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.
A bill that would adopt tougher environmental goals
for California now sits on the desk of Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, awaiting signature. Businesses
are divided as to whether the new regulations will
or hinder the California economy. Some hope
that the law will stimulate environmentally friendly
businesses into coming to the state and foster environmental
awareness onto existing businesses. Others believe
it will encourage
the federal government and individual states to
pass similar legislation. Another bill now at the
Governor's desk would limit
cell phone use to handless devices in cars.
With the Eastside Gold Line under construction and
the Exposition Light Rail Line on the way, politicos
are mulling at where the
next light rail line should be built. Some would
prefer to spend precious funds on finishing the
Expo Line to Santa Monica. US Representative David
Dreier (R-San Dimas) would rather have those funds
for the Foothill Gold Line to Montclair. Meanwhile,
a new report by the LA Community Redevelopment Agency
rekindles talk of bringing
trolleys back to Downtown LA. Onto more unfortunate
news, Omnitrans bumped
up fares on its bus system today. Base fare
is now $1.25 and day passes are now $3. Metro Deputy
CEO John Catoe is a finalist
for the position to head the Atlanta MARTA bus and
Elsewhere, the Las Vegas monorail may
be extended to the McCarren Airport despite
its shortcomings. The airport connection could prove
valuable as new hotels spring up along the Las Vegas
Strip, although no one sees the system as a true
solution to Strip traffic. North American Bus Industries
(NABI) recently completed delivery of 12
articulated buses that run on natural gas to
Los Angeles World Aiports. The buses will replace
LAX's 22-year-old diesel fleet and will transport
passengers between terminals and remote boarding
With commute times increasing across the state,
researchers have estimated that drivers value their
time behind the wheel at $20 an hour ($40 an hour
for wealthier commuters). Drivers are willing
to pay as much to use toll lanes that can shave
off a few minutes of their commute. With so much
time behind the wheel today, many drivers must do
sorts of errands while in the car… with some
finding love in the process. Based on numbers from
a recently released Reason Foundation report, "driving
during rush hour will take twice as long as it would
take during off-peak hours" by 2030.
Meanwhile, the Riverside County Transportation Commission
is considering installing new
traffic level sensors for Interstates 15 and
215, at a cost of $2.3 million, thus completing
a gap of real-time traffic information at www.commutesmart.info.
Commission officials also coldly
received the Reason Foundation report, which
condemned transit and extolled toll lanes. Cities
are implementing various
ideas to rein in gas costs from their fleet
The editorial staff from various newspapers took
the time last week to share their opinions on transportation
developments. The Los Angeles Daily News
came out with an editorial
reminding readers that studies and reports like
those from the Reason Foundation will in themselves
not solve traffic woes and that government leaders
must step up to provide the solutions. Columnist
Steven Greenhut explains why Orange
County voters should not renew Measure M,
believing that there is plenty more time to hammer
out a better measure that would reduce the role
of mass transit. The San Bernardino County Sun
Union Pacific for the commuting and environmental
havoc ensued from the recent derailment in San Timoteo
Canyon. The North County Times equally
chastised the North County Transit District
for adding on amenities that would increase the
costs for the Sprinter project on top of rising
costs. The Los Angeles Times published an
editorial denouncing the time and resources lost
on dealing with naming the Exposition Light Rail
Commuters also expressed their opinions on transportation
developments. LA Observed posted
letters regarding possible solutions to Westside
gridlock, with the majority favoring an extension
of the now-coined Purple Line down Wilshire Boulevard.
Attendees at recent LAX Master Plan hearings expressed
weariness at several proposals to modernize
the airport, which some see as a thinly veiled attempt
to expand capacity. Some are concerned that the
new ultra-low sulfur diesel formula adopted by the
state will translate to higher
fuel costs for the consumer.
Regarding smart growth, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
is pushing forward with "
urban villages" around transit centers
that aims to bring residents closer to transit while
coping with a serious affordable housing crunch.
With that comes a fear that existing zoning laws
may be uprooted to install unfavorable development
against the desires of the communities. In the past,
resistance from neighbors, arbitrary parking requirements
and height requirements have discouraged developers
to build mixed-use projects. Planners increasingly
link transportation and affordable housing as a
regional problem, as the Westside Chronicle
noted in a recent article.
Los Angeles is once again considering
a bid for a Summer Olympics in 2016. Most of
the facilities for the event are either already
in place or can easily be installed at a fraction
of the costs, according to officials from the Southern
California Committee for the Olympic Games. Chicago
and San Francisco are also in the running as US
candidates. One aspect that may give the Chicago
bid a greater advantage is its compactness, since
many of its venues will be close to each other.
The Los Angeles bid will be considerably more compact
compared to what was used when the Olympics arrived
Here is a list of other recent developments:
August 31: The Los Angeles Times published
editorial that both frowned down on Union Pacific
and cast doubt on the intentions of new Amtrak president
Alexander Kummant. The editorial was replied with
letters expressing discontent at current policies
against Amtrak, with a notable finger-wag at Union
Pacific for their operational woes.
September 5: President George W. Bush nominated
Mary Peters for the Secretary of Transportation
seat, which was recently vacated by Norman Mineta.
Peters previously headed the Federal Highway Administration
and the Arizona Department of Transportation. Peters
is an advocate of highway privatization and plans
to address aging infrastructure by instilling a
more favorable climate that would allow private
companies to rebuild it.
Requisite Shameless Plug: If you commute
regularly on Metrolink, then the following website
may be just for you: www.metrolinkrider.com.
The new website hosts a forum where commuters can
voice their opinions on the rail service and share
their experiences on the trains.
Upcoming Events: Metro
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
September 6, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent
Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday,
September 7, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
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
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting:
Monday, September 11, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room,
600 Main St., Orange.
SCAG MagLev Task
Force: Monday, September 11, 11:00 a.m. SCAG
Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
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
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force: Wednesday, September 20, 9 a.m.,
SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, September 20
and Thursday, September 21, Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday,
September 26 - 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!
Rail Customer Conference: Tuesday, October 24,
6:45 p.m., Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles. An invitation
is required to attend. To get one, write to us at
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line
"Customer Conference" and include the
following: First & last name; mailing address;
daytime, home and cell phone numbers. Also include
any questions you might want to ask. Information
submitted must match that on your driver's license
or legal ID, as you will enter a secure building.
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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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