Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 23
to an unusually long 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.
Write to the Governor! Two thirds of California
's Congressmembers signed
a letter urging Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to fund
high speed rail development at a larger amount than proposed. Meanwhile, critics
articulate their opposition to high speed rail and aim to derail the project
entirely. HSR proponents need your help by writing a letter to the governor to this address
and expressing your support for the project!
Moreover, the governor continues
to push for the diversion of "Spillover" funds away from transit operations.
Instead, Schwarzenegger flew to Vancouver
, British Columbia , to see private
enterprise build and operate rail lines and extol their virtues. One
letter in the Pasadena Star News condemned the governor for shortchanging
transit in its hour of need, while several
others in the Los Angeles Times bemoaned the lack of support towards
public transit in general. However, state Business, Transportation and Housing
Agency director Dale Bonner defended
the governor, saying that Schwarzenegger has in fact done more for public
transit than any predecessor. The proposal also could scale back rehabilitation
of the aging San Diego Trolley.
continues on the imminent fare increases on Metro bus and trains. Students
at Grover Cleveland
High School in Reseda signed
a petition in hopes that the Metro Board would reconsider the increases. The
Bus Riders Union vowed to file
an injunction as a last ditch effort to stop the increases. The increases
do anything about bringing more transit projects to the forefront. The increases
mark another blow to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose political skills
have been on
the skids of late. Meanwhile, Foothill Transit also mulls an increase
in pass prices, while leaving one-way cash fares alone at $1.
in fuel prices are largely to blame. Some noted that the governor has ignored
the issue even as a recent poll revealed that it was the number one concern
among Californians. However, Santa Clarita Transit is relying
on private companies that operates their buses to keep costs low. Some are
also celebrating at a recent study that concluded that Californians
produce less carbon dioxide emissions on a per-capita basis than residents
in most other states, partly due to tough fuel and vehicle requirements.
Still, some solace can be found. The Metro FY 08 proposed budget foresees a slight
increase in late night service while bringing new
Rapid Bus lines into the picture. More
rail cars and highway construction also figure in the proposed budget. Metro
has scheduled meetings on the matter, listed in our Upcoming Events section. These
small solutions, however, have not stopped people from clamoring
for a subway down Wilshire Blvd., though Metro would quickly remind some that
the Alternative Analysis Study underway will look at all modes and corridors in
the area, including at- and above-grade options.
Traffic is now affecting
our social lives to a considerable extent, according to columnist Steve Scauzillo,
who until recent times enjoyed relative proximity from his home in Temple
City to cultural, entertainment and sports venues in Los
Angeles and Orange
Counties . Also, writer
Dan Bernstein shared his knowledge of the little-used
trolley buses in downtown Riverside
and a recent attempt to boost ridership.
columnist Rich Lowry would like you to believe that our supposed
love affair with cars should overlook that and move away from building more
mass transit. Lowry claims that car travel is more economical than other forms
of travel, conveniently ignoring maintenance and hidden costs of auto use. Of
course, this love affair is not good enough to save the hybrid Honda Accord from
the brink of extinction.
On a sadder note, the state Appropriations Committee nixed
legislation by Assemblymember Ted Lieu to create a construction authority
for a Green Line extension through LAX. Metro previously revealed that the Green
Line extension in question is not
even under consideration.
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
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.
commuters and traveling motorists will ride on a widened
Santa Clara River bridge on the 101 Freeway in mid-August. 5 lanes were added
to the original 7-lane bridge, making it the largest road project in the county.
Design revisions delayed the project from its intended completion in 2006 and
pushed construction costs to $85 million.
Meanwhile, Caltrans hopes it
can reduce the number of traffic collisions in California
devices on new cars that warn drivers of oncoming road dangers. Work
commences on new carpool lanes for the 60 Freeway in San
Gabriel Valley , while
project on the 118 Freeway in Simi
Valley awaits a vote from the California Transportation
Commission. The same commission will vote on
improvements to the notorious State Highway Route 138 in the Antelope
Bernardino Associated Governments endorsed an amendment to AB
947, which would exempt
projects on existing interchanges and overpasses from the environmental review
process. The same group also considered studying a widening
of State Highway Route 58 connecting Kern and San
Drivers in Los
Angeles could soon use credit
cards to pay for on-street parking. The Los Angeles City Council voted to
have the city Department of Transportation search for new parking meter technologies
that not only are tamper-proof, but can also accept cards. The Council also approved
studying an increase in parking rates at busy areas of the city.
Orange County Register columnist Gordon Dillow recently gave an up-yours
on the "Share The Road" movement. Dillow believed that allowing bicyclists
to use automobile facilities next to ostensibly faster cars would place
them in grave danger. Furthermore, Dillow interviewed police officers that
concluded that more than half of bicycle-car accidents are caused by cyclists
themselves. His column sparked an avalanche
of angry emails and phone calls. Some empathized with Dillow by revealing that
the dangers of bicycling forced them to give it up altogether, while others noted
that a lack of bicycle facilities and safety measures from local governments are
also to blame.
Is "smart growth" a sham? Oh good, that should've
snagged your attention! LA Weekly staff writer David Zahniser gave an unbecoming
appraisal of the movement as applied in Los
Angeles . As an example, Zahniser pointed to the Las Lomas
Project, a proposed suburban community perched on the mountains near the 5 and
14 Freeway, that is being
sold as "smart growth" only because it is near a Metrolink line.
Particularly concerning was that many of its proponents live
in the very suburban hideaways they seek to undermine. The report featured
a map containing property in the City of Los
1,500 feet of frequent transit.
live near the Staples Center breaks ground with the announcement of new
financial backers for the hotel portions of the project. The Sacramento
its support for a
bill that would encourage growth plans with more compact communities in other
areas of the state, similar to the "Blueprint" that guides growth in
One columnist believes
that mixed-use zoning, abolition of rent control and moving incentives could bring
people closer to work and culture and summarily alleviate traffic.
how do you bring in goods through our ports without ruining the environment or
worsening traffic congestion? Your guess is as good as anyone's: In light of booming
port trade, legislators must tackle
this question quickly. Indeed, opposing groups took two
distinct bus tours around the Port
of Los Angeles that praised
its history and disclose its quandaries. Agricultural exporters are especially
concerned that they cannot pay for the new tractors the ports will demand.
Truck groups slammed
the proposals, saying that the rules are in violation of interstate commerce
laws while giving unfair advantage to drivers with cleaner tractors.
A bill reintroduced by state Senator Alan Lowenthal may provide the funds for
infrastructure and air quality improvements, though some believe shippers and
hence retailers will pass the costs onto the consumer, resulting in higher goods
prices. Also, local Congressmembers are supporting federal legislation that would
require ships using U.S.
ports to reduce
the sulfur content in their fuel.
Operating an airport is getting
more expensive. The cost to run Los
Airport will reach
$525 million in the coming fiscal year. To be sure, the airport will more
than pay for itself with ticket and flight fees, building leases, concessions
and other revenues that add up to more than $583 million. However, this does not
include big-ticket upgrades in the pipeline.
Diego , Coaster will launch weekend
service to Petco Park starting this month. The North County Transit District,
which operates Coaster, estimates that the service would cost $53,000 and make
$58,000, based on 400 passengers. Officials believe that the switching operators
from Amtrak to TransitAmerica made the idea more economic. Nevertheless, the District
renewed its contract with Amtrak for the Rail 2 Rail program.
in the San Diego Union Tribune sparred over the merits of public transportation.
erupted after it was reported that a tall and intrusive office building was built
in the flight path of Montgomery Field airport and that the City of San
Diego did nothing to stop it. Some believed that government
gas taxes in the same vein as Europe , while
a replying letter blasted
the thought. One letter
suggested that train service would relieve airports the need for more capacity
while also reducing pollution resulting from air travel. Another letter expressed
support for the Sprinter train between Oceanside
and Escondido and
dismissed notions that only contractors building it would benefit from it.
Late night bus service in the San Francisco Bay Area faces mounting
obstacles. The Night Owl
network provides bus service during times when BART is not available. However,
increased costs and low ridership threaten suburban portions of the network. Already,
Bay Area transportation agencies will scale
back no-cost rides during declared "Spare the Air" days.
Meanwhile, BART plans to expand
services in the San Francisco Peninsula
while offering low-cost parking for those heading to San
Airport via BART. Transit
officials in the area are also falling
in love with Bus Rapid Transit. Oakland transportation
interests listened to a spirited discourse by Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of
Bogota , Colombia
, on the need to discourage
auto use through street design, elimination of cheap parking and increased
mass transit options.
, developers unveiled a revised
proposal that would replace a former rail yard with transit-oriented development.
Part of the revisions included axing a water canal and replacing it with pocket
parks. Street blocks would be shorter to promote a safer and less daunting environment
for pedestrians. A proposal to build an arena for the Sacramento Kings was shelved
after taxpayers voted against using public funds to build it. Another 2,000 housing
units were added, bringing the total to 12,000. The City of Sacramento
is seeking public input on the project.
commuters must cross several rivers to get from one end of the town
to another, causing massive
backups at bridges, with no relief in sight.
Mexico , transit innovations come in the form of Corre Caminos Transit,
a rural bus service that takes riders to disparate
points across the region. Some credit its after-hours services, such as "Corre
Cantinas", for a notable reduction in drunken driving arrests.
monthly newsletter is now
available in PDF format.
is a list of other recent developments:
24 : The ramp that connected East I-80 with East I-580
Work on the ramp was completed 26 days after a gas tanker crashed underneath and
burned the ramp to collapse. Particular praise went to the can-do
contractor who rebuilt the ramp at the famed MacArthur Maze, where three busy
Interstates meet. Some expressed concern that the Maze, built in 1936 with few
traffic flow as designed, though Caltrans, engineers and other experts believe
May 29 : The Los Angeles City Council approved
a DASH shuttle for the Downtown L.A. Art Walk on Thursday, June 14. The no-cost
shuttle will run along Spring and Main Sts. between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., after
regular DASH D line service ends at 7 p.m.
The Orange County Transportation
Authority Board approved a draft plan that outlines
projects for the next five years under the renewed Measure M, a half-cent
sales tax. Some of the projects listed included increased quiet zones along railways.
The Board also approved commissioning a $485,000 report on the Anaheim
, a proposed major transit hub in Anaheim
: The Coachella Valley SunLine Transit Authority
voted for a plan aimed to reduce
the number of taxicab companies and create a newer fleet of taxi cabs, as
per recommendations outlined in an independent study. Dozens of cab drivers voiced
concerns about a plan that will be phased in over the next few months during the
heated meeting. If the plan fails, the agency should consider a taxi franchise
system that's in place in many big cities, according to analysts.
May 31 : Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed
and Political Director Damien Goodmon, RailPAC President Paul Dyson, and Dennis
Zane of the Subway to the Sea Coalition met with state Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi.
The group briefed him on the status of local and statewide rail projects and discussed
how to unlock state funds for these projects.
1 : Los Angeles World Airports released
reports stating that the existing closeness of the two northern runways of
LAX could lead to catastrophic accidents. The reports suggested moving the outer
runway 340 feet north to avoid close calls and to accommodate larger airplanes
safely. The report also concluded that moving the runways southward, towards the
terminals, would be more expensive. Residents vowed to challenge the reports,
saying that such a move would remove a flourishing business district in Westchester.
(Airline pilots have since responded
with calls to move the runway.)
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
launched its smoking
ban at all its transit facilities. Anyone caught smoking within 25 feet of
a transit facility in June will receive an oral or written warning. Beginning
July 1, smokers will be fined up to $75 for their first offense, not including
court costs and other fees. The ban covers all San Diego Trolley stations, park-and-ride
lots and more than 3,400 bus stops in the region.
2 : The San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus met
support for local transportation projects. During the meeting,
Gold Line Construction Authority CEO Habib Balan revealed that, with right-of-way
now acquired and final environmental documents prepared, the Gold Line to Azusa
could see construction in as little as a year should funds materialize. Some legislators
also suggested creating legislation that would alter the composition of the Metro
Board to make it more responsive to the needs of the San
Gabriel Valley .
The Gold Line Authority website
contains a letter of thanks plus a PowerPoint presentation given at the meeting.
June 4 : The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
(BART) celebrated the 50th
anniversary of its creation. The state-formed authority initially included
Alameda Contra Costa, San Francisco , Marin and
San Mateo Counties
, though the latter two opted out in 1962 after financial constraints.
BART started revenue service 15 years later, on September 11, 1972.
San Francisco Municipal Railway announced changes
in light rail service that would address operational problems stemming from
the opening of the new T-Third
Street line. The N-Judah line would return to the Caltrain
station at 4th and King Sts., while the J-Church line would shrink back to its
former end at Embarcadero station. The T-Third and K-Ingleside lines would be
combined. Bus service would also be added.
The U.S. Bureau of Transportation
Statistics released figures indicating that on-time performance of airlines hit
low. "U.S. airlines managed only 72.5% of flights on time this year through
April, the worst rate since the federal government began keeping track in the
current format in 1995," according to the Times article.
Congratulations! The Los Angeles World Airports received
its 11th Rideshare Diamond Award. Specifically, the agency that operates
LAX and three other Southern California airports
received an award for "Most Outstanding Overall Program. Its rideshare program
includes 63 subsidized vanpools, 69 carpools, public transit incentives, bicycle
facilities, commuter advocacy, marketing activities and special events to recruit
and retain program participants. Participants can also take advantage of free
Metro passes and trips on FlyAway buses.
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 .
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 .
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Monday, June 11, 5 p.m., 3369
Santa Anita Ave. (near El Monte
bus station), El Monte .
Caltrans Public Hearing on Northbound I- 405
Carpool Lane through Sepulveda Pass: Monday, June 11,
5 p.m., Skirball Cultural Center, 2701
N. Sepulveda Blvd. , Los Angeles
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 .
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, June 20 and Thursday, June 21, Board Room,
Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
08 Proposed Budget Meeting: Wednesday, June 20, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro
Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
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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The Transit Coalition:
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