Welcome 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.
Fair Warning: Next Tuesday is our Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting. See Upcoming Events below
The Strategic Growth Plan from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
is facing fierce
opposition from state lawmakers of both parties.
California Republican Assembly President Mike Spence
showed concern about the about-face
approach the governor has taken in reining in
spending. Joel R. Reynolds of the National Resources
Defense Council sees a
looming challenge in keeping promises to curb
global warming and sprawl even as the governor is
keen on toll roads (though the one toll road in
question, which would run through San Onofre State
Beach, was decidedly opposed by the governor.)
City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa continues
to stomp for the Red Line extension to Santa Monica.
A recently released report concluded
that building the subway in its entirety would cost
$4.8 billion. The Los Angeles Daily News
showed disbelief in an editorial.
everybody thinks quite positively that it will
be built soon (or much of what
he hopes Los Angeles will become) despite growing
interest. In response, Villaraigosa has pushed to
make the project part
of the state Strategic Growth Plan, which has
been criticized for focusing too much on highway
spending and not enough on mass transit. Opinions
are mixed on the matter, as this collection
of letters to the Daily News shows.
Even as Amtrak continues to
ridership records across California, a
recent Harris poll showed that the public desires
a great increase in passenger rail and freight as
an alternative to roads. Particularly, the public
wishes to see commuter and long-distance rail move
a larger share of passengers. The results also showed
a large interest in seeing these modes developed
by various levels of government instead of leaving
it at the hands of private enterprise. (
Amtrak Fact Check has returned to the National Association of
Railroad Passengers website. The page provides
responses to claims by critics of the national passenger
On the smarth growth front, developers and builders
are swiftly responding to soaring
demand for mixed-use projects. Developers generally
cite the lack of "greenfield" land and
popularity of mixed-use as factors in building these
projects. Even with increased availability and their
proximity to transit centers and jobs, however,
there will always be a sizable amount of people
who will not mind long commutes, as this Sacramento
Bee article demonstrates. State Treasurer
and gubernatorial prospect Phil Angelides is fine-tuning
his message to curb sprawl and encourage growth
at mass transit stations as part of an overall proposal
to reduce oil consumption.
The City of Whittier is soliciting
bids to construct a five-mile multi-purpose
trail along an abandoned Union Pacific right-of-way.
The trail would provide an alternative to Whittier
Boulevard (State Highway Route 72) and connect various
city landmarks. A connection to the San Gabriel
River Trail has yet to be determined.
new bus service that will connect San Fernando
and Sylmar with Santa Clarita will launch on March
5. The Route 8 bus will be operated by Santa Clarita
Transit and run all week, with 30-minute headways
Shameless plug: Founded in 2002, CityLites is
a non-profit organization aimed at promoting exercise,
good nutrition and physical fitness in inner-city
communities. On Saturday, May 20, CityLites will
host the 3rd Annual Inner
City 21 and 5-Mile Bike Tour Festival and Carnival
in Jesse Owens Park at Century Blvd. and Western
Av. Proceeds from the event will go to local middle
and high schools to foster after-school sports-
and physical-education-related activities.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
February 9: In response to bus riders and
anti-smoking groups, San Diego Metropolitan Transit
System directors ordered their attorney to craft
ordinance to ban smoking at bus stops and Trolley
stations. Though the agency has mulled a ban for
several years, the move gained momentum when the
California Air Resources Board deemed "environmental
tobacco smoke" as a toxic contaminant. This
would make San Diego one of the few cities in California
to ban smoking at its outdoor transit facilities.
February 10: Metro announced that
it would install
sound mitigation measures such as double-paned
windows and insulation on houses along the Orange
Line route. Since opening the busway last October,
Metro has been measuring sound levels to see if
residents are experiencing too much noise.
February 13: Express
service began on the Pasadena Gold Line, which
has been receiving mixed
reviews from passengers. Not
everyone is impressed. Will this be a clever
way to cut ridership by 3,000 per day? With a 33%
decrease in rush hour service to 60% of the stations,
riders are either crammed into already full trains
or are on the express trains with phantom
ridership. Go figure.
February 16: US Congressmember Ken Calvert
(R-Corona) announced that a federal grant has been
awarded to fund
bus service along the congested 91 Freeway between
Orange and Riverside Counties. The $4.3-million
grant will also provide "rapid bus" service
along Harbor Boulevard and a security camera system
at the Fullerton Transportation Center.
February 21: Donald T. Bliss, the special
master overseeing the MTA Consent Decree, resigned
to take a job in Montreal. He suggested that Metro
and the BRU consider hiring Robert C. Vanderet as
Upcoming Events: Metro
Board Meeting: Thursday, February 23, 9:30 a.m.,
Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
(Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, February
24, 10 a.m. San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG
Building, 12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.
National Association of
Railroad Passengers (NARP) Region 12 Annual
Meeting: Saturday, February 25, 2006, California
State Railroad Museum, Sacramento. Guest speaker:
Congressman Jim Costa.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, February
28 - 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!
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
March 1, 2006, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent
Ctr., 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority: Thursday, March 2, 2:30
p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W.
Temple St., Board Hearing Room 381B, Los Angeles.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, March 2, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office,
3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Tuesday,
March 7, 6:30 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
SCAG MagLev Task
Force: Thursday, March 9, 11:00 a.m. SCAG Offices,
818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
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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
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