Traffic Congestion Gets Attention at Regional Summit

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As Southern California’s roads become more and more clogged with traffic, state and regional officials are gathering for a one-day summit this week to talk about ways to make them a little less clogged.

The Anaheim meeting Friday will bring together more than 1,000 experts and officials to talk through how to reform the region’s transportation infrastructure.

Headlining the Mobility 21 event is Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has spearheaded alternative transit efforts in his city and will deliver a speech Friday morning.

Since taking office last July, Garcetti has gained a reputation for trying to shift much of his city’s focus on cars toward also accommodating bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders.

“All our priorities have to be in reducing traffic. Traffic keeps us from our loved ones and costs us billions of dollars in productivity,” Garcetti said at a July transportation meeting.

He has called for developing “an interconnected network that takes passengers from trains to airplanes, as well as getting passengers to their destinations as quickly and easily as possible,” according to the LA Daily News.

To further that effort, Garcetti chose a San Francisco official with a national reputation for bike- and pedestrian-friendliness to head up the Los Angeles transportation department.

The mayor has also taken that effort to the city planning level. A city initiative has chosen 15 streets across Los Angeles where roads and sidewalks are scheduled to be made more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, with the addition of plazas, vegetation, outdoor seating and other features.

At Friday’s event, organizers are encouraging attendees and reporters to use the Twitter hashtag #Mobility21, making it easier to follow conversations around the event.

Other officials slated to attend include state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), Orange County Transportation Authority Vice Chair Jeff Lalloway, Assembly Transportation Committee Chairwoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Assembly Speaker Emeritus John Pérez (D-Los Angeles), and State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento.)

The summit runs Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. More details are available at mobility21.com.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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