Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 33
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.
State legislators axed
almost all of the $1.3 billion from the Spillover that would have gone towards
public transportation operations and also cut high speed rail funding to $15 million.
One Sacramento Bee editorial
suggests that legislators take a trip on transit and see the benefits of properly
funding public transportation. Thanks to the impasse, roads in the Bay Area and
elsewhere are deferring
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.
A milestone was reached last week when heavy
construction began for the Expo light rail line
connecting Downtown L.A. with Culver
City . Specifically, construction crews started work on
a below-ground trench that would run southeast of the University
of Southern California .
Officials expect the first phase of the Expo Line will see 43,000 passenger boardings
every weekday by 2025, with some believing it would jump to 72,000 if extended
to Santa Monica .
Onto high speed rail news, an environmental document concluded that a route
through the Altamont Pass
and Union City would
cheapest and most environmentally friendly. Union
City officials are elated, since this would boost efforts
to turn their BART station into a major transportation hub. However, others believe
there is little political support for the route. Closer to home, Palmdale officials
a request to fund an environmental study for a proposed MagLev train connecting
the Antelope Valley
with Orange County
After rain closed down the New York
subway system to its embarrassment, Los
Angeles transit officials assured that weather-related
shutdowns of its subway are nonexistent.
Big Blue Bus will modify
bus lines at Santa Monica
College to serve a new parking
lot. Orange County
is ready to expand Metrolink service in its jurisdiction and will
$1 billion over several decades in doing so. Also, a third
track is under construction in the Cajon
Pass , while software problems
and increased costs threaten
to stop implementation of a universal fare system in the Bay Area.
A week after the fatal collapse of a highway bridge in Minneapolis
, officials are placating concerns about reportedly deficient bridges
in the state. Caltrans has already inspected
69 bridges of similar construction
(11 of them located in Southern California ),
bridge needing closure according to officials. To be on the safe side, a previous
proposal to increase
ferry service in the Bay Area to supplant failed infrastructure resurfaced.
Upstate, legislators will hold a hearing on the often confusing safety
designations of bridges. Caltrans also revealed that 228
bridges in the state are deemed "structurally deficient" and in
need of repair, 17
of which are located in Los
Angeles County .
Much more concerning is the
problem of funding upgrades to highways. U.S. President George W. Bush dismissed
increasing the federal gas tax, which hasn't increased since 1993, to fund
road repairs. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty twice axed plans to increase the
state gas tax. Some advocate a switch to public-private
financing as an alternative to higher gas taxes. In one peculiar form of such
financing, states would lease
highways to private firms who would maintain them.
To distance itself
from the ever popular L.A. Auto Show, organizers of the second Alternative Energy
and Transportation Expo will hold
their event in October this year, a month before the Auto Show. The event
will feature panels on climate change and energy efficiency and will showcase
emerging technologies. Over 10,000 people attended the event last year.
For those unfamiliar, Critical Mass is a chance event where hundreds of bicyclists
ride down the street as an act of solidarity. However, recent incidents have placed
Critical Mass in
a negative light. Bicyclists often clash with drivers on the streets. Observers
note an air of arrogance on the part of cyclists. Nevertheless, the monthly event
attracts attention to bicycle transportation and improvements in bicycle infrastructure,
as it has done in San Francisco
, where Critical Mass first started in 1992.
will start construction of a river
walk that will connect pedestrians in northwest Glendale
with Los Angeles and Griffith
Park . Oceanside
voted to revamp its Bicycle Master Plan with the intent of becoming
bicycle friendly community". Sacramento
warming to bicycles, with one health writer claiming that the increase in
female cyclists comes in proportion to a perceived increase in safety.
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.
For those looking to vent their driving frustrations, look no further than L.A. Can't Drive,
a blog dedicated to decrying idiotic acts often seen on the road. The site was
subject of a piece by former newspaper editor Robert Rector, who warned that,
in actuality, there are even worse drivers in other parts of the country.
In light of this sad reality, please heed to this advice from a San Bernardino
Sun editorial and pay
attention to the road.
ranked high on concerns in a public meeting regarding a proposed megamall
at Warner Center
of bandit taxi drivers are on the increase in Los
Angeles . Traffic fees paid for by developers to fund improvements
on Ventura Blvd.
unused, to which the Los Angeles Daily News provided a finger-wagging
Onto more positive notes, Cal State San Bernardino
received a major
federal grant to study innovative traffic solutions. A study suggests that
carpools to enter and exit at any point along a carpool lane would be safer
than current practice of doing so only at designated points. Orange
County transportation officials
voted to jumpstart
freeway improvements with a $20 million infusion of cash. The Pasadena City
to upgrade its traffic signal system.
Gavalt : The fight to build (or stop, depending on your
take) Las Lomas took a weird turn, as representatives of developer Dan Palmer
unveiled a proposal to build a station
inside a tunnel betwee n Sylmar and
Newhall currently used by Metrolink trains. Residents of the proposed Las Lomas
community would be directed 30
stories below to platforms. Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed
was featured in a
KTLA 5 news clip regarding the proposal on August 13.
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:
6 : The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority
approved purchasing new technology that will cut
diesel emissions from buses using the Bob
. The airport will use $171,556 to retrofit 11 diesel buses that are
used to shuttle passengers to and from parking lots.
The Los Angeles
Board of Airport Commissioners unanimously adopted "Sustainability Vision
and Principles" that would encourage environmentally-sound
operations at Los Angeles World Airports. The adopted principles come after
the Board directed staff to develop a comprehensive sustainability program that
addresses all environmental aspects of operations at its four airports last January.
August 7 : The Los Angeles City Council approved
an ordinance allowing denser housing in Downtown L.A. Residential developers looking
to build in downtown will be offered incentives to allot affordable housing units
in their projects. New
rules would allow high-rises to reduce the size of lobbies, let them build
closer to sidewalks and make it legal to build extremely small units. The rules
signed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Questions
remain on whether the new rules would supply much-needed housing and deter
automobile use. One author even questioned the sudden rush to "
Manhattanize" Los Angeles
South Korea-based Rotem Co. announced it would abandon
plans to build a manufacturing facility at a site near Taylor Yard. L.A. City
Councilmember Ed Reyes objected to the proposal, claiming that a community park
would better suit the site. Rotem will instead manufacture the new Metrolink cars
at a leased site in Philadelphia
Santa Clarita Transit unveiled two
new articulated buses that would serve to shuttle students across town. The
agency expects to save fuel with the 60-foot CNG buses. The new buses will also
sport a new paint scheme, which will be placed on all buses in honor of the 20th
anniversary of the city's incorporation.
The Redondo Beach City Council
voted to commission designs for a new
transit center near the South Bay Galleria. Early renderings show the space
could offer room for 14 bus bays, six more than the Galleria terminal, as well
as a drop-off lot, bicycle amenities and extra parking, among other options.
August 8 : Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed
attended the LOSSAN Board meeting held in Santa
Barbara . Attendees discussed a recently completed strategic
plan for the northern portion of the corridor. Reed also spoke to Caltrans Chief
of Rail Bill Bronte and Orange County Transportation Authority Chair Art Brown
on local developments while aboard the Pacific Surfliner.
August 9 : Two local Congressmembers clashed with a Federal
Railroad Administration representative over freight
rail safety regulations during a House committee hearing held in Norwalk
. Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-Santa Fe Springs) and Linda
Sanchez (D-Lakewood) believed federal law should be changed to give states more
power in regulating railroad activities. FRA deputy administrator Clifford Eby,
however, argued that current federal regulations work fine and warned against
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer accused
federal air regulators of stalling on rules for highly polluting ocean vessels
and said Congress must act instead. Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein are working
on legislation that would expedite improvements aimed at reducing port pollution.
Shipping industry representatives and federal air officials countered that international
regulations are in the works and could be implemented just as quickly to a greater
global effect. The matter was the subject of a Pasadena Star News editorial.
The Burbank City Traffic and Transportation Committee approved a $2.50
surcharge on taxicab fares at Bob
. Committee members believe it will lessen the added costs to cab
providers for providing transportation to the airport. Those costs include paying
the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to lease taxi-waiting areas, employing
a person to coordinate customer pickups and queuing in the taxi waiting area,
as well as covering the costs associated with dispatching individual cabs. A Glendale
News Press editorial blasted
the fee by claiming it would be burdensome to the consumer.
August 12 : Computer problems paralyzed international flights
at LAX for more than ten hours. A
glitch in computers used by U.S. Customs was responsible for stranding international
passengers, which was followed by another
glitch. It was only until Monday that many of the stranded passengers were
to leave on their flights. After things
returned to normal, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa demanded
a probe of the incident.
Metro is encouraging everyone to take up vanpooling.
To this effect, the agency launched
a five-year, $19-million program that would encourage commuters to ride together
in vans. A vanpool could save solo drivers up to $615 a month in gas, car maintenance
and insurance and cut at least 20 minutes off an average commute through use of
carpool lanes, according to Metro. For more information or to sign up, visit www.metro.net/vanpool, or call 1.800.COMMUTE.
Events : Metro
Special Board Meeting – Long
Range Plan Workshop, Thursday,
August 16, 9 a.m. Board Room, Metro Gateway Headquarters.
Board Meeting: Friday, August 24, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room,
, 12th Floor, 818 W.
Seventh St. , Los Angeles .
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!
Orange County Transportation Authority Board
Meeting: Monday, September 10 and 24,
9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
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