Southern California Officials Slow to Accept Complete Streets

Proposed changes to the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority's highway program would allow local governments the flexibility to implement complete street elements with new projects. The proposition has been a surprisingly tough sell.

November 23, 2020, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

San Gabriel Valley

West Covina, located in the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. | Matt Gush / Shutterstock

Joe Linton provides an update of the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority's (Metro) efforts to modernize its highway program to include complete streets features after encountering some resistance from the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Linton summarizes the changes sought by Metro:

Based on language voters approved in Measures R and M, the Metro Highway Program has been very strict about what features are allowed as part of “highway” projects. Note that while the title of the program is Highway, many projects are located on city streets. The Metro board is interested in allowing “highway” projects, where appropriate, to build complete streets. The proposed new project eligibility rules would allow allow cities the flexibility to incorporate multi-modal components – such as busways, bikeways, and sidewalks – but do not require they be included.

The proposed changes sparked a surprisingly contentious public hearing earlier in November. Harsh, vulgar words were exchanged, as reported by Linton in a previous article. Despite that episode, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments eventually decided to support that changes. Some of the officials critical of Metro at the previous hearing reversed stances. Linton provides a lot of detail on the bizarre world of transportation planning politics in the San Gabriel Valley.

In the meantime, the changes "are still being discussed by the various Councils of Governments throughout L.A. County, and are expected to come to a vote at the Metro board early next year," according to Linton.

Friday, November 20, 2020 in Streetsblog LA

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