12 Reasons To Support The City Of LA's Mobility Plan


(Portland had a surfeit of parking in 1968, before the city chose to invest in more sustainable transportation. Photo: CafeUnknown.com.) LA has been slow to join the worldwide movement to re-orient streets away from cars and back towards people and community life by prioritizing the safety of all road users and emphasizing the public right to use what are undeniably public spaces. The City of LA's Mobility Element, up before the City Council Tuesday, maps out exactly this kind of overhaul of LA's outdated transportation priorities. Advocates had expected the plan to pass easily but its chances are now uncertain, following a story in the LA Times on Sunday that is causing some councilmembers to question the plan. These are the reasons we think the City Council should adopt it:

We believe this is an excellent plan because it:

  • Balances the needs of all road users, and not just those traveling by car;
  • Creates various networks (pedestrian, neighborhood, transit, bicycle, vehicle) to ensure that all users can get from here to there safely;
  • Prioritizes making streets safer for all users, so that people of all ages and abilities can feel comfortable walking and biking in their neighborhoods;
  • Prioritizes re-furbishing streets as attractive public spaces to help spur economic development;
  • Makes the best use of public resources by concentrating investments on projects that provide the most benefits for the greatest number of users;
  • Addresses the adverse health and environmental impacts of air pollution and climate change, and the question of how we can grow the city more sustainably -- by reducing air pollution, improving water quality and reducing theĀ  urban heat island effect by creating more permeable surfaces through the creation of "green streets";
  • Prioritizes investments in areas where car ownership rates are low or the number of bike and pedestrian collisions are high so as to serve the areas of greatest need;
  • Seeks to comply with the "Complete Streets Act" of 2008, which requires cities to consider the needs of all transportation users;
  • Aims to reduce the number of vehicles miles driven each year by 600 million miles -- which will help us attain the statewide goals of reducing GHG emissions 40% over 1990 levels by 2030 and to cut petroleum use by half. We will never succeed if cars remains the only viable way for Angelenos to get around;
  • Accommodates those who need to drive but also those who cannot drive or do not drive (including the burgeoning populations of downtowns);
  • Seeks to "right size" our streets so that we can "live within our means" instead of habitually widening roads to accommodate more cars;
  • Specifically addresses ways in which the city can complement the ambitious expansion of the rail system with first-last-mile connections that connect neighborhoods to stations.

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