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Your City At Work: Francie Stefan
February 27, 2020
by Erin Taylor
This article originally appeared in the January/February edition of Seascape.
What are programs and policies in your work area that have an impact on affordability?
For a typical household, the second biggest cost is transportation (housing is first). Households can spend $8,000-$10,000 per year on car ownership (fuel, maintenance, insurance, licensing) with variability based on miles driven, vehicle age, etc. Mobility work in Santa Monica seeks to increase opportunities for traveling without dependence on a car. Transportation Demand Management programs seek to get employees subsidized transit passes and access to secure bike parking. Big Blue Bus provides affordable transit services throughout the Westside and coordinates with Metro Rail and Bus services. Locally, Breeze’s annual pass provides people access to 90 minutes of ride time daily for only $0.27/day ($99/year). Santa Monica seeks to create roads that provide comfortable and appealing lanes for biking, sidewalks for walking, convenient transit, and access all over town that costs less than driving.
What are the ways that we’re addressing affordability that most people aren’t aware of?
Many people are unaware that Breeze bikeshare has a low-income program for residents of Community Corp. properties. Residents get access to an annual membership for $10, coupled with bilingual education programs taught by SM Spoke, and helmet giveaways. The shared e-scooter and e-bike companies also are required to have low-income qualifying programs which most people don’t know. Unfortunately the sign-ups for that have been very low – so in the next pilot the City will be looking at ways to increase participation. Metro also offers discounted 30-day transit passes through the LIFE program (Low Income Fares are Easy), which you can load onto your TAP card. Last but not least, most people don’t think about the amount of money it costs them to travel – they don’t count up and calculate the amount they could save with walking, biking, transit use, and the potential for eliminating one or all cars from their households.
How can people get involved in this topic?
Make a personal commitment to try a new mode once a week or more. Try out new ways of getting around, and talk to your friends and neighbors about it. Give feedback in the interactive map cityofsantamonica.mysocialpinpoint. com/friendlyroad#.