We all love Los Angeles because of its weather and the quality of life, but if there is one thing to complain about in Los Angeles, it is the traffic. Council District 5 has some of the best communities in terms of the quality of life, but for many of these communities, the trade-off to living in them is that you are trapped and parking is impossible. We have some of the busiest intersections in LA – along Wilshire near Sepulveda, Overland near National, Motor Drive near Monte Mar, and Ventura near the 405.
When approaching mobility as your councilman, I will emphasize five key considerations in evaluating any transportation option. I will ask whether the transportation is Safe, Accessible, Reliable, Affordable, and Sustainable.
Traffic collisions are one of the biggest and least discussed public safety issues facing Council District 5. I strongly support Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Vision Zero” plan to reduce the number of traffic fatalities (including pedestrian cyclist fatalities) in Los Angeles to zero by 2025, and there is much more that we can do in the meantime.
One of the most important things we can focus on in the short term is safe routes to schools. School-age children are an especially vulnerable group of people. They account for 19% of all pedestrian-related collisions and 18% of all fatally or severely injured pedestrians. So you are right to be worried about your kids playing near the streets. As a way to ensure safe passage to schools, I will take measures to increase crossing times, improve crosswalks, and establish slow zones near schools and will support walk-to-school and bike-to-school programs.
I have heard from countless Westsiders that they feel like they can’t get to LA’s public transit system. As your councilmember, I will focus on strategies to bridge the first mile/last mile problem. Whether it’s bike paths, more accessible ridesharing services, or simply creating more transit stops, we need to work to close the large gaps between where many people live and the closest public transit options. In particular, Council District 5 has a group of seniors that are aging in place and don’t want to or can’t drive. For those who either don’t want to drive or can’t drive, I will work to make sure that the are more available routes to get to the nearest transit station.
When I worked with the VA to develop the master plan for the 388-acre West LA VA Campus at Wilshire and Sepulveda, we had to figure out the best transportation system for veterans. Many were disabled and elderly. We ended up building a master plan that connected the Campus to LA’s and Santa Monica’s public transit systems (including planning around Metro’s proposal to site Purple Line stations on the Campus). We created strategies for first mile/last mile connections through an internal shuttle system similar to the DASH, a network of bike lanes, and walkable streets.
When I talk about traffic, many people tell me “I don’t care if it takes 45 minutes to get somewhere, I just want to know it will take 45 minutes every time, so I can plan ahead.” Traffic is a problem in our community, but not just because it takes too long to get from point A to point B. It’s a problem because we can never tell how long it will take to get there and lord knows we can never tell how long it will take to find parking.
As your councilman, I’ll work to make the small improvements to make the traffic more consistent in our district. I’m not going to be the candidate who promises to end traffic overnight, but I’m going to be the candidate who works like crazy and thinks creatively to alleviate it, bit by bit. More left turn lanes, better synchronized traffic lights, filled potholes, and all the little changes we need to make our streets work better. I will work to ease our parking woes by working towards policies for meters, preferential permits, and street cleaning that make sense.
Cars are a huge part of the way that people get around in Los Angeles, there are no two ways about it, but for many people, they aren’t an affordable option.
Seniors living on a fixed income or young people in Westwood drowning in student loans need to have affordable public transit options that they can get to, that reliably serve them, and that get them where they want to go. Alleviating traffic is important – and expanding public transit will help do that – but I will always design a mobility strategy with an eye on the fact that not everybody drives a car, and those who don’t drive cars still deserve to be able to get around.
Did you know that nearly half of all trips in Los Angeles are less than 3 miles, but nearly 85% of people make those trips by car?
Sustainability is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle with any transportation strategy. Public transit, bicycling, and walking are all more environmentally friendly than driving, and I will work diligently to expand these options.
Additionally, sustainability doesn’t just apply to the environment, but it also means that we need to have a blend of transportation options that makes sense as our technologies evolve. We need to look ahead to upgrade our networks for driverless cars. As your councilman, I will work to make sure that we are planning for the long term on transportation, rather than trying to win yesterday’s war.