LA WATCHDOG - The Mobility Plan that is on the March 5th primary ballot is just another example of the failure of the City Council to address our failing infrastructure and the dysfunction of the City’s bloated and mismanaged departments to develop and implement effective plans to address our lunar cratered streets and broken sidewalks.
CITY MOBILITY PLAN STREET IMPROVEMENT MEASURES. INITIATIVE ORDINANCE.
Shall an ordinance providing that when the City of Los Angeles makes a qualifying improvement to a City-owned street (e.g., a paving project), the City must also install certain street enhancements described in the City’s Mobility Plan network of pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and vehicle routes; and requiring the City to provide publicly accessible information regarding street improvements; be adopted?
This initiative is based on the Mobility Plan 2035, initiated by Mayor Garcetti and approved by the City Council in August of 2015, that has major shortcomings and therefore cannot be the foundation of City policies and plans addressing our streets and sidewalks.
The Mobility Plan 2035, designed to appeal to special interests, did not address the repair and maintenance of all the City’s streets and sidewalks. Nor did this plan address the organizational and management challenges needed to implement this plan. Nor did it discuss any sources of financing.
These shortcomings still exist. While some of the measures would create useful safety programs, this ballot measure would not address all the City’s streets and sidewalks that require an investment of over $5 billion according to the City’s Official Statement.
There is also the question of whether the City can implement the programs required by initiative. After over 8 years, only 5% of the Mobility Plan 2035 has been implemented, most likely because of the failure of the City to get anything done on time and on budget. The same organization would also administer the new initiatives, not a comforting thought.
Importantly, the new plan does not address the need to maintain the City’s 28,000 lane miles of streets and its 10,750 miles of sidewalks, most of which are in desperate need of maintenance and repair.
The City Administrative Officer has indicated that the cost to implement the new programs would exceed $2.5 billion over the next ten years. In addition, there are other unknown costs that may be substantial. At the same time, there would be delays in implementing the City’s Pavement Preservation Plan, increasing the already high level of deferred maintenance.
These financing requirements must be taken in the context of the City’s $400 million budget gap next year. And over the following three years, the shortfall is expected to average over $400 million a year.
While the City cannot afford the added expense and does not have the staff for everyday operations given its 19% vacancy rate in its employee tanks, this initiative will hopefully be a kick in the ass for the City Council to develop a comprehensive plan to address all our streets and sidewalks which would include the safety programs discussed in this measure.
Vote NO on Measure HLA.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: [email protected].)