Action Alert: Support a More #Sustainable710 - Metro Board to Vote on $500+ MILLION in Local Mobility Projects 9/26/19
At its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, September 26th, the Metro Board of Directors will consider authorizing over half-a-billion in funding to local roadway projects.
Over a dozen community organizations, neighborhood groups, and other key stakeholders have submitted a joint comment letter (also viewable below) urging the Metro board to support more sustainable, multi-modal transportation projects for the San Gabriel Valley cities within the SR-710 corridor.
With $500 MILLION in very flexible funding on the table, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for local communities to fund 21st century mobility improvements.
There are a few ways you can take action to support a more #Sustainable710!
1) Attend the Metro Board Meeting on 9/26 and provide Public Comment in person
2) Email Metro Board Member Kathryn Barger
Due to the provincial nature of Los Angeles County transportation politics, Metro Board Members are largely deferential to colleagues who represent areas where sub-regional projects will take place. In this particular case, Board Member and LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger is the primary representative for the SGV cities, and thus is in the proverbial driving seat with regards to project selection. You can reach her and her transportation staff at the below addresses. A sample email can also be found below.
Template Email (please personalize)
Dear Supervisor Barger and staff,
As a constituent concerned about [the health of my neighborhood; the safety of our streets for people of all ages; reducing the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in California -- vehicle emissions; etc), I urge you to support more sustainable mobility projects for the San Gabriel Valley.
The reallocation of another $500 million in SR-710 North funding is a historic opportunity to move our region towards a more healthy, sustainable future. For the past six decades we have focused almost all our transportation spending and investment on moving more vehicles faster, to the detriment of public health, public safety, and our environment.
Given this historic opportunity to fund multi-benefit projects, I ask you to please provide San Gabriel Valley cities eligible for SR-710 funding additional time to submit sustainable mobility projects for consideration, and direct Metro staff to select a more balanced portfolio of mobility projects. San Gabriel Valley residents deserve a chance to benefit from multi-modal improvements similar to the ones recommended for LA City and LA County.
EXAMPLES OF UNFUNDED, MULTI-MODAL PROJECTS FOR SGV CITIES
3) Encourage Board Member Barger to Support a More #Sustainable710 on Social Media
You can reach her via the below platforms. Please include #Sustainable710
In Spring 2017 the Metro Board of Directors unanimously voted to shelve its support for tunnel option for the 710-N corridor project. The landmark vote was the latest chapter in over 40 years of struggle over the proposed freeway extension through the communities of El Sereno, Alhambra, South Pasadena, and Pasadena. The motion by Directors Fasana, Barger, Solis, Garcetti, and Najarian encouraged Metro, Caltrans, and the corridor cities to:
“pursue policies and actions that would promote smart and functional land use, reduce automobile dependency, encourage multi-modal trips, improve traffic operations, and maximize the use of the latest available technologies to enhance performance of the existing transportation system to minimize impacts of the regional traffic on the communities along the SR-710 corridor.”
The motion also directed staff to redirect almost $1 BILLION in Measure R and other funding originally set-aside for the freeway to local mobility projects within the project corridor, to be split up and redirected as follows:
Project Area Vehicle Traffic
Ostensibly all this funding for local mobility improvements would be geared at mitigating regional traffic. However, per Metro's own detailed analysis, only 13.7% of peak PM traffic in the project area is regional (i.e. moves between the I-10 and I-210/I-134 freeways). Over 86% of auto trips along major arterials such as Atlantic, Rosemead, and Garfield in the corridor are thus local in nature (Source: DEIR Transportation Technical Report, Table 4-9, page 4-18). Many of these trips are also less than 3 miles long, distances which can be covered by transit and active modes with relative ease, conditions permitting. According to the Southern California Association of Governments, approximately 20% of work trips, and 40% of non-work trips, in southern California are under 3 miles.
Round 1 Funding (December 2018)
At its December 6, 2018 meeting, the Metro Board approved over $500+ million in funding for projects that will increase automobile dependency, discourage multi-modal trips, and further entrench auto-centric land-use. With the exception of the $100 million allocated for stub redesign in the City of Alhambra, the selected projects focused on moving vehicles faster, an approach that will result in more vehicle miles traveled (VMT), more localized air pollution, more greenhouse gas emissions, and more preventable traffic collisions and deaths. See StreetsblogLA coverage of that decision here. At the time, Metro staff and board members stated Round 2 funds would be focused on multi-modal projects.
Round 2 Funding - Staff Recommendations
For LA City and County project area residents, the draft project list includes a variety of transit, active transit, and multi-modal projects designed to reduce vehicle trips. This is laudable and the direction Los Angeles County needs to move in to successfully address existing health, environmental, and equity issues. These projects are also largely consistent with board adopted Complete Streets, Equity, and Sustainability policies.
Yet for San Gabriel Valley residents, staff recommendations do not include a single transit, active transportation, or other demand management project to support reducing vehicle trips. Recommended projects for the San Gabriel Valley are singularly focused on enhancing vehicle capacity, to the detriment of public health, public safety, greenhouse gas emissions, and the region’s worst-in-nation air quality.
No longer a highway project, the SR 710-N reallocation must consider the needs and safety of all roadway users, including older adults, children, and mobility-impaired residents who walk along and walk across streets selected for auto improvements -- not for recreation, but transportation -- to access local schools, community sites, and businesses. The vast majority of Round 1 and 2 San Gabriel Valley projects are designed to move cars versus people via “improvements” that will make streets more difficult to cross by foot. Unless mitigated with best practices in safe design, this will result in more serious injuries and deaths at a time when such preventable collisions are on the rise across Los Angeles County; traffic crashes are the number one cause of premature death in Los Angeles County for children aged 5-14, and number two cause for children 1-4, young adults 15-24, and adults 25-44 (Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Mortality in Los Angeles County).
At the Metro Planning and Programming Committee meeting on September 18th, 2019, Metro staff stated that eligible cities were invited to submit a wide range of project types, including transit, active transportation, and rehab/safety projects. Yet over the past nine months city staff from multiple San Gabriel Valley communities have shared that Metro staff members declined requests to integrate safety measures and pedestrian, bicycle, and transit improvements to corridor projects, even in cases when the latter would have no impact on vehicle throughput. Due to the inconsistency between the original board motion, project submission directions, and project selection process, the Cities of Alhambra, Pasadena, and South Pasadena submitted a joint letter to Metro on March 26, 2019 requesting clarification on this matter. Six months later every San Gabriel Valley request for multi-modal project funding -- including but not limited to Bus Rapid Transit, first/last mile improvements, and Gold Line shuttle service -- was unjustifiably rejected by Metro staff.
#Sustainable710 Group Letter