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.
Gasoline is creeping
back up to $3 a gallon, and most analysts believe
this number won't be going down any time soon, even
without major disruptions in production. California
gas prices rose for the fourth week in a row,
reaching an average $2.66 a gallon on March 27.
Even so, summer driving is expected to increase,
which will place a
strain on ethanol producers. Analysts also believe
that consumer "sticker-shock" won't be
as damaging this time around. Nevertheless, with
"peak oil" approaching and oil production
eventually reaching a drop, what can we do? Electrify
rail transport, says commentator Alan S. Drake.
With the resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles moving
at lightning pace, a new parking challenge is emerging.
Developers are snatching up parking lots to build
new residential and mixed-use projects. The Los
Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) recently
recommended several proposals to add more parking
and concurrently redo largely unchanged parking
ordinances in the city core. Some ideas, such as
adding parking for "adaptive reuse" projects,
are receiving a cold
reception from developers, according to the
Los Angeles Downtown News.
commentator expressed concern with archaic and
blight-inducing parking regulations imposed on property
owners. As an alternative, Donald Shoup, author
of The High Cost of Free Parking, believes
that his two basic ideas of performance-based parking
prices and local revenue return can revitalize neighborhoods
as well as provide parking. Shoup is a vocal
critic of current parking policies and costly
ideas that have been implemented with no success,
such as free off-site parking. Meanwhile, parking
companies across the nation continue to test technology
that allows drivers to reserve
parking spots online or by cell phone and obtain
real-time parking information.
operators in the Northeast San Fernando Valley continue
to strike due to the high cost of their health
insurance. Meanwhile, Metro
moves ahead with the purchase of 96
additional Metro Liners from North American
Bus Industries, powered by Cummins Westport alternative
fuel engines. Metro also locked in $208
million for construction of the Exposition
Light Rail Line.
was equally busy. Union
Pacific completed rehabilitation
of tracks on the Riverside line. To celebrate, Metrolink
will offer discounted
passes for Riverside line passengers. Unfortunately,
the fun will be short-lived, as increases in fuel
costs are forcing the commuter rail system to increase
County Transportation Authority (OCTA) conducted
a mail survey over the past several weeks, with
at least 1,000 responses having been received. Respondents
generally favored extending
Measure M, a countywide transportation measure
that funds rail and highway projects, which expires
in 2011 after 20 years. Meanwhile, interest in building
a tunnel between Orange and Riverside Counties
grows amid worries from environmentalists on its
effect on groundwater and wildlife. A recent consortium
of realtors concluded that traffic was the
single greatest threat to economic growth in
State Senator Alan Lowenthal introduced
legislation that would include pollution control
as part of lease renewals at ports. The Los Angeles
Board of Harbor Commissioners already includes mild
pollution reduction requirements in their lease
renewals. Meanwhile, shippers are expecting a very
busy, no-frills cargo season in which shipments
will hit record levels. Mexico has opened
bids for a megaport to be built from scratch
south of Ensenada, Baja California, while private
interests are pumping
capital into existing Mexican Pacific ports.
Line Construction Authority learned that it
to tap into $5.4 million in federal funds to study
the Pasadena-Montclair light rail line. $2.9 million
would be used to study the line itself, while the
other $2.5 million would study future housing and
retail development along the line. The San Gabriel
Valley Council of Governments, who did not process
the materials in a timely fashion, put the funds
in jeopardy, according to the Authority. Meanwhile,
Arcadia residents will soon be voting for an $8
million bond package to build grade separation
for the line over Santa Anita Avenue. Five activists
wrote a letter
to the Pasadena Star News (under "Yes
on Measure A") that emphasizes the reasons
why the grade separation is necessary, while one
dissenting voice suggests that sales taxes from
future developments should be used instead of bonds.
So what is happening in other transit systems across
the nation? In the Rockies, the Amalgamated Transit
Union Local 1001 in Denver rejected a contract and
triggered a strike
that is crippling the city's rail and bus service.
This has left Denver commuters scrambling
for alternatives, while those with cars drive
to find either no parking or prohibitively expensive
parking. Moving east, Congressmember Anthony Weiner
asks New York transit officials to install bomb-resistant
trashcans in subway stations. In Oakland, AC
Transit is mulling a fare
increase of its own, while San Francisco receives
$1 million in funding to study
congestion charging in the downtown area. On
a lighter note, while the Los Angeles Metro has
issues, the Chicago Transit Authority takes
courage with a new color for the 54/Cermack spur:
One board member promises, "
Our marketing department is going to have a ball."
Meanwhile, plans for a major cargo center at Ontario
International Airport are stalled
three years after approval by Los Angeles World
Airports, due to "environmental regulations
imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration."
Here is a list of other recent developments:
March 27: The OCTA Board unanimously
approved a 20-year Comprehensive Business Plan,
which features increased bus service, introduction
of Rapid-Bus-like services across the county and
additional Metrolink service. The mix of rail and
highway projects is not dependent on passage of
the above-mentioned Measure M renewal.
Concerned about other states imitating California's
half-century-old fascination with building freeways
as a way to relieve congestion and stimulate growth?
Frederick News-Post columnist Joe Volz shared
with readers his unsavory
experience with L.A. freeways during a recent
trip. Volz used the moment to warn others of the
problems with building more highways in the belief
that it will give drivers "traffic nirvana".
March 28: The Glendale City Council unanimously
voted to install safety features on the Metrolink
crossing at Chevy Chase Drive. The city previously
mulled closing the crossing altogether, but Atwater
Village residents feared the lack of access it would
create. The City of Glendale will now work with
the City of Los Angeles and Metrolink to upgrade
the rail crossing.
March 29: A Cal State Fullerton team of researchers
that air pollution costs San Joaquin Valley residents
$3.2 billion in health care costs. The San Joaquin
Valley repeatedly tops the lists of areas in the
nation with the worst air, often joining Houston
and Los Angeles with the dubious distinction. Costs
often come from smog-related deaths, cancer treatment,
school absences, hospital admissions and bronchitis
treatment. Researchers recommended that Valley government
agencies and businesses work together and meet state
and federal air quality mandates.
March 30: The Metro Blue Line resumed
full service ten days after a pickup truck veered
of the Artesia Freeway (State Highway Route 91)
and clipped the overhead wires. Three people were
killed in that accident.
March 31: Metrolink Riverside County riders
were treated to an early
April Fools' joke. A certain "Rider X"
left flyers, purportedly from Metrolink, announcing
that work had to be redone on the renovated Union
Pacific track and that riders would have to take
a labyrinth of detours and transfers.
April 3: A section of the Santa Ana River
bikeway between Fountain Valley and Anaheim in Orange
after a water pipeline construction project was
Upcoming Events: Metro
Westside/Central Governance Council: Tuesday,
April 4, 6:30 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
April 5, 6:30 p.m., Recreation Park, Multipurpose
Room, 208 Park Ave., San Fernando.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, April 6, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office,
3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
California Transit Advocates: Saturday, April
8, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St.,
MagLev Task Force: Thursday, April 13, 11:00
a.m. SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor,
Goods Movement Task Force: Wednesday, April
19, 9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th
floor, Los Angeles.
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, April 19 and
Thursday, April 20, Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, April 25
- 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!
Missed last week's newsletter? Read
Get the Print Edition of Moving Southern
California, our monthly newsletter. Request a sample
We welcome your thoughts
and comments on our new electronic newsletter. Please
Reed, Executive Director
Parada, Communications Director
The Transit Coalition:
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 on transit.