Flow Boulevard Planning in Los Angeles
December 4, 2013
The Flow Boulevard concept which is an at grade facility using existing street right of ways has grown from a low cost technique to eliminate transportation congestion and to improve land use relationships in a corridor has now become a community and multiple community strategy to reduce vehicular miles traveled and CO2 emissions and to absorb population that results in job creation, greater productivity and community growth with sustainability.
A breakthrough in traffic organizing by a new and improved Flow Boulevard (FB) conceptualization can now allow single street and couplet street Flow Boulevards to be connected from one corridor to another without the need of flowing traffic to stop at any signals. Because vehicular trips take less time by not having to stop at signals this also allows urban circulation at slower speeds which has greater compatibility with community residential and commercial urban environments.
Further good news is that the community and metropolitan scales of infrastructure improvement where Flow Boulevards can be applied have already been financed by the existing Measure R sales tax. That is by simply postponing a few expensive rail projects that now have little usefulness and transferring those funds to many miles of low cost Flow Boulevard projects that are now much more beneficial and needed to the City and County of Los Angeles. An example proposal is contained in this study to use the Measure R $1 billion dollars allocated by Metro for some kind of connection from Westwood to the San Fernando Valley to instead be used to solve the entire Westside LA gridlock problem as well as the congestion in the Santa Monica Boulevard corridor from West LA to beyond Vermont Avenue in East Hollywood as well as to contain a very good BRT connection to the Valley.
Making better use of the Los Angeles legacy surface transportation system in selected corridors with balanced infrastructure and land use design to preserve the quality of community life while serving the needs of commerce, is the objective. This broadly conceived infrastructure and community improvement helps bring economic recovery and establishes a path toward sustainability with reversals in problematical trends involving demographics, inequality, insufficient employment, debt issues and the lack of a sufficient vision of multi-modal transportation improvement that benefits all. It can be said that re-inventing greater LA for the 21st Century will require better infrastructure and communities to help bring that about.
CONTENTS: PART A; The Overall View
PART B; Specific Looks at Corridors and Issues
PART C; Corridor Plans and How They Work
Part A; The Overall View
Two recently published books highlight current urban issues and dilemmas. The Metropolitan Revolution by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institute cite the need for cities to take up their own problem solving because the Federal Government is unable to restructure productivity in our economy, respond well to our particular regional problems, and problem solve changing demographics and rising inequality. In the book there are referenced 5 very different cities and each using innovative strategies and leadership to solve their own special problem areas.
The second book is, The State of the City: 5 Trends Impacting American Cities by Living Cities, a coalition of philanthropic institutions. The five trends are; 1/ fiscal strain is causing city governments to reduce services and scale back capital investment, 2/ failing infrastructure is inhibiting economic growth, sustainability and overall mobility of goods, people and information, 3/ stagnant educational outcomes have implications for talent production, and the attraction and matching of jobs, 4/ the changing landscape has created high unemployment and is shifting job creation to low cost regions, and 5/ the collapse of the housing market, the credit market and economic uncertainty has resulted in restrained job creation and makes material pressure on household economics and the health of communities.
Kaid Benfield who reported and commented on the above and who writes for the National Resource Defense Council blog Switchboard, contrasts the outlooks of the books by saying, “where Katz and Bradley see excitement, innovation, leadership, and economic recovery, Living Cities sees declining city services, crumbling infrastructure, a failing educational system, unemployment and struggling households”.
Excitement can come about with the right problem solving involving special circumstances but there is also a great deal of evidence of overwhelming decline in overall circumstances. The contrast is where the “creative class” has limited projects in the employ of leadership with the help of civic elite while the other view sees the lack of such involvement, a general service dysfunction affecting the majority of working as well as middle classes and being isolated with multiple problems just trying to make ends meet. The question is how is the creative class in Los Angeles, along with leadership, establishing strategies to innovate in problem solving of our economic, infrastructure and environmental problems regarding all of our circumstances? And do the innovations of the creative class (as referenced by Richard Florida) solve the questions that Living Cities is concerned with?
In the following study considerations of innovation in the transportation and land use improvement area is tied to socio-economic improvement to affect urban and suburban communities for the betterment of the whole. The specific concept to be used is the innovative transportation and land use improvement technique called Flow Boulevards which can accommodate the increase of County population in congestion free corridors that make more complete communities to perform better in the developmental and socio-economic outcomes for the majority which in turn helps improve conditions for just about everyone in LA City and County.
A short definition of Flow Boulevards
Flow Boulevards got their name because they are designed to flow with true synchronized signalization where vehicles do not have to stop. Flow Boulevards are made from existing street right of ways (ROW) without widening, and greatly increase capacity for vehicles and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is actually made to be rapid. A single street Flow Boulevard configuration is a new addition to the Flow Boulevard (FB) concept and now allows a whole family of corridor connections as well as Flow Boulevard interchanges between FB corridors. The original FB configuration is made with a pairing of two one-way streets and is the less demanding in terms of traffic organization. Both of these configurations can be used to improve corridors with high capacity, high levels of service and can fix congestion in urban areas and used in low density suburban areas where they can accommodate higher density land use and stimulate growth in corridors. The Flow Boulevard concept is a transportation and land use concept involving each for the benefit of the other. This low cost community repairing and or community building approach are often compared in this study to the existing plans of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (aka, MTA and Metro).
Because Flow Boulevards are much more affordable, as compared with rail alternatives, and that they would be integral with existing communities by improving the operation of the existing vehicular-roadway infrastructure, they would be much more able to serve a broad area of LA and greater LA. This approach is the reasonable way to provide an extensive improved infrastructure in the City and County of Los Angeles. Combining infrastructure and land use improvement along with plans and programs for socio-economic improvement can establish better functioning communities so that the overall economy and work force is improved as well.
Present plans of the Los Angeles County MTA are far less involved in improving the general economic condition and improved mobility for the majority. Part of this is due to an emphasis on expensive rail projects and transit oriented developments (TOD) which limit the ability to develop a broad network of improvement for communities and mobility for the majority. Another factor is that the MTA is a “Metropolitan” organization which includes the far outer reaches of suburbia called “exurbia” and Metro wants to have the concentrating radial shaped commuter rail network focusing on Downtown LA.
By being so stretched in distance and yet serving such a small percentage of people the urban and suburban communities do not get enough or the kind of transportation improvement they need. Yet this is where the majority of trips and mileage is made. Inadequate planning for communities results where cities, large and small, who often defer transportation planning to the MTA find that they do not get adequate problem solving, guidance or help. There is a breakdown in structuring adequate community transportation in both the congested urban areas and the isolated suburban areas which translates into inadequacies in terms of quality of life and socio-economic conditions as well.
Following the Financial Crisis of 2007 the City and County must more than ever restore its economy and install within revitalized and new communities, a revitalized work force. With the successful return of a revitalized work force, economy and tax base, with that that step, many more city amenities as well as the extended commuter rail lines Metro now calls for can generally be made later. The present work force is not in the position now to take on an immense amount of transportation debt and risk as the November 2012 ballot Measure J would have made, and which would not have supported revitalization and growth for the majority and their communities. It is with this viewpoint that the following transportation recommendations are made. An example of what should be avoided now is the concept of making long lengths of commuter rail when they would serve very few. What generally should be made now is an extensive low cost transportation network that emerges from existing street right of ways in existing communities and effectively reduces vehicular miles traveled (VMT) and builds healthy, functional communities. This priority is from an economic, environmental and functional standpoint.
The reasoning continues that Flow Boulevards are both consistent with the legacy of Southern Californian surface transportation and have effective low cost problem solving abilities by increasing the capacities of existing streets without widening. Vehicles are becoming more efficient by way of improved technology and the roads that they ride on should be planned better and have improved technology as well. Flow Boulevards provide a missing transportation capacity range between that of freeways and that of regular boulevards. Flow Boulevards can eliminate congestion as well and bring affordable land use improvement patterns that reduce vehicular miles traveled (VMT) while the LA County population and economy grows. Metro’s plans do not address environmental or socio-economic issues sufficiently and with such expensive plans that do so little overall transportation improvement they can present a great risk to the LA economy and the livelihood of its residents.
Thinking broadly, it has been stated that the present context of the U.S. is that we have lost a wide segment of middle skilled jobs to globalization and that high skilled jobs are at risk because of technology or the lack of opportunities of its appropriate application. The US and LA must recover and renew its economic footing. So it is not just transportation and congestion that we are dealing with but that of broad social and economic conditions that are now influenced by transportation and the ever interacting world economy we are a part of. For this reason social, economic and environmental consequences of plans are of utmost importance and in need of great and continuing public scrutiny to improve on those plans now and over time.
Making the case for low cost Transportation and Land Use Development
What is most important at this time is to make improvement for the majority of trips, to eliminate congestion and provide a more appropriate overall pattern to now be emphasized with direct improvement. Instead of a rail plan with a centralized focus that absorbs most of the transportation improvement funds, shared funding for improvement in the multi-centered pattern of countywide development which already exists for the most part, should be enforced and added to with transportation improvement. It is within that decentralized pattern where connections to the multiple centers that need the improvement of transportation and land use development that Flow Boulevards can provide so much more beneficial mobility, socio-economic and functional improvement because it is a low cost method.
Suburban areas of the City and County of Los Angeles need growth while consolidating an increase in population. That existing pattern generally has low density yet has a much greater amount of travel mileage than the more urbanized areas due to a higher average daily travel per capita. Generally the average medium and long distance suburban trip is about 15.5 miles long. That is about 3.5 times as long as more urban kinds of circulation. This mileage really adds up because there is so much more lower density area than high density urban area. The basic objective is to not only absorb more population in the low density suburban areas but to make the proximity of needed services, land uses and employment areas closer so as to reduce VMT. In more urbanized areas with existing congestion, Flow Boulevards become the way to eliminate congestion, protect existing residential areas from traffic impacts and again do it at lower costs than other methods as well as much quicker.
With low cost, a large extensive network can be developed to serve and correct that majority of travel in suburban areas by making shorter trips with employment close by and as well the proximity of the necessities for community living. The low density and low land cost setting is appropriate for lower cost medium density development to be established nearby and in the FB corridors. The result of the proximity of higher density land use development within Flow Boulevards in the suburban areas will be shorter trips and therefore less travel mileage per capita. That is smart and affordable development. The relationships provided by Flow Boulevards has the ability to add 2 million to the County population by 2035 without an increase in overall vehicular miles traveled (VMT) and would greatly lessen GHG emissions as well ( more on this below).
The current Metro plan has some rail lines that are needed soon and other commuter lines not needed for a great length of time in that they extend far out into very low density areas which would have little ridership. It is with the planned commuter rail lines that would have little contribution to solving our economic, environmental and functional problems that this study would postpone in order to deal with transportation improvement that solves congestion and the economic encumbrance that now exist in the City and County of LA.
The real transportation need is to fix congestion where it now exists and in other areas to make transportation improvement that will structure and bring about more stable communities with better jobs, mobility, developmental activities and improved environmental function.
An extensive suburban network would provide the much needed circulation within the San Fernando Valley, areas north-east and south-east of Downtown LA and the South Bay. The FB networks would be infill development within the freeway system and would connect to the multi-centered employment pattern. An underlying overall planning concept is to limit disruptive growth in congested urban areas, like the Westside of LA, while directing growth to the multiple centers throughout LA County as well as to what are now disconnected low density areas where the majority of today’s County trip mileage can receive the shortening of trip length producing the reduction of VMT and of GHG emissions. These areas are also appropriate for new business development being the new start-up businesses or expansions of existing businesses. Permanent job development is a necessary part of the County consolidation process and with its growth objectives.
Downtown LA, a force in influencing centralization, already has a great deal of transportation access as it stands. One of the congestion problems that is experienced is due to the many trips that are forced to go through there because that is the layout of the transportation facilities. Downtown LA has been relying on ever greater sprawling lines of transportation development to keep its importance. A greater response to needs, transportation patterns, travel modes, communications technology and planning processes to improve both transportation and land use must be made. Supported by our new communication technologies a distribution of new employment to the multi-centers and even home offices instead of a further concentration is to be taken advantage of. There is also the option that would include the needs of Downtown to have an increased resident work force adjacent to Downtown to help balance the employment/resident population ratio. This would be far more constructive overall than the extended commuter rail lines into exurbia could produce. The development of dispersed business growth also becomes a way to relieve congestion pressures on Downtown LA. It has also been shown of late that the demand for high rise office space is lessening and therefore it would be wasteful to make plans that provided such costly rail transit for such little increased demand. The necessary design to be made is one that balances an affordable infrastructure that serves those land uses that are also necessary and affordable to accommodate all to use.
In order to make a more effective pattern of growth the planning concept is to transfer funds from rail projects that add little in the way of transportation, land use, socio-economic benefit and environmental problem solving ability to the development of structuring the consolidation of the suburbs along with the multiple towns and centers of LA City and County. This would be a second round of development, so to speak, in suburbia featuring a bit higher density in order to solve its problems.
Lewis Mumford historian and social critic in the 1960’s described suburbia as a place where displaced people had moved to what was a uniform treeless place with unidentifiable houses inhabited by the same class, the same income, the same age group watching the same TV shows. But that is no longer the case in suburbia. All races with different histories, skill sets, nationalities, incomes, ages and viewpoints live there now. It is also a place that has talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics plus connections for global trading and is close by to Universities, Institutions and existing companies to provide the context for ideas and the ability to make applications to productive results. These areas are part of a large population base with demand for new products, services and therefore business expansion. This is a setting now where the inclusion of different housing forms, densities and ownership conditions can serve these differentiated people. Greater proximity to medical facilities, entertainment, education, shopping and above all new employment opportunities is now needed to be added with the “bit higher density”. Part of the need for this population growth and re-invented ability to be productive is to overcome the problem where our citizenry is generally becoming on average older, poorer and that there are fewer young people to take up the mantel of productivity that LA City and County needs.
What Rail Development is NOT OK!
- Rail projects and expenditures that do not solve today’s pressing problems of congestion or detract from those that can.
- Inducing further sprawl with greater commuting instead of tending to make worthwhile consolidation of development while also reducing the length of trips.
- Transportation that does not support the middle and working class economic recovery or does not bring about substantial environmental improvement and does not support socio-economic sustainability.
- Extreme favoritism in transportation that further divides our society.
- The over centralizing of a radial pattern of trips that does not begin to serve the multi-centered development pattern and the overall majority of travel demand in LA City and County.
Rail that is OK
- Rail that can without excessive expense and disruption provides capacity where surface transportation no longer can with convenience.
- Makes sufficient connections to prominent city centers and regional functions that have important or high travel demand.
- Provide needed transportation capacity where there is a limiting geographical condition to accept other modes of transportation or in unoccupied land use areas between centers where low cost rights of way can be obtained.
- Rail that can connect to and support a more diffuse and vehicular network such as linking up with an extensive Flow Boulevard network.
The above criteria is in recognition that commuter rail is supplemental to the legacy system of surface transportation throughout the region. It also is in recognition that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can provide so much more transit mileage and ridership than can commuter rail by serving the massive travel demand with a transit network on Flow Boulevards with many more miles within the suburban areas and communities of LA City and County. The evolution and growth of such networks is very much needed.
The vehicular system hierarchy running from freeways, arterials, boulevards to local streets and service ways is the legacy transportation system of the Los Angeles region and simply has to be used and made better and Flow Boulevards can help bring that about.
Costs and Funding
For cost comparison Flow Boulevards are in the $12 Million dollar per mile cost (on average) which includes enough articulated buses to provide 10 minute headways each way and the average cost of strengthening roadbeds in areas and of course signalization. Measured on a cordon line count both a subway at a maximum of 150,000 pt/day (person trips /day) and light rail at 60,000 pt/day can be matched with that of Flow Boulevard capacities with the combined capacities using both flowing vehicles and BRT transit. Flow Boulevards however are 15 thousandths as much per mile in cost compared to LA subway estimates of $800 million per mile. The 15 thousandths as much as subways or subways are 1,500,000% (1.5 million percent) more per mile; choose your comparison.
Light rail in LA at about $280 million per mile has a chance of providing supplemental use if there is a low cost exclusive right of way (ROW) available if the travel demands are great. That is how the Expo Line was rationalized. But that rail hardware and occasional grade separation cost is still more than twenty times the cost of using a Flow Boulevard FB improvement on an existing corridor such as could have been made with a Venice/Washington FB corridor. If there is not an exclusive separate low cost ROW for rail available the impacts on taking existing land uses are prohibitive or if the idea is to displace vehicular travel by using existing streets there are impacts to transportation accessibility that are prohibitive as well as being more expensive.
Building 20 miles of Flow Boulevard instead of one mile of rail would go a long way in correcting congestion in Los Angeles. The purchase of residences and businesses for separate rail ROW is functionally prohibitive and that is one of the main advantages that a FB has in that it uses existing street right of ways (ROW). The improved accessibility of the FB maintains the relationships that the existing land use has been built to rely upon. And the other problem with light rail is that if it is not to be disruptive to the existing street level traffic by use in a street ROW, it requires aerial and expensive grade separation structures for the majority of its elevated or subterranean ROW which also displaces vehicular travel. Light rail does not fit in with existing community development by requiring many grade separations of track at intersections with boulevards, streets, station complexes and from adjacent land use.
In the plans in Part C, it will be shown how to eliminate traffic congestion in existing medium density communities that have outgrown their infrastructure. The Westside of Los Angeles is the example that is used for the more urban need to “fix what is broken” in terms of infrastructure but not necessarily add much land use growth.
Along with that however, is the needed policy of providing population and employment growth in the lower density suburbs by the use of Flow Boulevards to structure growth corridors. In that case it is necessary to improve circulation and capacity over time so as to provide for increased land use growth so as to relieve over development pressures in existing higher density urban areas. Many benefits that spring from this policy will become evident. An initial conceptual plan that represents this policy is pictured below. The green lines are hypothetical FB Corridors in that it is for the local municipalities to determine where they would go. In many cases they are not connected green lines. This is to express the fact that in most suburban areas the initial need for growth or improved capacity would result from specific local needs and would be emerging from arterials that are already connected for long trips. Over time it would be expected that these short FB corridors would likely extend and connect into large networks connecting to other towns and centers.
Funding Suburban Projects: The way to fund the initial beginnings of Flow Boulevards is to re-prioritize the Measure R projects. On the LA County Growth Corridors map above, the various Metro Measure R rail projects are given yellow highlighting in their project areas. The Flow Boulevard funding approach is to simply postpone some of those rail projects that extend far out into suburbia in favor of beginning Flow Boulevard projects that solve real current transportation needs and provide the structure for suburban areas to help consolidate LA County and grow economically to build more complete communities.
The Gold Line can easily be reduced by 4 or 5 miles with such postponing. The Eastside Transit Corridors Phase One and or Phase Two (seems a bit redundant) can be reduced and postponed by 4 or 5 miles in favor of maybe a Wittier FB Corridor able to better serve the community with transportation, growth and economic development. The West Santa Ana Transit Corridor would seem to be an important connection with Orange County so the rail connection plan should probably be maintained. On the other hand the 7 miles of Green Line Extension to Torrance and beyond could all be postponed in favor of several Flow Boulevard Corridors improving transportation and land use in both north-south corridors such as Hawthorne Boulevard and east west corridors including Slawson, Rosecrans and Carson Boulevards. The objective is to build more self reliant communities and reduce the VMT that connects home to work and the many other community functions that are needed. Additional projects could be made with the “call for projects” program that can be provided by Metro to local municipalities. In general slowing down the rail projects to interject the boost of multi-modal transportation improvement that Flow Boulevards would provide is the recommendation.
Keeping the more essential rail projects but postponing 17 miles of light rail projects would pay for over 300 miles of Flow Boulevard or a bit fewer if the intensive developmental programs to re-invent the LA County economy were included. Then again 300 miles and developmental programs could be afforded since FB corridors emerge from existing streets and build up over time as the initial outlay is small and land use development proceeds incrementally. With that process there is an increase to the local tax base which in turn helps build more improved corridor or more improvements to a not fully developed FB corridor. At some point the Flow Boulevard corridors are self sustaining and the rail projects that need subsidies can return to being constructed and extended to exurbia. The FB projects are mainly for improving the suburban contribution to improving the economy and the many social and transportation problems that exist. It might be said that exurban rail is more in the realm of choice and consumption instead of necessity and productivity.
Ironically the use of Flow Boulevard development and its ability to “throw off” extra revenues primarily generated from adjacent new development with property taxes and fees, can actually become a source for paying for the developmental community programs that are necessary and even rail projects at some point in the future; (see www.flowblvd.com/page2/page19/index.html then scroll down to the green chart “Where the Money Comes From” and read the accompanying paragraphs of Flow Boulevards Pay Their Own Way). The explanation referred to here is of how $150 million dollars in extra annual revenues per mile can be expected after 20 years of the corridor having been developed. Using those relationships 100 miles of FB costing $1.2 Billion could be returning greater revenues in a few years of development and $15 Billion dollars annually after twenty years (and that is with using just 56% of the revenues and fees associated with the new adjacent land use expected development). Such revenues can be allocated in many community serving ways and in the objective of re-inventing the economy of the county.
Existing streets are a great resource to be used better in order to provide additional capacity for trucks, autos and especially buses by introducing very attractive true bus rapid transit to solve transportation problems and bring about needed development in appropriate forms. And the appropriate forms can occur by designing the appropriate relationships between transportation modes and land use at the community scale. It is for these reasons that Flow Boulevards should be given a priority for development of countywide infill consolidation and for fixing urban impacted residential communities from traffic congestion. The guideline for doing this is to obtain livable balances between the demands for infrastructure and the generation of travel demand by land use. If land use is allowed to attract more travel than the infrastructure can provide for, that is where the congestion problems stem from.
Regarding bus transit, with an extensive and diffuse network including properly placed density, a short walk to BRT transit can perform similar car like performance of convenient mobility if allowed to be developed. The current problem of congestion is because there is the missing medium capacity surface transportation facility called the Flow Boulevard. It can fix the existing miss match of insufficient capacity in areas that have grown too dense with travel demand and also they can provide the capacity for low cost growth and BRT in existing underutilized areas.
Funding some Urban Projects: In a more urban location a proposal for reallocating the funds for the Metro San Fernando Valley I-405 Transit Corridor project is made in the Part C (below) “Costs” paragraph where the $1 Billion dollars allocated through Measure R can be used to make a super BRT connection between the Valley and the Westside, eliminate the entire Westside congestion problem including some additional I-10 freeway improvement, and build the entire 16 miles of the Santa Monica/FB and Sepulveda/FB corridors eliminating congestion there all for less than the $1 Billion amount. This proposal will be interesting to follow to see if the communities can get behind solving their problems of congestion instead of favoring rail and inviting more vehicular trips with increased commercial development that attracts regional trips. Also it is to be seen if Metro can accept a new type of transportation improvement facility within their mix of transportation facility types.
Hopefully the Westside communities and their residential interests are learning that rail such as the Expo Line is attracting development that will far exceed the amount of traffic that will be absorbed by the rail facility itself. There is already 3 million square feet of new development in the pipeline and you can expect another 3 million coming after that and then even more if the Westside Subway Extension is to poke beyond west of Century City. The Westside would be smart to fix the traffic congestion they have now and look to balance the generation of all trips by the land uses involved with the overall multi-modal infrastructure that serves it.
Rail advocates think that drivers will switch over to rail and thereby lessen congestion. That is not the case in that the politicians and the city planners allow much more development which will not lessen congestion. Rail advocates looking to lessen impacts to their communities have played right into the hands of developers and the budget strapped city politicians and these same rail advocates see that it is not working out as they envisioned as in the Casden project at Sepulveda and Pico which is not the transit oriented project it was supposed to be.
Rail advocates such as CD 11 Transportation Advisors and The Transit Coalition have proposed the support of over $20 billion in rail projects for the Westside not including the Expo Line to Santa Monica. They support a rail transit tunnel through the Santa Monica Mountains connecting Westwood and Van Nuys with extensions to the north towards Simi Valley and to the south into the South Bay using Lincoln and Sepulveda Boulevards as corridors for light rail. Then there is the support for the Westside Subway Extension into the City of Santa Monica. This amount of rail overtakes their fair share of County transportation funding, creates a conflict and competition with the Los Angeles Downtown and it would totally change the character and economics of the Westside residential communities not to speak of bringing permanent vehicular gridlock to the arterial grid of the Westside.
All this “supporting” takes place without consideration of making plans to control vehicular congestion directly to solve existing traffic problems, or perceive that such extensive plans for rail are unaffordable and undesirable and that this is not the time for more speculative real estate deals based upon consumption; there is just not that much consumption to go that far. This is a time for making plans that solve traffic and community problems and reflect the understanding that there must be a balance between the trips that are generated by land uses and the multi-modal transportation facilities that can be afforded to be built. And this has citywide implications.
Generally an interim step of economic recovery and re-invention must take place in greater Los Angeles and plans made to bring that about. So the big speculative plans based upon consumption, concentration and extensive reaches of rail lines into exurbia are out of sequence for the most part. That is the viewpoint of this study and its orientation to distributed affordable growth of improved transportation and land use development that makes a greater productive economy and workforce within LA County is the objective. This is in contrast to a few concentrations of development with impractical and unaffordable transportation and the lack of productivity that would result for the majority that need it. And the impacts of over development made by concentrating development has the ability to make unlivable conditions especially for the communities surrounding the concentrations as in the case of the City of Santa Monica referred to above.
Two basic Flow Boulevard configurations
This study of Flow Boulevards now states there are now two basic configurations; 1/ a single street corridor and 2/ a pair of one-way streets in a corridor. Both of these configurations feature synchronized traffic signals which allow packs of vehicles including buses to flow without stopping through the corridors at designed speeds of between 20 to 45 mph for a given corridor and even time of day. Each configuration has requirements for the high capacity flow and they are detailed to some extent in the plans and explanation below in Part C. With these two types of configuration, transportation and land use improvement can be applied to both urban and suburban locations and brought into balance with the land uses they serve. Since Flow Boulevards utilize existing street rights of ways (ROW) and can be made to start where needed and stop when no longer to be an advantage, they are exceedingly adaptive to both urban and suburban locations.
Both of the two configurations are based on organizing traffic to be more efficient. And both of these configurations can be evolved from existing less organized forms over time into the more organized forms that give the desired mobility functions that are balanced with the desired urban design characteristics of having good relationships between transportation facilities and land use. This is because the Flow Boulevard system is conceived as a transportation and land use system. It is not a separate system unto itself that would be imposed upon a set of land uses that do not have continuous functional and needed connection. The FB system has fine grained relationships with existing development; it is essentially a refinement and better use of the existing rights of way that exist.
What could have taken place, in the Valley and other places too.
The FB concept was introduced in 1973 to a portion of the LA public through a process of making a Citizen’s Plan to help form the Wilshire District Community Plan. The residential interests, represented by homeowner groups and community oriented interests saw the Flow Boulevard favorably as a way to provide balanced development and for solving transportation needs. The commercial interests, represented by the Wilshire Chamber of Commerce, saw the concept as a threat to the Wilshire Boulevard subway development in particular and the Chamber has wrongly in general viewed it as a threat to commercial development ever sense. The wrongly formed opinion has been formed at the “top” of the commercial interest hierarchy and has excluded innovation for residential and community oriented commercial development ever since creating the missing element of both transportation and land use improvement within our communities.
In a related issue and a more recent event, there was the San Fernando Valley having been so overlooked by Downtown policies that they tried to secede from Los Angeles in 2002. Valley urban growth began as a “bedroom community” in the 1950’s. With greater recognition of structured growth connected to a more multi-centered development pattern that has naturally emerged throughout the southland there could have been a better development of more prosperous self sustaining sub-regional area as in the Valley. This is not to say that by being prosperous the Valley would have seceded. What would likely have happened there would have been a bit higher density, less sprawl beyond the Valley, a sustaining prosperity and maybe a rail line in existence today deep into the Valley and connected to Downtown making everyone happy.
It is ironic that Flow Boulevards can help Downtown retain suitable importance with funds from Flow Boulevards. And that those funds could provide for the rail access Downtown so desperately wants, as well as supply the San Fernando Valley, and other places in Los Angeles, the kinds of balanced development they need.
If there had been recognition of the “abilities” of Flow Boulevards to provide balanced community building and transportation improvement, there might have been a more balanced development of LA. Instead LA received a few miles of subway in the 80’s and Caltrans continued to facilitate what might be called “extreme sprawl” while carrying development and the revenues that development produced well beyond the limits of the City and County of LA. The dominance of commercial interests of blocking the ability to provide better community development in LA has now produced a dilemma. It should be recognized that more sprawl, greater commuting distances and more concentrated regional development will create unending gridlock and congestion in our urban areas. It is time for alternatives to that prospect to take place and to provide infrastructure that builds balanced, productive and sustainable more self reliant communities.
With the economical improvement of transportation and land use, along with its support of greater economic productivity and the extra revenues produced in the County, a little over a hundred miles of Flow Boulevards could probably have contributed probably more than $300 Billion in extra revenues to the City and County over the last forty years. And in terms of stimulating indirect revenues much more than that. That money and the economy that produced it would have made better cities and a more financially sound LA City and County. The opportunity is still available for similar contributions to take place. The opportunity is now better in that the economy needs so much improvement, that mistakes in planning are becoming evident, that we have legislation such as SB375 that can help and that the reinventing of the Southland is necessary here in California.
Sustaining and nurturing a better work force within communities.
Job creation is absolutely necessary and needs to be part of the process. With Flow Boulevards able to improve conditions in urban and suburban locations by being supportive and affordable, they can improve all areas of the County by an extensive network being developed. That is not the case with a limited amount of rail that could be built and any short lived trickle down effect experienced by the few. Corridor improvement should be looked at to interrelate and improve the overall community it serves. Likewise public and private institutions, business and cultural services, and an expanding population should look to corridor improvement and its growth to participate within.
Collaboration in serving overall needs is how to tie communities together by connecting public and private entities through information flow and partnership behavior that supports economic productivity and balanced community growth. This is transportation planning more comprehensively conceived to promote a revitalized grass roots development of better communities as well as accessibility throughout LA County. The low cost of transportation and land use development becomes the attraction for population and business development which also allows greater public services for less cost.
The key concept, and I’m sorry to have to restate it over and over to make the idea communicate, is to limit disruptive growth in congested urban areas while directing growth to what are now disconnected low density areas where jobs and communities can be developed and the majority of trips in LA County can become shortened in trip length to reduce vehicular miles traveled (VMT) while building competitive productive communities.
A basic countywide recognition should be made to discourage over developing existing urban areas and to promote through plans and policy the development of consolidating areas of the County with newly improved infrastructure and additional population. Suburban new growth extends and connects existing towns and small cities. Adaptive one and two street FB corridors provide the structure to build upon.
The commuter rail emphasis by Metro over does moving long distances instead of helping create efficient transportation and land use balanced communities and regions. With less money put in long distance commuting at this time and more applied to good planning, community development and socio-economic improvement connected to near by employment and activity centers with less VMT; there could be better communities and a better work force as well.
Getting the suburbs of LA and the 88 Municipalities moving.
Much of this study deals with the less urbanized areas because there is a great deal of beneficial work to do there. The premise is to use low cost growth as the way for existing businesses to expand and to create and attract new jobs and businesses to LA County. This can help overcome some of California’s drawbacks like expensive energy, real estate and heavy regulation. Growth should be combined with greater business friendly practices through the public sector working with the private sector. What is being called for is sub-regional cooperation where all the cities and unincorporated areas are to work together to build a stronger County economy for the benefit of all to participate in.
LA – Long Beach manufacturing has lost employment since 2000 but it still has over 360,000 employed. It can get back lost jobs and add others with low cost development strategies and helpful public sector partnership behavior and planning. Making and attracting applied technology jobs would be consistent with the aviation and aero-space experienced workers and employer history in the area.
Each municipality should inventory and understand its growth prospects, be innovative in attracting businesses and how it can be supportive of business expansion as well as community development. Staying away from as much public borrowing that incurs debt by the use of “pay as you go” methods keeps flexibility and the ability to be responsive to working with the private sector to create jobs.
There is a lot of room for improvement in California. A recent CNBC rating for doing business in the US 50 states, which gave “cost of doing business” a high priority, placed California as the 47th state (practically at the bottom). A not so recent analysis of California business by the Praxis Strategy Group gives ratings relative to the other 49 states. As for basic performance California was 31st, but 47th in exports, 22nd in innovation, 44th in business climate, 25th in talent pipeline, and 27th in infrastructure.
Good weather helps Southern California but recently the states that have been adding jobs and businesses are states with low costs of housing, living expenses and by being business friendly (fewer regulations and lower taxes). Being able to off-set our generally high cost of housing, living expenses and taxation is a task for suburban low cost land and transportation improvement to help with. But it takes more than that. A self determination must motivate municipalities to become what they need to be to survive and grow.
Bill Watkins a University professor that runs a Center for Economic Research and Forecasting (whose work California in for a World of Hurt can be found at clucerf.org) discloses demographic trends that can bring about a crisis in themselves. From 2000 to 2010 the percentage of LA’s population under 15 years of age fell by15.6% (the greatest in the U.S.) while the average age is getting older and the average citizen has become poorer in California.
Because of California’s aging and increasingly poor population along with its decline of young and outward migratory trends, the cost of government services will be increasing as the number of the people available to pay for those services will be decreasing. That is if productive population growth is not obtained. Watkins calls for a dramatic change in these trends in that financing of the concurrent expenses will be extremely hard and if there are expense excesses that can prove to be impossible.
That is why heavy borrowing as in Measure J that has great expense with projects that do not return revenue expenditures and could incur further borrowing to meet payments while adding additional debt should absolutely be avoided. If a Municipality is unable to service its debt, its growth and financial stability is finished. That is why the Flow Boulevard approach to transportation and land use improvement with low cost growth is the right path to take now to restore future property tax revenues without raising taxes and to work towards a sustainable economy.
In the suburban areas
What do better suburban communities look like? They would probably have some of the characteristics found in the LA Basin where single family suburbs have been captured by areas of commercial and higher density residential growth. They would be scaled down versions of course but still contain the elements of not having anticipated growth. This means there should be better forward planning.
The two corridors featured in this study, the Santa Monica Boulevard and the Sepulveda corridors show that Flow Boulevards should be envisioned early in the process to avoid the many conflicts with adjacent land use that can take place as they have on the Westside of LA. The Hollywood Hills is an extensive single family suburb with no east-west corridor for circulation within it. It must rely on increasingly congested east-west corridors in the Basin “Flats” to provide that circulation. But LA City, Beverly Hills and all those small communities and neighborhoods have not found a way to bring about the much needed circulation. The West LA, Brentwood and related single family suburbs west of the 405 are even worse off. Plans are proposed in Part C to solve these problems.
Within a consolidating suburbia it would seem that job creation becomes equally if not more important than the transportation facilities themselves. Low cost development which is “productivity” oriented instead of “consumption oriented” can be attractive to business formation. This would invite work-live housing forms to be added to communities and of course land uses where adapting clean technology to manufacturing would be beneficial. These areas can have lower taxes, reduced regulations, and by being tied into institutional and public information assistance, provide contacts and information inventories that are informative and beneficial to start-ups, expanding local businesses and new business importations.
The greater self sufficiency of communities, towns and cities in the County can bring about the dramatic reduction in travel mileage per capita. It would have a dramatic effect on the freeway system in that Flow Boulevards could essentially be taking vehicular trips off of the freeway system and making trips shorter. This is a way to reduce VMT. The infill consolidation of higher land use density and convenient high capacity low cost transportation with more complete services and employment, make the savings in less mileage traveled. This also removes the necessity of more expensive transportation facilities and of course pressures for sprawl.
The development of improved infill transportation and land use structure, is the important goal. With the extensive network of VMT reducing FB infrastructure, connections are also made with the major regional role that the freeway system has and the more minor role the commuter rail system would have.
Urban area applications of Flow Boulevards
In contrast to suburbia the urban areas would first look to benefit by eliminating congestion and protecting residential areas from cut-through traffic in residential areas. The observation is that an application in the urban context would mainly be to solve conditions of congestion where travel demand has exceeded existing infrastructure capacity and to also return to the corridor the overflowed traffic that has now become residential cut-through traffic. The intension is to fix what is broken without making excessive capacity increases that would induce much greater development resulting in attracting many more trips and ultimately the return of congested communities. The objective is to balance travel demand with infrastructure capacity.
This “fix what is broken” approach as is discussed in the West LA proposal in Part C has the objective of balancing the travel demand and infrastructure relationships of that area. It is the intension to add what additional capacity that is needed to fix the congestion and also to rely on higher BRT transit use over time. This is instead of solely relying on the addition of much greater capacity facilities, especially rail projects like the Subway to the Sea, that would induce large amounts of office and shopping that bring more regional, medium and local trips once again impacting residential areas. An over capacity approach may provide a temporary fix but it would follow that the new land uses that attract long and medium length trips would return to the area with congestion and “character changing” development as well as permanent surface street congestion. The problems associated with over development are very real and profound.
At some point in time a Westside Subway Extension could probably be made to reach to the 405 corridor. Hopefully it takes place at a time when there are revenue surpluses, Basin wide congestion free circulation and that cut-through traffic has been eliminated and guarded against for the auto dependent residential communities of the LA Basin. That time is as Roger Snoble the former MTA Chief Administrator stated “is decades away”, or should be. The intension of the 30 mile long Los Angeles Flow Boulevard Loop is to create a condition in the LA Basin which protects and serves communities against the “bull in the china shop” impacts that uncontrolled commercial development induced by subway adjacent development which could come about.
There are applications for urban Flow Boulevards to add density where additional land use development that is community oriented and desirable to solve local needs. That land use improvement provided by a FB is to help refine the established community character, eliminate peak hour(s) congestion, balance resident/employment ratios and make development of a better urban design through safety, function, community experience and environmental considerations.
In urban high density applications, like for Downtown LA, the objective would be to make a length of FB corridor or several corridors specifically meant to increase residential density and become supportive adjacent communities to Downtown. This would provide improved access in and out of Downtown and would also bring a better work place to resident population ratio to reduce the amounts of long commutes and make a revitalized urban environment as well. This again would provide short trips and the utilization of bus BRT transit in a most advantageous manner connecting work, cultural and entertainment attractions to nearby residents (see “Spurs” indicated on the LA County Growth Corridors plan). Connected with the proposed 30 thirty mile LA Basin Loop (www.flowblvd.com/page2/page19/index.html), to freeways, to rail, and with a Flow Boulevard network further out in suburbia; that would make a very functional system.
An uncertain economic outlook must be considered:
A complex socio-economic matrix is set with changing demographics, a global economy to respond to and how to absorb growth and provide for a needed additional two million more in LA County population over the next 30 years without great cost and by actually creating communities with greater opportunities, balance and productivity.
Lifestyle adjustments can affect urban form such as with a graying population that is less oriented to raising children and with being more appreciative of cultural activities and services that can be provided in community forms with greater proximity. Likewise young people starting out in life can benefit by medium density and “equity building” housing forms (condos, cooperatives and others) to help scale the ladder of upward mobility. That leaves the single family homes which are now in abundance for people raising families and those that can’t live without barbeques in the back yard. Both of these groups are influenced by the “senior ratio” as well and how this may affect housing form, an appropriate community location and their own financial well being over time.
But jobs affect all of this. Increasing productivity used to take care of a growing population; but now that no longer seems to be true or effective for everyone. The rapid acceleration of technological progress has influenced the widening gap between economic winners and losers at the bottom. At the same time a hollowing out of the number of middle class paying jobs has been taking place since the 80’s and real wages have not increased since that time as well. There has developed a high skill, low skill job split.
Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee from the MIT Sloan School of Management (in a recent article in a July, 2013 issue of MIT Technology Review) stated that they believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them contributing to the stagnation of medium incomes and the growth of inequality; especially since the year 2000.
However, the hollowing out of the middle class has been happening since the 80’s due to global competition, imprudent political/economic choices (like wars), excessive credit expansions and manipulations making bubbles which have created soaring debts and business uncertainties. Where it took just one bread winner in a family, now it generally takes two. And there are other such responses to getting along in an economy with diminishing opportunities. In business it has led to an artificial Wall Street and a tentative main street and excessive debt in the private sector and in the public sector nationally and in most all states and municipalities.
The message is, don’t make long term risky bets that can’t be adjusted to and balanced as the future unfolds. Flexibility, economic prudence along with affordable productive development is necessary going forward.
In terms of planning, people will have to pay attention to transportation and land use development, be adaptable and keep up democratic processes of participation in decision making to protect interests and the general evolving welfare. Measure J in the November 2012 election, would probably have taken all of that away.
The creative class actually can address the concerns of Living Cities
Let’s review the five trends with which Living Cities, the coalition of philanthropic institutions, has concerns with. First to be recognized is the idea that the well developed areas of LA have less concern of fighting off decline. If anything those areas are defending themselves from being “piled upon” by speculative growth to their dismay and dysfunction. It is in those areas that congestion relief is called for and that new development can be placed elsewhere with greater benefit. So alternatively, it is primarily the neglected and out of the way low density areas where concern innovation and growth needs to be placed. These two contrasting area types are interrelated within the same economy and are interdependent. So the five trends Living Cities is concerned with are to which “low cost growth” is primarily directed to with corridor development. The five concerns are each repeated below, and then a following response to each is made by influences of the Flow Boulevard approach.
- 1/ (concern) fiscal strain is causing city governments to reduce services and scale back capital investment.........(response) Low cost community oriented infrastructure improvement makes budgets stretch much further. And the land use improvement functions that will go into these areas will increase the tax base of the various cities and the County.
- 2/ failing infrastructure is inhibiting economic growth, sustainability and overall mobility of goods, people and information.......... Flow Boulevards address this problem directly with additional capacity which can eliminate congestion and provide for greater mobility, social interaction and the prospects of community growth.
- 3/ stagnant educational outcomes have implications for talent production, and the attraction and matching of jobs........... Improving communities, creating jobs and the opportunities to do so attract talent. And through the stabilization of better functional and socio-economic conditions it allows greater time and money to be spent on education and the connecting of people to jobs of the growing community.
- 4/ The changing U.S. landscape is creating unemployment and shifting job creation to low cost regions................The utilization of the low density out lying areas of LA City and County to develop with greater employment accepts the criteria of new business to look for areas with “low cost growth” potential while being connected to established consumer markets and with domestic and international importing-exporting entrepreneurship as well as having close by material financial and information service support.
- 5/ the collapse of the housing market, the credit market and economic uncertainty in restraining job creation, makes material pressure on household economics and the health of communities............ It is recognized that with the improvement of corridors a much greater public-private support process must become a part of the planning and implementation process and would be recognized as such with market financial support. With the prudent avoidance of taking on excessive debt, of keeping taxes and development fees low and by having low cost improvement made on a pay as you go basis, a burden is taken off the public and the private investor. Identifying areas for job creation within the community is to be part of the overall development vision. As indicated, jobs are essential to households, their formation and to the communities in which they reside.
Two Corridors; Specifics and Implications
A Focus on Two Kinds of Flow Boulevard Applications in this Study
The original configuration of the Flow Boulevard (FB) concept made in 1973 had a pair of “one-way” major streets separated by a city block or a few blocks and that one-way corridor would extend for miles. With that a higher density of land use than a plain boulevard can be made because of the increased travel capacity as well as the additional land adjacent to that high access corridor. Now there are the broader objectives that are considered and the differences that occur in the urban and suburban locations as well as the new FB system capabilities to deal with them.
More recently a “single street” FB corridor has been conceived that can also be made to work with synchronized signal traffic flow but it does have greater specific requirements for it to do so. However, these two types of Flow Boulevard can be put together end to end, in effect “mixed”, to respond to the varying existing urban and suburban street conditions to provide transportation and land use improvement opportunities. And you can see with the plan for an intersection of two FB corridors (one being a single street corridor and the other a one-way pair configuration) beginning in Part C, how they in effect can be made to make “corners” and begin to make a network.
The intension of both the single and the paired street configurations of Flow Boulevards are to increase capacity and to make vehicular traffic flow without congestion by not having to stop at signals and especially to make bus transit truly rapid with synchronized signalization. The corridor capacities can be in the mid range of capacity between that of a freeway (of around 300,000 person trips/day) and a regular boulevard (of around 45,000 pt/day). Beyond having synchronized traffic signalization, corridor capacity mainly depends on the number of lanes that will be employed in the Flow Boulevard (FB). For ballpark figures for a Flow Boulevard with two lanes in each direction the total capacity would be up to about 80,000 pt/day, for three lanes each way about 125,000 pt/day and for four lanes about 160,000 pt/day. How well bus rapid transit (BRT) is developed is a major variable but there are many other variable that can affect those numbers as well. In the later portion of this text, in the Part C plan descriptive section, there are more definitive numbers and relationships shown. And of course the full amount of capacity does not have to be utilized for the FB to work exceedingly well and in many cases this would be to the liking of adjacent communities and they may insist on limiting such capacities by limiting trip attracting land uses for reasons of livability. Whereas failing streets and the disruptions of congestion have major drawbacks, a street system that is “hot” with traffic relative to community and corridor needs can also be a drawback. Maintaining the right balance of infrastructure and land use through design of the facility is a necessary objective to be carried out with proper urban design and balancing of infrastructure and land use density.
This study concentrates on two existing corridors where existing travel demand exceeds the original regular street capacities and now need Flow Boulevards. They are in the Santa Monica Boulevard (SMB) corridor between West LA and areas east of Hollywood (Silverlake, Echo Park) and the second is in the Sepulveda Boulevard corridor between West LA and Culver City. These two corridors are being used as specific design solutions but they also are for the purpose to exhibit principles to be used elsewhere as well as in evolving suburban locations into more complete communities. In suburban locations streets would be evolved either in small or large steps to accept growth in land use while maintaining land use and infrastructure balance with one another. At some point in time they will have become Flow Boulevards with desired land use densities and functions.
Santa Monica Boulevard Corridor:
In the Santa Monica corridor there is now extreme congestion due to capacity failure of Santa Monica Boulevard (SMB) essentially east of Century City and on beyond West Hollywood and Hollywood to the east. What now often occurs is 5 mile per hour travel particularly in the evening peak hours where it can take up to two hours to travel ten miles. With a Flow Boulevard in that corridor traveling ten miles would take just twenty minutes with the 30 mph average designed speed for the non-stopping traffic on the synchronized traffic signal system. So with a Flow Boulevard, traffic calming is taking place with slower top speeds during non-peak period travel and by the removal of hectic bumper to bumper congestion during peak period traffic. And it provides shorter overall periods of travel time for commuting.
The failure on SMB to move traffic is mainly due to a random mixture of signalization and intersection spacing that creates discontinuity of travel and congestion. This mainly occurs between the Wilshire Boulevard intersection in Beverly Hills and La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood. Additional capacity can be achieved by organizing a sequence of intersections and signalization that allows the flow of vehicles in both directions without stopping. This greater capacity can come about with the synchronization of traffic signals, ordering of intersections and of turning movements in the existing ROW by way of the Flow Boulevard design. The single corridor Flow Boulevard configuration has the ability to solve for this critical segment where there exists just two lanes in either direction in a single street ROW between Century City and La Cienega Boulevard and a Flow Boulevard can produce the needed extra capacity so the corridor does not fail with traffic.
Failing traffic is not necessary. When traffic slows to the 5 mph average in a corridor it is operating at less than half of normal arterial capacities. The 5 mph speed is around 300 vehicles per lane per hour and less as it approaches gridlock. Regular arterial street capacities operate in the range of 600 and in some cases over 700 vehicles per lane per hour. A Flow Boulevard can easily provide 1200 vehicles per lane per hour and with some fine tuning 1400 and more. The difference between the 5 mph failing street and a Flow Boulevard is that the failing street can take six times the amount of time to clear the same volume of vehicular traffic. That is why peak periods of traffic are getting longer and longer as the failing streets are losing more and more capacity.
When a Flow Boulevard is made it can be expected to attract additional traffic from other parallel streets because it allows shorter commuting times. But if the 1200 vehicles per lane per hour capacity is made over a two hour peak period it is capable of handling four to six times the number of vehicles that are presently being served in the Santa Monica Boulevard between Wilshire and La Cienega. And for a daily total of capacity the Flow Boulevard can providing about twice the overall capacity that the existing Boulevard is providing. The emergence of four times the amount of vehicles in the peak period and two times the daily travel total would not take place because the demand is not there to begin with. So with a Flow Boulevard you can expect shorter peak periods, free flowing traffic at less than 1200 vehicles per lane per hour and better bus transit with a growing amount of riders over time.
To be sure the relationships between land use and its trip generations and attractions would want to be kept in balance so that congestion failure of the system does not return to the corridor transportation infrastructure. There are many ways to make sure that congestion does not return to the corridor. A primary issue is not to attract regional trips that increase travel through the corridor. If additional trip growth develops then try to have that increase be served by BRT transit. But as it stands the prospects of permanent congestion by having failing streets is being planned for by the default of not providing adequate capacity.
In the Sepulveda corridor there is involvement with the 405 freeway whose capacity has been exceeded putting extra travel demand traffic pressures on Sepulveda Boulevard and related cross streets. That condition further entangles the distribution and collection of the 405 commuters to the Westside which results in extreme congestion and the long peak hour periods of four, five or more hours. Actually the entire Westside arterial grid is over loaded and congested because of these conditions.
Whereas the overall solution is multi-modal the key improvement is in using a Flow Boulevard in a one-way pair configuration as a frontage road to the 405. The one-way pair would straddle the 405 freeway bringing additional capacity to alleviate the congestion of both the north-south capacity deficiency and the connections to the east-west arterials serving the Westside. The Sep/FB (Sepulveda/Flow Boulevard) would occur for just the 4 and one half miles in order to relieve the existing giant freeway caused bottleneck. The FB solves the deficiency by adding the needed new increased capacity to relieve the bottleneck in the north-south directions would be designed for 45 mph travel speed and would double the turning movement capacities from north-south to east-west allowing the Westside arterial network to no longer get congested at the intersections and ramps to the 405. The basic objective however is to improve the 405 and I-10 corridors with sufficient and quick circulation so that traffic does not overflow into the Westside arterial grid.
Not to be overlooked as part of the Westside multi-modal traffic solution is the $1.2 Billion dollar addition of the one north bound HOV lane to the 405. That however will add capacity of only about an additional 25,000 pt/day leaving a corridor deficiency of 75,000 pt north-south. Also travel demand to the Westside generally will be helped with the Expo Line once completed but that does not help solve the north-south deficiency. The Expo additional capacity east-west would only be about 25,000 pt/day cordon line count into the City of Santa Monica. What is also needed would be a capacity improvement of the I-10 freeway between the 405 interchange and the City of Santa Monica. By these capacity improvements the Westside congestion would essentially be fixed by providing the high capacity corridors of the 405 (which includes the Flow Boulevard) and the I-10 (which benefits by the Expo Line) to take travel demand through Westside and around the arterial grid west of the 405 without making congestion within the overall Westside arterial grid. The key improvement however is the Flow Boulevard which provides the needed new increased capacity in the north-south direction as well as being involved with connecting traffic with the I-10.
The intension of this solution is to fix what is now a grand freeway caused bottleneck on the Westside that also involves the Westside arterial grid. The objective is to remove the gridlock in the arterial grid return those communities to their primary residential character by excluding the cut through traffic. Further, the intension is not to attract a great amount of new traffic but mainly to fill the needed existing deficiency in capacity and the latent additional traffic that will emerge once the congestion is cleared.
The Westside should focus on improving its resident to employee ratio (having more residents instead of commuters) and with that making the Westside an even greater place to live. Appreciable additional regional trips to the City of Santa Monica would threaten to impact a livable balance between land use and infrastructure and would bring back congestion and cut through traffic in the communities that surround it if limits on additional regional trips are not made.
The above SMB and Sepulveda corridors are two instances where congestion elimination can take place with Flow Boulevards in the existing urban context with the use of this low cost “missing element” of mid-range transportation capacity improvement. Additionally with the added characteristic of land use improvement, further benefit can occur in the area of urban design with the intension of making “complete communities” where public and private amenities and services serve the community exceedingly well, protect existing residential areas from traffic impacts and to preserve and improve the relationships between commercial and residential land use. The overall viewpoint that has become clear is that major growth should occur in the surrounding suburbs of Los Angeles and in the multi-centered developed pattern of Cities and towns within LA County. Further growth should not occur in many of the existing urban areas such as the Westside where over development is making major impacts. More on this viewpoint will be developed further on below.
BRT works in Curitiba and BRT can work in LA because of Flow Boulevards:
Los Angeles City and County needs to develop a truly workable, truly rapid and extensive, transit system by the utilization of bus rapid transit (BRT).
First a statement about a bus system similar to the other 147 large cities in the world that rely primarily on bus transit but is renowned for its being thoroughly worked out. It is the rapid bus system of Curitiba , Brazil.
Curitiba, Brazil (www.urbanhabitat.org/node/344) is a bus rapid transit model that LA can look to regarding rapid bus travel. In Curitiba they have growth along designated corridors in a lineal form, vehicular movement is unimpeded by traffic signals and congestion, and they have fare collection before boarding, quick passenger loading and unloading while all above ground to view the urban scene (a quote from the website).
The difference with LA is that they began with very wide streets that could receive separate and exclusive lanes for buses. LA not having wide streets to allow separation of modes of travel can however provide that free flowing of rapid transit without stopping except for passengers by the use of Flow Boulevards utilizing synchronized traffic signals. This is the key to rapid transit operation in Los Angeles that allows buses to travel in flowing uncongested traffic and without making unnecessary stopping that thereby makes them truly rapid and able to attract ridership and be successful. Even better than rail a mix of shuttle, local and rapid transit buses with different origins and destinations can be accommodated on the Flow Boulevard at the same time.
Curitiba being a smaller city has had in the past a single fare of about 50 cents (US) to allow travel throughout the system. Here in LA you would expect some zone partitioning with extra fare for greater distances. The Curitiba private bus companies that run the various rapid, local and shuttle services have had a history that all bus lines had run at a profit. Of particular note 28% of riders previously traveled by car and now spend low percentages of income on travel and contribute low levels of GHG emissions per capita.
Most recently the global economy and the price of oil have raised fares in Brazil generally as is true most everywhere else. And in Sao Paulo just recently, due to a down turn in the economy and inflation that raised faire prices to $1.47 (US), that prompted demonstrations by the transit dependent because transportation cost represented nearly a quarter of their income for many of them. The demonstrations indicate a clear inadequacy of public transit and infrastructure as related to travel demand in Sao Paulo.
The destabilizing externalities of energy costs and economic fluctuations makes for swings in affordability. Natural gas in the US is becoming an abundant resource which can with the oil that is being found can make the US energy independent. This can be used to reduce both the use of polluting coal energy as well as higher costs by the use of natural gas which can run bus fleets and trucking cleanly (instead of diesel) and economically without fluctuation. This would be an obvious stabilizing condition. It can be expected that some nat-gas cars and light trucks would evolve as well. The main relief which is both economic and environmental is to turn the 60 million sixteen wheeled trucks in America from diesel fuels to cleaner natural gas (a la the Boone Pickens Project).
Regarding the LA economy, development of an extensive low cost transit countywide system is preferable to not being able to serve the majority by having but a few commuter rail lines serving a special few. Intension and policy can make a big difference. For example Metro has recently reduced bus service by a million hours per year in LA placing the burden of diminished mobility on the transit dependent. The intent of Metro is to reduce service and to put that money into developing rail to please Downtown interests. This kind of policy outrages the transit dependent. But this is LA’s problem. That because transit has been made to be so expensive with rail it is making hardship on the people that transit should be serving instead of real estate development interests. That will likely continue to be so into the future unless low cost transit improvement is made available; namely Flow Boulevard development with BRT transit. Choosing mobility for some and not for others is unacceptable.
Flow Boulevard development is integral and exceedingly environmental:
The FB system works, is affordable, can be quickly installed, has greater GHG reduction benefits than rail opportunities and fits in without disruption within the Southern California system of surface transportation. The greater GHG elimination is by the reduction of mileage being traveled and by the increase of CAFÉ standards for vehicles (requiring vehicles to have higher miles per gallon capability). The greater GHG elimination occurs with the structuring of the countywide population increase with FB corridors that both have the efficiencies of BRT transit but also by the making of shorter trips by the proximity of home to work and the many other trips that are made by vehicles within the communities structured with FB corridors. Shorter trips produce fewer vehicular miles traveled.
The mileage traveled now each day in LA County with long and medium length trips is about 80 million miles. This is all travel greater than about one and a half miles long in the dense urban areas and greater than about three and a half miles in suburban areas. Twenty percent of that, which would match the amount of expected increase in population growth in LA County over the next 25 to 30 years, is about 17 million miles of travel per day of these long and medium length trips. But instead of adding an additional 17 million miles of long and medium length trips to County VMT the FB approach is to absorb that amount with shorter trips and thereby not add any addition VMT with the increased population.
By adding additional transportation capacity with Flow Boulevards that also add land use opportunities to increase higher density in housing, businesses and other land uses in low density suburban areas, the population and its travel demand is absorbed be virtue of the resulting shorter trips between home, work, shopping, etcetera. Expect that the majority of long trips become medium in length and the majority of medium length trips become short in length. And a great percentage of existing short vehicular trips can become walking and biking trips as appropriate community forms are developed.
Granted the following numbers are very generalized but the concept of reducing trip length to reduce VMT is very real. The generalized view is that one third of the savings in VMT would take place within the Flow Boulevard corridors themselves. A proposed growth of from 130 to 220 or more miles (175 average) of Flow Boulevards in suburban areas would increase on average those corridors by about 32,000 person trips/day per mile. Multiplying 32,000 times 175 miles equals about 5.6 million miles per day the additional capacity of which accommodates and absorbs the one third of the trip mileage expected by the two million in population increase with trips that are half as long as they would be otherwise. It would be a conservative assumption that trips in these corridors where there are the closeness of connections of home, work, shopping, etcetera would be just half as long as suburban travel today. The average suburban trip length of long and medium trips now in LA County is about 15.5 miles long so within denser corridors it is easy to imagine average long and medium length trips being just 7.75 miles long (and even less).
Added to the VMT saved within the Flow Boulevard corridors itself are the adjacent low density land use trips that are generated and can now use the close by facilities and land uses to reduce their travel mileage. Figure that the benefit here is two thirds of the 17 million miles of travel that would have been generated by the population increase or 11.4 million miles of VMT per day. Adding the 5.5 and 11.4 gives the 17 million miles of travel that would be saved each day. It is the amount that would have been produced by the 15.5 mile long average trip length made with today’s standards. But instead by the consolidation of population afforded by FB corridors a great savings in fuel and in not having to build expensive transportation facilities has been made. Further, even greater benefit is made by making strong diverse communities containing socio-economic stability.
Yes there are many trips that will not be half as long but these are accommodated by the increase in the overall capacity of the Flow Boulevard network itself. Also consider that those long trips that are not reduced in length would now be off set by many more walking and biking trips in the more dense FB corridors. Also at work regarding reducing GHG emissions are the CAFÉ standards for reducing GHG emissions of vehicles and the increase of BRT transit with natural gas or electric power that will reduce GHG emissions even further. And so with the Flow Boulevard network congestion has been eliminated, GHG emissions greatly reduced and more efficient and complete communities have been formed.
Flow Boulevards reduce CO2 emissions more than Measure R; 20 times more:
Metro has stated as a part of their 30/10 promotion that Measure R would save 191 million fewer vehicular miles traveled annually when completed. With the Flow Boulevard objective of cutting off the increase of VMT by 17 million miles daily the FB approach achieves the reduction in twelve days what takes the Measure R approach an entire year to do.
Doing some math with the emissions saved gives a connection to the benefit that reducing average trip length can have. With one mile equaling one pound of CO2 emission that’s 191 million pounds saved or 105,000 Mt (metric tons) of CO2e per year. With the above case where the Flow Boulevard concept is used to structure LA County consolidation and community development, 17 million fewer miles per day were saved. Multiplied by 320 (45 days taken off for less travel on weekends and holidays) and divided by 1820 to get metric tons equals about 3 million Mt saved in emissions of CO2 per year with the Flow Boulevard planning concept. Dividing the three million saved by FB’s by the 104,945 Mt saved with Measure R gives Flow Boulevards saving 28 times more in CO2 emissions per year than Measure R projects. The point being that by arranging land use density in efficient patterns that make shorter trips that action will produce greater savings in GHG emissions and is a much more environmentally productive thing to do than expecting a few miles of expensive rail development as being sufficient.
The basic fact is that in low density development (suburbs) the existing daily per capita vehicle mileage traveled can range from 20 to 45 miles/day (or more). The further out from work centers the greater the daily VMT/capita. The needed objective is to reduce VMT by making shorter trips. And shorter trips can be made by having distributed work and community service centers to provide the proximity to households which will reduce the length of travel generally.
Yes with rail there would be some infill development as well but not to the extent as with Flow Boulevards in that the long commuter rail lines would induce a new kind of urban sprawl with new suburbs even further out from the core. There would be fewer rail miles made and the related high land cost clusters around stations would have less development of businesses and elements of community as well. The Metro transportation approach would have less of an ability to attract and provide for an increased population that can cure demographic problems and provide the needed improved workforce that helps re-invent the economy of greater Los Angeles.
This is the objective of developing the growth corridors and connections to the multi-centered pattern that needs greater population. With Flow Boulevards there is a much greater interface with the “great sprawl” of the existing suburbs which enables trip length reduction and the benefits of low cost housing and start up costs for new businesses and population. This would mean much more affordable growth to take place at this time which is much more likely to occur than the “elegant density” transit oriented development associated with light and heavy rail transit. To be sure there will be further rail development, however that should not prevent the extensive low cost Flow Boulevard network from developing which can reduce GHG emissions so much more effectively and produce the productive neighborhoods and communities that are needed.
There is debate between those that favor even further suburban sprawl in exurbia using vehicles (along with some rail), whereas the opposite viewpoint of urban core devotees say that rail is necessary to serve the benefits of high density. Pro-suburbanites favoring further sprawl tout the virtues of privacy, safety and open space and state that driving a little bit further to the new expansion on the fringe of the city does not add much more travel mileage. However, that does not help reduce existing or future VMT. The opposite viewpoint, the urban “creative class” that favor rail to serve density insist that sprawl wastes energy and land resources. This is true, but this viewpoint is up against the few miles of rail that can be afforded and the community disruption drawbacks of rail in existing dense communities. The difference between these two views in comparison with Flow Boulevards is that by consolidating existing developed suburban areas with higher density and fixing of congestion in urban areas, VMT is directly reduced and greater support of job growth, productivity, creativity, density and community growth is brought about at low costs for the majority by the utilization of Flow Boulevards.
Consolidation of LA County with a bit higher density with Flow Boulevards:
Flow Boulevards are the personification of the California “anti-sprawl” legislation objective of SB 375. Since Flow Boulevards can consolidate future growth within existing developed patterns they are “anti-sprawl” projects on a community, multi-community and sub-regional scale. The reduction in travel mileage and GHG emissions while providing growth in suburban areas is a perfect result of development. Land use would be regulated locally being a part of local community and city plans. Developers are given relief in red tape for projects in these corridors and would share in the opportunity by the preferences made by Sacramento in money for corridor improvement under the SB 375 provisions.
By working with SB 375 it is the intension to make communities in balance with infrastructure and by having greater proximity to be more complete with greater amenities and to be better inter-related where residential and commercial exist to the advantage of each other. By way of improving transportation it gives structure to improving and the making of more complete communities including their economies as well as their likely sustainability.
LA City has 38% of its population living in medium densities of around 10,000/ sq. mi. The majority of the population lives in densities nearer to 5,000 / sq. mi. The medium and lower density areas are disconnected by geography, industrial land use and even lower density areas. LA County is lower in density on average and contains cities with less density and are spread out and separate from LA City. Both the City and County of LA can benefit from Flow Boulevard development in consolidating and further serving the multi-centered pattern of existing development with “a bit more density” and growth.
Greater transit access is needed to reallocate resources to greater use. Los Angeles City has an existing high percentage of residential land use near transit stops (about 92%) but trips typically take more than 45 minutes in non-peak hour periods and for peak hour periods can take one and a half hours or more going to or back from work by bus transit in failing traffic gridlock conditions. Typically it takes 25 minutes for average commutes in automobiles and light trucks but again in gridlock conditions up to two hours. (partial content reference, Wendell Cox). The answer is to utilize the street network better with low cost improvements where it is needed and improve average travel speeds especially for BRT.
With Flow Boulevard development, travel is faster and with reduced travel distances by the proximity of higher land use densities it would enable much more effective use of land. Less cost outlays for transportation occurs but with more socio-economic payback through commerce and community development. This is where new business develops as well as the proximity that produces shorter trips. There are great savings in this area to be achieved and to be reallocated to socio-economic development and education.
So with little if any Federal help: more must be done with less:
The Federal government can’t be relied upon beyond the existing levels of transportation funding and less so after 2014. The realities are that with budget cutbacks it prevents a vision of what can happen with their help. The Highway Trust Fund cannot support large scale projects and the will of a bi-partisan Congress to increase the gasoline tax cannot be made. There is an inability to identify new resources for transportation at the Federal level.
This pretty much leaves the states and Municipalities with the job of exploring resources and becoming self reliant for new infrastructure projects. That is what the present sales tax Measure R represents for LA County. However with some of the highest taxes in the country combined with business unfriendliness and existing Metro plans not likely to improve the amount of transportation to make the required needed difference; that creates a dilemma.
The answer is to do more with the Measure R funds than the plans we have now provide for. In Part A there is discussion made to reprioritize Measure R projects in the suburbs so that with a few less rail projects made now many more miles of Flow Boulevard having economy and community building benefits can be made. In Part C below there is a proposed transfer of the $1 Billion dollar Measure R San Fernando Valley to the Westside project to instead use those funds for a Flow Boulevard based set of projects that eliminates congestion for the entire Westside, connects new BRT transit to the Valley and eliminates congestion in the Sepulveda and Santa Monica Boulevard corridors between Culver City, the Westside and clear over to the East Hollywood Areas. Between those two sets of shifting of Measure R project funds the entire County receives transportation improvement, it better serves the restoring of the economy and provides for the stabilization of its communities with the existing inflows from the Measure R sales tax. It is time to understand the benefits of low cost corridor and multi-centered growth with development using Flow Boulevards instead of the high cost of centralist development of higher densities with rail and the false hope of “elegant density” as a way to improve LA City and County.
The average ratio of development costs gives twenty miles of Flow Boulevard for one mile of light rail. And that is when a Flow Boulevard is fully developed and outfitted with BRT giving 10 minute headways in each direction. Many more “pre-fully” formed miles of Flow Boulevard can be developed to enter a step by step evolution of improvement for a fraction of the typical 12 million per mile FB cost. The evolving improvement come about over time on an as needed basis geared to travel and community development demands. In the proposed Pico - Olympic one-way pair the LADOT figured the cost of signage, traffic signal controls, re-striping lanes and some new curbing construction would be around $300,000 per mile (one third of a million per mile). Buses for10 minute headways in both directions would be about $7 million per mile.
In this study the figure of less than 200 miles has been stated as the objective of a system of Flow Boulevards. It may work out that for a period of time there is just 100 miles of Flow Boulevard and 300 miles of pre-formed FB. A larger system would ultimately be the likely need. But the allocation of initial costs as through Measure R for example would not increase. The additional money for the additional miles of Flow Boulevard would be coming from the increased base of property taxes on the additional new properties that are developed in the FB corridors. The system would be self sustaining. Self sustaining revenues would not happen with rail development. The history of rail is that it needs continued subsidy. The present Metrolink system requires 50% of its operating costs to be subsidized by special taxation to the taxpayer.
The choice is not just cost but also performance. Good transit is transit with higher service levels by virtue of an extensive network, short headway times between transit service and by having acceptable speeds. When service levels approach those of travel by car as would be the case in Flow Boulevards, that is absolutely a winning condition. Frequency of service, directness with convenience of origin to destination as well as speed of travel makes a winning combination for Flow Boulevard BRT transit.
Factors to consider; 1/ dollar stretching is needed, 2/ suburbia needs to be made efficient, 3/ two million more people need to be accommodated in the County and made productive in the next 30 years, 3/ the environment must be considered to effectively reduce GHG, 4/ a new more capable work force is to be developed, 5/ preserving established and productive communities should be made, 6/ keeping an open and flexible process of improvement should be made into the future and 7/ having a prudent process of “pay-go” expenditure where paying as you go without borrowing extensively from the future makes the most sense. Putting all this together means “low cost growth” that are compatible with existing communities is the best way to proceed.
Improved communities with Flow Boulevards bring opportunities:
What will take place with the majority of development happening in the suburbs? It is interesting to note that the LA Basin (the area of the City of LA defined by the Santa Monica Mountains, Downtown LA, the Baldwin Hills and the Pacific Ocean) not too long ago was mostly just a mini sprawl of suburbs. And for the most part still is. The entire Santa Monica Mountain residential development is essentially low density and suburban in character. Between Downtown and about La Brea Avenue an urban street grid with low and medium density exists. West of La Brea in the central part of the Basin is essentially single family home communities except for the few small town like formations and the small City of Santa Monica at the most westerly edge.
Geography and infrastructure, mostly laid out for suburban capacities, has combined to make some intense traffic bottlenecks, addressed in this study as in the 405/Sepulveda corridor and the Santa Monica Boulevard corridor. Both of these corridors have been subject to the deficiency of not building the Laurel, Whitnal and Beverly Hills freeways that were planned to serve the established zoning density of the Basin. But those freeways would have divided communities and made other kinds of problems. Now is the time to use Flow Boulevards that protect communities, provide access and improved land use to transportation relationships to better serve communities.
It can be expected that higher densities in the San Fernando Valley, communities and cities east of Downtown up to the San Gabriel Mountains and down to the County line as well as the South Bay area south of the Baldwin Hills is all presented with a similar circumstance as the LA Basin had in the 1960’s. The main difference today is that there is substantial global economic competition and our work force needs to be “re-invented”.
What is being laid out here requires regional cooperation in the building of infrastructure, making better communities and providing a more productive work force for demographic and socio-economic reasons. Given the present economic circumstances growth is needed and it is most prudent and equitable that it be facilitated by low cost growth in areas that can most easily accommodate and benefit from it. The task of relieving development pressures on the LA Basin would be welcomed by many in the Basin. But while placing development emphasis on areas further out, those areas must benefit by not making mistakes like in the Basin of waiting so long to make plans to provide adequate infrastructure to receive the new jobs, new businesses and community growth that is needed and desirable.
Motivating Self determination and cooperation in the 88
Staying with a comprehensive outlook and adding a socio-economic dimension to it, that can be understood as; without adequate transportation there is likely inadequate commerce, and without adequate commerce there is likely an inadequate standard of living.
It is with this understanding that complete and well functioning communities can be made by connecting improved conditions in transportation, commerce and a standard of living using a comprehensive planning approach. So the intension is to support a stronger economic base by making permanent job creation as a part of the strategy to improve transportation corridors. It would be part of good community plans to have strategies, programs and public-private information exchange to shape job creation. Jobs are fundamental to a sustainable community. The necessity of thinking about it, communicating and making it apart of the intensions of plans for improvement makes it happen. Transportation improvement being such a transformational step can be used as a major step in making all things better. Local planning needs to take advantage of this process by participating in it.
Expanding on the standard of living aspect, this would include making communities much more goal oriented with the objective of providing the education it takes to make a workforce able to compete in the emerging new world economy. For the commerce aspect it means getting mechanisms for job creation and a bigger economic pie to share. In areas of work it likely means technological adaptation to products and methods of manufacturing and services that become a part of the function of LA City and County as well as products and services for export. For transportation it means extensive improved mobility for the majority and all of these come together with well designed communities. The well designed, functional, stable socio-economic communities are the basis for being able to problem solve and in achieving sustainability. Going into deep debt while advancing plans that do not work or build the required economy and transportation services that are needed is a sure way for Los Angeles County to fail its citizens. Flow Boulevards must become a necessary part of building the multi-modal transportation system that LA County needs.
End Part B
Preface to Part C
Before the plans are to be displayed to the general public on this website, contacts will be made to individuals and groups that have interests and influence in these planning concerns. Their comments and reactions should make interesting reading when some of their comments are then put on the Flow Boulevard website in conjunction with the plans. The objective is how to bring about an understanding that can improve everyone’s future in greater LA.
The issues to be displayed are broad and also those that people can experience in every day life. The newly evolved capabilities of the new Flow Boulevard system extends the application to many more existing street and network patterns than the original couplet Flow Boulevard concept and therefore encompass a greater percentage of the populous.
The new system of continuous flowing vehicles can be made at slower speeds to become more compatible with existing and future urban development while still having higher capacities and higher overall average travel speeds on trips since there is no need to stop at signals. This improves bus rapid transit as well by much higher average travel speeds.
The accompanying socio-economic development benefits of infrastructure and land use improvement are meant to support the needed “re-inventing” of LA City and County. There is a wide range of design possibilities by the new Flow Boulevard medium capacity transportation facility whether it be in a dense urban context or in a low density suburban area that is to experience growth and the improvements that can accompany it.
Some questions to be asked among others:
- How are the plans for the two specific corridors in this study representative of what can take place in other locations of LA City and County? What are the general strategies involved in the process of developing and evolving corridors and networks?
- How do the Metro “call for projects” programs tie into the process of developing communities while solving much larger general issues?
- What are the reactions to postponing some longer term rail projects for more quickly developed community oriented FB projects in suburban locations? What is to their liking and what are the dislikes; the advantages and disadvantages?
- Permanent unrelenting vehicular congestion will degrade the functional and socio-economic levels of urban communities because of uncontrolled growth and over run infrastructure; what can be done about it?
- What is the reaction to the prospects to re-inventing LA and in providing greater productivity and sustainability?
For many of the contemporary issues the websites of NewGeography.com, TheAtlanticCities.com and the Urbanophile.com have given reference to issues and influence. Many other internet sites of course and many books, primarily on economic issues, have as well given influence.
As a part of the concept and issue development process over the years; that can be seen on the website at www.FlowBoulevardPlan.com.
Forty years ago in the experience of the Citizen’s Wilshire District Community Plan, the Flow Boulevard concept was first appreciated by residential interests. More recently there has been involvement in Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils and with the issues of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Southern California Association of Governments and Los Angeles Planning and Transportation Departments. Now the Flow Boulevard concept should be recognized as being constructive from the community scale to the County sub-regional scale as a needed element of transportation improvement, community formation and socio-economic development that can contribute in bringing sustainability.