Safe Routes Partnership Leads in LA: Raising Voices for Better Walking and Bicycling

In Los Angeles County, two years collaborative efforts to make sure the County’s transportation investments add up to create a truly multimodal system are at a critical juncture! Jessica Meaney of the Safe Routes Partnership has created the Los Angeles County Active Transportation Collaborative in partnership with Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to support improved policies and increased levels of funding for active transportation and Complete Streets.

On Wednesday, July 16th, Los Angeles County Active Transportation Collaborative partners have galvanized supporters to show up at the Metro Planning and Programming Committee meeting to voice concerns about Los Angeles County’s Short Range Transportation Plan (SRTP) and ask for an active transportation finance strategy that advances the development of a multimodal system in the county.

More than 60 organizations submitted comments last month to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) about the SRTP lack of active transportation funding. Metro's recently released staff report responds to these concerns by dismissing the value of walking and bicycling as “regionally significant” modes of transportation and continuing to discount the importance of non-commute trips. In a county where half of all trips are less than three miles and more than 90 percent of Metro customers access transit by walking or biking, Metro’s reluctance to plan for and invest in active transportation stands in the way of the region’s ability to meet its mobility, environmental and public health goals.

In Metro’s view, walking and bicycling are the purview of cities, not a regional transportation priority. As a result, Metro has a fragmented approach to walking and biking that does not ensure that all of the parts add up to a region that is in fact multimodal, safe and serves the needs of all travelers and all trips. The draft SRTP is simply a reflection of this fragmented approach and underscores the need for a strategic approach for active transportation. As Metro prepares for a possible new transportation sales tax in 2016, now is a critical time to reevaluate the region’s policy vision and investment strategy to support a transportation system that works for all.

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