- Written by Jim O’Sullivan
16 Oct 2012
VOICES - How many people know that the City is upgrading its General Plan Transportation Element? Probably very few because the City has only previewed it to selected stakeholders, mainly bike advocates on the LADOT Website, LA2B.org. [[ hotlink ]] Even for the City of Los Angeles which usually tries to keep everything under the radar until the last minute, this breaks new ground and not in a good way.
The City states in (Council File 11-2022-S1) that “reaching the nearly 4 million Angelinos is a daunting task, and expanding the number and diversity of stakeholders that participate in the planning process is always a challenge for the City”.
Well that would change in a heartbeat if the City filed a Notice of Preparation (NOP) to start an Environmental Impact Report. Instead they are a year into a process that “will produce a draft Mobility Element in anticipation of the Fall 2012 Think Labs and the kick-off of the environmental review process which is expected to continue until Fall 2013”. I don’t know if the City has noticed or not but we are in the fall of 2012.
It also needs to be stated that during the update of the General Plan (Framework Element) the Transportation Element superseded the Circulation Element so when we talk about the Transportation Element we are really talking about the Circulation Element.
The City needs to stop playing around and get down to business because this update is serious business according to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). Their 2010 update to the General Plan Guidelines, Complete Streets and the Circulation Element states that “this update to the circulation element section of the 2003 General Plan Guidelines meets the requirements of Assembly Bill 1358, the California Complete Streets Act.
The Act requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to amend the General Plan Guidelines to assist city and counties in integrating multimodal transportation network policies into the circulation elements of their general plans. Starting January 2011, all cities and counties, upon the next update of their circulation element, must plan for the development of multimodal transportation networks.”
For the purpose of the circulation element, circulation includes all systems that move people, goods, energy, water, sewage, storm drainage, and communications. As a result, the circulation element should contain objectives, policies, and standards for transportation systems, including multimodal transportation networks, airports and ports, military facilities and operations, and utilities.
So using a City website to conduct Town hall meetings is extremely inappropriate not to mention ineffective. So far the site has only logged about 700 comments and it is primarily about bicycles.
This process is totally flawed according to the American Planning Association which describes complete streets as follows: Complete streets serve everyone – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers – and they take into account the needs of people with disabilities, older people, and children.
The complete streets movement seeks to change the way transportation agencies and communities approach every street project and ensure safety, convenience, and accessibility for all.
In order to do that the City must immediately file a NOP and begin the EIR process so all of us can get involved in a meaningful way.
(Jim O’Sullivan is the president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association and blogs at FixLosAngeles.com)
Vol 10 Issue 83
Pub: Oct 16, 2012