The LA County Board of Supervisors took a bold step in addressing our crushing housing crisis last week: They approved a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl directing county staff to identify a permanent local source of county funding to build new apartments with affordable rents and to fund other ways of helping homeless and precariously housed residents. The goal is to immediately dedicate $20 million in new county funding, and increase the amount to $100 million each year within five years. More than 120 organizations — including business, health, religious, environmental, services, community and housing organizations — sent in 1,700 letters and postcards in support of this motion. (Photo: LA Times.)Read more
We are expanding LA County's transit system exponentially. Vote for Move LA's student transit pass proposal in the LA2050 Grants Challenge BEFORE NOON TUESDAY (11/3)—when the polls close—to dramatically expand student transit ridership by providing an "any line, any time" universal student transit pass program. UCLA researchers including Don Shoup have found these programs increase ridership 71%-200%. First we propose working with LA Metro and LA County's 21 community colleges and 400,000 students, then the CSUs, and then the UCs and private schools—to create the biggest student transit pass program in the US. Metro is studying the feasibility now and returns to the board with a report on Dec. 3! If you didn't vote above, vote here! Thank you so much!!
Guest blog from NRDC's Fernando Cazares: Growing up in South Central LA, I flashback to memories of taking the school bus at 6 a.m. for my 35-mile cross town ride and later walking to take the bus to my first post-college job. I was lucky that the 51 bus took me from my house to my job, all within a 5 minute walk. But I also remember my parents juggling to make a 2 hour cross town, 3 bus trip to and from their job. When we had the money, my father bought a used family van that gave us the chance to spend a Saturday or Sunday in Santa Monica or Venice beach or Griffith park. This greater access to recreation and job opportunities was also paired with hefty repair expenses and gas tabs given the gas guzzler van.Read more
When I look at the LA 2050 Challenge, I am so inspired by all the great work people are doing to make Los Angeles a better place. There are lots of great ideas that deserve support—check out the 300 proposals on view online!
We ask you to consider, of course, our proposal for "Universal Students Transit Passes" in the LEARN category. But don't stop there because you still have 4 more votes in other categories: CREATE, PLAY, LIVE, and CONNECT. Please check out the submissions from some of the organizations dedicated to making LA better.
CONNECT: LA Trade Tech's "South LA Transit Empowerment Zone: Slate Z"; LA Voice's "Turning Out Voters Through Local Relationships"; Live Ride Share's "Share South LA: Bringing Transportation Innovation to the Neighborhood"; CicLAvia's "The Route to LA's Future."
CREATE: LA Southwest College's "Innov-8: South LA's Silicon Valley"; LAANE's "Manufacturing Opportunities for Modern Day Rosies"; Local Initiatives Support Corporation's "Creating Culturally Vibrant Commercial Corridors in LA's Diverse Neighborhoods"; the Downtown Women's Center's "She's Got Skills: From Homelessness to Jobs."
LIVE: Climate Resolve's "Climate Ready Roofs"; SCOPE's "Communities Building Resilience: South LA"; Tree People's "Models of Mobilization;" Water LA's "Blue/Green Jobs for a Climate Resilient LA"; Climate Cents; Heal the Bay's "Dropping Knowledge Project: Building a Water-Literate Los Angeles."
PLAY: Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust's "Transforming Vacant Lots Into Neighborhood Assets"; Mayor Garcetti's "LA Great Streets Challenge: Making Streets Playful Public Places." Have fun getting inspired as you decide how to cast your 5 votes.
Voting ends Tues., Nov. 3 at noon. THANK YOU for considering Move LA in the LEARN category.
Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Joe Linton write an interesting blog on a recent USC study suggesting that when gas prices fall so does transit ridership. They quote LA Metro blogger Steve Hymon who writes that despite this finding, which is echoed by other studies, the American Public Transportation Association has been making the case that in places (like LA) that are expanding their transit systems this is no longer true. Newton and Linton point out that, nonetheless, ridership is dropping in LA County, and that some say this is because of new laws allowing undocumented residents to obtain drivers licenses. (We would add it has to do with the Great Recession and loss of jobs.) All in all an interesting read HERE.
Move LA ED Denny Zane helped develop Santa Monica College's "Any Line, Any Time" program in 2008 and a survey done last year shows that 45% of students now arrive on campus by bus! Here are the reasons you should vote HERE in LA2050's crowd-funding faceoff for our proposal to work on a countywide universal student transit pass program:
• Big increases in student transit ridership;
• Big reductions in traffic around colleges and universities;
• Students can save $2,000/year on cost of getting to school;
• Reduced GHG emissions and air pollution;
• Reduced demand for parking at/around schools so land can be used for educational purposes;
• Students can also take transit to work and all destinations;
• Students are incentivized to make decisions about where to live and work based on the proximity of transit;
• Students might become transit riders for life;
• Increased transit ridership makes LA even more likely to win federal transit funding;
• LA County builds a transit-responsive culture!
LA County is dramatically expanding its transit system BUT WHAT IF we also began a universal student transit pass program to help 700,000 community college and California State University students shift from cars to transit? Doubling student transit use would be like adding another Blue Line without any construction costs! PLEASE VOTE HERE to help Move LA win $100,000 to make students transit passes a reality across LA County.Read more
Move LA has long been interested in the idea of a countywide universal student pass program so students can ride "Any Line, Any Time" on LA Metro trains and all buses. Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane helped develop a similar and very successful program like this for students, faculty and staff at Santa Monica College with the Big Blue Bus in 2008 — now 40% of the college population arrives on campus by bus. Since schools are typically one of the biggest generators of traffic in a city, these transit pass programs are a big traffic reducer. A recent study by transportation consultants Nelson Nygaard found that of all the transportation improvements that could reduce traffic in the San Gabriel Valley—including completion of the 710 freeway through South Pasadena and Pasadena—providing all students in the Valley with student transit passes would have the biggest effect reducing traffic congestion: VOTE FOR OUR STUDENT TRANSIT PASS PROPOSAL TO THE GOLDHIRSH FOUNDATION HERE.Read more
LA is experiencing one the worst housing crises in our history, and the combination of rising rents and falling incomes is wreaking havoc on low-income people. In January, more than 15,000 families getting CalWORKs and 53,000 individuals getting General Relief were homeless — that’s more homeless people in the county than the entire population of Inglewood, or Burbank, or Santa Monica. LA County has the highest poverty rate in California at 26%, according to the Public Policy Institute of California), and incomes and rents are so out of whack that we have a shortage of over a half million affordable rentals, just in LA County. And 3 out of 4 Metro riders have incomes of less than $25,000/year.Read more
Spent Friday evening with a friend and we started pulling up videos about Los Angeles and then reminiscing about “The Californians,” that soap opera parody in 3 acts with Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, all in blonde wigs. (And photographed here with Mick Jagger in pink.) These friends are enmeshed in a melodrama in which much of the dialogue consists of descriptions of the routes they advise taking to get around traffic in the city, always using a definite article to precede freeways — as in “the 405,” “the 10,” etc. — described in Wikipedia as “characteristic of Southern California English.”Read more