Weekly Transit eNewsletter
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Volume 6, Issue 40

Welcome to The Transit Coalition weekly newsletter! Our organization participates in meetings with key decision makers and community leaders. Our goal is to keep you informed on the latest developments in the transportation scene across Southern California.

Reverse The Polarity of the Neutron Flow! The Transit Coalition will host its monthly Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, October 26, featuring a soon-to-be-announced speaker. Also, the September and August 2010 issues of Moving Southern California are now available online with new features and news, as are past issues. Here is a review of our August meeting, a video clip of our June meeting with Art Leahy and the July meeting video featuring Dennis Allen, Executive Director of LA Streetcar. See Upcoming Events below for details.

Alternatives into bringing the Westside Subway to Century City.
Last week's public hearings on the Metro Westside Subway were heated and could be called a "Tale of Three Westside Cities." On Monday in Beverly Hills, a group of residents are so opposed to the idea of running a subway underneath residential areas and the local high school that they are vowing to fight the subway tooth and nail if such an alignment is chosen. The opponents are residents of a Beverly Hills enclave where the subway needs to go directly in order to reach Constellation Avenue in Century City. Despite being informed that current tunneling methods are safe (as demonstrated by the tunnels constructed for the Eastside Gold Line), the residents would much rather have the subway go under Santa Monica Blvd.

Two nights later in Santa Monica, when Metro held its final public hearing, residents were so excited about the idea of bringing a subway to their city they barely noticed there's no money to extend it beyond Westwood. Residents expressed support for a Constellation stop.

The final public hearing on the draft environmental document for the Metro Westside Subway was held in Santa Monica.
However, the Bus Riders' Union also showed up, mainly to express support for the no-build and Transportation Demand Management alternatives that the draft environmental document also studied. Even as they rightly denounce the recent round of Metro bus cuts, they once again call for an end to building rail systems and remain opposed to the 30/10 Plan.

A WeHo Daily blog piece summarized the war of words that has been occurring between proponents and opponents of the subway, while also recognizing that the subway may not reach West Hollywood because of the expense. Not to be left out in the cold, West Hollywood is spending $64,000 on a lobbyist to convince Metro that their segment of the subway should also move forward.

Meanwhile, LAist suggests Metro would like to environmentally impact LA Weekly's face for writing the mean things about the subway towards the sea. Indeed, in light of the Steve Hymon point-by-point rebuttal it got, the paper's blog came out in defense of the article. Transit Coalition Chair Ken Alpern also chimes in on the controversy.

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On the highway front, Orange County commuters rejoice: The $335-million I-5 widening between Route 91 and the Los Angeles county line is complete, while similar construction between Routes 170 and 118 has just begun. Hope rises anew in replacing the obsolete and deteriorating Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach, which may contain bike and pedestrian paths in its new incarnation, much to the joy of the Daily Breeze editorial board.

Transportation is a crucial link to ensuring opportunity for all—connecting us to jobs, schools, housing, healthcare, and grocery stores. But millions of poor people and people of color live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent. Transportation 4 America is a key national group working to tie needs together.

Federal transportation policy choices—what we build, where we put it, who builds it, how we operate it, what energy powers it—have an enormous impact on our economy, our climate, and our health. We must invest in a manner that builds a nation where all people can participate and prosper.

The Equity Caucus at Transportation for America
The Equity Caucus at Transportation for America, formed by the nation's leading civil rights, community development, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, and transportation organizations, drives transportation policies that advance economic and social equity in America. Sign the Equity Caucus Pledge and call on Congress to ensure the next transportation authorization bill invests in infrastructure that provides affordable transportation options, creates equitable access to economic options, and promotes healthy, safe and inclusive communities for all people!

The Los Angeles Times came out against Proposition 23, the ballot measure that would suspend the state's laws regulating the reduction of greenhouse gases. The editorial stated that while both sides of the issue provide conflicting data on how AB 32 would affect jobs, especially in the current anemic economy, residents can expect a notable improvement in the quality of life with the reduction of greenhouse gases. A new poll shows that Proposition 23 is having trouble gaining traction with voters and funders outside of the Texas oil companies that have been promoting the measure in the first place.

The Times also editorialized opposition to Proposition 22, which would bar the state government from further diverting local government money to fill state budget holes. The Los Angeles Daily News supported Prop 22, as passage of the initiative keeps transit operating funds directed to transit operators, rather than being diverted to the General Fund. Transit supporters should look carefully at Proposition 26, as a Yes vote could prevent further transit subsidies and would spiral fares way up, as the state Legislative Analyst's Office reports.

The site of a proposed park in Santa Monica.
Three schemes have been proposed to cover a part of Interstate 10 through Santa Monica, all designed by the renowned landscape architecture firm Field Operations. Each scheme would cover the freeway with a civic park and are the result of meetings between the designers and the public.

The Riverside County Transportation Commission sent the Governor a thank-you message for signing AB 2098 into law. The law will allow RCTC to accelerate construction on the SR-91 Toll Lane extension and other upgrades by using the design-build project delivery method. This major highway project promises to speed up travel trips and improve productivity for 3+ carpoolers, vanpools, toll-paying drivers, and existing bus routes through Santa Ana Canyon by reducing lost time caused by some of the most extensive traffic congestion in Southern California.

The Riverside Transit Agency is looking to hit three birds with one stone by replacing some of its 12-seat buses with new 21-seat vehicles. The new buses will address standing-room-only conditions and will be equipped with the GFI Farebox, which will streamline passenger boardings, record keeping, and internal operations. RTA is looking to purchase 14 Startrans buses which are midsize, low floor vehicles.

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Don't forget that this week is Rideshare Week! Be sure to check in with your local transportation agency and pledge to rideshare: LA Metro, Orange County, Inland Empire. Remember, ridesharing and contributing to better mobility means going to/from work by means other than driving alone. Help The Transit Coalition fulfill its mission by choosing to rideshare and make the miserable morning commute a thing of the past.

Wednesday is Walk and Bike to School Day across the country. The Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership is keeping tallies of events occurring throughout the Southland. One example is Bike It!, a city sponsored "bike to school" day in Santa Monica.

City Car Share.
Interestingly, the state is considering legislation that would allow for people to basically rent their cars while they're not using them. With car sharing on the rise, this " personal vehicle sharing" could further reduce the need for people, especially younger people who are eschewing car ownership, to own an automobile.

Last week, the City of Los Angeles held their meetings on the Draft Bike Plan. Instead of the raucous meetings that had been seen on earlier drafts, the turnout for last week's meeting was positively tame. Some cyclists pointed to meeting fatigue as the first meetings on this plan were held in January of 2008. Others opined that the lower turnout is because this Draft of the plan was actually pretty good.

Cyclists are also debating the value of police presence at the monthly Critical Mass ride. On one side are cyclists who feel that the LAPD are intentionally disrupting the ride. Others argue that even if the LAPD makes some mistakes, the thousands of riders who show up argue that the LAPD's presence is a success.

And finally, don't forget that this Sunday, October 10, is CicLAvia, where major Downtown LA streets are closed off to cars while participants enjoy walking and biking on them.

Donate to The Transit Coalition!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, October 26, 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!

California High Speed Rail Authority Los Angeles-San Diego I-10 Alternative Community Open House: Wednesday, October 6, 4 p.m., Grace T. Black Auditorium, 3130 Tyler Avenue, El Monte.

Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council Meeting: Wednesday, October 6, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys.

Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Board Meeting: Thursday, October 7, 2:30 p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple, 3rd floor, Board of Supervisor's Hearing Room 381B, Los Angeles.

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday, October 7, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter Office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.

OCTA Board Meeting: Monday, October 8 and 25, 9 a.m., OCTA Headquarters, 600 S. Main St., Orange.

Metro South Bay Governance Council Meeting: Friday, October 8, 9:30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson.

Southern California Transit Advocates: Saturday, October 9, 1 p.m.

CicLAvia: Sunday, October 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Los Angeles. See website for exact route location.

Metro San Gabriel Valley Governance Council Meeting: Monday, October 11, 5 p.m., City Hall East, 11333 Valley Blvd., El Monte.

Metro Westside/Central Service Governance Council Meeting: Tuesday, October 13, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.

LOSSAN Technical Advisory Committee: Thursday, October 14, 11:30 a.m., SANDAG, 401 B Street, Suite 800, San Diego.

Metro Gateway Cities Governance Council Meeting: Thursday, October 14, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey.

Metro Committee Meetings: Wednesday and Thursday, October 20 and 21, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.

SCRRA (Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, October 22, 10 a.m., SCAG Board Room, 818 W. 7th St., 12th Floor, Los Angeles.

LOSSAN Joint Powers Board: Wednesday, October 27, 11:30 a.m., Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.

Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority: Wednesday, October 27, 7 p.m., Arcadia City Hall, Council Chambers 240 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia.

Metro Board Meeting: Thursday, October 28, 9:30 a.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.

Riverside Transit Agency: Thursday, October 28, 2 p.m., Board of Supervisors Conference Room, County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon Street, 1st floor, Riverside.

Foothill Transit Executive Board: Friday, October 29, 8 a.m., 100 S. Vincent Ave., 2nd floor, West Covina.

Mobility 21 Ninth Annual Southern California Transportation Summit: Friday, October 29, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim.

Ventura County Transportation Commission: Friday, November 5, 10 a.m., Camarillo City Hall, 601 Carmen Dr., Camarillo.

Missed last week's newsletter? Read it here!

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Contact Us:
We welcome your thoughts and comments on our new electronic newsletter. Please write us:
Bart Reed, Executive Director

Mina Nichols, Legislative Analyst

Zach Gutierrez, Communications
Damien Newton, Editor LA Streetsblog

About The Transit Coalition:
The Transit Coalition is a non-profit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501[c](3) of the Internal Revenue Service. Our 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.

As a grass roots group, we depend upon your contributions to allow us to pursue our important work. Add yourself to our mailing list and please donate to help us grow.

Visit our Discussion Board for the latest dialogue on transit.

bart.reed@thetransitcoalition.us * The Transit Coalition