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LACBC’s Tamika Butler Honored by Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals

On Friday, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) announced that Executive Director Tamika Butler will receive the 2016 Professional of the Year – Nonprofit Sector award from the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP). A statement from APBP noted Butler’s growing role as a national leader in the movement to create safer, more attractive, and complete streets and a “more inclusive movement at the local, state, and national level.”

Justin Holmes, ZipCar, Tamika Butler, LA County Bike Coalition, Jacki Bacharach, South Bay Cities Council of Governments Credit:## Ted Soqui/NRDC##

Justin Holmes, ZipCar, Tamika Butler, and
Jacki Bacharach, South Bay Cities Council of Governments at NRDC’s 2015 Live, Ride, Share Conference. Credit: Ted Soqui/NRDC

The APBP was particularly enthused by the LACBC’s outreach efforts to support the passage of the Mobility Plan 2035, the city’s long-term mobility strategy last year.

Jessica Roberts, a planner with Alta Planning who is on the Board of APBP and chaired its awards committee, explained why the work on the local mobility plan is so important to an organization with a national reach.

“Los Angeles and the entire region are really important right now, not just to the many people that live there but as a national example,” Roberts explained. “What is in the city’s Mobility Plan demonstrates where our nation needs to go, where active transportation is not an after-thought, but a core strategy…LACBC and Tamika are part of writing that important story.”

The LACBC has already been honored by the Alliance for Walking and Bicycling for their efforts to start and maintain a dialogue with communities beyond just promoting bicycle infrastructure and road diets. Their efforts have become a sort of national model for bicycle and pedestrian organizations to reach out to communities beyond their more comfortable advocacy circles.

After acknowledging the hard work done by the entire LACBC team, especially former and current policy directors Eric Bruins and Hyeran Lee, Butler explained how their work on the Mobility Plan was and is important and ongoing.

While the recent decision by a City Council Committee to remove two important road diet and bicycle lane projects from the plan is disappointing, Butler contends that the Plan, and the process around the Plan, make it a success. What drove their work forward was that people beyond the usual suspects seen at City Council and neighborhood meetings were getting involved in the planning process and speaking out for more equitable and environmentally-friendly transportation designs.

“The huge success was that it wasn’t just Streetsblog. It wasn’t just the LACBC. The Mobility Plan was on the news and in the Times. A lot of people were talking about it. A lot of people were engaged,” she said.

Currently, the LACBC is working to overlay the city’s map of dangerous streets that was released as part of its Vision Zero program with the map of infrastructure planned in Mobility 2035. The discussion is ongoing and keeping people engaged is a big part of LACBC’s mission.

“If the city wants to pivot and talk about Vision Zero, we’re ready to talk about Vision Zero,” Butler said.

Butler was also recognized for her growing role as a national leader in the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy fields. In her own words, “There’s not a lot of folks who run bicycle coalitions who are queer folks of color.” It’s a reality that has made her a sort of go-to person to speak on issues of equity and outreach at events and conferences across the country. Read more…

Streetsblog SF
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SoMa to Get SF’s First Protected Intersection…in One Direction at Least

Existing Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure on Division Street | February 4, 2015

Existing Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure on Division Street. Photo: SFMTA.

SFMTA announced late last week that San Francisco will soon break ground on the first protected intersection in San Francisco. From the agency’s web article:

A new type of safer intersection design for San Francisco breaks ground this week: The city’s first “protected intersection” treatment is coming to 9th and Division streets.

Protected intersections use a simple design concept to make everyone safer. Under this configuration, features like concrete islands placed at the corners slow turning cars and physically separate people biking and driving. They also position turning drivers at an angle that makes it easier for them to see and yield to people walking and biking crossing their path.

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Today’s Headlines

  • CA transportation funding proposal asks drivers to pay their fair share (Landline Magazine)
  • What the just-passed greenhouse gas target laws might mean (Lexology)
  • Pass the cap & trade investment plan to create jobs and clean the air (Global Trade Daily)
  • Proposed cap & trade investment plan would benefit San Joaquin Valley (Yahoo)
  • More thoughts on Uber competing with transit (Human Transit)
  • South Bay cities sue LA Metro over Measure M ballot language (LACurbed)
  • Feds release 2015 traffic fatality data and want your help analyzing it (FastLane)
  • Cities need to think about streets in a whole new way (Transportist)
  • High speed rail critics find new things to grouse about (LA Times)

More California headlines at Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF


Op-Ed: Time to Enact a Practical Transportation Funding Plan

This report from Save Our Streets has some arguments for why transportation funding needs to be fixed

This report from Save California Streets offers a few arguments for why transportation funding needs to be fixed

In response to our recent story about legislative efforts to find a compromise on transportation funding, Streetsblog received the following post from Art Hadnett, president of HNTB’s West Division.

HNTB is a national architecture, engineering, planning, and construction firm. Its first California project was Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco Bridge in 1914, and since then the firm has provided services for the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, the 405-Sepulveda Pass Improvements project, and the expansion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, among other projects. HNTB is currently working with the City of Los Angeles on design and construction of the Sixth Street Viaduct, as well as design and engineering on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

While there’s little dispute that deteriorating roads and highways in Los Angeles and throughout the state need an infusion of cash for rehabilitation and maintenance, there has been little agreement on a funding strategy. Our transportation infrastructure rests, precariously, on an antiquated, inefficient funding engine—the 20-year-old gas tax—and we can no longer rely on a single source to maintain the network in a state of good repair.

Under the transportation plan developed by Assemblyman Jim Frazier and Senator Jim Beall, funds would be generated from multiple sources, including increased fees on large trucks; allocation of cap-and-trade proceeds; a nominal surcharge on electric vehicles; and raising the gas tax, diesel tax, and vehicle registration fees. With these sources of new revenue, we would finally possess the financial resources to tackle the $59 billion highway maintenance backlog, $78 billion local funding shortfall and, most importantly, to stabilize our broken funding system.

The Beall-Frazier plan—a compromise package from Senate and Assembly transportation leadership—is a practical solution to an issue Governor Jerry Brown highlighted over a year ago. The bill will raise over $7 billion annually to fund trade corridor improvements and road maintenance and rehabilitation—more than double Governor Brown’s $3.6 billion proposal.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Engineers to U.S. DOT: Transportation Is About More Than Moving Cars

A trade group representing the transportation engineering profession thinks it’s high time for American policy makers to stop focusing so much on moving single-occupancy vehicles.

Should roads like this be considered a "success?" ITE doesn't think so. Photo: Smart Growth America

Should roads like this be considered a success? ITE doesn’t think so. Photo: Smart Growth America

U.S. DOT is currently deciding how it will assess the performance of state DOTs. Will it continue business as usual and equate success with moving huge numbers of cars? That’s what state transportation officials want, but just about everyone else disagrees — including professional transportation engineers.

In its comments to the Federal Highway Administration about how to measure performance, the Institute of Transportation Engineers — a trade group representing 13,000 professionals — said that, in short, the system should not focus so heavily on cars [PDF].

Here’s a key excerpt:

Throughout the current proposed rulemaking on NHS performance, traffic congestion, freight mobility, and air quality, an underlying theme is apparent: these measures speak largely to the experience of those in single occupancy vehicles (SOVs). While such a focus is understandable in the short-term, owing largely to the current availability of data from the NPMRDS and other national sources, ITE and its membership feel that FHWA should move quickly within the framework of the existing performance management legislation to begin developing performance measures that cater to multimodal transportation systems.

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Today’s Headlines

  • More about extension of cap-and-trade targets: a truly radical policy (Vox)
  • Improving California climate change and land use targets (Climate Plan)
  • Cap-and-trade is a success (EDF)
  • In the state legislature, it’s a race to the finish (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
  • AC Transit launches on-demand bus service (East Bay Times)
  • SMART train seeks input on bike parking at its stations (Press Democrat)
  • San Diego’s transportation goals are ambitious (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • More on state transportation funding plan (The Reporter)
  • Why it takes longer to build a subway now than 100 years ago (Ethan Elkin)
  • After a long road, a change is in the air for California (Sacramento Bee)

More California headlines at Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF

Streetsblog SF
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Homeless on the Hairball Follow Up

Streetsblog reader Dan Crosby reported some progress in clearing up the hairball bike bridge. Photo: Streetsblog.

Streetsblog reader Dan Crosby reported some progress in clearing up the hairball bike bridge. But how long will it last? Photo: Streetsblog.

On Tuesday, Streetsblog followed up on a report from Dan Crosby, a bike commuter who rides the hairball, about how the westbound bike bridge had become almost completely obstructed by the homeless. Streetsblog reached out to several agencies and the mayor about it.

And a day later the encampment that was blocking the bike lane, and most of the trash, was gone (see above photo)!

“…it was almost totally clear today. Two shopping carts, two people sitting, and one trying to ride a bike while rolling two others, but no tents. Kudos!” wrote Crosby of his commute on Thursday. Indeed, when Streetsblog set out later the same day to investigate, the bridge was even clearer than Crosby reported.

So what happened? Does the Mayor’s office respond that quickly to the staggering power of a Streetsblog report?

“No, we’ve been working on this,” explained Sam Dodge, Deputy Director of the Department of Homelessness & Supportive Housing for San Francisco, who connected by phone with Streetsblog yesterday afternoon. “There was a neighbor who had been reaching out to us about this…we got some emails referred from Supervisor Campos’s office on August 16. I reached out to the homeless outreach team.” And as Dodge had explained in a previous email to Streetsblog: “We have been working in the area with Homeless Outreach regularly. We had noted the potentially dangerous situation and had been offering assistance to those encamping on the bike path and working with Public Works to help clear the right of way.” Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Revisiting the Peak Car Debate

Cross-posted from the Frontier Group.

I’ve never liked the term “peak car.”

First, it was always unclear exactly what was supposed to be peaking – total vehicle travel, per-capita travel, car ownership, or all of the above? Second, like peak oil before it, “peak car” applies a catchy name to a collection of concepts that are important to understand – taking a useful perspective and turning it into a parlor game or prediction contest.

When we addressed the issue of long-term trends in vehicle travel in our 2013 report, A New Direction, we argued that America had reached the end of what we called the “Driving Boom.” We chose our words carefully, and what we meant by them was this: America had experienced a historical period from the end of World War II until sometime in the early 2000s in which an array of big societal forces had aligned to drive consistent, rapid increases in vehicle travel. That historical period, we argued, was over. What was going to come next was uncertain.

But we suspected that, whatever came next, vehicle travel over the long-term was unlikely, under then-foreseeable conditions, to exceed the level of per-capita vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) that prevailed in the peak year of 2004.

Fast forward to 2016, and we now find ourselves at the end of a second year of blistering growth in VMT, even by the standards of the “Driving Boom” era. (A good summary of recent trends is available from Doug Short here.)

Read more…

Streetsblog SF
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Eyes on the Street: San Francisco’s Guerrero Park Update

This bronze pony is a highlight of Guerrero Park. Photo: Streetsblog.

This bronze pony is a highlight of Guerrero Park. Photo: Streetsblog.

Back in 2009, Streetsblog informed readers about neighborhood efforts to calm traffic at San Jose Avenue at Guerrero and 28th Streets. There’s little that aligns more closely with the mission of Streetsblog than the creation of small inviting parks that can transform a dangerous traffic sewer into an enlivened public asset. And, thanks to the hard work of advocates, that’s exactly what’s happening–and with more permanent infrastructure in each phase of the project. From the “Pavement to Parks” website:

Vehicle speeding on Guerrero Street, and the area around the intersection with San Jose Avenue, prompted a series of improvements to the neighborhood to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists. San Jose Avenue was closed at its intersection with Guerrero Street and is now a two-way “cue street,” providing local access to residents along the block.

The design of the resulting space was developed by Jane Martin of Shift Design Studio who provided services free of charge to the City. Raised planters, made of reclaimed logs from Golden Gate Park and featuring native and drought tolerant plants, are placed along the edge of the plaza facing Guerrero Street, creating a comfortable place for relaxation, contemplation, and more active uses.

It’s almost hard to imagine, but just a few years ago the intersection looked like this:

Just asphalt, paint, and speeding cars. Photo: Pavement to Parks.

Just asphalt, paint, and speeding cars. Photo: Pavement to Parks.

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Cheap Gas, More Driving Make 2016 an Especially Deadly Year on U.S. Streets

Graph: National Safety Council

Traffic fatalities on American roads are rising faster than driving mileage. Chart: National Safety Council

The number of traffic deaths in America each year is so staggering, it almost defies comprehension — about 35,000 lives lost is the norm. But 2016 is shaping up to be even worse.

Emma Kilkelly at Mobilizing the Region reports on newly-released data from the first half of 2016 showing a disturbing increase in traffic deaths:

The National Safety Council (NSC) recently estimated that motor vehicle fatalities rose 9 percent in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2015, and 18 percent compared to 2014. At this rate, 2016 is shaping up to be the deadliest year for driving since 2007. This Labor Day weekend is on track to be the nation’s deadliest since 2008, with 438 fatalities projected over the three-day period.

The jump in traffic fatalities coincides with sinking gas prices and an uptick in driving. During the first half of 2016, U.S. motorists collectively drove 3.3 percent more compared to last year, reaching 1.58 trillion miles traveled. The recent upswing in miles driven has been linked to the availability of cheap gas and a sharp increase in traffic deaths.

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