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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Former legislator Sheila Kuehl to run for Westside supervisor seat


 January 10, 2013

Former state legislator Sheila Kuehl has announced plans to run for the Westside Los Angeles County Supervisor seat held by Zev Yaroslavsky when he leaves office in 2014.

Kuehl was the first openly gay person elected to the Legislature, where she served a total of 14 years in both houses before she was forced out by term limits in 2008. She had a varied career before that, including working as a women's rights attorney and as an actress -- she was best known for her role as Zelda in the television sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."

"Honestly speaking, I probably made the decision several years ago" to run for the Board of Supervisors, Kuehl told The Times on Thursday. She said she plans to set up her campaign committee and begin fundraising this month, with veteran political consultant Parke Skelton running her campaign.

Kuehl's plans to launch an official campaign were first reported by public radio station KPCC.

With four out of the five current county supervisors set to be termed out by 2016, Kuehl said she thought her experience would help her bring a "sense of stability" to the county, and to deal with issues important to the 3rd District including health and human services, environmental protection and transportation.

Councilmember Steve Madison Hit With Recall

Pasadena City Clerk to Notify City Council that Recall Process has officially begun



 Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013 | 5:54 PM


On January 7, 2013, pursuant to Section 11020 of the California Elections Code, Pasadena Councilmember Steve Madison was served with a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition executed by more than 30 of his constituents.

The Notice advises Madison that the proponents of the recall will be seeking Madison’s recall and removal from office and demanding an election of a replacement.

On January 10, 2013 the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition was filed with the City Clerk of Pasadena, thus formally beginning the electoral process of removing Mr. Madison from office.

Michael Vogler, spokesperson for the proponents stated “Mr. Madison disqualified himself from office as the representative for District 6 when he betrayed his constituent’s interests by voting to approve a plan to bring the NFL to the Rose Bowl, and by voting to remove the historical neighborhood and environmental protections of The Arroyo Seco Public Lands Ordinance. In doing so, Mr. Madison put his own interests above the people he was elected to serve and must now be replaced in order to protect the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

With today’s filing with the Pasadena City Clerk, under California Elections Code Section 11023, Steve Madison now has seven (7) days to file an answer to the following grounds for recall as filed by the recall proponents:

“Steve Madison supports a plan to bring an NFL team to the Rose Bowl, despite the significant destructive impacts on the people of District 6,” Vogler said. “Against the desires of the people he was elected to serve, he betrayed that pledge and supports an NFL plan, despite the destructive impacts and harm. Madison no longer represents the interests of his constituents. In order to protect the people and our neighborhoods, Madison must be removed from office. “

The breakdown on the state budget proposal’s transportation funds


 Posted by Steve Hymon


Gov. Jerry Brown released his budget proposal on Thursday for the 2013-14 budget year. As far as I can tell, there were no major surprises and it sounds like transportation funding is similar to last year's budget.

Here's the complete breakdown from Metro's government relations staff:
California Governor Jerry Brown Issues Fiscal Year 2013-14 Budget Proposal
Governor Brown has just released his FY 2013-14 State Budget proposal. The budget proposal incorporates the revenue from Proposition 30 which will help to reduce the State Budget deficit. Transportation funding remains largely similar to last year's budget proposal which is relatively good news given the historical use of transportation funds to resolve past deficits. The budget does continue to rely on certain transportation revenues to pay the debt service on transportation bonds. Below is a summary of the key provisions of the transportation budget.


The Transportation Agency, established as part of the Governor’s 2012 Reorganization Plan, which consists of the following six state entities (Caltrans, California Transportation Commission, High-Speed Rail Authority, Department of Motor Vehicles, California Highway Patrol, and Board of Pilot Commissioners) responsible for administering programs that support the state’s transportation system, becomes operational on July 1, 2013.

The Governor makes a reference to California Transportation Commission’s “2011 Statewide Transportation Needs Assessment” which identifies $538.1 billion in total infrastructure needs, including $172.3 billion in highway and intercity rail needs over the next decade. This needs assessment also identified that only $242 billion is available to address those needs. Of note 65% of available resources are provided by local revenues.

Approximately $30 billion of general obligation bonds for transportation purposes, including $19.9 billion for Proposition 1B, the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bond Act of 2006, and $9.9 billion for Proposition 1A, the Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century have been approved by the voters. Transportation revenues are used to offset the General Fund obligation to pay the debt service on those bonds and these costs are expected to grow. Approximately 13% of annual state transportation revenues be dedicated to offsetting the General Fund debt service costs. The transportation debt service costs will continue to grow and will soon exceed the amount of revenue available from transportation sources placing the burden back on the General Fund.

Beginning in the spring of 2013, the Agency will convene a workgroup consisting of state and local transportation stakeholders to refine the transportation infrastructure needs assessment, explore long term, pay as you go funding options, and evaluate the most appropriate level of government to deliver high priority investments to meet the state’s infrastructure needs.

The State Transit Assistance program for FY 13-14 is projected at $391 million, $414 million for FY 12-13.

The Intercity Rail program is projected at $130 million.

The Administration is required to develop an expenditure plan for Cap and Trade revenues early this year. The Governor's Budget Proposal identifies that funding mass transit should be a priority of the Cap and Trade program.

The Governor's budget also continues its commitment to High Speed Rail through the investment of revenues approved by the Legislature in last year's session.

The Governor's Budget Summary can be accessed here.


LA Travel Show and Pasadena Cheeseburger Week


 Posted by Anna Chen



Posted on January 10, 2012



 Bill Roschen is president of the City of LA’s Planning Commission, which has final approval over hundreds of millions of square feet of development in the 478 square miles that make up the City of Los Angeles. He is only the second architect to ever head the commission — renown African American architect Paul Williams served on the first planning commission, in 1920.

In 2007, when Roschen was vice president, the city planning commission issued a “Do Real
Planning” manifesto with the express goal of elevating development decisions out of the mire of politics and into the realm of professional planning based on community engagement and consensus. Roschen has sought to do this in difficult discussions about infill and redevelopment projects in Hollywood, around USC, and in the Cornfield/Arroyo Seco neighborhood northeast of Chinatown. He’s also been a part of teams that developed 3,000 housing units in Hollywood. His goal is to approve and to build projects that honor the context and history of neighborhoods, that are grounded in community politics, and that help move architecture toward “a public intelligence . . . and larger public purpose for architecture.”

The Transit Corridors Cabinet is something he has helped the mayor’s office coordinate, and he says:

On why LA has the best neighborhoods in the world:

“Neighborhoods in Los Angeles are each so different. Each has amazing housing product. And each neighborhood is connected by main streets that should support the people who live there with shopping and services and corner grocery stores. We destroyed that with a car culture that turned main streets into rivers of fast-moving cars that are unsafe for people on foot or bicycle.”

On engaging the public:

“If we really are going to change our urban form — to be oriented around bus or rail instead of the car — then it requires a thoughtful public conversation. This needs to be a public-private partnership. We need to experiment with new ways of public engagement.”

On accountability:

“All eight departments will discuss their six-month workplan with the public before taking it to the LA City Council. This is the first time the city has tried out this kind of process in the name of ‘accountability.’”

On LA’s emergence as a “transit metropolis”:

“Mayor Villaraigosa’s legacy of investment in transit and TOD will transform the City of Los Angeles. Collaborative, collective efforts like the Transit Corridors Cabinet are necessary to implement the policy changes that can accelerate this transformation.”

On the name “Transit Corridors Cabinet”:

“A lot of cities are talking about transit-oriented development or TOD. But this isn’t just about development. It’s about connecting neighborhoods with transit corridors as well as the car. It’s about urban form.”

On “doing real planning”:

“As a city we have left it up to developers to define how the city evolves. The process needs to be more well-considered. We need to understand developers’ strengths and their weaknesses, and then integrate this understanding into the craft of urban form.”

On the importance of bike/ped:

“Neighborhoods need to be connected with corridors that are walkable and bikeable. And these corridors need to offer people something to walk or bike to.”

On working collectively:

“The city has to bring about this transformation while doing more with less staff and funding. It’s easier to work in isolation than to work collectively, but it isn’t as efficient, effective, or progressive. City departments and their managers understand this.”

LaHood: California will get federal high speed rail cash


(Go to site for video.)

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority: Build Crenshaw/LAX Rail Line below grade at Florence/Centinela crossing

 Petitioning Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority


Petition by
Mike Stevens Councilman District 1 City of Inglewood & the Environmental Justice for Light Rail Coalition

(Go to website to sign the petition.)


 An at-grade(street level) crossing at Florence and Centinela poses unique safety hazards not fully evaluated or appreciated by Metro staff. The topography of the intersection, proximity to two schools, a large public park, a large church, blind corner, awkward roadway configuration, close proximity to residential properties, and the high-speed of cars traveling through this intersection all necessitate grade separation for safety reasons alone.

 The high frequency of funeral processions in the immediate vicinity due to the close proximity of St. John’s Church and Inglewood Park Cemetery to the crossing would push funeral procession routes to already overburdened streets like La Brea and Crenshaw. This combined with a lack of available north-south arterials in N. Inglewood due to the already heavily utilized La Cienaga and the poor traffic flow capability of La Brea would create more traffic congestion from a project intended to address transportation challenges.

The Los Angeles County Fire Station located on Centinela is currently closed and the additional rush hour traffic congestion from the Light Rail crossing at grade would necessitate re-opening the Fire Station to keep emergency response times reasonable. Re-opening the Fire Station would cost more than placing the Rail Line below grade(below street level) at Centinela and Florence.
Light Rail lines being built in affluent areas in Southern California have zero at-grade(street level) crossings at major intersections and it is not fair from an environmental justice perspective to burden Inglewood with this poor and dangerous design.

Rail Intermodal Facility Under Consideration [in Victorville]



Victorville,California, January 17, 2007—City officials approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), setting the stage to explore development of a major intermodal logistics facility at Southern CaliforniaLogistics Airport (SCLA) in Victorville.

The MOU was unanimously approved at the January 16 Council Meeting. Victorville Mayor Terry Caldwell prefaced the announcement saying, “Good things come to those who wait and lay the groundwork for the future.”

“I am pleased to announce the City of Victorville and BNSF are working together to bring intermodal rail service to SCLA ,” said Caldwell. “This MOU with BNSF is a major milestone in our effort to convert an abandoned Air Force base into a vital, thriving industry.”
According to the terms of the MOU, BNSF and the City have entered into exclusive negotiations to explore the development of an intermodal rail facility at the former Air Force base, now Southern California Logistics Airport.

“BNSF constantly reviews its need for capacity expansion across its network. Today, we signed a MOU with the City of Victorville to further explore the possibility of establishing intermodal operations in Victorville on the site of the Southern California Logistics Airport,” said John P. Lanigan, BNSF Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

The development of the intermodal facility will be a critical component in the development of the 3,500-acre Southern California Rail Complex at SCLA. According to city officials, the rail complex is a solution to the growing distribution needs and supply chain congestion of Southern California. SCLA will benefit the regional transportation system by offering rail, ground and airfreight distribution, reducing congestion at the ports and on Southern California’s freeway system.

In 1992 when the former George Air Force Base closed, City officials looked to the civilian conversion of the facility to replace lost jobs and generate new employment opportunities for the Victor Valley. Estimated jobs lost as a result of the base closure range from 5,000 to 8,500.

For Mayor Pro Tem JoAnn Almond, BNSF’s MOU with Victorville means one thing: an opportunity to create more economic benefits for Victorville’s families.

“Logistics is one of the most stable, enduring industries there is,” said Almond. “No matter what happens, goods will have to be moved. And that means that the working families who live in Victorville will be able to have decent, high-paying jobs, and be able to spend time with their children and spouses, not having to worry about putting food on the table.”
According to Councilman Bob Hunter, the significance of the rail line and its impact on developing the intermodal facility is key to attracting the job generators. “This is a major vote of confidence for Victorville from BNSF that we have what it takes to become a significant intermodal facility, said Hunter. This message will not be lost on industries seeking to relocate.”

The 3,500-acre complex near BNSF’s anticipated facility includes plans for 20 million square feet of manufacturing and distribution uses estimated to generate approximately 20,000 jobs. This component will be developed by Stirling, a private sector partner and will be integrated with the anticipated facility.

Southern California Logistics Airport is jointly managed by the Southern California Logistics Airport Authority (SCLAA) and Stirling, a Foothill Ranch, CA-based full-service value-added development company specializing in master-planned communities and major land renovation.

Councilman Rudy Cabriales also focused his comments on jobs. “Bringing in transportation, manufacturing and distribution facilities creates jobs at all levels. We want our work force to work at home, shop at home and play at home. We need to keep our residents invested in the community to maintain a high quality of life.”

“To me, hands down, the darkest time in the history of Victorville was the closure of George Air Force Base,” said Mike Rothschild, Victorville City Council Member and former fighter pilot. “That was such a tremendous hit to our local economy, it was hard to imagine how we could recover. BNSF’s potential development of an intermodal facility could help ensure that we are never again dependent on a single entity for our survival the way we were dependent on that base.”

About BNSF

A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE:BNI), BNSF Railway Company operates one of the largest North American rail networks, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is among the world's top transporters of intermodal traffic, moves more grain than any other American railroad, carries the components of many of the products we depend on daily, and hauls enough low-sulphur coal to generate about ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. BNSF is an industry leader in Webenabling a variety of customer transactions at www.bnsf.com.

About Southern California Logistics Airport

Southern California Logistics Airport, the former George Air Force Base in Victorville, California is an 8,500-acre multimodal transportation hub supported by air, ground and rail connections. The City of Victorville and Stirling have a public/private partnership agreement to redevelop the former George Air Force Base into SCLA, the largest fully-integrated commercial development in the region, which is anticipated to bring more than 30,000 jobs to the area. SCLA offers 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operations with onsite U.S. Customs. It has been designated a Foreign Trade Zone and a Local Agency Military Base Recovery Act Zone by the federal government. SCLA has two intercontinental runways and can accommodate all current-flying commercial and military aircraft with 24-hour, seven-day-a-week air tower operations and emergency response capabilities comparable to that of the world’s largest airports. Please visit SCLA online at www.logisticsairport.com.
More on the Southern California Rail Complex in Victorville



Expanding its onsite multimodal capabilities as well as its time and cost advantages for goods movement, the Southern California Rail Complex (SCRC) is a planned 3,500-acre intermodal and multimodal rail and container storage complex with 60 million square feet of planned commercial development.
The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was approved in April 2004. The rail complex will provide relief and additional capacity to the congested intermodal rail facilities and seaports within the Southern California region.

Planned Rail Development:
  • 430-acre intermodal yard, including a 50-acre site for the Agile Port Demonstration Project
  • 585-acre rail-served multimodal facility
  • 1,000 acres of rail-served industrial sites
  • Ability to process more than 1.5 million lifts annually

BNSF Railway Exploring Intermodal Facility

In January 2007, City of Victorville officials executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), setting the stage to explore the development of a major intermodal logistics facility at Global Access. The development of the intermodal facility will be a critical component in the overall development of the 3,500-acre Southern California Rail Complex at Global Access.
Email to and from Doug Failing

from Sylvia Plummer: These emails were sent to me by Jeff Leon.  My question is:  Then why is he talking to China??

From: "Failing, Doug" <FailingD@metro.net>
Date: January 9, 2013, 3:39:03 PM PST
To: 'Jeff Leon'
Subject: RE: Metro's role

Metro is Working on an Environmental Document for the first, and to my knowledge the only, zero emission freight corridor in the United States for the southerly portion of the Route 710 corridor.  I would note that we began this study and the efforts on zero emission freight movement prior to President Obama taking office the first time, because we are a proactive agency and see it as the right thing to do.

710 North is not seen as a goods movement route by Metro.  We are currently preparing an environmental document for that corridor that is looking at a number of alternatives; no specific project or mode has yet been selected.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Leon
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9:38 AM
To: Failing, Doug
Subject: Metro's role

Hi Doug,
I've supported many Metro projects. I loved when you guys converted to CNG buses and I'm excited to see the push of the Metrolink throughout LA.  I see this as an advancement of the quality of life in Los Angeles.  

I'm sadden to read multiple articles about the 710 widening and gap connection.  There is a bias with the ports and the movement of their loads.  I'm concerned about having more lanes to have more trucks idling on the freeway.  How will Metro help Los Angeles meet the goals of Obama's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act?   

I know you are extremely busy but I took the time to express my concern and would appreciate the same in return. 

Jeff Leon

South Pasadena Letter to Caltrans

Subject: South Pasadena Letter to Caltrans
Date: Jan 10, 2013 12:31 PM

Another city with an excellent letter. Click on the attachment to read the letter.
Joe Cano Video: Doug Failings Presentation to Sell American Territory to China

A Pantsless Mission on Metro, If You Choose to Accept it 


 By Matthew Sanderson, January 10, 2013

No Pants Metro Ride kicks off again Sunday in Los Angeles. Riders are encouraged to travel pantsless throughout the Metro system that day. Will you? 

For the fifth year in a row, Los Angeles-area Metro riders on Sunday are being encouraged by an improv group to forgo their pants and engage on a mission through city turnstiles.
Participants, who are called "agents" in No Pants Metro Ride 2013, will meet their "ride captains" with code names at one of five locations.

One location is here in Pasadena: The Gold Line Sierra Madre Villa Station at 149 N. Halstead St.

For those outside of Pasadena, the other locations are Expo Line Culver City, Red Line North Hollywood Station, Gold Line Atlantic Station in East Los Angeles and the Purple Line Wilshire/Western Station in Koreatown.

GLA (Guerilla Los Angeles) Improv borrowed the idea of pantsless day from New York City's "No Pants Subway Ride" organized by the group Improv Everywhere, which promotes the global interest in the pantsless phenomenon.

The plan calls for waves of pantsless agents to arrive at Union Station in downtown and head to Hollywood/Highland Station. There, the group's organizers will say a few words, take a group picture and then pick a restaurant or bar to "debrief."

And if anyone asks why passengers dropped trou to ride Metro, the "agents" are encouraged to say they forgot their pants.

GLA Improv Organizer Leo Gonzalez, also known as Agent Silky, told Patch he hopes the weather's not too cold on Sunday.
"Most of it's indoors anyway," he said Wednesday. "It won't be that big of a deal."

More than 400 participants say they are going pantsless for the ride, according to the group's Facebook page, which, as Gonzalez describes it, reads like a dossier with details on the mission.

About the actual turnout, Gonzales said: "You can never really tell until the day of."

Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said officials are aware of the pantsless stunt and the agency is not affiliated with it.

"As long as they don't go commando, they're fine," he said.

Watch a YouTube video of last year's pantsless Metro ride.
Are you joining the pantsless parade? Did you do it last year? Upload your photos on Patch!

Exploring the Course of the Future Metro Crenshaw Line


A long article. To view, go to the website.

Crenshaw Train Line.jpg

The Diminishing Returns of Highway Building


 Angie Schmitt

Today on the Streetsblog Network, David Levinson at the Transportationist presents some interesting explanations about why so much American road building is a poor use of funds:
In this image, the black lines represent roads and the blue dotted line represents a traveler. At some point, adding additional roads is subject to diminishing returns, saving people less time per dollar invested. Image: David Levinson
We are not building much new transportation in the US not just because the costs are too high, but because the benefits are too low.
When we were much younger as a nation, say 1956, and growing fast, with relatively poor connectivity, you could do almost anything and it would have a benefit/cost ratio above 1. Very little of the interstate has been reversed. But the productivity of new investments has declined over time…

Diminishing marginal returns to new roads [are] due to diminishing distance reductions as the network is increasingly complete. This is a spatial argument. Imagine you have a network with a 1 mile grid (typical for much of the US). With development of farms, you add roads in between, say at 1/2 mile spacing [see figure above right], this reduces travel costs some, as people don’t need to back-track as much, and this might be a significant share of the distance for short trips. At most, you are saving someone 1 mile (1/2 mile at the beginning of the trip, and 1/2 mile at the end of the trip). Now add additional links to diminish spacing to 1/4, This requires twice as many links, but only reduces travel costs by at most 1/4 mile at each end of the trip (1/2 mile total). New links do less and less to reduce distances. Distances, along with speed, determine travel time.
“Peak travel” and induced demand are other reasons Levinson cites for the declining value of spending on roads.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Spacing Toronto celebrates the life of architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, whose insights on the built environment helped influence modern planning. Better Institutions says Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s proposed transportation funding scheme is “the worst transportation funding scheme in modern memory.” And Systemic Failure highlights how California transportation agencies are, again, working at cross purposes.

6 Ideas for L.A.'s Next Great Transit Project


Eric Jaffe
Jan 09, 2013

Los Angeles has a long history of major public works projects that never get built, but its next great transit project almost certainly will. The Sepulveda Pass Corridor, a 30-mile transit link between the city and the San Fernando Valley, received $1 billion in funding from voters back in 2008. With that much public money lined up the question is not whether or not the project will be realized — but what it will look like when it is.
The wheels (and, in some cases, rails) are certainly in motion. In November the city's transportation authority released its final report on the Sepulveda Pass. In December officials encouraged a public-private partnership to expedite completion [PDF]. And last week Metro presented Valley residents with the six leading concepts [PDF]. Here's a preview of each.

Concept 1: Shoulder BRT
Cost: $162 million
Congestion Relief: 563,500 weekly travelers (11 percent increase in capacity)

Concept 1 would stripe 8.5 miles of Interstate 405, the corridor's main highway, for rapid bus use during peak hours. Buses would run every 12 minutes during rush hours and have exclusive access to the interstate lane (as well as signal priority on Sepulveda Boulevard). The service would ultimately extend from the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station to the LAX Transit Center. The project is very cost-efficient and creates a minimal environmental impact, but Metro officials worry it doesn't provide the reliable, long-term transit option the corridor needs.

Concept 2: Managed Lanes plus BRT
Cost: $1.7 billion
Congestion Relief: 613,800 weekly travelers (21 percent increase in capacity)

Concept 2 would reconfigure I-405 with 29 miles of high-occupancy toll lanes (two each way in the congested 9-mile heart of the pass, and one each way outside it) between the I-5 interchange in San Fernando Valley and the LAX Transit Center. The idea would also create three bus rapid-transit routes that have direct access at key ramps and connect with the Orange Line in the Valley. This concept is relatively affordable as well, but it may require private funding and its environmental impact could be significant depending on the final design.

Concept 3: Aerial/Viaduct Managed Lanes with BRT
Cost: $2.3 billion
Congestion Relief: not determined

Concept 3 would build a 10-mile elevated highway above I-405 on the most congested segment of the corridor, with two H.O.T. lanes in each direction. Bus-rapid transit routes would extend 21 miles from the Sylmar to the Expo/Sepulveda stations on a dedicated busway beneath the viaduct. The idea has been studied and rejected in the past, in part because it displaces two lanes for the elevated support structure and therefore only adds one travel lane each way.

Concept 4: Tolled Highway Tunnel with BRT
Cost: $13 billion
Congestion Relief: 654,600 weekly travelers (29 percent increase in capacity)

Concept 4 bores a 9-mile, 58-foot tolled tunnel under the Santa Monica Mountains with two lanes in each direction. The tunnel would be open to bus-rapid transit as well as cars that paid the toll (with no exemption for high-occupancy vehicles), but trucks would be prohibited. Current plans suggest that Metro officials like that the concept adds highway capacity without creating capital transit costs — though more road won't alleviate congestion unless the toll cost is set right.

Concept 5: Light or Heavy Rail Tunnel
Cost: $8 billion (light), $17 billion (heavy)
Congestion Relief: 580,900 weekly travelers on light rail, 589,800 on heavy (14 percent and 16 percent capacity increase, respectively)

Concept 5 creates 28 miles of rail transit and at least 14 stations. The light-rail version of this concept would run in a dedicated median most of the way and a 7.5-mile transit-only tunnel through the heart of the pass. The heavy-rail would tunnel through the entire course. Given the high cost of this project, Metro officials would look to phase-in the line once revenue from managed highway lanes starts to accumulate — or better yet get private help.

Concept 6: Highway + Rail Tunnels with Demand Pricing
Cost: $30-38 billion
Congestion Relief: 640,600 (26 percent increase in capacity)

Concept 6 — by far the most ambitious of the bunch — envisions separate highway and transit tunnels, both 21 miles in length, extending from the Valley to Los Angeles International Airport. The car tunnel would be priced to meet demand and the transit fare would be set proportionate to the car toll. This "ultimate build-out" would certainly require a private partnership, but suitors are out there; at least six companies have already reached out to Metro with an interest in building a tunnel for the corridor.

Metro: There is no contract with Caltrans for 710 study


 By Lauren Gold, staff writer
Updated:   01/10/2013 09:39:10 AM PST
 A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Wednesday that it has no written memorandum of understanding agreement with Caltrans on which agency will ultimately decide how to complete the Long Beach (710) Freeway.
"There is no MOU" that divides responsibility for the 710 N. Gap Closure Project, spokeswoman Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap said via email.

State Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge, Metro Board Member Ara Najarian and mayors from Pasadena, South Pasadena, Glendale and La Canada Flintridge sent a letter to Caltrans and Metro last month asking the agencies to clarify the decision-making process and produce a copy of the MOU.

The letter also sought specifics on the agencies' positions on the sale of the 500 homes Caltrans owns along the 710 corridor in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles.
Ortiz-Gilstrap said Metro has written up a formal response to the letter that is "awaiting signatures."

Liu's chief of staff Suzanne Reed said that the lack of a written agreement could pose problems like those revealed in a recent audit of Caltrans' management of the homes. The audit slammed Caltrans for wasting millions of dollars in state funds by charging below-market rent and failing to monitor charges from the state Department of General Services for home repairs.

"It kind of harkens back to the whole issue with the audit," Reed said.
"(Caltrans) had this loosey-goosey arrangement with General  Services on how to do maintenance, which ended up with expenditures being made unnecessarily without oversight and supervision," she said. The 710 project is "a significant amount of money to lay on the table based on a handshake."
Metro is wrapping up the first phase of a three-year environmental impact report on the project, which would close the 4.5-mile 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 will host a series of community open houses on Jan. 23, 24 and 26.
Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said he was surprised to learn that the agencies do not have an MOU for such a large and controversial project.

"It's interesting that they are asserting that there is no MOU at all," Bogaard said. "There is an allocation of responsibility between the two agencies and you would think that those agencies would want to be aware of what the other is doing at different stages along the way."

Reed said Caltrans officials have tried to explain the relationship between the agencies in recent meetings, telling Liu and other elected officials that Caltrans is "closely monitoring" the 710 study process.

"We verbally have been told by the director of Caltrans that they are in constant contact on almost a day-to-day basis about" the study, Reed said.

Reed added that Caltrans officials have said that if something in the EIR "doesn't look right to them they are going to intervene."

Reed said although Caltrans has improved verbal communications about the EIR process, she thinks it is still important for elected officials and residents to know who the final decision-makers are and the process to decide which freeway option to build.

Najarian said he would be surprised if some kind of agreement did not exist between the two agencies, and said he hoped Metro would send a more detailed response to the letter.

"There has to be an agreement, either between the two agencies or simply by operation of law," Najarian said. "If they can't answer these well-formulated and reasonable questions put forward by their state senator, former assemblyman, mayors of the region, how can we expect them to answer any question?"


Getting Cargo from the Long Beach/Los Angeles Ports to the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville

710 North, 710 Tunnel, 210 North, State Route 14, the High Desert Corridor, to SR-18


What is the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA)?

Going Modal


By Joseph O'Reilly, July 2003

 How is a logistics airport alleviating congestion at Los Angeles ports? By operating as a multi-modal 3PL. Facing the unenviable task of cutting time and costs during transshipment at ports, forwarders, 3PLs, and shippers are looking to inland multi-modal facilities such as Southern California Logistics Airport to circumvent congestion and ensure quicker turnaround times for their customers' shipments.

 Seaports are arguably the most critical links in global supply chains because they serve as the primary interface between waterborne cargo traffic and land-linked rail, road, and air distribution networks. In the United States alone, 95 percent of import and export trade moves through coastal gateways and inland waterways. Anticipated growth in Asian markets will feed more demand for efficient intermodal services.

But where the maritime shipping industry has virtually limitless flexibility in accommodating growing cargo capacity with larger ships and expanded schedules, West Coast ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach are considerably less elastic, given geographic constraints, limited real estate availability, and urban congestion.

As a result, shippers and forwarders face the unenviable task of cutting out time and costs during transshipment.

One way they are bypassing these congestion problems and speeding product to market is by
rerouting shipments from the docks to Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA), a multi-modal facility located less than 100 miles inland from the ports in the Northern Inland Empire region. A growing number of forwarders, retailers, and manufacturers are outsourcing their distribution and warehousing operations to SCLA and leveraging the airport's access to road, rail, and ocean transportation networks to ensure quicker turn-around times and drive more cost savings in their supply chain operations.

The Port Problem

"As international trade continues its expected growth, the demand for improved intermodal access to U.S. ports will rise, particularly at containerized ports in urban areas," notes the 2003 U.S. International Trade and Freight Transportation Trends report by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

"Issues and concerns include the condition of local roads for accessing ports, at-grade rail crossings, rail drayage time and costs, dredging and channel depths, and availability of truck-only lanes for access to ports."

The questions raised in the BTS report reflect a growing concern in urban areas, especially around Los Angeles (see sidebar, below), where congestion is bottlenecking port access points. Limited or overpriced real estate has impeded expansion efforts that might otherwise alleviate overcrowding, and increased cargo volume has only fractured existing intermodal cracks.

Other issues including labor availability, environmental restrictions, and security compliance have similarly prompted logistics service providers and transporters to find ways to fill in or bypass these gaps.

Ports are also encountering pressure to adapt their operations, not only to accommodate customer needs and marginalize their physical limitations, but to increase the velocity of throughput at their dock facilities.

For these reasons, ports in urban areas will revert to their traditional function as staging facilities, predicts Don McKnight, president, The Pasha Group, a Corte Madera, Calif.-based 3PL that specializes in marine terminal operations. "I see port property more exclusively being used to offload and load ships, rather than doing a lot of storage and breakbulk work."

In fact, it would be a natural adaptation for ports, says Dougall Agan, principal, Southern California Logistics Airport, because "they really aren't intended to be breakbulk facilities, but rather pass-through facilities to gain access to the United States."

Considering that most of the inbound volume into the United States along the West Coast—as much as 60 percent according to some sources—is destined for eastern markets, both McKnight and Agan's assessments are telling. This pragmatism is also the driving element behind SCLA's rapid growth as a multi-modal distribution and warehousing hub.

A Port Apart

Located in Victorville, Calif., SCLA is a former U.S. Airforce military base that has been redeveloped into a 5,000-acre multi-modal business and designated foreign trade zone (FTZ).

The airport itself boasts two landing areas—a soon-to-be-expanded 15,000-foot strip and another 10,000-foot runway—capable of servicing international airfreight shipping needs. SCLA also integrates manufacturing, industrial, and office facilities with core business units including air cargo, aviation maintenance, rail, and real estate programs.

Perhaps the more compelling aspect of SCLA's recent expansion efforts has been its focus on providing customers with a total logistics solution.

"We control the infrastructure—the airport and rail—and we can integrate a lot of solutions that some 3PLs cannot because they don't control and own those assets," says Agan. "This gives customers a greater level of confidence because now they can find long-term contracts with a flat profile vs. a volatile rental structure that can go up significantly during peaks. Our goal is to come up with a very long-term static approach of operational cost that customers can afford."
Instead of having to ramp up labor, equipment, and facilities to meet seasonal fluctuations, customers can counter excessive overhead by outsourcing to SCLA on a per-unit basis. "We gear the economics and operational costs to the flow of their demand, so there is never a time when costs are way ahead of revenues," notes Agan.

This flexibility poses an attractive alternative not only to freight forwarders and 3PLs wary about investing capital in port facilities or looking to circumvent congested areas, but also to manufacturers and retailers seeking strategic site locations to accommodate future growth. That major players such as ConAgra Foods, Goodyear, Mars/M&M, Boeing, and GE Aircraft Engines have chosen to locate in Victorville is further testament to the area's growth potential as a major transshipment hub.

Planes, Trains and Intermobility

In 2000, SCLA began looking at how it could enhance airfreight movement through its facility and develop capabilities beyond traditional cargo airports.

"We got together with all the carriers and forwarders and listened to the services they typically had to outsource," recalls Agan. "Then we said, 'what if we became a full-service environment where you could look at us as a third-party logistics provider and you wouldn't have to go out and hire new people to manage your operations.'"

With positive feedback from its customers, SCLA partnered with The Pasha Group to come under its umbrella and help create a global access logistics service where it could provide warehouse management, import and export administration functions, and other accessorization and palletization services.

Leveraging Pasha's expertise in ocean terminal and drayage operations, and rail yard management, SCLA augmented its role as a multi-modal facility, while similarly enhancing its value proposition to prospective customers. Rather than being viewed as simply an access point to land a plane, the airport became an integral part of SCLA's supply chain management service.

"The advantage we have now is that if there is an accelerated move that needs to come in via air, or if there is a bulkfreight shipment for seasonal delivery that we are picking up via sea connection, it comes in to the same consolidation point," says Agan.

Shippers and forwarders then have the luxury of being able to breakbulk and/or consolidate shipments and tender them via their mode of preference.

A Modal Approach

For The Pasha Group, the opportunity to locate at SCLA had strategic advantages for meeting its own long-term growth expectations.

"As an operator at the Port of Los Angeles, we recognized the problems associated with congestion at ports, on the freeways in and around Los Angeles, and with trains and trucks in the Inland Empire area," says McKnight.

"We had a few customers that were interested in expanding and we didn't see adequate facilities to support that there. We were looking for a safety valve to set up an operation that could contribute to relieving some of that congestion while at the same time consolidating some of the operations we had in mind for future growth and development," he says.

The airport component, coupled with SCLA's access to two Class I railroads and two major thoroughfares going north/south and east/west (U.S. Highway 395 and Interstate 15) gave Pasha the modal flexibility it required.

"There is also an excellent labor pool in the high desert; it is well-educated and the community in and around that area is very business- friendly," adds McKnight. "Property is very much available, and compared to Inland Empire and the L.A. Basin, it's very inexpensive."

All these factors contributed to Pasha's decision to begin developing a 700-acre multi-modal logistics and distribution complex at the Victorville site. When completed, the facility will provide multi-functional services for container loading and unloading. Pasha also plans to operate warehousing, distribution, and processing facilities that will specifically serve auto manufacturer needs for vehicle consolidation and parts distribution.

As part of its development project, Pasha is working with SCLA to build a rail complex with leads to the Transcontinental Main Line, served by both the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroads. A rail easement, leading directly into the airport, will be spur-connected to manufacturing and distribution companies, further enhancing the efficiency of moving freight in and out of SCLA.

"Our expectation is that product will not stay at ports for long periods of time as it does now. Cargo will come in and quickly move off port to inland facilities. I think you'll see much better utilization of on-dock rail—more direct rail loading on dock as opposed to draying freight inland," says McKnight.

Go-Video Goes SCLA

Direct rail access to the ports was an important consideration when DHL Danzas Air & Ocean and The Pasha Group jointly selected SCLA as the new North American distribution hub for Go-Video in June.

For the past three years the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based consumer electronics manufacturer has been working with DHL Danzas to streamline its inbound sourcing operation and increase throughput to its customers in North America. Go-Video currently uses several contract manufacturers in Asia to build its turnkey products, which are then placed into ocean containers for shipment to the United States.

Annually importing more than 2,000 TEUs of consumer electronic products through the ports at Long Beach and Los Angeles, nearly 60 percent of Go-Video shipments are bound for destinations east of the Rocky Mountains.

The justification for locating at SCLA was twofold: First, DHL Danzas was looking for a way to better serve its customers by avoiding the congestion in and around Los Angeles. After conducting a feasibility survey, it concluded that SCLA's location, facilities, and cost matrix were the right fit.

"SCLA's location allows us to operate in a more cost-efficient manner. We are avoiding space and congestion issues that confront us in the L.A. Basin and we are closer to our customers nationwide through reduced transit times," says Delano Melikian, district manager, DHL Danzas Air & Ocean.

Second, Go-Video was looking to DHL Danzas to find a better way to perform its domestic warehousing and distribution.

"Our volumes were increasing but our turnaround times were decreasing," says Gregg Todd, vice president of operations, Go-Video. "For example, if we get 10 or 12 containers on Wednesday, we want them turned around virtually instantaneously. But if you are limited by the number of square feet you have in your warehouse, you can only turn so many shipments."

Seamless in SCLA

Under the current arrangement, Pasha is the lead 3PL, operating on behalf of both SCLA and DHL Danzas to manage customs clearance of inbound containers, coordinate freight movement from the ports to SCLA, and break down pallets for distribution to Go-Video's North American channels.

"As it now works with DHL Danzas, we take the product off the port and truck it out to SCLA under our supervision so that it is basically a seamless move once it is off the ship," says McKnight.

"Then we break out the containers, prepare the shipments, and tender to the trucking companies that will make deliveries all over the country. The idea is to make this as seamless and tightly controlled as we can with limited responsibilities."

Having available warehousing and operating space to actually execute these responsibilities is another advantage of using SCLA, notes Todd, "because Pasha can work multiple containers at the same time and spot more opportunities to consolidate outbound domestic shipments. As it builds our orders, rather than have shipments sitting on the dock or in a warehouse, Pasha can load them out immediately on trucks for domestic distribution."

This flexibility lets Go-Video consolidate shipments and conceivably cut costs—which it can pass along to its customers—while also accommodating spot business as it comes along. Moving forward, SCLA and The Pasha Group are currently in the process of working with an on-site U.S. Customs Office to develop a system where Go-Video's shipments would be cleared directly at the airport. This capability, coupled with the rail access, will create a seamless and secure link from the ports to SCLA.

The Ports of the Future

While ports have successfully adapted from staging facilities into full-fledged logistics and warehousing hubs, the realization that valued-added services do not resolve core intermodal weaknesses is increasingly apparent.

As a result, McKnight anticipates there will be "more direct rail involvement at ports, and greater use of centrally located off-dock warehousing and distribution complexes that provide a variety of services and activities."

This adaptation will clearly alleviate some of the capacity constraints currently handcuffing ports. But shippers and consignees will still continue to be aggressive about seeking service providers that can add tangible value to their business over time. The onus, then, will fall on forwarders and 3PLs.

To this end, logistics facilities such as SCLA offer a value proposition that is appropriate for both the present and the future—enabling shippers and forwarders to eliminate redundancies, avoid congestion, and deliver short-term ROI while also helping customers stay ahead of the supply chain growth curve.



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UC-Berkeley Professor Robert Cervero is a consummate authority on how to transform cities with transit – in fact it’s the title of his new book, out later this year. He’d written four books about transit and transit-oriented development, or TOD, before this topic was on anyone’s agenda. And he’s celebrated the public-private partnerships created around transit in places like Hong Kong, where development activity from the sale of leases and air rights around stations generates significant revenues that are reinvested in transit and other neighborhood improvements.

Professor Cervero directs the UC Transportation Center and the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at UC-Berkeley, and he’s been a consultant to governments all around the world — from India to Saudia Arabia to Colombia to Korea — and has worked with partners including the U.N. and the World Bank. And now he is working with the City of Los Angeles, where he is co-author of a report that is the foundational document for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s new Transit Corridors Cabinet.

This cabinet has been meeting for about a year with stakeholders and is composed of eight city departments that exercise control over some aspect of transportation corridors and the neighborhoods around them — including walkability and bikeability, affordable housing, permitting, density, parking, street design guidelines, etc. The idea is to coordinate communication and cooperation among these departments in order to focus on neighborhoods where changes will be occurring during then next decade because of the Measure R-funded expansion of the rail system, which will double in size by 2039 from 120 miles and 103 stations to 236 miles and 200 stations.
This public investment in transit will create tremendous land and property values in neighborhoods where the real estate market is active, and the actions of these departments will help orchestrate this value creation and then capture some of it to pay for improvements in neighborhoods. The Transit Corridors Cabinet is less focused on development, density or ridership, however, than on providing residents and workers with more choices and more opportunities as elemental as making it easier to walk to a business lunch or a yoga class or a job at a local business.

The study finds that for LA to become more transit-oriented, the city will need to “take thousands of actions that are coordinated with many other players according to a ‘game plan’ that evolves with dynamic markets, changing political winds, and the availability of resources,” states the report. The study has come up with no less than 174 “tactics” to bring this about, ranging from facilitating “Eco-pass” programs such as one in Denver that provides transit passes to all the people who live around stations, to developing targets for building affordable housing along transit corridors.

Cervero is not a stranger to LA, though he hasn’t spent time here lately. He worked in LA in the 1970s as a senior transportation planner for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) while also working on his PhD at UCLA. He is amused to be back in LA and working with LA’s “Transit Mayor,” since when he was working for SCAG he often speculated whether it might not be too late to save Los Angeles from the fate of being forever car-dependent. “I had to wonder whether it was still possible to turn this place around,” he says, “and whether it wasn’t too late to invest in a transit system.”

He’s impressed with the strides that have been made here with Measure R, aided and abetted by demographic trends, lifestyle choices, oil prices, concerns about public health and the changing climate — all trends that favor public transit use. When he lectures around the world he finds that other cities are increasingly interested in Los Angeles, and how the city — for so long known as a place where you must have a drivers license — has been able to bring about these changes.

He thinks the city is being very smart about focusing on transit corridors as an organizational framework for thinking about how to reorient and redevelop the city and its neighborhoods around a truly multimodal transportation system. “Most cities are very focused only on improving and investing in the areas around stations, when in fact the transit corridor is the scale at which you can generate the most energy and synergy.”

He cites Arlington County’s Rosslyn Ballston corridor just across the Potomac from Washington DC as the best U.S. example: “The mixing of compact, highly walkable development of all types — housing, offices, shops, hotels — among the county’s five closely-spaced stations has attracted riders heading in both directions during the peak period.  Stations are vibrant and active, with people getting both on and off trains and quickly filtering into the surrounding buildings and neighborhood. This is a product of corridor-level  planning that created great synergies among a cluster of stations.”

It’s unfortunate, he says, that LA has for so long been a battleground between the car and transit on the one hand, and bus and rail on the other, when in fact “it’s not an either/or question. These are false dichotomies. These separate modes need to be integrated, right down to their fare systems and their schedules.” He thinks LA is very close to developing a truly multimodal system that’s about transit, the car, bikes, walking and “destination stations” that also offer bike-sharing and car-sharing. that can also become smart mobility hubs. These hubs offer an array of transportation choices that can be accessed with cell phone apps allowing transit users to instantly rent a bike or car, carpool with someone just a mile up the road, or even “ping a ride” with a car service or cab.

“Build it and they will come. LA may not be able to build transit lines to every neighborhood – the county is just too big and too dense – but the bike to transit phenomenon is big and getting bigger. And if you can increase the bike access shed to stations by building bike boulevards and other improvements that make it easier to ride to transit you will induce even more ridership and make the system even more effective and important,” says Cervero.

Cervero joins California Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the Transit Corridors Cabinet, and the leaders of Move LA’s business-labor-environmental-civic-community coalition at our 5th annual “transportation conversation.” See links to program and registration on the homepage.

Caltrans identifies homes for possible sale on controversial 710 route



January 9, 2013

 Caltrans home

 Home owned by Caltrans at 1200 So. Pasadena Ave. in Pasadena. Caltrans bought homes in the area in the 50's to 70's to make way for the 710 Freeway extension into Pasadena.


The state transportation agency bought the properties up to six decades earlier in preparation for the potential connection of the Long Beach (710) Freeway from its current terminus in Alhambra to Pasadena.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s report on the five remaining alternatives for closing that gap will be finalized this month, allowing Caltrans to identify surplus homes.

The study identified the five primary alternatives that will be evaluated in an environmental impact report: light rail transit, bus rapid transit, transportation system management, a freeway tunnel and a no-build option.

Lauren Wonder, spokeswoman for Caltrans, said 17 homes have been identified as surplus, but there is no timeline for putting them on the market.

In the meantime, the agency informed tenants in 350 homes last month that their rent will increase by 10% on March 1, while rents at 210 residences will remain the same.

In August, the California state auditor found Caltrans failed to collect $22.5 million in recent years by charging below-market rents, inadequately oversaw repair work and neglected the properties.

Suzanne Reed, chief of staff for State Sen. Carol Liu (D-La CaƱada Flintridge), said the senator continues to believe that the best outcome for the properties is selling them.

Liu put forth legislation last year that would have required Caltrans to sell any homes it no longer needed, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill.

Because the homes were originally acquired in anticipation of a surface freeway, which is no longer being considered, at least some of the homes should be identified for sale, Reed said.

Reed said if Caltrans is sincerely ready to put homes on the market, Liu would look at proposing legislation to amend the Roberti Bill, which sets the conditions under which Caltrans can sell the homes and offers some current tenants the first chance to buy.

The bill requires that Caltrans provide repairs required by lenders and government housing assistance programs. Reed said Liu was looking at an amendment that would allow Caltrans to forgo these repairs and dock the sale price accordingly.

“It would be legislation that fulfills the needs of everybody,” Reed said. “It facilitates the expeditious sale of the property … instead of asking Caltrans to fix them up with money they just don’t have.”

Christopher Sutton, an attorney for the Caltrans Tenants Assn., said he doesn’t expect the homes to be sold any time soon, as the state agency is intentionally delaying a sale to drive up prices and push his clients out.

“The goal is vacancies; the goal has always been vacancies,” Sutton said. “Caltrans doesn’t want to be accused of setting low rates, but they get no criticism for vacancies … Caltrans is biased toward vacancies, and allowing historic properties to deteriorate to nothing.”