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Kristin Eberhard’s Blog

Event examines how to make LA a mobile city again

Kristin Eberhard

Posted February 17, 2012 in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, Moving Beyond Oil

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This fall I taught a class at UCLA Law school, and was surprised to hear that many of the students did not plan to stay in LA after graduating.  When asked why, the big answer was jobs, but another common answer was “It’s too hard to get around here.”  This illustrates something we all know: we can not have a thriving economy that attracts talent and creates jobs if we are choked in gridlock and have no real options for getting around beyond sitting in a car by ourselves, stopped in traffic.

California as a whole has taken giant strides in making cars cleaner in order to decrease pollution. This will help with air pollution, but Los Angeles must also try to solve its congestion and mobility problems by building walkable communities and usable public transit.  

Voters recognize this necessity, and in 2008 a super-majority of voters approved Measure R to raise $30 billion for transit in LA County.  This, combined with Mayor Villaraigosa and LA Metro’s innovative 30-10 plan to accelerate use of these funds, will help get projects up and running.

But we need more.  To ensure that communities across LA have access to transportation to get them to jobs and recreation, we need to go further.

But how? Where can we get the funds to make our City an equitable, efficient, and pleasant place to live?

That will be the topic of Move LA’s 4th Annual Transportation Conversation next Friday (Feb. 24) at Union Station. Move LA is the business-labor-environmental coalition that got Measure R on the 2008 ballot.

Starting with a keynote by Mayor Villaraigosa about a “Vision for Southern California’s Transportation Future,” and continuing with discussion from Assemblymembers Bonnie Lowenthal, Mike Feuer, Fiona Ma, Mike Eng and Julia Brownley, Senator Loni Hancock (Senate President Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg is invited) and other community leaders. The conference will explore possible new revenue sources for transit, transit-oriented-development (TOD), and affordable housing.

To transform LA’s landscape, we will need all the help we can get. It really will take a transformation of the city as we know it, but this can be done and we can become a more mobility-friendly city after decades of favoring car-centric policies. These changes are underway, but they need more support and voices calling for accessibility. Join next Friday's conversation to voice your opinion of the future of LA's transportation!

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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