Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 8
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.
It Along: Next Thursday is the monthly Transit Coalition Dinner
Meeting. See Upcoming
Events below for details.
Staff from the California Transportation Commission
released a short list of recommended projects
for funding from the infrastructure bonds. As expected, dissatisfaction abounds.
County officials lamented the lack of funds for major projects
in their area. Riverside
County fared no better. San
Diego County officials
were particularly stunned that the Commission
did not offer more money upfront and limited the amount they plan to spend to
$2.8 billion instead of the entire $4.5 billion. To the north, many Bay Area projects
were left in the cold, though the much-pursued
fourth Caldecott Tunnel made the list. Funds for a joint project to widen the
101 Freeway in Santa Barbara and Ventura
counties would be available
only on a condition.
But the biggest loser of the first round of projects
is Los Angeles
County . Most planners showed
disappointment that the county houses 28%
of the population but will receive only 12% of the funds. (A complete list of
recommended projects is included in the previous link.) Of note was the token consideration of carpool lanes on the
10 Freeway between Puente Avenue and Citrus Avenue in West Covina
, but no consideration for improvements at the 10/605 interchange.
One major disappointment is that the short list
did not include funds for a northbound carpool
lane on the 405 Freeway. To resolve the matter, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
lobbied heavily in Sacramento
alongside fellow political figures. Just recently, the mayor was caught
stopping drivers at streets to hand out leaflets
about the development. The Los Angeles Times printed an editorial
decrying the development. Today, the Commission heard an hour long testimony from
local transportation leaders and may make a decision during their next meeting
on February 28.
Concurrently, several other newspapers published
material of their own. The Los Angeles Daily News featured a report summarizing developments regarding
the proposed High Desert Corridor between the Antelope and Victor
Valleys . One Orange
County Register editorial suggested that toll roads financed through public-private partnerships as a possible
panacea. A Long Beach Press Telegram editorial also showed support for
tolls, but only for port trucks. Meanwhile,
the Whittier Daily News tacitly supported the Grand
Avenue project in Downtown L.A. but strongly urged
planners to rethink traffic strategies for the development.
readers were quick to respond on various topics by sending letters to the editor.
Letters to the Los Angeles Times reproached
notions of building toll roads in California
. The Daily Breeze received letters supporting the Wilshire subway.
In response to an anti-subway editorial to the Daily News, Greater
West L.A. Chamber of Commerce President Jay Handel sent a letter expressing
its equal opposition to the subway and instead offered monorail as a solution. Several letters came in defense of the statewide
high-speed rail system, which was recently derided by transit obstructionist Jim Moore.
The Santa Monica Daily Press published a letter by Transit Coalition President Kenneth
S. Alpern that decried libertarian views of public transport.
The Los Angeles Weekly published an unflattering analysis on the Southern California
Association of Governments. According to the article, SCAG publishes doom-and-gloom
reports that are summarily tossed away by those who fund the regional agency.
Particular scorn is focused on Mark Pisano, who has led the agency since its inception
A quarrel over responsibility for repairs on a portion
of the Gold Line has been settled. Chunks of concrete are falling from unusual
wear in a shear key of the Chinatown viaduct.
Metro and the Gold Line Construction Authority squabbled over who would pay for
repairs. Eventually, Metro assumed responsibility and will soon receive a report
on what is causing the damage. Officials insist that the viaduct is safe for everyday
Another quarrel erupted last week, when L.A. Marathon
organizers offered no-cost rides to participants on Metro buses
and trains without the consent of Metro. Furthermore, the former wanted Metro
to foot the $300,000 bill. This resulted in an e-mail war between officials of
the two agencies. Fortunately, a deal was reached where the for-profit Marathon
would pay for the rides.
ExpressJet will phase in 29 nonstop flights to 14
destinations out of LA/Ontario International Airport through May. Airport leaders
cannot help but be jovial at the development, since this is
considered a major step in offering a meaningful alternative to LAX.
Today, it is not uncommon to hear of families sporting
more vehicles than family members. Though
some suggest this is a sign of affluence, others would tell you that this is done
out of necessity than of luxury. This is a far cry from the 1950s, where one car
per family sufficed. Such an interest in car ownership has been a boon for insurance
companies but a nuisance to street and highway planners. Naturally, the abundance
of vehicles contributes to traffic and pollution.
this month, South Pasadena
scored a major legal victory that would force Caltrans
to stop selling homes in its city. The suit, filed in 2005, argued that Caltrans
formulated its own guidelines to dispose right-of-way property and thus skirted
state requirements to develop such guidelines through the public process. Meanwhile,
Burbank is working
to improve traffic flow in the city by working
with the street capacity they already have. Orange County highway officials continue
to work on limiting or removing entry restrictions for
carpool lanes, while Riverside County are doing the same for carpool lanes on the 60
This week's human interest
piece revolves around the "
Dinger dynasty", a family of railroad
engineers that have operated trains at various locations for 90 years. Third-generation
engineer Tom Dinger retired after 43 years of service, including running Pacific
Surfliner trains between Los Angeles and San
Diego . Dinger sees hope in the resurgence of passenger
rail travel, noting that people will ride as long as gas prices are high.
contrast to developments in Los Angeles
public transit, New Jersey Transit is moving forward with a 9% increase in fares to offset service changes
and inflation. Various transit agencies in the New
York City metropolitan area are mulling about fare hikes
as well. Elsewhere, Amtrak ridership rises alongside increased
levels of service in Illinois
. Last year, the state decided to increase its Amtrak budget to $24
million a year and increase service on the Illini and
to introduce Saluki service. To the south, a small group of advocates are
working to extend the Heartland Flyer to Kansas
City , Missouri . The
line currently runs from Fort Worth , Texas
, to Oklahoma City , Oklahoma
An update on Eastside
Gold Line construction is now available. Also, the Train Riders Association
of California have their January/February print newsletter available
Irony of the Week
: Last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed David Crane, R. Kirk Lindsey and
Curt Pringle and reappointed Rod Diridon to the California High Speed Rail Authority
Board. Pity them, since Schwarzenegger is working to render the agency and, in
turn, the board powerless, but, well, there you go.
is a list of other recent developments:
12 : Officials from the San Bernardino-based Omnitrans
transit agency spoke on proposed service changes and fare increases to Yucaipa
residents at a public hearing. The OmniLink dial-a-ride
service in Yucaipa would be cut under the current
proposal. About 150 people packed the Scherer
Community Center ballroom
to listen to the presentations and express their concerns.
February 13 : San Diego
Authority officials took part in a retreat to suggest ideas on
improving freeway and transit access to
Lindbergh Field. Some also noted that a Marine recruiting depot near the airport
could be used to build a new terminal. Participants took the retreat as an opportunity
to regroup in light of a recent defeat of a plan to pursue a new airport in Miramar
Return of the Shameless
Plug : Metro is offering 50-cent rides on 18 bus lines during this
week only. The reduced fare will be offered on Lines 102, 127, 154, 168, 177,
201, 202, 209, 214, 220, 233, 258, 265, 275, 305, 550, 577X and 761. For timetables
and more information, visit the Metro website.
Events: Metro Board Meeting: Thursday, February 22,
9:30 a.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles
SCRRA (Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday,
February 23, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG
Building , 12th Floor, 818
W. Seventh St. , Los Angeles .
Orange County Transportation Authority Board Meeting:
Monday, February 26, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
Consider attending our
monthly Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, February
27 - 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!
Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority:
Thursday, March 1, 2:30 p.m., Kenneth
Hahn Hall of Administration, Board of Supervisors Hearing Room 381B, 500
W. Temple St. , Los Angeles .
Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee:
Thursday, March 1, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435
Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320 , Los Angeles
Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council
Meeting: Wednesday, March 7, 6:30 p.m., Marvin
Center , 6262
Van Nuys Blvd. , Van Nuys.
Metro Westside/Central Governance Council
: Wednesday, March 14, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
RailPAC Annual Meeting: Saturday, March 17,
Metro Gateway Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Angeles . Featured speakers: Gerald Francis, Metro Rail
Operations; Alex Kummant, Amtrak President.
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force : Wednesday, March 21, 9
a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh
St. , 12th floor, Los
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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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