Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 37
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.
agencies across California
continue to reel from the loss of Spillover funds. The San Diego Metropolitan
Transit System may raise
fares and cut bus routes to make up for the $14 million lost as a result.
The North County Transit District may stave off reductions by tapping into their
reserve fund. Fighting back, transit agencies are suing
the state to restore the Spillover funds to their rightful place. The Santa
Cruz Metropolitan Transit District hopes the action will undo
the damage incurred at the state level in August, when Spillover funds were
diverted to other uses. The agency is in need of replacing its aging fleet of
buses and paratransit vehicles.
Efforts to restore passenger or freight
rail service between Ventura
County and Santa Clarita
continue. The Ventura County Transportation Commission completed a study of rail
service on the Santa Paula Branch Line Rail Corridor for passenger or freight
trains, or both, that has lasted for nearly
two years. Now, the Commission is collecting
comments from communities along the corridor on the study, which revealed
that it could cost at least $375 million to reactivate the railway. Some of them
have already expressed concern about noise and crossing safety.
will get a chance to appeal
the decision on the safety of push-pull operations. Metrolink is fighting
a class-action lawsuit stemming from the January 2005 accident in Glendale
, killing 11. A county
Superior Court judge ruled
in June that a jury would have the power to decide whether or not Metrolink's
"push-pull" operations make it liable for the accident. Metrolink appealed
the ruling by arguing that a push-pull system is not to blame for the accident.
Meanwhile, various Metrolink improvements took shape in the past week. Orange
County welcomed its newest
commuter rail station in Buena
Park last Tuesday. The $11 million station opened after
months of delays on account of additional
upgrades. Metrolink also introduced Sunday
service on the Antelope Valley Line. The Placentia City Council voted to pursue
grade separations at select railroad crossings within its community. Camarillo
commuters will get a new
overhead pedestrian crossing at its Metrolink station.
a jab at the politics surrounding the federal law banning subway construction
under Wilshire Blvd.
The columnist even goes so far as dedicating the Rapid Express 920
on Wilshire to Rep. Henry Waxman, who wrote the original law and the ongoing repeal.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted for the repeal this year, but its companion
bill in the U.S. Senate remains stalled.
The North County Times editorial
board once again takes
offense at a transportation blueprint that gives emphasis on transit and toll
lanes but offers token increases on general use highway lanes. The SANDAG-prepared plan would guide
transportation spending in San
Diego County through
2030. As SANDAG will vote on the plan this November, a public hearing on the plan
is scheduled this Friday, giving transit advocates opportunities to voice their
support or concerns. See Upcoming Events below for details.
L.A. is one
step closer to seeing revolutionary pedestrian improvements. Los
Angeles City planners
last week briefed the Community Redevelopment Agency Board of Commissioners on
design standards for area streets. Should the CRA adopt the duly named Street
Standards and Design Guidelines for a Livable Downtown, it would reexamine street
standards and require developers to create pedestrian-friendly elements in order
to attain approval.
And yet Downtown L.A. is one step farther away from
reopening Angels Flight. Angels Flight Railway Foundation President John Welborne
announced that the funicular
will not reopen in late summer as announced last January. Delays are stemming
from the state Public Utilities Commission, which must approve the train and its
safety features before it reopens.
Praise continues to come to Amtrak
for record-setting ridership. As air travel and driving become increasingly frustrating,
Americans are returning
to rail in droves. Even so, lack of federal support threatens to hinder growth.
For example, long-distance trains suffer from generally stagnant ridership numbers
because of constrained capacity. Damaged cars that are in need of repair reduces
the available fleet. Fortunately, the U.S. Senate will vote on federal funding
for the upcoming fiscal year in the near future, while a reauthorization bill
to allot more than $8 billion to Amtrak from 2008 to 2012 trots along.
Please Help! If you have not
done so yet, we invite you to donate and join The Transit Coalition. A monthly subscription to Moving
Southern California comes with your membership. Visit our new and improved
to explore other options. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Angeles Times columnist Steve Hymon investigated the problems
stemming from trying
to control LAX growth. Simply put, no other airport wants to take up the slack.
Airports at Palmdale and Ontario
are too far away for the majority of Southland residents. Worse yet,
many flights from LAX go to the Bay Area and Vegas, and no speedy rail alternative
exists to these two destinations.
If anything, other airports in the
region are reining in growth. Lindbergh Field officials adopted "
guiding principles" to control ground access to the San
Diego airport. State Assemblymember Ted Lieu called upon
the Federal Aviation Administration to cut
the number of flights into LAX as a way to immediately increase safety at
the runways. Los Angeles World Airports is accepting
public comments on a draft growth plan for LA/Ontario International Airport
through September 24.
Even with all these challenges, the Southern California
Regional Airport Authority remains
inert. LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa revived the government body in June 2006
as a way to catalyze regionalization of air traffic. However, the group has met
only three times since its resurrection. Their next meeting is scheduled for Thursday,
September 13. In the meantime, Villaraigosa will unveil
a plan in 2008 that would divert up to 42 million passengers annually to L.A./Ontario
International and Palmdale airports within 25 years.
A study released
last week revealed that port pollution is growing
at a slower rate than anticipated, with levels of certain pollutants actually
going down. Nevertheless, air pollution from oceangoing vessels increased 12 percent.
Pollution from rail locomotives increased 70 percent, and pollution from trucks
that serve the port increased 25 percent. On that note, research
continues on the effects of these pollutants on the human body, with new and
disturbing discoveries coming in every day. Pollution from the ports alone increases
the likeliness of some 2 million people living around the ports to develop cancer.
However, the Clean Trucks Program, which features regulations that would
reduce pollution, would increase transportation costs but save
lives and reduce health care costs in and around local harbor communities,
according to another study. Some believe that the new regulations will actually
working conditions for the thousands of truckers who haul goods out of the
ports. Indeed, a consortium of local leaders and truckers came
together to voice their support for the Clean Trucks Program last Saturday.
In turn, environmental groups sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency
to regulate emissions from ships that contribute to air pollution and respiratory
illnesses. Meanwhile, state Senator Alan Lowenthal pulled
his bill proposing a container fee to fund environmental mitigation at the
ports, but there is no doubt that it will rise again in the next legislative session
Senators introduced legislation that would prevent converting
existing interstate highways into toll roads. This was in response to a reported
Texas Department of Transportation proposal to buy back interstates from the federal
government so that the freeways could be sold to foreign investors and converted
into toll roads.
Congratulations! San Francisco BART celebrates
anniversary of service today.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
September 6 : The California Transportation Commission voted
to spend $640 million on transportation projects, including
$315 million for the first phase of the Exposition light rail line. The state
budget deadlock that ended in August threatened
to pull money away from the project and delay Phase 2 of the Expo Line. However,
the funding now in place ensures that Phase 1 will be completed in time for its
opening in 2010.
September 7 : The California Air Resources Board
voted on measures designed to cut
statewide global warming emissions within the next 2 1/2 years. The proposals
include retrofitting trucks, reducing pollution in computer manufacturing and
requiring car owners to keep their tires properly inflated. Altogether, they would
cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2.8 million metric tons a year, out of the 174
million metric tons that must be cut by 2020.
To Close : The
Bohmte town council in Germany
voted to remove
all traffic lights and stop signs downtown. The move aims to reduce accidents
and make life easier for pedestrians by giving them equal rights-of way. Dutch
traffic specialist Hans Monderman developed the "Shared Space" concept,
which enjoys the support of the European Union.
Upcoming Events :
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
SANDAG Draft 2007 Regional
Transportation Plan Public Hearing: Friday, September 14, 10 a.m., SANDAG
headquarters, 401 B St. #800
, San Diego . Written comments regarding
the draft Plan can be e-mailed, faxed at (619) 699-1905, or mailed
to the above address (Attn: Rachel Kennedy, Associate Transportation Planner)
before Monday, September 17.
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force: Wednesday, September 19, 9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh
St., 12th floor, Los Angeles
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20, Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, September 19, 1 p.m.
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, September 19, 2:30 p.m.
Congestion Pricing Committee, Wednesday, September 19, 3 p.m.
Management and Audit Committee, Thursday, September 20, 9 a.m.
Construction Committee, Thursday, September 20,
Operations Committee, Thursday, September 20, 11
Westside/Central Governance Council :
Wednesday, September 12 Thursday, September 20, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
C onsider attending our monthly
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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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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