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.
You're Invited: The Transit Coalition invites
you to a RailPAC meeting featuring
LOSSAN Chairperson Art
Brown. We would like to extend our invitation for
a special Metro Rail
Customer Conference on Tuesday, October 24.
See Upcoming Events below
Despite a steady drop in gas prices, commuters
continue to take public transit. The American
Public Transportation Association released figures
showing that total trips on mass transit between
January and June of 2006 were up 3.2% over the same
period last year. Even for those who cannot use
public transportation, many continue to take advantage
new bonds formed by ridesharing. In the future,
technologies such as real-time traffic conditions
available right inside your car may greatly help
people get around traffic altogether.
Discussion on the newly named Purple Line down Wilshire
Boulevard continues to make the rounds. Los Angeles
Times staff writer Steve Hymon took a break
from his busy schedule to compute the time it would
take to physically
bore twin tunnels to Santa Monica. Staff writer
Chris Hawthorne believed that, despite the high
cost of building the subway, one should consider
relief it would bring to the Westside. Traffic
in that area has turned even the most ardent opponents
of the subway into full-fledged fans. However, Los
Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich
the subway by telling constituents that money
spent on the Purple Line means less money for regional
projects. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Daily News
editorially expressed jubilation
that the Consent Decree may very well fade into
oblivion at the end of October. The San Fernando Valley
Transit Insider says that, as of today, the
Decree has 22 days to go.
Inland Empire officials are coming out to urge more
freight railway improvements. The Alameda Corridor
connecting Downtown Los Angeles rail yards with
the ports has placed a considerable strain on both
railroads running through the Inland Empire and
the automobiles that must cross their tracks. To
this effect, officials representing various constituencies
and organizations have called for a more
regional approach to freight traffic. Some are
calling for funds, such as tariffs on imported goods,
to fund railway improvements. The Inland Valley
Daily Bulletin expressed support for these efforts
in an editorial.
For the historically inclined, an article published
by the San Bernardino County Sun recounted
stories regarding the installation
of railroad tracks by both Pacific Electric
and the Santa Fe railroads through the Inland Empire
nearly a century ago. To save money on overpasses
when crossing each other's lines, one railroad would
tear out the track belonging to the other railroad
and then continue laying its own tracks through
the right-of-way. Cities along the Pacific Electric
line today are converting the right-of-way into
a bike path.
Regarding smart growth, San Francisco will soon
experiment with vertical
shopping with the expansion of the San Francisco
Center on Market Street. The mall will be composed
of two buildings, one with nine stories and the
other with eight. The shopping experience is an
alternative to the traditional suburban mall, but
may prove to be a difficult sell in Los Angeles,
since Hollywood and Highland, which contains elements
of vertical shopping, is largely considered a bust.
In Pasadena, residents are concerned
that smart growth will undercut low-density yet
arguably historic establishments.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed and vetoed
various bills relating to transportation. The governor
a bill that would add 10,000 hybrid vehicles on
carpool lanes, but rejected a bill that would require
backseat booster seats for children 8 and younger.
The governor also signed a bill that would extend
toll collection to 45 years on a San Diego toll
road currently under construction by a private company.
Privatization consultant Gabriel Roth believes toll
roads are the
way to go but laments that toll collection surpluses
are misspent on "socialist" public transportation.
Onto more aesthetic aspects, transit agencies continue
to search for the
optimal bus shelter. In past times, shelters
were seen as a mere means to protect bus passengers
from the elements and often consisted of a utilitarian
design and little else. Today, bus shelters are
seen as a ways to attract ridership and use architecture
to fit with the surroundings. Shelters are also
making room for transit information that has often
been lacking in previous designs. Indeed, spiffy
bus shelters are in the mind of San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom, who wants to overhaul
the San Francisco Municipal Railway with this and
Meanwhile, residents in the City of Orange are working
a "quiet zone" along Metrolink tracks.
A Los Angeles couple is suing the Orange County Transportation
Authority for not allowing them to contest $375,000
in fines from the use of toll roads. The Burbank
Leader shot back at residents
opposing a connection between the Los Angeles
River and Chandler bike paths with an editorial
debunking fears that it would bring in more traffic
and crime. Oxnard will use a federal grant to install
signage at its transportation center.
Five Weeks Until the Election: The Antelope
Valley Press and the Orange
County Register editorially supported Proposition
1A. Still, pessimistic attitudes abound. Recent
polls by the Field Poll and the Public Policy Institute
of California revealed that most of the measures
receiving majority support. Sacramento Bee
columnist Dan Walters warns that, despite the merits
of the bond measures, lackluster
voter turnout may very well derail them. The
American Society of Civil Engineers believes that
the bonds will not
do enough to fix state infrastructure. Though
no formal opposition to the bonds has formed, some
nevertheless believe that bonds for infrastructure
would place a
heavy burden on future generations and that
control of existing funds can accomplish the
same thing. Even Bill Bradley's New West Notes
blog has noticed.
To drum up support, elected leaders are spreading
the message across the state, while the Let's
Rebuild California committee so far has raised $3.3
million for the campaign. The governor himself launched
tour to promote the $37 billion bond package.
Other leaders are holding
meetings to explain what these bond measures
contain and how they will help statewide infrastructure.
Transit Coalition member James Fujita wrote an op-ed
regarding the importance of voting for a local tax
to fund road and rail projects in the San Joaquin
Here is a list of other recent developments:
September 25: A study released by UCLA researchers
revealed that the City of Los Angeles fails
to regulate taxi franchises. Drivers often earn
less than the city-mandated "living wage",
have no health insurance and lack basic employee
protections, according to the report.
The Orange County Transportation Authority Board
spending $7 million to study a high-speed rail line
connecting Los Angeles with Anaheim. The rail line
would connect with the proposed California high-speed
rail system and whisk passengers end-to-end in less
than 20 minutes. The study will include preliminary
engineering and environmental work. Some desired
to Irvine, but officials from the Cities of
Orange and Tustin expressed concern about the extension,
and the idea was summarily shelved.
September 28: The Metro Board voted to
for an Orange Line busway extension along Canoga
Avenue to the Chatsworth Metrolink station and on
Van Nuys Boulevard. Van Nuys buses logged more than
25,000 boardings according to the most recently
available statistics. Staff was further instructed
to explore an extension to the 118 Freeway at a
park-and-ride lot specifically built for the Orange
New Amtrak CEO Alex Kummant spoke to Congress members
he expects to do at the national passenger railroad.
Kummant expressed the importance of rail transportation
at a time of high gas prices and strained car and
September 29: Metro and the Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority celebrated the groundbreaking
of the $640 million Expo Line from Downtown L.A.
to Culver City. The groundbreaking is the
fruit of efforts over the course of two decades
by transit officials and advocacy organizations
such as Friends4Expo (represented by Darrell Clarke
at the ceremony) and The Transit Coalition (represented
by President Kenneth S. Alpern). Transit Coalition
Executive Director Bart Reed was quoted by the Los
Angeles Downtown News, noting that the line
will be a
successful alternative to the Santa Monica Parking
Lot--er, Freeway. Alpern was quoted
by KABC-TV, expressing that the light rail line
will improve the quality of life for residents in
the Westside. Expo Line Construction Authority expects
to complete the project by 2010. Photos
and a video of the event are now available.
September 30: The U.S. Congress approved
a bill that aims to improve security at the ports.
The bill authorizes $400 million in federal grants,
requires minimum security standards for containers,
and establishes a pilot program at three foreign
ports to scan U.S.-bound cargo. Congress earlier
this week allotted $12
million for security improvements at the Ports
of Long Beach and Los Angeles, even though the two
ports requested far more. Also, the Senate confirmed
former Arizona DOT head Mary Peters as the new Secretary
October 1: The Road Improvement Project released
a report concluding that Los Angeles road conditions
are the second-worst in the nation. The non-profit
organization used monitors that record road vibrations
and compared them to tolerance levels on humans.
Deteriorated roads impose a "
hidden tax" on drivers by means of increased
spending on car maintenance, which adds on average
$383 in car expenses.
Upcoming Events: Metro
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
October 4, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent
Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Angeles Chapter Sierra
Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, October 5, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office,
3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday,
October 5, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Orange County Transportation
Authority Board Meeting: Friday, October 6,
and Monday, October 25, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room,
600 Main St., Orange.
RailPAC Regional Meeting,
Southern California: Saturday, October 7, 2006,1:30
to 4:30 p.m., The Rail Restaurant,
110 E Commonwealth Ave., near the Fullerton Amtrak
Directions from the station). Speaker: Art Brown,
Chair, Metrolink and LOSSAN.
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday,
October 10, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita Ave. (near
El Monte bus station), El Monte.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
October 11, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
SCAG MagLev Task
Force: Thursday, October 12, 11:00 a.m. SCAG
Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday,
October 12, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, October
13, 9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
Transit Advocates: Saturday, October 14, 1 p.m.,
Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St., Los Angeles.
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force: Wednesday, October 18, 9 a.m., SCAG
Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, October 18 and
Thursday, October 19 Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
RailPAC Regional Meeting,
Northern California: Saturday, October 28, 2006
1 to 3 p.m., SamTrans Headquarters, 1250 San Carlos
Ave., San Carlos, one block from the San Carlos
Rail Customer Conference: Tuesday, October 24,
6:45 p.m., Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles. To participate,
this form and include your first & last
name, mailing address, birth date and gender, as
it would appear on your legal ID, since you will
enter a secure building. Also include your phone
number so we can inform you of any last minute changes.
Also submit any questions you might want to ask.
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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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