In the last two months, grants have been awarded to just over two dozen planned walk/bike projects in various places throughout L.A. County. In January, Metro approved its first tranche of Measure M sales tax funded Active Transportation grants. In February, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced staff recommendations for the 2021 Active Transportation Program grants, though these still need to be approved by the CTC.
Though municipalities – cities and L.A. County – prepare grant applications to seek these funds, many of these projects are still in the planning phase, so they are subject to changes in scope. It’s important that the public be aware of these projects and advocate for their implementation. These projects often encounter hurdles, resulting in delays, downgrades, and – in big cities and small ones alike – some projects that fail to sustain public support are canceled.
2021 Metro MAT Grants
The Metro board recently approved the first round of grants from a new funding source: Metro ActiveTransport, Transit and First/Last Mile program – called the MAT Program. The money is from the two percent set-aside in Measure M, expected to generate $857 million over 40 years. Metro had initially announced $75 million for this funding cycle, but reduced that to $63.1 million due to COVID-recession reduced sales tax revenue.
In January, Metro approved staff recommendations (staff report, presentation) funding for 16 projects. As with many grants like these, the funding is spread out over the next half a decade – from fiscal year 2021 through 2025. At the time of approval, Streetsblog covered funded San Gabriel Valley MAP projects in depth. Today, Streetsblog shares the full list of projects funded.
The MAP program is broken into two categories: Active Transportation Corridors and First/Last Mile. Projects are listed alphabetically by city/municipality. Many of the descriptions appear somewhat vague and non-committal, likely due to the grants including some planning process that will refine the project scope.
Active Transportation Corridors (total $31.6 million)
- Randolph Street Rail Corridor – City of Commerce (with cities of Huntington Park and Bell, and County Department of Public Works) – $6.7 million
Project would be a bicycle lane/trail for 7.03 miles in the Southeast Cities’ Randolph Street rail right-of-way, which extends from the A (Blue) Line Slauson Station and across the L.A. River and 710 Freeway to where the 5 Freeway crosses the Rio Hondo. What’s already tricky about this project is that Metro’s West Santa Ana Branch transit is planned for the western half of the corridor. Metro recently determined that there is not enough space for both rail and path, so Metro’s Rail to River path extension is evaluating alternatives.
- Avalon Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Gage Avenue – City of Los Angeles – $5.8 million
Features “implementation of safe walking and biking infrastructure on Gage Ave, MLK Blvd, and Avalon Blvd” connecting the Goodyear Tract employment hub with the Metro E (Expo) and J (Silver) Lines. The 6.3-mile long Avalon Boulevard bike lanes were completed in 2020. Per LADOT spokesperson Colin Sweeney, this future project, which is still in the planning and community engagement phase, will bring still-to-be-determined additional treatments on Avalon. Sweeney clarified that the project does not directly connect to the E Line, but via MLK provides “access to Exposition Park which provides access to the Expo Line.”
- First Street, Riggin Street, Portrero Grande Drive – City of Monterey Park (with cities of Montebello and Rosemead, and County Department of Public Works) – $6.4 million
5.3-mile long bike lanes across four jurisdictions – see details.
- Redondo Beach Boulevard – City of Redondo Beach (with County Department of Public Works and city of Lawndale – $6.6 million
3.3 miles of new bike and pedestrian facilities along Redondo Beach Boulevard/Ripley Avenue from Flagler Lane to the Dominguez Channel Greenway.
- Huntington Drive and Fremont Avenue – City of South Pasadena – $6.1 million
1.5 mile bike lane on Huntington Drive, and 1.8-mile bike route on Fremont Avenue – see details.
First/Last Mile (total $31.5 million)
- Culver City E (Expo) Line Station – Cities of Culver City and Los Angeles – $2.3 million
Project includes “a physically separated cycle track and pedestrian improvements along Washington Blvd, and other facilities along Venice, Robertson, and National Blvds.”
- Downtown Long Beach 5th Street A (Blue) Line Station – City of Long Beach – $4.5 million
The project will reconfigure 6th Street to add a protected bike lane and pedestrian safety features, such as crosswalks and bulb-outs.
- Hollywood/Highland Station B (Red) Line Station – City of Los Angeles – $ 3.6 million
One of two grants for the planned Hollywood Walk of Fame revamp which features raised crosswalks, bikeways, street furniture, and more.
- Hollywood/Vine Station B Line Station – City of Los Angeles – $ 3.6 million
This is also Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- LAX-Aviation Crenshaw Line Station – City of Los Angeles – $3.6 million
This includes “crosswalks, bulbouts, wayfinding, and bicycle facilities.”
- Sepulveda G (Orange) Line Station – City of Los Angeles – $3.6 million
“Potential improvements may include but are not limited to, the sidewalk, crosswalks, curb ramps, curb extensions, street trees, bike facility, bike signal, bike parking, bus shelter, safety lighting, and wayfinding.”
- Western Avenue/Slauson Avenue Bus Stops – City of Los Angeles – $3.6 million
“Improvements may include, but are not limited to, crosswalks, curb ramps, sidewalk extensions and bulbouts, street trees, lighting, wayfinding, and bicycle facilities,” including connection to the Rail-to-River path.
- East L.A. Civic Center L (Gold) Line Station – County of Los Angeles – $0.9 million
This includes “designing and implementing pedestrian and bicycle facility enhancements within a half mile of the station.”
- Slauson A Line Station – County of Los Angeles – $ 4.5 million
Project includes “access, safety, and infrastructure enhancements for pedestrians” based on Metro’s 2018 Blue Line First/Last Mile Plan.
- Olympic/26th/Bergamot E Line Station – City of Santa Monica – $0.9 million
This project will “improve missing crosswalk facilities” and “add a partial bike route to the station that will connect to a key east-west bicycling corridor.”
- Santa Monica Boulevard/Avenue Bus Stops – City of West Hollywood – $0.5 million
Project will improve access to bus stops; “elements include pedestrian-level lighting, bulbouts, median islands, crosswalk enhancements, and in-road warning lights.”
California ATP Grants
In recent years, the statewide Active Transportation Program has been the biggest funding source for L.A. County walk and bike projects. The program is a victim of its own popularity, consistently receiving many more applications than it is able to fund.
In February, California Transportation Commission staff released their recommendations for which ATP applications to fund. These still need to be approved by the CTC this month. There is also a second round approval process where regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs meaning, for L.A. County, SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments) select additional projects.
L.A. County projects are all from the “Statewide Component” category which totals $241.5 million. There is also a “Small Urban and Rural Component” category which totals $44.2 million. An additional ~$200 million worth of MPO-selected projects are scheduled be awarded this summer and will likely include more L.A. County projects.
L.A. County 2021 ATP Grants
- Bell Gardens Complete Streets Improvements – Phase 1 – City of Bell Gardens – $6.5 million
- Downtown Long Beach Walkable Corners – City of Long Beach – $7.9 million
- Pacific Avenue Cycle Track – City of Long Beach – $7.5 million
- Connecting Canoga Park Through Safety and Urban Cooling – City of Los Angeles – $30.7 million
This Canoga Park project, an extensive active transportation upgrade in and around Canoga Park’s Sherman Way commercial core, is the most expensive ATP project in the history of the program. The project is the result of a community planning process, funded by a Caltrans Climate Change planning grant and led by L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.
The project includes adding missing sidewalks, curb ramps, new crosswalks, new bike lanes, newly walk/bike-prioritized quiet streets (aka bike boulevards or neighborhood greenways), bus stop upgrades, additional shade at the Sherman Way G (Orange) Line Station, and more. The project will create bike boulevards on Valerio Street and Valerio Avenue, making for a calm residential connector to several schools and religious institutions. The project will add protected bike lanes to portions of Owensmouth Avenue and Sherman Way. The project also makes a short connection between the Orange Line and L.A. River paths – via a short protected bike lane on Canoga Avenue connected to a ped-bike signal at Bassett Street.
- Safe Routes to School: Berendo Middle School and 3 Feeder Elementary Schools – City of Los Angeles – $10.0 million
These four schools are in Koreatown; Berendo Middle School is near Olympic Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.
- Safe Routes to School: Carver Middle School, Ascot Avenue Elementary School, and Harmony Elementary School – City of Los Angeles – $6.0 million
These three schools are in South L.A., near the intersection of Central and Vernon Avenues.
- Safe Routes to School: Panorama City Elementary School – City of Los Angeles – $6.1 million
- Maywood Active Transportation Plan – City of Maywood – $263,000
- Safe Routes to School Pedestrian Safety Project – City of South El Monte – $1.6 million