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.
A new year begins for Metro, and a new era dawns
on the countywide, multi-faceted transportation
agency. For Metro, there is no better way to start
the fiscal year than with news of a contract
agreement between labor and management. This
would be the first time in decades that Metro and
the labor unions agreed to new contracts before
existing ones expired. Both sides assured that labor
and taxpayers would be treated fairly in offering
improvements for vehicle operators and mechanics
while also reining in costs. Transit users will
greatly benefit, since this would be the first time
in years that service will continue uninterrupted
without the cloud of a strike.
Another event of note took place on Thursday, June
29, when the Metro Board convened and voted for
of Major Investment Studies for various transportation
projects that may be built should voters in November
approve the state infrastructure bonds. Among
the projects to be studied are the Downtown
Regional Connector, which would connect the
Gold Lines to the Blue and Expo Lines through Downtown
L.A., the Wilshire Red Line extension, and rail
from Union Station to LAX and the South Bay via
the Harbor Subdivision. LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
pleased with the turn of events, although some
Board members expressed discontent at the fact that
these studies were not discussed through the appropriate
committees or the CEO, Roger Snoble.
Absurdity to Watch: The above-mentioned developments
may be compromised by questionable political maneuverings
of late. In July, Metro Board member Bernard Parks
will ask his fellow Board members to approve
a motion to not name the Expo Line by color.
Instead, Parks will offer to call it the "Expo
Line" and giving it the color rose.
In any case, the approved studies may very well
usher in a new era in rail construction in the Southland.
Other areas hope to get on the bandwagon, such as
Riverside County, where the Transportation Commission
will launch a study on building
commuter rail between Temecula and San Diego.
The rail line would prove especially challenging
to build, since no railway exists between the two
cities, largely due to the mountainous terrain,
apart from a small railroad right-of-way that was
washed out in the 1930s. Nevertheless, it is a possible
route for the future California high-speed rail
Meanwhile, the Sprinter project between Escondido
and Oceanside received a budget
boost due to skyrocketing costs of materials.
Cities along the route opposed the boost since it
didn't ensure that mitigation for the line would
be implemented as promised. Another rail project,
connecting Victorville with Las Vegas, moves
forward with the launch of an Environmental
Impact Statement study and scoping meetings in late
One study to be performed by Metro will examine
the effectiveness of possible solutions for the
Long Beach Freeway outlined in a 2005 study. The
Long Beach Press Telegram came out in strong
support of the new $30 million study, which
would address health, goods movement and commuter
issues along the freeway. A separate study by transportation
planners concluded that a new tunnel connecting
Orange County with the Inland Empire would reduce
travel times during rush hour on the parallel
91 Freeway from the current 100 minutes by 2030.
However, a recent report
by Forbes.com warns that
any new highway construction must be looked concurrently
with global fuel shortages and suggests that private
companies must find ways to improve efficiencies
of hauling freight by trucks.
did happen to the electric car? In the new documentery
Who Killed the Electric Car?, director Chris
Payne explores the bizarre rise and fall of said
vehicles. The filmmakers conclude that the matter
is much more complex than at first glance, with
the government, oil companies, car manufacturers
and consumers sharing the blame.
One recent transit improvement may have created
unexpected effect: Shops on Spring Street in
Downtown L.A. are losing customers. With the contraflow
bus lane now gone, bus riders must head elsewhere
to connect with their buses, leaving Spring Street
depleted of lingering pedestrians and potential
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are moving
forward with a plan to aggressively
tackle port pollution. The fruit of a rare cooperative
effort between the two ports, the plan aims to cut
down diesel soot pollution by more than 50% over
the next five years. The Los Angeles Times
supported the plan and the newfound cooperation.
The plan awaits final approval by both port commissions
LAX will soon begin work on widening Runway 25L,
which will necessitate its closure. Thus, as much
of the airport capacity would be affected, and
the Federal Aviation Administration is going as
far as asking airlines to readjust their schedules.
Numerous factors are converging to make this transition
a difficult one, including record passenger levels
at the airport and ensuing construction woes. The
runway will reopen in March, and officials believe
the revamped runway would reduce near-collisions
at the airport and allow Airbus A380 jets to land
at the airport next year. Still, it does not help
to learn that LAX was again ranked
near the bottom of a nationwide traveler survey
relating to travel amenities and airport conditions.
How is the possibility of closing Six Flags Magic
Mountain even remotely related to transportation?
Well, residents are mostly upset since the amusement
park is a strong source of tax revenue as well as
a hotbed for employment. What
is really irking residents, however,
is the possibility that the park would be replaced
with more residential developments, which would
saturate the I-5 and 14 Freeways with more traffic.
Already there are plans to bring new homes in the
North County, which promises to make travel in the
region even more difficult. Some would rather see
new office developments in place of the park, should
the park indeed close.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
June 27: The state Senate Committee on Housing
and Transportation rejected
a bill to ban "push" operations on commuter
rail systems in the state. Instead, the Committee
approved an amended bill that directs UC Berkeley
to perform a rail safety study that included push
operations. The LA Times previously came
out with an editorial
opposing the bill, since it would cause needless
hardship to commuter rail lines and strain tight
budgets at the local and state levels, while hardly
improving rail safety.
July 1: The National Park Service launched
a new ParkLINK shuttle,
which connects San Fernando Valley and Calabasas
residents with areas within and across the Santa
Monica National Recreation Area, including beaches
in Malibu. The shuttle fare is $1; children under
12 ride at no cost. For those using the Orange
Line, a transfer at Warner Center station to
Metro Line 161
would be needed. Metro
Day Passes are accepted. A separate
service from Santa Clarita to Santa Monica Beach
named the Beach
Bus is also operating.
a rail link between the Chinese lowlands with Tibet,
ostensibly one of the most challenging transportation
projects ever built. Chinese officials see it as
a step forward to modernize western China, while
Tibetan locals see it as another reminder of undesired
Chinese control. Officials believe that it will
be an economic engine to outlying areas of the country
it crosses, while others hope tourists on passenger
trains would bring even more success to the new
To close: Los Angeles Daily News columnist
Mariel Garza concluded her experiment of traveling
on the bus in Los Angeles. Her verdict? It
sucks. The reality of buses that arrive late
or never at all, the lengthy trips and limited destinations,
and the general sense of dependency on others soured
her experience. She also realized that the purported
savings by traveling on mass transit instead of
driving did not materialize. So, she will return
to driving on the 101 Freeway, hoping that she will
try mass transit "once or twice a week."
Meanwhile, LA Times columnist Dana Parsons
shares her recent experiences of detouring
from the 405 in Orange County.
Upcoming Events: Metro
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
July 5, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center,
6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday,
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.
Transit Advocates: Saturday, July 8, 1 p.m.,
Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St., Los Angeles.
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday,
July 11, 5 p.m. Metro SGV Sector Office, San Gabriel
Valley Conference Room, 3369 Santa Anita Ave., El
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
July 12, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
SCAG MagLev Task
Force: Thursday, July 13, 11:00 a.m. SCAG Offices,
818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, July 14,
9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, July 19 and Thursday,
July 20, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday,
July 25 - 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!
Meeting: Thursday, July 27, 9:30 a.m., Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent
to Union Station), Los Angeles.
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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
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