Welcome to The
Transit Coalition weekly newsletter! Our organization
participates in meetings with key decision makers
and community leaders and our goal is to keep you
informed on the latest developments in the transportation
scene across Southern California.
In response to the tragic Metrolink January 2005
accident in Glendale, Assemblymember Dario
Frommer (D-Glendale) is pushing forward with
his bill to prohibit "push-mode" operations
on California commuter rail services. Please contact
Senate Transportation and Housing Committee members
to express your opposition to this bill. They are:
Lowenthal (D-Long Beach, chair), Tom
McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks, vice chair), Gilbert
Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), Denise
Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego), Christine
Kehoe (D-San Diego), Michael
Machado (D-Linden), Kevin
Murray (D-Los Angeles), Joe
Soto (D-Ontario), Tom
Torlakson (D-Antioch), Roy
Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), Abel
Maldonado (R-Monterey), Bob
Margett (R-Glendora), and George
Runner (R-Lancaster). (A list of phone numbers
you can use is available.)
You may look at a sample
letter detailing the relatively safe "push-pull"
operations that are standard across the globe. The
text of AB 1699 as well as information about the
status and history of the bill is available.
With the infrastructure bonds now on the November
ballot, the vote to finance the California high-speed
rail project through bonds is likely to be pushed
to November 2008. To protect the state's investment
in the project, State Senator George Runner is co-authoring
a resolution to establish
a committee composed of Senate and Assembly
members and will monitor progress of the project.
US Congressmembers representing Southern California
are working to get money for important transportation
projects. Congressmember Mary Bono secured $2 million
for a new
airport control tower at Palm Springs International
Airport. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) secured
$500,000 for grade crossings in rural areas along
Metrolink tracks. Various projects
for the San Gabriel Valley are also set to receive
Local operators across the Southland are developing
plans to make public transportation easier to use.
The City of Norwalk plans to spend $2 million to
more than half of bus stops in its city with
new benches, signs, lighting and trash receptacles.
The City of Santa Monica purchased
an underused property near the intended end of the
Expo light rail line in hopes of redeveloping it
for future use. Montebello Bus Lines will purchase
39 new buses and save
$2 million by purchasing them in bulk in a consortium
of other transit operators.
One possible transit amenity may not have such a
smooth road: LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pushing
Metro to raise revenue by installing advertising
on trains and in stations. Another amenity is
sure to both protect and annoy drivers: Metro is
moving forward with installing
red light cameras at a dozen locations along
the Orange Line busway.
In the Midwest, Chicago transportation officials
a plan to bring 500 miles of bike lanes to the city,
incorporating innovative ideas such as raising bike
lanes slightly above the pavement and giving them
distinctive colors to dissuade car drivers from
With regards to airports, LAX expects a burgeoning
summer travel season. With that comes concern that
airport officials will not be able to handle the
throngs of passengers going through security clearances.
A Los Angeles City Council panel recently asked
officials at both LAX and the Transportation Security
Administration what they are doing to reduce
wait times at security checkpoints. City officials
were concerned that long lines at the checkpoints
would endanger passengers and actually create safety
problems. TSA officials counter that lines
are much shorter thanks to efforts at recruiting
more officers and reconfiguring wait lines. Meanwhile
Long Beach city officials will vote on a plan to
upgrade the terminal of Long Beach Airport. The
process has been a
relatively calm one, with parties both for and
against terminal expansion acting in a civil fashion
to address lingering concerns.
Riverside County is one of the fastest growing regions
in the nation. With that comes more suburban housing
with more new streets. Riverside planner John Trichak
is responsible for giving
names to streets in new developments. However,
the explosive growth of the area and the hundreds
of new streets that result from them has made the
process much more stressful and complicated. He
keeps a few rules that help: Don't use a name that
is in use within 10 miles, are difficult to pronounce
or are too long to fit on a street sign.
Its neighbor to the south, San Diego County, is
also experiencing growth. To this effect, the San
Diego Association of Governments has been touting
its transportation strategy, which is aimed at increasing
public transit use. However, critics contend that
the strategy is still too
Speaking of auto-centric, June marks the 50th anniversary
of the Interstate highway system. Most acknowledge
that the major public works project has been a major
economic boon and has given the opportunity for
people living in other communities to connect with
employment centers, often out of the city core,
with great ease. However, the system is falling
apart, with major upgrades needed, and, as one commentator
Americans love to build but hate to maintain."
The Interstates have also been singled out as responsible
for the decline of central cities, sedentary lifestyles
and incessant dependence on the automobile for our
Further south in Mexico, officials are cracking
down on gas stations gouging customers with
higher fuel costs. Fuel and the stations that provide
them are entirely government-owned and operated,
with the federal government setting retail gas prices,
currently around $2.18 a gallon for regular unleaded,
though price gouging at individual stations abound.
Recent attempts at franchising stations to private
parties have helped at making improvements, but
problems such as selling "short liters"
of gas remain.
Meanwhile, plans to construct a new port in Point
Calumet, Baja California, have stalled,
while daily freight service connecting Laredo, Texas
and the Port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan was inaugurated.
Opinions abounded last week regarding various transportation
matters. Some expressed outrage
at a recent decision by state lawmakers to strike
out language that would protect San Onofre State
Beach from an intrusive toll road proposal. Humor
columnist David Allen shared
his delight that Metrolink will soon run "midnight
trains" to San Bernardino. The San Bernardino
County Sun published an editorial
praising a recent decision by a federal judge to
keep pollution control laws aimed at railroads.
Transit Coalition members wrote to local newspapers
about the success of the Orange Line busway and
the ensuing fears that it would not handle more
riders. President Kenneth S. Alpern expressed
(under "Listening to NIMBYs") that pandering
to a select group of residents at the expense of
regional solutions prevented using the right of
way for a more capable light rail line. Executive
Director Bart Reed added
(under "Light Rail Would Work") that the
existing busway was a shortsighted project that
will cost more to operate and yet move less people.
Vice-President Jerard Wright suggested
(under "Overcapacity Busline") installing
express bus service on the busway.
An update on Eastside Gold Line construction is
Here is a list of other recent developments:
June 13: The LAUSD Board voted to ask Metro
to pay for rebuilding
a school along the path of the Eastside Gold
Line if costs exceed $35 million. Metro already
has placed a $26 million cap on any contribution
towards Ramona High School, located at Indiana Avenue
and Third Street in East Los Angeles. Metro officials
believe that they may reconsider the cap only if
bids come in significantly larger than the estimated
construction costs or if environmental problems
Metro with the aid of Caltrans released an initial
report concluding that building a tunnel to complete
the 710 Freeway through South Pasadena is technologically
feasible. Officials pointed out deep-bore technology
currently in use for construction of the Eastside
Gold Line. Community support would be essential
in bringing the $3 billion project to fruition.
The Los Angeles Times lauded
the development in an editorial, while others
building a freeway tunnel instead of a subway, including
Transit Coalition President Kenneth S. Alpern.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously
endorsed a plan to ask voters this November to extend
Measure M, the local transportation sales tax, to
30 years. The existing Measure M will expire in
2010. The Orange County Transportation Authority
must now approve the plan and is expected to reach
a decision next month.
June 14: Caltrans held a public meeting in
Encino to discuss upgrades
for the 101-405 interchange with local residents.
The five options currently under study may require
new right-of-way or building across a wildlife refuge.
Residents are especially
concerned about the possibility of having their
homes purchased to obtain the necessary ROW for
whichever project is chosen. The report should be
completed by early 2007.
June 15: The California Energy Commission
a report stating that California consumers spent
as much as 60 cents per gallon more than consumers
in other areas of the country this spring, costing
drivers more than $132 million. A future report
due in August may address the reasons behind the
high gas prices. Some speculate that market was
manipulated, though others acknowledge that refinery
problems and other market influences may be to blame.
June 16: The San Diego Association of Governments
voted to increase
funding for the Sprinter project due to unforeseen
increases in construction costs. Delays in securing
federal funds for the project and approval from
the state Public Utilities Commission also were
noted. Completion of the project is expected by
Upcoming Events: SCAG
Goods Movement Task Force: Wednesday, June 21,
9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor,
Board Meeting: Thursday, June 22, 9:30 a.m.,
Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Board Meeting: Friday, June 23, 10 a.m., SCAG
Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
Greuel Community Forum: "The Intersection
of Planning and Transportation." Monday, June
26, 6 p.m., Los Angeles Valley College, Monarch
Hall. 5800 Fulton Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401-4062.
Gold Line Community Design Workshop, Tuesday,
June 27, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., City Hall, Outer Council
Chamber, 5050 N. Irwindale Av., Irwindale.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, June 27
- 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original,
1001 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA 90012. (
Map.) We hope to see you there!
Metro Line Construction Authority: Tuesday,
July 6, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, July 6, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office,
3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
July 5, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center,
6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, July 14,
9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
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Bart Reed, Executive Director
Numan Parada, Communications Director
About The Transit Coalition:
The Transit Coalition is a 501[c](3) non-profit
whose goal is to increase Transit Options and Mobility
in Southern California by mobilizing citizens to
press for sensible public policy to grow our bus
and rail network.
As a grass roots group, we depend upon your contributions
to allow us to pursue our important work. Add yourself to our mailing list and
please donate to help us grow.
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