Transit-oriented development? More like transit rider displacement

For five years, pundits, planners, and policy-makers have scratched their heads at Los Angeles’ steep public transit ridership decline: a 21% decrease on buses,15% in total. To explain it, they cite ride-sharing, cheap gas, even the law that lets undocumented immigrants get licenses to drive. But another answer should be obvious: We lose transit riders when we displace the low-income families who rely on it.

Data from Policy Link/PERE shows that L.A.’s transit riders are mostly low-income black and Latinos: 88% of Metro bus riders are people of color, and more than 50% have annual family incomes under $15,000. When they lose housing near bus or rail lines, they lose access to transit…

We have a name for this kind of displacement: Gentrification. It pushes out low-income residents of color, the same populations most likely to take public transportation.

But transit in Los Angeles isn’t just suffering because of gentrification, it’s causing gentrification. According to a recent UCLA/Berkeley study, transit-adjacent L.A. neighborhoods gentrify at higher rates than other neighborhoods. It’s part of the plan…

If we want to stave off further transit ridership losses — not to mention meet our obligations as human beings to each other — we need to establish a new common-sense planning policy. We must prioritize tenants, not the supply of housing units. Stable housing should be a human right. With universal rent control and more public housing, we would link the well-being of low-income Angelenos of color to a greener future for our city of cars.

The cure to the displacement and ridership crises won’t come from more of the cause…

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Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco are most congested U.S. cities

By : usatoday – excerpt

Cheap gas and a surging economy are taxing the nation’s roads and contributing to congestion that cost U.S. motorists almost $300 billion last year in wasted time and fuel, according to a new report…

“Gas prices haven’t increased that much over the last year or two,’’ says Bob Pishue, senior economist at INRIX and a co-author of the traffic scorecard. Economic growth or productivity has also been strong in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. “Those kinds of factors, combined with an already strained road network leads to increased congestion.’’…

Even if the growing popularity of ride share services like Uber reverses the nation’s decades-long decline in car pooling, the increasing amount of freight on the nation’s roadways will still stoke gridlock. “With an economic recovery … the movement of goods also puts a lot of strain on the roads network too,” Pishue says. “So even if people reduce their driving a little bit, freight is still increasing.”…

When freight carriers lose time and money in traffic,  90% of those costs “get pushed onto households through higher prices for goods and services” Pishue says… (more)