the August 2009 Green L.A. Transportation Work Group meeting, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition‘s Alexis Lantz announced Park(ing) Day Los Angeles will take place on Friday September 18th. Park(ing) Day is an annual event spectacle where dozens of teams build temporary mini-parks in parking spaces all over the world. It’s a fun event, and also a good way to advance local dialogs on the lack of open space, the use of public space, the need for living streets, and the myriad of issues related to parking.

parking_day_72dpi

The above flier is available here, and lots more information at the Park(ing) Day L.A. website.

Today the city of Los Angeles’ Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee heard a report back on the Complete Streets Council Motion 08-3349. The motion (outlined in an earlier blog post here) instructs the city’s Planning and Transportation Departments (DCP and DOT respectively) to report on the city’s plans to implement last year’s state Complete Streets legislation.  The Green L.A. Trasnportation Working Group was well-represented as Dorothy Le (Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Planning and Policy Director) and I attended and testified.

City Planning's Urban Design Studio's excellent Downtown Design Guidelines

City Planning's Urban Design Studio's excellent Downtown Design Guidelines

The meeting was dominated by an item concerning hillsides, which brought out all sorts of homeowners from the San Fernando Valley.  When the complete streets item was heard, DCP’s Claire Bowen and Emily Gabel-Luddy presented.  Both of them are excellent planning staff who have lead important plans to make L.A. streets more livable.  Bowen has been the lead on citywide river plans, including the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan.  Gabel-Luddy heads up the Urban Design Studio, which produced the recently updated (and greatly improved) Downtown Streets Standards.

Councilmember Reyes stated his interest in “citywide” complete streets, and that he was interested in a presentation on this before the full council. Bowen stated that it’s a DCP priority to update the mobility element of the city’s general plan to include complete streets… but… it’s a budget issue.  DCP has requested this, but it hasn’t been funded.

Gabel-Luddy stated that the city has “been doing [complete streets] now” and went on to state examples that, to me, appear more exceptional than comprehensive.  She stated that the Downtown Street Standards were “a good precedent.”  Luddy called attention to a set of planning principles that will be heard by the City Planning Commission on June 25th.  She stated that it includes “great green streets” and support for bicyclists and pedestrians, and that when it passes it will amend the city’s General Plan framework.  Sounds good!  I think the proposal is this document (but I am not 100% sure.)

Dorothy Le commented that some of the city’s examples of complete street efforts were over-hyped in the DCP/DOT report, especially its characterization of the city’s Bike Plan which the report describes as “elevating Los Angeles into one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country.”  Le emphasized the need for routine accommodation for all users on all L.A. streets.

I commented that, though many of the pilot projects are excellent, they do not comply with the state legislation (AB 1358) mandate for “a balanced multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users… [including] bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities … pedestrians,  users of public transportation, and seniors.”  I also stressed that the city would need to update its car-centric street standards.

Councilmember Reyes expressed interest in what other cities had done tfor complete street guidelines and concluded that he would continue to receive updates on this from DCP and DOT.  I look forward to the complete streets presentation he stated was being planned for the full city council.

Here’s the text of letter that the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition brought to the Green L.A. Coalition Transportation Work Group for discussion and sign-ons.  The final letter below was sent to Mayor Villaraigosa on May 22nd.  At that time, the new city bike plan, which was slated for draft release in late 2008, had been stalled for half a year – in departmental review.  Advocate pressure has resulted in the city releasing its draft bike plan maps of bike facilities.  Though there’s plenty more to do as the maps appear less than adequate to green transportation advocates, the draft proposals are at least being aired with public discussion and input, which is a small victory that the Green L.A. Transportation Work Group played a role in.

May 22, 2009

The Honorable Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
200 North Spring Street, Room 303
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,

The undersigned are members of the Green LA Coalition Transportation Work Group. We write to urge you to prioritize the prompt release and approval of the new City of Los Angeles Bicycle Plan.

Los Angeles has some of highest levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, largely due to our excessive dependence on automobiles. Our children are facing problems of obesity. More people are developing asthma and heart conditions. The new city of Los Angeles Bicycle Plan offers L.A. an opportunity to improve many of our worst environmental and quality of life problems.

You are already well aware that bicycles are a very important piece of a broad green mobility agenda. We applaud your Plan on Energy and Environment and on Traffic and Transportation, and its focus on improving public health and increasing public transit use. Bicycling improves public health. Bikes also make public transit more effective. The number of people using a bicycle as a mode of transportation is steadily rising. It is an inexpensive transportation alternative accessible to all Angelenos, including many immigrants. By creating safer and more efficient ways to travel by bike, you will help get people out of their cars, and improve public health, air quality and transportation equity.

As you know, the departments of Planning and Transportation are in the process of updating the city’s Bicycle Plan. The new bicycle plan was due to be released in late 2008, but has been delayed. We urge you to prioritize the prompt release and approval of the new City of Los Angeles Bicycle Plan.

Please work with your planning and transportation staff to ensure that the new plan is a visionary one that will brings Los Angeles closer to your goal of becoming the greenest big city in the world. Let’s work together to approve the plan, so the city can be poised for capitalizing on implementation opportunities including this year’s federal transportation bill authorization and potential future federal economic stimulus.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Taylor
Work Group Coordinator, Green LA Coalition

Ron Milam 
BikeSage

Marlene Grossman

Colleen Callahan
Manager of Air Quality Policy & Advocacy, American Lung Association in California

Joe Linton
Program Associate, Urban and Environmental Policy Institute

Next week Green LA Coalition will be hosting a workshop on “The Federal Stimulus: What it Means for Los Angeles and the Environment”  It takes place on Friday April 3rd 2009 from 10am to 1:30pm at the Pacific Club, which is at 523 West 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles. NOTE VENUE CHANGED: Los Angeles Athletic Club – in the Ballroom – at 431 W. 7th Street, Downtown Los Angeles

Green LA Transportation Working Group participants, and other folks who work for/with environmental justice and environmental organizations are encouraged to attend.  RSVP required to szabanal [at] libertyhill.org

Here’s the flier:

stimulus

Here are speakers and organizations from the flier, so that they’ll be searchable:

Nancy Sutley, White House Counsel on Environmental Quality
V. Manual Perez, CA State Assemblymember
Jim Clarke, Federal Legislative Deputy, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Joseph Avila, L.A. Department of Water and Power
Jacqueline Waggoner, Enterprise Community Partners
Robert Garcia, The City Project
Randy Britt, L.A. Unified School District
Erin Steva, California Public Interest Research Group
Charlotte Hodde, Planning and Conservation League
Jane Paul, Green L.A. Coalition
Andy Lipkis, TreePeople