Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 11
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.
RailPAC, The Transit Coalition
and the National Association of Railroad
Passengers will hold a joint conference this 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
Scoping Meeting for Phase 2 of the Expo Line from Culver
City to Santa Monica
. See Upcoming Events
below for details.
prices in California shot
past the $3-a-gallon mark last week. Not surprisingly, profits from oil refineries
the upswing. Critics believe that the oil industry is driving up prices by
creating excuses for supposed refinery problems. Some even go as far as comparing
them to electricity companies that used an invented "energy crisis"
to drive up prices six years ago. Even so, an editorial in the Whittier Daily
News reminds us that, when it comes to gas prices, we have it a
lot better than other folks around the world.
elected officials reaffirmed
their commitment to transportation solutions for their area. Orange
County residents at a recent public
meeting expressed their antipathy
at proposals to bring transit connecting Disneyland with Huntington
Beach . The North County Times editorialized
their support for a forthcoming Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee,
which would monitor funds collected in San
Diego County through
a sales tax approved by voters in 2004. Arcadia
will hold public
hearings on a proposed transit village for the future Foothill Gold Line in
It's one thing
when your employer provides you with a no-cost monthly pass to board local transit
systems. It's quite another when your employer provides you with its
own transit system. Mountain View-based web business Google gives employees
the chance to ride their commuter-tailored buses to and from work. On top of that,
the company maintains a staff of transportation specialists that adjust new routes
when new employees are hired and traffic patterns change.
Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is running for reelection this year, launched
a push for no-cost
bus service in the City by the Bay. Muni currently charges $1.50 for a regular
adult fare and $45 for a standard monthly Fast
Pass , and offers discounts
for seniors, children and the disabled. Fareless systems tend to produce mixed
results, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report. Vandalism and
operations costs often increase with ridership.
the other end of the spectrum, Pennsylvania SEPTA will spectacularly
increase fares by 31% (to a base fare of $2.50) and cut service by 20%. Locally,
Omnitrans will hike
its base fare to $1.35 and day passes to $3.50. BART is having its own problems
at catching increasingly
imaginative fare cheaters.
living in the most transit-intense area of Los
Angeles , residents of Downtown L.A. take little advantage
of their transit options according to a recent study. This revelation produced
letters to the Los Angeles Downtown News, with one chastising residents
for not taking advantage of its transit system. To boost service to Downtown even
further, Foothill Transit will launch
Silver Streak service on Sunday, March 29. This will provide Rapid Bus-like
service with articulated buses between Downtown and the San
Gabriel and Pomona
continues to take hold of the mind of transportation planners. In Denver
, officials want to pursue a design-build-operate-maintain
arrangement for rail projects. They believe it would stave off a $2.5 billion
shortfall in financing the voter-approved FasTracks rail plan. Washington Post
columnist George Will believes that privatization
schemes for roadways must be pursued to keep up with maintenance costs and
control traffic. New York MTA will ignore these schemes when they sign
a contract on March 29 that will finally launch construction of the
Second Avenue Subway.
Empire officials are regrouping
after failing to secure funds for certain road projects. Staff from the California
Transportation Commission initially suggested awarding $153 million to the San
Bernardino Associated Governments for projects that included revamped bridges
along the I-10. The CTC later approved $175.8 million that among other things
will fund a major widening of I-215 through San
Bernardino but not the I-10 bridges. However, officials
are not deterred, since they believe billions
of dollars more from the bonds can be made available. Just across the mountains,
officials in the Antelope
Valley are also
regrouping after failing to secure bond funds for an upgrade of State Highway
County Register published an interview with California Transportation Commission
member Marian Bergeson, the latter revealing that lobbying from urban areas was
and even "threatening". Nevertheless, Bergeson believes her home
county of Orange
benefited greatly by having its projects in the final list selected
by the CTC.
of synchronized traffic signals in Las
Vegas , Nevada , will
tax the patience of motorists for the foreseeable future, according to Mayor Oscar
Goodman. Drivers often must encounter numerous red lights that eat up commuting
time even when traveling for a few blocks. Motorists must also wait through bizarre
signal cycles at intersections. Southern Nevada
commuters voted twice to provide funds for signal synchronization, but nothing
has come out of them. (Goodman also expressed his belief that a subway system
of some sort under the Strip would give meaningful benefits. When asked about
the Las Vegas Monorail, Goodman replied: "I think the monorail stinks. I
really do.") This is a sharp contrast to Los Angeles
, where signal synchronization was recently
completed in Exposition
Park , leaving only two
areas in the city where traffic signals are not timed.
on the I-15, residents and commuters alike are concerned about the
future of this once free-flowing highway. With job and housing exploding in
both Riverside and San
Diego Counties ,
few are exactly sure on how to tackle ensuing traffic. Indeed, motorists today
rely on arterial
streets and winding canyon roads instead of freeways to reach employment centers.
to the Los Angeles Times condemn the recently funded I-405 northbound carpool
lane project. A shorted traffic signal along the Pacific
Coast Highway (State Highway Route 1) caused massive
disruptions and inflamed
the tempers of motorists. Across the pond, an expanded
congestion charge zone continues to help decrease traffic in London
, though critics contend that it is too early to tell whether the
expansion would place a meaningful dent on traffic.
the Federal Aviation Administration conceded that Los
an adequate number of air-traffic controllers. An ongoing campaign to recruit
and train them would help the FAA fill as many as 15,000 positions in the next
decade. An op-ed in the Times suggested that LAX should look into smaller
fixes and regionalization as a way to avoid "
Mulhollandism." Also, a recent legal study suggests that Santa
Monica may be able to regulate
pollution at the Santa Monica Airport if the Federal Aviation Administration
fails to do so.
our attention to MagLev, not everyone is pleased with the proposed Orangeline
between Orange County
and Antelope Valley
. The City of La Palma
, which is located on the proposed alignment, expressed
concern that the MagLev would produce excessive noise and construction troubles.
Meanwhile, Santa Clarita officials received
an update on the Orangeline, which as proposed would include a stop at Via
Princessa exit of the Antelope Valley Freeway.
Amtrak, the national passenger railroad is poised to receive $19 billion over
six years, including $1.4 billion for capital grants to be matched by the states,
under a bill moving through the U.S. Senate. USA Today provided readers
with a summary
of developments. In the meantime, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives
on how to prepare for a long-distance train trip.
Alert: Precious transit operations funds from the state
continue to be threatened by proposals to shift "spillover" funds from
excess gas tax revenues to the state general fund. This could severely undermine
transit growth even as transit usage continues
to outpace travel by other modes. Join us in fighting these cuts by contacting
key elected officials and voicing your concerns. For those unfamiliar with
the fight, you can read an explanation
and benefits of the Spillover account courtesy of Cal-PIRG.
is a list of other recent developments:
5 : Santa
Monica Municipal Bus Lines held
a public meeting to discuss improvements for the Big Blue Bus system. Upcoming
improvements include introducing a system of shuttles called the "Mini Blue
Bus" and opening a transit store simply called "Blue".
8 : The San Diego Daily Transcript published
an article comparing
property developments along two ongoing transportation projects in the region:
The Sprinter DMU between Oceanside and Escondido
, and the Route 125 toll road between Otay Mesa and Spring
Valley. Those around the toll road incorporate some mixed-use elements
while those surrounding the Sprinter focus on higher density. Both transportation
projects must handle a sharp increase in residents, which is reflected in the
increased interest for home purchases in their respective areas.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which oversees transportation matters
in the San Francisco Bay Area, voted to provide
funding for an environmental study of the Central Subway under Downtown San
Francisco. The $1.2 billion project could start construction as early as 2010.
Officials from the Port
of Long Beach took
a tour of the Victorville-based Southern California Logistics Airport. The
city of Victorville is
currently building a rail spur into the airport and hopes that it will serve as
a major intermodal freight facility in the future.
9 : The Expo Line Construction Authority
held the third
public scoping meeting for the second phase of the Expo Line, which would
run from Culver City to Santa
Monica . According to a timeline provided, a draft environmental
document would be completed by winter 2008, with a Locally Preferred Alternative
adopted in spring 2008. Supporters, opponents, and curious denizens came to learn
about the project and discuss concerns that could be studied.
unveiled its new website ( www.laportwatch.com)
during the Faster Freight-Cleaner Air 2007 conference at the Long
Beach Convention Center
. According to founder and CEO Gene Kininmonth, "Our goal at
LAPortWatch is to relay the critical issues to the community in a clear and articulate
forum without bias."
: If you wish to make a contribution to The Transit
Coalition by check, please be aware that as of this week we can only accept checks
made payable to "SEE" (Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs). Please
write "The Transit Coalition" in the Memo section of the check.
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15, Board Room,
Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Angeles . (
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, March 14, 1 p.m.
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, March 14, 2:30 p.m.
Management and Audit Committee, Thursday, March 15, 9 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, March 15, 10:30 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, March 15, 12 noon.
Westside/Central Governance Council : Wednesday, March 14, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
Expo Line Phase
2 Scoping Meeting #4: Thursday, March 15, 6:30 p.m., Vista
Del Mar Child and Family Services, 3200
Motor Avenue , Gymnasium, Los
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.
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council : Monday, March 19, 5 p.m., >San Gabriel Valley
Sector Office, 3369 Santa Anita
Ave. , El Monte .
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force : Wednesday, March 21, 9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, March 26 and April
9, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
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
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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