Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 18
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.
Spillover Still Threatened:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to
press for a shift of "spillover" funds from excess gas tax revenues
to the state general fund. (As if that wasn't enough, he also plans to slash
funds to complete environmental studies for high speed rail and indefinitely
postpone a bond vote for its construction.) Join us in fighting these cuts by contacting
key elected officials and voicing your concerns. For those unfamiliar with
the fight, you can read an explanation
and benefits of the Spillover account courtesy of Cal-PIRG.
of fare hikes on Metro continues. CEO Roger Snoble presented
his case in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, arguing that rising operating
costs and increased and dangerous reliance on public subsidies are the main reason
why Metro must move forward with steep and sudden fare increases. However, many
are not buying it and say that Metro
should reduce fares instead or eliminate them outright. Two
letters to the Times came out against the proposal. (The MetroRiderLA
blog expressed opposition to the plan as presented but also suggested an alternative
proposal that would gradually replace Metro passes with EZ passes.) Meanwhile,
the San Jose VTA is going the other direction by proposing a reduction
in fares to increase patronage.
Other agencies are taking various
measures to offset costs. Omnitrans will cut
weekend service on curb-to-curb OmniLink in Redlands
. The Montebello City Council mulled about hiring
a private contractor to operate its dial-a-ride service. In Chicago
, buses are being equipped
with GPS technology that can inform passengers on where their buses are through
their portable devices.
One columnist in the Santa Barbara Independent
calls for prompt
establishment of commuter rail service between Santa
Barbara and Ventura
as a way to increase capacity on the busy coast corridor. The Orange
County Transportation Authority last week approved up
to $87.9 million for Metrolink improvements between the Fullerton
and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo stations. Also, efforts to grade-separate
a major railroad crossing in Colton
a snag when costs to study the improvement came at a higher level than estimated.
Meanwhile, the San Bernardino Associated Governments voted
on a five-year plan that calls for massive improvements in Metrolink service
in the region.
assembly bill aimed to combat sprawl is garnering
opposition from an unlikely foe. The
bill would require transportation agencies to draft plans that would reduce vehicle
miles traveled by 10%. The Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission believed
that the legislation would force commuters to change their habits too quickly
and offers few tools to bring about such a change. Companion
legislation is moving through the state Senate.
and land use planning finally come together in Riverside
County ? Rick Bishop , executive
director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments, seems
to think so. In a recent interview by Metro Investment Report, Bishop
revealed that the funding situation for transportation projects has changed dramatically
over the last two decades, where the state and federal governments were a major
source of cash. Bishop believes mitigation fees from developers would be a good
way to replenish funds for transportation projects.
Planning Report printed an interview with Bill Gilchrist of the
Urban Land Institute that describes a competition where students
design an urban landscape for First Street in Los
Angeles , where the Gold Line will run two years from now.
Christopher Lollini and his team of UC Berkeley students won the competition.
TPR also interviewed
Emily Gabel Luddy, chief of the newly created Urban Design Studio from the L.A.
City Planning Department. The team aims to bring aesthetic pleasantness and "human
dimension" that often is left wanting in Los
Angeles urban design. The Department recently proposed
list of 14 principles that would greatly alter urban planning in Los
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port issues, residents in west Long
Beach are protesting
plans to increase rail capacity. Residents fear that additional freight trains
could worsen air pollution and increase the prevalence of asthma. Both Union Pacific
and Burlington Northern Santa Fe have prepared separate plans to expand rail yards
while offering assurances that they will use the cleanest vehicles possible. The
Port of Los
Angeles is reviewing the plans.
While a study
on a 710 tunnel underneath South Pasadena continues,
the City of Los Angeles
revives talk of a temporary
connector to the freeway. The heretofore unknown study commissioned by L.A.
City took Alhambra
officials by surprise. The connector would extend the freeway for a
short distance to Mission Ave.
, thus skipping the congested intersection of Valley
Blvd. and Fremont Ave. Some worry that talks of a connector
would hinder momentum for the 710 tunnel, which Alhambra
City Beat published a summary
of the fight to reduce pollution and jet use of the small Santa
Monica Airport .
screening at airports could be fast-tracked should a pilot program at San
Airport prove successful.
The federal General Accountability Office fears that the recently introduced Airbus
ground traffic and lengthen landing and takeoff waits at airports.
are expressing their traffic frustrations through the
power of video. Also, the Press Enterprise editorialized their interest
in seeing more
design-build projects in California
. A bill to prohibit construction of the San
Onofre Toll Road was pulled
out after it received fierce opposition from construction, labor and business
firms. The Los Angeles Times interviewed
famed oil magnate T. Boone Pickens Jr. to see what the future holds for oil economics.
In this week's odd bit of news, officers from a regional auto-theft task
force arrested a man who would steal cars in the South
Bay , not for financial benefit, but
see his would-be lover in Santa
Barbara . The relationship in question was already a dead
end, according to the girlfriend.
update on Eastside Gold Line construction is now available.
is a list of other recent developments:
25 : The Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee
voted to launch a more
comprehensive study for one-way traffic on Olympic and Pico Blvds.
The Committee also urged for the creation of bus lanes on Wilshire
Blvd. The former proposal has already generated opposition
from the community. Both proposals run through Beverly
Hills , which would require its cooperation.
Arnold Schwarzenegger believed that the state may have to sue
the federal government if the latter does not allow California
to implement its mammoth plan to reduce greenhouse gases. Under the
federal Clean Air Act, California
can pass its own air pollution laws but must first obtain a waiver
from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. However, the EPA has delayed
granting a waiver to the state and plans to do so again after the Supreme Court
ruled that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas subject to EPA regulation.
April 27 : The Southern California Regional Rail Authority
(Metrolink) Board postponed a vote on fare increases. The agency plans to increase
fares overall by 3.5 percent per year during the next three years. The agency
held a public hearing on the proposed increase and is scheduled to vote on the
proposal May 11. The Board also reviewed email comments about the fare increases
and voted to upgrade train scheduling software that otherwise will not be compatible
with the upcoming upgrades to electronic signage.
29 : A ramp connecting the I-80 west to I-580 east
in Oakland collapsed
after a tanker truck on a ramp below it careened onto the supports. The flames
from the gasoline-filled truck were hot enough to melt the structure. Schwarzenegger
declared a state of emergency, which would expedite the design and reconstruction
of the collapsed ramp. Meanwhile, motorists are scrambling
to find alternatives. The 80/580/880 interchange, known as the Macarthur Maze,
sits in front of the approach to the Bay Bridge. The emergency declaration also
allowed a free
day of transit on BART and elsewhere the following Monday, April 30. As of
this moment, the traffic snarls are not
as bad as expected. Caltrans has set up a special website
where you can see videos, photographs and detour information.
Upcoming Events : Metro
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, May 2, 6:30 p.m., Marvin
Center , 6262
Van Nuys Blvd. , Van Nuys.
Exposition Metro Line Construction
Authority : Thursday, May 3,
2:30 p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Board of Supervisors Hearing Room
381B, 500 W. Temple St.
, Los Angeles.
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday, May 3,
7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435
Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320 , Los Angeles
Westside/Central Governance Council : Wednesday, May 9, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, May 10, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Gateway Cities Governance Council : Thursday, May 10, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240
Firestone Blvd. , Downey .
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, May 11, 9.30 a.m., Carson
Community Center , 801
E. Carson St. , Carson .
SCRRA (Metrolink) Committee Meetings: Friday,
May 11, 10 a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700
S. Flower St. , 26th floor, Los
Southern California Transit Advocates: Saturday,
May 12, 1 p.m., Angelus
Plaza , Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St. , Los Angeles .
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, May 14, 9 a.m., Board
Hearing Room, 600 Main St.
, Orange .
our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday,
May 22 -
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original, 1001
N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA
90012 . Expo Line Metro
Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe will be the speaker. ( Map.)
We hope to see you there!
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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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