The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has released recommendations for improving mobility as the county reopens. The Metro’s Recovery Task Force is developing a reopening plan as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses and transit. In addition to reopening strategies, the Recovery Task Force is also tasked with finding ways to preserve gains in the community. These include improved air quality, less traffic congestion, and safer conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists on L.A. roadways.
The Recovery Task Force is still in the planning phase, but has already made some recommendations. These include:
· Survey customers about their transportation needs. Doing so will help develop what sort of ridership they can expect in the coming weeks.
· Authorize cities receiving 2020 Open Street Grants to use funds for transit projects, such as slowing traffic, expanding bicycle lanes, and expanding safe pedestrian areas.
· Test new cleaning practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Develop less chemical-heavy options for disinfecting. Implement practices that are effective.
· Find a way to offer face masks to riders. Employees are already required to wear masks.
· Partner with cities to accelerate projects designed to speed up bus service and travel, such as dedicated bus lanes.
· Match service levels with demand in the areas served. For example, restore more service in areas with higher demands and keep less service in areas with lower demands.
· Engage employers in talks about increasing telecommuting or remote work. This will reduce overall traffic congestion.
· Implement a contactless payment system in the Transit app.
· Reimagine and redefine projects. Find ways to positively impact the region while meeting goals.
· Research options to improve the L.A. Metro Bike Share program.
· Expand social services and help find housing for homeless people who rely on the Metro system.
According to Metro, the transit agency has been “profoundly” affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including reduced service, loss of riders, and many employees becoming ill. Now that the county is starting to reopen, Metro must consider these recommendations for the best way to recover. Stay up to date with Metro on their website: metro.net