Weekly Transit eNewsletter
Tuesday, March 6,
Volume 3, Issue 10
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.
Invited: RailPAC, The Transit Coalition
and the National Association of Railroad
Passengers will hold a joint conference on Saturday, March 17, at Metro Gateway
Headquarters. You can now register
in advance and view
the program online. Also, the Expo Line Construction Authority is holding
Meetings for Phase 2 of the Expo Line from Culver City
to Santa Monica .
See Upcoming Events below for
the California Transportation Commission approved
a final list of projects that would be funded with $4.5 billion out of the
nearly $20 billion from the statewide transportation infrastructure bonds. Two
days before the final vote, CTC staff came out with a new
list of recommendations. Funds for Orange
County , considered a major
winner in the first round of recommendations by many, remained
the same, except for a small boost of $22
million for the 91 Freeway. Riverside
County officials were especially
pleased with the addition, prompting them to reflect
on their gains.
CTC also voted to fund improvements
for the 10/605 interchange after all, but diverted a final decision until
June to allot
an additional $20 million towards a U.S. 101 widening in Ventura
and Santa Barbara
Counties . The latter project
promises to worsen
future delays on U.S. 101 due to existing widening projects in Santa
northbound carpool lane for the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda
Pass was among
the approved projects. The deal comes after days of intense lobbying by local
elected officials. The Los Angeles Daily News thought of the development
to celebrate indeed! Some, however, believe that the new lane will hardly
solve Westside traffic issues. Others are concerned that some pricey
real estate will be razed in order to widen the freeway for the carpool lanes.
Not surprisingly, not everyone
is happy. Funds for interchange improvements along the 10 Freeway in Fontana
and Rialto were
dumped, which garnered
the anger of Inland Valley Daily Bulletin editorial board. The Pasadena
Star News expressed
disappointment that carpool lanes on the 10 Freeway were not included. Rural
communities resented the lobbying efforts of urban communities that led to the
demotion of some of their choice projects. Most recognize that even the $4.5
billion to be doled out are a mere "
drop in the bucket" in solving state transportation problems, a situation
made worse by the lack of new funding sources. Some believe mega-highway projects
will save cities from death
by congestion, despite the fact that transportation policy focused solely
on highways is doomed
Assemblymember Ted Lieu introduced a bill that would create
a construction authority that would build a Green Line extension through the
vicinity of LAX. Some believe the proposed authority should also bring
the Green Line to the South Bay Galleria. Meanwhile, what will the
federal government do to increase public transportation support this year? Find
out in this interview
with Congressmember Jim Oberstar.
award-winning paper on walking revealed that people tend to walk farther
to reach public transit than previously assumed. Those who walk often factor
in time savings and directness of the route they choose to walk.
you have not noticed, gas prices are swelling
past the $3-a-gallon mark again. Refinery and pipeline problems are blamed
for the increases. Some predict higher prices will be a regular occurrence in
2007. Naturally, we
all want the price hikes to stop. Worse yet, the hot weather expands liquid
gas, which makes gas pumps register a higher number of gallons purchased than
normal. It is estimated that Californians would save as much as $450 million a
pumps were adjusted to temperatures.
Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
will roll out with a sweeping
plan to reduce pollution. One possibly contentious recommendation would be
for port companies to hire truckers as full-fledged employees. Some of the funding
may come from a reintroduced
and revamped bill by state Senator Alan Lowenthal that would charge $30 per
container for infrastructure and pollution programs. The Long Beach Press-Telegram
editorialized their blessing to his efforts. A huge market awaits an Ontario-based
manufacturer of battery-powered
pickup trucks. The ports are very interested in replacing at least a portion
of their fleets with these innovative vehicles. Also on their minds are hybrid
tugboats, which would arrive in Long
Beach as early as 2008.
surge in port activity has translated into a boom for freight rail. However, the
ensuing rail congestion affects cross traffic in various cities. Many of them
to build grade separations as fast as they can. Railroads are required to
pay only as much as 5% of grade separation costs. Also affected is the Amtrak
Coast Starlight, which
late at its Seattle
terminus due to congestion on Union Pacific-owned track. (Fortunately
for Washingtonians, a deal was announced that would bring a second
round trip of Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver
, British Columbia .)
federal regulators unveiled proposals that aim to reduce diesel locomotive pollution
much as 90% by 2030, a plan that the South Coast Air Quality Management District
soundly rebuked for leaving out the region. If that irks your patience, you can
take action right now by reporting
polluting cars to 1-800-CUT-SMOG.
response to revelations that international airlines are taking their business
elsewhere, Los Angeles officials
promised to resurrect a plan to install new
gates at the Tom Bradley International Terminal of LAX. The project would
move separately from the ongoing renovation of the terminal. The idea was championed
in a Los Angeles Times editorial.
Also, airport commissioners voted to charge $10
per car rental at LAX to fund designs for a consolidated rental car facility.
Commissioners believe such a facility would reduce traffic and pollution by removing
thousands of shuttles from the terminal access road. Meanwhile, LA/Palmdale Regional
Airport is getting
ready for new flights to be launched by United Airlines in June.
letters to the Times came out to support and object to a previously
published op-ed extolling no fares on Metro. Meanwhile, San Francisco MUNI officials
report that fare
cheats and broken fare boxes are placing a damper on their farebox recovery.
The folks who run the Las Vegas Monorail will start reporting
ridership figures with less frequency. San
Antonio will soon investigate whether
"bus rapid transit" would suit the city since there are no plans
to bring light rail in the near future.
our humor section, Ken Layne of the satirical blog Wonkette wrote a column decrying
of access to parking regulations in the City of Los
Angeles and essentially equates parking with murder. (On
the other end of the Gold Line, Pasadenans are fuming over funky
overnight parking rules on the streets.) Columnist Dana Parsons tries to figure
out how two toll lane users with expired transponders did not receive timely mailings
about past due toll fares and rake up over $90,000
in fines. Also, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus opted to stop
posting racy ads for the television reality show America's Next Top Model
on the sides of their buses, after passengers and employees alike objected to
the depiction of scantily-clad would-be models. (This Variety article on
the subject had to be included; how can one resist a tagline like "
Blue Buses ban bikini blurbs"?)
Knocks : Sector General Manager Gerald C. Francis has left
Metro Rail and will follow former Metro Deputy CEO John Catoe to the Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Francis will join WMATA CEO Catoe as Deputy
CEO. The Transit Coalition wishes him the best in his new endeavors.
is a list of other recent developments:
26 : The Orange County Transportation Authority Board
voted to fund a $250,000 study on a shuttle
service between Disneyland and Huntington Beach. The study will also evaluate
what to do with a Union Pacific railway that connects Huntington
Beach with Anaheim
27 : Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa met with
of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and urged
her to prioritize
a subway under Wilshire Blvd. Peters assured Villaraigosa that the subway
would be one of several public transportation projects that the Bush Administration
City Council held a study session to discuss transit
for the Orange County "Great Park". "Personal Rapid Transit"
was dropped from further consideration, though trolleys and monorails will still
be studied. The park will use a shuttle bus in the meantime once its first phase
opens in 2009.
28 : Transportation Corridor Agencies planners revised
a timeline for construction of a toll road that would pass through San Onofre
State Beach. The agency now says it will take two
more years to get the permits and funding. Two
letters to the Los Angeles Times expressed jubilation at the development.
March 2 : The California High Speed Rail Authority released
ridership figures suggesting that as many as 2.5 million trips would be made
on the proposed HSR system when completely built. The Authority also unveiled
a 3D simulation
of the rail service.
Daylight saving time starts at 2 a.m. on Sunday,
March 11. Please "spring forward" your clocks by adding an hour before
going to bed on Saturday, lest you want to miss that ever-so-infrequent weekend
bus to work or some such.
Upcoming Events: Expo Line Phase
2 Scoping Meeting #3: Tuesday, March 6, 6:30 p.m., Santa
Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855
Main St., East Wing Meeting Room, Santa
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, March 7, 6:30 p.m., Marvin
Center , 6262
Van Nuys Blvd. , Van Nuys.
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, March 8, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Angeles . CANCELLED.
Metro Gateway Cities Governance Council
: Thursday, March 8, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC,
9240 Firestone Bl., Downey
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, March 9, 9.30 a.m.,
Center, 801 E. Carson St., Metro Division 18 – 450 W. Griffith St., Carson. SCRRA
(Metrolink) Committee Meetings: Friday, March 9, 10 a.m. SCRRA Offices, 700
S. Flower St. , 26th floor, Los
Angeles . CANCELLED.
Metro San Gabriel Valley Governance Council:
Monday, March 12, 5 p.m., 3369
Santa Anita Ave. (near El Monte
bus station), El Monte .
Metro Committee Meetings: Wednesday, March
14 and Thursday, March 15, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles
Metro Westside/Central Governance Council
: Wednesday, March 14, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
Meeting: Saturday, March 17, Metro Gateway Headquarters, One
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles
. Featured speakers: Gerald Francis, Metro Rail Operations; Alex Kummant,
Amtrak President; Bill Bronte, Caltrans Division of Rail Chief.
SCAG Goods Movement Task Force : Wednesday, March 21, 9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, March 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!
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Bart Reed, Executive Director
Numan Parada, Communications Director
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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