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.
This Is It:
The Transit Coalition invites you to a special Metro Rail Customer
Conference on Tuesday, October 24. This is your
chance to voice your opinion on current Metro Rail
service. You must pre-register
to attend this event. If you are not registered,
you will not be able to enter the building. See
Upcoming Events below
Commute times across the nation continue
to rise despite modest population growth, according
to a recent study. With that in mind, some are wondering
whether to spend limited transportation funds on
more road construction or mass transit projects.
Transit advocates assert that trains and buses are
more capable of handling future travel growth, while
critics believe it is a failed approach when it
comes to attracting "white suburbanites"
away from their cars. Perhaps the latter might vouch
for a recent suggestion to "
pimp our freeways." In any case, this growth
has allowed Metrolink to retain
new passengers even as gas prices reached their
lowest levels in many months.
Then how can governments fund transportation systems
in the future? This was the subject of a discussion
by former deputy secretary of transportation Mortimer
Downey III during a recent summit. According to
gas tax is a relic that was meant to build farm
roads and, eventually, the Interstate Highway System.
However, revenues from the tax are no longer sufficient
to fund current needs, including a theoretical reconstruction
of said Interstate System. Downey stated that various
forms of tolling are now available, while car registration
fees according to how much they pollute could add
an extra push.
Even as commuting times grow, especially in California,
residents continue to look deep in the hinterlands
for affordable housing. Is Coachella Valley poised
to be the
next suburb of Los Angeles? Inland Empire economist
John Husing seems to think so.
Meanwhile, Caltrans cancelled
a weekend closure at the interchange of I-15 and
I-215 in Devore, which will ease traffic through
the Cajon Pass… until a rescheduled closure takes
place in late November. Caltrans cancelled the
closure due to a shortage of steel needed for the
rehabilitation project now in full swing. The Orange
County Register editorial board heaped
scorn on Caltrans for its practices regarding
property acquisition and maintenance, the subject
of a recent Register investigation.
Monrovia, being in the middle of two transportation
corridors, held a series of meetings last week to
to improve public perception of public transportation.
Participants expressed hope that the future Gold
Line will help bring a positive view to public transit,
while others believed that teaching children about
the value of public transit could improve its image
in the future. Meanwhile, momentum grows for a light
rail line down Crenshaw Boulevard, being one
of the busiest "busways" in the county
and all. To the north, the San Francisco Bay Area
continues to lead
the way in offering public transit benefits
project in North San Diego County continues
to receive federal funds, even though the U.S.
Department of Transportation threatened to pull
back. As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations,
out with a 1958 bus that was carefully
restored by employees. Elsewhere, Fitch Ratings
$451 million in bonds used to build the Las Vegas
Monorail from "BB" to "CCC",
making a default on the bonds a very likely outcome
unless a miracle crops up.
Down at the ports, private entrepreneurs are joining
the fight for cleaner air. One particular company
is touting a filter that purportedly reduces particulate
matter by 85% and hydrocarbons by 90%. Officials
recognize that incentives, subsidies and new equipment
at no cost must be provided so that trucks can comply
with a recently released pollution reduction plan
from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Regarding bicycle travel, activists are pursuing
safety improvements for the Santa Monica Boulevard Transit
Parkway. Of note is that the parkway consists
of entrance and exit points for cars traveling between
the frontage road and the main boulevard. According
to blogger SoapBoxLA, the
"ramps" were designed so that cars are
not required to slow down, endangering bicyclist
that would use the adjacent bike lanes that the
cars would inevitably cross.
Two Weeks Until the Election: The Ventura
County Star came out in support
of Proposition 1B, which would provide $19.9 billion
for transportation projects. A concurrent op-ed
informed voters that Ventura
County needs the bonds, since it has no sales
tax for transportation. The City of Highland near
San Bernardino recently discussed getting
a cut of the bond money to widen State Highway
Route 30 in their community.
However, voters are growing
leery of the bond measures due to their sheer
size. In fact, the $43 billion that would be released
if all bond measures passed may
balloon to $84 billion over 30 years. As a result,
the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin editorially
supported Proposition 1B but opposed the other
four bonds measures that will appear on the ballot
(1C, 1D, 1E and 84). Even more troubling is the
possible passage of Proposition 90, which would
eminent domain by governments. Some fear that,
should voters approve all of the measures, many
of the projects to be funded by bonds would be stymied
because of the newly enacted property laws.
Meanwhile, Santa Barbara Independent staff
writer Matt Kettmann compiled
positions for and against Measure D, a quarter-cent
sales tax dedicated to transportation projects in
Santa Barbara County also up for renewal this November.
Orange County officials are placing
all their efforts on passage of Measure M, another
sales tax measure for transportation, while staying
mum on the bonds. Some are left wondering whether
the original Measure M did
its job in relieving traffic, while others note
that sales taxes in Los Angeles and Orange Counties
are used for markedly
different purposes. A bipartisan coalition of
San Diego Congressmembers are asking voters to reject
Measure A, which would give local governments
authority to pursue passenger services at Miramar
Marine Corps Air Station.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
October 17: Caving
in to local opponents, the Burbank City Council
voted against plans to connect the Los Angeles River
and Chandler Bikeways via Sparks Street. The move
will place $265,000 in a Caltrans grant for the
connection in jeopardy. The Council directed the
Burbank Planning Department to seek alternative
October 18: The Los Angeles Daily News
published an editorial
that praised several recent airport developments,
including the upcoming renovation
of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX,
of the Southern California Regional Airport Authority,
and the creation
of a coalition to bring a fully functional airport
to Palmdale. State Senator George Runner, who along
with State Senator Richard Alarcon created the coalition,
is inviting Santa Clarita Valley leaders to take
up the cause for Palmdale Airport.
October 19:U.S. District Court Judge Terry
Hatter heard a motion by the LCSC/Bus Riders Union
on the pros and cons of extending
the Consent Decree beyond its expected expiration
date of Sunday, October 29. BRU attorneys contended
that Metro has failed to meet requirements to reduce
overcrowding, while Metro asserted that factors
beyond the agency's control produce overcrowding.
Hatter will make a ruling by Thursday, October 26.
Upcoming Events: Metro
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.
High Speed Rail Authority Public Meeting: Wednesday,
October 25, 10 a.m., State Capitol Building, Senate
Hearing Room 112, Sacramento.
Specific Plan Amendment Study Public Outreach
Meetings: Wednesday, October 25, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.,
and Saturday, October 28, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Proud
Bird Restaurant 11022 Aviation Blvd., Los Angeles.
The meetings will discuss the North Airfield Preliminary
Concepts. Those who wish to come can attend either
one of the two meetings.
Board Meeting: Thursday, October 26, 9:30 a.m.,
Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Friends of Jane Harman Bike
The Beach Event: Saturday, October 28, 8 a.m.
Omelette & Waffle Shop, 1103 S Gaffey St., San
Pedro. Then the bike ride starts at 9 a.m. in Torrance
Beach and ends in Venice, with six stops in between.
RailPAC Regional Meeting,
Northern California: Saturday, October 28, 1 to
3 p.m., SamTrans Headquarters, 1250 San Carlos Ave.,
San Carlos, one block from the San Carlos Caltrain
Mobility21 5th Annual
Transportation Summit: Monday, October 30, 8 a.m.
(Continental breakfast at 7 a.m.), Sheraton Universal
Hotel, 333 Universal Hollywood Dr., Universal City.
Registration: $150 per person.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
November 1, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent
Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, November 2, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter
office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority: Thursday, November 2,
2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
November 8, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday,
November 9, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, November
10, 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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