Fund the Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes Now!
by Nicole Eng on Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Bus Riders Union and Environmental Allies Urge Mayor Villaraigosa to Move Buses Not Cars
Francisca Porchas and Manuel Criollo 213-387-2800
Los Angeles-Wednesday, February 27, the Bus Riders Union and Environmental Allies will urge Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to up-front $10 million in the upcoming City Budget to implement the first phase of the bus-only lanes on Wilshire Boulevard. In the discussion of the Pico/Olympic Project, which adds extra lanes to city streets to privilege the movement of auto, Mayor Villaraigosa has asserted he controls L.A. streets and L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT). The BRU will urge the same level of aggressive and urgent leadership from the Mayor to prioritize mass transit and pollution free communities instead of the automobile.
This month, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced it's formal approval of an L.A. City and MTA proposal for $23.3 million over 2 years beginning in 2009. While the approval of this grant is historic in a county dominated by 7 million automobiles, we believe that MTA and L.A. City's timeline of 2011 is too far into the future. Rather than wait for the federal grant to be issued, the city can begin construction sooner by up- fronting the funds from its budget this year.
Green Policy is Up-fronting Funding for the Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes.
Over the past three years the BRU has faced a dilemma, while the Mayor has verbally supported bus-only lanes, he has yet to prioritize funding the project. The response from the Mayor's office has been that the Mayor does "not control LADOT" and that he cannot tell Councilmembers what to do in their districts. On the other hand just a couple weeks ago, the Mayor announced that he is overriding the City Transportation Committee and has ordered LADOT to fund and begin the implementation of the Olympic/Pico Project.
We need to get cars off the road, not figure out how to further privilege them.
Since the 1950's, elected officials of Southern California swore that freeways would solve the awful traffic problems and 60 years later we have the worst air pollution and public health crisis in the nation-more lanes to accommodate cars, means more cars. The Mayor is moving to eliminate corridor parking on both sides of the streets to add an extra lane for cars, throughout a 7-mile stretch of Olympic and Pico Boulevards between Centinela and La Brea Avenues. The Mayor has mentioned wanting to create a network of these type of Olympic/Pico thoroughfares-this could lead to "mini-highways"---a big threat to increase auto, asthma, and global warming. This policy could lead to reinforce the supremacy of the automobile, instead of limiting the space that it takes to get people out of their cars. What we need is policies that create pollution free communities centered on pedestrians, bicycles, bus-only lanes, and auto free zones, along with implementing other car use restrictions.
Mayor Villaraigosa, upfront the Funds for Wilshire in the FY 2008-2009 City Budget
Los Angeles is very close to making a huge environmental and transportation breakthrough. Therefore, we urge Mayor Villaraigosa to upfront the $10 million necessary to begin first phase of the Wilshire Bus-only lanes this year!
BRU and Environmental Allies Press Conference
of Wilshire and Western
February 27 @ 9 A.M.
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