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.
The Orange Line has grown so popular, that some
are wondering if it has the
capacity to take on larger loads. Officials
at Metro insist that buses
can run even more frequently to meet the demand.
A Los Angeles Daily News editorial
recognizes the sudden success of the busway and
urges for another transportation solution to complement
it, while a reply
in the same paper (under "Young on the bus")
extols the lack of stress and excess of downtime
one can afford while using transit. Part of the
success can be attributed to high gas prices, which
Metro has taken advantage of with an arresting
One bus innovation that has not been extolled is
the contra flow bus lane on Spring Street in Downtown
L.A. The lane has become a hazard since buses pass
each other on the opposing lanes, creating opportunities
for head-on collisions. On Sunday, June 18, the
bus lane will be no more, as buses that previously
used it will now use other parallel streets. Further
south, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
will bring new late
night service to San Diego State University,
while undoing an overlap between its Green and Blue
light rail lines.
Metrolink reached 1,000,000
monthly riders in May for the first time in
its history. The development was particularly lauded
in Orange County, where an increase in service on
the commuter rail line is underway. As for the new
Metrolink Saturday service on the Orange County
line, it was reported
that the first day of service logged in 680 passengers,
not bad considering that Orange County Transportation
Authority officials were projecting 600 riders per
day on the Saturday service after one year.
Caltrans is moving forward with plans to widen
the 118 Freeway in Simi Valley from three lanes
to four. A recent poll revealed that South
Pasadenans are evenly split with regards to
building a tunnel underneath the town to bring the
710 Freeway to Pasadena. The results are a far cry
from previous polls, where residents overwhelmingly
rejected ground-level options. In Palmdale, an 8-year
project to improve Avenue S was completed.
Meanwhile, Westside leaders are calling on the Los
Angeles Department of Transportation to stop what
is perceived to be a road-widening
project in Westchester, even as LADOT contends
it is merely adding six feet of a lane. As transportation
planners celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Interstate
highways, federal lawmakers are realizing that the
system is decaying
faster than governments can repair them.
The Port of Long Beach is making strides in reducing
pollution in the area. Emissions at the port
have been reduced by up to 670 tons compared to
2002 levels. Cooperation with terminal operators
proved to be critical in making such reductions
possible. Nearby, the Long Beach Planning Commission
a Final EIR for a terminal expansion at Long Beach
Airport. Fifty community activists and groups are
to appeal the decision. Long Beach Mayor Beverly
O'Neill and City Attorney Bob Shannon invited appellants
to make their voices heard at the City Council meeting
on Tuesday, June 13.
Some of the hottest
Transit-Oriented Development properties today
are located at the North Hollywood Red Line/Orange
Line Station. Two projects, the NoHo Commons and
the 15-story NoHo Tower, are under construction,
while a third, an unnamed property owned by Metro,
will break ground in July. Officials and community
leaders hope these projects will bring even more
life to the burgeoning arts district while addressing
housing issues in the area. Years of hard work and
advocacy by the community, with a little boost of
the Red Line, which arrived in North Hollywood in
2000, led to the intense redevelopment the area
is enjoying today. Meanwhile, developers unveiled
plans to build a 1,000-room hotel near the Staples
Center as part of the LA Live project.
The recent defeats of several fundraising initiatives
across the state have brought doubt to supporters
of the bonds package to be voted in November. Sonoma
and Napa and Solano County residents rejected
a sales tax to raise funds for transportation. Santa
Clara residents said "NO"
to a sales tax increase for transport, which
will force transportation officials to reconsider
plans to bring BART to San Jose. The defeat
of two statewide initiatives to refurbish public
libraries and fund preschool programs did not help.
In the Bay Area, transit agencies are asking the
Metropolitan Transportation Commission to increase
funding for transit service in low-income areas.
The Victorville City Council unanimously
approved a memorandum of understanding between
the city and DesertXpress Enterprises. The memo
calls for the partnership to prepare a plan regarding
13,000 acres that may be required for the terminal
of a proposed high-speed rail line. DesertXpress.
The project is distinct from existing MagLev proposals
to connect the Southland to Las Vegas (no rail technology
has been selected for the DesertXpress), and purports
that it will rely solely on private financing.
Up in Portland, transit planners are walking
a tightrope these days, as rising operations
costs are forcing TriMet to consider raising fares.
Already the agency has had to cut bus and train
service to stay within budget, and a drop in ridership
has been noted. However, the agency also fears losing
passengers if a fare increase is enacted, which
in turn would bring people back onto already congested
Regarding bicycle travel, the City of Redlands recently
a $68,000 grant to plan a trail system. The Redlands
Conservancy is partnering with the city to make
the Orange Blossom Trail a reality. Officials hope
that the trail will connect with the existing Santa
Ana River trail and bring more pedestrian-oriented
activity in the downtown area.
For those into new innovations, watch out for TV
screens at gas pumps coming your way. Gas Station
TV, the brainchild of Michigan-based upstarts, will
air news stories and consumer segments, and promises
not to "over-advertise". In San Diego,
one fuel station is making the news with its wide
selection of alternative fuels. Many new car
models that use a variety of fuels can now refuel
at this innovative service station.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
June 5: LAX officials approved
a $1.2 billion spending plan for the next fiscal
year. Money would be set aside for preparations
of major projects that have yet to be entirely funded.
While other funds would be used to boost FlyAway
service from LAX.
June 8: The California Transportation Commission
approved setting aside nearly $1 billion for transportation
projects across the state. Among the projects to
be funded is a light rail connection between downtown
Sacramento and the local Amtrak station, and Sprinter
construction between Oceanside and Escondido. A
complete list of projects is now
June 9: Metro and the Bus Riders Union revealed
their arguments for and against extending the Consent
Decree. Metro contends that the $1.2 billion it
has spent in expanding bus service has reduced overcrowding
on its busiest lines. The BRU argues that buses
used by minorities and the poor remain crowded.
Over the years, the court has ordered Metro to purchase
additional buses to confront the problem.
June 10: State legislators struck out language
in the upcoming budget that would have prevented
construction of the San Onofre Toll Road, angering
environmentalists who wish to protect the state
park it would run through. A spokesperson for the
Sierra Club stated that while the development was
a disappointment, the
fight is far from won.
June 12: The Los Angeles Times published
exchange between LA City Councilmembers Dennis
Zine and Jose Huizar. The Downtown Regional Connector,
a proposal to connect the Eastside and Pasadena
Gold Lines with the Blue and Expo Lines via Downtown
LA., was referenced in the report. Transit Coalition
Executive Director Bart Reed is quoted by noting
that if planners do not pay attention, "they
will open two more lines without connectivity."
Upcoming Events: Foothill
Gold Line Community Design Workshops:
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.,
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
June 14, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, June 14 and Thursday,
June 15, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, June 14,
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, June 14, 2:30
Management & Audit Committee, Thursday,
June 15, 9 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, June 15, 10:30 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, June 15, 12 noon.
Goods Movement Task Force: Wednesday, June 21,
9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor,
Board Meeting: Thursday, June 22, 9:30 a.m.,
Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Board Meeting: Friday, June 23, 10 a.m., SCAG Offices,
818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, June 27
- 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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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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