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.
ye hear ye: Next Tuesday is The Transit Coalition Dinner
Meeting. See Upcoming Events
below for details.
Barely a year after it opened, the pavement on the
Orange Line busway has suffered grave
deterioration. Metro and the contractors are sparring over who is responsible
for the shoddiness of the right-of-way, even as the two work together to repair
it. The Los Angeles Daily News editorial acknowledged that such wear on
a road only 14 months after opening is not
Several letters in the Daily News responded to the
development. Transit Coalition Communications Director Numan Parada suggested
that efforts to extend the busway to Chatsworth should instead focus on improving
Metrolink. Transit Coalition President Ken Alpern believed that upgrading
the busway to a light rail line should be pursued. Still another letter suggested
the busway with a monorail.
Cities across the nation are taking note
of how mass transit has advanced in Los Angeles. The Washington Post featured
an article regarding rail
growth in the sprawling city. Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed
was quoted in the article, suggesting the "dense sprawl" that has developed
in Los Angeles would make rail transit expansion inevitable. Indeed, it was noted
by the Sacramento Bee that increased road congestion has made rail
growth, including the seemingly impossible "subway to the sea" proposal,
an immensely popular subject.
One person who seems to be quite
happy with the Sprinter project is North County Times staff writer John
Van Doorn, who shared his opinions as the DMU cars continue their tests on the
track. Van Doorn believes, among other things, that the eastern end of the rail
line in Escondido is poised to become a "
chic rail head" infused with "class, class, class." Back in
Pasadena, plans to bring the Gold Line to Ontario Airport were greeted with a
letter to the Whittier Daily News. To the north, limited
funds threaten to stop expansion of the Sacramento light-rail system.
Bus service "improvements" on Van Nuys Blvd. got a scolding from
to the Daily News. The Richard Rofman letter explained that in exchange
for using Metro Liners and adding capacity, frequency of service would be reduced.
Metro SFV Governance Council Chair Kymberleigh Richards responds
(under "Worth the trade-off") that the additional capacity is necessary
to handle rush hour demand. Another improvement making the rounds is an innovative
bus that can also run on rails… a rail-bus.
Los Angeles continues to be at
the forefront of the "smart growth" movement. Two projects in Downtown
L.A.the Grand Avenue project and the L.A. Live complex near the convention centerare
moving forward, while a third in Universal City was recently announced. All three
will incorporate a mix of retail, office space, housing and entertainment near
transit corridors. Two letters to the Los Angeles Times chimed
in on the three developments, with one noting that the similarly designed
Century City was built with the belief that rapid transit would eventually serve
Elsewhere, one of the problems facing transit-oriented development
is retail… or
the lack of it. Even though most TODs feature retail space, many are left
empty and unused. The problem was noted in a recent discussion about a TOD at
the Fruitvale BART station, where 4 of 23 retail spaces continue to be empty.
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) is gearing
up to select the first projects to use funds from the voter-approved bond
measures. One project Antelope Valley officials are crossing their fingers for
is an upgrade
of State Highway Route 138, often dubbed as "Blood Alley" for its
lack of shoulders and high rate of accidents. The San Diego Association of Governments
released its wish
list of projects it would like to build with bond money. Residents living
next to the freeway are facing the possible widening of the I-5 through southeast
Los Angeles County with an unusual
sense of resignation. A recent survey revealed that South Pasadenans have
their stance regarding completion of the 710 Freeway since plans to build
the freeway as a tunnel have emerged.
Meanwhile, what does the future
hold for future bond measures? As originally envisioned, the bonds approved in
November were only the first in a series of bonds that voters would decide on.
However, some believe that the approved bonds would be enough to stave
off future bond proposals. An editorial appearing in the Whittier Daily
News cautioned against asking
for too much from voters.
Aside from finalizing its wishlist of projects
for CTC review, the Riverside County Transportation Commission approved a ten-year
highway construction blueprint that would bring toll
lanes to the Inland Empire. The blueprint calls for building toll lanes along
the 91 and 15 Freeways through the sale of bonds. However, San Bernardino County
not share the zeal of its neighbors in bringing toll lanes to the masses.
San Bernardino is currently focused on plans to build truck lanes through the
Cajon Pass that may feature tolls. Meanwhile, Orange County will soon allow tollway
users to pay
for parking with their transponders.
Speaking of parking, USA
Today will have you believe that the nation is gripped
with a parking crisis. The rebirth of Downtowns across the nation has led
to a reassessment of how parking spaces should be distributed. Several high-density
areas nationwide, for example, have done
away with minimum parking space requirements. In fact, a prominent consortium
of residents and merchants in Ventura is fighting
to remove free parking altogether. Instead, some communities are focusing
on development that encourages walking, bicycling and use of public transit. How
does Irvine plan to solve its parking crunch at the Metrolink/Amtrak station?
a parking structure like everyone else.
State Assemblymember Pedro
Nava (D-Santa Barbara) is pushing for legislation that would increase
buffer zones for bicyclists on the road by three feet. While most believe
the proposal is a noble one, some question whether it would be viable for streets
and highways to be retrofitted so as to meet the requirement.
fuse two regional planning agencies in Ventura County have hit
a roadblock. In the meantime, SCAG and the Ventura Council of Governments
launched efforts that would bring sustainable
development to the region in a coordinated fashion. Such a "seamless"
approach to regional planning was the subject of a Planning Report interview
with LA Councilmember Wendy Greuel.
Onto railroad matters, the Bush Administration
released a proposal
to increase safety on rail lines, requiring freight and passenger train operators
to inspect their cars and set them aside in secured areas. The plan would counter
efforts by various cities to force railroads to reroute hazardous materials away
from urban areas. In California, Amtrak celebrates the 15th
anniversary of Capitol Corridor service. At the opposite end of the
country, the Amtrak Downeaster celebrates five
years of service. Also, Amtrak President Alex Kummant fires
four top executives in an effort to reorganize the company.
is a list of other recent developments:
December 6: The Los Angeles
World Airports held one of two meetings discussing options for the LAX northern
runway. Letters written by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl
and Congressmember Maxine Waters addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration
were distributed to participants. All three letters indicated that they would
to any reconfiguration of the runways unless the FAA clearly demonstrates
that the reconfiguration would solve a safety issue.
The California High Speed Rail Authority approved the selection
of two engineering firms that will perform environmental analyses on two segments
of the proposed high-speed rail line. The joint venture of Hatch Mott McDonald
and URS & Arup will study the portion from Palmdale to Los Angeles, while
STV will study the portion from Los Angeles to Orange County.
14: Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge called for a traffic
summit for San Fernando Valley. As envisioned, the summit would discuss and
select smaller road projects that would yield significant time savings for motorists.
Projects would then be submitted to the California Transportation Commission for
Corridor Mobility Improvement Account funds.
San Diego Metropolitan Transit
System Board voted to take
over National City Transit, which offers local bus service in nearby National
City. The decision came after months of intrigue, where National City accused
the agency of not giving it a voice in the matter, while MTS said that it held
closed-door meetings regarding the takeover due to fears that National City would
launch litigation against it. The move is expected to save MTS $565,000 a year.
The Southern California Association of Governments released their annual
State of the Region
report card. The region received an "F"
in transportation, though SCAG believes the infrastructure bonds will significantly
turn that around. Officials believe that programs aimed at bringing housing near
transit would also help, responding to news that housing received a "D"
in the report card. A Daily News editorial asked leaders not
to waste this opportunity and reverse what ails the city.
Events: 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!
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday, January 4, 7:30 p.m.
Angeles Chapter office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday, January 9, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa
Anita Ave. (near El Monte bus station), El Monte.
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday, January 10, 5 p.m., La Cienega
Tennis Center, Sunset Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 p.m.,
Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.
SCAG MagLev Task
Force: Thursday, January 11, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St.,
12th floor, Los Angeles.
Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday, January 11, 2 p.m., Gas Company
ERC, 9240 Firestone Bl., Downey.
Exposition Metro Line
Construction Authority: Thursday, January 11, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro
Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, January 12, 9.30 a.m., Carson Community
Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson.
Committee Meetings: Friday, January 12, 10 a.m. SCRRA Offices, 700 S. Flower St.,
26th floor, Los Angeles.
Transit Advocates: Saturday, January 13, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St., Los Angeles.
SCRRA (Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, January
26, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building, 12th Floor, 818 W.
Seventh St., Los Angeles.
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and comments on our new electronic newsletter. Please write us:
Bart Reed, Executive Director
Numan Parada, Communications Director
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
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