Los Angeles has a new plan to make our streets safer, neighborhoods more walkable, and whole city more accessible. Adopted by the City Council in August, Mobility Plan 2035 calls for a balanced approach to providing transportation options for Angelenos with improvements for people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving. The goal is to make all of these modes of transportation more accessible and reliable so that everyone can make informed decisions about the best way to travel for any particular trip, while no one is left without safe options to get where they need to go.
With common-sense objectives like putting safety first and giving people options, developed through five years of public input from thousands of stakeholders, you’d think Mobility Plan 2035 would have a smooth road ahead. But, critics and skeptics have begun fear mongering to spook council members into reconsidering their support. Prognostications of smog and gridlock—ironically the exact issues the plan aims to address—are the basis of a misinformation campaign about what the plan actually does.
While the lawsuits against the plan work their way through the courts and create legislative wrinkles like this week’s procedural re-vote, it is more important than ever for supporters like you to make your voices heard, and for myth to be separated from fact.
Angelenos are already multi-modal: one-quarter of all trips are made by walking, biking, or taking transit. The potential for encouraging more people to use these options is huge: even though half of all trips are less than three miles, 84 percent of these short trips are currently made by driving. Mobility Plan 2035’s “neighborhood network” makes local destinations like schools, parks, and stores just an easy bike ride away, while the “transit enhanced network” makes cross-town trips on a Metro Rapid quick and seamless. But, make no mistake, Mobility Plan 2035 envisions a future Los Angeles where cars continue to play a central role in the city’s transportation system. By using the latest technology and focusing improvements on a core “vehicle enhanced network,” Mobility Plan 2035 aims to make driving more reliable and less frustrating for Angelenos that do need to drive for longer trips.
When fully implemented, Mobility Plan 2035 will reallocate lanes on less than eight percent of Los Angeles’ 7,500 centerline miles of streets for bus lanes or protected bike lanes. These projects may add a few minutes to car trips that continue to use these streets, but if you measure what matters—the number of people moving on the street, not just the delay for cars--these projects increase capacity and improve safety for everyone. Take Wilshire Boulevard, which now has a peak-hour bus lane along much of its length. Even before the project, buses carried as many people as all of the cars combined. Now with the bus lane, transit riders have a faster, more reliable trip and Wilshire can carry even more commuters than before.
Critics of Mobility Plan 2035 often point to Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake as a cautionary tale of city planners run amok. But, again, when you measure what matters, Rowena is another clear success story. Since getting put on a “road diet,” collisions on Rowena have been cut in half and speeding was reduced, while the number of cars driving on the street during rush hour has remained steady. At a recent town hall hosted by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, the overwhelming sentiment supported keeping Rowena in its safer configuration, while adding additional traffic calming to nearby neighborhood streets. Mobility Plan 2035 gives neighborhoods new tools to do just that.
We’re counting on supporters like you to help us clear the air about Mobility Plan 2035 and share the plan’s many benefits. Continue to call and write your council members in support of the plan, but, more importantly, talk with your friends, family, and neighbors. Let them know about how Mobility Plan 2035 will make it easier for them to get around the city and enjoy everything that Los Angeles has to offer. Talking about transportation isn’t always easy, so we’ve made a handy fact sheet to help you share what the plan actually does!
Stay tuned for future opportunities to support Mobility Plan 2035.