June 28, 2018

Transit Oriented Communities Policy Approved by Metro Board of Directors

Coalition of Residents, Housing and Mobility Advocates Call for Strong Implementation of Policy

 Los Angeles, CA – Over 50 low-income residents, faith community leaders, tenants’ rights and mobility advocates rallied outside of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) headquarters to call for the passage of Metro’s Transit Oriented Communities Policy (TOC Policy). The TOC Policy, a first-of-its kind policy for a transit agency, recognizes the neighborhood destabilization transit projects can cause and commits LA Metro to goals and activities aimed at achieving housing affordability and economic vitality in transit hubs across LA County.

The Metro Board of Directors unanimously approved the TOC Policy after several months of input from residents, transit riders, housing advocates, and a Metro Policy Advisory Committee.

The group was joined by County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Hilda L. Solis, who has championed increasing housing affordability near public transit, including co-authoring a motion passed by the Metro Board in 2015 that established an affordable housing goal wherein 35 percent of all residential units developed on Metro owned property will be affordable to low and very low-income families.

 “This new Transit Oriented Communities Policy is an important step in ensuring that investments in transit are not only reducing traffic and connecting communities, but are also supporting the creation of affordable housing, economic development, and more walkable streets, all while minimizing displacement,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “This Policy will also provide guidance and encouragement to local cities to maximize the value of major transit lines. Importantly, this Policy will help develop safer, healthier, and more sustainable and vibrant communities. I am excited to support this initiative and build more affordable housing where it matters the most.”

 Measure M Guidelines, approved in 2017, required that Metro develop a TOC Policy to define the TOC activities eligible for funding, as well as to establish a set of criteria to determine which TOC activities Metro will fund and implement directly, as well as which activities Metro will allow, enable and incentivize local partners to fund and implement.

“The TOC Policy and all the work we have ahead to see this policy funded and implemented is fundamentally about who gets to live, work and thrive in Los Angeles. The transit expansion will reshape the region -we need to make sure these changes benefit rather than displace the very Angelenos that depend on transit the most.” said Laura Raymond, Director of ACT-LA.

“This policy is one of Metro’s largest opportunities to make real progress on our county’s affordable housing and homelessness crises. We need to build on today’s momentum, with Board and agency staff working with community leaders to ensure that implementation of the TOC policy benefits the low-income residents of color that make up the majority of Metro’s ridership,” Michael Russo, Director of Equity in Public Funds said.

The median household income of LA Metro riders is approximately $16,000 a year and over 90% of riders are people of color. The TOC Policy is a first step in addressing displacement of transit riders and ensuring that Measure M creates more opportunities to improve social, economic, and health outcomes in low-income communities of color.

“A majority of families in my neighborhood make very low wages and walk or take Metro. There is a great need for affordable housing in Boyle Heights and also to protect families from displacement so that we can stay in our community and continue to use transit,” said Fanny Ortiz, a Boyle Heights resident living in affordable housing. “We urge Metro to pass the TOC Policy and ensure that investments in public transit benefit the low-income riders who use it everyday.”

Read article Medium.

Posted by act_la