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Infrastructure & Policy Updates 11/29/22

Federal Level

APTA Report: Labor Shortages Hinder Public Transit Rebound Post-Pandemic

Public transit is slowly making a comeback in the U.S. since ridership declined after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Transit systems have surpassed 70% of their 2020 ridership levels, but severe public transit labor shortages are hindering fuller recuperation according to an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) report. In March, 96% of 190 agencies surveyed by the APTA reported experiencing labor shortages. The shortages are most acute at agencies serving large, urbanized areas and agencies with greater ridership. The primary concern of workers is related to wages and lack of benefits; to a new generation of transit workers, APTA urged agencies to create pathways for advancement and professional growth, among other steps that make operations positions an attractive step into a career in transit. This includes recommendations for safety improvements for workers as well as benefits packages.

Rising Roadway Deaths Is An American Problem, As Comparable Nations Make Progress

Roadway deaths for people inside vehicles have fallen since the 1990s in the U.S. and abroad, as car safety standards like seatbelts, airbags and better car frames took effect. But unlike so many countries that began taking pedestrian and cyclist safety seriously in the 2000s (by lowering speed limits, building bike lanes, building roundabouts and utilizing automatic braking systems that detect pedestrians) the U.S. has done little to prioritize the safety of other road users. Meanwhile, vehicles in the US have grown larger and are as a result deadlier to people hit. As a result, Americans are three times more likely to die in a traffic crash than people in France.

General LA

Metro Cancels Proposed Fare Hike

Metro scrapped a plan to increase its base fare from $1.75. The Metro Board will give a final vote on Dec. 1 at 10 am. The new proposal would also implement fare-capping, which allows riders to pay ride-by-ride up to the value of a daily/weekly pass. The daily and weekly fare caps would also be reduced to $5 from $7 for dailies and $18 from $25 for weeklies.

Lyft Removes Bikes, Scooters From Los Angeles

Lyft has removed its scooters and shared bicycles from the region citing a lack of long term commitments from area municipalities. Up until this point, Lyft and other micro mobility companies have been operating under short term pilot programs.

Freight Rail Strike Looms, Potentially Impacting Metrolink Service

Metrolink service may be impacted by a looming, nationwide freight rail worker strike, potentially canceling all trains on the Riverside, Orange County, Inland Empire-Orange County and 91/Perris Valley Lanes. President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to help avert the strike.

South Bay Cities

Long Beach Rail Expansion Could Displace 30 Businesses

The Port of Long Beach is expected to acquire 49 parcels to continue work on the $1.5 billion Pier B rail yard project that seeks to speed up goods movement at the complex. The Pier B rail yard project has been in the works for years but was delayed due to a lengthy environmental review process that drew out the timeline and nearly doubled the price tag. Of the 30 non-residential entities that could be displaced by the project, 24 are active businesses, many of which provide port-related services including boat repair, trucking, and container service and storage. There are 2 residential properties expected to be displaced as well, as shown in a relocation plan released earlier this month.

Port of Long Beach Seeks Grant Applications For Bike, Pedestrian Path Projects

Port of Long Beach has $3 million of its Community Grants program’s funds earmarked for bike and pedestrian path projects. This is the first time the category is included in the port’s Community Grants Program. Proposals are due at 4 p.m. on Jan. 9

West Hollywood

WeHo City Council Approves Bike Lane Pilot On Fountain Avenue

The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved a pilot program to add protected bike lanes to Fountain Avenue. Mayor Lauren Meister said, "My goal is to make Fountain just safer, period -- for pedestrians, makng the sidewalks wider and making it so that cars aren't speeding through and going over the curves and actually going into people's yards."

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