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.
Next Tuesday is our Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting.
See Upcoming Events below for details.
Metro Board Director and LA City Councilmember Bernard Parks
will introduce his motion (Item 36) at the Metro
Board meeting on Thursday, August 24, to officially
designate Exposition Light Rail as the "Expo
Line" (as opposed to naming it by color like
other Metro Rail lines, Item 37) and indicate it
on maps by the color rose.
If you like to let the MTA Board know your opinion
on this, there is time to write: You may email a letter
to all 13 Board members or, if you want to make
a stronger impact, write a paper letter and send it
via regular mail to the addresses provided.
letter outlining key issues is now available.
Now that the campaign for the state infrastructure
bonds is in full swing, organizations are starting
to state their official positions in hopes that
they will influence voter decisions at the polling
booths this November. The California Republican
Party recently voted to oppose two of the measures,
support two others, and take no position on the
two measures that enjoyed support were Proposition
1B, which would fund transportation fixes, and Proposition
1E, which would provide flood protection. Meanwhile,
California Secretary of Business Sunne Wright McPeak
recently informed Oxnard residents on the benefits
that would come to the state should voters approve
the bonds. Meanwhile, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Speaker Fabian Nuñez are at
odds over whether or not a deal to appoint two
appointees to the California Transportation Commission
Public transportation in Southern California moves
onward unabated. Ridership on the Metro Orange Line continues
to grow, which is prompting Metro to mull getting
even larger buses for use the busway. However, not
all is a basket of oranges for the agency, as a
recent Daily News article revealed that San Fernando
Valley bus service receives the
largest amounts of rider complaints in the Metro
system. The Metrolink San
Bernardino line experienced a 21%
increase in riders in July compared to the same
time last year. Hemet is now in
the running to get a Metrolink stop now that
the city made the cut as one of six to be studied
by the Riverside County Transportation Commission
for long-term transportation solutions. Perris hopes
that the new service will also boost
downtown development. Down in Orange County,
Huntington Beach officials are working to get a
grant to study a light
rail line in their community. However, an op-ed
piece published by the Orange County Register
that the Measure M renewal would give too much money
to transit and too little to freeways.
Concurrently, officials are turning towards safety
and comfort issues. Metro is conducting training
for its employees that would make them vigilant
against possible terrorist behavior on the Metro
system. Plans are also afoot to allow police
officers to ride the Metro system at no cost
as a way to enhance security. Next year, Metrolink
will conduct a study to install
wireless Internet on its system. Anaheim Mayor
Curt Pringle is applying
for a position on the California State High Seed
Rail Authority as a move that might bring high-speed
rail to Orange County, while Santa Clarita Councilmember
Marsha McLean hopes that MagLev will solve
all of Southern California's traffic woes by
serving her city.
Construction on the 210 Freeway to San Bernardino
be completed by late next year. However, the
San Bernardino Associated Governments, which oversees
this and other road projects in the area, is grappling
materials costs that threaten to erode a projected
increase in Measure I funds. A project to widen
the 215 Freeway in San Bernardino rose from $395
million in 2003 to $600 million today, while another
project to widen the I-10 in Redlands shot up from
$29.7 million in March of last year to $33.7 million
in August of the same year. Meanwhile, two
letters to the Los Angeles Times expressed
dismay at the recently reported plan to widen the
I-5 just south of the Los Angeles-Orange County
In other road traveling developments, car sharing
programs such as Flexcar and Zipcar are gaining
momentum across the nation even as fuel costs
continue to rise. In Virginia, carpoolers are saving
money and time by allowing would-be carpoolers,
fondly known as "
slugs", to ride for free with a driver
in exchange for the extra body required to use the
local carpool lanes. Back home, Santa Monica College
to buy property for a parking lot as a way to
ease parking woes at the school. Santa Monica also
recently opened a hydrogen generation and fueling
station that would serve as the first step in bringing
Governor Schwarzenegger's vision of a "
Hydrogen Highway" network to life.
Apparently, the Coast Starlight is not the
only train on the Amtrak system that suffers from
chronic delays, as columnist Steve Ford noted. The
Carolinan (which serves North Carolina) and
the Silver Star (which runs between New York
and Florida) also have been the victims
of dismissive treatment from host freight railroads,
this time from CSX. As if that isn't stressful enough,
a recent study revealed that rail commuters also
stress levels. In any case, neither problem
is dampening plans to launch
Coast Daylight service between San Francisco
and Los Angeles via the coast. Officials hope that
the service will launch as an extension of an existing
Pacific Surfliner train as early as 2007.
Portland, Oregon, is seen as an example of a city
planned around the "
marriage of transportation and land use issues."
Thanks to the support of private enterprise and
coherent planning policies centered on non-automobile
forms of transport, the city transportation system
is viewed as a success and credited as a major curtailer
of greenhouse gases. Cycling is also up in Portland
by an astonishing 257% since 1996.
An update on Eastside
Gold Line construction and a progress report
on the Canoga
Park Orange Line station are now available.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Massachusetts
Governor Mitt Romney continues with his efforts
to consolidate control over the Boston Big Dig project,
while taking the opportunity to bring major reform
to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Last week,
in the new chairman, John Cogliano, while the
board of the troubled Authority voted to search
for a new chief executive officer. The governor
also announced that the engineering firm Wiss, Janney,
Elstner Associates Inc. will perform a "stem
to stern" safety audit of the Big Dig.
The firm was responsible for investigating the 1995
sinkhole on Hollywood Boulevard during the construction
of the Metro Red Line. Documents revealed
that in 1999, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the
Big Dig construction consortium, replaced the epoxy
bolts that hold the concrete panels up. However,
managers opted to retest only the bolts in the HOV
tunnel and not those in the other tunnels.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
August 11: The Southern California Regional
Rail Authority Operational Oversight Committee convened
to discuss efforts with several communities to establish
"quiet zones," where trains must limit
their use of horns. SCRRA is working with ten communities
to launch "
quasi-quiet zone" projects.
broke out inside the Shanghai Maglev train.
No injuries were reported. Faulty
electrical equipment possibly played a part
in the fire, officials said. A photo
of the incident is now available.
August 15: The California Energy Commission
reported that recent tanker and refinery troubles,
and not misdeeds by oil companies, have been responsible
for the rise in gas prices. The Commission also
expressed desire to gain more powers to scrutinize
refining costs, fuel trading and port operations
of oil companies. Environmentalists dismissed the
report as an "apology for the oil industry."
The Federal Aviation Administration defended
its role in investigating a glitch on a key
landing system at LAX that failed twice over a period
of a week. LAX officials accused the agency of ignoring
systematic maintenance problems, while FAA officials
insist that maintenance is adequate for the system
even as these events are very rare. Still, the FAA
promised that it would keep a full-time technician
at LAX to work on the equipment and to reset it
if it malfunctions.
DMU rail car for the Sprinter line between Oceanside
and Escondido arrived for testing. Each car will
have 136 seats and be able to carry about 220 passengers,
including those standing. The North County Transit
District plans to link two cars for most runs and
operate them as a single train, which could see
revenue service by the end of next year.
August 17: UCLA researchers released a study
that asthmatics living near freeways are as much
as three times more likely to go to the hospital
than those living in low traffic areas. Researchers
hope that the study will hasten plans to establish
stricter laws regarding vehicle emissions and community
planning. A state law passed in 2003 already prohibits
new schools within 500 feet of freeways.
August 18: Officials opened six
new miles of HOV lanes along the Antelope Valley
Freeway, ahead of schedule and on budget. Metro
and Caltrans officials were on hand to open the
lanes, completing the $41 million, 14-month project.
Originally set to begin construction in 2003, the
project was the victim of budget cuts and rising
costs. In 2004, Metro shifted money from projects
not ready for construction to finance the HOV lanes.
The Daily Breeze reported on efforts to bring
passenger rail service to LAX and the South Bay.
Of note was the Harbor Subdivision Right-of-Way,
which runs between L.A. Union Station and the South
Bay. The rail line has seen a marked decrease in
freight traffic since the Alameda Corridor began
operations in 2002. Officials hope that passenger
service in the same vein as Metrolink can be implemented
on the ROW in the near future. Transit Coalition
Executive Director Bart Reed was quoted in the report,
calling the corridor an "unused jewel"
with boundless potential. Particularly, The Transit
Coalition envisions the Harbor Subdivision as part
of a regional rail system that would connect commuters
to disparate points across Southern California.
Upcoming Events: Consider attending our monthly
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday,
August 22 - 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, August 24, 9:30 a.m., Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent
to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Board Meeting: Friday, August
25, 10 a.m. San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG
Building, 12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting:
Monday, August 28, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St., Orange.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
September 6, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent
Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority: Thursday, September
7, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One
Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, September 7, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter
office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, September
8, 9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
Transit Advocates: Saturday, September 9, 1
p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St., Los
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday,
September 12, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita Ave. (near
El Monte bus station), El Monte.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
September 13, 3 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center,
Sunset Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday,
September 14, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone
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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
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