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.
Hear ye hear ye: Join us Tuesday night for
our Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting. See Upcoming
Events below for details.
Gas has reached well
past $3 a gallon in Southern California, fueled
mostly by "refinery woes and international
intrigue." According to many experts, high
gas prices are here to stay. Economists fear
that an extended stay of high prices will greatly
harm the economy. Others contend that the price
of gasoline should drop off starting around Memorial
Day, even as the summer driving season begins, since
transition from MBTE additive in fuels will be complete
and more refineries will resume full operations.
Indeed, we would like to tell you the average price
of gas for the whole state, but as the Los
Angeles Times reports, agencies and consumer
groups use quite
a number of methodologies to compute this and
each will give you quite a different answer. What
is the solution to spiraling gas prices? Raise
the gas tax to encourage growth of fuel alternatives
on the part of gas companies, says the Christian
Science Monitor. In the meantime, here are ten
tips to help you get more miles out of your
released numbers indicating that ridership on its
bus and rail lines have reached an all-time
high due to the increase in gas prices. In March
2006, Metro bus ridership reached 1,239,704 average
weekday boardings, an increase of 4% over March
last year. The recently opened Orange Line logged
in 18,242, an increase of 3% from February. The
Blue Line recorded 84,078 average weekday boardings,
while the Green Line recorded 37,473 boardings.
The Red Line was the biggest beneficiary, recording
138,219 boardings. The Gold Line, however, recorded
only 15,769 boardings due to an ill-advised 33%
reduction in rush hour service.
State legislators are moving
closer to a deal on the infrastructure bond
measures. According to various reports, Republicans
dropped dam construction as part of the bond package,
while Democrats cut urban parks and environmental
spending out. The $30-34 billion bond measure would
still fund key infrastructure projects, especially
those concerning transportation. A San Jose Mercury
declared the announcement "was the best news
to come out of Sacramento since talks on the bonds
broke down in March."
After years of countless obstacles, the 23 Freeway
will finally be widened.
The project will consist of new soundwalls, bridge
expansions and a new third lane along the median
of the freeway from the 101 Freeway to New Los Angeles
Avenue (State Highway Route 118). Residents will
be informed through a regularly updated website
dedicated to the project.
Meanwhile, dirt excavation for completion of the
210 Freeway in Rialto is finished.
Paving will soon begin for the new freeway, which
is expected to fuel more growth in what was recently
fastest growing urban area in the country. Officials
from the LA County Department of Public Works believe
the 90 Freeway connector to Lincoln Boulevard (State
Highway Route 1) will not
be built until 2015 due to funding constraints.
Nationwide, the highway death rate rose
for the first time since 1986.
Two Congressmembers have jumped into the Riverside-Orange
Counties tunnel debacle to broker
a deal and create one unified agency to oversee
the project. The transportation and water agencies
of both counties are fighting for $16 million in
federal funds to study the joint water and transportation
tunnel. Orange County officials threatened to create
their own agency that would include the Transportation
Corridor Agency, which operates the Orange County
toll roads. A consensus
was reached on Friday, April 21.
Metro Magazine featured an article
on the success of the Hiawatha Light Rail line in
Minneapolis, as well as describing some of the more
technical aspects of construction and operations.
In Florida, state lawmakers are considering a rental
car tax to fund transit projects.
Meanwhile, a slew of competing proposals to install
liquefied natural gas offshore terminals along the
California coast are meeting stiff
resistance from environmental groups. A Ventura
County Star editorial
encouraged readers to attend meetings held on Wednesday,
April 19, by the California State Lands Commission
and discuss the proposals. In Long Beach, Pacific
Energy Partners will soon release a plan to build
docking station for fully loaded supertankers
at the Port of Los Angeles, which is sure to attract
controversy. Up north, The Ports of Oakland and
Sacramento are teaming
up to search for efficiencies in bringing goods
On the new urbanism front, The Planning Report
Latino Urban Forum co-founder James Rojas, who believes
immigrant communities are redefining the role of
streets and sidewalks in urban areas. Rojas was
in a series of LA Weekly pieces on local
movers-and-shakers, which included head of the LA
Planning Department Gail
Goldberg and Planning Commissioner Diego
Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian was selected
as the nominee for a seat on the Metro Board and
will replace outgoing Lancaster Mayor Frank Roberts.
on Eastside Gold Line construction is now available.
Shameless Plug Redux: 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. Call (323) 280-0288 or view
this report for more information.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
April 14: Transit Coalition President Ken
Alpern, Vice-President Jerard Wright, and Executive
Director Bart Reed gave a presentation to representatives
of Assemblymembers Ted Lieu and Jenny Oropeza, as
well as to LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl's
staff at his West Los Angeles office. The presentation,
which was an update on efforts to extend the Expo
Line to Santa Monica, extend the Green Line to LAX
and to Westchester, and establish passenger rail
on the Metro Harbor Subdivision Rail Right-of-Way,
was well-received and fostered considerable discussion
from those attending.
April 17 and 18: Transit Coalition Executive
Director Bart Reed attended receptions for Gloria
Jeff, the new LA Department of Transportation General
Manager and, on the next day, the new LA Planning
Department Director Gail Goldberg. Both were part
of an event hosted by Mobility21
to introduce the new LA city transportation and
April 19: Caltrans held a memorial
service for the 166 maintenance workers who
have been killed on the job in the past 82 years.
Three Caltrans workers have died so far this year.
Caltrans said that reckless or inattentive drivers
cause most worker deaths, and officials continue
to urge motorists to slow down and be extra cautious
around work zones. Since its launch in 1999, the
Caltrans "Slow for the Cone Zone" program
has lead to a 35% decrease in work zone fatalities,
while fatalities increased 46% nationally during
the same time. However, the LA Times reports
that motorists and not workers account for 90% of
fatalities in construction zone accidents.
The first of two Los
Angeles World Airports meetings was held near
LAX to discuss the airport reconfiguration process
that may be completed in two years. Transit Coalition
President Ken Alpern distributed the Green Line/People
Mover proposal that has been considered by planners
from Metro, LAWA and LA Council District 11, as
well as by Transit Coalition members. Councilmember
Rosendahl referenced it in a letter given out to
attendees. As Alpern reported, "support by
meeting attendees for such a Green Line extension
appeared strong, as well as the desire for greater
Flyaway Bus Service sites throughout the region
and remote check-in options." It was announced
that ridership of the Union Station-LAX Flyaway
Bus Service was three times that anticipated by
LAWA and Metro. "Direct rail connections between
Union Station and LAX via the Metro Harbor Subdivision
ROW also received several different recommendations
from those attending," said Alpern.
April 20: Metro Operations Committee members
were briefed on the possibility of bringing bus
service to Dodger Stadium. Staff concluded that
such a proposal would be too
expensive even if patrons were charged $4 a
ticket and/or private operators stepped in. Staff
did not contact the Los Angeles Dodgers to gauge
their interest in the proposal. The fact that there
is a current shortage
of bus drivers does not help. A second status
report will be presented in May.
The California Air Resources Board unveiled
and approved a plan to cut down pollution emitted
by cargo facilities, including ports and freight
railroads. The plan includes mandating cargo ships
to use cleaner fuels, upgrading existing diesel-electric
trains at the yard and "writing up agreements
for more Tier 3 locomotives that run cleaner."
Critics fear that the Board plan lacks meaningful
enforcement and has no way of funding the new requirements.
One particular part of the plan is increasing "cold
ironing", a name for shore-based electrical
sources for cargo ships. The Port of Los Angeles
a conference on cold ironing on April 24 and
April 24: The LA Times published an
revealing uncomfortably low numbers of older children
using booster seats. California requires booster
seats in cars for children who are too old for car
seats but have either not yet turned 6 or weight
less than 60. Another
article discusses how suburban sprawl and the
quest for land strangles smaller airports.
Upcoming Events: Consider attending our monthly
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!
Westside/Central Governance Council: Tuesday,
May 2, 6:30 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
Thursday, April 27 Wednesday,
May 3, 9:30 a.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
May 3, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center,
6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday,
May 4, 2:30 p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration,
500 W. Temple St., Board Hearing Room 381B, Los
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, May 4, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office,
3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
MagLev Task Force: Thursday, May 11, 11:00 a.m.
SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los
California Transit Advocates: Saturday, May
13, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill
St., 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
please donate to help us grow.
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