By: Julie Del Rivo, Secretary
In August 2022, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León proposed a pilot program that would expand open space in residential neighborhoods in his district and convert more streets into car-free zones. Across the world people living in these car free communities become healthier, happier, and not surprisingly safer. In 2019, Oslo achieved zero traffic fatalities, something Los Angeles still holds only as a visionary goal.
Pedestrians are now a priority in programs like these. This is part of an overall quiet revolution in transportation as part of communities. The goal? To make our lives more people centered, whether on foot or not. Many disciplines are re-evaluating how we travel around. We are seeing more real choices in transit. For example, we can ask our phones… “What is the fastest way to get downtown? What is the most climate friendly way to go?” And then, we receive real options as between an auto, train, bus, or steps. Professionals are actively working to a safer, more sustainable, more connected, and more equitable future in transportation.
The California state budget passed this summer includes historic levels of transportation funding as part of a $47 billion multiyear infrastructure package. These investments reflect California’s highest transportation priorities and will be a big part of accelerating a transition to these people centered visions.
Among the highlights of the 2022-23 state budget:
- $4.2 billion in Proposition 1A bond funding to advance an electrified, two-track high-speed rail segment between Merced and Bakersfield.
- $7.65 billion for transit and intercity rail projects over three years.
- $1.2 billion for supply chain infrastructure improvements.
- $1.05 billion for active transportation projects to expand safe walking and biking options.
- $350 million for safety improvements to eliminate at-grade rail crossings.
- $150 million for a Highways to Boulevards pilot program to reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure.
The right of way professional will surely continue to be a part of identifying the rights needed for these projects and ultimately delivering the budgeted infrastructure.