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.
Tuesday evening is our Transit Coalition Dinner
Meeting. See Upcoming Events below for details.
In response to the tragic Metrolink January 2005
accident in Glendale, Assemblymember Dario
Frommer (D-Glendale) is pushing forward with
his bill AB 1699 to prohibit "push-mode"
operations on California commuter rail services.
After careful research, the L.A. Times is expected
to editorially oppose this bill.
With huge campaign donations from "Special
Interest Law Firms" litigating against Metrolink
and other California Commuter Rail Agencies to secure
passage of this bill, the effect will impose substantial
operating costs increases that will be passed along
to users in the form of higher fares, but won't
make our commutes any safer. A new
released today Re-Affirms Safety
of Push-Pull Passenger Rail Operations. Assemblymember
Frommer is using the Orphans
and Widows of victims to impose his version
of faux safety.
We need your help today
and tomorrow before noon to phone
these Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
members to express your opposition to AB 1699. They
Lowenthal (D-Long Beach, chair), Tom
McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks, vice chair), Gilbert
Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), Denise
Moreno Ducheny (D-San Diego), Christine
Kehoe (D-San Diego), Michael
Machado (D-Linden), Kevin
Murray (D-Los Angeles), Joe
Simitian (D-Palo Alto), Nell
Soto (D-Ontario), Tom
Torlakson (D-Antioch), Roy
Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), Abel
Maldonado (R-Monterey), Bob
Margett (R-Glendora), George
Runner (R-Lancaster). You may look at a sample
letter detailing the relatively safe "push"
operations that are standard across the globe. The
text of AB 1699 as well as information about the
status and history of the bill is available.
Metro is expanding
bus service, as the newly launched Sepulveda
Rapid Bus line demonstrates. Line
734 is the third Rapid Bus service in the San
Fernando Valley and connects Sherman Oaks with the
Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station. Another new
shuttle route, Line
634, connects the same Metrolink station with
LA Mission College via Hubbard St.
Valley Transit Authority is proposing a 25%
increase in fares as well as several modifications
to bus routes and service reductions. Officials
fuel and labor costs as reasons for these drastic
measures. In Riverside, a county supervisor is pushing
a plan to delay
the launch of the Perris Metrolink line and
supplant it with express bus service, with the saved
funds to be spent on grade separation.
With freight activity booming, the Burlington Northern
Santa Fe Railway has been especially busy, increasing
capacity and building new facilities to handle
the traffic. In addition to building a third track
Pass and retrofitting its San Bernardino yard
to allow multiple containers to be stacked, BNSF
California International Gateway, which would
handle much of the freight load coming from the
ports. As BNSF would like to point out, all of these
upgrades will use environmentally
sound equipment and pollution-reducing techniques.
If you're curious as to what kind of people use
train services in California, take a look at this
Modesto Bee article, detailing the travels of Los
Angeles Times staff writer Jane Engle aboard
the Pacific Surfliner. Most riders appreciate
the scenic sights to behold on most trains, as well
as the opportunity to relax and slow down. Some,
however, express irritation at the fact that many
trains are not punctual.
Even after a federal official declared that long
security checkpoint lines at LAX were gone "forever,"
many passengers claim to see nothing of it, saying
are as long as ever, even though others add
that the lines are more tolerable than times past.
The Los Angeles Times published various articles
recounting transportation in the City of Angels
through the ages. Times staff writer Thomas Curwen
reported on a traffic book from the 1920s that is
largely responsible for how
streets are designed in Los Angeles to this
day. Staff writer Chris Erskine provided a timeline
of how car culture and personal transport developed
One particular curiosity to note is an op-ed piece
by Robert Poole of the Reason
Foundation, who sees a tunnel connecting the
Long Beach Freeway to Pasadena as a win-win
situation after a recent study concluded that
said tunnel could be built using new technologies.
To point out issues such as tunnel length and earthquake
stability, Poole referenced various tunnels across
the globe including (gasp!) the Metro Red Line and
Eastside Gold Line tunnels. (A recent public meeting
on the 710 tunnels drew mixed
reactions from participants.) But LA Times readers
of doubts at Poole's tunnel theory claims.
Dana Bartholomew reviews the Sylmar
tunnel disaster of June 1971, where Lockheed
Shipbuilding & Construction violated many mine
safety laws that resulted in the worst tunnel disaster
in California history.
On the planning front, Burbank leaders are mulling
a land-use proposal that would limit
industrial and commercial development in the
city. The proposal will use a formula to determine
square footage of a development based on expected
trips to a business and the size of lots. Also on
the Transit Orientated Development front, Urban
Housing Alliance launches a new website to promote
it's three Glendale projects which are a short walk
from the Metrolink Station.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
June 19: Caltrans and Los Angeles Community
Redevelopment Agency officials announced plans to
transit options in Pacoima, home to a resident
population of 100,000, half of which live below
the poverty line. The non-profit Initiating
Change in Our Neighborhoods will perform the
The state Assembly Transportation Committee approved
Bill 764, which aims to reduce pollution
at the ports by defining goals and offering
incentives. It would require ports to reduce emissions
to 30% below 2001 levels by 2010. The bill has already
been approved by the state Senate, and will likely
be voted by the entire Assembly in August.
An Orange County Transportation Authority committee
voted to recommend selecting Parsons Group to study
the 405 Freeway between Costa Mesa and Seal
Beach by two lanes. Officials contend that, should
the project be built, it could increase rush hour
speeds by up to 5 miles per hour. The OCTA Board
previously approved the project, which could cost
at least $500 million and is a decade away from
construction at best.
June 20: The Long Beach City Council voted
to uphold an environmental document for upgrading
the Long Beach Airport terminal, much to the chagrin
of community members. The Council will later vote
whether the terminal will be rebuilt or not.
June 21: California Secretary of State Bruce
that a measure that would require oil companies
to fund alternative fuel programs has gained enough
signatures to qualify for an appearance on the November
ballot. It would create a $4 billion program aimed
at reducing oil and gasoline use by 25%. Funds would
come from a levy between 1.5% and 6% on oil extracted
June 23: US Transportation Secretary Norman
Y. Mineta announced
his retirement, effective July 7. President
George W. Bush noted that he was the longest serving
Transportation secretary in history. He was credited
for restoring confidence in air travel after 9/11,
although he has also been criticized for ineffective
leadership with regards to the Amtrak question and
rail transportation in general.
June 24: The OCTA offered
rides at no cost to patrons boarding at the
Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station. The tickets
were valid on the new Metrolink Orange County Saturday
service between LA and Oceanside.
Upcoming Events: Wendy
Greuel Community Forum: "The Intersection
of Planning and Transportation." Monday, June
26, 6 p.m., Los Angeles Valley College, Monarch
Hall. 5800 Fulton Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401-4062.
Gold Line Community Design Workshop: Tuesday,
June 27, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., City Hall, Outer Council
Chamber, 5050 N. Irwindale Av., Irwindale.
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
Map.) We hope to see you there!
4 Expo Transit General Meeting: Wednesday, June
28, 7:00 p.m. at Hamilton High School Library (second
floor, main building, 2955 Robertson Blvd., Los
Angeles, just north of the Santa Monica Freeway.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
July 5, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center,
6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Metro Line Construction Authority: Tuesday,
July 6, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, July 6, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office,
3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
California Transit Advocates: Saturday, July
8, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St.,
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
July 12, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
MagLev Task Force: Thursday, July 13, 11:00
a.m. SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor,
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, July 14,
9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
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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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