Welcome to The
Transit Coalition weekly newsletter! Our organization
participates in meetings with key decision makers
and community leaders and we aim to keep you informed
on the latest developments in the transportation
scene across Southern California.
One of the most promising (and also one of the most
glaringly needed) transportation projects in Southern
California has received a major boost from the state.
On Friday, January 13, Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger
a State Senate bill to fast-track
construction of the 405 Freeway northbound carpool
lanes between West LA and the San Fernando Valley.
The Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles
Daily News reported this development; the latter
their support for this project (
all are impressed; one
local driver feels that this project will provide
little relief to the gridlocked freeway. Construction
must begin before 2009 to qualify for federal funding.
Another promising project is the Southern California
International Gateway, a rail facility to be
built by BNSF that will reduce
substantial truck traffic on the 710 freeway. The
facility would feature a direct connection to the
Alameda Corridor and house new dock-to-rail facilities
near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The
Port of Los Angeles has already released a notice
of preparation with regards to the project,
which features maps and descriptions of the facility.
Meanwhile, a proposal to build toll truck lanes
along the 710 has met fierce
opposition, while a Daily Business News
offers a solution of its own.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger released
a state budget that greatly restores transportation
funding but also cuts welfare programs. The
new budget is bound to at least please
commuters in San Bernardino County. Additionally,
the governor further discussed his bond proposal.
wants a piece of the pie and the governor gets
earful from Republican lawmakers, Schwarzenneger
is willing to make
a few changes. Some, like this
Santa Monica resident, showed concern about
the long-term consequences of the proposal, which
"smart growth" policies by promoting
highway construction. Others
fear it will bankrupt the state. Still, with a
local Assemblymember at the helm, it is likely
that there will be many projects in the Southland
that will be added. Because of these proposals,
Gov. Schwarzenneger called for the indefinite
postponement of the California high-speed rail
bond measure, which left a number of proponents
Opinions surfaced on the revived idea to bring the
Metro Red Line subway to the Westside. Some were
while others were more disapproving. Meanwhile,
the LA Times gave a glowing
editorial in support of the new City of LA Planning
Director, Gail Goldberg.
appeared in Forbes.com lauding Amtrak and intercity
passenger rail service in general. The editorial
recognized the need for federal involvement in expanding
passenger rail travel as a convenient and energy-efficient
mode of travel that links large cities with distant
rural areas. Amtrak is increasingly emerging as
an important alternative to driving or flying, especially
in light of an aging "baby boomer" population
who may not be physically capable to drive or fly.
Here is a list reviewing other recent developments:
January 9: The Los Angeles County Department
of Public Works unveiled a
new shuttle for the South Whittier area. The
route will serve an area previously lacking public
transportation, from the Whittwood Town Center to
Sorenson Park. The shuttle will cost 25 cents per
ride, or $11 for a monthly pass. The service accepts
MTA passes and connects with MTA buses and trains
when it starts on January 21.
The LA Times interviewed
City of Ventura Manager Rick Cole, a local proponent
of "smart growth". In particular, he encourages
compact designs of new developments that are easily
accessible to the public, deemphasize car use and
stay faithful to existing designs across the city.
January 10: RailPAC member Paul
Dyson and The Transit Coalition Executive Director
Bart Reed met
with Jaime de la Vega, City of Los Angeles Deputy
Mayor for Transportation, to discuss the
proposal to extend the Orange Line to the Bob
Hope Airport Metrolink/Amtrak station.
As one of his platforms, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
has supported transportation policies that would
give Los Angeles a
strong central identity.
January 11: Metro opened a new
transit center next to the site of the Mid-Town
Plaza, a mixed-use retail center under construction.
The terminal contains eleven bus bays and will replace
the Pico-Rimpau bus terminal, which serves Metro
Buses and Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines (Big
Blue Bus) on Pico.
Also, The Los Angeles City Council voted
against reviewing a contract with a firm that
plans to move the southernmost runway at Los Angeles
International Airport. Construction on a new taxiway
55 feet south of the current runway will continue.
There had been concerns on the quality of the work
Tutor-Saliba performed on projects for UCLA, LAUSD,
and the Van Nuys FlyAway Terminal. Among the critics
is Councilmember Tony Cardenas,
who feared that "the city is willing to
rubber-stamp a $250-million contract without providing
January 12: The Pasadena Star-News
reports that a
glitch in ridership figures may delay construction
of the Foothill Gold Line extension to Azusa. Officials
feared that the model used to calculate ridership
focused excessively on middle-class commuters who
may or may not ride the train. Accurate ridership
figures are crucial in order to federally fund the
Concerned citizens attended a public hearing in
Mission Viejo to voice
opposition to a tollway project that would cross
the San Onofre State Beach in South Orange County.
Transportation Corridor Agencies board members are
considering a 16-mile route from Rancho Santa Margarita
to Interstate 5 in or near San Clemente. Claiming
the agency released
skewed figures, opponents offered an alternative
plan to build a beltway linking the current tollway
(State Highway Route 241) with the San Joaquin Toll
Road (State Highway Route 73) in San Juan Capistrano,
on top of improvements to Interstate 5 in San Clemente.
January 13: The Southern California Regional
Rail Authority ( Metrolink)
held its Planning
& Development and Operational
Oversight Committee Meetings. The Planning
& Development meeting focused on the success
and challenges of the 2005 Metrolink Holiday Toy
Train, as well as the results of a survey of weekend
riders. Also of concern was the considerable rise
in fuel costs and the need to keep them in check,
through possible fare increases and reevaluation
of current fuel contracts.
January 14: The Daily News reported
heavy ridership on the Orange Line during December,
drawing nearly 15,500 passengers each weekday during
December. Even as other rail lines experienced seasonal
dips in ridership, Orange Line ridership has remained
steady from 16,360 average weekday boardings in
January 15: The LA Times interviewed
the newly appointed president of the Los Angeles
Port Commission, S. David Freeman. Among the challenges
Freeman must face are stagnant growth in cargo shipments,
outdated facilities that cannot handle larger ships,
and alarming increases in levels of pollution from
Upcoming Events: Metro
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, January 18 and
Thursday, January 19, Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Angeles. Of note are the following items:
and Budget Committee (January 18, 2:30 p.m.):
Item 11 – Continue funding a program aimed at improving
bus service on municipal bus lines across the county.
Management and Audit Committee (January 19,
9:00 a.m.): Item 17 – Allow Los Angeles World Airports
to run a FlyAway service (similar to the successful
version serving Van Nuys) from Union Station to
Committee (January 19, 12 noon): Item 25 – Award
a five-year contract to Mitsubishi Electric &
Electronics USA to maintain elevators and escalators
in Metro facilities.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, January
24 - 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original,
1001 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA 90012. ( Map;
minutes.) We hope to see you there!
Meeting: Thursday, January 26, 9:30 a.m., Board
Room, Metro Hdqtrs., One Gateway Plaza (adjacent
to Union Station), Los Angeles.
RailPAC invites you
to meet Amtrak Acting President and CEO David Hughes
at a reception to honor the bipartisan efforts of
legislators and advocates in supporting Amtrak and
passenger rail in California, Thursday, January
26, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Room 317 in the State Capitol,
(Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, January 27,
10 a.m. SCAG Conference Room, 12th Floor, 818 W.
Seventh St., Los Angeles.
RailPAC Annual Meeting:
Saturday, January 28, State Rail Museum, Sacramento,
CA. Call 888-508-2640 for information.
Faster Freight Cleaner
Air: Monday, January 30 – Wednesday, February
1, 2006, Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach,
CA. A summit on North American goods movement and
air quality sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles,
the US Environmental Protection Agency, Air Quality
Management District, and California Environmental
Protection Agency Air Resources Board.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, February 2, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter
office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
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welcome your thoughts and comments on our new electronic
newsletter. Please write us:
Bart Reed, Executive Director
Numan Parada, Communications Director
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.
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
Ken Alpern, President of The
Transit Coalition, and wife Cecilia wish you a prosperous
new year. Ken hopes that many rail projects will
be completed by the time his five-year-old son Nate
is off to college.