To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Monday, July 14, 2014

How America Built Its Highways to Serve the Wealthy and White

"Infrastructure does not serve its public equally."


 The following is an excerpt fromThe Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City by Eric Avila.

 In this age of divided government, we look to the 1950s as a golden age of bipartisan unity. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, often invokes the landmark passage of the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act to remind the nation that Republicans and Democrats can unite under a shared sense of common purpose. Introduced by President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, the Federal Aid Highway Act, originally titled the National Interstate and Defense Highway Act, won unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans alike, uniting the two parties in a shared commitment to building a national highway infrastructure. This was big government at its biggest, the single largest federal expenditure in American history before the advent of the Great Society.

Yet although Congress unified around the construction of a national highway system, the American people did not. Contemporary nostalgia for bipartisan support around the Interstate Highway Act ignores the deep fissures that it inflicted on the American city after World War II: literally, by cleaving the urban built environment into isolated parcels of race and class, and figuratively, by sparking civic wars over the freeway’s threat to specific neighborhoods and communities. This book explores the conflicted legacy of that megaproject: even as the interstate highway program unified a nation around a 42,800-mile highway network, it divided the American people, as it divided their cities, fueling new social tensions that flared during the tumultuous 1960s.

Talk of a “freeway revolt” permeates the annals of American urban history. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, a generation of scholars and journalists introduced this term to describe the groundswell of grassroots opposition to urban highway construction. Their account saluted the urban women and men who stood up to state bulldozers, forging new civic strategies to rally against the highway-building juggernaut and to defeat the powerful interests it represented. It recounted these episodic victories with flair and conviction, doused with righteous invocations of “power to the people.” In the afterglow of the sixties, a narrative of the freeway revolt emerged: a grass- roots uprising of civic-minded people, often neighbors, banding together to defeat the technocrats, the oil companies, the car manufacturers, and ultimately the state itself, saving the city from the onslaught of automobiles, expressways, gas stations, parking lots, and other civic detriments. This story has entered the lore of the sixties, a mythic “shout in the street” that proclaimed the death of the modernist city and its master plans.

By and large, however, the dominant narrative of the freeway revolt is a racialized story, describing the victories of white middle-class or affluent communities that mustered the resources and connections to force concessions from the state. If we look closely at where the freeway revolt found its greatest success—Cambridge, Massachusetts; Lower Manhattan; the French Quarter in New Orleans; Georgetown in Washington D.C.; Beverly Hills, California; Princeton, New Jersey; Fells Point in Baltimore—we discover what this movement was really about and whose interests it served. As bourgeois counterparts to the inner-city uprising, the disparate victories of the freeway revolt illustrate how racial and class privilege structure the metropolitan built environment, demonstrating the skewed geography of power in the postwar American city.

One of my colleagues once told me a joke: if future anthropologists want to find the remains of people of color in a postapocalypse America, they will simply have to find the ruins of the nearest freeway. Yet such collegial jocularity contained a sobering reminder that the victories associated with the freeway revolt usually did not extend to urban communities of color, where highway construction often took a disastrous toll. To greater and lesser degrees, race—racial identity and racial ideology—shaped the geography of highway construction in urban America, fueling new patterns of racial inequality that exacerbated an unfolding “urban crisis” in postwar America. In many southern cities, local city planners took advantage of federal moneys to target black communities point-blank; in other parts of the nation, highway planners found the paths of least resistance, wiping out black commer- cial districts, Mexican barrios, and Chinatowns and desecrating land sacred to indigenous peoples. The bodies and spaces of people of color, historically coded as “blight” in planning discourse, provided an easy target for a federal highway program that usually coordinated its work with private redevelop- ment schemes and public policies like redlining, urban renewal, and slum clearance.
My colleague’s joke also signaled a shared suspicion among city people of color that the interstate generation of freeway builders targeted their communities with malicious intent. This conviction persists in the barrios and ghettos of American cities. In a 1997 interview, for example, a former Overtown resident begged to understand why state officials routed Interstate 95 through the heart of Miami’s historic black neighborhood: “Now all you white folk . . . you tell me the justification. . . . If that isn’t racism you tell me what it is.” In St. Paul, Minnesota, after Interstate 94 bisected the city’s historic black neighborhood, a former resident explained his belief that the “white man’s freeway” was built to “allow white people to get from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis five, ten minutes faster.” And as the following chapters illustrate, such racially inflected skepticism also finds recurring ex- pression in the barrios of southwestern cities like East Los Angeles, where six major freeways ravaged the area during the 1960s, just as it transitioned into the nation’s largest concentration of Mexican American poverty.

In the context of urban history, infrastructure can make or break a community. In the United States, the historical development of urban infrastructure has both formed and followed the inscriptions of race, class, and gender on the urban landscape. Ample in more affluent communities, usually absent or minimal in historic concentrations of urban poverty, infrastructure does not serve its public equally. Some cities have a more equitable distribution of infrastructure than others, but many urban neighborhoods remain woefully underserved. During the postwar period, the interstate highways sparked the development of new communities, new jobs, and new forms of commerce and enterprise, particularly for the great white suburban middle class of the postwar era. They did not (and do not) serve affluent communities very well because many in those communities successfully resisted local routing proposals, and they often decimated poor, working-class, and racialized neighborhoods, wholly vulnerable to the conclusions that highway planners derived from their meticulous data. These neighborhoods harbored the very conditions that infrastructure is designed to prevent—congestion, pollution, disease, crime—yet remained bereft of public investment. A better solution, in the logic of the time, was to simply eradicate these communities altogether through invasive public-works projects. Small wonder, then, that urban communities of color continue to express a pervasive belief that conquest and modernization are two sides of the same unlucky coin.
This book strives to listen to what inner-city people think about the freeways that fracture their communities and to open our senses to what is seen and heard in the shadows of the freeway, in the communities exempt from the dominant narrative of the freeway revolt. To some extent, The Folklore of the Freeway records long-standing grievances against the freeway and its presence in the inner city, but it moves beyond a simplistic narrative of victimization to explore a dynamic relationship between structure and culture, between the physical fact of the freeway and its refraction through the prisms of identity, language, and place. The surprising results of this investigation tell us not only what freeways do to inner-city people, but also what people do to inner-city freeways. Spatial justice remains elusive in the barrio and the ghetto, but there the freeway revolt continues.

Sana Ana streetcar proposal sparks uproar


By Eileen Frere, July 14, 2014

(See website for a video.)

The Santa Ana City Council is considering two proposals that would add streetcar routes through the downtown area, but the idea is causing controversy.

"It brings in hundreds of millions of dollars of investment into the city just for the project itself. It creates jobs, not only construction jobs, but operating jobs as well," Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido said.

The first route would have the street car travel down Santa Ana Boulevard and Fourth Street, an option that has prompted backlash.

More than 150 residents and businesses have signed a petition against the idea, citing that construction would cause congestion and the streetcar would make it more difficult to find already limited parking.

"Everyone is always waiting for parking. There are accidents because they are fighting for parking," said Danica Marin, who's business sits on Fourth Street.

More than 130 parking spots would be eliminated if the Fourth Street route is chosen. Parallel parking would replace the existing diagonal slots.

"We have literally many thousands of spaces within the downtown. We have major parking structures - 136 spaces is not going to make a difference," Pulido said.

The second option would have the streetcar travel down Santa Ana Boulevard, Civic Center Drive and Fifth Street. It costs nearly $260 million, or about $20 million dollars more than going down Fourth Street.

"Both are options right now, and it's a good time for people to give the city input so it can decide," Pulido said.

The city council is expected to choose a route on Aug. 5.

Why Higher Fares Would Be Good for Public Transit

If transit is really to thrive in the United States, agencies need to reconsider their reliance on taxpayer subsidies.


By Rohit T. Aggarwala, July 14, 2014


Low transit fares have a long tradition in American cities. In his 1921 reelection campaign, Mayor John F. Hylan called the nickel fare a "property right" of New Yorkers, even though inflation during World War I had raised wages, and turned what had been a profitable fare for the transit companies into a fare that guaranteed ongoing losses, eventually requiring a government takeover. New York was only somewhat ahead of the national curve. In the 1960s, a variety of pressures put for-profit transit systems in terminal bankruptcy, and public subsidy of transit fares became the norm across the United States. Since then, the price of a transit ride has been a permanently politicized number.

The political focus on the fare assumes that only one aspect of the overall transit experience—the price of a ride—is the overriding concern to a rider. But this isn't always the case. With America's transit systems woefully underinvesting in their own capital infrastructure, it is time to consider whether the interests of the riders themselves are actually served by an approach that prioritizes low fares over high-quality service. And with transportation patterns beginning to break from the car-focus of the last 60 years, it is also time to think about whether we can break from the model of pricing transit in a way that structurally loses money.

Shifting away from subsidized fares offers the promise of several benefits in return: improved and expanding services, more creative management, and the ability of even lower fares for certain riders who need them. Making such a shift would require a radical reinvention of transit as we know it today, but one that has already taken place in many cities around the world.
•       •       •       •       •
Outside of a few expansion projects, America transit systems are failing to invest in their infrastructure. Even worse, the systems with the longest history and the most intensive usage are the ones at greatest risk. Why is it that the older systems—the New Yorks, the Chicagos—don't look as good as the newer ones? It's not actually because they're old. Take a look at a 100-year old building in Midtown Manhattan or a 100-year-old home in Bronxville—or even Grand Central Terminal itself, now 101 years old. They certainly don't look unattractive. That's because they receive regular upgrades, bringing them up to the standards of new construction. In contrast, most of New York's subway stations haven't been comprehensively renovated in a generation. It would be like walking into a landmark office building and finding rotary telephones.

It would seem, therefore, that we're simply not devoting enough public money to transit. But consider that in 2012, $7.7 billion dollars of state and local tax revenues went to New York City Transit, not counting what when to the commuter railroads and other operations. That's a lot—nearly $1,000 for every man, woman, and child who lives in New York City. Why didn't it feel like enough? Because less than half of it, roughly $3.2 billion, was reinvested in the system. The majority, about $4.5 billion, was used to keep fares low by paying operating costs. On average, each New York City transit rider paid only 43 percent of the cost of his or her ride; every $2.50 swipe of your Metrocard gets matched by $3.31 in tax dollars.

What might that $3.31 have done if it had been invested in the system? Well, if the MTA could issue bonds against those subsidies, it could finance a whopping $85 billion capital plan—on top of current spending. The MTA has estimated that the bus and subway system needs $68.2 billion in investments over the next 20 years, which means that the $85 billion could not only meet those needs but exceed them. We could improve reliability by catching up on deferred maintenance, increase frequencies and speeds with new signaling, renovate virtually every station in the system to include platform doors and air conditioning, and renovate key bus routes with dedicated lanes and priority traffic signals.
Overall, it's the kind of money that would revolutionize the experience of virtually every rider, every day, with dramatic benefits for the region's overall economic performance.

•       •       •       •       •

Now don't get me wrong: If public subsidies were so plentiful as to allow both full investment in transit infrastructure and low fares, I'd much rather take that deal than see the excess public dollars go, for example, to building new roads. But it doesn't work that way. Despite occasional bond issues and other spurts of investment, there is nothing in the record of the last half-century of subsidized U.S. transit that suggests long-term investments will ever be a priority. If riders want quality service—and if our cities and metropolitan economies really need high-quality transit to be competitive—riders may need to act in their own self-interest and develop the willingness to move towards fares that match the cost of providing the service.

Of course, the transit officials reading this are shaking their heads, thinking "doesn't this guy know that transit agencies always need operating subsidies?" The facts are on their side, in one respect: No transit agency in the United States breaks even. The average system recovers about 40 percent of its costs from fare revenues; the rest come from subsidies, as per the latest National Transit Database. The best-performing operation is the New York subway, which covers 73 percent of operating expenses from fares. But because New York City's buses cover only 35 percent of their costs through fares, the overall New York City Transit recovery ratio is only 43 percent. A few systems, especially the newer ones, make only 10 percent of their operating costs in fares.
System Base fare (or peak-hour fare for shortest trip) Farebox recovery ratio Subsidy per base fare Implied base fare for full cost recovery Annual operating subsidies, all sources (in millions) Proceeds from a 30-year zero-coupon bond, at 4% interest, compounded monthly (in millions)
NYC MTA $2.50 43% $3.31 $5.81 $4,895 $85,443
bus $2.50 35% $4.64 $7.14
subway $2.50 73% $0.92 $3.42
SF BART $1.85 61% $1.18 $3.03 $228 $3,980
SF Muni $2.00 29% $4.90 $6.90 $493 $8,605
LA Metro $1.50 25% $4.50 $6.00 $1,051 $18,345
DC Metro 46% $854 $14,907
bus $1.75 24% $5.48 $7.23
subway $2.15 67% $1.04 $3.19
Chicago Transit Authority 43% $735 $12,830
bus $2.00 37% $3.35 $5.35
subway $2.25 51% $2.16 $4.41
Table by Rohit Aggarwala (National Transit Database).
But the idea that transit subsidies are an immutable law of nature is flawed. It rests on the experience of the 1960s, the last time American transit systems were organized in a way that attempted to recover operating costs. Back then, the attempt failed. As inflation drove up transit fares, riders abandoned trains and buses. Eventually, in most places, only the poor continued to use transit, and even they left as soon as they could afford a car. Many systems gave up; others adopted subsidized fares as a means of survival. As transit became associated with a poor and often disproportionately African-American ridership, low fares became, legitimately, an issue of social justice.

Thus, there were two reasons to maintain low fares and subsidize them: one, because higher fares would drive riders into their cars, and two, because higher fares would be an unjust and immoral burden on the majority of riders, who were disadvantaged and in need of social assistance.

Commuter rail system Average fare Farebox recovery ratio Subsidy per base fare Implied base fare for full cost recovery Annual operating subsidies, all sources (in millions) Proceeds from a 30-year zero-coupon bond, at 4% interest, compounded monthly (in millions)
Metro-North $7.07 62% $4.27 $11.34 $405 $7,069
Long Island RR $5.99 50% $6.00 $11.99 $642 $11,206
Metra (Chicago) $4.03 41% $5.79 $9.82 $384 $6,703
Table by Rohit Aggarwala (National Transit Database).
In 2014, both of these assumptions require reassessment. As everyone knows, America's cities and highways have changed dramatically since the 1960s. In many places, especially in major cities, people who ride transit don't really choose every morning whether to drive. They've built their lives around the transit system. Given the congestion on the roads, and the preference that many have to spend their commute time on their electronic devices rather than listening to the radio, transit is a positive choice that many riders make. And in a world of $4-or-more gasoline, the price of driving is so much higher than the price of riding that transit seems severely underpriced.

Along with the change that transit is no longer simply a last resort for those without a car, it is also no longer true that the vast majority of transit riders are poor. This isn't to say that all riders are rich, or that no riders are poor (more on that later), but the only reason to subsidize every transit rider, for every ride, is if you assume that the vast majority of riders do, in fact, deserve public subsidy. And this isn't the case. It is especially not the case on commuter railroads, where the average rider earns more than the average resident of their metro area, and it certainly isn't the case in many of the gentrifying neighborhoods of our biggest cities.
•       •       •       •       •
Given these social changes, how might transit fares be set in the future? The simplest way would be to add up annual operating costs, divide by total rides, and set the resulting figure as the fare. That's a useful benchmark, but not a good approach.

Instead, the first task should be to look at what fares transit could charge given potential travel alternatives. Clearly, a slow, infrequent bus service with standing room only offers a less competitive product than a fast, frequent rail service on which everyone gets a seat. The former is a product that few would choose to take aside from economic reasons; the latter is probably far superior to driving or any other option. New transit systems that are just building up ridership would probably need lower fares, just as any new business offers introductory pricing; long-standing ones would probably be most able to capture higher prices.

This kind of thinking raises all kinds of questions that could radically reform how transit is priced. Would it make sense in New York, for instance, to have a lower bus-only fare as opposed to a universal subway-and-bus fare? Would it make sense for an express train to be priced higher than the local? Would it make sense to give a discount to outlying stations, which have some of the longest rides in the city? And would it make sense to give riders a discount if they don't enter the Manhattan core, both because the outer ends of most subway lines are underused, and because intra-borough travel outside Manhattan is far more auto-oriented than travel into Manhattan?

Not all transit riders need a fare subsidy. 
A second task in setting a fair fare would be thinking about which transit riders do, in fact, deserve public fare subsidies. The goal here would be a discounted price for groups who qualify in terms of need. San Francisco's Muni already does this, and the MTA already offers such a discount for senior citizens (even though age is not always an indicator of financial need) and for students. It should not be impossible to expand such a system to cover recipients of food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and similar indicators of actual financial need. It could even be the case that newly hired employees or others might qualify. But there is no need for the public to subsidize the well-off riders who board trains every morning in Scarsdale and on the Upper East Side.

A final task would be to ensure that government policies are doing everything possible to equalize the cost of riding transit and driving. A state law should require all businesses to offer their employees tax-exempt transit passes, and at least for state tax purposes (and, ideally, for federal taxes, too), the limit on such exemptions should be removed.
•       •       •       •       •
Moving to a standard approach in which American transit systems covered their operating costs and devoted public subsidies to capital investment would bring our systems into the same pattern adopted in Singapore and Tokyo, and one that London's fast-improving system is moving towards. While it would raise the transit fares that many riders pay—in some cases, dramatically—it might even lower prices for the neediest riders who receive the worst service today.

It would also require significant changes from our politicians and our institutions. Paying full price would make riders less tolerant of poor customer service from the MTA, and it would require the MTA to be less subservient to politicians. It would make clear the fact that increasing the cost of driving—through parking prices, congestion charges, or other approaches—is a more effective way to nudge people onto transit than by lowering fares. And it would call into clear relief the inability of transit operators and transit unions to achieve meaningful improvements in operating efficiently.

But the benefits to every rider would be enormous. In the example of New York, the $85 billion that full-fare pricing would allow would upgrade the system, improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers, increase overall economic productivity, and make our city far more competitive against places like London and Singapore. America's cities are at a moment of great transition in the history of transportation, and transit systems must reflect that transition as well. Cities have been poorly served by the orthodoxy that says low fares are the most important thing for transit systems. Deep down, transit riders know that you get what you pay for, and if they want better transit they need to be more willing to pay for what they get.

GRID Logistics Research Initiative

Posted by David Alba on Facebook, July 14, 2014

Last Saturday, I was given the privilege to address the No710 Action Committee to present them on the GRID Logistics Research Initiative and speak about the soon to expire public comment opportunity involving the California Freight Mobility Plan. Thanks to all who attended and reviewed our proposal where we urged you to participate in the Caltrans request for public comment. This is an opportunity for cleantech solutions in freight movement to be subjected to university research and independent evaluation. Even if you know about another technology you want to see explored, get your public comment in! Our info for public comment can be found at www.cfmp14.com Please check out our alternative solutions to building, widening, (or tunneling) more freeway road surfaces that only encourage more car and truck population. Thanks!







As Expo Nears, Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus Considers Major Changes


July 2014

 Students board a the bus on Pico Boulevard in front of Santa Monica College.

 With Expo Phase II expected to begin carrying passengers between Downtown L.A. and Downtown Santa Monica in the first quarter of 2016, Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus is considering some major changes to its service.

Later this month, BBB will hold several community meetings to discuss the upcoming changes, which include the addition of new lines connecting Expo stations to nearby neighborhoods, Santa Monica College (SMC), and the Veterans’ hospital in Westwood.

A map of Big Blue Bus' current routes.
A map of Big Blue Bus’ current routes. A larger map is available here.

A map of the proposed changes to the Big Blue Bus' routes.
A map of the proposed changes to the Big Blue Bus’ routes. A larger map is available here.

The changes, which riders and officials will discuss at community meetings on July 22, 23, and 24, would also include shortening the agency’s longest – and most frequently delayed – line and eliminating other, low-service lines. Officials are also asking for customers to fill out a survey to help them better understand riders’ needs.

“A total of seven Metro Rail stations are now under construction within the Big Blue Bus service area,” according to BBB’s website.

When Expo Phase finishes construction, there will be three stops in Santa Monica: one in Downtown, another at 17th Street and Colorado Avenue near SMC, and another at Olympic Boulevard and 26th Street.

There will also be stations at Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Exposition/Sepulveda, and another at Exposition/Bundy.

“The Expo Line is projected to carry 64,000 riders per day by the year 2030, but this can only take place if bus connections to its stations are made as useful and convenient as possible,” the site says.
The agency’s proposed changes put a heavy emphasis on north-south connectivity, according to a map showing the agency’s proposed new routes.

According to the map, BBB hopes to add an “S” line that would connect the VA hospital to the two Expo stations at Sepulveda and at Palms.

A new “T” line would connect the 26th Street Expo station to San Vincente in the north and the Marina Del Rey hospital in the south. There would also be a “B” line that runs from Washington Boulevard and McLaughlin to Brentwood Village on Sunset Boulevard and Barrington Avenue, via the Bundy Expo station.

Lines 4, 6, and 13 would be eliminated, as would the Rapid 20 line, which currently serves the Expo Culver City station via the I-10 freeway.

Some have expressed concern that the proposed changes could make it harder to get to UCLA, which is currently served by BBB lines, 1,2, 3, Rapid 3, 8, 12, Rapid 12.

Under the new service proposal, UCLA’s Hilgard terminal will be accessible only by lines 1, which would see its route extended to run from Marina del Rey through Downtown Santa Monica, and Rapid 12, which would start at Sony Studios near Overland and Venice and connect with the Expo line at the Westwood/Rancho Park station.

Line 2 would still go to Westwood via Wilshire, but would stop at the Wilshire/Westwood intersection. Line 8 would run from 4th Street and San Vincente to the Culver City Expo station via Ocean Park Boulevard.

Lines 3 and Rapid 3 – the system’s longest route – would be merged and would only run between LAX and Downtown Santa Monica.

The length of the route, which currently runs from LAX to UCLA through Downtown Santa Monica, and the fact that it serves some of the area’s most congested corridors have often cause significant delays, according to BBB officials.

The BBB is considering creating a separate line that would start in Downtown Santa Monica and connect to UCLA via Montana Avenue.

Other changes being considered include: extending line 14′s route to Playa Vista and Loyola Marymount University via Bundy/Centinela, rerouting line 5 to connect 26th and Olympic Expo station to pass through Century City and Cheviot hills before connecting with Expo at Palms station.

Line 44 will be extended to connect the 17th and Colorado Expo station to SMC’s Bundy campus via the school’s main campus on Pico and Line 41, the “crosstown” bus, will begin running in two directions and also serve the 17th Street station, connecting it to Saint John’s Medical Center, the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica College’s main campus, Lincoln Middle School, and Montana Avenue.

Here is a list of the upcoming meetings:

Tuesday, July 22, 6 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Felicia Mahood Senior Citizen Center
11338 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Accessible via BBB Routes 1 and 4

Wednesday, July 23, 6 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium East Wing
1855 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Accessible via BBB Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, Rapid 3, Rapid 7 and Rapid 10

Thursday, July, 24 1 p.m.- 3 p.m.
Santa Monica Main Library – Multipurpose Room
601 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica CA 90401
Accessible via BBB Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, Rapid 3, Rapid 7 and Rapid 10

And here is some glorious footage of the Expo Phase II tracks being welded to Expo Phase I tracks, just in case you still didn’t believe Expo was coming.

Editorial: How California can best fight climate change


The Week in Livable Streets Events


By Damien Newton, July 14, 2014

Usually our events calendar ends with parties. This week it starts with one. A major Metro meeting looms in the middle of the week.

Monday - Celebrate Damian Kevitt’s birthday with a fun party and concert that benefits Finish the Ride, tonight at 7 p.m.. See the Facebook event for more details.

Wednesday - Angelenos Against Gridlock presents radio and television star, author, and green living guru Ed Begley, Jr. for a brown bag lucnh talk on Transit, Biking, and Green Living. Get the details, here.

Wednesday - On December 7th, CicLAvia will open certain streets in South L.A. to pedestrians, strollers, bikes and more from 9am–3pm for a car-free day. Join CicLAvia for a community meeting on Wednesday, July 16th to learn about family activities, business opportunities, street closures, volunteer positions and more at the KAOS Network at 6:30 p.m. Get the details, here.

Wednesday-Thursday – The Metro Board of Directors holds its monthly meetings to prepare for next week’s larger and more public meeting. You can read the full agendas, here. All meetings are in the Metro Board Room in their DTLA headquarters.

But wait, this week’s Planning and Programming Committee meeting (3 p.m., Wednesday) features a discussion and vote on the Short Term Transportation Plan, which programs a mere $88 billion in dollars in L.A. County. Reformers including the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership and LACBC are rallying people to ask Metro to set aside more than 0.67% of the funds for walking and bicycling. That’s right, just over half of one percent.

Get more details at the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership website or join the fun on Twitter.

Thursday – The City of Los Angeles Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets to discuss the city’s many needs to make the city a safer and more pleasant place to walk. This is an official city committee, appointed by City Council and Mayoral offices. If you’re interested, you should go to the meeting and talk to your City Council office. Meeting is at 2 p.m. on Thursday in the Caltrans Building. Get the details, here.

Thursday – Santa Monica Next’s “Vote Local” campaign rolls on with a tour of Tongva Park and a mixer at the nearby Wyndham Hotel. Get more details, here.

Saturday – Do you walk, jog, or run on the Evergreen Cemetery path? Join Boyle Heights Rising for a Summer Clean-Up event. Get more details, here.

Saturday - Join Multicultural Communities for Mobility to celebrate their new home in Echo Park! Take a break and come chill with the MCM team at Central City Action Committee. Learn about their summer youth program, experience bike and pedestrian safety workshops, and find out how you can help. Get more details, here.

Saturday - C.I.C.L.E. and the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, will lead a cinematic evening excursion, “Action! Close Up on: Downtown LA’s Film History.” Pedal to famous downtown film locations and landmarks where famous films including The Dark Night, Blade Runner, and Grease. The ride will end with a screening of American Cycle on the big screen at Angel City Brewery as part of the festival’s closing night! Get more details, here.