Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 24
to an 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.
to alter the California landscape in more ways than one, and in no way for
the better. Already, state legislators are crafting at least 60 bills to tackle
the problem. Less precipitation and the resulting reduction in snowpack would
lead to strained water sources. New housing developments would have to provide
water, traffic and pollution mitigation and reduce the "carbon footprint"
of its residents. Should they fail to address these problems, such planned communities
would be subject to litigation or abandoned outright.
And just how does
public transportation figure into all of this? Proponents are relying on increased
public concerns about global warming to champion funds for mass transit. Some
hope that the subject, higher gas prices and increased demand for buses and trains
can fire up a backlash
against plans by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to raid Spillover funds for transit
Global warming is also pitting lawmakers against car makers.
One particular bill would make buyers of gas-guzzling vehicles pay up to an additional
$2,500 in fees while rewarding
buyers of more efficient vehicles with a rebate of up to the same amount.
Automobile makers charge that it would penalize families who need larger vehicles.
Also, a growth plan for the Inland Empire is
attacked because it did not take global warming effects in mind. The situation
has become a test
case of how cities will tackle growth in population and greenhouse gases.
Several opponents of California
high speed rail are already claiming that the project
is dead. San Diego and Riverside
Counties stand to lose either
way, since most of the talk has focused on the Los Angeles-San Francisco segment.
This means that planners will have to rely on expanded bus systems and Metrolink
to provide regional transportation in the foreseeable future. Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger recommended only $5 million for the state HSR Authority, out of
more than $100 million requested. However, a letter by Evan Carter states
otherwise, saying that the state should pursue an initial segment between
Meanwhile, San Diego City Beat speculates why Schwarzenegger
is trying to kill
the project despite his desire to see California
go "green". The San Jose Mercury News reprimanded
the governor for giving only mild support for HSR while also trying to destroy
College graduates are growing
more conscious of the transportation choices they must make upon leaving school,
according to a recent Daily Bruin article. Seeing car ownership as an unaffordable
expense, graduates look for places near public transit to save money. Indeed,
one Washington Post columnist suggests that graduates must think not only
where they will work, but how will they get there on a daily basis.
a tug of war is brewing in San Francisco
for what is called an "architect's dream": A contract to
design bus shelters—er, "
street furniture". BART continues to test
Wi-Fi at its downtown San Francisco
stations, with plans to install it systemwide. Similar Wi-Fi service
was installed at the Sacramento
Valley depot as part of
a major rehabilitation. An op-ed
in the North County Times decries the San Diego Association of Governments
Regional Transportation Plan, which, according to the author, emphasis on mass
transit at the expense of roads and highways.
Once again, Amtrak leads
the way in transporting
people in the most energy efficient manner, according to a recent study by
the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Amtrak uses less energy per passenger mile
than cars, airlines or even subways and commuter rail systems. The report revealed
that airlines and cars consume more than one-fifth more energy per passenger mile
than Amtrak's trains. In more good news, the San Jose-Sacramento Capitol
Corridor service logged 141,789 passengers, the highest monthly ridership total
in the history of the service.
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
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.
of the twelve worst
bottlenecks in the nation are found in the Los
Angeles area, according to an article in Forbes.com. In
terms of hours of delay, the U.S. 101/I-405 interchange rates among the worst,
at 27 million hours lost. The three others include the I-10/I-405, I-405/I-605
and I-10/I-5 interchanges. Some relief might be in sight: The U.S. Department
of Transportation selected nine cities with the worst traffic congestion as semi-finalists
for $1.1 billion that would be awarded towards proposals to fix traffic hotspots.
Angeles will not be one of them.
And just what
kind of fixes do people have in mind? Some believe small improvements will
have a big impact, while others advocate for car tunnels under the Santa
Monica Mountains or
monorails in place of subways. (Goodness galoshes, what is up with this undying
monorails, monorails and monorails!? Oh, we'll just send you here
where you can learn what's wrong with them, courtesy of Light Rail Now.)
Meanwhile, the California Transportation Commission holds
Ventura County drivers in suspense when it comes to widening the 118 Freeway,
and the Ventura County Star editorialized
their discontent. The City of San Jacinto
comes closer to owning
and maintaining a portion of State Highway Route 79, with the intent of encouraging
residential and business developments. The City of Santa
Monica will present its initial plans to replace
the 100-year-old California Incline, which connects downtown Santa
Monica with the Pacific
Coast Highway (State Highway Route 1), on June 20.
expectations abound for the future completion of the 210 Freeway through Fontana
and Rialto .
Don't count on gas prices dropping significantly any time soon. Demand for
fuel is growing
faster than expected, and countries are putting pressure on oil exporters
to increase their output. In the meantime, here are a
few ideas that can help you save some gas in these times.
County is becoming an
increasingly dangerous place for bicyclists. To that effect, Assemblymember
Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) continues to push legislation that would require
vehicles to maintain a minimum 3-foot distance from bicycles when passing them
on the road. Perception of bicycling is a major impediment to progress. Policy
makers and the public see the form of transportation as secondary and trite, leading
to apathy towards safety legislation and antipathy towards bicyclists involved
in collisions with cars.
Robert Bruegmann of the University
of Illinois came out in
defense of sprawl, comparing the current situation t o that of 19th Century London
. There, middle-class families were moving into cookie-cutter brick
homes that gobbled up country lands at a quick pace. Despite denunciations by
artists and intellects of the age, sprawl did not stop, not even when London
instituted a plan after World War II that featured a greenbelt to contain
it. Bruegmann argues that, in future city growth, " densities will
be high enough to provide urban amenities but low enough to allow widespread automobile
ownership and use."
However, this is not stopping development along
train lines. In fact, transit-oriented development is growing
at a rapid pace across the country. Locally, however, rumors
are flying around that famed architect Frank Gehry will not take part in Phases
II and III of the Grand Ave.
project, which uses several elements of TOD planning, in Downtown
Plans to clean up the ports received
support from (surprise, surprise!) port truckers. Tractors using the facilities
produce 30% to 40% of pollution from the ports, which has been linked to higher
risks of cancer, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. Truckers attended
a recent meeting to share their stories on ailments stemming from pollution from
the very tractors they drive. Some criticize the port plan to prohibit older tractors
to enter the docks, fearing it would drive out small enterprise.
this expression of good will does not dissipate skepticism that the accompanying
expansion plans will worsen
Aviation experts and proponents ponder how to
entice the federal government to upgrade
the massive and aging flight control system. Passenger traffic will rise by
78% to nearly 1.3 billion annually by 2025. Updating the system with GPS technology
and an information sharing system, among other things, would cost $40-billion.
Advocates say the proposed modernization is expected to improve efficiency and
A Detour : In flagrant violation of the Brown
Act, security officers at the DWP building in Los
Angeles , site of the monthly city Bicycle Advisory Committee
like the one in question, asked persons entering the public meeting to show their
IDs. Matters only got worse when supervising personnel came to further demand
IDs from entrants. How did it end? In a bizarre yet fitting fashion, like
Here is a list of other
June 7 : The Transportation Security Administration
million in security fees, covering two years, to 22 airlines. Southwest owes
the most, at $54 million. The 22 carriers appealed the fees in January 2006 as
unfair and excessive, but the TSA denied these appeals.
service from Palmdale Airport
to San Francisco .
Service is composed of twice daily flights, seven days a week, using 50-seat jet
planes. Officials believe several factors will make the service attractive, including
short lines at ticket counters and security checkpoints, free parking and lot
s of connecting flights at SFO. Santa Clarita Valley residents will receive much
of the marketing focus for the service. A local bus stop is not available
at this time, although the Antelope Valley Transit Authority will discuss
the possibility of placing one at the terminal. The Los Angeles Daily News
expressed support in an editorial.
June 11 : Presidential candidate Bill Richardson visited
Los Angeles to discuss the importance of building public transportation across
the nation. If elected, Richardson assured that
he would create a partnership that would expedite
light rail construction in Los
Angeles . Richardson
also reprimanded the Bush Administration for being "absent"
in promoting cleaner forms of transportation, in particular higher-speed trains.
The Orange County Transportation Authority Board voted to spend $133 million
bring bus rapid transit to the county, in the same vein as Metro Rapid Buses.
The first route will run from Fullerton to Costa
Mesa along Harbor
Boulevard and debut in December 2008. A second line
will run on Westminster Boulevard
and 17th Street
starting in late 2009. A third line will run from Brea
to Irvine along
State College Boulevard
, Bristol Street and Barranca
Parkway in late 2010. Some saw it as a fitting
alternative to the cancelled and controversial CenterLine.
people showed up at a meeting to discuss and
criticize the I-405 northbound carpool lane project through the Sepulveda
Pass at the Skirball
. Local leaders and residents took part in the event. Some expressed
concern that particular
properties would stand in the way the project, including a church in Brentwood.
NBC 4 provides a video report
on the subject.
The House Appropriations
subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development voted to give Amtrak
$1.4 billion, rejecting a proposal by the president to fund the intercity passenger
railroad at $800 million. The FY 2008 spending bill also contains $3.6 billion
for the airport improvement program for upgrades at airports across the country,
$850 million more than the president's request; and $40.2 billion for highways,
$600 million for than requested.
June 12 : OCTA and representatives
from bus driver unions resumed contract talks. An Orange County Register editorial
used the crisis as a soapbox for privatization of public transit. A letter
in reply countered that privatization would lead to reduced quality of service.
Upcoming Events: Metro
Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday, June 13, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
Board Meeting on FY 08 Proposed Budget: Wednesday, June 13, 9:30 a.m., Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
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
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, June 20, 12 noon.
and Budget Committee and Public
Hearing on FY 08 Proposed Budget, Wednesday, June 20, 2:30 p.m.
Management and Audit Committee, Thursday, June 21, 9 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, June 21, 10:30 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, June 21, 12 noon.
Metro Special Board Meeting
on Call for Projects: Wednesday, June 20, 1 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, June 25 and July 9,
9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
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!
Metro Board Meeting:
Monday, June 28, 9:30 a.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One
(adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles
Exposition Metro Line Construction
Authority: Thursday, July 5, 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, July 5, 7:30 p.m.
Angeles Chapter office, 3435 Wilshire
Blvd, Suite 320 , Los Angeles .
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, August 9, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Angeles. June and July meetings cancelled.
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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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