Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 29
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.
and Join Us: Next Tuesday is our Transit
Coalition monthly meeting. See Upcoming Events below for details.
Action Alert: Advocates for the preservation of public transportation
funds are stepping up the call. Columnist George Skelton wants state leaders to
an agreement on the budget as soon as possible. Assemblymember Mike Feuer
warned against shifting already wanting funds to other purposes, noting that public
transportation will play
an important role in the growth of the state from now on.
email the governor's office
and express your support for full funding of this critically important project
and the transit dollars needed to keep buses and trains moving.
yet, do any of the following:
Call Governor Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841;
Fax the Governor at 916-327-1009;
Call Senator Don Perata at 510-286-1333 or 916-651-4009;
Contact Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez at 916-319-2046 or Speaker.Nunez@assembly.ca.gov;
Contact Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman at 916-651-4033 or http://republican.sen.ca.gov /web/33/feed.asp; and/or
Get your friends and family who live in the Central Valley/Fresno area to contact
Assembly Republican Leader Michael Villines at 916-319-2029.
calling, please refer to these talking
points so that you can be prepared in providing an appropriate comment or
responding to a questionable statement.
information provided by BayRail Alliance.
Talking points provided by TRAC. Additional tools
are provided by Odyssey.)
weeklong strike by Orange
County bus drivers has come
to an end. The county Transportation Authority
(OCTA) and representatives from labor unions reached a tentative
settlement. The deal would give raises of 10.8% to entry-level drivers and
11.7% to drivers with five or more years of experience over the next three years.
Both the OCTA Board and the 1,100 bus drivers voted
in favor of the new contract. Many of the bus drivers have already
returned to work today, much to the relief of the system's 225,000 daily riders.
Santa Monica Councilmember Pam O'Connor has replaced Gloria Molina as the
chair of the Metro Board. Whereas Molina
focused on controlling costs, O'Connor will focus on making operations more environmentally
friendly. Transit Coalition President Ken Alpern believes O'Connor will help
improve the Expo Line by focusing on "green" elements that would
be built along the light rail corridor.
In the meantime, Angelenos look
for inspiration on the other side of the country. New
York City is in the midst of a six-year, $6 billion project
that will connect Long Island Railroad commuter trains with its fabled Grand Central
Station. However, the Second Avenue Subway may
run into hurdles thanks largely because of its $16 billion price tag and other
logistical problems. One place not to look for inspiration is Las
Vegas , where its privately-built monorail spirals into
financial disaster, now that Fitch has again
reduced its bond rating to junk status.
In other transit developments,
the Los Angeles City Council voted
in support of legislation that would create a Green Line construction authority.
Introduced by city Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, the resolution specifically calls
for Metro to add the LAX Green Line extension to its list of Long Range Transportation
Plan. Up north, BART users will be rewarded
with points if they use credit cards to purchase train tickets.
recently voted to bring additional weekend service to the Antelope
Valley line. Two additional
Saturday and three new Sunday trains will launch after the Labor Day weekend.
Also, additional Orange County
line service will start once the second track is completed in Santa
One major Metrolink improvement will be
The Buena Park station will not open until September. Another Metrolink improvement
not happen at all: A new line from Temecula to Corona
may cost $569 million, while a line from Temecula to San
Diego would cost $1.6 billion, according to a report. In
response, local leaders said they would ask the Riverside County Transportation
Commission to at least consider a Metrolink extension from Corona
to Lake Elsinore
Should Downtown Los Angeles bring back the streetcar? An
op-ed in the Los Angeles Downtown News answers
that with an emphatic "yes". Invoking memories of the Red
and Yellow Cars that once traversed the central city, contributors Homer Williams
and Dike Dames believe a streetcar can further increase development and connect
neighborhoods. However, both acknowledged that political leadership will be required
in order to bring the streetcar to the streets of L.A.
On the Amtrak front, President
Alex Kummant warned federal legislators against infusing
billions to upgrade the Northeast Corridor to high speed rail. Much of the
problem stems from aging infrastructure. A full overhaul, including several new
tunnels and bridges, would cost $7 billion, but even that would only reduce travel
time between Washington , D.C.
, and New York City to
2 hours and 20 minutes, with an average speed of 97 mph. A new and entirely separate
right-of-way would be required in order to build a true HSR line, according to
Kummant. Locally, the Orange County Register reported on the annual
mooning ritual directed at Pacific Surfliner riders, but don't expect
to see much.
Thank you for
your donations! We would like to express
our gratitude for your donations, which help us prepare materials and educate
elected officials, community activists and business leaders on transportation
issues. If you have not done so yet, you can still donate and join The Transit Coalition. A monthly subscription to Moving
Southern California comes with your membership. Visit our new and improved
to explore other options. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
growth threatens to tax California
roads. What's the solution? Build more roads, of course! Many would
like to think that stacked
highways, road tunnels and tolls will solve our woes. How much would it cost?
$140 billion. Many others believe this is unrealistic, especially in Los
Angeles , where property for right-of-way is either nonexistent
or impossibly pricey. It doesn't help when opponents want to hand the fight against
new highways to the younger generation, as is the case with the aging
opponents of the 710 Freeway. The idea received an icy
response from Los Angeles Times readers.
Still others believe
that smart growth can help control the growth. Dense urban areas like those in
Europe and Japan may
become the norm, even in communities like Riverside
and San Bernardino .
A Los Angeles Times
expressed hope for dense living around transit, even as disappointment grows around
existing manifestations of the concept.
residents can't wait until
the final portion of the 210 Freeway opens up. Officials are now saying that the
new road will be open within
the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Rialto
its portion of an abandoned Pacific Electric line into a trail. Upland
already converted its portion of the right-of-way into a trail, while Rancho
Cucamonga is finalizing construction on its portion.
County is placing a unified
front in attaining funds for its transportation projects. The San Bernardino
Associated Governments will release a list of priority projects that it hopes
to present to state legislators for Proposition 1B funds. Just recently, Victor
Valley transportation projects
will receive $3 million in federal funds that would, among other things, build
railroad grade separation in Hesperia.
of letters regarding the California Incline in Santa
Monica was the subject of a Santa Monica Mirror report.
The Incline climbs along the cliffs of Santa
Monica and is the only connection between Pacific
Coast Highway (State Highway Route 1) and the city
proper. Leaders from the City of Los Angeles and
Los Angeles County
expressed concern that outright replacement of the Incline would worsen
Nearby, a meeting was held to gauge the response of
Santa Monica residents
regarding turning Olympic and Pico Blvds. into one-way streets, complete
with diagrams. Columnist Frank Gruber is not too keen on supporting or opposing
the idea yet, citing that many
more points should be investigated.
Would you pay $225,000
for one parking space? Manhattan
residents must grapple with said reality, as parking spots are treated
as real estate. Spaces in New York
can fetch in as much worth per square foot as actual living space.
It is a far cry from Los Angeles
practice, where parking spaces are included in the price of a home
or condo. Don't you laugh at it, though: Riverside
County transportation officials
are considering charging
parking lot users at Metrolink stations in order to fund, well, more parking
The new United Airlines service to Palmdale
Airport is growing
popular. However, to address the need for better connections with evening
flights to the east, the airline will offer earlier departure and later return
flights. Though ridership numbers are not disclosed for competitive reasons, anecdotal
evidence suggests that the two daily flights are gaining more and more passengers.
Also, is LAX vulnerable
to a terrorist attack?
On the waterfront, terminal operators and port
to negotiate new contracts. A work stoppage could prove
disastrous, especially with pre-holiday cargo now entering the ports. In 2002,
longshore workers across the West Coast were locked out for 10 days, which cost
the nation's economy an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion a day. The Ports of
Long Beach and Los Angeles
barely averted a strike on Saturday. Meanwhile, eco-friendly
locomotives made their debut at the ports. Further south, San
Diego musters up its own plans
for port expansion.
Plug : The Thunderhead Alliance
is an organization dedicated to providing bicycle and pedestrian advocates the
tools necessary to carry out and win campaigns. The Thunderhead
Training seminar, an intense curriculum on how to effectively fight for improvements,
is coming to Los Angeles
on August 24-26. Here, you can learn from expert coaches and each
other through Thunderhead's proven curriculum on choosing, directing, and winning
campaigns and to promote complete streets, where walking and bicycling are safe
and commonplace. You can view
the schedule or register
for the event (the latter form features registration fee information).
Here is a list of other recent developments:
3 : ACR
26, which would direct Caltrans to identify former portions of U.S. Route
6 at the request of local jurisdictions, was chaptered into state law. U.S. 6
currently runs from Bishop, CA, to Provincetown
, MA , at a length of 3,205 miles.
Until 1964, U.S. 6 continued south of Bishop to Long Beach
via what is now U.S. 395, State Highway Route 14 through
the Antelope Valley, I-5, I-110 and State Highway Route 1. Communities hope
that the designation will promote
economic vitality and historical preservation along the former highway.
July 9 : The Assembly Transportation Committee approved
SB 974, which would collect fees from containers coming into the ports. The fees
would be used to pay for environmental mitigation projects at the ports. The bill
now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, before it sees time on the
Assembly floor. The measure has already cleared the State Senate.
July 10 : The Irvine City Council approved a $280
million streetcar project that would connect the proposed Great
Park to various Irvine
locales. Specifically, a streetcar would run from the Park to the
local train station, where users must the transfer to shuttle buses to reach the
Irvine Spectrum shopping center. The city may be able to secure $121
million from the cancelled CenterLine project. Federal and Proposition 1B
funds, as well as additional Measure M funds, could fund the rest, according to
: Los Angeles
County officials unveiled a plan that
would bring an "
inland port" to the Antelope
Valley . Under the plan,
port cargo would be transferred by rail to an intermodal (air, road and rail)
facility in the desert. There, trucks can pick up the containers and transport
them to their final destinations. The project promises to ease
traffic caused by big rigs entering and exiting the ports and, in turn, reduce
air pollution. The Antelope Valley Inland Port Task Force will meet again in October.
July 13 : A U.S. Senate subcommittee
voted to insert language into its annual transportation bill that would repeal
a ban on federal funds for a Wilshire subway. Even with the news, however, plans
are still adrift for the "Subway to the Sea". Funding is a major
concern, as columnist Steve Hymon noted.
Polls on the matter suggest that a countywide vote to increase the sales tax to
pay for it would not pass the 2/3 threshold. For those interested in learning
about the project, the Southern California Transit Advocates (SO.CA.TA) will hold
a meeting tonight on the subject.
: The public comment period for the 405 Freeway
northbound carpool lane project has been extended to September 10. You can send
comments on the project to Caltrans District 7, Division of Environmental Planning,
100 Main St., MS
-16A, Los Angeles , CA
90012 . Also, you are
invited to two meetings concerning the extension of the Orange Line to the Chatsworth
Metrolink station. See Upcoming Events.
Events : SO.CA.TA Wilshire
Subway Community Outreach Meeting: Tuesday, July 17, 6 to 8 p.m., Beverly
Hills Library, 444 N. Rexford Dr., Beverly
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, July 18 and Thursday, July 19, Board Room,
Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Angeles . (
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, July 18, 1 p.m.
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, July 18, 2:30 p.m.
Management and Audit Committee, Thursday, July 19, 9 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, July 19, 10:30 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, July 19, 12 noon.
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, July 23 and August
13, 9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
C onsider attending our monthly Transit Coalition
Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, July 24
- 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!
Orange Line Canoga Transportation Corridor Meetings:
Thursday, July 25, 7 p.m., Chatsworth
High School , 10027
Lurline Ave. , Chatsworth.
Monday, July 30, 7 p.m., New Academy of Canoga
Park , 21425
Cohasset St . , Canoga
Meeting : Thursday, July 26, 9:30 a.m., Board Room,
Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
Board Meeting: Friday, July 27, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG
Building , 12th Floor, 818
W. Seventh St. , Los Angeles.
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, August 9, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
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