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A Step Forward

January 28, 2010

Suprisingly pleasant news today: more people are walking in LA than you might think. These good tidings come from an otherwise dreary press release from the Alliance For Biking and Walking, a national organization reacting to President Obama’s apparent lack of concern for urban issues in his State of the Union address. According to the study, 12% of all trips in both Los Angeles and Long Beach were conducted by bicycle or on foot. That’s better than Boston and Seattle, the same as Chicago and San Francisco, and behind only Philadelphia and New York. Good stuff.

Unfortunately, LA doesn’t do as well in bike and pedestrian safety, with bikers and peds making up 36% of all traffic accidents. Long Beach does a bit better at 29%. Topping the list are New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu, each with bike/ped accidents over 50% of total accidents.

While LA’s unexpected walkiness may give us an excuse to briefly pat ourselves on the back, we still have a ways to go, especially compared to international cities. ABW points out that Amsterdam and Copenhagen have 35 and 20 percent of their trips made by bike alone – more than any US city.

In other news, while the San Diego-LA-San Francisco high speed rail project didn’t get an Obama shout out last night – that honor instead going to Tampa – the feds are poised to chip in $2.25 bil for the statewide train project. Between that and the $10 billion bond we passed over a year ago, that only leaves $33 billion left to get the project done. The US government is stingier when it comes to funding subways within LA, cheaping out on Metro’s request for funds to engineer the Purple Line and Downtown Connector extensions. If only the federal government could give us just a fraction of the money it spends on wars, we could have 20 subways and a high speed train to Canada and back.

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