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The South Bay Local Travel NetworkChanging the Culture of Local Transportation 

Its a sign of the times. Soon you will be seeing a lot of the blue and green rolling turtle around the South Bay.

The turtle will be featured on road signage for the new 243-mile route of streets called The Local Travel Network (LTN) to communicate “slow is the way to go.”  

The LTN will support the growing local use of “micromobility.” The term is a mode of travel defined by use of zero-emission, slow speed vehicles. Such devices include neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs)—which appear similar to golf carts, e-bikes, non-motorized pedal bikes, e-scooters, e-bikes and other “novelty” zero-emission, slow speed mobility devices such as one-wheels (electric skateboards). (Watch video to see examples: Introduction to Micromobility).

Why the LTN?  

For the past 15 years, the SBCCOG has produced research documenting mobility patterns in the South Bay. What we learned was that most trips are local…very local. In theory, what if households and individuals were to take those trips using an appropriately sized electric vehicle? The result would be reduction in Green House Gas emissions (GHG). This would help our cities and the region meet their climate action goals. From this body of work, the South Bay Cities Council of Governments has completed a plan for a proposed Local Travel Network—a safe network of routes to accommodate a growing market of micromobility for local trips. 

How Did We Get Here? 

The concept for the plan was first articulated through a Metro Planning Study entitled, “Slow Speed Network Strategic Plan for the South Bay (2017). Subsequently, the network concept was refined through a Caltrans sustainability grant, that resulted in a report that described a 243-mile proposed network of safe, slow-speed streets that would connect neighborhoods to neighborhoods to local South Bay destinations.  

The LTN was proposed, primarily, as a system of “sharrow” markings on the road accompanied by branded, directional wayfinding signage at the curb. Operationally, users of the LTN will travel from their homes or starting origins (informally) finding their way to an LTN “trailhead” and on to the backbone network of LTN routes that will take them to destinations within the South Bay.  

To learn more about our proposed Local Travel Network visit our StoryMap and please be sure to complete this survey to tell us a little bit about yourself, your thoughts about the Local Travel Network, and if you’d like to be put on our email list for future updates on the implementation of the network. 

Making It happen  

At the SBCCOG’s May 2021 Board Meeting, the SBCCOG board passed a resolution that directed the SBCCOG to begin implementation of the Local Travel Network in the South Bay. The scope of of creating a 243-mile LTN necessitated it be implemented in phases. The initial phase was separated into two (2) corridor projects:

Phase 1:

Beach Cities: El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach

Phase 2:

Inland Cities: Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena, Inglewood, Carson, Lomita, Torrance, areas of unincorporated Los Angeles County as well as the communities of Wilmington, Harbor City, and San Pedro.

This past summer, the transportation firm Fehr & Peers began technical planning work to develop signage, branding and engineering details to define the LTN.

The firm engaged representatives from 16 South Bay cities and agencies in a several-month brainstorming process to create branding and signage to publicly represent the network. The “rolling turtle” emerged as the favorite among two other traditional road signage designs presented. Surveyed stakeholders, including individuals representing Metro, the California Transportation Commission, and members of local groups, such as members of the League of Women Voters, favored the more whimsical turtle option. Their feedback included that it was “different and would stand out,” evoked the “nature of the LTN concept,” and would provide “incredible branding opportunities.”

The South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) board of directors approved the design as a distinctive icon to be used on wayfinding signs. Its imagery will also educate the public to use the network with safety in mind.

Funding for implementation of the “sharrow” and wayfinding signage will flow through the SBCCOG’s Sub-regional 2023 Measure M call for projects. It is anticipated that at Metro’s June 2023, the selected LTN Measure M projects will be approved for funding and construction of the first LTN network corridor segments will begin shortly thereafter in the Fall of 2023.

What's Ahead                                                                                      

The implementation of the Local Travel Network will continue into the foreseeable future. A new network of streets is only a part of the solution to changing the behavior and choices individuals when it comes to the vehicles they use for local trips.

The SBCCOG continues to advocate, support, and look for resources to support the safe use of micromobility modes. Working with local, regional, and statewide stakeholders, its role will continue to be one of promoting solutions that will encourage behavioral change towards more sustainable mobility strategies for South Bay residents. The SBCCOG will continue to engage and collaborate with vendors and local champions to develop the micromobility market to “Right-Size” our rides.

Looking into the future, safe infrastructure like a Local Travel Network will complement and augment existing and planned bicycle infrastructure. Importantly, it will add value to the efforts of South Bay communities in Los Angeles County to reimagine their city’s rights of way in terms of accessibility and safety. The LTN has is an important sustainability tool in the “Complete Streets” programs and projects being planned and developed across the region.