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.
Please heed: Next Tuesday is our Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting. See Upcoming Events below
With the state infrastructure bond package locked
for a November vote, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
and state legislators from both parties are stomping
across the state to promote the plan. Local
government officials are selling the bond package
as congestion relief that can be enacted almost
immediately. Whittier is expected to benefit
greatly, as it is believed that bond money would
fund widening of the I-5 and grade separation in
nearby Santa Fe Springs. Sacramento Bee columnist
Daniel Weintraub noted that the infrastructure proposal
with respect to transportation would have something
for everyone, with money allotted to local cities
as well as major urban centers. Reason Foundation
fellow George Passantino stressed the
potential of private-public partnerships as
a way to add private funds to the mix and make even
more projects a reality.
Meanwhile, action to push
back bonds for California
high-speed rail is in motion. Voters are now
hoping that legislators will finally let them see
these bonds in the November 2008 elections.
Deputy CEO John Catoe gave
praise to the Orange Line, not necessarily its
ridership but the integration of numerous technologies
that keep the line operating smoothly. Further north,
Park Service will soon run wind-
and solar-powered ferries to connect San Francisco
tourists with Alcatraz.
The Washington, D.C. Metro and the Federal
Transit Administration unveiled a new rail
simulator consisting of a commuter rail car
that can turn 180 degrees that will help first responders
tackle rail-related emergencies. Amazingly, a recent
study conducted in nearby Virginia concluded
that signal priority does speed up buses but also
slows down cars and contributes to more gridlock.
County Transportation Authority (OCTA) was especially
busy last week, approving installation
of surveillance video cameras on 82 of its buses
and the purchase
of 250 buses that run on compressed natural
gas. The agency also agreed to jointly
study the feasibility of a transportation-water
tunnel under Cleveland National Forest along with
County Transportation Commission and the Metropolitan
Water District. The tests would be paid for with
federal transportation dollars. The City of Orange
approved the OCTA plan to build
an underpass for Chapman Avenue near the Orange
Even as accidents involving big rigs are decreasing
in number across the state, the Inland Empire has
accidents increase by 19% between 2001 and 2004.
The number correlates with a rise in truck and auto
registrations in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Inadequate highway capacity and inexperienced truckers
have also been pointed out as causes. Compounding
troubles in Riverside County, bus drivers are readying
for a strike, which would affect nearly
half of Riverside bus routes. Health care costs
have been a sore point between the drivers' union
and the Riverside
In other highway developments, Caltrans begins
construction on upgrading a portion of State
Highway Route 14 from a two-lane highway to a four-lane
expressway, with a grade-separated interchange at
California City Blvd. Caltrans
and local governments are also working on installing
signals to improve
traffic flow along Pacific Coast Highway (State
Highway Route 1) in the South Bay. The Orange County
Transportation Corridor Agency shot
back at the state for impeding local progress
on the San Onofre toll road.
Meanwhile, Californians continue to express an insatiable
thirst for gasoline despite high prices, which has
led to a
boon in funds from state and local sales taxes.
High gas prices continue to fuel
ridership growth in Southern California, though
the San Diego North
County Transit District is considering
raising fares as a result of higher fuel prices.
As Downtown L.A. grows in amenities and residents,
concern is now focusing on its pedestrian-unfriendly
environment. Many newer buildings in the city center
are often designed to look great from afar but are
barren of activity at the ground level; in the case
of the new Caltrans headquarters, an intimidating
blank wall fronts the sidewalk. Most streets are
designed for the speedy deliverance of car traffic,
which places pedestrians in particular jeopardy.
A Los Angeles Downtown News article reveals
that could improve the situation. Meanwhile,
SCAG continues outreach efforts in educating officials
potential of high-density housing, while the
final Environmental Impact Report for the Westgate
Project, a transit-oriented development in Pasadena
near the Metro Gold Line, is now
Airport recently completed a taxiway project
that will accommodate larger jet planes such as
the Airbus 380. This is just one of a series of
project that aim to make Ontario Airport a
more attractive regional companion to the overused
LAX. Among the projects on the move is a new cargo
facility, wireless Internet at terminals, increased
number of flights to Mexico and new service to Hawaii.
Hope Airport is almost
clear to go ahead with runway and terminal improvements,
parking near Terminal 4. Moving north, BART
launched an advertising
campaign promoting its fledgling San Francisco
Airport extension, which has suffered a dearth of
ridership (though the extension manages to recover
70% of its operating costs through fares, a notable
accomplishment for this or any other transit agency).
Towards the south, San Diego officials are moving
for a joint use airport among several air force
bases to be selected... whether
military officials like it or not.
Lest ye forget: Thursday, May 18, is the
12th annual Bike-to-Work Day. Metro will celebrate
the occasion by offering rides at no cost on
buses and rail lines to those with bicycles or helmets.
Metro will also host "pit stops" at locations
across Los Angeles that will offer refreshments
and giveaways. Beach Cities Transit, Commerce Municipal
Bus Lines, Commuter Express, Gardena Municipal Bus
Lines, Montebello Bus Lines and Norwalk Transit
will also offer rides at no cost. Burbank already
celebrated the occasion with a plan to improve
bicycle facilities near public schools.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
May 5: The Westside Cities of Los Angeles,
Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica and West
Hollywood held a second
transportation symposium at the Pacific Design
Center in West Hollywood. Topics of discussion included
the Exposition Light Rail Line, the Wilshire Red
Line subway, and the reconfiguration of the I-10
interchange at Robertson. Participants were especially
pleased with the just-approved state bond proposals
that could jumpstart some of these projects, as
well as projections that 72,000 passengers would
ride the Expo Line when completed to Santa Monica.
It was cited that 11% of jobs in Los Angeles County
were housed in the Westside.
May 8: Metro unveiled
a $3 billion FY 06-07 budget that promises to increase
service without raising fares. Instead, the agency
will use reserve money, which will drop from $304.7
million in 2006 to $131 million in 2007 and $66
million in 2008. Light rail and carpool lane projects
to be funded, while Metro expects to launch
seven new Rapid Bus lines in the coming fiscal year.
However, the agency will cut back on some capital
projects such as rebuilding bus engines, while officials
warned that a fare increase might very well be inevitable
in coming years. A Los Angeles Daily News
praised Metro for staving off a fare increase at
a time when more people are using transit.
May 10: Construction
began on widening the I-5 from the Riverside
Fwy. (State Highway Route 91) to the LA/Orange County
Line and will consist of two new lanes in each direction.
Completion is slated for 2010.
Upcoming Events: SCAG
Goods Movement Task Force: Wednesday, May 17,
9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor,
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, May 17 and Thursday,
May 18, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.(
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, May 17,
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, May 17, 2:30
Management & Audit Committee, Thursday,
May 18, 9 a.m.
Thursday, May 18, 10:30 a.m. CANCELLED.
Committee, Thursday, May 18, 12 noon.
Light Rail Construction Authority Community
Open House 2: Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Culver City, 4117
Overland Ave. Parking is available at this site.
Foothill Gold Line Community
Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Azusa
Senior Center, 740 N. Dalton Av., Azusa.
Wednesday, June 14, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Monrovia
Community Center, 119 W. Palm Av., Monrovia.
Monday, June 19, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Ayres
Hall, Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden,
301 N. Baldwin Av., Arcadia. Parking available.
Tuesday, June 27, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., City
Hall, Outer Council Chamber, 5050 N. Irwindale Av.,
Light Rail Construction Authority Community
Open House 3: Tuesday, May 23, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Cafeteria
(Building H), 400 W. Washington Blvd. The campus
is easily accessible from the Metro Blue Line. Limited
parking is available on the roof of Building F,
accessible from 21st and Grand.
3rd Annual Inner City 21 and 5-Mile Bike Tour Festival
and Carnival: Saturday, May 20, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., 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
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, May 23
- 6:47 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!
Board Meeting: Thursday, May 25, 9:30 a.m.,
Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(adjacent to Union Station), 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.
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