Executive Director’s Monthly Report, September 2022
TWO-PART DEMOGRAPHIC WORKSHOP COMING IN SEPTEMBER
Register today for the 33rd annual Demographic Workshop, “Forecasting the New Normal,” hosted by SCAG and the USC Price School of Public Policy. The workshop will be held virtually on Wednesday, Sept. 14, and Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 1:30 to 4:45 p.m.
In the post-pandemic era, our region faces uncertainty around the future of housing, mobility, and employment. At this year’s workshop, a lineup of leading experts will weigh in on how we can forecast an uncertain future with the relatively limited information available today.
Event panels will explore new demographic analysis, identifying which areas have begun to bounce back, versus which are lagging behind, how different populations have experienced the rebound in different ways, and the impact of remote work and other emerging trends in our cities. The program will also include a keynote address and a series of expert led roundtable discussions to build skills about topics discussed throughout the event. Click here for more details and to register, and contact Kevin Kane at email@example.com with any questions.
LOCAL DATA EXCHANGE PROCESS FOR CONNECT SOCAL 2024
SCAG’s Local Data Exchange, or LDX, is a foundational step in developing Connect SoCal 2024, SCAG’s next Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. The objective of the LDX process is to engage with the 191 cities and six counties that make up our region to develop the Forecasted Regional Development Pattern and seek input on other elements of the plan.
Over the course of 2022, SCAG Local Information Services Team (LIST) plans to meet one-on-one (approximately 90 minutes) with all local jurisdictions to discuss the maps in their local context, provide background on the development of Connect SoCal 2024, and provide training on available tools in the Regional Data Platform to local jurisdictions. To date, LIST members have met one-on-one for LDX meetings with 90 jurisdictions in the region. Detailed information about the LDX process can be found in a letter that was sent via email to all City Managers and Planning Directors on May 23 from Sarah Jepson, SCAG Planning Director. For Imperial, Los Angeles and Ventura County jurisdictions, please select a meeting time at your earliest convenience. Please reach out to LIST at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.
FEDERAL CERTIFICATION REVIEW NEARLY COMPLETE
As a federally designated metropolitan planning organization and transportation management agency, SCAG undergoes a certification process every four years. The certification review process, conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), encompasses all areas of SCAG’s business including, but not limited to, SCAG’s planning and programming processes, organization structure, policy board, planning boundary, contracts and procurement processes, public participation plan, etc.
After a review process that included a desk audit, site visits, extensive interviews and a public listening session, the federal agencies issued a report of findings in July. FHWA and FTA found that SCAG’s metropolitan planning process meets federal requirements, with one corrective action and several recommendations. (The corrective action pertains to the prioritization and selection of projects funded with Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality and Surface Transportation Block Grant funds, including SCAG’s role.) SCAG staff, in coordination with transportation stakeholders, has initiated actions to address the corrective action and FHWA/FTA recommendations. Final reporting of findings and issuance of certification is anticipated very shortly.
SCAG PUBLISHES NEW FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR MOBILITY-AS-A-SERVICE
Mobility-as-a-Service, or MaaS, integrates different transportation options into a single mobility platform that provides competitive alternatives over private vehicles to promote universal basic mobility, encourage mode shift, and foster sustainable travel choices. MaaS was identified as a Key Connection in Connect SoCal, studying the feasibility of implementing a MaaS system in the region has been a priority for SCAG. The result of SCAG’s study is a white paper exploring policy issues and building blocks for MaaS, and the critical steps that will advance the region towards a truly integrated transportation system. The white paper identifies certain areas within the SCAG region as having high potential to be pilot project candidates for successful MaaS implementation. The findings and recommendations set the stage for policy discussions for the Connect SoCal 2024 update. For questions regarding MaaS, please contact Priscilla Freduah-Agyemang at email@example.com.
SCAG PUBLISHES TRANSIT PRIORITY BEST PRACTICES REPORT
SCAG is currently conducting a Regional Dedicated Transit Lanes Study to explore the opportunities, needs, challenges and best practices for developing a regional network of dedicated bus lanes and other transit priority treatments. These dedicated bus lanes and transit priority treatments are anticipated to enable enhanced transit services, improve mobility, accessibility and sustainability, and advance implementation of Connect SoCal. As a part of the study, a Transit Priority Best Practices report was recently produced, which provides a toolkit of potential priority treatments and supportive policies, tools and practices. The highlighted practices can be tailored to a variety of local needs and constraints in Southern California communities. For questions regarding the Regional Dedicated Transit Lanes Study, please contact Priscilla Freduah-Agyemang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCAG ATTENDS THE 2022 MOBILITY 21 FUTURE FORWARD SUMMIT
SCAG had the pleasure of being part of the 21st Annual Mobility 21 Southern California Transportation Summit on Friday, Aug. 19 with transportation leaders from all over California! Our Executive Director, Kome Ajise, participated on two panels at the summit. Thie first was “Finding A Way Forward: Local, State and Federal Imperatives,” which focused on how Southern California can find safe travel solutions for our communities, diligent stewardship of our environment and develop and implement effective mobility options, while finding the money from local, state and federal sources. The second, the “Closing General Session,” was an opportunity to hear regional transportation leaders share their priorities, the tough battles in the transportation industry and their vision for a brighter 2023 and beyond. Chief Operating Officer, Darin Chidsey, gave the welcoming remarks for “Our Nation’s Ports: Course Correction” – a panel that focused on how COVID-19 led to a supply chain crisis that put Southern California ports in a tough position and what the ports are doing now to improve the goods movement crisis. Lastly, Organizational Development Business Unit Lead, Nicole Katz, participated in “Workforce Equity: Culture Shock,” where workforce experts discussed how they are keeping equity at the forefront through a shortage of workers in the transportation industry and how they are looking to successfully rebuild our workforce.
SCAG LEADERSHIP MEETS WITH STATE DIRECTOR OF HOUSING
On Aug. 10, senior SCAG staff travelled to Sacramento to meet with Gustavo Velasquez, Director of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, and his executive team. This visit allowed us to share the impressive progress of the Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) program to date and set the stage for the REAP 2.0 program currently under development.
Key themes and projects that Director Velasquez and his team were particularly interested in further exploring include: working on increasing engagement with community-based organizations, subregional housing trust funds, technical assistance to public agencies in support of development of publicly owned land, strategies for preserving housing units with expiring covenants, and SCAG resources like the Regional Data Platform and the Housing Element Parcel Tool.
The success of this meeting will help SCAG maintain positive relations with the state and bolster future partnership on implementing the Regional Housing Needs Allocation and other housing programs.
SCAG PARTNERS WITH SANDAG TO HOST HOUSING POLICY FORUM ON EQUITABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP
On Aug. 2, SCAG held its third Housing Policy Forum on Equitable Homeownership in collaboration with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) with over 260 attendees. The forum provided an overview of the State of homeownership in California presented by Adam Briones, CEO of California Community Builders. A panel of housing practitioners shared emerging programs and best practices for diverse homeownership, including the CA Dream for All Program and the African American Homeownership Program. We were also joined by local housing leaders from the SCAG and SANDAG regions that presented case studies on homeownership solutions, alternative housing models and the role that lenders can play in helping residents finance a home.
TOOLBOX TUESDAY: HEALTHY PLACES INDEX – EXTREME HEAT EDITION
On Aug. 30, SCAG held a live demonstration of The California Healthy Places Index: Extreme Heat Edition, a new tool developed by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California in partnership with the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. California is projected to experience higher average temperatures and an increase in life-threatening heat waves due to climate change. The California Healthy Places Index: Extreme Heat Edition provides datasets on projected heat exposure for California, place-based indicators measuring community conditions and sensitive populations, as well as a list of state resources and funding opportunities that can be used to address extreme heat. Explore the tool at https://heat.healthyplacesindex.org/. A recording and materials for the sessions are available on the Toolbox Tuesday website where you can also register for the next training on Land Use Conversions scheduled for Sept. 27.
GO HUMAN PROGRAM UPDATES
Go Human awarded more than $350,000 to 26 community-based partners across the region to implement traffic safety and community engagement strategies between June and August 2022. Partners, awarded up to $15,000, conducted and completed more than 26 unique activities throughout the month of August, including: Youth-led Walk Audits, Activate the Night Pedestrian Safety Campaigns and Demonstration Projects, Asphalt to Arts Community Engagement, Bicycle Rodeos & Helmet Distribution, Bike Light Distribution, Back to School Outreach Events for Migrant Families, Mural Development and Dedication, and Bus Bench Painting and the Mass Transit Futures Safety Speaker Series. For the full list of projects implemented this summer, please visit the Go Human blog.
SCAG’s Go Human program makes its Kit of Parts lending library of materials available to partners across the region to temporarily demonstrate safety improvements and street redesigns. Leveraging Go Human’s Mini Grants program resources, three awardees showcased the Go Human Kit of Parts in their communities to provide traffic safety visioning opportunities.
- On August 5 in City of Los Angeles, Central City Neighborhood Partners showcased a temporary parklet and bike lane at Activate the Night, a community engagement event.
- On August 20 in City of Santa Ana, Santa Ana Active Streets deployed the parklet and artistic crosswalk, featuring PEATONITO as a lucha libre crossing guard at the Willard Safe Streets event.
- On August 24 in City of Long Beach, Arts Council Long Beach demonstrated temporary curb extensions at the Community Corners Art Walk to gather feedback on the upcoming permanent installation of artistic asphalt curb extensions.
SCAG celebrates the following awarded projects, recognized at the national and state levels by the American Planning Association (APA) and the APA California Chapter that were supported by SCAG resources, including:
- SCAG’s Disadvantaged Communities Active Transportation Planning Initiative: Opportunity and Empowerment Category, Award of Excellence – SCAG developed a low-cost tool to develop Active Transportation Plans for communities across the region. The tool was piloted through the development and completion of seven Active Transportation Plans in disadvantaged communities in each of SCAG’s six counties.
- Equity Lenses: Targeting Equitable Community Investment Across Southern California: APA Sustainable Community Divisions’ 2022 Excellence in Sustainability Student Award – SCAG student fellow Jayne Vidheecharoen, from UCLA, developed a multilayered mapping and scorecard tool to guide equitable investment in the SCAG region. Learn more about her project here: Equity Lens Tool.
- Biking While Black: Communications Initiative Category, Award of Merit – With support from a Go Human Mini-Grant, mobility justice strategist Yolanda Davis Overstreet filmed and released “Biking While Black,” a short documentary centering the daily experiences that Black lives encounter while bicycling. Watch the film here: BIKING WHILE BLACK Short Documentary
Announcement: Kit of Parts Playbook Released!
A new resource from SCAG’s Go Human program is now available. The Go Human Kit of Parts Playbook is a guide for implementing a demonstration project using the Kit of Parts, offering a step-by-step set of instructions to achieve important event milestones such as gathering a project team, setting goals and objectives, working with SCAG and jurisdictional partners, coordinating day-of-event logistics, and much more. Access the Playbook and download the fillable worksheets here: Kit of Parts Playbook
Safety Pledge Commitments + Storytelling
To broaden the reach of its Go Human traffic safety resources, and in anticipation of Pedestrian Safety Month in September and Walktober, SCAG has planned and implemented a Safety Storytelling Campaign in partnership with local jurisdictions and community organizations. This Campaign calls on the region to take action and provides Go Human resources in support. Campaign initiatives include:
- Go Human Safety Pledge Drive. Agencies and jurisdictions across the region are invited to sign the Go Human Safety Pledge. SCAG will provide exclusive traffic safety resources to agencies or jurisdictions that sign the Go Human Safety Pledge by September 9. These resources include a boosted, digital traffic safety social media campaign targeted to residents in their jurisdiction and a co-branded Go Human Photobooth backdrop.
- Safety Videos. SCAG is partnering with local jurisdictions and community organizations to tell stories about the importance of traffic safety in the region. As part of this effort, SCAG is producing short videos that feature its Go Human programs in action, including the Complete Streets Kit of Parts lending library and Mini-Grant awardee initiatives.
- Helmet Distribution. Through partnerships with nine local organizations, SCAG distributed 644 helmets across the region, accompanied by bilingual educational (English and Spanish) helmet fitting guides.
SCAG’S SHARE OF ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM FUNDS TO INCREASE TO $361 MILLION
California’s Active Transportation Program has historically been oversubscribed, making it one of the most competitive grant programs in the state. Throughout the development of the program and its six funding cycles, SCAG has advocated for an increase in the funds available to the program. Most recently, SCAG secured support for a $1.5 billion Active Transportation Program (ATP) augmentation request from Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Laura Friedman, who then led an effort to secure additional support from a bipartisan and bicameral coalition of 14 legislators.
Throughout this process, SCAG partnered with Chair Friedman on efforts to secure additional support. Ultimately, the governor and the legislature agreed to a budget package that included a $1.05 billion augmentation for the ATP. Based on input from stakeholders across the state, the entire augmentation will be applied to the current funding cycle. This means that the share of funding that SCAG will administer to regional programs increased from approximately $138 million to $361 million. For questions regarding ATP, please contact Cory Wilkerson at email@example.com.