Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 19
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 and High Speed
Rail on the Chopping Block: Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to press for a shift of "spillover"
funds from excess gas tax revenues to the state general fund. 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. Also, take a look
at this letter
in support of HSR, courtesy of Bay Rail Alliance, so that you can inform yourself
on the importance of this project and write your letters to elected officials.
Mumbling and grumbling continues towards
the Metro fare increase proposals.
The Metro Board will hold the final
hearing to listen to public comments on Thursday, May 24. The Board will then
vote on the fare adjustments. Individual service sectors will hold their own hearings
throughout May. See Upcoming Events below for dates and locations.
owner Eric Mann and organizer Manuel Criollo blasted
Metro for even thinking about the idea, while at the same time accusing it
(again) of subsidizing "contractor-friendly rail projects that were racially
discriminatory". Rand Corp. transportation specialist Martin Wachs believes
Metro should pursue variable
pricing, where fares change according to distance and the time of day. Letters
to the Los Angeles Times offered mixed opinions on the increases. A letter
to the Pasadena Star News asked that future increases should be "clear
and predictable". After mulling the fate of turtles in Echo
Lake , columnist Steve Hymon
crunched some numbers and realized that you would need 2,700
buses to offer the same capacity as the Metro Red Line.
not the only one mulling a fare increase. A Glendale
city committee voted to increase
fares and reshuffle service on Beeline buses. Across the country WMATA chief
and former Metro executive John Catoe pulled
back a proposal released last November to increase fares, but admitted that
the matter will be brought back in light of increasing operations costs.
Support continues to grow for a Green Line construction authority. A second state
Assembly committee passed
AB 889 in late April. The authority would be responsible for extending the Green
Line towards LAX. More and more officials are joining the Green Line Coalition
to support and promote the project. Thinking otherwise, the Los Angeles Daily
News scolded Metro for purportedly "
sinking all of its resources" on a Wilshire
Blvd. subway (despite the fact that Metro is at the
moment preparing a major investment study for the project and nothing else).
Federal officials and the Gold Line Construction Authority estimated that
passengers would ride the future Pasadena-Azusa Gold Line. Construction of
the Metrolink Buena Park station will finish
in July, months behind schedule. The Santa Monica City Council approved $57
million to build a new
maintenance facility for Big Blue Buses. Also, Sprinter has chosen to use
patrols to bring security on trains, breaking away from Coaster practice where
guards are placed at stations.
Now that the dust has settled, the march
is on to rebuild the fallen Macarthur Maze ramp in Oakland
. Schwarzenegger promised the lower ramp leading to I-880 would be
within 10 days. Caltrans later added that the contractor rebuilding the top
ramp for I-580 would face hefty fines if
not finished by June 29. The collapse reawakened fears of a mass failure in
the transportation system that would stem from a major earthquake. In light of
that, state legislators are crafting
a bill that would provide expanded ferry transportation in case of said disaster.
Others are pointing
fingers and searching for scapegoats (mostly towards licensing
practices for truck drivers), while scientists look at engineering improvements
that would prevent such disasters in the future.
Los Angeles City Councilmember
Tom LaBonge stated that he opposed
turning Olympic and Pico Blvds. into one-way streets.
This week, a federal
judge ruled that the South Coast Air Quality Management District cannot
regulate pollution stemming from diesel locomotives. AQMD criticized that
the recent and voluntary agreements between the railroads and the state were too
weak, hence prompting action against the railroads.
and Join The Transit Coalition : Want
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Would you like to keep informed on what is happening in the transportation scene?
Then please donate and join The Transit Coalition. A monthly subscription to Moving
Southern California comes with your membership. Visit our Donations page
to explore other options. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Fresno Bee poured hot water over Governor Schwarzenegger for trying to
raid the Spillover funds. The editorial
noted how the governor was quick to distribute Proposition 1B funds for roads
but failed to act as promptly for intercity rail and public transit. The Bee
the governor for attempting to scuttle high-speed rail in California
. Schwarzenegger wants to slash
funds that would be used to complete environmental studies for high speed
rail, and also wants to indefinitely postpone a bond vote for its construction.
Schwarzenegger shot back by replying
that he is in favor of HSR, but complained that "there is still no comprehensive
and credible plan for financing the system so we can get construction under way."
The Los Angeles Times expressed their support for the project in an
acknowledging that, while HSR would be quite expensive, it would give immeasurable
benefits to the state. Letters
in response came out to give a good finger-wagging at the governor for attempting
to derail the project. The Daily News also editorialized
their support for the project. Meanwhile, DesertXpress promises that private
firms will entirely finance proposed steel-on-steel high speed rail between
Victorville and Las Vegas
. Across the Pacific, China
rolls out with higher-speed
trains on conventional rail tracks.
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.
in the west San Fernando Valley was envisioned
to be a "downtown" of sorts, where mass transit and high-rise residential
buildings would play an important role. Instead the area become home to a few
office towers and mostly low-key enterprises. Now, developers
are returning to Warner Center and mulling about projects that are aimed toward
a more pedestrian lifestyle. Many credit the presence of the popular Orange Line
as the catalyst for making such possible in an otherwise car-centric town.
Are we losing the war on traffic? A series of U.S. News & World Report
have you believe so. Cities are trying all sorts of tricks to keep people
and goods moving, including investments in public transportation and toll roads.
Nevertheless, it is estimated that by 2030, 9 urban areas in the country will
have worse traffic than present-day Los
Angeles . One example is Houston
, which has built
new highway infrastructure to an excessive degree. Instead of experiencing
increased mobility, however, residents are now drowning in traffic and air pollution.
U.S. News consequently published two interviews that dealt
with this question. New York City Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff explained why Mayor
Michael Bloomberg had a
change of heart and is now a proponent of congestion pricing. Los Angeles
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned against applying small solutions, such as stopping
construction during rush hour, in hopes that they would magically relieve congestion.
Instead, he explained that mobility could only be reached through intense
development of public transportation.
Here is a list of other recent
: The Los Angeles Times published an article on conceptual
transit maps and the folks that produce them. The articled featured Transit
Coalition Communications Director Numan Parada, who supplied some of his own ideas
on future transit lines. These and other maps are available
for viewing online.
7 : Amtrak announced
the launch of Amtrak.mobi for mobile device
users. The site gives train status information and allows users to make or cancel
reservations through their Internet service.
A Superior Court granted
injunction that would prevent Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA)
bus drivers from striking. Union representatives were dissatisfied that OCTA offered
increase in salaries over three years, citing that it did not reflect increases
in living standards. The injunction was granted at the request of Governor Schwarzenegger,
who successfully delayed
the strike last week to seek input on the impact of a walkout. A panel subsequently
appointed by the governor released their findings last Sunday, stating that the
strike would hurt the county.
Omnitrans Route 90 stopped
operating via the Riverside
and San Bernardino Metrolink Stations. Instead, it will operate
between the downtown bus terminals at Riverside
and San Bernardino .
Express service west of San Bernardino to the
Center via Ontario Mills
and local hospitals was also cancelled.
Close : If you could build a ballpark in downtown
L.A. , where
would you put it? Cartifact, the makers of several snazzy downtown maps, recently
launched an interactive website
where you can "move" Dodger Stadium to any spot you wish. Would you
like it closer to public transit? Would you like it near existing pedestrian hotbeds?
Events : Metro
Westside/Central Governance Council and Fare Forum : Wednesday, May 9, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
Gateway Cities Fare Forum: Wednesday, May
9, 6 p.m., Non-Revenue
, 7878 Telegraph Road
, Downey .
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 and Fare
Forum: 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, and Tuesday,
May 29, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council and Fare Forum: Monday, May 14, 5 p.m.,
3369 Santa Anita Ave.
(near El Monte bus station), El
Downtown Regional Fare Forum: Saturday, May 19, 10
a.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles
attending 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!
Metro Special Board Meeting: Thursday, May
24, 9:30 a.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles
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Bart Reed, Executive Director
Numan Parada, Communications
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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