Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 31
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.
Gridlock: State legislators axed
almost all of the $1.3 billion from the Spillover that would have gone towards
public transportation operations, succumbing to the desires
of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. After lengthy negotiations, the State Assembly
voted to move the $1.3 billion towards unrelated programs, after previously setting
aside $550 million for transit. Also, the new budget cut funding for high speed
rail from a previously negotiated $55 million to a useless $15 million. The budget
continues to be debated
in the state Senate, where the day
of fiscal reckoning looms over legislators.
a result, many transportation projects would be put
on hold, now that the California Transportation Commission considered putting
off $800 million in projects. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been
to lobby for the funds in Sacramento
, which some suspect eroded support for the Spillover even further.
piece written by Transit Coalition President Kenneth S. Alpern was published
by the Los Angeles Daily News. The piece asked state legislators to spread
the cuts evenly across all state programs, an idea that was also hailed in a Los
Angeles Times editorial.
How You Can Help:
You can still call your state Senator and
express your desire to see all of the Spillover directed to public transit operations.
The following members are important to contact: Don Perata 916-651-4009 Sac. District
510-286-1333; Speaker Fabian Núñez 916-319-2046, District 213-620-4646; Alex Padilla
916-651-4020, District 818-901-5588; Bob Margett 916-651-4029, District
626-914-5046; Alan Lowenthal 916-651-4027, District 562-495-4766; Jeff Denham
916-651-4012, District 209-726-5495; Bob Dutton 916-651-4031; Dave Cogdill 916-651-4014,
District 209-599-8540; Gil Cedillo 916-651-4022, District 213-612-9566.
was indeed the subject of a Los Angeles Daily News article, where over
100 readers responded with ideas
to fix mobility in the region. Generally, wider freeways and more public transportation
were among the most popular suggestions. However, transit opponent Robert Poole
believes "that most people want other people to use transit and not themselves,"
which could erode its efficacy. Increased highway capacity is also falling out
of favor, now that there is a greater push to reduce greenhouse gases emitted
by vehicles. Monorails, double-decking freeways, more FlyAway service and congestion
charging were also mentioned.
are looking up for East Los Angeles. The
Eastside Gold Line will open in 2009, and business is already booming for the
community. Developers are already lining up to build transit-friendly housing
along Third St. ,
where the Gold Line will run, to the point where a special "transit-oriented
district" may be created. Now, after previous failed attempts, East
L.A. is pushing to become an incorporated city.
high-volume, low fare Megabus is rolling
into California, after a successful launch in the Midwest
last year. The new intercity bus service will inaugurate nonstop bus trips from
Los Angeles to San Francisco
, Sacramento , Oakland
, San Jose , Las Vegas
, and Phoenix .
Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed welcomes the promising new service,
which intends to directly compete with Greyhound.
Whittier will switch
its Dial-A-Ride provider to MV Transportation, after 30 years of service by
Western Transit, starting Wednesday, August 1. The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus is
now offering a day
pass that allows unlimited travel on its buses for $2.50. In mid-August, Pacific
Adventures Cruises will launch
high-speed catamaran service between Marina Del Rey and Catalina
Island. Pasadena will receive two Toyota Priuses while also consider
building a compressed natural gas station as part of its efforts to green
a recently uncovered 2000 study of the Las
Vegas monorail revealed ridership projections that were
lower than expected but in line with current ridership trends. The study was
prepared by no other than transit obstructionist Wendell Cox.
The Los Angeles City Planning Department released a list of sweeping
zoning changes that the City Council will vote on during the week. The ordinance
would remove restrictions as to how many units can be placed in a single building.
The ordinance would also encourage the construction of smaller
apartment spaces, a concept that abounds in New York
and San Francisco .
he Los Angeles Times
favorable editorial that welcomed the new regulations as a means to make downtown
a true city center while preserving more suburban settings elsewhere. LA City
Councilmember Jan Perry expressed
her support in an op-ed that also responded to detractors of the plan. Additionally,
architecture writer Chris Hawthorne gave his opinion as to how a more urban and
dense Los Angeles could
lead to architectural
and pedestrian news, the City of Montclair
and a property owner are at odds over a half-acre property that would
for a grade separation at Union Pacific tracks. A ceremony for several rebuilt
facilities at Will
Beach doubled as a dedication
of a beach bikeway to the late councilmember Marvin Braude.
Vey : As Long Beach
explores building a streetcar, a Long Beach Press Telegram editorial blasted
the idea by pointing towards Portland
, Oregon , as a model of how not
to plan. The piece cited research from the Cato Institute that claimed a streetcar
would invariably lead to higher density, greater traffic congestion, and expensive
housing. What does it suggest? Detach transportation from housing in planning
and undo "counterproductive zoning." (The piece also took a cheap shot
at former Portland mayor
Neil Goldschmidt, who pushed for the streetcar and said planning policies during
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.
Angeles and Orange
gone their separate ways when it comes to taming traffic congestion. Whereas
the former has placed emphasis on rail and public transportation, Orange
County has been widening
freeways at a hurried pace. Nowhere is this dichotomy more pronounced than at
the county line, where several freeways will be widened at the behest of Orange
County . The point comes
at the heels of a study commissioned by the Orange County Transportation Authority,
with respondents favoring carpool lanes where drivers can enter
and exit the lanes whenever they want; Los Angeles County Metro is considering
Do you like
litter on roadways? No? Well, neither does Caltrans, which is coping with a
surge in roadside trash. In Los Angeles and
, trash collected rose nearly 30 percent, to about 50,000 cubic yards.
Picking it up is hurting Caltrans in the pocketbook: Last year, the agency spent
$60 million on cleanup, $20 million more than in previous years. Worse yet, citations
for littering have been on a decline.
City of Los Angeles seeks
better way to count cars on streets, especially with new mixed-use projects
that could adversely affect traffic. Los
Angeles is also on the verge of widening
Sepulveda Blvd. near LAX. The Los Angeles Daily News takes a look the
ultimate photo-op of politicians: Fixing
potholes. Also, will "
slugging", where drivers pick up passengers just to use the carpool lanes,
become fashionable in Los Angeles
San Juan Capistrano officials are asking Caltrans to perform
an environmental study, against the latter's wishes, for a widening of Ortega
Highway (State Highway Route 74), which has become an unlikely commuter route
between Orange and Riverside Counties. In Barstow
, officials are unsure of what to do with a money-losing
alternative fuel station. The complete closure of State Highway Route 138
in San Bernardino County
affecting businesses along the highway portion in Los
Angeles County .
San Diego officials
agreed on asking the state for $511
million from Proposition 1B for highway improvements.
truckers will soon face an onslaught
of new regulations that may financially cripple them. Already, many truckers
must live on declining income, after expenses. A good number of truckers are not
unionized and thus powerless to ask for better wages and conditions, an indirect
result of deregulation in 1980. The Clean Trucks Program brought about by the
Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles
will fund replacement of older and sootier tractors so that truckers
may gain access to the ports. However, many truckers are themselves confused about
how this program may help or hurt them.
the Whittier Daily News takes a jab against lax
truck regulation at the federal level. The state Air Resources Board mandated
that construction vehicles, which account for 20% of California
's diesel pollution according to estimates, be retrofitted
or replaced within 13 years. Health advocates pushed for the changes, which
will start in 2010, while industry
representatives lobbied hard against them.
strike by seaport clerks has been avoided. The Long Beach Press Telegram
the decision by shippers and terminal operators to share the wealth of its
booming harbors with its workers, with modest wage increases and better health
benefits. Port clerks had various
opinions about the negotiations. Meanwhile, c olumnist Steve Westly expresses
his support for SB
974, which would charge container fees to fund port pollution mitigation.
The idea is strongly
favored by those residing near the ports.
consortium of Westside and South
Bay politicos recently sent
a letter to Villaraigosa on a proposal to shift the northernmost runway of
LAX further north. The letter expressed opposition for the city's "single-minded
resolve to move runways north into the Westchester
and Playa del Rey neighborhoods." Leaders articulated disappointment that
Los Angeles is
not prioritizing regionalization as outlined in the LAX Master Plan.
state pension system known as CalPERS will launch a new
investment program that puts money into infrastructure improvements. The state
Teacher's Retirement System already took a step in this direction last month.
The concept of using pension funds to fund infrastructure improvements is common
in Canada , Australia
and Europe, but is relatively new in the United
States . Such investments can yield returns as
high as 14%.
U.S. Senate committee is expected
to approve a $104 billion transportation and housing measure this week. Among
other things, $1 million would be allotted to Metrolink to fund the "sealed
corridors" project in the San Fernando Valley
, while $250,000 would be used for soundwalls along the 210 Freeway in La Cañada
Flintridge. U.S. Representative Howard "Buck" McKeon secured $500,000
in federal funds for a cross-valley
highway in Santa Clarita. Not included in the bill were funds
for a Gold Line Extension and the Alameda Corridor East, both through the San
Gabriel Valley .
Don't Forget : Space is still available for the Thunderhead
Training seminar on August 24-26. The intense curriculum offered by the Thunderhead Alliance
will teach you how to effectively fight for improvements. L earn 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).
is a list of other recent developments:
24 : The Long Beach City Council unanimously approved
a plan to identify new
bicycle routes that would connect the Los Angeles
and San Gabriel
Rivers . New bikeways would
connect Cal State Long Beach with the San Gabriel
River and downtown Long
Beach with the southeast area, offering connections to Orange
County bike routes. Signage
would be installed to identify the new bikeways.
North County Times of San Diego printed
that gave a thumbs-down to a mixed-use project in San
Marcos . The San Marcos City Council previously voted 4-1
to build a transit-oriented
development at Palomar Station, a future stop of the Sprinter DMU between
Escondido and Oceanside
. The proposal stirred up controversy from residents during the 11th
hour session. Many deemed the idea "immoral" because the development
would be built next to industrial businesses, thus exposing its occupiers to cancer-causing
: The final segment of the 210 Freeway in Rialto
to traffic. Drivers waited throughout the morning and made
lines to be the first to drive on it. The segment was dedicated to the late
San Bernardino Congressman George Brown, Jr. Though most
spoke favorably of the completion, Highland
and Redlands residents
expressed concern that their portions of the 210 will be swamped with traffic.
San Gabriel Valley
residents complain that much of the traffic from a previous segment
of the 210 has spilled onto its local streets.
30 : The Los Angeles City Board of Public Works approved
an environmental report for a rush-hour
reversible lane and bike lanes for the Mulholland Tunnel on Sepulveda
Blvd. through the Sepulveda
Pass. The $11.3 million
project met stern opposition from a homeowners group in Bel Air and the Encino
Neighborhood Council. Consideration of the project now moves to the Los Angeles
and Arrivals : Metro appointed
Mike Cannell as the new rail general manager, starting Monday, August 6. Cannell
has 27 years of experience in transit industry who most recently worked with the
Gold Line Construction Authority. Cannell replaces Gerald Francis, who left to
become assistant CEO at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority last
Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, August
1, 6:30 p.m., Marvin
Center , 6262
Van Nuys Blvd. , Van Nuys. CANCELLED.
Metro Line Construction Authority : Thursday, August
2, 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, August
2, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435
Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320 , Los Angeles
Gateway Cities Sector Public Hearing: Tuesday, August 7, 7 p.m., Norwalk
Arts & Sports Center, 13200
Clarkdale Ave. , Norwalk .
Westside/Central Governance Council Meeting and Public Hearing: Wednesday, August 8, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, August 9, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Gateway Cities Governance Council Meeting and Public Hearing : Thursday, August 9, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240
Firestone Blvd. , Downey .
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, August 10, 9.30 a.m., Carson
Community Center , 801
E. Carson St. , Carson .
Committee Meetings: Friday, August 10, 10 a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700
S. Flower St. , 26th floor, Los
Angeles . CANCELLED.
Transit Advocates: Saturday, August 11, 1 p.m., Angelus
Plaza , Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St. , Los Angeles .
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, August 13, 9 a.m.,
Board Hearing Room, 600 Main St.
, Orange .
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council Meeting and Public Hearing: Monday,
August 13, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita
Ave. (near El Monte
bus station), El Monte .
onsider attending our monthly Transit Coalition
Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, August
28 - 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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