Coming up with a plan to combat climate change and house growing populations while meeting demand for affordable housing has proven tricky business, as the City Council’s new report on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Living Wage Initiative shows.
From work study to ride-sharing, developing housing policy to supporting public transit – none of it has been simple. Because while it’s often a dirty job, public transit is one place where leadership has shown itself repeatedly, particularly in large cities.
Take Los Angeles, which is adding public transit service faster than ever. That’s as Los Angeles is undergoing another surge in growth, with 1.3 million people moving there in the last ten years. It’s also got a system of fixed rail and bus transit more than six times the size of its L.A. counterpart, and over a third of L.A.’s half-million bus and train riders don’t even use trains.
In December 2015, the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was created as a nonprofit in partnership with the city. The MTA is also home to low-income services such as the Los Angeles Regional Transportation Authority which provides phone card transfers and Fastpass transfers, as well as free parking and at least two to three shelter shelters.
L.A.’s approach to transportation has been to expand the people it services. The Metro Area Rapid Transit (MARTA) between Atlanta and Atlanta, Ga., has a new $1.6 billion commuter rail line opening to the public on November 5. Now more than 90 percent of Atlanta’s population can get to work on public transit.
San Francisco has been long mocked for its “ring of death” but it has also lagged in the number of people who can walk to work, say, or access affordable housing, the housing supply has not kept up, and the city’s streets are notoriously clogged with traffic. Yet it’s taken some bold and innovative steps to expand transit infrastructure, with the addition of more electric trams and some cable cars (which have been around since 1885) taking people to the downtown headquarters of almost every large tech company in San Francisco. With its plans to add 20,000 units of high-density housing, both the Bay Area’s housing and public transit issues are becoming more connected, and both problems will become all the more complex for San Francisco to solve.
Then there’s Columbus, Ohio, which recently created a fast bus between one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods and another with five schools; Columbus is taking bold steps to address its traffic crisis and for some, that makes Columbus a city to watch.
Yes, while dealing with flooding, cars that can’t fit into parking spaces, and overcrowded trains and buses.
Read the full piece on The Living Wage Initiative, our new partnership with New York magazine, here.