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.
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has appointed
Gloria Jeff, former director of the Michigan Department
of Transportation, to head the LA
Department of Transportation (LADOT). In
a bit of irony, officials closed a block of
Main Street in Downtown LA to announce the new hire.
Angeles Daily News gladly welcomed her with
editorial acknowledging her experience as well
as the challenges that await her. Also, the LA City
a measure to install left-turn signals at more than
450 intersections across the city. A list
of intersections to be upgraded is now available,
courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Wendy Greuel.
Beginning in May, Metrolink
will begin a permanent
weekend service between the Inland Empire and
Orange County. The route is otherwise used for the
seasonal SummerLink trains, which ferry beach-loving
Riverside residents to the sandy shores of San Clemente
and Oceanside. The service will consist of three
round trips on Saturday and two round trips on Sunday.
County Transportation Commission recently gave
its blessing to the expanded train and will
work with the Orange
County Transportation Authority and Metrolink
to finalize the plan. Metrolink already offers Saturday
service on the San
Bernardino and Antelope
Valley lines as well as Sunday service on the
San Bernardino line. Meanwhile, Metrolink has begun
Tunnel 26 between Chatsworth and Simi Valley
on the Ventura
County line, which is expected to last 200 days.
Additionally, the recent 88 rail car order moves
forward. The car purchase protest period was extended
until Monday, March 13. No protests were filed.
The next step will be to finalize the contract with
Rotem. The Metrolink Board meets on Friday, March
24 to review the final results of the Crash Energy
Management tests for the new cab cars.
Columnist Dana Parsons recently discussed the recent
decision to build a toll road through San Onofre
State Beach and turned it into a treatise
on the ethics of using previously preserved open
space for present development and potential future
implications. (The environmental concerns have been
responsible for a recent
spike in the cost of constructing the road.)
In contrast, columnist D.J. Waldie takes a stab
at the lack of turnstiles on Metro Red Line subway
stations and suggests that this has created an "
underground economy" of taxpayer-subsidized
free rides and illegal sales of day passes. His
suggestions fomented several
quick replies. Former state Senate Transportation
Committee chairman Quentin L. Kopp throws his own
on the indefinite postponement of a statewide vote
for high-speed rail, even as other countries are
quickly pursuing this option.
LA Weekly received a reply
to an article
regarding pollution from the harbor area and the
trucks that are partly responsible for it, with
particular scorn poured on the non-existence of
cleaner diesel tractors. Transit Coalition Vice-President
Jerard Wright sent his own reply
to an editorial in the San
Gabriel Valley Tribune regarding Foothill
Gold Line funding problems.
On May 3, JetBlue
new service from Bob Hope airport to Orlando, Florida,
and Las Vegas, Nevada. JetBlue currently offers
four nonstop flights from Bob Hope to New York City.
The Southern California Association of Governments
(SCAG) is mulling a proposal
to allow a coalition of Southern California tribes
to join the agency. This would make SCAG one of
the largest metropolitan planning organizations
in the country to include tribes.
County Transportation Commissioner Keith Millhouse
efforts to encourage mass transit growth in the
county by dismissing the recently approved "transportation
vision" plan as an "election year fluff-piece."
This sparked a fiery debate amongst fellow commissioners,
ensuring that the plan was meant to be a starting
point of discussion so that residents can have alternatives
to traffic and not merely alternatives to cars.
In any case, Millhouse in his capacity as Metrolink
Board member also announced
the launch of a major grade crossing safety program,
which would create a "sealed corridor"
along the Antelope Valley and Ventura County lines.
With regards to the continuously unfolding Ferrari
crash saga, the Los
Angeles Times recently discovered
just how easy it is to create your own police department.
Stefan Eriksson, the purported driver of the Ferrari,
was a deputy commissioner of the San
Gabriel Valley Transit Authority Police Department.
The police department came to existence through
the efforts of one Yosef Maiwandi, one of three
SGVTA commissioners and owner of their headquarters
at Homer's Auto Service in Monrovia. The article
revealed that state regulations allow transit agencies
to have their own police force. Certification by
the state Commission on Police Officer Standards
and Training is not necessary, and police officers
would have few powers beyond those of security guards
other than the ability to carry weapons and make
There was plenty to congratulate this week. Columnist
Dennis McCarthy gave congratulations
to famed bus maintenance man Arthur Winston. On
March 22, Winston will retire at the age of 100
from his job of more than 73 years at Metro and
its predecessor agencies. Metro Board Member and
County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky gave congratulations
to ridership on the Orange Line, which has recently
topped the 17,000-weekday-boarding mark. What is
not being congratulated is the Gold Line express
service, which garnered a letter
of disapproval to the San Gabriel Valley
Regarding transit-oriented development, the Urban
Housing Alliance of Los Angeles plans a $50-million,
development at the corner of Los Feliz Boulevard
and Gardena Avenue. The project will be developed
near the Glendale Metrolink station and shopping
areas. Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart
Reed noted that the proposed development is only
a five-minute walk from the train station and to
The US Department
of Transportation and Maritime
Administration is promoting a plan to reinvigorate
the practice of short-sea shipping as a way to relieve
freight traffic and address the decline in truck
drivers. Short-sea shipping involves transporting
freight up and down rivers, lakes and canals to
inland ports, a widespread practice until fifty
years ago, when highway and railroad shipping developed
and took a large share of freight traffic.
Don't Forget: On Wednesday, March 15, Los
Angeles World Airports will launch a new FlyAway
service from Union Station to LAX. Free rides will
be given to transit users with valid Metrolink,
Rail tickets for the rest of March. Thereafter,
the 20-mile ride will cost $3 one-way for adults,
$2 for children between 2 and 12 years, and free
for children less than 2 years of age. You can learn
more about the service in a previously published
Coalition report or by reading the LAWA press
release. LAWA also provides information regarding
the FlyAway bus on
Here is a list of other recent developments:
February 28: Transit Coalition President
Ken Alpern, who is also an elected Boardmember of
the Westside Village Civic Association, gave a joint
presentation with Ned Racine of the Metro Expo
Line Construction Authority to update an enthusiastic
crowd of approximately 100 Westside Villagers on
the Expo Line. Westside Villagers have weighed in
as pro-mass transit in the past, and many Transit
Councilmember Bill Rosendahl also spoke, and reaffirmed
his joint efforts with Alpern and TTC to create
a full Expo Line to the beach within the decade,
to create a north-south Green Line from the South
Bay Galleria Mall to the future Expo Line, and to
establish passenger rail service between LAX and
Union Station via the Harbor Subdivision ROW.
March 3: In response to a Public
Policy Institute of California report that indicated
Palmdale residents have some
of the longest commutes in the state, the Antelope
Valley Press published a resentful
editorial bemoaning the lack of well-paying,
middle-class jobs in the Antelope Valley as one
of the root causes of such disparate commuting times.
March 7: Union
Pacific and Burlington
Northern Santa Fe filed lawsuits against the
Coast Air Quality Management District. The two
railroads claim that locally imposed air regulations
by the District would set
a precedent where other local districts will
impose their own set of regulations and make freight
service cumbersome. State officials fear that this
will jeopardize a voluntary agreement between the
railroads and the California Air Resources Board,
which impose similar regulations onto the railroads.
March 8: The Los
Angeles Daily News published a
special exhortation by four former California
governors to state legislators regarding the Strategic
Growth Plan. The governors hoped that legislators
would set aside their ideological differences and
work together to address infrastructure deficiencies.
March 10: Metrolink
held a special
Board Meeting that dealt with a contract to
purchase diesel fuel and adoption of quiet zones.
Metrolink also released the most recent ridership
figures. Ridership averaged 40,266 daily boardings
in February, up 5% from 38,246 one year ago.
March 11: The State Senate rejected
a $48.8 billion bond package that would provide
funds to repair transportation infrastructure, among
other things. The vote of 24-14 against the measure
followed strict party lines. The measure would have
consisted of nearly $39.7 billion for improvements
for the public to vote on this year and another
$9.1 billion to be voted on in 2008. Republican
lawmakers were particularly concerned about the
numerous environmental programs that made it into
the measure. Negotiations have stalled largely due
to a lack
of consensus regarding the excess of highway
projects in the Strategic Growth Plan according
to Democrats and the lack of a "pay-as-you-go"
plan advocated by Republicans. An equal
stalemate exists in the State Assembly. (Meanwhile,
State Senate leader Don Perata has been saving more
million to promote his infrastructure bond measure.)
Upcoming Events: SCAG
Goods Movement Task Force: Wednesday, March
15, 9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th
floor, Los Angeles.
Eighth Annual CITT
State of the Trade and Transportation Industry Town
Hall Meeting: Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 6:00-8:30
p.m., Carpenter Performing Arts Center, CSULB, 6200
Atherton Street, Long Beach, CA 90815. This meeting
will discuss critical challenges facing the Long
Beach and Los Angeles ports today. Anyone involved
with and affected by trade and transportation including
representatives of longshore, truckers, ocean carriers,
marine terminals, freight forwarders, custom brokers,
IMCs, distribution centers, shippers, community
leaders, Federal/State/local governments and environmental
agencies are welcomed to attend. Attendance and
parking are free.
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, March 15 and
Thursday, February 16, Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
and Programming Committee (Wednesday, March
15, 1 p.m.): Item 5A – Change sponsorship of Lankershim
Depot rehabilitation from the LA Community Redevelopment
Agency to Metro.
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, March 15, 2:30
Management & Audit Committee (Thursday,
March 16, 9 a.m., Supplemental
Agenda): Item 13 – Designate
new colors to several fixed rail lines and busways,
including "aqua" to the Exposition Light
Rail Line and "purple" to the Wilshire
branch of the Metro Red Line.
Committee, Thursday, March 16, 10:30 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, March 16, 12 noon. (
Modernization Meeting hosted by LA Councilmember
Bill Rosendahl: Wednesday, March 15, 6-9 p.m., and
Saturday, March 18, 9 a.m.-12 noon, Flight Path
Learning Center, 6661 W Imperial Hwy., Los Angeles,
Valley VOTE meeting: Monday, March 20, 6:45-8:15
p.m., Galpin Ford, 2nd Floor meeting Room,15555
Roscoe Blvd, Sepulveda, CA 91343-6503. Guest speaker:
Julie Korenstein, LAUSD Board Member.
Economic Alliance Livable Communities Council:
Tuesday, March 21, 8 a.m., Economic Alliance Office,
Boeckmann-Fleming-Gelb Board Room, 5121 Van Nuys
Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.
Board Meeting: Thursday, March 23, 9:30 a.m.,
Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(next to Union Station), Los Angeles.
(Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, March 24,
10 a.m. San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building,
12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, March 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!
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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.
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.
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