Wed, Apr

Measure HLA: A Costly Proposition or Essential Safety Measure?


LA TRANSPO - As Los Angeles' city election looms closer, a contentious debate surrounds Measure HLA, a ballot proposal aiming to introduce extensive transportation improvements throughout the city. According to City Administrative Officer Matt Szabo, the implementation of Measure HLA could come with a hefty price tag of at least $3.1 billion over the next decade, a significant increase from previous estimates.

Szabo's analysis, presented in a comprehensive 12-page report, highlights the financial obligations that Measure HLA would impose on the city without providing additional transportation funds. He warns that if the measure passes, city leaders will face difficult decisions about funding priorities, potentially delaying or shelving other construction projects to accommodate the required bike lanes and sidewalk improvements.

However, supporters of Measure HLA, spearheaded by advocacy group Streets for All, refute Szabo's assessment, labeling it a "last-minute electioneering ploy." Michael Schneider, leading the Yes on HLA campaign, accuses Szabo of playing political games with taxpayer money and emphasizes the necessity of safer streets for public safety.

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, an HLA endorser, expresses frustration with the city's approach to traffic safety, pointing out the alarming rise in traffic-related fatalities compared to homicides. She criticizes the scrutiny applied to street safety budgets while other allocations, such as police raises, go unquestioned.

The core dispute revolves around the projected costs and practicality of implementing Measure HLA. Szabo's estimates include significant expenses for bicycle and sidewalk upgrades, along with community outreach costs. Proponents argue that Szabo's figures are inflated and fail to account for less expensive alternatives.

The measure proposes tying street safety enhancements outlined in the city's Mobility Plan to road improvement projects, ensuring progress toward safer streets with each infrastructure update. However, critics like Councilmember Bob Blumenfield challenge Szabo's assumptions, questioning the necessity of a strict 10-year timeline for project completion.

Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez highlights the politicization of the issue, expressing reluctance to engage with what he perceives as a flawed approach. Meanwhile, Richard Serrano, a City Council write-in candidate, voices concerns about potential traffic congestion and the prioritization of bike lanes over automobile mobility.

Measure HLA, also known as Healthy Streets L.A., aims to align city infrastructure upgrades with the goals outlined in the Mobility Plan adopted by the City Council in 2015. Its proponents argue that it's crucial for addressing the city's rising traffic fatalities and fulfilling longstanding promises of safer streets.

Despite concerns about increased costs and logistical challenges, Measure HLA supporters insist on the urgency of prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle safety. With Los Angeles' reputation as a car-centric city facing scrutiny, the outcome of Measure HLA will likely shape the city's approach to transportation and street safety for years to come.