Background and Facts
The Los Angeles City Council recently adopted the Westside Mobility Plan– creating a funding framework for Westside neighborhoods to get the transportation and traffic-relief projects they need — and requiring developers to pay for them.
The result of years of studies and hearings that began in 2007, the plan will increase and expand fees on development on the Westside to fund much-needed transportation improvements — right here in Westside neighborhoods. It will help pay for a range of projects to ease congestion, improve safety, and provide a range of mobility options for people who live, work, and play on the Westside. The plan also helps fund efforts to green, beautify, and make major corridors safer and more inviting for pedestrians.
“This is a huge win for neighborhoods on the Westside,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents one of two council districts included in the plan. “It is a smart and long overdue effort to get developers to pay their fair share to help relieve traffic and give us easier ways to get around the Westside.”
The plan includes three components: development impact fees; potential multi-modal transportation projects; and streetscape plans for major boulevards:
- Development Impact Fees – The plan broadens and increases development fees, ensuring that developers help foot the bill for the transportation infrastructure needed to support housing and jobs on the Westside.
- Multimodal Project Lists – The plan updates City project lists from the 1990s and includes a list of potential future projects to install new signals, fix bottlenecks, improve rapid transit service, launch new shuttles and circulator services, improve safe routes for bicycling and walking, and calm neighborhood cut-through traffic.
- Livable Boulevard Streetscape Plans – The plan includes funding for community-supported landscaping, pedestrian amenities, and beautification projects along Pico Boulevard, Venice Boulevard, Centinela Avenue, and Motor Avenue.
Goals of the Westside Mobility Plan
Unlike in other areas of the City, in certain Westside neighborhoods the City assesses special development fees on projects and uses those fees to pay for transportation improvements that would otherwise not be funded. The Mobility Plan and associated ordinances update the fee schedule for projects within the Coastal Transportation Corridor Specific Plan (CTCSP) and West Los Angeles Transportation Impact and Mitigation Plan (WLA TIMP). This allows the City to:
- Require a broader range of developments to pay their fair share toward the transportation infrastructure necessary to support jobs and housing on the Westside.
- Provide dedicated local revenue to leverage state and federal funding for projects on the Westside (each local dollar yields $3 in outside funding, based on past experience).
- Support a balanced, multimodal transportation system to ease congestion, improve safety, and provide a range of mobility options.
- Protect residential neighborhoods from cut-through traffic.
- Encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation for trips within the Westside.
The Westside Mobility Plan was initiated by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl in 2007, and continued by Councilmember Mike Bonin, who insisted on higher development fees to pay for more projects to benefit Westside neighborhoods. Between 2010 and 2012, the City Planning Department and Los Angeles Department of Transportation hosted more than 50 community engagement events, including holding 11 community workshops and visiting each neighborhood council in the plan area – twice. The project team also hosted an online dashboard, allowing the public to evaluate multiple scenarios for each street in the plan and provide input on preferences and priorities.
In 2014, there were two scoping meetings before the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and the draft EIR was reviewed at public hearings in January and February 2016. A final public hearing was held on the Westside in June 2016, which was noticed to everyone living within the boundaries of the specific plans (over 250,000 addresses) by U.S. Mail. At its meeting on March 8, 2018, the City Planning Commission heard additional public comment and voted to recommend approval of the plan. Approval by the City Council will be the final step in this extensive, decade-long public process.
About the Fee
In California, development impact fees are a normal way to help offset the burden that growth places on public infrastructure, including schools, parks, and transportation. The Westside Mobility Plan updates two specific plans that authorize the City to collect a transportation impact fee within the plan boundaries: the Coastal Transportation Corridor Specific Plan (CTCSP) and West Los Angeles Transportation Impact and Mitigation Plan (WLA TIMP). Prior to this updated plan, the fee only applied to new commercial development and exempted many other types of projects. Councilmember Bonin insisted that the new fee apply to a broader range of new development, including market-rate and luxury residential development. That change will significantly increase funding for transportation projects on the Westside. The fees for each development are based on trip generation rates and market conditions. These fees address cumulative transportation impacts and are above and beyond any mitigation required for individual development projects.
At Councilmember Bonin’s urging, the updated plan exempts 100% affordable housing projects from the fees, and includes a fee credit for developments that include affordable units. There is an additional credit for projects located within walking distance of the Expo Line and the Wilshire bus lanes.
About the Project Lists
Each project list includes a representative list of the types of multimodal investments that are eligible for funding. The list includes some specific projects, but also includes broad categories so that the City has the flexibility to respond to changing community needs and ongoing stakeholder input when deciding which projects to fund. Historically, funding has been used for projects ranging from signals and striping to street and bridge widening. For example, funding from the West LA TIMP was used to grade separate the Expo Line at Sepulveda and Sawtelle, making commutes faster both on the train and for those driving on the streets below. One of the largest projects included for funding in the CTCSP is widening Lincoln Boulevard between Playa Vista and Marina del Rey, a notorious bottleneck on the Westside. The updated list continues to include these types of projects, but also adds broader eligibility for neighborhood shuttle services, neighborhood traffic calming projects, projects to incentivize carpooling and trip reduction, sidewalk and pedestrian enhancements, bike share or bike paths, and more.
The Westside Mobility Plan does not approve or commit the City to any particular project. Each major project will require its own outreach and approval process. The Department of Transportation and the City Council office will work with community stakeholders to identify local priorities for funding.
About the Streetscape Plans
Residents and neighborhoods asked that the Westside Mobility Plan allow funds to be spent on streetscape projects on major corridors. As a result, the Westside Mobility Plan includes the Livable Boulevards Streetscape Plan, which supports beautification and improvement of several corridors on the Westside: Pico Boulevard, Venice Boulevard, Centinela Avenue, and Motor Avenue. Streetscape plans provide design guidance on street furniture, trees, landscaping, and other pedestrian amenities. These plans will guide public and private projects along these corridors by setting standards for tree species, street furniture style, pedestrian-scale lighting, and other improvements in the public right-of-way. The streetscape plans guide investments in the pedestrian realm (i.e. the sidewalk) and do not require the reconfiguration of any roadways. The streetscape plans were adopted by the Board of Public Works in May.
Projects in Brentwood (south of Sunset), Mar Vista (east of Centinela), West LA, Century City, and Westwood are eligible for funds from the West LA TIMP.
Projects in Mar Vista (west of Centinela), Venice, Del Rey, Westchester, Playa Vista, Playa del Rey, and the Marina Peninsula are eligible for funds raised through fees in the Coastal Transportation Corridor Specific Plan.