Metro Short Range Transportation Plan – Sign onto our comment letter!

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 11.25.20 AMMetro has released a draft short range transportation plan (SRTP) for public comments. This plan guides over $88 Billion dollars worth of transportation investments over the next 10 years in Los Angeles County. View our comment letter here and consider signing on by filling out our google form to sign on.

The Los Angeles County Active Transportation Collaborative supports the development of a clear investment strategy to guide county transportation policy and investments aimed at creating a multimodal transportation system that serves all users of our transportation system. We appreciate this opportunity to comment on the draft Short Range Transportation Plan (SRTP) which aims to advance the long-term goals outlined in Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan through 2024, as well as implement the Regional Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS) in the 2012 SCAG Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).  View our comment letter here and consider signing on by filling out our google form to sign on. Read more of this post

Connecting Regional Planning and needs of California’s Schools and Students

The Center for Cities & Schools is pleased to announce the release of the Proceedings and Next Steps Report from their Policy Symposium, Partnering with K-12 Education in Building Healthy, Sustainable, and Competitive Regions, with CA Dept of Education, CA Dept of Public Health, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, CA Strategic Growth Council and the Health in All Policies Task Force held in Sacramento on December 6, 2012.

There are fantastic recommendations on how and why regional planning and school district can work together – highly encourage you to read this 12 page report.

Update on SCAG’s Active Transportation Program

Image: Cover of Final FY 12-13 OWPIn May 2012 Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata announced that SCAG would create an Active Transportation Department at SCAG with three staff members and a $1 million dollar annual budget.  SCAG had just finished its 2012 RTP/SCS and had heard from hundreds of stakeholders about their desire to improve conditions for active transportation.

In July, it seemed like the announcement was coming true, when SCAG revealed that it had created the Active Transportation Department as part of its internal reorganization.  This announcement coincided with SCAG creating a new Active Transportation Subcommittee to guide the 2016 RTP process.   SCAG also took promising steps forward by signing a joint MOU with Metro to work on active transportation and SCS related planning projects.  In November, things still seemed to be moving along as SCAG issued a job posting for the new Active Transportation Management Position which sparked another round of enthusiasm as the applications started to file in.

However, the first few weeks of 2013 found SCAG in a difficult position.  SCAG is facing drastic budget reductions in operational funding from Caltrans and the FHWA.   Ironically, these budget cuts are happening at the same time that SCAG has been tasked with allocating the Transportation Alternatives Grant program under MAP 21 (previously Transportation Enhancements administered by each county).  There are also whispers that SCAG my be responsible for allocating state funding through the new Active Transportation Account in the Governor’s new budget.  So the question is, how will SCAG meet its SB 375 goals and these added responsibilities without a strong active transportation department? Read more of this post

Reflections On Active Transportation in SCAG’s RTP

Gateway to the City of Dreams Mural (Union Station)

The passage of the 2012 SCAG RTP/SCS concluded one chapter in the marathon planning effort that included SCAG staff and the hundreds of advocates who worked tirelessly to have their voices heard (See our previous blog post for more details on: Lessons Learned from Southern California). It is therefore encouraging that most accounts of the plan consider it a solid step in the right direction.  However, some would ask the question, “Did the plan go far enough?” and “What’s next?”

One of the key differences found in this iteration of Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG’s) Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is the inclusion of the Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS). The SCS was mandated by SB 375 and it includes strategies that seek to reduce air pollution, increase the number of walkable and bikeable communities, mitigate urban sprawl, encourage transit oriented development, create streets for all modes and abilities, and improve the quality of life for Southern Californians.

Read more of this post

SCAG to adopt $500B Transportation Plan: Will stakeholders be heard?

On Wednesday, March 21 a Special Meeting of the Regional Council and Policy Committees (agenda) will vote on motions and staff recommendations related to the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. It will be the last time changes regarding budget, policy, and projects. In other words, it is a big deal for active transportation!

There are three ways you can help support this:

  1. Attend SCAG Joint Policy Meeting on 3/21
  2. Sign onto our comment letter regarding how SCAG allocates it’s agency operating budget
  3. Contact your Regional Council Member and tell them you support Active Transportation (list of RC members by city)

The active transportation and public health community came out in full force at the March 1st Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Regional Council (RC) Meeting (comprised of elected officials) and provided public comments. Passion and conviction shown by the active transportation community at meeting after meeting fires us up and creates a sense of urgency for elected officials. It is critical to demonstrate this continued support for active transportation at the upcoming March 21st SCAG Regional Council meeting.  This meeting is the last opportunity for amending the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategies (RTP/SCS). Read more of this post

Cost to Build a Walkable and Bikeable SoCal in 25 years: $40 Billion

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Estimates SCAG region needs $40 Billion to build and support a healthy, walkable and bikeable SCAG Region.

Walking in Baldwin Park, CA. Photo Credit: HEAC on flickr


In December of 2011, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) released the draft 2012 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Community Strategy (RTP/SCS) which will determine funding and set transportation priorities in the Southern California Region for the next 25 years.  The RTP outlines the specific projects  and the amount of funding available for different travel modes.

In Southern California 21 percent of all trips are made by people walking and bicycling (2009 National Household Travel Survey) and  25 percent of all roadway fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians (2012 SCAG RTP).   In addition, 24 percent of the residents in the SCAG region suffer from obesity with some populations reporting rates of up to 49.6 percent.  This data points to an enormous need for infrastructure improvements for active transportation.  The 2012 RTP/SCS allocates $6 billion dollars to bicycle and pedestrian projects over the course of the plan.  This amounts to a mere 1.1 percent of the total $524.7 billion allocated over 25 years.  Given the discrepancy between estimated funding in the RTP/SCS and the need for improvements to active transportation networks, it became apparent that a cost estimate was needed for building and maintaining these networks. Read more of this post

Call to Action: Support Increased Investments for Walking, Bicycling

Per 2009 Data, 21 Percent of all Trips in SCAG Region Made via Walking or Biking

Click to see larger image.

A Call to Action:

Earlier this week, we received the results of a 2009 National Household Travel Survey regarding modes of transportation in the SCAG Region — we were pleasantly surprised that since 2001, trips made on foot and by bike increased from 12 percent to 21 percent; however, these modes are still receiving less than 1 percent of transportation funding in the SCAG region.

This information comes at an important time as SCAG Regional leadership prepares to discuss four scenarios for the 2012 regional transportation plan (RTP) and for the sustainable communities strategy (SCS) on October 6th and October 20th.

And with counties in the region like Los Angeles, where 25 percent of all trips are currently made by walking and bicycling, it is critical that the 2012 RTP include strategies to increase the proportion of funds allocated to active transportation so that over time, such funding reflects the proportion of trips made by walking and biking.

We have created a sign on letter that outlines key ways the 2012 RTP and SCAG can do just that by:

  • Increasing Funding Levels for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure,
  • Allocating Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning and Usage Counts, and
  • Prioritizing Safety and Equity.

Please consider signing this letter in support. Organizations, as well as individuals from the SCAG Region and throughout the State of California are encouraged to sign on.

Here’s How:  Please let us know by 3pm Tuesday October 4th if you would like to have your name included on the letter by either writing in the comment section below or by emailing (include Name, Organization, and if signing as an individual, include the City where you live).

We will then add each signature to the letter and submit it to the Joint Meeting of the Regional Council and Policy Committees on Thursday, October 6th at 10 a.m.  We are also encouraging people to attend this meeting and provide public comment in support of these issues. Thanks in advance to everyone who is able to sign on to this letter and demonstrate the many voices in support of increased investments in walking and bicycling plans and projects.

Southern California Regional Active Transportation Peer Exchange

PART I: SANDAG Relates to Active Transportation

Alan Thompson, Gayle Haberman, Jessica Lim, Tony Jusay, Alexis Lantz and Alex Oster dialgoue at Regional Active Transportation Peer Exchange, May 2011.

In May, 20 people representing over ten different organizations and agencies in Southern California working on regional walking and bicycling strategies, came together to share their best practices.

You can review the meeting’s agenda and notes, as well as the questions that guided the discussion on County Safe Routes to School Programs and SANDAG’s Regional Safe Routes to School white paper online.

The meeting had two primary questions for the afternoon’s discussion:

  1. What can a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) do to promote Active Transportation
  2. What can be done at the county level to promote Safe Routes to School?

Read more of this post

An Opportunity to Advance Health in the SCAG Region

Robert Ogilvie (Public Health Law & Policy) moderates a policy priority breakout sessions on land use and transportation planning. Photo credit: HEACphotos on Flickr

Many statewide organizations are concerned about the lack of public health input in SCAG Regional Transportation Plan – so are we.  It is exciting to see these groups, led by the American Lung Association, Healthy Places Coalition, Human Impact Partners, Public Health Law and Policy, and Climate Plan, working together to pull together a fantastic and important training this week on what the RTP and SB 375 means to those living in the SCAG region.  This free training program will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 from 9:30 AM to 2 PM.

The training will focus on teaching individuals how to engage in SB 375 and SCS issues while also discussing how public health advocates can embed health, safety, and equity into long-term transportation planning.  This training would be a great opportunity to begin connecting with other advocates and groups working in the fields of health, transportation, and environmental protection throughout the state.  We highly encourage people to attend and help spread the word on this important opportunity. Read more of this post

SCAG Joint Retreat Meeting

By Manuel Zavala, Community Outreach Coordinator

SCAG does a good job of outreach among elected officials and public agency staff - but falls critically short with working with other Regional Stakeholders.

SCAG held a Joint Retreat of the Regional Councils and Planning Committees on Thursday, June 7th. Items on the agenda included the Executive Director’s Report on the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and High Speed Rails (HSR) Ad Doc Subcommittees, and a workshop on improving communication with the public and members.

Executive Director, Hasan Ikhrata’s brief report on the RTP and HSR subcommittees touched on the structure of each committee. The HSR subcommittee reports to the RTP subcommittee under the Transportation Committee. Each subcommittee is composed of no more than 12 members from the Transportation Committee, and no external stakeholders such as citizens or members of non-profits or public health groups, which is very concerning.  The purpose of the subcommittees is to assist “staff with direction, guidance, and focus in the development of different alternatives for the RTP’s constrained and strategic plans.”  Lacking input from citizens and community organizations in the region, SCAG’s RTP fails to address all modes and all stakeholders in its development.
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