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Highlights from the San Fernando Valley COG Mobility Workshop

Metro CEO Phillip Washington addressed the SFVCOG Mobility Workshop

With the San Fernando Valley representing over two million residents, last week’s San Fernando Valley Coalition of Governments (SFVCOG) Mobility Workshop was aimed at educating many of the area’s leaders on how to make the region more transit friendly.

L.A. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian welcomed the crowd and believes that “if you build it, they will come.”

After receiving a warm introduction, Metro CEO Phillip Washington described the potential of November’s transportation ballot initiative, Measure M, as building the county’s most comprehensive transportation plan in the Los Angeles region. The transportation ballot initiative would be like a modern version of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in providing much needed infrastructure improvements and jobs.

For the San Fernando Valley, Washington spoke to the future of such projects as a Bus Rapid Transit line from Burbank to Pasadena, rail through the Sepulveda Pass, and the Orange Line after collaborating with priorities set by the SFVCOG.

Next, the workshop moved to its first panel of the morning discussing new ways of looking at old modes.

L to R: Dr. Joshua Schank (Metro), Danielle Grossman (ZipCar) & Rubina Ghazarian (LADOT)

Rubina Ghazarian of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) spoke about the future of bike share and its ability can help grow other rail/transportation systems by helping riders get from a transit station or bus stop to their final destination via bike. She talked about how the Valley would be a good fit for this system with its flat terrain and pointed out that that bikes would provide an optimal connection with schools and employment centers.

Danielle Grossman of ZipCar explained how her company’s goal was not just to reduce the demand of car ownership but to free up space that would be otherwise used to park vehicles. One factor in ZipCar’s success has been the shift of people moving back into urban environments along with their change of attitudes towards mobility.

Dr. Joshua Schank described how Metro is looking into emerging technologies by partnering with private companies, which is what Metro did with Uber during the Expo Line Phase II launch.

L to R: Yvette Lopez-Ledesma (Pacoima Beautiful), Stephanie Ramirez (AARP) & Madeline Wander (PERE)

The second panel focused on how to integrate regional voices into the mobility discussion.

Stephanie Ramirez of AARP (and an LACBC Board Member) talked about how important it is to provide transportation to an aging community. Collaborating with constituents to provide guidelines, AARP has been working on an update of Mobility Plan 2035 so that it addresses walking and biking along with the many goals laid out in Vision Zero. As people get older, we need to address how the function of mobility changes.

Madeline Wander from USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) expressed how people impacted by mobility policy need to be decision makers. The key is to get people involved early, make participation authentic, and have the output reflect the input.

Yvette Lopez-Ledesma discussed how Pacoima Beautiful looks to solve problems locally, but needs to connect regionally. Community engagement is important to study issues that may not be studied by traditional methods, such as reported crash data from uninsured drivers.

Genevieve Giuliano of USC’s METRANS give points on the future of transportation in the San Fernando Valley

Lastly, Genevieve Giuliano, the Director of USC’s METRANS Transportation Center, addressed the changing needs of transportation. Individual mobility is on the rise, but not necessarily in the form of private automobiles. Mass transit works better in high density areas with point-to-point systems providing useful alternatives.

Overall, the audience came away with hope for the San Fernando Valley’s bright future with a wide variety of options to help keep pace with the county’s growing trends.

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