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Poll says most voters in L.A. region favor more public transit

November 3, 2011 |  1:48 pm

Sign on the South bound I-405 freeway in Sherman Oaks just North of the Burbank exit this summer warns of traffic delays due to repairs on the I-405 freeway under the Mulholland bridge. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
Two-thirds of voters in Southern California think elected officials should prioritize investments in public transportation -- not roads, according to a new survey.

The poll of 758 registered voters in the six-county region was released this week by the nonprofit transit advocate Move LA, the American Lung Assn. in California and the Natural Resources Defense Council. In telephone interviews, voters were asked about many issues, including transportation and the environment.

One of the questions was: “Which of the following do you think should be the highest priority for future investments to improve transportation in Southern California: The expansion of roads and highways or the expansion of public transportation, including trains, buses and light rail?

The results: 29% for the expansion of roads and highways, 66% for public transportation, and the last 5% opting for both, neither, or that they simply didn’t know.

“Voters prioritize expanding public transportation as the most effective means of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution,” said Denny Zane, executive director of Move LA. “The findings also show that voters would prefer living in communities that are walkable and mixed-use even if this means living in a smaller home,” he said. 

The survey was conducted by the California-based Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates with a margin of error calculated at 4.2%.

More than 60% of voters in the study also said they would also rather live in an area that was pedestrian-friendly than a residential community where one had to drive to go shopping or run errands.

Amanda Eaken of the NRDC said the data show that “if Southern California voters were in charge of our transportation plans, the region would look very different.”

“Voters understand what so many studies have told us: Widening roads will not solve traffic congestion,” Eaken said. “Instead, designing communities that increase our mobility and freedom –- helping us to get out of our cars -– is what will ultimately solve the problem.”


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Photo: Sign on the Southbound San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Sherman Oaks just north of the Burbank Boulevard exit this summer warned of traffic delays due to demolition of the Mulholland bridge. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times