Spotlight on the San Gabriel Valley: The Extension of the Foothill Gold Line to the San Bernardino County Line
We are moving on from our 3-part "Spotlight" series on possible transit corridor projects in the San Fernando Valley and focusing on the San Gabriel Valley, where a number of projects are also being proposed for a new sales tax measure, including a Foothill Gold Line extension to Claremont, upgrades to two Metrolink lines, and to arterials that could become Grand Boulevards:
The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments supports the idea of extending the Foothill Gold Line from Azusa (the extension to Azusa opens next year) to Claremont. We agree that a rail line that traverses the San Gabriel Valley with a connection into Union Station in downtown LA increases the draw of all the stations along the line because it improves access to destinations all along the line, providing ever more compelling reasons to locate development there.Read more
Why is affordable housing near transit important? Why not just build lots of housing and let the market decide? Move LA's Beth Steckler and Enterprise Community Partner's Jeff Schaffer answer these and other questions in an interview on Streetsblog about a relatively new collaboration among nonprofit organizations and funders called LA THRIVES, of which Move LA is a Steering Committee member. BTW the answer is: "It’s important to have affordable rents near stations because most transit riders are low income – three quarters with incomes below $25K. If we ignore this reality we risk two things: huge social disruption in 'hot markets' as people lose their homes and, pushing our riders away from the very transit they are using. . . Read the rest of the answer and the entire interview on Streetsblog. Visit the LA THRIVES "All in LA" blog for more on these issues.
At Move LA’s 7th Annual Transportation Conversation 3 weeks ago LA Mayor Eric Garcetti talked at some length about LA’s transformation into an example of what a new American city looks like — that we are building the “first truly modern city in the world” — and that the build-out of LA’s transit system has been a powerful lever for making people think differently about LA. New Metro CEO Phillip Washington, who assumed his post today, says the same thing about Denver, the metro region he hails from, which like Los Angeles passed a sales tax measure that is paying for the build-out of the transit system.Read more
Our take: This is really encouraging news! But the polling that's really going to drive a decision to go forward will be done next spring.
"The poll asked respondents whether they would approve a proposed ballot measure that would go before voters in 2016," writes Laura Nelson. "The measure would seek to raise the overall sales tax rate to 9.5%, and it would extend Measure R, a half-cent tax approved by voters in 2008, beyond its current 2039 expiration date."
The so-called augment and extend taxation structure would have the potential to reshape transportation in Los Angeles County.Read more
At our 7th Annual Transportation Conversation we honored Zev Yaroslavsky, Art Leahy, Richard Katz, Pam O'Connor, Bonnie Lowenthal and Antonio Villaraigosa — all of them stars!Read more
(Graphic is from Metro's First-Last-Mile Strategic Plan.) Jonathan Parfrey and Climate Resolve hosted 48 environmental organizations this week in a big discussion about the possibility of putting another sales tax measure on the ballot in 2016 (we call this Measure R2; previously the Measure R sales tax for transportation was passed in 2008). The conversation among about 100 people was held at the Community Health Councils office in South LA on Monday, and also included Metro Interim CEO Stephanie Wiggins and government relations staff, city staff, and staff for several elected officials.Read more
This was the reaction of one conference attendee, Matthew Sharp, senior policy director at the Goldhirsh Foundation:
“The conference was surreal. Every hour included more and more voices from distinct perspectives and communities and zip codes. The thoroughness of the coalition-building and the underlying relationship-building work you have done exceeds the norms for coalitions . . . The speakers covered every potential angle. Your playbook and execution implements the best lessons of political science and movement building.”
Legislation introduced by California Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) would reduce the voter threshold for approval of local tax measures for transportation from 66.6% to 55% and make the change effective immediately for other measures on the ballot. We urge you to call or write him to express your support for this bill — ACA 4!Read more
April 22 was a big day for Move LA at Union Station — the Cathedral of Public Transportation — with a big crowd, big panels and a big, aspirational conversation about what LA County can be. See Ted Soqui's photos on our flickr page. (Click on the photos to see a caption explaining who is who.)
If anyone had doubts that LA has a resounding interest in transit, 2015 is the year that will dispel even the mostly staunchly held ones. Earlier this year the Live Ride Share conference Move LA staged with partners trended briefly on Twitter in LA the day after the Academy Awards. And this week Move LA's 7th Annual Transportation Conversation — about what the proposed Measure R2 ballot proposition could fund — trended locally on Twitter for several hours. We hope you enjoyed the event. But if you weren't there, our Storify recap — tweet by tweet — may be the next best thing.Read more