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 night is our Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting.
See Upcoming Events below for details.
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pushing for a week
where passengers can travel
on transit at no cost. The program is modeled
after the Spare the Air days program in the San
Francisco Bay Area, where transit use is not charged
to patrons on particular days. Folks at the Bay
Area are not
lost on this interest, and other cities wish
to follow suit. (The Bay Area Air Quality Management
District declared today, Monday, another
Spare The Air day.) Meanwhile, Villaraigosa
turned over his chairmanship at Metro to Supervisor
Gloria Molina, the latter promising to bring
financial accountability to the $3-billion agency.
One issue that continues to be a thorn in L.A. transit
policy is the naming of the Exposition Light Rail
Line. LA Councilmember and Metro Board director
Bernard Parks continues to stomp for his idea of
the line simply as the "Expo Line"
and giving it the color rose. Friends4Expo co-chairman
Darrell Clarke explained that the color rose is
more often associated with Pasadena, which houses
the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade. (At one time,
Metro considered giving the name "Rose Line"
to what is now called the Pasadena Gold Line.) The
Transit Coalition published a letter
that was distributed to individual Executive
Audit and Management Committee members during their
Thursday, July 20, meeting, stating opposition to
the Parks proposal. Action on the matter has been
postponed until the August Metro Board meeting.
Avenue blog has also posted some opinions on
the matter.) Another daunting problem for Metro
is the purported excess
of overtime pay to employees that did not earn
The new Metrolink weekend service on the Orange
County and Inland Empire-Orange County lines is
from passengers. Many have braved the scorching
heat to try the new services with their families.
Some of the new riders were unaware that a special
fare was being offered, while others had difficulty
boarding the correct trains. Still Metrolink and
Orange County Transportation Authority, the latter
funding the service increase, hope that the new
services will attract recreational riders, as opposed
to the commuters it normally caters.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted for Whittier Transit
that passengers are satisfied with the service but
have some important complaints regarding routes.
The survey is prompting the agency to change its
route structure to better serve patrons. To the
south, the San Diego Trolley celebrates 25
years of service.
To the north, a plan to greatly
expand ferry service in the Bay Area moves forward.
Currently, the service moves 10,000 people a day,
but officials hope the number will increase by 30,000
in 20 years. Also, the Contra Costa Times
published an editorial exalting the importance
of building a high-speed rail system across
the U.S., with the vision in building the Interstate
Highway System as an example. Ridership on the Santa
Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail
system is reaching
heights not seen since the dot-com boom that
swept the Silicon Valley in the late ‘90s. In November,
Marin and Sonoma County voters
will decide whether to tax themselves for a
passenger rail service along the Redwood Highway,
while Kern County voters will vote
on a tax to fund general transportation projects
in the region.
Moving onto automobile issues, The City of Los Angeles
parking violation fees at various streets that
have peak period parking restrictions, while city
engineers start work on installing LED
lights on LA signals, which promise to reduce
energy use and costs. Caltrans continues to reinforce
slide areas along the Antelope Valley Freeway
and protect motorists from falling debris. Starting
in 2008, licensed California drivers must go in
person to a DMV office and prove their identity
and address with three different documents before
getting a new,
federally approved state license.
Regarding smart growth, officials in San Diego are
preparing to update the city's General Plan. Some
have expressed disappointment that the "
City of Villages" concept, approved as
part of said plan nearly four years ago, hasn't
taken off. Among the challenges facing this concept
have been escalating expenses in its implementation,
lack of support from the city's administration,
complicated regulations and the dismissal of citizen
input. Still, officials hope these and other issues
will be resolved when the Plan is completed later
this year or early next year.
The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles "celebrated"
the second anniversary of what was a complete meltdown,
caused by a labor dispute between shipping lines
and dockworkers. Ships clogged up lanes and waited
as long as a week to unload their cargo. Today,
the situation has improved considerably, but officials
and retailers now worry that something
similar might happen again. To keep appraised
on port traffic, retailers now obtain a report called
Port Tracker, which includes the "Congestometer"
that gives details on congestion at different ports,
so that retailers can make sound judgments when
monitoring their shipments.
Turning to biking issues, the City of Santa Monica
is trying to increase
bike usage by expanding its bicycling facilities.
The city hopes to have bike lanes installed on 35%
of arterial streets by 2010. However, city officials
also admit that in doing so, ensuring safety for
bicyclists has proven to be difficult. It doesn't
help that most people would be interested in using
a bicycle as a means to commute to work, but most
existing facilities cater only to recreational bicycling.
Meanwhile, a portion of a bike
lane along the California Aqueduct near Moreno
Valley nears completion.
An update on Eastside Gold Line construction and
the Canoga Orange Line station is now
Here is a list of other recent developments:
July 18: Residents in San Bernardino got
a first glimpse of future
Metrolink service to Redlands. The San Bernardino
Associated Governments held a workshop to discuss
this and other transit options for the area. Officials
also discussed the possibility of building transit
villages at the stations.
outage at a regional radar facility sent commercial
air traffic in Southern California to a halt for
an hour. Initial
reports indicated that the original power source
was knocked out by a traffic accident, but a backup
generator was quickly put online. However, the backup
also shut down due to surge protectors that ironically
were designed to avoid such shutdowns. As a result,
hundreds of flights across the country were held
on the ground.
July 20: The California Air Resources Board
signaled to continue
its support for a deal between environmental
regulators and railroads regarding pollution. This
move sparked the ire of South Coast Air Quality
Management District officials, who contend that
railroads are not doing enough to reduce emissions.
Others criticized the "sweetheart arrangement"
July 21-24: Transit Coalition Executive Director
Bart Reed traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to perform
a field study on various transportation developments.
One particular development has been the fallout
due to the Big Dig tunnel failure, which has led
the chairman overseeing the project suing
to keep his job and one of the firms responsible
for building the tunnels defending
its role. Revelations about a rejected idea
of using lighter
concrete panels are emerging. Polls indicate
that the public has little
confidence in the construction of the tunnels,
while readers responded with letters
decrying the project's numerous faults. The troubles
have led to an increase in public transit travel
Downeaster ridership. Onto more positive
news, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation
Authority commuter rail line launched night
and weekend service to Providence, Rhode Island,
which received a favorable
response from the Providence Journal.
Other good tidings came from the recent opening
of Newark Light Rail
in New Jersey.
Upcoming Events: Consider attending our monthly
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!
Board 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.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council Public
Hearing: Wednesday, August 2, 6:30 p.m., Marvin
Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van
Nuys. The hearing will discuss proposed
modifications to San Fernando Valley bus service
as part of Metro Connections, to be implemented
in December 2006. (
Maps of major changes; text
summary of all changes; June
7, 2006 motion regarding hearings on changes.)
Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority: Thursday, August 3,
2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Thursday,
August 3, 3 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, August 3, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office,
3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday,
August 8, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita Ave. (near El
Monte bus station), El Monte.
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, August 10, 11:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles. CANCELLED.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday,
August 10, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, August
11, 9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
Transit Advocates: Saturday, August 12, 1 p.m.,
Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St., Los Angeles.
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force: Wednesday, August 16, 9 a.m., SCAG
Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, 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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