Weekly Transit eNewsletter
Tuesday, May 29,
Volume 3, Issue 22
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.
The Metro Board approved an increase
in bus and rail fares, much to the consternation of transit users. Board members
fashioned a more modest proposal that would call for increases over 5 years. Starting
Sunday, July 1, day passes are $5 and monthly passes are $62. The cash fare of
$1.25 will increase to $1.50 in 2009. Seniors can also take advantage of a special
cash fare for off-peak periods, weekends and holidays. Metro has a chart detailing
Over 1,500 people arrived at Metro Gateway Headquarters to
take part in the fare hearings. Most expressed
anger at the Metro proposal. Not surprisingly, the Bus Riders Union came out
to protest the increases while claiming "transit racism". In a failed
attempt to appease transit users and the BRU, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
proposed a 10%
increase in fares and passes, a reduction in rail service and the
purchase of new buses on credit, a plan the Board soundly rejected. Transit Coalition
Executive Director Bart Reed, Vice President Jerard Wright and member Damien Goodmon
testified before the Board on the increases, with Goodmon providing his
statement online. The increases also, somehow,
threaten rail expansion in Los Angeles.
The issue made good copy in the
papers. The Los Angeles Times editorial
suggested that the two extreme proposals were a red herring to stir up excitement,
even though the Board knew it would accept a middle-of-the-road proposal anyway.
The Los Angeles Daily News editorial
implored the Board to think up of other ways to expand rapid transit while searching
for revenue sources other than the farebox. Columnist Steve Lopez reasoned that
everyone, including Metro, stands
to lose from the increases. Lopez also pondered other sources of revenue for
transit operations. The Daily
News published an editorial responding to the vote. Letters
to the Times expressed subsequent opinions on the increase.
News: State Assemblymember Ted Lieu wrote an op-ed
that faulted Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for cutting transit funds for the
budget. Fortunately, a state Senate subcommittee rejected the governor's proposal
and instead restored
the full $1.3 billion into the budget.
In other transit news, the
Beach Shuttle that serves Venice
and Marina del Rey will add
a stop at Fisherman's Village. The shuttle will operate Fridays, Saturdays
and Sundays, as well as holidays, from Friday, May 25th, to Monday, September
3 rd. Antelope Valley residents took advantage
of a special
beach bus during the Memorial Day weekend. Letters to the Inland Valley
Daily Bulletin dismisses recent Foothill Gold Line ridership estimates as
Also, interest grows to convert Broadway in Downtown L.A. into
a transit mall. Plans
move ahead for a major regional transit hub in Anaheim. To the southeast,
a judge ordered the OCTA and a labor union to meet
and reach a settlement on wages for bus drivers.
Donate and Join
The Transit Coalition : We have a tough fight, as the Mayor and some media
want to kill or damage rail transit. Your financial help is needed to build opposition
to these ill informed actions. Do you want to save and improve transportation
in Southern California? 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, as well as this weekly eNewsletter.
Visit our Donations page
to explore other options. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
recent poll revealed that, despite ever increasing gas prices, drivers are not
changing their habits. This has forced experts to reevaluate just what price
per gallon of gas would trigger a major change of behavior. Increased income and
disparate urban planning that encourages car travel are blamed for the inertia.
Meanwhile, the Daily Breeze published a letter
forum about a state proposal to ban oil companies from spiking prices during
refinery shutdowns. State and federal officials are concerned that gas supplies
in California, already offering little slack, could worsen if
not prepared for future disasters. And here's a shocker for you: The United
States comes in dead
last in fuel efficiency. Most holiday drivers showed resignation
at the high gas prices, even as interest for smaller
cars grows and electric
Somewhat related, the research arm of the American Trucking
Associations published a report concluding that
increased fuel taxes, and not toll roads or privatization schemes, are the
best way to address transportation project financing from the perspective of users.
Researchers claimed that collection costs for fuel taxes range from 3 to less
than 1 percent of revenue, while toll collection revenue-to-cost ratios exceed
21 percent. Privatization would also hurt rural communities, since private enterprises
would not want to own lightly-trafficked though essential roads, according to
Flyover ramps between the soon-to-be-opened 210 Freeway extension
and Interstate 215 in San Bernardino will open later
than expected due to seismic issues. This prompted the San Bernardino Sun
to issue a reprimanding
editorial, even though the freeway will otherwise open on time later this
year. Plans to improve I-405 could become messy if the two counties that house
the freeway do
not cooperate early on.
Also, Westside and Sepulveda Pass residents
are grumbling at a proposal to add reversible
lanes on Sepulveda Blvd., fearing that the street would become a "mini-freeway".
Caltrans must perform a juggling act between preserving
homes and attaining right-of-way for carpool lanes on the San Diego Freeway.
The Orange County Transportation Authority is inviting you to participate in a
survey concerning the South Orange County
Major Investment Study.
The L.A. Times featured an op-ed by
cyclist Will Campbell, who believes that a bicyclist should be given the
same rights and responsibilities as drivers according to law. Campbell
contends that in doing so, bicyclists would have full access to vehicle
lanes and thus not be relegated to striped bike lanes, which in any case are few
and far between. Bicyclists wrote various
responses to Campbell
, though all agreed that the current situation is unsafe and unacceptable.
State air regulators released a study stating that people living near rail
yards are at a much
higher risk of cancer than the rest of the population. Residents in Commerce
are especially susceptible, since they reside next to round-the-clock rail yards
operated by Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. A meeting at Commerce
City Hall attracted irate
community members that pressed for action.
The Ports of Long Beach and
Los Angeles are gearing
up for major expansion. With trade across the Pacific on the rise, the two
ports want to stay relevant in light of increased competition from other ports.
One potential stumbling block is the need to balance environmental needs and concerns
from the community while expanding.
, a freshman councilmember and a local attorney crafted a proposed
ballot initiative that would discourage
excessive development. The proposal would block certain housing and commercial
development projects within five miles of an intersection considered too congested,
or whose traffic flow rated by city planners is below a "C". Nationally,
Houston residents are disappointed
that a recently announced transportation plan did not include enough projects.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
May 21: Transit Coalition President Kenneth S. Alpern and other advocates
held a forum in Westchester to explain to interested community members the
merits of extending the Metro Green Line to Los Angeles International Airport.
Particular focus was given on a bill (AB-889) by state Assemblymember Ted Lieu
to create a construction authority that would build the extension, but Metro is
trying to kill.
May 23 : The U.S. House of Representatives voted
in favor of a bill that would declare price-gouging
on gasoline a federal offense. The legislation would give federal authorities
the power during declared energy emergencies to investigate and prosecute anyone
selling fuel at a price that is "unconscionably excessive" or "indicates
the seller is taking unfair advantage unusual market conditions." U.S. Congress
is trying to placate the livid masses by passing or introducing a flurry of energy
The California High Speed Rail Authority Board voted
to pursue an initial operating segment from Anaheim
to San Francisco via Los
Palmdale. San Diego and Sacramento
were notably left out while other
complications remain. The initial segment could be opened by as early as 2017.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to scale back funds for planning and
postpone a bond vote on the matter. Board executive director Mehdi Moshed also
noted that MagLev plans in Southern California
are also complicating efforts.
Nevertheless, the Assembly appropriated
$50 million for the Authority, while a Senate subcommittee voted
to give $45.2 million the previous day. Columnist George Skelton gave thumbs
down to the governor for repeatedly delaying the project.
Rejoice! Starting Thursday, June 14, UCLA will host FlyAway
service to LAX, making it the third location to offer direct airport bus service.
Specifically, buses will stop at Lot 32 on Kinross
Ave. in Westwood. To celebrate, Los Angeles World Airports
will offer unlimited
rides at no cost to everyone until June 30, at which point the newly increased
regular fare of $4 each way will apply. Buses will operate every half hour from
5 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Events : Metro
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, June 6, 6:30 p.m., Marvin
Center , 6262
Van Nuys Blvd. , Van Nuys.
Exposition Metro Line Construction
Authority : Thursday, June 7, 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,
June 7, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435 Wilshire
Blvd, Suite 320 , Los Angeles.
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, June 8, 9.30 a.m., Carson
Community Center , 801
E. Carson St. , Carson .
Southern California Transit Advocates: Saturday,
June 9, 1 p.m., Angelus
Plaza , Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St. , Los Angeles .
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, June 11 and 25, 9 a.m.,
Board Hearing Room, 600 Main St.
, Orange .
Metro San Gabriel Valley Governance Council : Monday, June 11, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita Ave. (near
El Monte bus station), El
Westside/Central Governance Council : Wednesday, June 13, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
Gateway Cities Governance Council : Thursday, June 14, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240
Firestone Blvd. , Downey .
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday,
June 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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Reed, Executive Director
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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