Infrastructure & Policy Updates 11/02/22
By Jackson Beermann
California Carbon Emissions Fell 9% In Pandemic's First Year
During the first year of the pandemic, COVID-19 kept people out of their cars and away from the workplace for much of 2020. Data released from the year shows that it was California’s largest single-year emissions drop, and a similar reduction was tracked nationwide. Emissions from passenger cars, delivery trucks and other forms of transportation are by far California’s largest source, and in 2020, their emissions fell 16%. Despite this trend, experts say that 2020 was an outlier, as eased COVID restrictions in 2021 created a rebound of emissions. Overall, California remains a forerunner in climate policy nationwide, and is still committed to achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2045.
Mayor Announces New 'BLAST' Bikeway Implementation Initiative
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city’s new BLAST Initiative: Bike Lane Acceleration and Safety Team. BLAST is implementing 24 bikeway projects by fiscal year end next July. A city statement describes BLAST as a new effort to coordinate the operations of the Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA) with the Transportation Department (LADOT) to implement “projects like bike lanes.” This measure comes after the city has seen a number of bicycle crash cases, many due to faulty pavement.
Metro Offering Free Rides on Election Day; Ballot Drop Boxes and Vote Centers Available At Some Stations
Metro is offering free rides on all Metro buses, trains and Bike Share on Tuesday, which is the last day of voting for the 2022 general election. In 2019, Metro’s Board of Directors voted to permanently offer free rides on federal and statewide election days to make it easier for voters. The free rides will run from midnight to 11:59 p.m. on November 8. Metro Bike Share will be offering free 30-minute rides, as well. To redeem your free rides, select 1-Ride at any kiosk, online or in the Metro Bike Share app and enter code 110822 to redeem. L.A. County also has voting centers that will be open at eight busy Metro stations listed in the article where voters can cast their votes.
San Pedro's Front Street Set To Get Pedestrian Pathway
The Front Street roadway currently features largely an industrial landscape, with views of the China Shipping Terminal and stacked shipping crates, but the street is finally going to see a long-planned beautification effort. The Los Angeles harbor commission approved the contract for the $5.6 million project this week, and the work is expected to begin in mid-January. Over the course of about a year, the project will construct a 22-foot-wide landscaped area with a multiuse path along the north side of Front Street, adjacent to the China Shipping Terminal. The project will be coordinated with another in the same vicinity, a $70.5 million overhaul of the interchange that connects the Vincent Thomas Bridge, Front Street and Harbor Boulevard to the 110 Freeway.
El Segundo to Consider Adding Parking Spaces
El Segundo is planning to add parking in its Smoky Hollow business district by converting a couple of roads from two-way streets to one-way streets with angled parking. The project would change the pavement along Nevada and Oregon streets from El Segundo Boulevard to Grand Avenue; and California Street from Franklin to Grand avenues, adding 27 parking spaces to the area in total.
Culver City Abolishes Parking Requirements Citywide
Culver City has abolished minimum parking requirements citywide. According to Councilmember Alex Fisch, “There is robust evidence that mandatory parking prevents affordable housing from being built, causes people to drive, and increases the cost of literally everything.”
Instead, Culver City has taken up parking projects that fit the individual needs of certain developments, getting rid of the former one-size-fits-all model that many cities still use for parking minimums. This means that the city will still include parking for new developments, but no longer require legal minimums from developers, allowing for more tailored parking for each area or establishment.
Construction of LA Metro's Westside Purple Line Halted Over Safety Issues
Los Angeles transit officials have shut down construction on part of the Westside’s $2.4-billion Purple Line Extension for two weeks amid a litany of “serious safety concerns” that have injured dozens of workers since July 2021. Metro officials say they have warned the project contractor Tutor Perini O&G about unsafe conditions at the underground site, but the substandard conditions remained. Inside the dusty subterranean tunnel, ventilation is poor, standing water and muck are common, and ramps to and from the tunnels are unstable, according to Metro documents describing worksite conditions. This is largely seen as a roadblock for Metro’s massive building spree as they look to double their rail lines in anticipation of the future Olympics.