Ideas Report – Round 1

The Los Angeles Departments of City Planning and Transportation launched the LA/2B Campaign to encourage those that live, work, or play in Los Angeles to generate ideas that can proactively and positively shape the city’s transportation future through the update of Los Angeles’ Mobility Plan. LA/2B’s virtual town hall, ideas.la2b.org, was launched to reach this goal. The town hall aims to reach a diverse group of citizens of varying socio-economic backgrounds, age and transportation needs; effectuate a meaningful citywide conversation regarding the city’s transportation policies and programs; and add to the existing toolkit of traditional outreach methods that are available to close gaps in participation that may exist.

The first round of the town hall ran from November 7, 2011 – February 2, 2012 and focused on listening to various Angelenos’ perspectives on the following questions:

  • What would you like the streets of LA to be used for?
  • How do you primarily get around today? How would you prefer to travel around in the future?
  • What recent innovations would improve your daily commute?
  • We’ve received many suggestions about closing select streets temporarily to create more opportunities for bicycling, walking, and events such as farmers markets and art walks. How often should we close streets for these types of activities?
  • What kind of changes would make streets work better?
  • What is your favorite street and why?
  • Which LA street(s) represent you as an Angeleno? Why?

Reaching the nearly 4 million Angelenos 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. However, the LA/2B Virtual Town Hall has allowed for a wider range of citizens to participate outside of traditional workshops and focus groups. Since its launch, 454 Angelenos have joined the LA/2B Town Hall, representing 79 (73%) of the 108 zip codes associated with the City of Los Angeles, along with those in zip codes associated with Culver City, Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, and the South Bay.

Of those that reported their gender, 68% were male and 32% female. The average age of participants is 39.5. The chart below shows the breakdown of the age cohorts.

It is exciting to see involvement from a geographically and demographically diverse group of participants. However, there are geographical gaps in terms of participation, especially in the East Valley and South Los Angeles areas. In addition to the virtual town hall and traditional outreach through our LA/2B “Think Lab” workshops, the City is promoting alternative participation methods through an “Idea Line” (213-935-0385) dedicated to the project for text and voicemail feedback, outreach materials in English and Spanish and working with local organizations to promote the campaign.

Conversation Profile:

Over the 84 days of Round 1, participants submitted 244 ideas in response to the questions posed. The LA/2B Town Hall community members responded with 659 comments to these ideas.  As visible through the Wordle, much of the conversations centered around people, streets, bikes, transit and traffic.

The following ideas, organized by their associated topics, received the most number of seconds (in parentheses):

Topic: Street Uses

  • More Pedestrian/Cycling Events (30)
  • Green Alleyways (14)
  • Streets as common carriage-way, not car-only sewers (11)

Topic: Getting Around Los Angeles

  • Prioritize pedestrians over autos (28)
  • Bus-only lanes (27)
  • The Arroyo Seco Bikeway (22)

Topic: Commuter Innovation

  • Making drivers pay for the full and true cost of driving (26)
  • More showers and bike rental/parking stations (16)
  • Queue jumps for buses at signalized intersections (13)

Topic: Closing Streets for Events

  • Once a week (35)
  • Everyday (20)
  • Once a month (12)

Topic: Street Changes

  • Eliminate parking requirements (19)
  • Bike corral (16)
  • More trees and other traffic-calming measures (14)
  • Widen the sidewalks (14)

Topic: Favorite Los Angeles Street

  • Any street that is closed off to vehicular traffic (14)
  • Abbot Kinney (8)
  • Bike Friendly 4th Street (6)
  • Broadway Downtown Los Angeles (6)

Topic: Most Representative Street

  • Sunset Blvd (7)
  • Wilshire Blvd (4)
  • Venice Blvd (3)

The LA/2B staff team is conducting a deeper analysis of the ideas submitted to transform them into policies and programs in the City’s Mobility Plan.  The ideas will begin to inform policies and program that reflects the communities’ ideas in updated street standards including all modes of transportation, a streetscape manual with innovative guidelines and standards for the future streets, a layered network of bikes, pedestrians, cars, or transit emphasis streets and a sustainable implementation strategy to ensure funding to improve and maintain LA’s streets. Even though Round 1 is officially closed, it is not too late to give your thoughts on our initial batch of questions. We will be taking feedback on both Round 1 and Round 2 questions at our Think Labs, and you can always contact City staff or give our Idea Line a ring.

Round 2: Short Trips, Long Trips and Main Streets

Round 2 of the conversation began on February 2, 2012 and will run until late April. We are focusing on what streets participants use for their short trips (less than 5 miles) and long trips (more than 5 miles). The inspiration for these questions came from the idea that half of all trips are within three miles of home  nationally. To account for LA’s polycentric nature, we expanded the mileage of a short trip to 5. On the flipside, the average one-way commuter trip is 19.2 miles in the SCAG region (RAND, “Moving Los Angeles,” 2008 , pg. 487) and commutes in Los Angeles are 38% longer than the average time it should take to get to a place of employment (Texas Transportation Institute, 2010 Mobility Data). Differentiating between streets that are used for short-trips versus long-trips could inform the type of street that a particular segment should be on the layered network. In other words, streets that are frequently used for short trips may have more features that favor modes that can be used for short trips, like walking or bicycling.

We’ve also asked participants to identify where their primary commercial hubs or “main streets” are located. Regardless of how you get to destinations like your local market or hardware store, minus the drive-thrus, the last part of your trip is usually done on foot. Locating main street areas could help inform where pedestrian-emphasis nodes should be on our layered network.

In the next few days, we will be posting additional questions pertaining to the characteristics of auto, transit, and bicycle-emphasis streets and pedestrian-emphasis nodes that are most important to you. If a certain mode were given a “leg up” or an advantage on a street, which features should be present?  These same questions will be part of our Think Lab workshops coming up at the end of this month and early March.  We will feature more details about our workshops in the coming blog posts, so stay tuned.

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