The combined cost of housing and transportation consumes 40% of a household budget nationally, and more than 53% in Los Angeles. There's more information about the LAP here.
These challenges – and the opportunities to address them – are laid out in the California Community Foundation-commissioned Los Angeles Equity Atlas, just completed by the national nonprofit Reconnecting America and released last week. The Equity Atlas, available here, is intended to help government agencies and advocates assess the impact of the unprecedented expansion of LA County’s transit system. In particular, it establishes a baseline for measuring outcomes on all Angelenos, especially those who are disadvantaged and could be pushed out of the neighborhoods where they now live if gentrification occurs.
The equity atlas literally maps opportunities and areas of concern, overlaying the transit network with job locations, average commute times, housing options, schools, bike paths and local businesses. It shows, for example, that today there are about 763,000 LA County residents living within walking distance of transit, a number that will nearly double to more than 1.4 million when the Measure-R sales-tax-funded system is built-out. The number of jobs near transit will also more than double to nearly 1.5 million.
CCF'S ANN SEWILL SUGGESTS NEXT STEPS
At the release of the atlas at the California Community Foundation (CCF) last Tuesday, a panel discussed the ways it could be put to work, and the discussion ranged from the need to preserve and plan for more affordable housing near transit to the need to locate jobs and job training near transit as well, and the importance of making stations accessible by foot and by bike. CCF Housing and Economic Development VP Ann Sewill summed the discussion up with an idea for each panelist about how they could put the equity atlas to work:
· LA City Attorney Mike Feuer: Enforce the city’s rent stabilization ordinance.
· LA Metro Chief Planning Officer Martha Welborne: Award Metro planning grants to cities that have plans that consider equity and the impacts on the low-income people who are most likely to be transit riders, walkers, or bike riders.
· LA Business Council President Mary Leslie: Start work on another $100 million housing bond campaign (the 2008 housing bond championed by LABC and others narrowly lost).
· California Endowment Program Manager Craig Martinez: Help bring in more funders to support this work.
· Little Tokyo Services Center CDC Executive Director Dean Matsubayashi: Organize the organizers.
· LA Mayor Garcetti’s Associate Director of City Services Marcel Porras: Make sure equity is something considered in the mayor’s Great Streets program.
P.S. GET TO KNOW YOUR CITY BETTER: ATLAS FULL OF INTRIGUING FACTS
· 90% of transit commuters earn less than $50,000/year; 70% earn less than $25,000.
· LA residents spend nearly a quarter of their incomes on transportation.
· By 2035 LA County will need 250,000 new homes for low-income HHs and 100,000 for moderate-income HHs. Only 7,500 residential units were built for low and moderate income HHs from 2006 to 2012, while 34,200 were built for higher income HHs.
· 14,000 rental units in the city were demolished or converted to condominiums between 2001 and 2007.
· Between 2000 and 2010 79% of all housing was built near current or future transit areas.
· 52% of commute times on transit (mostly trips by low-income workers) take more than 45 minutes, compared to 21% of commutes overall.
· Transit commuters are 4 times more likely than drivers to walk the recommended daily 10,000 steps.
· Children living within a quarter mile of a freeway have an 89% higher risk of asthma than children living a mile away.
· Neighborhoods within walking distance of transit have less than half the average park acreage than in the region at large.
(Photos from CCF. Equity Atlas release event at CCF. Panel members in same order as in the bullet points above. Ann Sewill.)
U.S. Department of Labor Moves to Certify Over $260 Million in Metro Grants
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) moved to certify eight federal grants, valued at over $260 million, that were designated for our agency earlier this year. The grants were not certified by the DOL earlier this year because of the PEPRA/13C issue, which effectively froze our agency’s receipt of federal grants until the California State Legislature and Governor Brown moved to enact AB1222 into law. Among the federal grants certified by the DOL are funds for bus and rail preventive maintenance, bus acquisition and funds for an underground pedestrian passage between the Metro Orange Line and Red Line. With DOL’s certification of these grants, the Federal Transit Administration may now move to formally award these funds to our agency. I would like to extend my appreciation to the Metro Board, Governor Brown, members of the Los Angeles County Congressional and State Legislative Delegations, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and senior officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation and Labor, for working cooperatively with our agency to favorably resolve the PEPRA/13C issue.
1) Downtown LA = score of 93
2) Chinatown = 91
3) Koreatown = 90
4) Pico-Union = 90
5) Mid-City West = 88
6) Harvard Heights = 86
7) Pico/Robertson = 86
8) Westlake = 86
9) Hollywood = 86
10) Sawtelle = 85
Bike score is still at 54. Transit at 49.
Read more. But also, the press release notes:
• Between 2001 and 2009, the average annual number of vehicle-miles traveled by young people (16 to 34 year-olds) declined 23 percent.
• The average American spends $9,000+ per year on their car, making cars the second largest expense for most households — more than food, clothing and health care.
• The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 8 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.
Railvolution is this country’s premier conference on “building livable communities with transit” and it's in downtown Seattle this year from Oct. 20-23. Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane and Policy and Communications Director Gloria Ohland will stage a “talk show” on the lessons learned about winning — and losing — transit funding initiatives, which are helping to fund the metropolitan revolution that Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley write about in: The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy. The panel is entitled “Friends of Transit” Winners and the Rest,” on Monday at 10 a.m. Denny is the talk show host, and guests include:
• Mark Sharpe, Hillsborough County, FL, Commissioner
• Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County, MN, Commissioner
• Bob Murphy, Mayor of Lakewood, CO
• Lane Beattie, CEO of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce
• Jason Jordan, Executive Director, Center for Transportation Excellence
• Carolyn Flowers, General Manager of Charlotte Area Transit System
• David Yale, Executive Officer in LA Metro’s Countywide Planning and Development Department
• Rob Johnson, Transportation Choices Coalition, Seattle
Monday afternoon Denny is on a panel to discuss the roles of community-based organizations in shaping transit-oriented development, as well as in building support for transit funding and financing initiatives. Denny will discuss “Innovative Federal Financing Leveraging Local Resources and Partnerships.” The panel, named “The Many Faces of Advocacy,” is Monday at 2 p.m.
On Tuesday Gloria moderates a panel on how demographics are changing the way we build transit and neighborhoods around stations, which includes a case study of Boston's Green Line extension through neighborhoods where 92% of riders will walk or bike to stations. Also discussed will be the paradigm shift from owning to sharing — cars, houses and office space. The panel is "Demographic Driven Demand," Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Tuesday evening Gloria braves the prospect of Railvolution’s renown Pecha Kucha Slam from 7:30-9:30 p.m., where she will argue — using 20 PPT slides of 20 seconds each — that the federal government ought to incentivize the metropolitan revolution that Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley write about in order to get our economy bumpin’ again.
Move LA Deputy Director Beth Steckler will join Denny and Gloria at a “conference within a conference” staged by Living Cities, Enterprise Community Partners, and the Low Income Investment Fund. Living Cities, LIIF and Enterprise are dedicated to connecting low-income people to opportunity, and to taking advantage of the momentum generated by large-scale investments in transit. Living Cities is a national consortium of 22 financial institutions and foundations that invest in regions to strengthen their economies through collective impact, capital investment and public sector innovation. This conference is to help the consortium learn more about the work and needs in regions and cities in the west.
He noted that LA was built around local shopping and services on a people-oriented scale but that as soon as we began building for the automobile "pedestrians were cut off from storefronts, separated by acres of parking lots. And neighborhoods were separated by freeways." He said streets make up 13% of the land in our city, totaling 60 square miles -- roughly the size of St. Louis -- which makes streets our largest open space resource.
He promised a list of candidate streets across the city in 90 days, and said the city would be "moving dirt along these corridors" in 18 months. And he announced a new "People Street" program that gives neighborhood groups the opportunity to apply for new parklets, plazas and bike corrals -- like the "polka dot plaza" in Silver Lake.
LA is about to get more walk, bike and transit-oriented! And for that the mayor got a standing ovation!
Read the speech here.
SACRAMENTO – Moving to defend Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s landmark package of pension reforms, the state of California today sued the U.S. Department of Labor for improperly denying federal grants to California public transit providers after it erroneously concluded that the pension reforms constrain workers’ collective bargaining rights.
“Bringing this lawsuit is just another step to ensure that our pension system is viable long into the future,” said Governor Brown.
The court filing can be found here.
Governor Brown proposed legislation in September to ensure that $1.6 billion in federal grants continue to flow to transit districts after the U.S. Department of Labor denied grant money to the Sacramento Regional Transit District. The Sacramento transit provider is a co-litigant in the case, which the state filed through Caltrans, whose own federal transit grant was denied last month.
Today, the Governor signed the bill (AB 1222), authored by Assemblymembers Richard H. Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento). The legislation temporarily exempts local transit agencies’ workers from the California Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2013 to allow the state to pursue its case in court and creates a state loan program to assist transit operators that have lost federal transit grants.
Earlier this year, Governor Brown sent a letter to acting U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Seth Harris on this issue.