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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Food services truck crashes on 210 Freeway in Arcadia (Update)


 Posted:   12/24/2012 07:21:20 PM PST
Updated:   12/24/2012 07:23:58 PM PST


 A F&W Food Services truck carrying refrigerated food, struck a stalled car in the slow lane at 5:00 a.m in the Monday. The truck spun out of control and knocked down a section of the retaining wall. The trucks fuel trunk was ruptured spilling 40-50 gallons of diesel fuel. Caltrans Hazmat team were called to removed the saturated contaminated dirt. Two lanes were shut down on the 210 freeway. Pasadena Fire Department responded and remain at the scene because of the diesel fuel from the rupture tank. (SGVN/Photo by Walt Mancini)
 An F&W Food Services truck carrying refrigerated food struck a stalled car in the eastbound lanes of the 210 Freeway at about 5:04 a.m. Monday, causing the truck to spin out and crash into the retaining wall.

The driver was trapped and required assistance from emergency personnel to get out of the truck, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs.

CHP Sgt. Marcy Rangel said the truck driver, 51-year-old Ricardo Riveria of North Hollywood, was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. She didn't know the extent of his injuries.

The overturned truck leaked about 50 gallons of diesel fuel, which was later cleaned up by a hazardous materials crew, according to the CHP. The accident occurred near the Baldwin Avenue exit, also near where the Metro Foothill Gold Line iconic bridge is being built.
(Comment: If this accident happened in the proposed 710 tunnel, with 40-50 gallons of diesel fuel being spilled from a ruptured gas tank, what could have been the result?)

Light Rail to Los Angeles International: A Questionable Proposition?


 December 21st, 2012

 New proposals for light rail connections to LAX put in question whether an extension project will offer any major benefits.

Of the nation’s largest cities, Los Angeles is one of the remaining few with no direct rail connection to its airport.* Over the past two decades, L.A. County has expanded its Metro Rail network considerably, but the closest it has gotten to a station at its largest airport — LAX — is a stop about a mile away from terminals on the Green Line light rail service, which does not reach downtown and requires customers to make a connection to a surface bus to get to and from check-in areas.

According to current plans, that will change in the next few decades. Metro dedicated $200 million to a light rail connector in its Measure R spending packaged passed by voters in 2008. The agency began studying potential direct links from its Green Line and the future Crenshaw Corridor, which will offer light rail in a corridor relatively close to the airport. In March, Metro revealed the initial results of the study, demonstrating that a rail connection would carry between 4,000 and 6,000 riders a day and cost between $600 million and $1.5 billion. Metro continues to study how best to connect the airport: With a rail branch line; with a re-routing of the rail corridor in a tunnel under the terminals; or with a connection to a new automated people mover or bus rapid transit line circulating around the airport. A locally preferred alternative for the corridor is to be selected in 2013 or 2014.

But new documents from L.A.’s airport authority put in question how feasible any airport-rail link would be. The agency offers three general locations for a light rail stop, two of which would include a branch of the Green Line or Crenshaw Corridor and require most customers to switch to the airport’s people mover, and the third of which would provide no additional light rail service at all. None would offer direct service from downtown.** Is this rail connection worth the massive investment in transit funding that consensus suggests is necessary?

The fundamental difficulty is that the airport authority — Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) — seems awfully reluctant to allow trains into the main terminal area. While Metro’s spring proposals suggest a light rail loop, an elevated line, or an underground tunnel directly adjacent to the central areas of the nine-terminal complex, the closest LAWA is willing to come is an “on-airport” station at the far eastern edge of the terminals area (see image (1) below). A station there, built as an extension of the Crenshaw Corridor, would be more than a half-mile from the international terminal at the western edge of the complex. Yes, light rail would get customers closer to check in areas, but few would be within comfortable distance walking, particularly with heavy bags.

The same is true of LAWA’s second proposal (see (2) below), which would extend light rail from the Crenshaw Corridor as a branch to a new intermodal transportation facility. Customers arriving here would have no ability to walk to any terminals.

In both cases, LAWA proposes a new people mover that would allow for the final connection between the light rail stations and the terminals themselves. The people mover would operate in a loop around the eight terminals, then extend to the intermodal facility, pass by the Crenshaw Corridor station planned for the intersection of Century and Aviation Boulevards (about a mile from the airport entrance), and terminate at a consolidated rental car facility.

From the airport’s perspective, there are solid reasons to support the construction of such a people mover. It would improve the connectivity between terminals for non-”transit”-using airport passengers and it would decrease road congestion by eliminating rental car and public buses from the areas in front of the terminals.
Light rail branch to airport.
(1) Light rail branch to airport. Source: The Source.
Light rail branch to intermodal center.
(2) Light rail branch to intermodal center. Source: The Source.
But these proposals effectively duplicate light rail and people mover services, requiring passengers to use both no matter the circumstances. Certain of Metro’s proposals — albeit the more expensive ones — would have allowed customers direct service to terminals on light rail, which would have resulted in significant travel time savings due to the lack of transfers. Here, those direct links have been eliminated from the discussion. Why spend public funds on two similar rail services operating in the same corridor?

If we are to take it as a given that LAWA absolutely must have a people mover and that it is reluctant to allow light rail into the main terminals area, its third proposal (see (3) below) comes across as more appealing. The light rail station at Crenshaw and Aviation, on the main trunk of the Crenshaw Corridor, would provide a bridged transfer to the people mover system, which would then offer a link to all of the airport’s terminals.
Proposed connection between Crenshaw Light Rail and LAX people mover.
(3) Proposed connection between Crenshaw Light Rail and LAX people mover. Source: The Source.

Yet this proposal also has its downsides. LAWA’s visual description of the proposed connection suggests that light rail customers would have to ascend an escalator, cross a broad boulevard on an elevated bridge, then descend an escalator, to get to the people mover. It is certainly possible to envision a more convenient approach to making this connection. Every step that makes using transit easier attracts an additional customer.

Nonetheless, this approach, which would keep light rail services within the already-funded Crenshaw Corridor, has the added benefit of ensuring adequate frequency on the light rail line. The branch corridors proposed by the first and second options would, in effect, split rail service in two: Half the trains might extend to LAX, with the rest heading in the other direction. In the case of the Green Line, assuming that headways — currently 7.5 minutes at peak — remain the same (which would not be surprising considering the relatively small number of riders expected to actually use the airport connection), splitting the service in two would reduce peak headways to just every 15 minutes. Is that acceptable for rapid transit service? Or will such low headways make it impossible to attract “choice” riders?

Providing people mover service from the main line light rail corridor would guarantee that all users of the Crenshaw Corridor have one-transfer service to all of the airport’s terminals. And indeed, the whole concept of direct light rail service to an airport like LAX may not make much sense. Unlike smaller airports with only one or two terminals or very centralized airports (like Washington Dulles, with one main entrance facility), LAX has many terminals spread across a large area, making one or even two stops too dispersed; more stops, however, would be too expensive to construct for a light rail line. It shares these features with New York’s JFK and Phoenix, for example, both of which have chosen the rail-to-people mover approach that comes across as most reasonable in L.A.’s case.

Requiring passengers to transfer to a people mover from the trunk of the light rail line has the added
benefit of putting the onus of financing the rail connection in the hands of the (relatively more wealthy) airport authority, rather than Metro. This is perhaps the most important point of all. Though Metro has allocated $200 million to this project, it would need far more than that to complete the branch extensions envisioned in the first or second proposal presented above. But the third proposal, which would build off the already funded Crenshaw Corridor using only the airport-desired people mover, could — and should — be funded by LAWA, perhaps with only a small contribution from Metro. This would allow the transit authority to avoid spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a project that would benefit few passengers and force the airport’s users, the people who would be using the rail-airport connection, to pay for it.

* Other than L.A., Detroit, Houston, and San Diego are the biggest metropolitan areas with no rail connections to their respective airports. Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Providence, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington all offer rail connections of some kind to at least one of their airports. Boston does not have a rail connection but has the BRT Silver Line to the airport. Dallas and Salt Lake City will be adding connections in 2014 and 2013, respectively.

** Downtown-to-airport rail service may be addressed sometime in the future if funds can be assembled for regional rail operations on the Harbor Subdivision, as some have proposed.

Overturned big rigs cause commuter headaches in San Gabriel Valley


Updated:   12/24/2012 09:42:26 AM PST
 ARCADIA - A truck driver is expected to survive after their big rig turned over on the eastbound 210 Freeway on Monday, California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs said.
One other vehicle may have been involved in the crash that occurred at 5:04 a.m. at Baldwin Ave., he said.

The truck driver was trapped and required assistance from emergency personnel to get out of the truck.

The two right lanes are still blocked pending the investigation.

There is no estimated time of when the two lanes will be re-opened.

Earlier on Monday morning, another big rig overturned on the southbound 57 Freeway in San Dimas.
CHP received a call about the crash at 4:53 a.m. at Covina Boulevard.

Multiple vehicles blocked the two right lanes after they crashed with the big rig, which was on the freeway's guard rail, Jacobs said.

Jacobs was not aware of any injuries at the scene.

The freeway was cleared shortly before 7 a.m.

(Add these two big rig problems on our freeways to the two last week and all those in preceding weeks. Will the big rigs cause any less havoc in a 5-mile tunnel?)

How The Rose Court Will be Protected from the Dust Coming from the Construction Sites for the 710 Tunnel

Posted by Joe Cano on the No 710 on Avenue 64 Facebook Page

Metro has even contracted a top consultant to advise on how to alleviate any health concerns Rose Parade officials may have about dust coming from the construction sites. After many scoping meetings & many very successful community outreach campaign, along with a bonus to the consultant, Metro is happy to announce that after an expenditure of $20,000,000 Pasadena's health concerns are nothing to worry about & they got it handled. What a bunch of untrusting louts we are to not believe these honest folks. Just watch your jewelry if you shake hands with any of them. They may even try build a tunnel up your ass if you are not looking.
Approximation of the Northern Portal of the Proposed 710 Tunnel as Seen from Above

Posted by Joe Cano on the No 710 on Avenue 64 Facebook Page

  At the suggestion of our wise Joanne, I have put together an approximation of the northern portal as it may look from above. Without exact scale & size, this is about the best approximation of that location. As all can see, once the tunnel project starts Fair Oaks & Colorado Blvd are severely compromised. According to Doug Failing, the construction will take about 7 years. Just image what will happen to the Rose Parade in that time. With construction, that means no spectators seats on Orange Grove, because the parade route will lead to the construction pit and there will be no right turn onto Colorado Blvd.  

After a few years no one will want to travel to Pasadena & stand next to a dusty construction site just to watch a parade. After a few years, the crowds will cease to come, the Rose Parade will be a memory & Pasadena will suffer its greatest loss. Maybe they can sell it to San Marino, they are in favor of the tunnel and will not suffer one discomfort, well in fact they will, San Marino will be downwind of the dust from the construction and pollution coming from the exhaust towers (serves those traitors right I say).The only people that will make out big on this deal are Metro, John Fasana & Barbara Messina. They are so desperate to pushing this thing it makes one wonder if someone is getting paid off. When we mob the January open houses we need to ask them both, 'you have already conspired to destroy El Sereno,why do you want destroy the Rose Parade & Pasadena along with us? What's in it for you?


 Ok troops look at this, & it it looks like something that can used to bear pressure on the wavering members on the Pasadena City Council. Once this is shown to Rose Bowl officials their heads will explode and jump all over these guys. This must be passed to the people that wield a big stick in hopes they will use it on Metro.

Wow. Really convincing Joe Cano. That portal is so much bigger than I had imagined. Can you do a simulation of the portal in El Sereno? Also a simulation of trucks & cars dumping off from both directions so they don't have to pay a toll?

Based on the 'bomb configuration' chart I approximated where the edges of this this would be, not perfect, but I hope I can get the visual across. I found images of artistic rendering of completed tunnel entries, so I can construct a bird's eye view of both ends with traffic heading into the neighborhoods of Alhambra, and San Marino.

 @Joe: This is a sobering look at our future. Thank you for the hours you must have spent on this.

As I see it the biggest problem we face, is the lack of awareness in the population outside the direct hit areas such as El Sereno, Highland Park, and W
est Pasadena. I am telling you, nice, educated people who consider themselves politically aware, who live East of Fair Oaks, despite whatever pleas I make, do not seem moved or disturbed enough to get involved. If this is the case in the Madison Heights area, the areas further East and North who take pride in the Rose Parade and the game, etc., haven't a clue as to what this really means.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to prepare this. It is really something.

  Use this as a learning tool to the uninformed. This is far more than Metro has given the public. If you know anyone that has the mailing list for the Rose Parade org & the powerful families send this to them, print as may copies as possible and paper your neighborhood. The homes on Orange Grove will be horrified if they see that the route could be wiped out. Use this and other visuals I am posting. The barrage must start as soon as this holiday season is over. I live in the path, I have much to lose if I stop.

I'm wondering...if Alhambra, Monterey Park and San Marino want this tunnel so badly, why not put it through their cities? Why was this alternative not considered by Metro? Or was it considered for about 5 minutes and then removed by Grandma Messina?