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.
Newly elected state legislators will have plenty
on their plate this upcoming session. However,
some are expressing grave
concern that these new lawmakers will cave to
the interests of lobbyists while tempting themselves
to bring home money from the bond measures and unleash
a "porkfest". Those communities and counties
that find innovative ways to finance projects and
a strong relationship with Caltrans will be
the first in line, according to Caltrans director
Will Kempton. An editorial
in the Los Angeles Daily News acknowledged
this point and believes that it could be used to
the advantage of San Fernando Valley residents.
Beverly Hills continues to move forward with its
for a possible subway extension under Wilshire Blvd.
At least one person is ecstatic
at the development, even if there are still so many
obstacles to overcome. However, LA County Supervisor
Michael D. Antonovich continues to vilify
the subway extension, claiming that funds for
the project would be taken from other projects across
the county. (It should be noted that this is coming
from the same man who objects to a cost-effective
rail subway yet advocates for a car tunnel for the
710 Freeway that would carry only a couple hundred
people per hour at a cost of multiple billions.)
In response to a previous
article on the subway extension, a letter
to the Los Angeles Times stressed that construction
of new rail lines in the Westside and elsewhere
should be expedited. Two
more letters expressed that any plans to install
inferior transit such as more buses would trivialize
the Westside traffic crisis.
A survey of Gold Line passengers revealed that most
are affluent and choose to ride the rail line despite
having cars. The results prompted an editorial
that believed the revelations would help bring federal
dollars to the Foothill Extension. The editorial
also took a jab at comments from Supervisor Zev
Yaroslavsky, the latter believing that the light
rail line would be too close to Metrolink tracks
and thus become redundant. Moving to the construction
zones of the Eastside Gold Line, breakthrough for
the tunnel boring machine named "Vicki"
should come later this week.
in ridership and popularity, with the service
now regularly logging in some 42,000 daily boardings.
For example, stations in Santa Clarita log in more
than 1,100 boardings, more than any other station
along the Antelope Valley line.
With this growth comes talk of expansion for the
commuter rail system. A consortium of communities
along the line connecting Riverside with San Bernardino
with Metrolink to install a new station at the
county line. A recent field study on a right-of-way
between Riverside and Perris revealed that major
track upgrades must be done before Metrolink
service is launched. Meanwhile, a special planning
commission in Redlands continues to work on bringing
passenger rail into its city.
Not to be forgotten is the Metrolink Holiday Toy
Express, where attendees can come and donate an
unwrapped toy as they contemplate a Metrolink train
dressed with over 50,000 lights and decorations.
The special train will come
to Newhall on Friday, December 8.
Also, officials want to install
a coffee shop and attract other tenants in the
newly restored Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino
to sell a cup of java to weary Metrolink commuters.
Currently, the depot houses only a police substation.
Union Pacific and BNSF continue to search
for new employees. The two railroads have trouble
coping with the surge in cargo traffic and thus
are in dire need of new hires. Meanwhile, a
new study from the federal government revealed
new ways to predict when railroad workers will be
fatigued to the point of causing an accident.
Parking once again takes center stage in the City
of Los Angeles. The Community Redevelopment Agency
presented a plan that would impose sweeping
changes in how parking is offered in Downtown
Los Angeles. Sections of the central city would
sport different parking rules based on the access
of transit, while trying to discourage commuter
parking. Another battle brews in Westwood, where
apron parking" has become a danger to both
motorists and pedestrians. UCLA public policy professor
(and former Massachusetts governor) Michael Dukakis
and urban planning director Donald Shoup are joining
forces to provide fresh ideas to solve the problem,
while Los Angeles parking enforcement promises to
crack down on illegal parking.
As a possible means of relieving traffic in Riverside
County, officials are mulling an extension
of existing toll lanes on the 91 Freeway and
installing new ones along the I-15. Meanwhile, Orange
County officials grin at the ongoing widening of
the I-5 at the Los Angeles county line. To express
their smug pride, the Orange County Transportation
Authority proposed to install $175,000
in welcome signage and landscaping on the I-5.
Caltrans is receiving
more scorn for their management of properties, this
time from Pasadena, where the state agency owns
several historic homes that have been plundered
Elsewhere in the country, while Oregon continues
to experiment with mileage-based car taxes, Tennessee
lawmakers are drafting
legislation that would make the concept a reality
in their state.
After years of planning, a new
bicycle trail will start construction in spring.
A portion of the former Pacific Electric right-of-way
through Bellflower will become a landscaped trail
for bikes and pedestrians. The project has locked
$2.5 million in federal, county and private funding,
and project bids will be issued in January.
For those of you who are not aware, the L.A. Auto
Show is in town from now through Sunday, December
10. In a change of pace, automobile companies will
fuel cars that may actually be available for
sale at some future point. Activists contend that
auto companies continue to lag in developing cars
that could be sold to the public. Meanwhile, two
major German auto companies are developing new
vehicles that would use emissions-cleaning technologies
and meet stringent California emissions rules. The
diesel vehicles could go on sale in California as
early as 2008.
Moving on to airport matters, the Los Angeles World
Airports will launch a second round of meetings
that will deal with the two northern runways of
options are on the table, which mostly include
shifting one or both runways. The proposals intend
to improve airplane safety by giving space between
the runways to handle larger airplanes and extending
them several thousand feet to reduce close calls.
Some opponents see the proposals as a rehash
of previous plans from the days of former LA
mayor Richard Riordan that would have increased
capacity at the airport.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continue
to sift through pollution-reducing ideas. One that
has been recently touted is MagLev
freight trains specifically designed to transport
cargo to inland distribution centers. Proponents
believe that at $100 million a mile, a MagLev freight
system would be cheaper to build than a passenger
system and is equal to the price of building a lane-mile
on urban freeways, while dispensing with harmful
emissions more associated with trucks and locomotives.
to the LA Times blasted the idea and suggested
that simple electrification of existing rail lines
would be just as helpful and yet not as expensive.
In the short term, a proposal to levy
fees from freight containers to fund pollution
reduction programs gains steam. Opponents claim
that the fees would lead to an increase in product
prices. A panel hosted by Cal State Long Beach and
composed of legislators, economists and health experts
refutes the notion. A Long Beach Press Telegram
editorial suggests using the threat of legislation
as a way to coax retailers to phase
in fees voluntarily. Indeed, state Senator Alan
Lowenthal fashioned legislation this year that would
impose the fees, but was vetoed by Governor Arnold
Regarding human interest, the Riverside Transit
Agency provides a special program where at-risk
youth can board the bus at no cost to Operation
SafeHouse in Riverside and the Boys and Girls Club
of Temecula. Buses are labeled with the yellow "Safe
House" sign that are often associated with
To the north, the Sacramento City Council will vote
on plans to open up a former rail yard for development,
which would include a new
regional transportation center. Officials envision
the new facility as, among other things, the new
home of Greyhound. The bus line is eager
to leave its dilapidated depot in downtown Sacramento,
which is experiencing a redevelopment boom. Officials
see the current shindigs as an eyesore and a social
pariah. Later this week, the Sacramento RT light
rail line extension to the local Amtrak depot will
Got Milk? To bring more awareness of milk
to the masses, the California Milk Processor Board
and its advertising agency developed a new campaign
that was introduced at select San Francisco bus
stops this week. Through state-of-the-art technology,
of chocolate chip cookies would emanate from
adhesive strips in bus shelters, accompanied by
a ubiquitous "Got Milk" advertisement.
Not days after the San Francisco Chronicle
published the development, everyone
was up in arms about the campaign. Complaints
ranged from the safety of the scents to whether
they were "flavors" or "fragrances."
Some opponents even flavored (pun intended) the
debate with bizarre accusations that the campaign
exacerbates class divisions, while others believed
it would worsen the obesity epidemic. The San Francisco
Municipal Transportation Agency took up the matter
at its Board meeting.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
November 29: LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich
met with La Cañada Flintridge City Councilmembers
to discuss local
transportation projects that could be built
through the countywide Call for Projects process.
Most of the projects focus on pedestrian and even
equestrian improvements, including new trails that
would ring the city. According to the La Cañada
Valley Sun, the city hopes to apply for as much
as $5.3 million in funds from the " Metropolitan Transit Agency"
in the 2007 Call for Projects.
November 30: A remodeled Garden Grove Freeway
its debut... or did it? The contractor responsible
for the construction informed the OCTA at the last
minute that it needed more
time to work on key parts of the project, keeping
construction crews even more busy and leaving wishful
commuters quite annoyed. The highway improvement
will feature the only carpool lane in Orange County
that allows users to enter it at any point along
the lane. Work on the Magnolia Street overpass remains
incomplete. The OCTA will soon launch preliminary
engineering for carpool lane ramps between the 22
and 405 Freeways.
The owner of an old railroad overpass on the 605
with attorneys from various agencies to discuss
security and maintenance of the bridge. Two teenage
boys were shot at the bridge in November, prompting
Caltrans, Los Angeles County, the Sherriff Department
and the City of Pico Rivera to find the absentee
bridge owner and discuss solutions. Owner Arnold
Whitey Carlson has had problems with Pico Rivera
for years regarding the development of his properties.
The Los Angeles Times printed quotes from
a 1925 article describing the grand opening of the
first subway tunnel in Los Angeles, 76
years to the day after it first opened. The
subway tunnel between Glendale Blvd./Beverly Blvd.
and Hill St. provided uninterrupted access for trains
originating in Hollywood and Glendale to Downtown
Los Angeles. The original celebration featured a
Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel
and an appearance by the Pacific Electric Band.
Upcoming Events: Metro
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,
Bird Restaurant 11022 Aviation Blvd. Flight Path Learning Center, Imperial Terminal, 6661
W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles. The meetings
will discuss the North Airfield Preliminary Concepts.
Those who wish to come can attend either one of
the two meetings.
Board Meeting: Thursday, December 7, 9:30 a.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.
CANCELLED; next meeting scheduled for Thursday, January
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday,
December 14, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone
Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority: Thursday, December
14, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station)
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple,
Third Floor, Board of Supervisor's Hearing Room
381B, Los Angeles.
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, December
15, 9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, December
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!
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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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