LA County's public transportation growing
Denny Zane, the executive director and former Santa Monica mayor, was invited to speak at Santa Monica College on Tuesday, Nov. 26 about creating a new transportation model for Los Angeles County, to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emission.
Zane said that a larger and functioning public transportation is essential because three million more people are expected to reside in Los Angeles County within the next 30 years.
According to MoveLA.org, Zane created the aforementioned organization in 2007, with the goal of working with environmental leaders and organizations for LA's transit system.
“Around 50,000 people use the existing Metro link system daily," he said. "If we expand it, 100,000 people would use it to go to work every day. It would be a relief on the highway."
Furthermore, Zane said that it all started in college, and it became achievable because of the addressing of the issue.
“Discussion like this really matters, in order to make a change,” Zane said.
Santa Monica City Councilmember Terry O’Day demonstrated a strong vision of transportation. In addition, Zane, O’Day, and Diana Forte, director of sustainability projects, decided to create “Move LA” in 2007, and also gain resident voters under the 2008 presidential elections.
However, large amounts of funding were needed in order for the transfer program to go through. The county’s Metropolitan Transportation needed $60 million to spend within the next 30 years.
Previously, Sacramento was the only place for California to collect money, but today it is through the voters.
When the election was over, 66.8 percent of the voters approved to raise $40 million in taxes within the next 30 years.
The year 2012 was the second time the voters voted in high numbers, with 66.1 percent, just short of what they needed.
By showing a video called "LA's Got Lines" and a PowerPoint presentation, Zane explained the plans for the new metro system step by step, such as where in the county the existing lines are, where and how the new routes will be connected with each other and how they will be expanded.
“We would fight the climate change with choices so we would not have to be on the freeway at the same time," Zane said. "It would make sense to walk, ride bikes, use the transit, and there would still be the freeways."
As a result of the votes, the new lines are under construction and will open in 2016. There will be lines connected to the Los Angeles International Airport, and lines such as the Crenshaw line, Wilshire line, and even available lines to Orange County.
“They are planning a tunnel under 405," "That project looks very sweet, makes a lot of people excited. That, right there, will be a game changer."
Zane said he believes that the connection is very necessary in public transportation.
“What really matters in transit is connectivity; if we had more connectivity, more people would use it,” he said.
Zane said that downtown LA used to be the main hub of joining transportation lines and he believes that it will be so again with the recreation of the subway.
“Downtown LA will be the core again," Zane said. "It is good for us, which will create an opportunity for all of us."
SMC student Matt Lane was excited by the lecture.
“This lecture gave me hope that LA County will expand its metro system, and it will benefit many residents, including myself,” he said.