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.
Alert: The Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council will hold a
meeting to discuss drastic cuts in bus service for June 2007. Those who are concerned
about bus service in the San Fernando Valley are encouraged to attend. Also, the
Metro Planning and Programming Committee will receive a report on installing passenger
rail service on the Harbor Subdivision between Downtown L.A. and LAX but concludes
that DMUs would best serve the corridor, without considering Metrolink regional
service. See Upcoming Events below
Three and a half years after opening, noise
continues to be an issue along the Pasadena Gold Line. Metro, the Gold Line Construction
Authority and the City of South Pasadena have been sparring over who is not
fulfilling an agreement with the three parties on building 1,500 feet of soundwalls.
Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian has recently said that it will soon release
bids for construction of the walls.
With the Westside commute now hopelessly
gridlocked, LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is working with a traffic engineers
to see if turning Olympic and Pico Boulevards into one-way
roads is feasible. With major transit improvements such as the Expo Line to
Santa Monica and a subway down Wilshire still a long way off, leaders have so
far focused on piecemeal, road-based approaches to improving traffic, and the
contraflow idea from Yaroslavsky will prove to be a controversial one.
Interest in building a new
Metrolink station between San Bernardino and Riverside continues to grow.
A local activist is leading the effort in bringing commuter rail service to the
community of Highgrove. The nearby Cities of Grand Terrace and Loma Linda have
already expressed their support, while San Bernardino County officials are also
interested. Riverside County officials, however, are skeptical of the idea, but
said they are doing a thorough study on it. Buying a nearby parcel of land for
the station will be another challenge.
change will take place at the Orange County Transportation Authority, as Buena
Park Mayor Art Brown will step down as chairman of the board at the end of January.
Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche will replace him and promises a different attitude
toward rail projects. Cavecche wants the OCTA Board to be more informed of the
negative impacts of rail service, although she insists she is a supporter of Metrolink
Ventura County is subject to nine open-space laws that intend
to preserve agriculture while keeping growth in check. With concern that these
laws will expire in as little as 15 years, a task force will soon study
a strategy where growth would be contained in 2% of available land in the
region. Smart growth policies that place growth at transportation centers would
be an important part of the strategy.
San Diego County will launch several
transportation improvements in 2007, including Sprinter service between Oceanside
and Escondido. Most of the improvements are highway-related, such as completion
of several freeway interchanges and new carpool lanes on I-15. Some are looking
further into the future, with speculation that the reversible lanes on said freeway
could be used for automated driving. Columnist Phil Strickland extols smaller
improvements to bus service that could go a long way if implemented, including
expanding a pilot program where commuter buses use shoulder lanes. San Bernardino
County will also look
forward to 2007, when it will see the completion of State Highway Route 210
and the launch of a major overhaul of I-215 through San Bernardino.
agencies across the state are finalizing
their nominations of projects to be funded by bond money. Caltrans has already
submitted its nominations totaling 70 projects it wants to build. Most agencies
will be grateful that they will receive any funds at all. Some fear that there
will be too much focus on urban corridors, leaving rural transportation concerns
in the dust. The California Transportation Commission will select the projects
on January 15. An editorial in the San Fernando Examiner implored officials
to look into public-private
partnerships as a way to spread the wealth.
A recent report concluded
cars save money in the long run. The report took into account factors such
as insurance, maintenance, and depreciation, whereas previous reports tended to
focus only on fuel savings. Meanwhile, a changing world with volatile oil supplies
has prompted General Motors to rekindle
its interest in the electric car. If neither of these sound enticing, one
could follow the lead of certain urbanites and take up bicycling
as an actual form of transportation, instead of a mere recreational curiosity.
Bicyclists and motorists alike chimed in on the development with several
letters in response.
LAX secured its position as the fourth
busiest airport in the nation. This could very well be a moot point so as
long as the airport provides neither direct rail service or shower facilities,
according to two
letters to the Los Angeles Times.
Also, Los Angeles World Airports
Executive Director Lydia Kennard will step
down on January 31. Kennard has been a director of LAWA since 1999, with a
brief respite between 2003 and 2005, before being wooed back by Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa. The Daily News praised her work at the agency in
while also supporting crucial name changes to Ontario and Palmdale Airports, both
operated by LAWA. The Times took
note of her steadfast efforts in modernizing LAX with more practical improvements.
The Port of Long Beach is
working with the City of Victorville to see how a multi-modal
freight center can be built. The desert city currently houses the Southern
California Logistics Airport and a major Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line.
Officials hope that a new rail spur into the airport to be built this year will
improve goods movement across the state. Just south of the Cajon Pass, transportation
leaders are working to improve
Colton Crossing, where two major BNSF and Union Pacific routes cross at grade-level.
The notorious freight rail gridlock that has resulted would be undone with a grade-separated
With regards to opinions, the Los Angeles Daily News
its support for the proposed High Desert Corridor between the Antelope and
Victor Valleys. Times staff writer Chris Hawthorne shares his observations
on how the immigrant rights marches held in early 2006 enabled the city to rediscover
the street as a public place. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin writer Michelle
Groh-Gordy reviews several
new traffic laws that took effect at the start of 2007.
So what is
the verdict on the new
food service on Amtrak long-distance
trains? It depends on whom you ask. Amtrak has replaced dining cars with less
labor-intensive "streamlined dining service" on all but two trains,
the Empire Builder and the Auto Train. Older customers who remember
the dining cars miss them, while younger folks don't seem to mind. If you don't
like it, too bad: Deeper cuts in food service are forthcoming.
the pond, getting to Mornington Crescent in London will be a lot pricier. Transport
for London raised
already expensive cash fares by 33% for travel on the Underground subway system,
with the intention that patrons will resort to Oyster cards and other cashless
cities don't even come close to the high fares the Tube excises.
The increase has led to a backlash
from the traveling public, with one commentator suggesting that it should stem
the high salaries prevalent in management.
Here is a list of other
January 3: Federal authorities released final
specifications for the Transportation Worker Identification Card, which would
be used by employees at ports across the nation. Employees must go through a thorough
background check before obtaining the card. Worker union representatives showed
concern about the cost of the cards, which ranges from $139 to $159. In the end,
some 6 million employees will be required to use the card.
4: The Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved sharing the costs of a pilot
program to test electric
tow tractors that would be used to deliver goods from the ports to local warehouses.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District will pay the rest of the $527,000
January 8: The Los Angeles City Airport Commission voted
back leases from several airliners for two terminals at LAX. The commission
plans to reconfigure
the airport terminals in a way that would give priority to low-cost carriers
and encourage competition. Five major airliners currently have long-term leases
to use certain terminals, which has stemmed requests by other carriers that want
to add flights. The Airport Commission will allow the current tenants to remain
at the terminals but would charge higher rates. The airliners that leased the
terminals vowed to fight
Upcoming Events: Metro
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday, January 9, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa
Anita Ave. (near El Monte bus station), El Monte.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday, January 10, 5 p.m., La Cienega
Tennis Center, Sunset Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 p.m.,
Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys. This meeting will
discuss a proposal to cancel bus lines and reduce service on Metro Buses in the
San Fernando Valley.
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, January 11, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor,
Los Angeles. CANCELLED.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday, January 11, 2 p.m., Gas Company
ERC, 9240 Firestone Bl., Downey.
Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday, January 11, 2:30 p.m., Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, January 12, 9.30 a.m., Carson Community
Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson.
Committee Meetings: Friday, January 12, 10 a.m. SCRRA Offices, 700 S. Flower St.,
26th floor, Los Angeles.
Transit Advocates: Saturday, January 13, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St., Los Angeles.
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force: Wednesday, January 17, 9:30 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh
St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, January 17 and Thursday, January 18, Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, January 17, 1 p.m. (Of note is Item
6--Harbor Subdivision Technical Feasibility Analysis)
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, January 17, 2:30 p.m.
Management and Audit Committee, Thursday, January 18, 9 a.m.
Construction Committee, Thursday, January 18, 10:30 a.m. CANCELLED.
Committee, Thursday, January 18, 12 noon.
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, January 22 and February
12, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600 Main St., Orange.
our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, January 23 - 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!
South Orange County
Major Investment Study Stakeholder Working Group Meeting: Wednesday, January
9 24, 10 a.m., Mission Viejo City Hall,
Saddleback Room, 200 Civic Center, Mission Viejo.
SCRRA (Metrolink) Board
Meeting: Friday, January 26, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building,
12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.
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Bart Reed, Executive Director
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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
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