Weekly Transit eNewsletter
August 7, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 32
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.
State legislators axed
almost all of the $1.3 billion from the Spillover that would have gone towards
public transportation operations and also cut high speed rail funding to $15 million.
Now it has been revealed that $150
million in state bond money to synchronize traffic signals in Los
Angeles have become a major reason for the budget impasse in Sacramento
You Can Help: You can still call your state Senator and express
your desire to see all of the Spillover directed to public transit operations.
The following members are important to contact: Don Perata 916-651-4009 Sac. District
510-286-1333; Speaker Fabian Núñez 916-319-2046, District 213-620-4646; Alex Padilla
916-651-4020, District 818-901-5588; Bob Margett 916-651-4029, District
626-914-5046; Alan Lowenthal 916-651-4027, District 562-495-4766; Jeff Denham
916-651-4012, District 209-726-5495; Bob Dutton 916-651-4031; Dave Cogdill 916-651-4014,
District 209-599-8540; Gil Cedillo 916-651-4022, District 213-612-9566.
A major interstate bridge in Minneapolis collapsed
into the Mississippi River on Wednesday, August
1, killing 5. As a result, Caltrans is on a warpath to inspect
69 of its most vulnerable bridges. The disaster revived national discussion
on the need to do something about aging infrastructure. Funding
remains an issue for many critical repairs. Some
experts even cited the use of transportation funds for mass transit projects
as a culprit.
throughout California have been assuring the denizens that, although many bridges
in the state are "structurally deficient", all of them are otherwise
safe for traffic. Some of the deemed bridges are among
the busiest in the nation. Caltrans Director Will Kempton noted that any
small problems, from decaying road surface to a deteriorating paint job, could
make a bridge "deficient" according to federal standards. Nevertheless,
some 1,600 bridges in the state (more than a dozen in Los
Angeles County )
need of major repairs.
Traffic congestion on the Westside was the
subject of a RAND forum held in Santa
Monica . Most believe that small
answers, such as staggered work hours and adopting new traffic management
technologies, are the best solution. However, most agreed that changing
driver behavior could significantly reduce traffic but would be grossly unpopular
with drivers. Small solutions were the bread-and-butter of a piece by columnist
Bill Bauer, who made scathing
comments on Santa Monica
's "smart growth" efforts. According to Bauer, transit- and
pedestrian-friendly innovations have worsened traffic on the Westside.
Would Los Angeles benefit by emulating
efforts in Denver, Colorado , to fast-track
new mass transit infrastructure? In 2004, Denver
voters approved a tax that would fund a major expansion of public transportation
in their city. Should things pan out, Denver
expects to have 119 miles of light rail and commuter rail by 2016 through
FasTracks. Of note, voter approval came despite opposition from key politicians,
newspapers and various organizations. It should be noted, however, that Los
Angeles County voters
twice approved "build-it-all-at-once" methods similar to FasTracks.
Metro considers launching an
express service on the Orange Line busway, which would shave 5 minutes in
end-to-end travel times. Three Metro Service Sectors will discuss changes
in bus service at several public hearings listed in our Upcoming Events section.
Curiously, a recent study revealed that "recall rates" (the ability
to remember particular advertisements) exceed
59% for TransiTV, more than double than that of television.
Beach City Council tonight will vote on spending federal funds for a new
transit hub near South Bay Galleria. Some envision the transit center, which
would be located on the Harbor Subdivision railway, as a possible stop for future
passenger rail service in the area. Those interested in improving public transportation
in the South Bay
are invited to this important meeting. Please see Upcoming Events
below for more information.
"Quiet Zones", where trains are
exempt from tooting their horns through certain communities, will soon launch
to the relief of certain residents. Pomona
expects to have its quiet zone completed
within weeks, but only after years of planning and searching for funds. Del
Mar is pushing for a nighttime
quiet zone at one intersection. The city abandoned plans for a longer quiet
zone, believing it would cost too much without assuring an actual reduction in
horns. In Placentia ,
home of the first quiet zone in the region, the Orange County Transportation Authority
warned that a study on grade
separations on Orangethorpe Ave. is still a year away at the earliest.
The recent boom in condo and apartment construction is fast
reshaping housing patterns in Southern California.
In Orange County
, for example, condo construction has outpaced single-family homes
for the last two years. San Fernando Valley
, once the poster child of post-World War II suburban living, is now inundated
with a flourish of new condos. While most established residents resent the erosion
of their neighborhoods' suburban character, others are concerned with the traffic
they would cause, seeing that public transportation is not extensive enough for
it to be a good alternative to taking their cars.
Seaports across the
nation will see a
record volume of cargo shipments this year. While our local ports take a slice
of the trade boom, expansion
of the Panama Canal threatens to send plans for a megaport at Punta Colonet
into oblivion. Upgrading the Canal to handle a new generation of megaships would
allow Asian shippers to send products directly to the East and Gulf
Coasts , instead of contending
with intermodal transfers at the new port. Meanwhile, port clerks are voting
in favor of a new contract with terminal operators.
Francisco Chronicle auto editor Michael Taylor provided readers with
of a plug-in version of the hybrid Toyota Prius. His verdict? "The future
[…] will see a lot more of these cars," Taylor
concluded. The Prius in question was retrofitted by Energy CS of Monrovia
so that it could run on more efficient lithium-ion batteries. More information
can be found at www.calcars.org. Meanwhile,
the Whittier Daily News praised
the vote by the state Air Resources Board to reduce pollution from construction
equipment that runs on diesel.
officials are trying to enact a three-year pilot program to allow solo
drivers into carpool lanes on the 60 Freeway during off-peak hours. However,
the Federal Highway Administration has shown animosity over the program. Using
"sticks and carrots", the Administration threatens to vote down the
idea because of air quality concerns, which could result in a hold on federal
funds for the area. Peak-hour carpool lanes already exist on the 14 Freeway.
Long Beach lucks out as it receives $3
million in federal funding for a transit center at Cal State Long Beach, while,
oddly enough, $50,000 will go towards the National Mule and Packer Museum in Bishop
(well, it is transportation). Even as Colton
moves forward with a new bike path, a fight
is brewing over a piece of former railroad property owned by a resident and
is needed to complete the path.
In our human interest section, the Santa
Monica Daily Press turns
to Stephanie Negriff, director of the Santa Monica
Big Blue Bus system. Negriff held transit positions in Oklahoma
City , Austin and St.
Louis before returning to her hometown of Santa
Monica in 1986. Negriff is particularly proud of the new
"Mini Blue" service that shuttles residents around the town. Indeed,
the agency will launch a new
Mini Blue route in the Sunset Park
neighborhood of Santa Monica
on Monday, August 27.
Forget : Space is still available for the Thunderhead
Training seminar on August 24-26. The intense curriculum offered by the Thunderhead Alliance
will teach you how to effectively fight for improvements. L earn from expert coaches
and each other through Thunderhead's proven curriculum on choosing, directing,
and winning campaigns and to promote complete streets, where walking and bicycling
are safe and commonplace. You can view
the schedule or register
for the event (the latter form features registration fee information).
Here is a list of other recent developments:
1 : A Los
Angeles city committee forwarded
a $1.1 million request to rehabilitate the Lankershim Depot next to the North
Hollywood Orange Line to the Los Angeles City Council. The Metro Board approved
a $3.6 million budget for the project last October, contingent upon the city approving
its share. The Lankershim Depot would become a Metro
when rehabilitation is completed.
August 6 :
The Transportation Committee of the Los Angeles Council District 11 Neighborhood
Empowerment Congress approved two motions regarding future Westside rail. The
first asked that all forms of rail transit, including monorail and MagLev technologies,
be studied for the Wilshire corridor. The second asked Metro to prioritize a Green
Line extension towards LAX and the Downtown Regional Connector in its constrained
version of the Long Range Transportation Plan. Committee Co-Chair and Transit
Coalition President Kenneth S. Alpern proved essential in attaining consensus
on the two motions. Executive Director Bart Reed also took part in the event.
Events : Redondo Beach City
Council: Tuesday, August 7, 6:30 p.m., Redondo
Beach City Council
Chambers, 415 Diamond St.
, Redondo Beach . Councilmembers
are expected to vote on federal funds for a new transportation center near the
South Bay Galleria.
Gateway Cities Sector Public Hearing: Tuesday, August 7, 7 p.m., Norwalk
Arts & Sports Center, 13200
Clarkdale Ave. , Norwalk .
Westside/Central Governance Council
Meeting and Public Hearing: Wednesday,
August 8, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, August 9, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Gateway Cities Governance Council Meeting and Public Hearing : Thursday, August 9, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240
Firestone Blvd. , Downey .
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, August 10, 9.30 a.m., Carson
Community Center , 801
E. Carson St. , Carson .
Committee Meetings: Friday, August 10, 10 a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700
S. Flower St. , 26th floor, Los
Angeles . CANCELLED.
Transit Advocates: Saturday, August 11, 1 p.m., Angelus
Plaza , Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St. , Los Angeles .
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, August 13, 9 a.m.,
Board Hearing Room, 600 Main St.
, Orange .
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council Meeting and Public Hearing: Monday,
August 13, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita
Ave. (near El Monte
bus station), El Monte .
Special Board Meeting – Long
Range Plan Workshop, Thursday,
August 16, 9 a.m. Board Room, Metro Gateway Headquarters.
attending our monthly Transit Coalition
Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, August 28 - 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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The Transit Coalition:
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by mobilizing citizens to press for sensible public policy to grow our bus and
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