June 05, 2015

Meléndrez accepted an Honor Award today at the Westside Urban Forum (WUF) Westside Prize and Design Awards for our work on Metro’s First/Last Mile Strategic Plan & Planning Guidelines.

This award marks the fourth acknowledgement the plan has received since adoption, as it has also garnished a National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice, American Planning Association (APA), 2015; a Compass Blueprint Award, President’s Award, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), 2014; and an Award of Merit, Planning Best Practice, American Planning Association (APA) Los Angeles, 2014.

The plan seeks to ease the first and list mile connections to transit stations to improve the full potential of Los Angeles’s bold transit expansion program. A majority of transit users in Los Angeles walk or roll themselves to transit stations to complete multi-modal connections, however the facilities provided for these people – good sidewalks, helpful signage, clear connections, apps and technology designed to ease travel, etc. – are often subpar, with the majority of Los Angeles’ street space dedicated to the automobile. The plan provides a framework and is a toolbox for localities to make a case, seek funding, build programs, initiate dialogues and rally support around first last mile issues.

Bold and innovative concepts are outlined within the Plan, such as “the Pathway” which is comprised of rationally planned and intelligently designed active transportation networks within transit station areas. The Pathway is intuitive, universally accessible, efficient, safe, and fun; it supports system access and multi-modal transfer activity, and expands the reach of transit throughout the County. As part of the Pathway, innovative concepts are put forth, such as a “Rolling Lane” – a shared protected lane in the roadway for bikes, skateboarders, electric mobility scooters, and other rolled mobility devices to address their proliferation over the recent years and an “Green Zone”—a dedicated area immediately adjacent to the transit station that allows priority waiting, parking, and drop-off for electric, shared ride, and other alternative vehicles. The Plan provides regional authorities a strategy that supports regional mobility, community health, and clean air policies, building off the Southern California Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Broad-based support for the plan has led to the Metro Board calling for the development of pilot projects along existing lines and the prioritization of first last mile projects in Metro’s biennial grant programs. SCAG is earmarking funding for pilot projects. SCAG, Metro, and other local jurisdictions are requiring First Last Mile Plan consistency in TOD planning projects they support or fund.