Measure S is a proposition on the March 7 ballot that aims to slow growth and development in Los Angeles by placing a two-year moratorium on projects that require a zone change, a height district change, or an amendment to the city’s general plan. It would also reduce the city’s ability to change planning rules for a single development.
Offered here are arguments for and against the ballot measure.
Major cities around the world — including New York, London, Paris and Tokyo — have embraced cycling to ease congestion and improve public health. Los Angeles has joined this movement in recent years and made important strides in becoming cycling-friendly.
The Los Angeles City Council approved an ambitious bicycle plan in 2011, providing a blueprint for the development of infrastructure for cyclists. Since then, the city has seen a significant expansion of bike lanes and other important features, such as physical buffers that protect cyclists from motorized traffic.
In 2015, the Mobility Plan 2035 , also passed by the City Council, brought even more new bike lanes to L.A. and provided a vision for a more balanced transportation network throughout the city. That same year, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive proclaiming L.A. part of the “Vision Zero” program, an international initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities in participating cities by 2025.
Last summer, the Metro Bike Share system opened in downtown L.A. Most recently, in November, Angelenos voted to support a permanent sales tax, Measure M , that will provide $120 billion for new transportation projects.
If passed, Measure S would slow all this progress.
There is a well-established correlation between higher-density neighborhoods and the feasibility of cycling as a mode of transportation. The closer people live to their work, the easier it is for them to bike or walk. The farther people are from work, the more likely they are to drive.
If L.A. wants to be poised for the future, it needs to be planned for people, not cars.
A growing body of research also shows that the more cyclists there are on the road, the safer it becomes for them, because motorists drive more safely when they are aware that cyclists are present. As roads become safer, more people will take up cycling. By preventing density, and therefore also cycling, Measure S would reverse this momentum.
Measure S would also solidify automobile parking requirements for new developments, undoing the benefits of L.A.’s bicycle parking ordinance , which allows for bicycle parking to substitute for automobile parking for a certain percentage of parking requirements. We’ll once again be left with too many parking spaces for cars and not enough for bikes.
In some cases, L.A. depends on fees from developers to build cycling-related features. Funds from the Wilshire Grand Center, for instance, are financing improvements to 7th Street , including new bike lanes, more visible crosswalks and raised transit platforms. Measure S would eliminate this type of assistance, putting some bike lanes on hold.
Finally, cycling is a relatively affordable way to get around and therefore accessible to people of different income levels and ages. By reducing density, Measure S increases the barriers to cycling, making it more likely that people will opt for a more costly mode of transportation.
If L.A. wants to be poised for the future, it needs to be planned for people, not cars. People who bike, people who want to bike, and all Angelenos should vote no on Measure S.
Carol Feucht is the communications director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition .