Monday, February 2, 2015

Los Angeles Metro steps up on TOD

News from NHC's family of members
by Radiah Shabazz, National Housing Conference

In a recent feature on LA Thrives’ All in LA Blog, Craig Adelman detailed Los Angeles’ efforts to put climate change and equity at the forefront of its transportation practices. Adelman is the director of transit-oriented development at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), an NHC Leadership Circle member. His post captures Los Angeles’ steps toward tackling climate change and growing populations—two problems that can sometimes have competing solutions.

Adelman stresses that individual actions, like using florescent light bulbs or driving hybrid cars, are great steps, but not large-scale enough to make a real impact on combating climate change and putting energy efficiency to best use. So, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) took a huge leap by approving “eTOD,” a proposal introduced by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Country Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Councilmember Mike Bonin and MTA Director Jackie Dupont-Walker to align Metro policy with Los Angeles’ plan to grow its transit infrastructure to benefit low-income communities. Part of the motion reads:

“While [Metropolitan Transportation Agency] cannot shoulder the burden of affordable housing creation alone, it can work in partnership with local communities to protect and create affordable housing near transit in order to preserve ridership and the associated greenhouse gas benefits.”  

As demand for homes within reasonable distance of public transit increases, so does the cost of those homes, which results in lower income households being forced out of amenity-rich neighborhoods. Our 2012 report, Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Costs of Housing and Transportation, found that, for many resident in the area, combined costs of housing and transportation are high, with renters spending 61 percent of their income on housing and transportation. The cost is even higher for homeowners, making Los Angeles one of the top five most expensive metro areas in which to rent or own. Introduction of eTOD could not only increase Metro ridership, but also keep neighborhoods economically diverse.

The MTA Board will consider a staff analysis of the proposal later this month. You can read Adelman’s full blog post here

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