Weekly Transit eNewsletter
Transportation For America and TransForm published an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee discussing the recent shutdown of federal transportation programs and the impact on California. James Corless and Stuart Cohen opined, "Californians who rely on public transportation know our agencies are bleeding right now. Up and down the coast and into the Valley, officials are reducing routes, raising fares and cutting workers at a time when we need every possible job. For the first time in memory, employees at Sacramento's Regional Transit are bracing for layoffs, and many commuters already have seen their routes to work cut and their fares increased as RT struggles to cut $36 million."
Just a day earlier, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the potential of federal/local partnerships, such as a National Infrastructure Development Bank, to help solve our transportation woes. The hearing was one in a series that began earlier this month to discuss key issues in the federal reauthorization bill.
The 30/10 plan from Mayor Villaraigosa is not only gaining support from politicians, but also support from Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten. The plan is to leverage tax revenue generated from Measure R to secure a loan from the federal government to pay for all these transit projects we've been screaming about. To justify the plan, its backers claim it would not only be a major assault on congestion, but generate badly needed jobs in the construction sector. It would also end the fight, according to Rutten, over which transit projects are prioritized in what regions. Instead of bickering over, say, the Foothill Line versus the Wilshire Subway, the 30/10 plan gets those projects funded within 10 years, so that everybody enjoys the benefits of a variety of projects. The mayor talks about testifying in support of the 30/10 plan at the Huffington Post.
The little funicular railway that is being called the Shortest Railway in the World has finally reopened in Downtown Los Angeles. Since being closed due to a fatal accident nine years ago, Angels Flight has been restored and its safety problems are said to be resolved. Some Internet pundits have decried the restoration as a waste of money, but as the cable cars do for San Francisco, Angels Flight adds a touch of culture and history to a rapidly changing Downtown LA.
The Expo Line Construction Authority has responded to the lawsuit by opponents claiming that the light rail line environmental review was not performed properly. The response outlines the studies completed and meetings held with the public that resulted in the final route decision to use a century old rail corridor for its originally intended purpose. The blog dialogue between the Expo activists and the opponents continues to be spirited and a Friday afternoon Curbed LA posting continues with an extended life.
The Dodger Trolley will be back for the 2010 season, courtesy of a $300,000 air quality grant. Buses will run every 10 minutes from 90 minutes prior to the game until the third inning. During the bulk of the game buses will operate every 30 minutes. After the game, buses will head to Union Station once they are full and never look back! In 2008 Dodger shuttle buses were packed to the gills, but the atmosphere was lively and fun. Too bad those Dodger owners can raise ticket prices for the games, but refuse to pay for transit, even though they jacked up parking prices.
The North County Transit District in San Diego County has been discussing the prospect of selling off the naming rights to stations as a way to generate revenue for the rapidly imploding transit agency. Maybe the trend will spread to other transit agencies and we will someday see, "Pepsi Presents: The Metro Blue Line." Hoo-boy.
Where were you when you realized that $3 per gallon for gas was normal? Gas prices rose slightly last week and one analyst implies that drivers are getting off easy. Barring any major problems worldwide or natural disasters, the analyst goes on to explain that the current price is within the expected for the year. The recession has blunted demand, but as the economy recovers and drivers resume their three-hour commutes, will gas prices soar once more? That is one question analysts cannot seem to agree on.
Gas refiners have attempted to temporarily cut back on production in order to raise prices. The new plan being lobbed about, however, is to permanently cut back on production. Aside from shutting down refineries energy companies are pondering layoffs and pulling out of some regions entirely. A dwindling economy discouraged drivers to hit the road and encouraged more of them to buy fuel efficient vehicles, lowering demand. While oil companies posted record profits a few years ago, Valero found itself $2 billion in the red at of the end of last year. Consumers allege a conspiracy. Gas companies are playing the victim. Our advice is to take the bus or train instead of driving and avoid the gas price drama completely.
Transit Coalition chair Ken Alpern explains what is wrong with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation in his latest LA CityWatch article. More specifically, he tackles the dangers of "cut-through" streets and the LADOT's inability to temper the practice. The main purpose of the LADOT, Alpern concludes, is to move cars at any cost.
The Los Angeles Marathon is this Sunday. Going north and south across the LA basin is going to be a challenge.
The Street Summit is coming this Thursday ( pre-registration) to Los Angeles following the national summit in DC, where the idea of federal bike aid has been floated. Our pal and bike editor Damien Newton has moved out of Los Angeles and into the world capital of NIMBYland, the Westside. Watch out!
Donate and Join! 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 Donations page to explore other options. Please include The Transit Coalition in your will, trust or estate. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Upcoming Events: Consider attending our monthly Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, March 23, 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at Philippe the Original, 1001 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles. We hope to see you there!
Metro Committee Meetings: Wednesday & Thursday, March 17 & 18, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles.
Riverside Transit Agency: Thursday, March 25, 2 p.m., Board of Supervisors Conference Room, County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon Street, 1st floor, Riverside.
Foothill Transit Executive Board: Friday, March 26, 10 a.m., 100 S. Vincent Ave., 2nd floor, West Covina.
SCRRA (Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, March 26, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building, 12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.
Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday, April 1, 2:30 p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Board of Supervisors Hearing Room 381B, 500 W. Temple St., Los Angeles.
Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday, April 1, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter Office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
Los Angeles City Bicycle Advisory Committee: Tuesday, April 6, 100 S. Main St., 9th floor, Los Angeles.
Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, April 7, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys.
Metro Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday, April 8, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey.
Metro South Bay Governance Council: Friday, April 9, 9:30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson.
SCRRA (Metrolink) Committees Meetings: Friday, April 9, 10 a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700 S. Flower St., 26th floor, Los Angeles.
Ventura County Transportation Commission: Friday, April 9, 10 a.m., Camarillo City Hall, 601 Carmen Dr., Camarillo.
Southern California Transit Advocates: Saturday, April 10, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St., Los Angeles.
Metro San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Monday, April 12, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita Ave. (near El Monte bus station), El Monte.
LOSSAN Technical Advisory Committee (TAC): Wednesday, April 14, 11:30 a.m., Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Metro Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday, April 14, 5 p.m., 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
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Bart Reed, Executive Director
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About 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 rail network.
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