The Los Angeles Daily News asked its readers if Southern California would ever grow comfortable with the idea of bicycling to work. The newspaper received a variety of responses, with most approving the notion. However, some letters to the editor note that, while riding a bicycle to work would be fantastic, the concept simply isn’t practical for the majority of people for a variety of reasons. One letter stresses the importance of both bicyclists and private automobiles to cooperate in sharing the roads. Another letter adds the idea of “bicycle freeways” that may make bike commuting even more attractive.
Amtrak continues to receive its newest locomotives for the Northeast Corridor, with the national passenger railroad receiving its third one in Delaware. The Siemems-built electric locomotives operate up to 125 mph and feature a variety of safety and maintenance features. However, the $466 million purchase for a total of 70 locomotives has also met criticism. Amtrak’s Inspector General accused the railroad of making purchases without an assessment of how many new vehicles it actually needs. The IG concluded that Amtrak needs only 56 locomotives, while Amtrak counters that purchasing 70 locomotives right now would avoid the uncertainty of buying them in the future due to ever-inadequate funding.
The Transit Coalition Community Engagement Director Nicholas Ventrone traveled in and out of the Colorado Plateau region and surrounding states and gathered useful information on how these western states are addressing present-day transportation, economic and environmental issues. The Coalition saw in action how a rapid transit system was established in Zion National Park to eliminate–that’s right–eliminate traffic and parking problems within the park. How about express bypass lanes along the major thoroughfares near Salt Lake City? How is the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System near the California-Nevada state border faring? Would any of these solutions work in Southern California? Stay tuned for more information as the Transit Coalition places the information gathered into perspective.
Glendale News-Press contributor Ron Kaye makes his opinion on the 710 Tunnel project known, marveling at how well organized the opposition has grown. Activists took advantage of a tunnel fire at the interchange of the 5 and 2 Freeways as proof that a tunnel would be dangerous to operate. Even though Measure R allots $780 million for the corridor, Kaye suggests spending it on transit and street improvements. With new LA Mayor Eric Garcetti stating his opposition to the tunnel, Kaye surmises that the Metro Board may have enough votes to stop the tunnel once and for all.
The Petersen Automotive Museum is auctioning cars to fund major renovations to the museum building. However, when most museums sell items, funds are typically directed toward expanding its collections. According to museum experts, the Petersen goes against standards that are central to most museums’ missions set by accrediting associations that aim to maintain historical preservation for public interest. So far, the museum has sold $8.5 million in cars. As the Petersen is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, Bruce Meyer, vice chairman of the Petersen board, said the building needs to undergo improvements, which requires money. Not everyone is happy about these changes.
Two new Hollywood skyscrapers may be in the works, so long as the proposed site isn’t located near a fault line. Known as the Millennium project, the towers would be constructed near the Capitol Records building. One would be 35 stories high, while the other would be 39. Opponents of this proposal have cited that the Hollywood fault may still be active. John Parrish, chief of the California Geological Survey, said the study on the fault may take up until 2014 to be completed. Caltrans is also concerned about the effect this development could have on traffic on the 101 Freeway.
Councilmember Mike Bonin of the 11th district appears ready to tackle transportation issues facing the Westside of Los Angeles. Bonin, who is also Vice Chair of the Expo Construction Authority and Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee, acknowledged the need of more ways for commuters on the Westside to move north and south. He does not particularly support the 405 expansion, and said what should have been done instead is work on the LAX rail connection into the San Fernando Valley. Bonin, along with San Fernando Valley Councilmember Paul Krekorian, were appointed to the Metro Board of Directors by Mayor Eric Garcetti along with affordable housing advocate Jacqueline Dupont-Walker. Listen to the LA Streetsblog interview here.
The CSUN Tiger Team met with community members this past week to seek support by presenting transportation projects in progress. Last week they met with businessman Victor Griego; On Monday, with Councilmember Felipe Fuentes of the 7th district. On Wednesday, students met with San Fernando businessman Ralph Torres at his restaurant, Casa Torres in Sylmar, who generously provided lunch to those in attendance; They also ran into Maria Townsend from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s housing department by surprise while waiting to meet with Torres on Wednesday. Among projects in the works, spearheaded by the interns include an extension of the Metro 741 to Sylmar and the addition of bike storage on the Metro Orange Line.
Finally, graduates from the College of Charleston in South Carolina bandied together to create a new website that brings multiple bus companies together to sell seats. Known as Bustripping, the website offers online ticket sales where users can compare prices and schedules. However, two of the biggest intercity bus operators, Megabus and Greyhound, opted not to participate on account of the risks involved and will instead view things from afar, limiting travel choices.
Last week, the Metro Board approved a plan to accelerate Measure R transit projects but did not include a bid to update the financial picture for completing the Gold Line to Claremont. This left state lawmakers, Congressmembers and representatives from San Gabriel Valley cities steamed. These groups formed a coalition to support a request made by Boardmember Mike Antonovich to essentially include the project in the final list. That request failed to muster the necessary votes by the Board to pass, which means that Metro will not accelerate completion of the Gold Line to Claremont.