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Prevention Institute

October 28th, 2011

Key Opportunity to Advance Health
in the SCAG Region

SCAG Regional Council and Joint Meeting of the Policy Committees 
November 3rd, 10:00 am – 2pm
SCAG Main Office
818 West 7th Street, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA www.scag.ca.gov

Dear Southern California Colleague,

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has released its preferred scenario for its 2012 Sustainable Communities Strategy and Regional Transportation Plan. Based on previous communications with you, we know you’re  committed to advancing health and equity in Southern California’s long-term community and transportation planning—the SCAG Regional Council voting on the SCS plan on November 3rd needs to hear from you.

Given that 21 percent of all trips are conducted via walking or biking (2009 National Household Travel Survey) and 25% of all roadway injuries and fatalities in this region are bicyclist and pedestrians (2008 SWITRS data), we should urge SCAG’s Regional Council to invest a significant percentage of resources towards walkable and bikeable communities and neighborhoods.  It is alarming to see that the staff report allocates only 1.3 % of all available transportation dollars to these modes.

We encourage you to:

  • Attend and provide public comment during the hearing on November 3rd
  • If you cannot attend, please consider sending a short letter for the Regional Council to the clerk, Deby Salcido at salcido@scag.ca.gov by 5 pm Monday, October 31.

In your letter or testimony, you can include recognition that the Regional Council’s proposed plan addresses the need  for increased housing and transportation choices for residents. We urge you  to then ask the Regional Council to:

  • Continue to expand our transit system and services:  Our transit system has come a long way in recent years, but we need to continue to build upon that system, especially with services such as Bus Rapid Transit and Metrolink, which will allow Southern Californians to have more choices in how to get around, alleviate pressure on the highway system, and improve air quality.
  • Encourage development in transit station areas:  Research shows that compact development substantially reduces the need to drive (estimates range from 20-40%).  Expanding our transit system provides an opportunity to build convenient, walkable neighborhoods close to transit stops, thereby helping to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
  • Significantly increase funding for walking and biking, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color: Over 20% of all trips in the region are on foot or by bike.  It is important that the plan further boost funding to go toward making that travel safer and helping more people travel in healthy, active ways. A quarter of all traffic injuries and deaths are pedestrian and cyclists. That needs to change!
  • Strengthen the Compass Blueprint planning incentive grant program: The preferred scenario will succeed only if the region's cities and towns are able to plan and build healthy, walkable communities around transportation nodes that serve people of all incomes. Ask SCAG to fund planning and infrastructure in the local jurisdictions that are most ready to go above and beyond.
  • Explore options for increasing revenue sources: The region has a huge funding shortfall that it needs to fill. We need to find a strategy to provide funding to fix roads and bridges, increase walking and biking, and expand bus and Metrolink service around the region.

For more info, or to coordinate about attending the meeting, contact Move LA's Beth Steckler, sbsteckler@gmail.com or 310-310-2390.

Thank you,
Healthy Places Coalition

Register Today: Webinar: The Role of Community Engagement in Creating Safe Places to Play

Community engagement enlists the perspectives, talents, and skills of community residents to create safer, healthier and more equitable communities. Meaningful community engagement presents a real opportunity for planners, developers and public health professionals to create vibrant neighborhoods, improve access to healthy food and safe places for physical activity, to increase neighborhood safety and foster sustainable, and genuine leadership. Learn more about “Community Engagement in Design and Planning” in the new book  Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being and Sustainability.

Join the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments and Latino Health Access on Wednesday, November 16th from 10:30am-12:00 to dialogue about the importance of community engagement to improve the places where people live, work, learn and play. Register now.

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