Almost $1 BILLION in Measure R funding originally set-aside for the 710-N freeway tunnel is being made available to cities along the proposed freeway corridor, following a Metro Los Angeles Board of Directors motion that took the 710 freeway tunnel alternative off the table.
How will the money be spent? That is still very much to be determined. The board's motion directed that funding set-aside for the 710-N be redirected as follows:
What does this mean in layman's terms? Basically cities can pitch two types of project ideas to Metro:
To kick off this process, Metro has asked each project area community to draft and submit an 'Early Action Project' list by the end of the 2017, with very little specific guidance other than that projects should help relieve congestion along the corridor. This means the approaches taken by the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park and others could be as different as their local leadership and historic approaches to transportation planning. Anyone who has driven a car, ridden a bike, or walked across these communities is keenly aware of the different approaches each of these communities has taken to street design, with 4-lane arterials with no permitted street parking transitioning to 2-lane, tree-lined thoroughfares with curb parking at City borders.
How initial project lists are to be developed was also not spelled out by the Metro Board. Some communities like the City of South Pasadena have hosted special public meetings to solicit community input in the process. In others it appears project wish lists are being drafted internally.
The City of South Pasadena's draft 'wish list' to Metro (see page 85, agenda packet) is scheduled to be discussed at a special City Council meeting Tuesday November 21st at 7pm (agenda). At the moment the project list, drafted by Nelson/Nygaard calls for a number of big ticket items, including:
In general, South Pasadena's 'wish list' falls surprisingly heavy on the increasing automobile throughput rather than the reducing automobile trips side of the equation. Considering the fact that over 30% of trips in southern California are less than 3 miles in distance, BikeSGV finds that this approach would be a missed opportunity that doesn't mesh with the City's ongoing General Plan update, which seeks to balance facilitating vehicle access with supporting more sustainable, alternative modes of transportation. For example, the City's General Plan update has produced renderings of a more multi-modal Fair Oaks Avenue that would include parking- or planter-protected bicycle lanes, and no loss of automobile travel lanes (see image below).
Renderings courtesy of City of South Pasadena - General Plan Update
The City of Pasadena has begun public discussion and formal consideration of potential 'Early Action' projects, also with the assistance of Nelson/Nygaard consultants. At the City's October Transportation Advisory Commission meeting, commissioners and staff discussed local project options, including the following potential 'wish list' items:
Alhambra, Monterey Park and San Marino
The Cities of Alhambra, Monterey Park and San Marino have not hosted a public meeting regarding the development of their respective City 'wish lists.'
It's not everyday that $1 billion is made available for local transportation projects. Local streets are one of our community’s greatest yet most overlooked public assets. When designed well, city streets can support small businesses, improve air quality, encourage physical activity, reduce the number and severity of traffic collisions, capture stormwater, and better prepare our community for the impacts of climate change.
BikeSGV strongly encourages SGV residents (especially those who live in the project corridor cities of South Pasadena, Pasadena, Alhambra, and Monterey Park) to engage in this historic process. Whether it be emailing your elected officials, attending a public meeting, or spreading the word at opportune moments, YOU can make a difference.
Stay informed about upcoming opportunities to weigh in by clicking here. And please let us know how you would like to see this transportation funding repurposed in the comments or by contacting us via email or phone. We'd love to hear your thoughts!
Want to learn more? Check out ActiveSGV's new podcast, ActiveLab