(Photo of Del Mar Station in Pasadena, Moule & Polyzoides Architects and Urbanists.)
LA Metro’s just-released draft of the sales tax measure (read the plan here) is a mostly excellent first cut on an expenditure plan. We applaud what is a major commitment to building a world-class transit system, and to making improvements in all parts of the county. We believe this measure would be an economic engine, and that the transit expansion together with the increased connectivity to jobs, neighborhoods and other destinations will result in dramatic improvements in both service and ridership. Here is our first take on some changes we believe are critical to maximizing the benefits:
- Metro needs to demonstrate a stronger commitment to funding first-and-last-mile connections to and from stations, one of the best ways to reduce traffic;
- Older adults and people with disabilities need more funding for Access and other paratransit services—the number of older adults is expected to more than double to 36% of the population by 2050;
- The commitment to clean air should be significantly increased and include greater investments in zero- and near-zero technologies for both buses and trucks—diesel emissions remain our biggest air quality challenge;
- Metro needs to take more seriously the burdens created by rail construction in neighborhoods and address the displacement of residents and the disruption of businesses;
- Metro should augment services on the Metrolink commuter rail system to provide important regional connections, especially to airports.
Between now and June, when Metro will decide whether to put the measure on the November 2016 ballot, there will be many conversations about modifications like these. Stay tuned!