Purpose

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, December 19, 2012


Officials ask for answers on who makes final 710 decision 

 http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_22228230/officials-ask-answers-who-makes-final-710-decision

 By Lauren Gold, staff writer


Posted:   12/19/2012 08:20:59 PM PST
Updated:   12/19/2012 08:25:55 PM PST



 

 Vehicles enter and exit what would be the north end of the 710 Freeway that connects to the 210 north of California Avenue in Pasadena Wednesday, November 18, 2009. Caltrans has completed a feasibility study showing the possible routes for a 710 tunnel. (Sarah Reingewirtz)



Local political leaders are seeking clarification from Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority about which transportation agency has the final say in the environmental study for the Long Beach (710) Freeway extension.


The question was among those raised in a letter sent to Metro CEO Arthur Leahy and Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty last week from State Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge, Metro Board Member Ara Najarian and mayors from Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge and Glendale.

"We realized it wasn't clear which agency will be calling the shots on some, if not all, of the decisions being made," Najarian said.

He said the written Memorandum of Understanding spelling out the division of responsibility between the two agencies would provide that clarity.

"In any sort of project this large, there has to be a document that spells out the rights between the state transportation agency and the local one," he said. "There just has to be, it's just too large and complicated and complex of a project."

Local elected officials, including Liu, local mayors, Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, and former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, also met with both Caltrans and Metro officials this week to discuss lingering issues in the freeway study; their concerns included the final options on the table and the homes Caltrans still owns in the surface freeway path.

Metro is wrapping up the first phase of a three-year EIR on the project, which would close the freeway gap between Alhambra and Pasadena. It has narrowed the alternatives down to five: "no build," traffic management solutions, bus, light rail and a dual-bore underground freeway tunnel.

Metro is set to release its report on the final alternatives this month, and Caltrans is in the process of finding a way to transfer the homes to new management, officials said.

Many residents and elected officials are unsure when they will have a chance to comment on the final five options before Metro launches its in-depth environmental study, said Suzanne Reed, Liu's chief of staff.

"We'd like to see a little bit more clarity in the process itself because people are asking us to have it defined, to understand the administrative process and the opportunities for public comment and who is making decisions," Reed said.

The letter also seeks clarification on the agencies' differing positions on the Caltrans-owned homes in the 710 path in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles; the two agencies took opposing sides on Liu's recent bill to sell the homes, which Gov. Jerry Brown ultimately vetoed.

Metro spokeswoman Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap said the agency has received the letter and is "preparing a response."

Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler referred questions on the letter to Metro.

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said he and others have been frustrated with the EIR process so far, and he hopes the letter will get the attention of transportation officials in charge of the project.

"It is sometimes difficult to get information from Metro and from Caltrans and this letter is intended to make clear what questions exist and request that the information be provided," Bogaard said.

South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti said the recent meetings with officials from both agencies have been "promising," and he hopes the relationship between the agencies and the community will continue to improve as the EIR moves forward.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that we are making some process in at least their receptiveness to listen," Cacciotti said. "At least it seems they are making an effort to really work with the communities on this. But we've got a long way to go, it's a long process, so we'll just try to engage to get the best results."

Train travel makes a comeback 

 http://thesource.metro.net/2012/12/18/transportation-headlines-tuesday-dec-18/

 (MSN Money) 


Interesting overview of some long-gone train routes that either will be or may be running again. Example: train service between Boston and Cape Cod will begin next summer for the first time in decades. Meanwhile, on the Left Coast, there may soon be a rail link between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, while Phoenix and Tucscon are exploring a rail connection. Hey, if Santa Fe and Albuquerque can do it, L.A.-L.V. and Phoenix-Tucson should be able to, too!
No parking required in mixed-use plan for Cornfield area

 http://thesource.metro.net/2012/12/18/transportation-headlines-tuesday-dec-18/

 (Curbed LA)
Wow — leave town for a few days and the world turns upside down. In a historic move, the city of Los Angeles Planning Commission approved new zoning laws that remove any kind of parking requirements for the neighborhoods along the Gold Line and near the Los Angeles River. It’s mostly industrial now, but the city would like to see the area be a mix of industry, retail and residential. The parking requirements were lifted to encourage developers to build (or rebuild) in the area — not to mention because the neighborhood is near three Gold Line stations as well as the Los Angeles State Historic Park.

Keep in mind that this is a section of river that under city plans will one day be lined with new parks. It’s downtown Los Angeles adjacent and in my view, could comfortably hold thousands more residents in precisely the kind of urban area that makes sense to develop/redevelop. Great news, people! BTW, the Curbed article has a nice zoning map of the area.

Public celebrates completion of new Gold Line Bridge in Arcadia

 http://thesource.metro.net/2012/12/18/public-celebrates-completion-of-new-gold-line-bridge-in-arcadia/

 Posted by Steve Hymon

Congress Members Grace Napolitano, left, and Judy Chu at the ceremony for the completion of the bridge. Immediately behind them are Metro Board Chairman Michael D. Antonovich, left, and Metro Board Member John Fasana.  

 Congress Members Grace Napolitano, left, and Judy Chu at the ceremony for the completion of the bridge. Immediately behind them are Metro Board Chairman Michael D. Antonovich, left, and Metro Board Member John Fasana.

 

While out of town over the weekend, I missed the public debut of the new Gold Line Bridge over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway in Arcadia. The 584-foot bridge will carry the Gold Line Foothill Extension between Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border.
Here is the news release issed bout the event by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency building the line:

Largest Single, Public Art/Transit Infrastructure Project in California Completed
Landmark Gold Line Bridge Features Distinctive Design by Award-winning Public Artist Andrew Leicester

MONROVIA, Calif.— The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority) marked the completion of the landmark Gold Line Bridge by giving guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk across the largest, single public art/transit infrastructure project in California, the 584-linear foot sculpture that will serve as the Gateway to the San Gabriel Valley.

The Gold Line Bridge spans the eastbound lanes of the I-210 freeway northeast of Los Angeles and is the most visible element of the 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project the Construction Authority is building between Pasadena and Azusa.
A view of the bridge looking west, where the Foothill Extension tracks will run in the freeway median. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.
A view of the bridge looking west, where the Foothill Extension tracks will run in the freeway median. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo: Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.
Photo: Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

The Construction Authority completed the first ever artist-designed transit bridge in California, on time and on budget; and celebrated this milestone with a Dec. 15 ceremony honoring the men and women who designed and built the bridge. During the event, the more than 350 guests were given an opportunity to walk across the bridge before the tracks are laid.

“The bridge is absolutely beautiful, ” commented U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano during the Completion Ceremony on Saturday. “I really have to thank the Construction Authority because they decided to make this a significant work of art.  I believe this will be an icon of the San Gabriel Valley.”

Designed by award-winning artist Andrew Leicester, the Gold Line Bridge is anchored by two, 25-foot ‘baskets’ that pay tribute to the indigenous peoples of the San Gabriel Valley and the oversize iconic roadside traditions of nearby Route 66. The distinctive bridge has a serpentine main underbelly featuring casted grooves and hatch marks that simulate the patterns found on the Western Diamondback snake, metaphorically referencing the spine of the transit system.

“The Construction Authority is proud to have created a functional piece of art that will inspire travelers and commuters for generations to come,” said Doug Tessitor, Construction Authority board chair and Glendora council member. “The Gold Line Bridge is representative of the rich and proud heritage of our region, and it will serve as a landmark for the San Gabriel Valley.”

The project is the first to incorporate such intricate design, structural and architectural elements into transit infrastructure. The Construction Authority re-imagined the design process for the dual-track bridge, making it possible for the art to lead the design and engineering. This groundbreaking collaboration resulted in the creation of a sculptural light rail bridge built for the same cost ($18.6 million) as was originally estimated for a typical light rail structure.

The Construction Authority brought the artist on early to lead the design process, before the design-build team was selected – the first time such an approach has been used on a Caltrans infrastructure project. In 2009, the agency issued a national call for artists. A committee of community stakeholders then selected Leicester from a group of 15 highly qualified public artists. Leicester spent several months developing design concepts for the bridge in advance of the architects, engineers and builders beginning their work.

As the design concept adviser, Leicester worked alongside Los Angeles-based design consultant, AECOM, and the bridge’s builder, Skanska USA, to ensure the final design and construction were true to the overall vision.

“Ninety-two percent of the materials and products used on the bridge were from local sources,” commented U.S. Representative Judy Chu, during her remarks at the ceremony. “That meant jobs for the area, and we are very pleased that the leaders of this project saw that this whole region could be involved and benefit from its construction.”

About the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

The Construction Authority is an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1999 by the California State Legislature. Its purpose is to extend the Metro Gold Line light rail line from Union Station to Montclair, along the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. The Construction Authority built the initial segment from Union Station to Pasadena and is underway on the Gold Line Foothill Extension. The Foothill Extension is a nearly $1.6 billion extension that will connect Pasadena to Montclair in two construction segments. The first segment, Pasadena to Azusa, is funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R and currently underway. Three design-build contracts, totaling more than $500 million will be overseen by the Construction Authority to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment, including the $18.6 million Gold Line Bridge. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation estimates that nearly 7,000 jobs and $1 billion in economic output will be generated during construction of the Pasadena to Azusa segment alone. That segment is on schedule to be completed in late 2015. For more information, visit: www.foothillextension.org.

New version of Go Metro mobile app available for download today

 http://thesource.metro.net/2012/12/18/new-version-of-go-metro-mobile-app-available-for-download-today/

Watch How the Long Beach Ground Moves During a 'Quake

 http://la.curbed.com/

Go to the website above for the video.

 One unexpected side effect of our giant urban oil field: sometimes oil and gas companies (like Signal Hill Petroleum in this case) create incredibly thorough monitoring systems that end up picking up a bunch of interesting earthquake information. In 2011, "a whole host of little earthquakes in L.A. rippled through the basin," and Signal Hill's network of instruments (seismometers were placed just 100 meters apart from each other) "captured them in unprecedented detail," according to Trembling Earth (via io9). Scientists at Caltech and Berkeley made a deal with the company to get a look at the data and created this awesome video showing "the elastic (seismic) waves of several earthquakes as they propagate from the hypocenter and rock the city block by block." (The four earthquakes start at 0:45, 2:20, 6:00, and 8:35). The line you see running diagonally on the map is the Newport-Inglewood Fault, the strike-slip fault that was responsible for the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. When the waves cross the fault, "they get held back and slowed down, forming an irregular jog or knick in the wavefield." More on all the science behind this over at TE [Trembling Earth].

Holden Endorses Trone in District 3 City Council Race

Sources said it was Holden who originally urged Trone to run for the City Council seat

 http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/holden-endorses-trone-in-district-3-city-council-race

 Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | 10:28 PM

 

 

 Ishmael Trone

Ishmael Trone’s pursuit of the open District 3 City Council seat got a major boost Wednesday when Chris Holden – who vacated the seat for a place in the State Assembly – said he endorses Trone’s candidacy.

Sources said it was Holden who originally urged Trone to run for the City Council seat.

Holden was sworn Dec. 3 into the California State Assembly for the new 41st Assembly District and is the now Majority Whip of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.

“He’s (Holden) the strongest endorsement thus far,” Trone said. “I have other endorsements in the pipeline. I had his endorsement from the beginning, which why I’m running.”

“He actually came to me (and) asked me to be his successor because of the long-term relationship that we have working in district,” said Trone, who is a member of the Pasadena Community Development Commission and the San Gabriel Valley Black Business Association.

And with the knowledge that he will be competing against John J. Kennedy and the Rev. Nicholas Benson for the City Council seat, Trone told Pasadena Now that his fundraising efforts will kick in right after the holiday season.

“But my infrastructure has been established for quite a few months,” said Trone, who estimates that he’ll have to raise at least $50,000 to stay competitive. “My website’s about to go out. My Facebook page and all my printings are being done right now.”

The District 3 Council seat cannot remain vacant for more than 75 days, according to City ordinances. Since the next election is set for March 5, 2013, and the winner won’t be sworn into office until May, it will be up the Council itself to appoint a temporary District 3 Council Member to serve in the meantime.

Council Members have indicated the seat will probably be filled a respected community member from the District, one who is not running in the election.

Trone is looking favorably at Joel Bryant, owner of Trademark Development, who has been involved in affordable housing projects for the City of Pasadena.

“He (Bryant) re-vitalized the Washington-El Molino corner where that troubled liquor store was,” Trone said. “He’s on the Rose Bowl Operating Committee. He’s working on the Rose Bowl renovation.”

If appointed, Bryant could make a further impact in the city when, as a City Council member appointee, he may asked to vote on whether an NFL team can use the Rose Bowl and on issues related to Metro’s proposed completion of the Long Beach (710) Freeway – both long-simmering issues for Pasadena residents.

“Obviously, that individual has to have some insight in those two issues,” Trone said. “You have the 710, you have the NFL which are very, very important to the entire city of Pasadena, not just to District 3. And then you have other quality of life matters.”

“It’s going to be interesting to see just how involved the person is going to be in that interim position. Is he going to engage with homeowners associations in the district who know the quality of life matters that are extremely important?” he said.

Trone pointed out there has not been a single community meeting in District 3 to discuss either the Long Beach (710) Freeway or NFL situations. He expressed concern that no interim representative would be armed with the District’s wishes in the absence of such input.

“That’s the concern,” he said. “Chris (Holden) isn’t here to call the community meeting. The mayor (or) the city manager is not going to call that community meeting.”

“District 3 is a service district,” Trone said. “They want a representative who’s accessible and knowledgeable about what they want to take place.”

City Beat: the Do Good Bus takes volunteers to opportunities

 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/12/city-beat-the-do-good-bus-takes-volunteers-to-opportunities.html

 December 19, 2012 | 12:51 pm

 Say you want to volunteer, but you feel overwhelmed by all the choices. You're not sure who to call, where to go, where you might be useful.

In Los Angeles, you can turn to the Do Good Bus, which aims to take people who want to help to places where they're needed -- and to make the volunteering experience fun.

To that end, the bus ride is a bit of a mystery. You pay $25 to cover a meal and help defray the cost of bus rental. But you don't know in advance where you're going. That's a surprise.

 On Tuesday, I went on the Do Good Bus' holiday ride, along with people from all over the Los Angeles area. We boarded a school bus and headed down the 101 Freeway, as organizer Rebecca Pontius got everyone to sing and act out parts in "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

We ended up at Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Los Angeles, where Pontius expected her crew to have a lot to do. She'd been told they'd be helping children in foster care put together the new bikes they'd be getting for Christmas.

It turned out no such help was needed for what turned out to be a toy giveaway. Singer Ne-Yo was there, as were so many volunteers, there wasn't enough for all of them to do.

On the bus ride home, Pontius served eggnog in Mason jars -- and said she was sorry that the event wasn't hands-on as promised, and that people had to stand around without jobs to do. That's what sometimes happens during the holidays, she said, when everyone wants to volunteer. She urged her bus riders to give volunteering another try, either on or off the bus. Next ride: Jan. 26.

How do they do that? Make bus service changes

 http://thesource.metro.net/2012/12/19/how-do-they-do-that-make-bus-service-changes/

 

 

 

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 How do they do that? is a series for The Source that explores the technology that helps keep Metro running and passengers and other commuters moving. Some of it applies directly to the trains, buses and freeways and some of it runs in the background — invisible to nearly everyone but essential to mobility in our region.

 This Sunday, Dec. 16, Metro made changes to improve bus service efficiency and effectiveness. The same thing occurred in June of this year, as it does every June and every December.


How — and why — does Metro make bus service changes every six months?

The simple answer is so that the bus operators may change the routes they drive. But it is also to give the buses a fighting chance at maintaining schedules that are impacted by the whims of Los Angeles-area traffic, including accidents, special events, crazy drivers and yes, even occasional weather.

Among the great attributes of buses — the reason they are the work horses of transit in congested cities all over the world — is that they are flexible. Their routes can be adjusted to follow changing travel patterns in cities that themselves are constantly changing.

Metro’s 2,228 buses cover 1,433 square miles of service area. They pause at 15,967 bus stops. They carry more than one million boardings each weekday along 183 bus routes. Metro is constantly analyzing these bus routes and tweaks them twice a year.


Minor scheduling changes can be made by Metro staff, based on ridership, on-time performance stats and other data. More complicated changes may require public hearings and approval by community-based service councils representing regions throughout the county. Major service changes require a Title VI and Environmental Justice Equity Analysis to assess the impact on minority and low-income passengers and Metro Board approval.

Changes can mean route modifications or cancellations or arrival and departure time adjustments. Bus stops may be added or relocated. Ridership is monitored by scheduling staff to ensure buses do not exceed load standards established by the Board of Directors.

For example, new trips have been added in this service change on Line 40 and the Silver Line to reduce overloads. New rail and bus rapid transit lines, such as the Expo Line and the Orange Line extension which both opened this year, must be coordinated with bus service. When points of interest open around town — think L.A. Live or the Hollywood Highland complex — transit is adjusted to support travel to those points.

Other factors prompting change include on-time performance and ridership demand. Customer suggestions also have given birth to changes, such as the addition of a new stop or a minor route modification.

And, as mentioned, there’s the ongoing issue of unpredictable traffic. A prime goal of the semi-annual changes is to produce realistic bus schedules that will then be accurate.  Metro uses transit scheduling software to analyze bus running times — the travel time from beginning to end of each route. If more time is needed, the twice-a-year service changes provide an opportunity to add or subtract time so that the buses are in synch with the schedule. If traffic has worsened at a certain point along a line — maybe a new school has opened or a new shopping center — more travel time might be added to the schedule so that the bus can make it to the end of its route on time.

Like the rest of the world, Metro is increasingly technology driven and now provides data to a large number of users outside the agency. The largest is Google Transit. Trip Planner also receives Metro schedule data twice yearly, as do a number of smart apps and the ATMS (advanced transportation management system) that runs head signs on Metro buses, calls out stops on buses and records the number of people getting on and off the buses.

When a schedule is changed, route maps have to be changed, both in print and on the web. If a new bus stop location is added it needs a number, since each stop now is geocoded so that customers can plug the number into their smart phones or computers and Nextrip will tell them when their bus will arrive at that stop.

It’s increasingly complicated to make changes to the system outside of the twice annual schedule changes. But the goal is to build a better system — a goal that certainly is worth the effort.

Metrolink to buy newest, cleanest locomotives

 http://thesource.metro.net/2012/12/18/metrolink-to-buy-newest-cleanest-locomatives/

 Posted by Steve Hymon

 

Mass transit is about to get greener here in Southern California. Here’s the news release from Metrolink:
Metrolink to buy newest, cleanest locomotives
Cleaner engines will provide more horsepower, greater operational efficiency

LOS ANGELES - The Metrolink Board of Directors authorized the agency to enter into a contract to secure Tier 4 locomotives at its Dec. 14, 2012, meeting.

The revolutionary locomotives are expected to reduce emissions by 86 percent.

“This is a significant milestone in Metrolink’s efforts to operate the most efficient and environmentally friendly commuter rail system in the nation,” said Board Chair Richard Katz. “It demonstrates our commitment to our neighbors and to doing our part to clean up the air in Southern California.”

At this point, Metrolink is on pace to become the first in the country to achieve Tier 4 status in revenue service.


The procurement of the locomotives and the contract with Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) is contingent upon the securing of project funds, while Friday’s Board decision is the latest step of a lengthy process. The first three demonstration locomotives are scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2015.

The locomotive upgrades will have system wide benefits and help reduce emissions in the surrounding communities. In addition, these locomotives will have greater horsepower that can increase capacity by adding more train cars to a set.

The phased-approach contract includes a base order of 10 locomotives, plus an option to purchase up to 10 additional locomotives. Metrolink has allocated $129.4 million for the purchase of the locomotives.

The overall program will allow Metrolink to eventually secure 20 new Tier 4 locomotives. The Board’s decision also committed Metrolink to the testing of alternative fuel sources in future operations. Metrolink will make the first locomotives replaced by the new Tier 4s available to the South Coast Air Quality Management District for the purposes of experimentation with various alternative fuel technologies expected to be commercially available in the next decade.

These technologies include, but are not limited to, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and battery technology. Metrolink will continue to work collaboratively with its funding partners in this pursuit.
For additional details on Metrolink, please visit www.metrolinktrains.com.


ABOUT METROLINK (www.metrolinktrains.com)
Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 20th year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the seventh largest based on annual ridership.

We Fought for the Expo Line … Now It’s Time to Fight for the Neighborhood

 http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/4222-we-fought-for-the-expo-line-now-it-s-time-to-fight-for-the-neighborhood

 GETTING THERE FROM HERE - For over two decades we’ve fought FOR the creation of a light rail line to re-connect Downtown Los Angeles with USC, the Crenshaw District, Culver City, West LA, Santa Monica and the beach, but as it draws to its conclusion it’s time for us to fight FOR the right type of transit-related development and infrastructure improvements we need to make the Westside a better place for us and for our beloved children.

Our fight still goes on, thanks in part to a small group of individuals who feel their “access to the freeway” is being threatened by the Expo Line, but the desire to build this rail line, which goes back to at least 1989, hasn’t disappeared.
 
Neither has our desire to build the right type of related development—Transit-Oriented Development—disappeared now that we’re on the verge of enjoying the benefits that the Expo Line ultimately has to offer the regions through which it travels.  
 
Much of the recent hullabaloo over Expo Line-related development has been over the Casden/Sepulveda project, which unfortunately is NOT the Transit-Oriented Development we fought for, and which both Westside City Councilmembers (Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl) and numerous Westside neighborhood council and neighborhood/grassroots associations oppose
 
Those fighting against the project are likely to be labeled as mere NIMBY’s—opposed to projects, profits and developments of all sorts.  The Casden Project, however, is quite literally in everyone’s backyard, so whether you live next to the project, close to the project, or travel the streets near this project, it will negatively impact your life.   
 
So four questions must be posed before either LA City Planning or the LA City Council dismisses any and all opposition to this gigantic project:
 
1) Why would the Westside, especially those fighting FOR the Expo Line, suddenly turn NIMBY and fight against all development?
 
ANSWER:  We’re not anti-development, we’re anti-overdevelopment.  Overdevelopment is neither economically nor environmentally smart, and the Casden Project is the classic example of a car-oriented overdevelopment that happens to be next to a future rail station (Expo/Sepulveda).  
 
Let us not forget that Metro is building the Expo Line at public expense, not the Casden developers.  The two projects are mutually exclusive and Mr. Casden should not be allowed to use the Expo Line as a reason/excuse for his project to be built, which he would have tried to build had the Expo Line never existed.  
 
This project will clog up or hurt access through two dozen Westside intersections, according to its EIR and the LADOT, and has 2000 parking spaces for 538 residential units and 267,000 square feet of retail space—including a possible Target superstore and a mini-mall—as per the Casden/Sepulveda project website.  
 
As of now, there are no guaranteed amenities to Expo Line riders, bicyclists, bus and pedestrian commuters.  One would be hard-pressed to find on Casden’s website any mention of how the project will enhance or contribute to the Expo Line, as opposed to merely taking advantage of its proximity.
 
This location is a great spot to create jobs, but is a land parcel abutting the 405 freeway the right place to have children live, grow up, or even breathe, compared to other Expo Line stations or locations along/near Pico, Sawtelle or Sepulveda that are farther away from the freeway?  
 
Is it always necessary to build housing (and the phrase “affordable housing” should always be taken with a grain of salt) on every piece of available land?  There is a good reason why the land Casden wants to “develop” is zoned for industrial use:  its location is NOT a very nice or healthy place to live.
 
2) What would the Westside, especially those fighting FOR the Expo Line, want to develop next to its rail stations?
 
ANSWER:  The three West LA Expo Line stations, as well as other stations in Santa Monica and Culver City, offer great opportunities to develop on adjacent land, but OVER-development is never a good idea.  We have Community Plans for a reason, and the land parcel at Exposition/Sepulveda/Pico—currently a cement factory, a building supply business and a bit of an eyesore—is a great location for an industrial park, a community center, and a few restaurants. 
 
In short, the land is ripe for some redevelopment, but not to the detriment of everything and everyone around it.  
 
CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz and CD11 Councilmember Candidate Mike Bonin have both come out in favor of an Internet/Technology/New Media campus to create hundreds, if not thousands of jobs for the land parcel at Exposition/Sepulveda/Pico.  
 
Such a project would complement the adjacent Pico Commercial Corridor and spruce up the local economy. We agree that a business-oriented development without the 538 residential units would be a better fit for that particular site, and that the push for housing at that location is based on Casden’s potential profits rather than what is helpful for any current or future residents living near the Expo Line.  
 
A large parking structure allowing remote San Fernando Valley and South Bay car commuters access to the Expo/Sepulveda rail line station from the 405 freeway is also a good idea for this location, and is also consistent with the land parcel’s current assigned industrial-use zoning.
 
Residential/commercial mixed-use developments would be great next to the Bundy/Olympic and National/Palms Expo Line stations, but—as with the Expo/Sepulveda station, these transit-adjacent developments would have to be right-sized and consistent with current community plans, and NOT be car-oriented!  
 
A car-oriented development next to a major rail line is, to say the least, an oxymoron.
 
3) What does the Westside, especially those fighting FOR the Expo Line, want for mitigations next to the Expo Line?
 
For starters, parks, open space, and pedestrian/bicycle accommodations are not only overdue for the entire city, but especially adjacent to the future Expo Line.  Freeways and major boulevards will rarely be attractive, but this is not necessarily true for commuter light rail lines that can include new landscaping through an urban corridor.
 
There is, for example, a future Expo Greenway being evaluated and planned between Sepulveda and Overland, which would include a greenbelt next to the Expo Line and include a water reclamation project, the Expo Bikeway, and an extended “pocket park” to allow pedestrians and children a bit of open space to enjoy that currently ugly, sawdust-only land between and around the Exposition/Sepulveda and Exposition/Westwood stations.
 
While we’re discussion beautification and mitigation, how about fixing the sidewalks along Westwood Blvd and between Pico and National Blvds to accommodate all the bus, bicycle and pedestrian Expo Line commuters for the Exposition/Westwood station?  
 
How about widening the sidewalks and encouraging small business/café developments on Pico, Olympic, Palms, Bundy, Centinela, Motor, Sawtelle, Sepulveda and other major commercial corridors next to the Expo Line?
 
West Los Angeles should be a destination for Expo Line commuters, not just a place to pass by on the way to Santa Monica.  The City of Santa Monica, has advocated for the Expo Line for decades because they knew it meant more jobs and tourists, and shoppers.  West LA should take advantage of the Expo Line as well.
 
4) What does the Westside, especially those fighting FOR the Expo Line, expect for the future?
 
Hopefully, we will get more transit lines and proper transit-oriented development, but an oversized, car-oriented project threatens to destroy the credibility of the pro-transit movement as one that merely enables overdevelopment and neighborhood destruction.
 
There is $1 billion in the voter-approved Measure R (and we almost got billions more in the almost-approved Measure J that got over 66% voter approval) for a Westside/Valley transit line which will almost certainly have stations at the future Exposition/Sepulveda and Wilshire/Westwood stations to connect with the Expo and Wilshire rail lines.
 
Imagine a subway that got commuters through the Sepulveda Pass in less than 10 minutes, and which connected to UCLA, Westwood, the Westwood/Pico commercial district and the two east-west rail lines…and maybe extended south to Culver City and LAX?  
 
The current widening of the 405 is only going to add more lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic.  The only true solution to traffic gridlock is to offer people ways to get out of their cars, and the only way to do that is to provide viable transportation alternatives such as rail, and for that rail to go to genuine transit-oriented developments such as those businesses we’ve described for land adjacent to rail stations.
 
The mobility, economic and environmental benefits abound for these wonderful transportation improvements…but overdevelopment and poor land use threatens to destroy the rail renaissance Los Angeles is embarking upon just as our City is ready to embrace all forms of alternative transportation and land use planning.
 
The two of us have fought for many years, for both our own generation and for that of our children, to create a new rail/transit network for our City and County, and we will continue to do so.  It is no small irony that rail (the once great Pacific Electric) built this city and that rail will rebuild this city, but whether it is well-built or over-built is up to all of us and not something that should be left to profit-at-any-cost developers such as Mr. Casden.
 
And so as we ask ourselves and our neighbors to embrace change, it’s only fair to ask developers to moderate their desires for endless profits and self-aggrandizing projects and to create thoughtful and forward-looking developments that enjoy the support of neighbors, environmentalists, governmental agencies and taxpayers who are paying for the opportunity to build a better 21st Century Los Angeles…for this generation and the generations to follow.
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NEED TO KNOW: The two week extension to receive e-mail testimony on the Casden/Sepulveda development ends Wednesday, December 19th.  Please e-mail the hearing officer (Henry Chu), and copy the two Westside Councilmembers (Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl), their planning deputies, and the Director of Planning.  
 
Make sure the names and planning case numbers are in the email header: 
Casden-Sepulveda Development: Case #CPC-2008-4604-GPA-ZC-HD-CUB-DB-SPR, CEQA #ENV-2008-3989-EIR, Related Case #VTT-70805-GB: