To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Traffic Evaporation

Traffic Evaporation.doc

 Posted by Ellen Biasin on No On Measure J Facebook page. You'll need to download your own copy to get to the links mentioned in it.

 Traffic evaporation is a phenomenon that has resulted from strategic removal of road space previously dedicated to motor vehicles. This is not the expected result. Imagine improving traffic flow by closing roads or lanes to cars! By recognizing this phenomenon and understanding the necessary factors to reach traffic evaporation, some progressive cities around the world are enjoying a reduction in traffic as they transform these sequestered public spaces back into places for people to play, shop, relax and connect.

The European Commission is one of the first agencies to formally recognize and demonstrate this phenomenon in their 2004 report: Reclaiming city streets for people — Chaos or quality of life?
One of the most profound examples of reclaiming streets for people is taking place all across New York City. Make sure to click through this slide show of changes along Broadway and take a look at this video that highlights their experience with traffic evaporation:

New York City is only one of several U.S. cities taking bold steps toward reclaiming space for their citizens. San Francisco recently carved a public park out of one of their most dangerous intersections. Watch this video for the inspiring story:

Disappearing Traffic? is a civil engineering peer journal paper that examined 70 case studies and included input from over 200 transportation officials worldwide with surprising results.
This academic paper explains some of the factors that must be considered when striving to acheive traffic evaporation: Price of Anarchy in Transportation Networks: Efficiency and Optimality Control

Mentioned in the above paper is the Braess' Paradox which is a factor in some cases of Traffic Evaporation. In the 1960's, German Professor Dietrich Braess discovered that adding capacity to a network that allows selfish choice by the users (such as our roadway system) can sometimes reduce the performance of that network. Those of you who have seen the movie "A Beautiful Mind" are familiar with the Nash Equilibrium that taps the tendancy for selfish choices. Braess discoved that the Nash Equilibrium in networks such as our roadway systems is not actually optimal for performance. This paper also does a good job of explaining: The Braess Paradox

For another viewpoint away from the benefits of traffic evaporation for easing traffic congestion, read this article: How Traffic Jams Help the Environment. So let's look at reclaiming public space from traffic lanes knowing that many times traffic evaporation will occur and if it doesn't, well that's a good thing, too.


Freeway removal is the most dramatic means of reducing dedicated motor vehicle space. Some of the more famous freeway removals in recent years have taken place in downtown San Francisco (resulting from earthquakes), the Chattanooga Riverfront, Milwaukee and along the Seine River in Paris (resulting from a mayor's project). This web site offers links to these and similar stories as well us proposed freeway removals around the world: http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/index.html
This recent article highlights the struggle for a proposed freeway removal in Boston, Massachusetts:  The SE Expressway: Asphalt roadblock to the sea
Source: www.OneStreet.org

Huff: Measure J Could Hinder Transportation Projects 


The wording on Measure J does not guarantee that the projects promised under Measure R will be delivered

Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) made his case before the State Senate in opposition of AB 1446. This week’s Capitol Comment is video of his address from the senate floor.

The measure was approved by the senate recently and puts Measure J on the November ballot for Los Angeles County residents. Huff, who represents Glendora in the State Senate, claims the measure will hurt infrastructure projects slated for funding in the 29th Senate District, according to his staff.

Measure J asks voters to extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax for another 30-year period, from mid-2039 to mid-2069, officials said.

But Huff says the wording of the measure does not contain any guarantees that the projects promised under Measure R will be delivered, and that includes the extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Claremont, according to his office.

He also argued that other Inland Valley projects are at risk if voters approve Measure J.

2012 Freeways Without Futures Revisited

New Opportunities for Retrofit, Removal, and Revitalization


 [It's a CNU article--Congress for the New Urbanism, with a head showing that the 2012 Transportation Summit will be held in Long Beach this September.]

Posted byCharles E. Miller on the No 710 on Ave 64 Facebook page. The 710 Extension is mentioned at the bottom of the article.


Urban freeways, often cited as congested eyesores wreaking social and economic devastation on city neighborhoods, are really opportunities in disguise.
The Congress for the New Urbanism argues that urban freeways can be removed or repurposed to better serve cities and their residents. Successful highway-to-boulevard conversions - in cities from Seoul, South Korea to Milwaukee, Wisconsin - reconnect neighborhoods, improve access to key resources such as waterfronts, and put underperforming land to use. Urban freeway removals are no longer isolated instances of success; freeway removal is a now transformative movement in American transportation policy.
It’s been six months since CNU released the 2012 Freeways without Futures list. During that time, Mayor Bloomberg has lamentably denied New York City’s public an honest conversation about the Sheridan Expressway removal alternative, and the City of New Orleans has made slow progress with its analysis of the Claiborne Overpass and its corridor. While CNU continues to work closely with advocates in both of the above cities, dozens of projects to the CNU North American freeways database have been added, and CNU has been approached by advocates pressing for freeway removal in their hometowns in 26 locales.
Through continued outreach and advocacy, the additional projects have been identified worthy of the Freeways without Futures moniker:

McGrath Highway – Somerville, Massachusetts

Since 1928, the McGrath Highway, between the Charles and Mystic Rivers in Boston, has increased motorists’ travel speed, to the detriment of all other modes. When the McCarthy Overpass portion was elevated in the ‘50s, its effects on the surrounding neighborhoods were nearly immediate. The overpass physically separates East Somerville neighborhoods (current conditions are documented here), and impedes crossing by both pedestrians and vehicles struggling to get through confusing intersections beneath the elevated structure from Somerville Avenue to Highland Avenue. Largely in response to its declining condition and residents’ concerns about the overpass’ affect on health, traffic and livability, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) conducted a study regarding the future of McGrath.
Traffic on the McGrath has decreased fifteen percent in the last decade and is expected to decline further with the extension of Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) Green Line. Right now, current traffic counts on the elevated McGrath are comparable to the walkable, mixed-use Massachusetts Avenue. The LivableStreets Alliance is advocating for the removal of McGrath as a highway, but MassDOT will continue to spend up to $11 million in repairs before the state will seriously consider removing McGrath in 2022. Boston has already made the decision to replace another overpass in the region: Jamaica Plain’s Casey Overpass, which disrupts Fredrick Law-Olmstead’s jewel-like city parks. With its existing community support and the right political vision, Somerville will not be far behind.

Robert Moses Parkway – Niagara Falls, New York

Robert Moses Parkway
Stretching approximately 18 miles along the Niagara Gorge rim, the Robert Moses Parkway stands as a barrier between Niagara Falls and its tremendous natural asset. It’s also standing in the way of increased ecotourism and restored parkland. Initially conceived to service industries along the waterfront, the parkway is now underutilized and expensive to maintain. The parkway’s declining traffic counts prompted the closure of two of the four lanes. The non-profit organization Wild Ones, the Niagara River Greenway Commission, and the City of Niagara Falls have studied the northern section for full removal and ecological restoration.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster has shown considerable vision and leadership in guiding his city toward re-conceptualizing the value of Niagara Falls’ street grid and its parkland. Meanwhile, Senator Charles Schumer has also thrown his support behind an alternatives analysis of the southern section of the roadway by the State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The rich possibilities for restoring parkland, boosting ecotourism, and reconnecting the community to its waterfront hold promise for Niagara Falls and the region.

Terminal Island Freeway – Long Beach, California

Terminal Island Freeway
Since 2009, community advocates have dreamed of converting the little-used Terminal Island Freeway into a local street and parks. The freeway serves port freight traffic with no connections to surrounding freeways. With this tremendous amount of underutilized right-of-way available to the City of Long Beach, advocates are now arguing that their dreams can become a reality.
Under CalTrans’ Transportation Planning Grant Program, the Long Beach City Council applied for a grant to study the freeway’s removal and conversion into local street connections and parks. Streetsblog has called the proposal “the largest freeway removal project in Southern California history.”
CNU will contribute to this conversation at the 2012 CNU Transportation Summit held in Long Beach this September. A working meeting aimed to advance CNU's Project for Transportation Reform, urban freeway removal experts will convene to offer a new multimodal vision for Long Beach’s nearby Shoreline Drive. The possibilities for removal and retrofit in Long Beach are exciting – and accessible to the public. Learn about how to attend the 2012 CNU Transportation Summit by clicking here.

Highway Road Blocks

Whereas some communities are fighting to tear down freeways and restore value-adding street networks, others are working to preserve their communities from freeway devastation. In Pasadena, No-710 advocates and neighborhood associations are pressing against Caltrans on their proposal to expand freeway capacity. Caltrans offers only two solutions to congestion: expand the surface capacity of the freeway and bulldoze valuable neighborhoods, or sink cash into a tunnel. Residents, business owners and community supporters are now actively resisting the expansion. They are challenging outdated thinking (and spending habits) and are demanding better performing infrastructure.
The urban freeway removal movement shows that examining the value and purpose of communities’ streets to go beyond mobility is not controversial - it’s common sense. For more information on urban highway removal (and roadblocks) or to get involved with CNU, please visit CNU's Highways-to-Boulevards page.

San Rafael Neighborhoods Association Meeting

For Immediate Release
Ron Paler, President

 San Rafael Neighborhoods Association
General Meeting
Sept. 5th. 7pm
Church of the Angels
1100 Ave. 64
SRNA will hold a meeting open to the public on September 5th, 2012, 7pm, at the Church of the Angels on Ave 64, Pasadena, Ca. The meeting will be held in the hall adjacent to the church (where we vote). Light refreshments and cookies will be served. Seating is limited.
The general meeting is for interested neighbors to meet SRNA and other neighbors,get updates on the issues affecting our neighborhoods, etc. An update on the 710 will be discussed.
We hope to see you there. 

 Together, we can continue to make a difference!
San Rafael Neighborhoods Association
  E-mail to Pasadena City Council Members and City Officials
To: jacquerobinson@cityofpasadena.net, mmcaustin@cityofpasadena.net, jmcintyre@cityofpasadena.net, gmasuda@cityofpasadena.net, vgordo@cityofpasadena.net, smadison@cityofpasadena.net, ttornek@cityofpasadena.net, "Bogaard, Bill" <bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net>, "Beck, Michael" <mbeck@cityofpasadena.net>, "Dock, Fred" <fdock@cityofpasadena.net>
Cc: pdrouet@earthlink.net
Subject: Pasadena needs to oppose the 710 tunnel -- please add this item to your agenda
Date: Sep 4, 2012 10:48 PM
Dear esteemed council members and city officials,

I'm sure you have received many letters on this topic already.  Here is one more asking you to place the 710 topic on the agenda on the next city council meeting and to oppose the new 710 tunnel freeway extension.   Please do not hide behind Measure A.   Measure A was in favor of a very different project, referring to "completing the 710 Freeway extension between the 1-210 and the 1-10 Freeways," and "the" project consisted of a large surface freeway along a well-specified alignment.  As you know, Metro/Caltrans are now studying an entirely new project, from scratch, beginning with evaluations of alternatives that span light rail, BRT, and new freeways ranging from Highland Park to Arcadia.   This is not "the 710 Freeway extension."   This new project does not even have a specific alignment pinned down yet for its tunnel.   Or if it is "the" project from decades ago, then Metro/Caltrans is purposefully misleading the public into thinking they are supposedly studying a new project with no particular end objective construction project in mind.    If you need to, just oppose the entire study!    

Our beautiful city does not deserve to be at the end of the mega-exhaust pipe that will be the four mile tunnel from Alhambra to Pasadena's vibrant old town.   Why should Pasadena's downtown area end up receiving the thousands of dirty trucks delivering non-local goods from the southern ports to points north and east?   What benefit does pollution, lung cancer, congestion, and declining property values bring to our wonderful city?    Will you really allow this to be approved under your watch?   We, as a united city, must take action.   Now.

Other points to consider:

The project is being studied due to earmarked funds in Measure R.   This money can be transfered to other projects beginning in 2019.   We should make sure this happens.   We should never have allowed the project to be included in Measure R in the first place.   Measure R was falsely trumpeted as a transit tax!     We should approve a resolution requesting Metro to commit to this transfer.

There has never been a comprehensive comparative study done between this project and the many other worthy projects worth completing in the region.    The LRTP lists the project as a top-tier project, but does not back it up with evidence and comparative analysis.   

And never let anyone tell you there is a "710 gap."   The I-710 ends in Alhambra.   Just like SR-2 ends in Atwater Village / Silver Lake.   Or the SR-90 ends in Culver City.   No one in their right mind would suggest there is a "gap" between the current SR-2 terminus and the 101 and even the 405.   The original plans called for SR-2 to be completed all the way through Beverly Hills to the 405!  Similarly the SR-90 was supposed to go through South LA to the I-110!     There is no gap.   Caltrans is simply trying to build a brand NEW mega-freeway.

Sincerely Yours,
Yu-Han Chang

1107 Laguna Rd
Pasadena, CA 91105

Yu-Han Chang
Research Assistant Professor
Information Sciences Institute
Department of Computer Science, USC
(e) ychang@isi.edu
(m) +1 617 678 2486