SCAG Officially Approves Active Transportation Subcommittee Recommendations

The Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council (SCAG RC) approved recommendations by their six policy subcommittees: June 6, 2013 RC agenda (See Item #9 and page 172 for Staff Report). It seems like a long journey from passing a motion at SCAG to creating the 6 subcommittees. On the heels of unanimous approval of the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategies from SCAG General Assembly, the subcommittees covered active transportation, sustainability, strategic finance, public health, high speed rail/transit and goods movement.

These policy recommendations and implementation plans will inform the next iteration of the RTP/SCS in 2016 and updates to SCAG’s annual Overall Work Plan. The 2016 RTP/SCS is closer than you think! Draft frameworks, data gathering and modeling discussions have already started this summer, see 2016 RTP/SCS draft timeline. Read more of this post

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

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

Background

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 jessica@saferoutespartnership.org (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.

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