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The Hardest Road: Building an Equitable Los Angeles

Thursday, May 7, 2015
9:00am - 11:00am PDT
Center for Healthy Communities
1000 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $0.00
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As a follow-up to our smart growth program in January, join us for a briefing on how transportation can improve public health and social equity in Los Angeles, presented in partnership with the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative.

Because of the passage of Measure R, more than $40 billion will be spent on transportation improvements in Los Angeles County in the next 30 years. Local funders are actively working to ensure that these investments benefit all Angelenos, but particularly low income residents so they have a voice and are not displaced from their communities.

Moderated by Beatriz Solìs, Program Director, Healthy Communities (South Region) at The California Endowment, our expert speakers will discuss transportation policies and financing currently under consideration:

Transportation policy and financing have enormous potential to catalyze the development of healthy, equitable communities—directly influencing public health: it affects air quality, injury risk, physical activity levels, and access to necessities such as grocery stores. It also shapes land use patterns, thereby determining whether communities have sidewalks and affordable places to live, as well as whether communities are connected to or isolated from economic and social opportunities.

Unfortunately, transportation does not benefit all communities equally. Many low-income communities have little or no reliable public transportation to jobs and services. Yet, these communities often are situated near bus depots, highways, and truck routes, where pollution levels are high. In addition, many of these communities live without safe sidewalks or bike paths, making walking and biking difficult. As a result, these neighborhoods have low levels of physical activity and high rates of chronic diseases.

At this briefing you’ll learn about the emerging field of “equitable transportation” and how it plays a critical role in building healthier communities, mitigating climate change, and connecting people to educational and economic opportunities. You’ll also engage with funders actively making grants in this space. 

This program is sponsored by The California Endowment.

#SmartGrowth  #SCGEvents



Manal J. Aboelata
Managing Director, Prevention Institute

Manal J. Aboelata is Managing Director at Prevention Institute, a national nonprofit dedicated to achieving equitable health and safety outcomes through primary prevention practice. As part of Prevention Institute’s senior leadership team, Aboelata contributes to overall management, direction setting and fundraising for the organization. She oversees the organization’s California strategy, a multi-pronged program area designed to strengthen prevention practices throughout California. Aboelata's work emphasizes policy and community-based approaches to improve access to healthy foods, prevent injuries and increase opportunities for safe physical activity. She is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, an organization that creates and maintains parks and playgrounds in park-poor communities. She is principle author of The Built Environment and Health: 11 Profiles of Neighborhood Transformation and authored the chapter, "Community Engagement in Design and Planning in the text Making Healthy Places." Aboelata is certified as a California Walkability Expert by California Department of Health Services and CalTrans and has led walkable community workshops throughout California. She received d her Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology, from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles where she was inducted into the Iota Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. Aboelata was inducted into UCLA’s School of Public Health Hall of Fame in 2009 and was named a “Shero” of the 26th Senate District in 2012.

Jessica Meaney
Managing Director, Investing in Place

Jessica Meaney, MA, is a transportation advocate who has been living intentionally car free in Los Angeles for over 15 years. Most recently she started a new nonprofit called Investing in Place, which works to align transportation funding with policy for social equity, public health and environmental benefits. Academically trained as a sociologist, Meaney's approach to transportation policy began with looking at the key roles public transit, walking and bicycling play in social cohesion and community health. Her policy approach has focused on using transportation finance research and advocacy efforts to achieve those outcomes. Prior to her role at Investing in Place, she worked at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership on state and regional transportation policy, and before that as a transportation planner at the Southern California Association of Governments. In 2013, Meaney was recognized as "Advocate of the Year" by Streetsblog Los Angeles.

Thomas Yee
Initiative Officer, LA THRIVES

Thomas Yee joined the Low Income Investment Fund in December 2014 as the Initiative Officer for LA THRIVES. As Initiative Officer, he coordinates the activities of the collaborative to achieve its strategic goals for supporting equitable transit-oriented development in Los Angeles County. Yee was previously Director of Planning at the LTSC Community Development Corporation, where he helped to launch the Little Tokyo Cultural EcoDistrict, the first neighborhood-scaled EcoDistrict proposed in the City of Los Angeles, and developed over 200 units of affordable housing for low-income and special needs households utilizing over $62 million in public and private financing. He completed a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California, and is an AICP certified planner.


Optional Reading:

The Hardest Road: Philanthropic Approaches to the Evolving Field of Transportation Equity

An Agenda for Equity: A Framework for Building a Just Transportation System in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles Equity Atlas

The Transportation Prescription: Bold New Ideas for Healthy, Equitable Transportation Reform in America


No cost to participate
SCG members: register online (you must log in to your SCG account to register online).
Eligible Non-members: If you already have an SCG account, log in to register. If you do not have an account yet, contact us at [email protected].
Who May Participate:
Current SCG members and non-members eligible for SCG membership.
The California Endowment is accessible by car or public transportation.


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