Welcome to The Transit Coalition Thanksgiving
Edition of our 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.
First Call: Next Tuesday is The Transit Coalition
Dinner Meeting. See Upcoming
Events below for details.
Now that the bonds have been approved, Metro will ask the state
for its share of the funds. For the moment, the
agency will seek
money for road projects, including the widening
of the I-5 through southeast Los Angeles County
and new carpool lanes on the 405 Freeway. Some acknowledge
that even with the bond money, agencies must spend
years studying the projects. Still, no one is poised
to turn down the opportunity when the California Transportation
Commission selects its first round of beneficiaries
Now that the Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, those
who were travelling on the I-15 through the Cajon
Pass were in
for quite a backup. The resurfacing project
closed a portion of the freeway at its junction
with the 215 Freeway in Devore, which was a headache
for pre-holiday drivers. Caltrans urged drivers
to seek alternative routes farther away, such as
through the Antelope Valley or on State Highway
Route 62 near Palm Springs.
A USA Today article shed light on the many
possible revenue generators for transportation
projects. Some are eyeing statewide sales taxes
that would be pegged to inflation and outright replace
gas taxes. Many agencies are keeping a close eye
on Oregon, where a pilot project that charges drivers
by how much they have driven is in full swing.
As a response to the move to cancel an existing
bus lane on Wilshire Blvd. in West Los Angeles,
LA City Planning Commission member Michael Woo and
Planetizen managing editor Christian Peralta wrote
an op-ed piece extolling the purported
virtues of installing a cheaper busway on Wilshire
instead of building the "subway to the sea".
Woo and Peralta claim that the money saved from
building a subway could go to traffic and parking
mitigation. The two are getting inspiration from
Bogota, Colombia, which has an extensive network
of "Bus Rapid Transit", while cities with
mature rail systems are studying some form of Rapid
to the Los Angeles Times, responding
to the unrelated news that LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
uses an SUV
instead of transit, will quickly remind readers
why such a dependence on above-ground mass transit
is doomed to failure.
The popularity of the Waterfront Red Car Line in
San Pedro is moving officials to study practical
extensions of the streetcar. Though any extension
would cost millions, they are certain to bring meaningful
connections between communities while serving various
tourist attractions not currently served by the
streetcar. Possible extensions include south to
Cabrillo Beach, north to Wilmington and west into
Downtown San Pedro, as well as a spur into the Ports
The news keeps getting worse for the Grand Avenue
project in Downtown L.A. The Los Angeles Times
reports that the project is behind
schedule and in the red, creating anxiety among
champions of the project. Developers are now asking
for tax rebates to finance the project, whose first
phase would have broken ground next month. Most
believe that the project is a bellweather to the
slumping real estate market in downtown, where several
other projects are behind schedule for various reasons.
The slowdown in said market may create a looming
deficit on the state budget, according to analysts,
though transportation dollars should be protected
now that Proposition 1A has passed.
In a prelude to future flight
path wars in Los Angeles, Las Vegas citizens
are moaning and groaning about planes encroaching
their communities as they take a new flight path
to and from McCarran International Airport. The
airport has seen a 31% jump in air traffic in the
last five years, forcing the airport to move flights
onto another runway. This would require planes to
fly over communities unaccustomed to the din of
airplanes, among other things. A similar change
is in the works for Southern California airports
and will include a rework of flight paths to and
from all airports. Meanwhile, columnist Tom
Hennessy laments a lack
of consistency regarding airport security screenings.
Cal State Long Beach researchers recently concluded
that MagLev for the ports would be economically
feasible and environmentally beneficial. As
concluded through various simulations, one possible
MagLev line would ferry containers between the ports
and nearby freight yard switching facilities. Though
researchers believe it would cost only reasonably
more than new freeway capacity, a lack of money
and political support continues to deflect interest
on such a system. In more practical developments,
letters to the LA Times extoll efforts
by the ports to crack down on polluting tractors.
In other local news, several San Gabriel Valley
cities will receive a total of $2.4 million that
will mostly go to trail
restoration. The revitalization of Hollywood
has come with
a steep price for those who decide to drive
there, as parking rates continue to rise and thefts
of all sorts are taking place, according to the
The San Bernardino Associated Governments are asking
cities in seven potential sites to adopt
land use policies that would favor transit oriented
Here is a list of other recent developments:
November 14: State lawmakers in Orange County
held a hearing regarding properties
held by Caltrans. Director Will Kempton was
on the defense, stating that his agency is not a
"slumlord". Lawmakers were particularly
irked with the inconsistent data given to them on
just how many properties are owned by Caltrans.
Kempton promised to work with legislators on forging
a new state law that would require Caltrans to be
held accountable for its properties to county governments
and strip its responsibility of property manager.
The south Orange County Major Investment Study Stakeholder
working group had its first meeting. South Orange
County will experience increasing traffic as growth
south of the 55 Freeway inundates the area with
new residents and jobs. Freeway travel times could
double and local surface streets could have 10 times
the traffic in 25 years. Officials at the meeting
were pleased to remember that Measure M, the local
sales tax dedicated to transportation projects,
was renewed by a wide margin. The next meeting is
set for Tuesday, January 9. (The Transit Coalition
thanks reader Richard Gardner for his contribution.)
November 16: One of the two tunnel boring
machines digging the tunnels for the Eastside Gold
Line, nicknamed "Lola", completed
its work. The second tunnel boring machine,
nicknamed "Vicki", still has 1,000 feet
to go. Residents envision faster commutes and easier
access to areas across Los Angeles once construction
is finished and the line opens in 2009.
November 20: Los Angeles Community Redevelopment
Agency celebrates the completion
of 292 new lofts built by developer J.H. Snyder
Co. next to the North Hollywood Red and Orange Line
stations. After decades of work, officials are pleased
to see that the "transit village" is finally
taking shape. Other projects in motion include a
new high school, the Lankershim Depot restoration
and the 15-story NoHo Tower.
Upcoming Events: Orange
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting:
Monday, November 27, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room,
600 Main St., Orange.
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, November
28 - 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!
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday,
December 6, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent
Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
Specific Plan Amendment Study Public Outreach
Meetings: Wednesday, December 6, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.,
and Saturday, December 9, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Proud
Bird Restaurant 11022 Aviation Blvd., Los Angeles.
The meetings will discuss the North Airfield Preliminary
Concepts. Those who wish to come can attend either
one of the two meetings.
Meeting: Thursday, December 7, 9:30 a.m., Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent
to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority: Thursday, December 7,
2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, December 7, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter
office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday,
December 12, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita Ave. (near
El Monte bus station), El Monte.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday,
December 13, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset
Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
SCAG MagLev Task
Force: Thursday, December 14, 10:00 a.m. SCAG
Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday,
December 14, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, December
15, 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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