Measure M: LACBC Staff Reflects on What Measure M Means to Us
Measure M can mean different things to different people even when you poll a small circle.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition works to make all communities in L.A. County into healthy, safe, and fun places to ride a bike. Our staff shares these values, but we are also comprised of a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences so that Measure M means different things to each of us.
We asked our staff what Measure M means to each of them and here is what we heard.
Ishraq Ali, Membership Manager
Measure M means I can probably extend my time of getting by without a car just a bit longer. The opportunity to move to different parts of the county means I can build and find community in places I haven’t had access to before. I also believe I have a ton of blessings choosing to ride public transit. For those who don’t have a choice, I’d be proud to be in a county that is accessible for all classes and communities.
Colin Bogart, Education Director
My girlfriend and I bought a house in Pasadena last year. One of our main priorities in choosing the location was that it had to be near transit. I’ve lived in San Francisco and Prague, and have visited other American and European cities with good public transit. I know the value of a good transit system. I knew that I wanted to live close to one of Metro’s light rail lines so we only looked at homes within a mile or two of transit stations.
I want to have transportation options now and when I get older. Measure M means the network in place now will only grow. As far as I’m concerned, Metro can’t build it fast enough. It also means that the infrastructure to help me bike or walk to the Metro, to the store, to the theater, or wherever will also improve. Measure M is a long-term commitment that I’m totally willing to make.
Carol Feucht, Communications Director
When I was growing up in Glendale, I hardly noticed the L.A. River even though I passed by it several times a week. It was only after I had graduated from college and started interning at LACBC that I learned that I could ride along the Glendale Narrows section of the L.A. River for part of my ride to Downtown L.A. The extension through Elysian Park then opened in 2010, adding more bike path mileage to my ride.
It has always been pretty fun riding on the path where I could wave to the folks riding and walking by, watch the birds hanging out, and pass by the cars stuck in traffic on the 5 freeway. I would be calm until I would be dumped out on Riverside Drive to bike with speeding cars as I biked my way through Chinatown.
Measure M means connecting the L.A. River Bike Path and other bike networks so that people can get around more easily by bike. I have dreamed of the day when I can ride along the entire length of the L.A. River from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.
Measure M also means more options for getting around by any mode. I live in Mid Wilshire now, and the least enjoyable part of my commute is experiencing the poor street quality, whether I am biking on 4th Street as I dodge potholes or taking the shaky 720 bus on Wilshire. I look forward to more street and sidewalk repairs with Measure M to make L.A. County a more enjoyable place to get around for people walking, biking, driving, using transportation, or using wheelchair. Measure M can help make L.A. County more navigable for all Angelenos.
Erik Jansen, Development Director
Having experienced cycling in cities across the country, I’ve found cycling in Los Angeles to be…surprising. Growing up on the East Coast and hearing about how car-centric Los Angeles is, I was expecting to find truth in the saying, “Los Angeles isn’t a city, it’s 40 suburbs searching for a city.” And while I do find some truth in that, I’m also surprised at how vibrant Los Angeles’s cycling culture is. And I’m not just talking about dentists on carbon fiber speed machines in spandex on Sunday mornings. I mean people riding their bikes in the mountains. And the beaches. To work. To school. People really bike here! Lots of people, but not enough.
I also drive. And wow! The traffic really is as bad as they say. So here’s the deal–I support Measure M because it’s a sensible way to raise much needed transportation funding, and will help make walking and cycling safer and more convenient. That, in turn, will also ultimately help reduce traffic, smog, and pollution, and lead to a healthier city with more vibrant streets.
Hyeran Lee, Policy & Outreach Coordinator
Measure M means that I can travel from my home in Koreatown to Westwood on the Purple Line train.
Measure M means that my husband will no longer need to drive an hour to and from his work each way, and he’ll be able to spend more time with me.
Measure M means that you and I will feel safe riding a bike on a connected bicycle infrastructure network.
Measure M means that we are determined to invest in the future of Los Angeles County beyond cars that we’ve been imagining for a long time.
Bryan Moller, Planning & Policy Director
Growing up in the city of Bell, I took the 110 bus on Gage Ave. to the 60 on Pacific Blvd in Huntington Park to go into the Jewelry District with my mom. It was not the nicest of trips nor the safest, but we did it because we had no other choice. While I now hold degrees from Long Beach State and USC, I can now choose to either drive my truck or take the bus. I still take the bus, except now I do so because of the other multiple benefits: environmental, personal health, etc… But when I look around now on my commute to and from work, I still see hard-working folks that take the bus to their jobs because they don’t have the privilege of choice.
Measure M would fund the Eco-Rapid Transit light rail that would run from Union Station to the Los Angeles County border in Artesia, passing through my beloved Southeast L.A. County with stops on the border of Huntington Park and Bell and in South Gate. Unfortunately, these folks without the privilege of choice, living in some of the densest cities in the country, with some of the highest active transportation numbers in Los Angeles County, my neighbors, wouldn’t see this benefit until 2041.
Should that misstep be enough for me to vote no? I’m not so sure.
My Master’s degree is in Urban Planning. I understand the broader benefits of a well laid out public transit system and the connections that could be made from such a huge opportunity that we would have with Measure M. Having fewer cars on the road does not only mean less pollution but more people walking and bicycling to and from transit, which translates to more livable and vibrant communities at a more personal scale (as compared to the automobile scale).
Like our one-pager points out, Measure M would earmark over $4 billion for walking and biking over the next 40 years, including completing the Los Angeles River Bike Path from the Southeast in Maywood, through Downtown Los Angeles, to the Elysian Valley by 2025.
Los Angeles County has never had a sustained funding source for walking and bicycling. Here at LACBC, we’ve tried applying for pedestrian and bicycling improvements from oversubscribed funding sources and had great successes as well as some failure. We realize the need to have funding to create plans, to build infrastructure, and make Los Angeles County bikeable, livable, and connected. Measure M could be our first chance to do that.
Zachary Rynew, Communications and Volunteer Coordinator
Living in the San Fernando Valley, the region has embraced whatever improvements have arrived, even though they have been somewhat limited. The two subway stops in the Valley are among Metro’s busiest, and the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit is at capacity during rush hour.
Measure M would bring the San Fernando Valley even greater improvement with a north-south rail line up Van Nuys Boulevard, a connection to the westside through the Sepulveda Pass, BRT access to Cal State Northridge, and a link between the North Hollywood Station and Pasadena.
What I’m most excited about is completing the L.A. River Bike Path across the valley because it’ll be a game changer to make everything better connected. It should have a large effect making people go multimodal as cycling should be an obvious choice going to the Red Line Stations since their parking lots are completely filled.
Annette Rojas, Bookkeeper
As a car-free Angeleno, I can say we desperately need improvements to our public transportation infrastructure. New rail and rapid transit options would really improve quality of life for commuters, especially improving on first mile / last mile connections.
Lac Vuong, Bike Valet Coordinator
Measure M means that I can one day travel more efficiently than ever with a better rail network, better bike infrastructure, as well as having a greener future.
Learn more about Measure M and pledge to vote yes on M this November 8th at la-bike.org/MeasureM.
All photos (except Erik’s) by Serena Grace.