Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 36
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.
recently approved state budget threatens to bring Southern
California transit improvements to a screeching halt. L.A. County
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky denounced the loss as "
classic bait-and-switch". One editorial shared sentiment with Metro CEO
Roger Snoble in that transportation has been "
hoodwinked". A Sacramento Bee editorial spreads
the blame onto environmental groups, which stayed largely dormant on the issue.
And how did it get this bad? One writer blames it solely on political
appeasement to the driving public by slashing the state Vehicle Licensing
Fee during previous and current administrations. Columnist Erica Etelson reasons
further accelerate oil consumption and leave the national economy vulnerable
With the state budget now behind them, legislators are working
to get various bills passed. The state Assembly Appropriations Committee voted
for SB 974, which would impose a $60
fee on containers to pay for environmental mitigation at the ports. L.A. Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa is
withholding support of the bill because the fees would not fund replacement
of two deteriorating bridges at Terminal
Island . Should Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger veto the bill, the Ports of Long Beach and Los
Angeles may impose their own fee, which could clean up
the ports and replace the bridges, according to a Long Beach Press Telegram
Also, a bill that would ban
teen use of cell phones while driving moves forward in the Assembly.
and East Los Angeles
betting their future on the Eastside Gold Line, which should open in summer
2009. In this New York Times article, residents react positively to the
future service, which would connect them to other parts of the city without the
hassles of bus travel. Some also believe the new line will spur private development
that would augment an economically growing area.
Meanwhile, cities along
the Foothill Gold Line are gearing
up with development projects of their own, in anticipation of the light rail
line. Already, $2.1 billion has been spent on development, with a projected $36
billion along the way once the line is opened. In one example, Claremont
officials are working to rejuvenate
their depot while improving bicycle access.
One major transit improvement
that will be coming sooner than later is 30-minute Metrolink service in Orange
County , also scheduled
for 2009. However, riders can taste
the future on the Orange
County line, which spurred
an 8% increase in riders when weekend service launched last year. The county will
$60 million to upgrade grade crossings along Metrolink lines and, in essence,
create a countywide "quiet zone".
Oaks is the latest city to join Google Transit by
offering bus information online. City officials hope that the new convenience
will entice local citizenry to learn about alternative transportation and become
new passengers. Also, Orange County Transportation Authority celebrated 35 years
of service by offering 35-cent
fares on its buses last Friday. The LBPost.com blog featured discussion on
the merits of a streetcar
for Long Beach in
a September 4 post by Brian Ulaszewski.
With regard to pedestrian
improvements, Whittier residents
onto the new Greenway Trail, even as paving and landscaping remains incomplete.
Please Help! If
you have not done so yet, we invite you to donate and join The Transit Coalition. A monthly subscription to Moving
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weeks ago, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation approved spending $6 million
on Westside traffic improvements. However, Pacific Palisades will not
get a penny's worth of improvements. The community specific plan does not
call for collecting fees that would be used to bring improvements, unlike common
practice elsewhere in the Westside.
Steven Leigh Morris of LA Weekly
took a curt look at attempts to alter
parking requirements in Los Angeles
. Morris dismissed the current planning climate in Downtown as an
"Orwellian" attempt to lure drivers out of their cars and onto public
transportation. Currently, a commercial or industrial project may receive an exemption
from city parking requirements if they show that there are viable alternatives.
L.A. city planner
Thomas Rothmann proposes extending said exemptions to residential projects. Morris
suggests that such proposal would not work in transit-poor Los
Angeles , which lacks subways and other substantial alternatives.
In contrast, scholar William Fulton diffused notions that Los
Angeles was "Manhattanizing" into an incredibly
dense metropolis. If anything, his op-ed suggests we are "
Pasadena-izing" by building 5- to 6-story developments clustered at transit
With the bridge collapse in Minneapolis
still fresh in the minds of policymakers, the Sacramento Bee published
calling for increased spending on highway infrastructure. The editorial noted
efforts by Rep. Jim Oberstar, chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee, to increase the federal gas tax and set aside the proceeds to a trust
fund that would fund repairs.
Gross polluters beware: The South Coast
Air Quality Management District is testing technology that can detect
pollutants while cars idle at off-ramps. A camera would photograph the license
plates so that a notice can be sent to offenders. Fortunately, the AQMD will offer
rebates from $500 to $2,000 for repairs or trade-ins for cleaner models, should
one choose to participate. In another sign of the times, drivers are getting a
boost in gas money by placing advertisements on their cars.
residents are clamoring for better
landscaping and dust reduction along the 710 Freeway. A SANBAG committee wants
an ongoing environmental study for a U.S. 395 bypass to stop,
fearing that no money will be around to actually build it. A major upgrade of
the 215 Freeway through San Bernardino
kicks off with reconstruction
of the Fifth Street
(State Highway Route 66) bridge.
Columnist Steve Hymon walks
landmine of issues involved with a proposed widening of the northern runways
of LAX. The Whittier Daily News denounced the efforts as a sneaky way to
increase capacity at LAX. The editorial
also called for shifting flights to other airports, instead of charging a toll
for cars entering LAX, as a means to reduce traffic.
handed the City of Burbank
a proposal to build two
new buildings that would address security and congestion. Down south, San
Diego County Regional Airport Authority raised a proverbial
white flag by turning their efforts towards upgrading Lindbergh Field instead
of building a new airport elsewhere.
In our human interest section, we
turn to Norm Orfall, who owns
a railcar known as the " Tioga
Pass ". The 79-foot-long
car was built in 1959 for use by the Canadian National Railway and features two
bedrooms, a lounge area and a dining area. Orfall pays Amtrak $2.10 per mile to
haul the car behind its trains and uses it to transport curious riders. Learn
more by visiting www.ridemytrain.com.
Also, writer Salvador Hernandez takes a sentimental
journey through the California Highway Patrol Transportation Management Center
in Irvine .
A PDF version of our monthly print newsletter is now
Amtrak plans to bring superior service to the fabled
Coast Starlight. Get a sneak
peak at upgrades Amtrak will complete by summer 2008. Thanks to Ed Von Nordeck
for relaying this information.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
August 28 : The Burbank City Council unanimously approved
a resolution that called for the creation
of a quiet zone around a perilous railroad crossing. $700,000 will be spent
over a year to improve the Buena Vista grade
crossing next to the 5 Freeway. The crossing is already slated for grade separation
within the next few years.
31 : Drivers union members rejected
the latest contract offer from Omnitrans, which could trigger a strike within
the next few weeks. Representatives of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1704,
which represents the agency's 445 bus drivers, promised it would give enough notice
to allow the public to prepare. Omnitrans officials said it would meet with union
representatives at least once more. Omnitrans had its last strike in 1980, which
lasted three days.
: New Metrolink
schedules took effect today. Improvements include new Sunday and increased
Saturday service on the Antelope Valley Line, additional weekend service on the
line, and the introduction of the Buena
Park station. Also, there will be track work in Orange
County that will adversely
affect Amtrak and Metrolink trains
from September 14 to 16. Please consult their
websites to learn which trains will be affected.
Events : Metro
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, September 5, 6:30 p.m.,
, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd.
, Van Nuys.
Exposition Metro Line Construction
Authority : Thursday, September
6, 2:30 p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Board of Supervisors Hearing
Room 381B, 500 W. Temple St.
, Los Angeles .
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday, September
6, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435
Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320 , Los Angeles
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, September 10 and 24,
9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Monday, September 10 , 5 p.m., 3369
Santa Anita Ave. (near El Monte
bus station), El Monte
Westside/Central Governance Council : Wednesday, September 12, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, September 13, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Angeles . CANCELLED.
Gateway Cities Governance Council : Thursday, September 13, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240
Firestone Blvd. , Downey .
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, September 14, 9.30 a.m., Carson
Community Center , 801
E. Carson St. , Carson .
Committee Meetings: Friday, September 14 , 10
a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700 S. Flower
St. , 26th floor, Los
Transit Advocates: Saturday, September 15, 1 p.m., Angelus
Plaza , Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St. , Los Angeles .
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force: Wednesday, September 19, 9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh
St., 12th floor, Los Angeles
onsider attending our monthly Transit Coalition
Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, September
25 - 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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