The Los Angeles City Council has approved a controversial new plan entitled “Mobility Plan 2035.” While the plan promises to ultimately create more transportation options for Los Angeles residents that extend beyond driving a car to get from place to place, opponents are concerned that implementing the plan will result in gridlock, unnecessary noise and restricted access for emergency services. Despite these concerns, the council has determined that the long-term benefits of the plan outweigh the short-term disruption.
Examining the Plan
Over the past few decades, Los Angeles has been left with little choice but to bulldoze homes, cut down trees, flatten hillsides and paved through canyons in an effort to make more space for the increased traffic flow. Yet, despite these efforts, the city is notorious for its slow-moving traffic and traffic jams.
As it is currently written, the Mobility Plan 2035 will create complete streets that are safer for all users, including those who are riding the bus, biking or walking. This means adding bike lanes as well as bus-only lanes to help separate traffic and increase safety. One specific feature of the plan calls for the creation of a Bicycle Enhanced Network, which will be a series of bike paths, lanes and protected lanes linked together throughout the city. The plan also calls for increased frequency along transit routes, particularly during peak times, as well as more demand-based parking meters. The plan even outlines the addition of more trash cans throughout the streets to help keep pollution to a minimum.
The plan also targets some of the city’s biggest boulevards, including Sunset Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Some plans even call for adding more lanes for buses and bikes while reducing the number of lanes. In all, the plan will create hundreds of miles of new bicycle and bus-only lanes.
Increasing Safety in Los Angeles
While the Mobility Plan 2035 has been put into place in an effort to address traffic issues, it is also meant to help make Los Angeles a safer place to live and visit. According to an LA Times analysis, pedestrians constituted 1 out of every 10 people who were involved in a car crash within the county between 2002 and 2013. Furthermore, pedestrians represented more than 35 percent of road deaths, with many being struck near freeways or on wide, straight streets. By adding medians, incorporating dedicated bus and bike lanes and widening sidewalks, the council hopes to cut the fatality rate from traffic collisions all the way down to zero within 20 years by keeping drivers within speed limits.
According to City Councilman Mike Bonin, who has been a major backer of the plan, it is 5 percent fatality from those who are hit by a car that is going 20 mph. On the other hand, 80 percent fatality of those who are hit by a car going 40 mph.
The Mobility Plan 2035 was approved by a vote of 12-3, with many transit advocates and business organizations backing the plan. Opponents, however, have stated that they are preparing a legal challenge due to the increased traffic congestion and delays in emergency vehicles the plan will cause.
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