Diesel exhaust is our No. 1 environmental justice challenge in Southern California, and the low-income communities of color living along Southern California's heavily trafficked goods movement corridors are the most heavily exposed. These “diesel death zones”—along the I-710 and 60 freeway corridors, for example—are unhealthy places in which to live, work and play, and we must address this inequity.
During his election campaign Governor-elect Gavin Newsom declared that he would seek an end to diesel emissions in California by 2030 through the deployment of cleaner technologies and cleaner cars and trucks. This is a public health and environmental justice IMPERATIVE, and it is the core objective of our Vision 2020 plan, because:
- California has declared diesel exhaust a toxic air contaminant and a primary cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking.
- Long-term exposure to diesel exhaust increases the risk of lung cancer. More.
- Diesel particle levels in California's air could cause 540 "excess" cancers (beyond the number that would occur if there were no diesel particles in the air) in a population of 1 million people over a 70-year lifespan.
- Numerous studies have linked elevated particle levels in the air to increased hospital admissions, emergency room visits, asthma attacks and premature deaths among those suffering from respiratory problems.
- Exposure to diesel exhaust can have immediate health effects: It can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and can cause coughs, headaches, light-headedness and nausea.
- Diesel pollutants are known to reduce lung capacity, increase risk for asthma, reduce IQs, and even cause aggressive behaviors in youth.
Read more about our Vision 2020 plan HERE.
We believe that in order to meet California's climate goals we must build transit ridership, and that a discounted student transit pass program for all public college and university students statewide is key to growing ridership: These are student riders are especially important because they may start making decisions about where to live and work based on whether there's transit nearby—they may even develop a life-long transit habit—and this is a program that would also reduce the cost of getting an education for both student riders and for schools.
Renown UCLA Professor Donald Shoup and other UCLA researchers published a landmark study of 35 universal student transit pass programs around the US in 2001 finding, among other things, that these programs increased transit ridership from 71% to 200%, and reduced the cost of going to school by $2,000/year since students didn’t have to own a car (these costs are probably much higher now).
Professor Shoup has supported our efforts to get the California Legislature to create a statewide transit pass program, pointing out in one letter that "UCLA established a university transit pass program, BruinGO, in Fall 2000. Bus ridership for commuting to campus in increased by 56% during BruinGO’s first year, and solo driving fell by 20%.
"Three years of commuting data showed the surprisingly high cost-effectiveness of BruinGO. During its first year, BruinGO cost only $810,000, and the drive-alone share for commuting to campus declined by 4.1%. Three years after BruinGO began, UCLA opened a new $47 million parking structure, and the drive-alone share increased by 4 percentage points. Offering fare-free public transit to reduce parking demand was far cheaper than spending $47 million to add 1,500 new parking spaces. (Italics are Move LA's.)
We believe that our new governor will support a statewide student transit pass program unlike his predecessor, who had other priorities. We will keep you updated on our progress! Read more about our student transit pass strategy HERE.
Welcome 2019! Bring it on! We've begun the New Year by moving from our previous home in the MALDEF building on Spring Street and 7th into a shared office space at the LA Clean Tech Incubator in the Arts District, where we're planning for a year of transformational opportunity—beginning with our Vision 2020 plan to help Southern California dump diesel, conquer climate change, and become a model for the world!
It's been a good decade for Move LA and our ever-expanding coalition of civic and community leaders. We made a real impact teeing up Measures R (2008) and M (2016) to provide $160 billion for transportation (70% for transit) in LA County. Then we played a significant role in winning votes for Measure H (2017) to help end homelessness in LA County) and in protecting $5 billion/year in statewide transportation funding (2018)—voters in LA County rejected Prop 6 by the largest margin, 60.05% to 39.95%, compared to 55% to 45% statewide!
Can we top that? That's our goal! On our 2019 to-do list:
- Convince our new governor to sign a bill creating a statewide universal discounted student transit pass program to increase transit ridership and help reduce the cost of an education.
- Make it easier to approve tax increment financing districts so Sen. Allen’s SB 961, which we sponsored and which was signed by Gov. Brown last year, can make it possible for more transit riders to live near transit in mixed-income, mixed-use, green and leafy neighborhoods. (SB 961 would create a TIF dedicating 40% for affordable housing, 10% for urban greening, and 50% for transit capital projects and other neighborhood improvements.)
- Launch our campaign to dump diesel and conquer climate change! Bold, right?! We’re building a 4-county coalition to work with the South Coast Air Quality Management District on a regional ballot measure to 1) reduce GHGs by accelerating the deployment of clean technologies and vehicles 2) expand and electrify Metrolink 3) finally meet Clean Air Act standards (for the first time. The result will be an expanding market for clean cars and trucks that will bring the price and GHG emissions down.
As you know, we believe that fortune favors the bold. Join us in 2019!
Californians have rejected Proposition 6, the effort to repeal SB-1 and eliminate $5 billion/year for badly needed transportation repairs and improvements—a major victory for transportation advocacy in California! And voters in LA County rejected Prop 6 by an even larger margin, 60.05% to 39.95% with all precincts reporting, compared to 55% to 45% statewide!
THANK YOU LA COUNTY VOTERS! And look forward to smoother roads, more bike lanes, better sidewalks, and the acceleration of transit projects—to be completed before the 2028 Olympics!—including the Airport Metro Connector, the East San Fernando Valley light rail line, the West Santa Ana light rail line to Artesia, bus rapid transit from the San Fernando Valley to the San Gabriel Valley, and extensions of the Green Line to Torrance and the Foothill Gold Line to Montclair.
Business, labor, cities, elected officials, enviros and community organizations staged an impressive show of force last Tuesday at the Red Line station in North Hollywood, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as host of the show, and everyone in agreement that Californians must VOTE NO on Prop 6!
"This is the most important election of your life—which I can say with credibility since I'm not on the ballot!" said Garcetti. "It's important because of national and local issues and because if there's one thing that Californians want it's to fix our roads. We want a guarantee that transportation and traffic will be addressed. And if Prop 6 passes 900 road projects will hit the brakes. You get what you pay for so vote NO on Prop 6!"
The LA Times said this in their editorial urging a no vote: "It's hard to overstate how destructive Proposition 6 would be for California. Vote no." Then long-time LA Times political columnist George Skelton said it again a few weeks later: "California needs to fix its crumbling roads. There’s a massive $130-billion backlog in maintenance," he wrote. "This has to be paid for by motorists."
So just to be clear: Prop 6 would jeopardize public safety by eliminating funding for 6,500 transportation repair and improvement projects now underway across the state. This would eliminate thousands of jobs, which would hurt the economy. It's opposed by firefighters, highway patrolmen, engineers, and organizations representing cities, counties, public interests, public health, seniors, environmentalists, social justice advocates, education, faith-based interests, business, labor, and transportation/infrastructure—like us at Move LA.
Take our word for it: ENDORSE NO ON PROP 6 HERE AND VOTE NO ON TUESDAY!
The newest issue of the Planning Report discusses the looming crisis in the condition of California's transportation infrastructure and the backlog of an estimated $130 billion in repairs—nearly the equivalent of the state's entire General Fund! Deteriorating roads and bridges pose a significant risk to all who use them, and cost drivers more than an average of $700/year in vehicle repairs.
Then there are the less obvious costs: "A well-maintained transportation infrastructure is fundamental to a thriving economy," Denny Zane told the Planning Report, adding that "Properly maintaining our highway system is far less expensive than having to replace it in the future." Read more in the Planning Report HERE.
Prop 6 would repeal SB-1, a bill written with input from business, labor, and local government leaders that won a 2/3 vote in the Legislature before being signed into law last year. LA County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO President Rusty Hicks notes that we're only just beginning to see the benefits, which will include "more good jobs for working people and a stronger economy for us all." He adds that since Prop 6 was put on the ballot the coalition defending it has grown quickly, noting: "Solutions to our region's biggest problems are often found in coalition with the unlikeliest of partners . . . and [the No on Prop 6 coalition] has grown in breadth and depth. Environmental organizations and civil rights leaders, pubic safety officials and public interest groups, senior organizations and leaders in public health—they all opposed Proposition 6."
JOIN THIS VERY BIG COALITION AND ENDORSE NO ON PROP 6 HERE! See the 600+ coalition members HERE.
About 15% of SB-1 funding will be spent each year on transit projects and active transportation, and LA Metro intends to spend this transit funding accelerating construction of the Airport Metro Connector, the East San Fernando Valley light rail line, the West Santa Ana light rail line to Artesia, bus rapid transit from the San Fernando Valley to the San Gabriel Valley, and extending the Green Line to Torrance and the Foothill Gold Line to Montclair.
Concluded Denny: "SB 1 is the perfect complement to Measures R and M—both approved by LA County voters by more than a 2/3 vote . . . While SB 1 also provides significant funding to accelerate completion of our transit priorities, its primary function is to do for our deteriorated roads, streets, highways and bridges what R and M are doing for our transit systems. If Prop 6 is defeated, and these investments continue, it will be a pretty remarkable time to be living in LA County."
Today Governor Brown signed Sen. Ben Allen's SB 961, sponsored by Move LA, allowing local governments to create enhanced infrastructure finance districts (EIFDs) near high-frequency bus and rail corridors and in the half-mile radius around stations—with 40% of the tax increment going to affordable housing, 10% to urban greening and active transportation, and the remaining 50% for transit capital projects and other neighborhood improvements. We believe this bill, the “Second Neighborhood In ll Finance and Transit Improvements Act” or NIFTI-2, can become an important funding source to improve neighborhoods near transit and make them affordable and attractive places where people will want to live and investors want to invest.
Prioritizing construction of this housing near transit for low- and very-low-income residents and people who are homeless is appropriate given the shortage of affordable housing in our communities and the recognition that low-income residents are far more likely to become frequent transit users. The remainder of the tax increment can also make these new and improved neighborhoods more transit-oriented and should include bus rapid transit, shaded bus stops, bike lanes, better and wider sidewalks, and/or new rail stations that can serve as an anchor for activity and development and provide a source of neighborhood vitality.
California needs to recognize that these investments can encourage community development along many of the underutilized commercial corridors that thread through California’s towns and cities, and which are often served by high-frequency transit. These corridors typically fall below the radar of housing developers and might not attract any development at all if investments are not made to show off their potential as transit-oriented neighborhoods that are mixed-income and mixed-use. Such corridors can be especially signi cant opportunities if a transit operator develops high-frequency BRT service there.
Including both affordable and market-rate housing to achieve a mix of incomes is essential to this “community-redevelopment-type” strategy. Market rate housing will help ensure that the tax increment increases so that it can be bonded against to generate the funding that’s needed to make the improvements and to support the develop- ment of local retail and services.
SB 961’s proposal allows bonding against the tax increment in NIFTI-2 districts without voter approval, though, like the CRIA program signed into law in 2016, SB 961 creates a community petition process that can trigger such a public vote. Bonding against the increment is an essential element of any EIFD program because it enables near-term investment in neighborhood improvements, thereby helping to attract developer interest in places that may otherwise not appear to be welcoming investment.
We'd like to thank all those who signed on to our letters of support: Cesar Diaz - State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, Ron Miller - Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council, Stephanie Wang - California Housing Partnership Corporation, Andrew Gross - Thomas Safran Associates, Carter Rubin - National Resources Defense Council, Alan Greenlee - Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, Brian Augusta California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Tracy Hernandez - Los Angeles County Business Federation, Bryn Lindblad - Climate Resolve, Bill Magavern Coalition for Clean Air, Hilary Norton Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic, Larry Gross Coalition for Economic Survival, Michael Dieden - Creative Housing Associates, Lisa Hershey - Housing California, Patricia Hoffman - Santa Monicans For Renters Rights, Tony Salazar - McCormack Baron Salazar, William Allen - Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Anya Lawler - Western Center on Law and Poverty, Josh Stark- Transform, Will Wright - American Institute of Architects – Los Angeles, Chuck Mills - California ReLeaf
As a transportation advocacy organization, we strive to create safe, healthy, walkable, bikeable, and welcoming urban environments. We also encourage the use of public transportation in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and criteria air pollutants that impact our environment and air quality.
New mobility modes like electric scooters and electric bikes can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and improve mobility for those with very limited options if they are guided by a strong commitment to supporting equity and existing public transit. Private companies operating shared, electric, and accessible mobility devices can and should be integrated with and complement public transit, promote the most sustainable and affordable modes, improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, and ensure universal access and choice.
We want municipalities to embrace these new modes of mobility as we expand our transportation system and address first/last mile issues. But let's do it right.
We have joined up with transportation, environmental, and equity groups to embrace certain principles that we are advocating for cities to adopt when they develop ordinances and pilot programs.
Here are some principles, built on the foundational Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, that we believe are necessary when allowing electric scooters, e-bikes, and electric bicycles to operate in the public right of way for any first/last mile solutions:
- Enable mobility services that are shared, electric and accessible, integrated with and complementing public transit.
- Prioritize reducing car ownership, vehicle miles traveled, emissions and traffic by including non-vehicular modes in mobile apps and encouraging multi-modal, shared-ride, and public options for mobility.
- Focus on equity by ensuring services are accessible for families, people with disabilities, communities of color, low-income communities, older adults, people with language barriers, and others with special needs.
- Commit to geographic, socio-economic and racial equity to ensure that all residents have access to these mobility options, particularly those in transit poor neighborhoods.
- Commit to the safety of users and the public as a whole, by working with users to obey all applicable State laws and City ordinances, including minimum age limits, and by working to ensure that devices don’t block sidewalks, curb ramps, ADA access, and doorways.
- Conduct outreach and user education around safe operating speeds and tips for sharing the public right of way to ensure public safety and reduce information barriers. Use operations fees to fund outreach and education, and partner with community based organizations to conduct such activities when feasible.
- Support complete streets and Vision Zero policies that prioritize safe and efficient use of street space. Work to create drop zones for dockless devices either by reimagining curbside parking for more than just automobiles or by establishing bike corral and dockless parking areas in “furniture zones” (the section of sidewalk between the curb and the pedestrian) where street furniture, lighting, benches, utility poles, tree pits, bicycle/scooter racks can live, or similar strategies to ensure pedestrian safety.
- Require operators to provide durable products that are well-maintained and long-lasting, ensuring reliability of service and reducing negative environmental impacts.
- Use “geo-fencing” and shared mobility drop zones to cluster shared mobility with major transit stations and community destinations.
- Expand roadway infrastructure that supports safe walking, biking and scooting, such as protected bike lanes, on-street parking corrals, and high visibility crosswalks.
- Require operators to collect and share open data in standard formats to inform program evaluation and future planning.
- Protect against monopolistic business practices by ensuring competitive franchise arrangements so costs remain affordable.
Is your city considering a proposal on electric scooters and bicycles right now? Tell us about it!
SB 961, a bill authored by Senator Ben Allen and sponsored by Move LA, is on its way to the Governor’s desk! The bill would allow local governments to create specialized enhanced tax increment financing districts (EIFDs) near high-frequency bus and rail corridors—with 40% of the tax increment going to affordable housing and 10% to urban greening and active transportation. The remainder of the funds can be used for transit capital projects including stations and programs supporting transit ridership
The bill, called the “Second Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvements Act” or NIFTI-2, got off the Assembly floor with a 53-25 vote last week, and the Senate concurred 38-1 on amendments made in the Assembly. The bill language and more information on votes and its history is HERE and HERE.
We believe NIFTI-2 has the potential to become a bookend to the state Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program—allowing cities to leverage even more funding from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and helping to overcome the current barriers to implementation encountered by EIFDs.
Why EIFDs are important but so few have been created: Click to read more!