In addition to better planning of public transportation projects (e.g., the green line to the airport that stops over a mile from the airport), I will balance the needs of the city with the needs of the region by making sure that other communities are heard and given serious consideration.
Connectivity is a big issue in Los Angeles. If public transportation is not efficient or effective, large portions of the public will not use it. At-grade light rail is an example of transit that supports other modes of transit. However, we have failed at connectivity in many areas around the city. The areas around Mission College near Sylmar are just one example. We must complete the public transit connection to LAX – and do so now.
The MTA should re-work their kiosks to make them more user-friendly. The kiosks are now very poorly designed and discourage use (which gives passengers with choices an additional reason to avoid public transportation).
In addition to better planning of public transportation projects and ensuring that public transportation projects progress on time and on budget, I will utilize a number of efforts to alleviate traffic in Los Angeles. I will make it a priority to move traffic more efficiently and effectively on our City's surface streets. We can move traffic by better clearing the right-hand lanes during peak traffic times and keeping the right-hand lanes moving.
This can be done in a number of different ways including; (a) the installation of right hand turn signals which would require pedestrians to wait a brief period of time (e.g., 20 seconds) before entering the crosswalk, which will allow right-hand turners to clear the right-hand lane for traffic prior to having to yield to pedestrians crossing the street; (b) the installation of bus shoulders at bus stops to enable buses to move out of traffic (this will also increase the safety of bus riders) which would also clear the right-hand lane for traffic while buses are loading and unloading passengers; and (c) continued traffic signal synchronization throughout the City and the continued installation of left-hand turn signals at appropriate intersections.
The City recently had hundreds of millions of dollars in the Special Parking Revenue Fund that was planned for the construction of parking facilities to ease on-street parking and provide important traffic relief. Construction of subterranean parking facilities with open space/parks at street-level would provide much-needed open space, much-needed parking facilities (that would be environmentally friendly by eliminating cars circling blocks trying to find parking), and a way to pay for the operation of the parking facility and maintenance of the park through the parking receipts and tax revenues.
The City’s Bike Plan
Another priority would be to accelerate the implementation of the City's bike plan. The more people that ride bikes in LA, the fewer cars that motorists have to deal with. That means traffic moves more rapidly through the City, and there are more parking places available. The benefits of becoming a bike-friendly city are numerous. For local businesses, economic benefits come from cyclists parking near their shops. For neighborhoods and businesses, roads are safer as there will be fewer car-to-car accidents, and cyclists serve as a form of community patrol whether they intend to or not.
As someone who has worked in Century City for years, I know that a subway stop linking Century City to downtown, to Westwood and eventually to the sea is desperately needed. At a recent debate, I pointed out that Beverly Hills has raised some serious concerns relating to the safety of tunneling under Beverly Hills High.
The one-minute given at the debate did not allow me to fully discuss the issue. On the one side, you have the concerns raised by Beverly Hills relating to the safety of students and teachers and surrounding community. On the other side, you have the fact that the Santa Monica fault runs under Santa Monica Boulevard, and the fact that Constellation and Avenue of the Stars is the center of Century City and that disrupting Santa Monica Blvd for years during construction would represent a tremendous hardship on West L.A.
We need to simultaneously protect our kids while understanding that the environmental benefits of taking cars off the road also benefits all of us. The most important fact relating to the Century City subway stop that I was unable to go into during the one minute debate answer is the fact that the Constellation/Ave of the Stars station has already been selected and approved by Metro. The decision is now out of the political arena and has moved into the legal arena as the sufficiency of the Environmental Impact Report is being challenged by Beverly Hills. Should the approvals be reversed then I will sit down with both sides and work to understand the basis of each concern and how each concern can be balanced against the benefits provided by mass transit.
Disappointment surrounding LA’s transportation options generally, and the subway to the sea specifically, is understandable. Yet even with such frustration among Angelenos (including residents concerned with the planning of the Crenshaw Transit Corridor), our City leaders have failed to deliver efficient and effective transit. In order to turn the corner, we must turn to new leadership. The days of poor planning, shady bidding, irresponsible outreach, failed implementation, cost overruns, construction delays, and the lack of a common sense approach to smart transit must end – and will end with my administration.
The City has gone overboard when it comes to its attempt to increase the City's revenues by increasing parking ticket fines. Hounding City residents and customers of our City’s private businesses with annoying and outrageous traffic/parking fines levied as a result of ridiculously confusing and ambiguous parking signs/rules is not a way to increase revenue. I recognize that parking fines are projected to bring in well over $100 million next year, but I also believe that a city can go too far and drive customers away thereby resulting in a net loss in revenues. Parking fines for meter violations and street sweeping violations should be reduced. The high cost of parking tickets also results in more tickets going uncollected.
A workable solution for ending parking pressures in the City is to build more parking facilities. Los Angeles should convert available empty lots that can be converted to parking garages below the ground (following the model of Beverly Hills) with open space utilized as parks at the street- level.
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