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.
Metro Board Director and LA City Councilmember Bernard
Parks will introduce
a motion (Item 16) at the Metro Executive Management
and Audit Committee on Thursday, July 20, to officially
designate Exposition Light Rail as the "Expo
Line" (as opposed to naming it by color like
other Metro Rail lines) and indicate it on maps
by the color rose.
The Committee will also review a
separate motion (Item 15) to designate color
names for rail lines and busways. See Upcoming Events
below for details. If you like to let the MTA Board
know your opinion on this, there is
time to write.
Even with six U.S. Congressmembers from California
heading major committees in Washington, the
state continues to receive less than what it
sends, according to an op-ed published by the Daily
Breeze. The state receives just 86 cents for
every dollar sent to Washington. Even Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger, who campaigned with the promise
that the state received its fair share, has proven
weak against the fiscal realities. Schwarzenegger
hopes to rally up his Congressional delegation and
gain back these funds.
With Metro now expanding advertising opportunities
on its buses, trains and facilities, the agency
stands to gain much-needed funds for operations.
However, Los Angeles Daily News columnist
Mariel Garza fears that such would inhibit personal
privacy for passengers and bombard them with more
corporate graffiti". (Her unfortunate
experiences on the bus reported earlier elicited
responses from readers.) A smarter move to increase
revenue while maintaining strong fare box recovery
may be found farther north. Seattle transit officials
revealed plans to raise
bus fares gradually, by 75 cents over ten years.
Metro is also moving forward with a study to determine
whether a rail
link between the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys
parallel to the Ventura Freeway is feasible. RailPAC
President Paul Dyson believes such a link would
be too costly, since there is no readily available
right of way.
A peculiar level of ugliness has emerged in an Orange
County Supervisor race. Candidate Cathryn DeYoung
mailed fliers informing residents that a new
and costly tunnel between Irvine and Corona
would aggravate traffic problems. The tunnel proposal
currently enjoys popular support in both Orange
and Riverside Counties according to various polls,
although the issue is a hot one mostly in Orange
County and the Sierra Club strongly opposes the
tunnel. A more effective transportation solution
between the two counties would be expanded rail
services, akin to what transportation planners in
Charleston, South Carolina, concluded
for a stretch of the I-26 in their part of the world.
Meanwhile, the San Bernardino Association of Governments
approved receipt of a grant to expand
its freeway service patrol, which aids stranded
motorists and help clear up roadway incidents that
cause traffic on freeways. Commuters express their
at the 71 Freeway, which is seen as a quick
shortcut but is hampered by its numerous forms as
a freeway, expressway and grade-level highway. Also,
the state is moving forward with a study to see
whether it is possible to reopen
a section of State Highway Route 39, which has
been closed for nearly 30 years due to unrelenting
mudslides. To the west, Pasadena merchants were
angered with a recent
reduction in parking time and an increase in
public parking rates.
Hybrids continue to dazzle people's minds during
a time of high gas prices. As a sign of their demand
after years of stagnant sales, Californians often
more than the retail price for these vehicles.
The Burbank City Council will soon vote on becoming
a "Plug-In Partner" that would encourage
building charging facilities for hybrid-electric
Metro Investment Report featured an interview
with Los Angeles County Department of Public Works
Director Donald Wolfe, which discusses the many
responsibilities and challenges of one of the largest
public works agencies in the nation. Though the
interview largely focused on storm drainage issues,
Wolfe noted that unincorporated areas of the county
stand to gain as much as $194 million should voters
approve the state infrastructure bonds in November.
column from Public CIO contends that
continued integration of information technology
across all jurisdrictions and between different
modes of transport will prove beneficial for transportation
in the United States.
Meanwhile, Grist magazine interviewed
anti-sprawl activist Anthony Flint (actually, he
prefers "pro-growth") regarding his recent
book, This Land: The Battle Over Sprawl and the
Future of America. Flint recaps the government
policies and cheap energy that encouraged sprawl
in the mid-20th Century, as well as the ironic "false
bargain" Americans today are getting for living
in sprawl in the form of social detachment, weightier
energy costs and longer commutes. The latter is
exemplified by a recently developed "sport"
extreme commuting", where parents must
drive lengthy distances between affordable housing
with good schools and job-rich cities.
Building on this "smart growth" momentum,
LA City Beat reported on attempts by residents
power to choose the developments they want in
their neighborhoods. Activists often point to the
city as the culprit, since, they believe, it skirts
its own ordinances to pass major developments, favors
either low-density housing or expensive condos that
do not suit the needs of Angelenos, and has a sketchy
planning policy in general. Visionaries also share
what they see as the future of development in Los
Angeles, which could very well focus on pedestrian-oriented
destinations and communities.
Regarding air travel, the J.D. Power and Associates
survey reported here last week also revealed that,
while LAX received some of the lowest marks for
passenger satisfaction, Las Vegas McCarren International
Airport received the highest. In light of this,
LAX officials believe that a recently launched,
multi-million-dollar renovation program will make
the airport a ‘destination
in its own right' instead of a mere means to
One much-sought improvement is bringing the Green
Line to the airport, which LAX director Lydia
Kennard dismissed as costly and not worthwhile,
since the recently launched FlyAway from Union Station
carries more airport travelers at a smaller cost,
whereas the existing Green Line and connecting shuttle
is used mostly by airport employees. LA City Councilmember
Bill Rosendahl believes
by former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis
stated that construction of a high-speed rail system
in California would reduce the need for costly and
controversial airport expansion schemes, though
he was disheartened that a vote on the bonds that
would finance it will be pushed to 2008. This may
be of special note to Long Beach City Councilmember
Tonia Reyes Uranga, who is working to rescind
approval by the City Council of an EIR for an
improved Long Beach Airport terminal.
Meanwhile, airports and airlines across the globe
continue to expand. Panama-based Copa Airlines has
grown thanks to a strong hub at Panama City-Tocuben
International Airport that gives passengers an alternative
to hard-to-get transit visas for U.S. hubs.
U.S.-based airlines are also eyeing
destinations in Mexico in a whole new way.
At the local seaports, one only needs to see the
containers sitting at storage lots to see that
the U.S. is not doing well in covering the trade
deficit. Residents in Wilmington have grown increasingly
annoyed at the sight of these containers, saying
that they bring blight, weeds and earthquake dangers
to their neighborhoods… not to mention rats. Meanwhile,
the International Maritime Organization is considering
its emissions standards for cargo vessels.
For your information: On Tuesday, June 20,
Metrolink released a presentation on the Electronic
Passenger Information System (EPIS). The presentation
addressed the inadequacies of the current platform
addressing system at most Metrolink stations, which
uses limited messages and cannot respond to rapidly
changing railway conditions. Metrolink is moving
forward to replace the system with a flexible yet
fully integrated EPIS, which would be able to process
information from different sources into a single
server, which in turn distributes it to the Internet,
a paging system for cell phone users, and on new
widescreen LCD displays at stations. Also, a presentation
on the Sealed
Corridors Program is now available.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
July 6: Omnitrans unveiled 25
new vans with wheelchair lifts as part of its
Access program. The Access program, launched by
Omnitrans in 1993, serves 43,000 passengers with
disabilities each year.
July 10: Transit Coalition Executive Director
Bart Reed met with Los Angeles City Councilmember
Bill Rosendahl and staff regarding transportation
issues related to LAX, which the councilmember represents.
Among the topics discussed were extending the Green
Line 2 miles around the airport to Lincoln and Sepulveda,
a further extension to Lincoln and Jefferson, and
an eventual extension to Santa Monica and the Expo
Line; bus lanes on Lincoln and Wilshire Blvds.,
and bringing regional rail to the airport via the
Harbor Subdivision Right-Of-Way. The meeting also
dealt with the imposed Maglev proposal for the Westside
from the Southern California Association of Governments.
The Caltrans District 7 Bicycle Advisory Committee
established the post of Bicycle Coordinator, outlining
its duties and responsibilities, as well as reaffirmed
the responsibilities of the existing BAC. Among
those in attendance were Kent Strumpell and Michelle
Mowery of the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory
Committee, Transit Coalition Executive Director
Bart Reed, and Caltrans District 7 Director Doug
The Los Angeles Times reported on the woeful
state of roads in California, while listing
some of the state's major bottlenecks. The article
reported that lack of funds at all levels of government
is the most serious obstacle to improve roads in
Upcoming Events: Metro
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
July 12, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
SCAG MagLev Task
Force: Thursday, July 13, 11:00 a.m. SCAG Offices,
818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday,
July 13, 2 p.m., The Gas Company, 9240 Firestone
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, July 14,
9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, July 19 and Thursday,
July 20, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, July 19,
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, July 19, 2:30
Management & Audit Committee, Thursday,
July 20, 9 a.m. (
Item 15--Approve color designations for several
rail lines and busways.)
Construction Committee, Thursday, July 20,
Committee, Thursday, July 20, 12 noon.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday,
July 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!
Meeting: Thursday, July 27, 9:30 a.m., Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent
to Union Station), Los Angeles.
(Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, July 28,
10 a.m. San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building,
12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.
Missed last week's newsletter? Read it here!
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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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