Photo by Brian Addison.
There is a lot to like about Measure M, the Los Angeles County sales tax that would fund a mix of transit and other transportation projects throughout the county. For all of the transit, mobility, walkability, bikeability benefits – not to mention health, environmental and job benefits – across the region, Longbeachize joins Streetsblog LA and Santa Monica Next in endorsing Measure M.
But we understand if you don’t.
First the good points of Measure M.
Take a look at this “fantasy” transit map put together by reader Adam Linder. Tell me that a rail and rapid bus system such as the one pictured wouldn’t change the way we, as a county, move.
And that’s pretty cool.
But sadly, Long Beach, the South Bay and Gateway Cities aren’t going to see the same benefits as Los Angeles.
There are two major projects in the Measure M project list that would be built in Long Beach. The first is a massive, environmentally destructive and universally reviled road widening project. The City of Long Beach has gone to court to stop the project. During a Mayoral Forum in 2015 held by LongBeachize, the candidates jostled to see who could take the strongest stand against the project.
Measure M also promises funding for the future Eco-Rapid Transit line connecting Orange County to Los Angeles through the Gateway Cities. But construction on that line isn’t planned for decades. The Green Line is to extend from Redondo Beach to Torrance but tragically misses connecting to the Blue Line in Long Beach.
Based on the 2010 US Census, ten of the Gateway Cities are among the one hundred most densely populated cities in the Nation, ahead of notable transit rich cities like Boston and Philadelphia. Four more South Bay cities are also on that list. Though this is just one metric to consider when planning transit investment, these South County cities together make up two-thirds of Los Angeles County contribution to that list.
Long Beach will see some benefits from the local return funding that can go towards bicycle and pedestrian project, “fix-it-first” projects and other small projects to improve our transportation network within the city. But let’s be clear, despite its regional benefits and futuristic vision; Measure M is a product of a Metro Board of Directors that is dominated by Los Angeles City Government.
To truly earn Long Beach’s and the rest of South County cities trust and support, Los Angeles city leaders should promise greater representation on the Metro Board for Long Beach and other Gateway Cities instead of blocking efforts to create a more balanced board in the state legislature..
In 2008 and 2012, Streetsblog L.A., LongBeachize and the Southern California Streets Initiative didn’t formally endorse or oppose Measure R or Measure J. This proposal is better than both of them and, warts and all, deserves your vote.
We urge all our readers to Vote Yes on Measure M. But we understand if you don’t.