I think everyone agrees that we need to encourage more jobs in Los Angeles. Our economy and lifestyle depend on it. At the same time, nobody wants to see an increase in traffic congestion or pollution as a result of more people living far from work. Far too many of us already struggle with long expensive commutes. In fact,
the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing and Transportation Cost Index shows that the average household in the Los Angeles region pays more than 55% of what we earn for housing and transportation.
So it is important that homes be reasonably close to jobs, particularly for low-income workers who depend on public transportation. This contributes to healthier, more equitable and prosperous communities.
Fortunately, we voted in 2008 to support an aggressive investment in our metro bus and rail system. What is desperately needed, however, are significantly more affordable housing units within easy walking distance of new transit stations. Experience in other places shows that ridership goes up and car use goes down when affordable housing is close to transit. North Hollywood is a great example of where that’s happened. It’s been good for the entire community, including schools, businesses and the media district.
Turning this idea into reality takes quick action, because the train (or bus) is coming! Planning is well underway for construction on transit routes throughout L.A. County. This is why we’re working with a coalition of foundations, called Smart Growth California, to support collaborative efforts to ensure that this once-in-a-lifetime public investment in our transit is good for all our residents.
President, Community Foundation Land Trust of the California Community Foundation