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

Friday, January 18, 2013

State Route 710 Study, Alternatives Analysis Report, Recommended Refinements of Alternatives

http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/docs/Final_AA_report_2013-01-14_Low_Res.pdf

7.2.3.1 Recommended Refinements of Alternatives
In the PA/ED phase, alternatives will be refined first to avoid and then to minimize potential impacts to the extent possible. Where impacts cannot be avoided or minimized, feasible mitigation measures will be identified to reduce impacts. Additional refinements of alternatives that should be investigated in the PA/ED phase include the following:

The No Build Alternative should be updated to reflect the financially constrained project list in the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). This plan was adopted by SCAG after the initiation of the AA, but it would be appropriate to update the No Build Alternative in the PA/ED phase to be consistent with the newly adopted plan. The ridership and travel demand forecasting in the PA/ED phase will be based on the 2012 RTP/SCS.

The TSM/TDM Alternative was found to have potential right-of-way impacts, primarily resulting from the spot intersection and roadway segment improvements included in the alternative. These spot improvements should be refined in coordination with the local jurisdictions to maximize the alternative’s benefits and to minimize its impacts. In addition, these improvements should be refined to identify opportunities to create “complete streets” that enhance the pedestrian and bicycle environment and to ensure that they do not detract from it. The other components of the TSM/TDM Alternative should also be reviewed and refined to look for additional opportunities to improve the performance of the alternative.

Alternative BRT-6, like all of the BRT alternatives, would displace a large amount of on-street parking. Therefore, refinements should be considered to its design, alignment, and/or operational characteristics to minimize their impact to on-street parking. Refinements should also be considered to maximize ridership and productivity (passengers per bus).

Alternative LRT-4A/B station locations should be refined to maximize ridership, minimize property impacts, and to facilitate transfers to the Metro Gold line at its northern and southern termini.
Alternative LRT-4A/B could be combined with enhanced bus service, including feeder routes to its stations. By making Alternative LRT-4A/B the spine of a transit network that serves destinations to its east and west, and not solely along its alignment, it may be possible to attract additional transit ridership and improve the performance of this alternative.

Alternative F-7 should incorporate refinements to its design and alignment to minimize its impact. Potential tolled operations to improve its financial feasibility should also be evaluated. Restriction on use by trucks should be evaluated to determine if they are effective at reducing impacts.
Alternative F-7 could be combined with a BRT or other enhanced bus service to improve the performance of this alternative on the performance measures related to the transit system. Alternative F-7 was found to not increase transit ridership or transit mode share. By introducing a well-designed BRT or other enhanced bus service into Alternative F-7, it may be possible to diminish north-south transit travel times through the study area and attract additional transit ridership.

Open Thread: Big Dig Alternative Analysis Dropped
  
http://la.streetsblog.org/
 by Damien Newton, January 18, 2013 


 
 How did your favorite alternative score? Click on the image to see a legible version.

You have to hand it to the public outreach folks for the I-710 Big Dig Project. Nothing says “community involvement” quite like dropping an Alternatives Analysis that was completed in December of last year to the public at Friday, at 3:50 p.m. before a holiday weekend.

Still an abject refusal on Caltrans part to accept that connecting two highways might somehow result in increased air pollution.

The analysis narrows down the alternatives that will be studied in the Environmental Impact Report to five potential projects. Yes, one of them includes digging a really big tunnel. However, the document recommends ”refining” each of the alternatives to better fulfill the projects overall goals. For example, the tunnel option also should include a look at Bus Rapid Transit. The Bus Rapid Transit option should include other Transportation Demand Management evaluation and so forth.

We wanted to create a place for interested parties to discuss the Alternatives Analysis over the weekend, especially since Monday is a holiday. After the jump is the five project descriptions that live to be studied another day, a description and the recommended refinements. All information is directly from the executive summary.


No Build

The No Build Alternative includes all of the projects that are identified in the financially constrained project list of SCAG’s 2008 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP): Making the Connections. The No Build Alternative also includes currently planned projects in Los Angeles County that are identified in Measure R, as well as those in the “Constrained Plan” of Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (through the year 2035). The No Build Alternative does not include any project in the SR 710 corridor in the study area

The No Build Alternative should be updated to reflect the financially constrained project list in the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). This plan was adopted by SCAG after the initiation of the AA, but it would be appropriate to update the No Build Alternative in the PA/ED phase to be consistent with the newly adopted plan. The ridership and travel demand forecasting in the PA/ED phase will be based on the 2012 RTP/SCS.

Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management

The TSM/TDM Alternative consists of strategies and improvements to increase efficiency and capacity for all modes in the transportation system with lower capital cost investments and/or lower potential impacts such as substantially increased bus service in the study area, active transportation (pedestrian and bicycle) facilities, intersection spot improvements, local street improvements, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) elements. The transit service improvements included in the TSM/TDM Alternative are illustrated in Figure ES-3. These transit improvements are also included in the BRT and LRT alternatives, but are not included in the freeway and highway alternatives.

The TSM/TDM Alternative was found to have potential right-of-way impacts, primarily resulting from the spot intersection and roadway segment improvements included in the alternative. These spot improvements should be refined in coordination with the local jurisdictions to maximize the alternative’s benefits and to minimize its impacts. In addition, these improvements should be refined to identify opportunities to create “complete streets” that enhance the pedestrian and bicycle environment and to ensure that they do not detract from it. The other components of the TSM/TDM Alternative should also be reviewed and refined to look for additional opportunities to improve the performance of the alternative.

BRT-6

Alternative BRT-6 would provide BRT service between Whittier Boulevard, just south of the Gold Line Atlantic Station, and Pasadena City College (PCC) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena.

Alternative BRT-6, like all of the BRT alternatives, would displace a large amount of on-street parking. Therefore, refinements should be considered to its design, alignment, and/or operational characteristics to minimize their impact to on-street parking. Refinements should also be considered to maximize ridership and productivity (passengers per bus).

LRT-4A/B

Alternative LRT-4A would begin at an aerial station on Mednik Avenue adjacent to the existing East LA Civic Center Station on the Metro Gold Line. It would remain elevated as it travels north to a station adjacent to Cal State LA, then descend into a tunnel north of Valley Boulevard and end at an underground station beneath the existing Fillmore Station on the Metro Gold Line.

Alternative LRT-4B was developed as a design variation of Alternative LRT-4A to reduce the length of tunneling required. Alternative LRT-4B would follow the same path as Alternative LRT-4A to the Cal State LA Station. Instead of immediately entering a tunnel, Alternative LRT-4B would continue on an elevated structure above Mission Road, turning north on Palm Avenue where it would descend to grade on Palm Avenue. Alternative LRT-4B would then enter a bored tunnel before Main Street and continue along an alignment similar to that of Alternative LRT-4A

Alternative LRT-4A/B station locations should be refined to maximize ridership, minimize property impacts, and to facilitate transfers to the Metro Gold line at its northern and southern termini.

Alternative LRT-4A/B could be combined with enhanced bus service, including feeder routes to its stations. By making Alternative LRT-4A/B the spine of a transit network that serves destinations to its east and west, and not solely along its alignment, it may be possible to attract additional transit ridership and improve the performance of this alternative.

F-7.

Alternative F-7 would also originate at the existing SR 710 stub north of I-10. It would connect via a
bored tunnel to the existing SR 710 stub south of the I-210/SR 134 interchanges in Pasadena. This alternative would also be an eight-lane freeway with two bored tunnels for directional travel similar to Alternative F-2.

Alternative F-7 should incorporate refinements to its design and alignment to minimize its impact. Potential tolled  operations to improve its financial feasibility should also be evaluated. Restriction on use by trucks should be  evaluated to determine if they are effective at reducing impacts.

Alternative F-7 could be combined with a BRT or other enhanced bus service to improve the performance of this alternative on the performance measures related to the transit system. Alternative F-7 was found to not increase transit ridership or transit mode share. By introducing a well-designed BRT or other enhanced bus service into Alternative F-7, it may be possible to diminish north-south transit travel times through the study area and attract
additional transit ridership.

Burbank Airport Working on Developing Land, Improving Transit

 la.curbed.com, January 18, 2013

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has hired two engineering firms to help them develop land around Burbank's airport and improve transit to Bob Hope, Burbank Beyond reports. AECOM, which does a lot of work around these parts, and STV will "begin planning for potential land uses in and around the Airport, including the B-6 property, site of the former Lockheed Martin 'Skunk Works.'" The team will also be tasked with improving "multi-modal transit connections" to the airport, including finding better ways to bridge the gap between the Gold Line and the Red Line--Metro has faraway hopes of connecting the latter rail line to Bob Hope, only about three miles away, but no money for such a thing. Amtrak and Metrolink's Ventura Line both have stations at Bob Hope--LAX and Ontario airports seethe with jealousy--and Burbank is working on having Metrolink's Antelope Line stop at the airport, too.
·

 Firm Retained to Study Multi-Modal Transit Connections at Airport

 http://burbanknbeyond.com/01/sections/city-of-burbank/bob-hope-airport/firm-retained-to-study-multi-modal-transit-connections-at-airport/

 

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has voted to approve retaining two firms, AECOM, Inc. and STV, Inc., to conduct studies focusing on improving multi-modal transit connections to and from Burbank Bob Hope Airport and to begin planning for potential land uses in and around the Airport, including the B-6 property, site of the former Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works.”

The Airport Land Use Working Group (ALUWG), comprising staff members from both the Airport and the City of Burbank, will provide oversight and direction for the studies.

The technical studies represent the next steps in a joint Authority and City process to develop a consensus plan for the future of Bob Hope Airport. The studies’ scopes include:
  1. Engaging in a consensus-based planning process with community involvement to identify future transportation options.
  2. Assisting the Authority in evaluating and integrating concurrent transportation planning activities, such as improving connections to the North Hollywood Red Line Station and to the Gold Line in Pasadena.
  3. Assisting the City in identifying acceptable land use development opportunities at the Airport and nearby rail stations.
  4. Developing strategies that minimize environmental impacts of Airport-related development.
In 2011 both the Authority and the City agreed to extend a 2005 Development Agreement until March, 2015. Extending the Agreement allows the City and Authority time to work closely with the community to explore options for future use of the land in and around the Airport and the transit systems serving the Airport.

The preliminary schedule calls for the public involvement in the studies to begin next spring. The selected firms, AECOM, Inc. and STV, Inc., have extensive transportation and land use planning experience. The studies will take approximately fourteen months to complete at a cost of $949,647, being covered through a grant from the federal government with additional funding from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Metro releases final Alternatives Analysis report for 710 study 

 http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/breakingnews/ci_22405626/metro-releases-final-alternatives-analysis-report-710-study

 By Lauren Gold, staff writer
Updated:   01/18/2013 06:08:31 PM PST
 
 After months of delay, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released the final report on the Alternatives Analysis phase of the agency's three-year environmental study for the completion of the Long Beach (710) Freeway.
The 183-page report was posted on the Caltrans District 7 website at 3:50 p.m. Friday.

Document: Alternatives Analysis report for 710 study
The report, which was originally promised in October, details the process by which Metro's study team narrowed the options down to five final alternatives that it will study for environmental impacts: "No build," traffic management systems, light rail route, bus route and a dual-bore underground freeway tunnel.

Metro announced that it planned to move forward with these "final five" options to fill the 4.5 mile freeway "gap" between Alhambra and Pasadena in August. The final EIR is set for completion in 2014.

The report explains that the study team evaluated each of the 12 initial alternatives - which were already narrowed down from 42 - based on how well each option would minimize travel time, improve connectivity and mobility, reduce congestion on the freeway system, reduce congestion on local streets and increase transit ridership.

The team also looked at each alternative's impact on the environment and local communities as well as it's cost efficiency and cost feasibility.

The report estimates that the freeway tunnel will cost $5.4 billion, the bus route will cost $50 million, the light rail route, which will also be largely an underground tunnel, will cost between $2.4-$2.6 billion, the traffic management option will cost $120 million and the "no build" will not cost anything.

While the bus and traffic management alternatives would be completely funded by the county's Measure R money, the others would require additional funding. The report suggests that a toll could be an option to fund the freeway tunnel but that "no analysis of toll revenues has been conducted" in the Alternatives Analysis phase.

The light rail options, the report states, "score the lowest" for financial feasibility because "transit fare revenues generally do not exceed transit operating costs."

To determine the final five alternatives, the study team used a six-step evaluation process, involving numerical ratings and a mathematical formula.

Ultimately, the study suggests that "refinements" are added to each alternative as the study continues because "no single alternative performs most favorably on all eight project objectives."

Metro will host three community open houses next week to update the public on the report. The open houses will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Maranantha High School and Jan. 24 at San Marino Community Church, and from 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 26 at Cal State Los Angeles.

MTA releases final analysis of alternatives for closing '710 gap'

 http://www.pasadenasun.com/the626now/tn-626-0118-mta-releases-final-analysis-of-alternatives-for-closing-710-gap,0,5182129.story

 January 18, 2013

Many Pasadena residents are strongly opposed to on option in the MTA report -- extending the 710 Freeway via an underground tunnel to the 210 Freeway.

 Many Pasadena residents are strongly opposed to on option in the MTA report -- extending the 710 Freeway via an underground tunnel to the 210 Freeway.

Los Angeles County transportation officials on Friday released the final version of their analysis of alternatives for closing the so-called “710 gap” between Alahambra and Pasadena, setting the stage for more vigorous environmental review.

The analysis by the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority focuses on five options – down from an initial 39 – for reducing traffic and providing better transportation access in the area between the Long Beach (710) Freeway terminus in Alhambra and the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena.

They include a “no build” option, better managing street traffic flow, bolstering rapid bus transit, light rail transit and constructing a controversial tunnel to connect the 210 and 710 freeways.

The California Department of Transportation -- which acquired roughly 500 homes in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles since the 1970s with the intention of building a surface freeway to close the 710 gap -- has said that once the Alternatives Analysis report is released it will be able to identify some surplus homes and move to sell them.

The MTA will hold three community open houses to share the information presented in the report.

The open houses will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Maranantha High School; and then 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 24 at San Marino Community Church.

The third open house will be in the Golden Eagle Building at Cal State Los Angeles, from 9 to 11 a.m. on Jan. 26.

At the open houses, MTA representatives will be sharing information about the five options that will be carried into the Draft Environmental Impact Report, which is expected to be completed by early 2014.
--
FYI
Maranantha High School, 169 South Saint John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105
San Marino Community Church, 1750 Virginia Road, San Marino, CA 91108
CSU Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, L.A. CA 90032

Pasadena City Council candidates debate in first forum of the season

 http://www.pasadenasun.com/the626now/tn-626-0118-pasadena-city-council-candidates-debate-in-first-forum-of-the-season,0,680613.story

 

The proposed extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway, spending on Rose Bowl renovations and strategies to develop more affordable housing topped the agenda Thursday at this year’s first public forum for Pasadena City Council candidates.

The event drew more than 100 people to Pasadena City College’s Creveling Lounge and was organized by the Pasadena-based progressive political action group ACT.

ACT and its more than 250 members donate thousands of dollars to state and local candidates each election cycle. The group plans to announce endorsements on Feb. 5, Executive Director Jon Fuhrman said.

The March 5 ballot features three candidates seeking the District 3 council seat left vacant by Chris Holden’s election to the state Assembly.

Community activist Ishmael Trone and Los Angeles Urban League executive John Kennedy fielded questions from audience members, but Summit Evangelical Church Pastor Nicholas Benson was absent.

Incumbent Councilman Victor Gordo faces nonprofit director Israel Estrada in District 5, but Estrada did not attend the forum due to illness, event organizers said.

Councilman Terry Tornek is running unopposed and was not included in the forum.

Kennedy, Trone and Gordo each voiced opposition to a tunnel that would connect the 710 to the Foothill (210) Freeway through Pasadena, but sparred over the Rose Bowl and affordable housing.

Candidates were asked to describe the appropriate use for the Rose Bowl, an issue that has sharply divided residents over the prospect of the city-owned stadium hosting professional football games.

Gordo, president of the Rose Bowl Operating Co., and Trone, who chairs a task force that has tripled the number of local workers hired for ongoing stadium renovations, answered: “football.”

Kennedy, a member of ACT, said “appropriate use for the Rose Bowl is what the residents say [it] is.”

He also criticized city leaders over the rising price tag for stadium renovations. The project’s $152-million budget has climbed to nearly $195 million in the past two years.

“Someone must be asleep at the switch, and someone must be held accountable as to why there’s overspending,” he said.

Gordo countered that officials have scaled back the project and insisted it be financed with Rose Bowl revenue, not the city’s General Fund, which pays for most public services.

Kennedy said the city should increase public funding in support of affordable housing development.

Trone said increasing financial penalties for residential developers who don’t set aside units for low-income families would spur affordable housing construction throughout the city instead of concentrating it in less-wealthy neighborhoods.

Gordo said the city should do away with penalty fees and force all new residential developments to include affordable housing.

Former Pasadena Mayor and Pasadena City College Trustee Bill Thomson said he was disappointed candidates did not offer strategies for improving the local economy or increasing Rose Bowl revenue in the absence of professional football games.

The ACT event also featured all 10 candidates competing four Pasadena school board seats up for grabs in March.

The Pasadena Latino Coalition will host a forum for council and school board candidates from 1 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 27 at that Jackie Robinson Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave.

The Pasadena-Foothills Chapter of the ACLU is hosting a forum for council candidates at 6:30 on Jan. 31 at the Church of Truth, 690 E. Orange Grove Blvd., and for school board candidates at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd.
710 Study Alternative Analysis Report Has Been Posted

The State Route 710 Study Team invites you to participate in our Open Houses
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AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THE SR 710 STUDY
The State Route 710 (SR 710) Study Team has completed the Alternatives Analysis (AA) Report which has been posted on the Caltrans Study website at:  http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/.

The AA Report summarizes the performance of the five multimodal Alternatives that were evaluated against the Study's purpose, need, and objectives. The AA Report includes the following sections:
  •  SR 710 Study Need and Purpose
  • Alternatives Considered
  • Transportation Systems Performance
  • Environmental Impacts and Planning Considerations
  • Cost efficiency
  • Public Participation
  • Evaluation Summary and Recommendation
In anticipation of our upcoming All Communities Convening Open Houses, we encourage you to view the Alternatives Analysis Report online to become better informed about the SR 710 Study. The primary focus of the Open Houses is to share the results of the Alternatives Analysis Report. The information for the Open Houses is as follows:
Open House Dates
SCREENING CRITERIA AND SELECTION PROCESS
In August 2012, Staff recommended advancing the following five Alternatives for detailed study:
  •  No Build
  • TSM/TDM
  • BRT 6X with refinements – Los Angeles to Pasadena
  • LRT 4X with refinements – East Los Angles to Pasadena
  • F-7X with refinements (freeway tunnel) – Connecting the north and south termini of the existing SR 710
Staff also recommended that refinements be considered for each alternative to enhance their performance and
minimize impacts.
The Alternatives were chosen based on a three-step screening process:
1) Preliminary screening
2) Initial screening
3) Secondary screening
The preliminary screening process considered over one hundred alternative concepts, identified through the public scoping process, with a wide range of transportation modes including: freeway (at-grade, elevated and underground), highway, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), commuter rail, freight rail, Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM), and advanced technologies. The result of the preliminary screening recommended approximately 42 alternative concepts be carried forward.

Then, an initial screening was conducted based on technical evaluations of each alternative, using a comprehensive/qualitative performance assessment matrix that included the Study Purpose and Need, objectives and 23 evaluation criteria. The number of alternatives was then reduced to 12 alternative concepts.

Next, a secondary screening was conducted to evaluate the 12 alternative concepts based on the Purpose and Need, Study Objectives and over 40 detailed performance measures. Five alternatives were recommended for further consideration.

 

For more information on the SR 710 Study preparation and process, please visit www.metro.net/sr710study
or call (855) 4-SR-710-0 / (855) 477-7100.

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Metro to run more Gold Line trains every six minutes from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends beginning Jan. 27

 http://thesource.metro.net/2013/01/18/metro-to-run-more-gold-line-trains-every-six-minutes-from-10-a-m-to-8-p-m-on-weekends-beginning-jan-27/

 The Gold Line adjacent to Los Angeles State Historic Park on a recent afternoon. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

 The Gold Line adjacent to Los Angeles State Historic Park on a recent afternoon.

Gold Line trains currently run every 12 minutes during the day on weekends so this is a big-time improvement. Here’s the news release from Metro:
Beginning Sunday, January 27, Metro will operate more frequent service along the Metro Gold Line, improving train service from every 12 minutes to every 6 minutes on Saturday and Sundays from approximately 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Patrons using the Metro Gold Line, operating between East Los Angeles and Pasadena via downtown Los Angeles, can now enjoy more frequent service on the weekends with less waiting time between Gold Line trains.
The enhanced Gold Line service will encourage patrons to enjoy Old Town Pasadena,

Chinatown, Little Tokyo and East LA over the weekend, making better and faster connections.
New timetables are now available on board trains. Plan your weekend on the Metro Gold

Line by using Metro’s Trip Planner.
This isn’t hugely surprising, given the surge in ridership on the Gold Line in the past two years — which was helped by increasing the frequency of trains during weekday peak hours in June 2011.
ridership_graphs
Good for transit riders and very, very bad for drivers who are stopped in traffic waiting for the Gold Line trains to pass intersections. The congestion at the South Pasadena station and at other intersections is already bad, so I guess it will just get even worse.

Only in LA: No parking none of the time 

 http://www.laobserved.com/intell/2013/01/only_in_la_no_parking_none_of.php

So, Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced a bill to prohibit cities from ticketing cars at broken parking meters, as heartless LA does. The Gatto bill is a good start but next we need to eliminate another nuisance: Street signs with contradictory messages.

Here are some I've collected over the years...
IMG_0002-2.jpg
IMG-4.jpgIMG_0003.jpg

And then there are the merely indecipherable groupings of signs...
IMG_0005.jpgIMG-5.jpg

A parking lot's novel approach
IMG_0006.jpgIn San Luis Obispo, I found a sign that seemed to appeal to a driver's sense of justice.

How'd you like to park this one?
bonsai-car-sh.jpgPhil Proctor spotted this vehicle on the Westside — a true "green" car.
Who cares about spotting celebrities?
hollywood-dream-playmates-l.jpg
Looks like some tourists deserted their van to take a gander at the exotic lingerie.

Speeders
Outside L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Alan Rosenberg bumped into an older gent who correctly guessed that Rosenberg was a New Your native. The gent said he was also a New Yorker and walked fast, just like Rosenberg does. The oldster then demonstrated his speed, Rosenberg told the New York Times, by taking off down the street "like an Olympic sprinter"_as he pushed his walker.

It's a wonder that any passengers dare ride
Patrick Mauer of L.A. noticed a van with lettering that said: "This vehicle stops on all railroad tracks."

Unclear on the concept
magic-gloves-sh.jpgJeanne Barney of Hollywood chanced upon an ad for some "gloves" that don't seem to be worn on the hands.
My toughest case
How's this for a twist? Crime novelist Michael Connelly ("The Black Box") contacted ME to solve a mystery. It seems that one day, while he was eating in Du-pars in Studio City, minding his own business, the author realized that the top of his menu said the selections were from the "grilled."

Referring to his main character, the suspicious Connelly asked: "Does this mean the cooks are cooked or are they interrogated by Harry Bosch before he eats his pancakes?"
Anyway, I'm on the case. With my usual rates, $10 a day, how can I turn it down?
grilled-dupars-sh.jpg
Just another reason to be a proud Angeleno
headless_statue.jpgThe 2013 Guinness World Records Book says that the record for "greatest number of self-administered kicks to the head in one minute" (115) was set at Staples Center.
And it wasn't set by an L.A. Kings exec frustrated during the long labor impasse. No, the self-kicker was contortionist Joshua William Reed.

Coincidentally, sculptor Terry Allen's monument to hard-headedness can be seen on Figueroa, just a few blocks north of Staples. Reminds me of some of the folks involved in the hockey mess.

The family that drinks together (a double shot)...
A placard in a Long Beach liquor store window calls attention to "Bud Family 12 Packs."
And Nick Stein of West LA. saw an ad for a restaurant that seemed to give kiddies a discount on the bubbly.
bud-family-paks.jpg
cham-brunch-kids-sh.jpg

And finally:
If you're wondering where Santa's helpers go after Christmas, my old colleague Rich Roberts found the answer.
elf-storage-sh.jpg

Editorial: Reasonable provision -- High Court should let L.A. port require cleaner trucks 

 http://www.dailynews.com/opinions/ci_22397753/editorial-reasonable-provision-high-court-should-let-l

 
Updated:   01/17/2013 05:52:07 PM PST
 
 It's surprising to see that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the American Trucking Associations' protracted battle to overturn the Port of Los Angeles' version of the Clean Trucks Program. Legal analysts believe this signals an intention to throw out a few provisions that allowed the nation's busiest port to successfully reduce diesel truck emissions by 80 percent over the past four years. Let's hope that's not the case.
For now, freight companies are responsible for truck maintenance, insurance and security measures, along with limits on where big rigs can park. The ATA is arguing that local agencies -- like the Port of L.A. -- should not be allowed to slap regulations on the trucking industry.

The nation's highest court should agree with a ruling previously issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which noted that the port is allowed to set these rules as a landlord. These are pretty reasonable provisions that have helped newer, cleaner-burning trucks carry cargo in and out of the nation's busiest port since the program began in October 2008. It seems a bit late to turn back the clock and dismantle the elements that have allowed the Clean Trucks Program to thrive.

Thankfully, the court will not consider an onerous provision that would have banned independent truckers from entering Los Angeles Harbor.

The ATA won a major battle in 2011 by persuading the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the port's mandate in requiring trucking companies to hire their drivers as direct employees. The Port of Los Angeles opted not to appeal the decision, which is a good thing. The employee mandate was a sneaky way to open the door to the Teamsters and unionize drivers. It had nothing to do with cleaning the air and was a blatant overstep by the port.

The shocking element in this case is the fact that the Supreme Court went against the advice of its own solicitor general, which advised that the Ninth Circuit's ruling did not merit review. This does not bode well and signals that the Supreme Court could very well likely overturn part -- or worse yet, all -- of the lower court's decision.

Environmental experts said that the remaining elements of the Clean Trucks Program allow the port to effectively regulate which trucks come and go from terminals. The Supreme Court should uphold all of these regulations so that other ports can emulate a game-changing plan that has significantly reduced harmful truck emissions.

Los Angeles County Highways for Sale

Innovative Project Delivery Strategies, presented by Doug Failing, Executive Director, Metro Highway Program at the International Chinese Transportation Professional Association, October 5, 2012

http://www.ictpa-scc.org/files/1_MetroP3.pdf

Transit and Highway -- Potential PPP Candidates



The map above is a composite of three maps on the Metro pdf. They are not to scale with each other.

 
                   Legend

Was Metro offering all these P3 projects as a total package or as a pick one or two or how many you want package? If as a total package, you can see from the map above that a foreign country or just one company, be if foreign or domestic, can virtually control a major truck route (you can call it a "goods movement route" or just a "truck route" as it really doesn't matter what it is called as almost all freeways in California are truck routes and all trucks carry cargo of some sort) from the Long Beach/LA ports all the way to the Inland Port in Victorville via the High Desert Corridor. Even if separate countries and or separate companies invest in any of the P3 projects presented, it will still result in California, specifically Los Angeles Country, in losing control of much of their highway system--which we taxpayers have paid for. And don't forget, if any of these P3 projects don't result in a positive return for the P3 investors, it is us, the Los Angeles County and California taxpayers, who will be making up the shortfall.

Outgoing AASHTO Director: Assess Gas Tax By the Dollar, Not By the Gallon 

 http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/01/17/outgoing-aashto-director-assess-gas-tax-by-the-dollar-not-by-the-gallon/

By Tanya Snyder, January 17, 2013


AASHTO Director John Horsley is thrilled with the new transportation bill, which gave state DOTs just about everything they wanted. 


 When the federal gas tax was set at 18.4 cents per gallon, it represented 17 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas. Now it’s barely 5 percent.

That was 20 years ago. Some say the answer for today isn’t just to raise the gas tax but to re-imagine it. John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, who retires at the end of this month, made his proposal yesterday at the annual Transportation Research Board conference.

He’d like to see the fixed gas tax replaced with a percentage sales tax on fuels. He said such a move could avert a looming “transportation fiscal cliff.” An AASHTO press release explains:
Under Horsley’s proposal, sales tax rates on fuels would be set at a level that restores solvency to the Highway Trust Fund. The fund is currently spending $15 billion more annually than the revenues it receives. The change would support spending on highways and transit over the next six years at $350 billion. If the program were limited to expected excise tax revenues, it would have to be cut to $236 billion.
Horsley didn’t propose a figure for the sales tax percentage. Right now, the price of gas in DC is $3.59 per gallon. If the gas tax went back up to 17 percent, it would be 61 cents a gallon.

Let me be clear: Horsley’s idea is much less ridiculous than Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s sales tax proposal, which he introduced last week, which would have levied the sales tax to pay for roads on everything but gas. This would still charge drivers at the pump to pay for the transportation network, it would just do it in a way that goes up according to prices, like all sales taxes.

Federal Transit Administration Chief Peter Rogoff warned that sales taxes don’t necessarily provide more stability than a flat fee. “In transit-land, sales taxes rise and fall with sufficient amplitudes here that it makes or breaks projects,” he told an audience at TRB later the same day that Horsley made his announcement. “I’ve  had to slow projects down for fear that local sales taxes were not coming in as quickly as envisioned. Sometimes they come in even more so, and they solve other funding problems. Just because it’s a sales tax doesn’t mean that it’s stable. It’s going to rise and fall with the economy.”

That’s true, but I bet planners would be happy to hedge against the difference between 55 and 65 cents a gallon, rather than starve with 18.4.

Sen. Barbara Boxer has suggested indexing the gas tax to inflation, not to the price of gas. That would cause the tax to rise slowly and imperceptibly, but still do a somewhat better job keeping pace with the needs than the current system.

“It’s no secret [funding] is the elephant in the room, and the gorilla in the room,” said U.S. DOT Assistant Secretary Polly Trottenberg. “This is a solution we’re going to need to work with Congress on, and Congress right now is bitterly divided on this question.”

Secretary Ray LaHood has said working out a solution to the transportation funding shortfall is his top priority.
Lost Train Depots of Los Angeles

 http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/history/la-as-subject/lost-train-depots-of-los-angeles.html

By Nathan Masters, January 17, 2013
The Moorish dome of the Santa Fe Railway's red-brick La Grande Station welcomed newcomers to Los Angeles from 1893 to 1939. Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library.

 The Moorish dome of the Santa Fe Railway's red-brick La Grande Station welcomed newcomers to Los Angeles from 1893 to 1939. Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library.


Before the Jet Age brought safe and comfortable air travel to the masses, most newcomers in Los Angeles arrived by rail. Train depots thus provided tourists' and emigrants' first introduction to Los Angeles, helping shape their ideas about the city. The city's grandest passenger terminal, Union Station, survives today. But its historic predecessors, which welcomed millions to the city, have all vanished from the cityscape.

Compared with those that followed, and especially to Union Station, Los Angeles' first passenger depot was a modest affair. In the days before tourism became the lifeblood of the region's economy, after all, there was little point in expending capital on an impressive structure or decorative embellishment.

Serving Phineas Banning's Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad, the city's first station was a tiny
wooden structure on the southwest corner of Commercial and Alameda streets. When it opened on October 26, 1869, freight was at least as important as passenger service to the railroad's operations. Accordingly, amenities were sparse. Chronicler Harris Newmark was not impressed:
Really, it was more of a freight-shed than anything else, without adequate passenger facilities; a small space at the North end contained a second story in which some of the clerks slept; and in a cramped little cage beneath, tickets were sold.
The Los Angeles & San Pedro's life as an independent railroad was brief; in 1873, the Southern Pacific acquired the 21-mile line, and for a brief time the Commercial Street depot served as the terminal for the Southern Pacific's overland route to Los Angeles.

In 1876, the Southern Pacific opened a new depot on the current site of Los Angeles State Historic Park (the Cornfield). Known as the River Station, the two-story depot offered separate "ladies' and gentlemen's reception and waiting rooms," the Los Angeles Star reported, and was "finished on the outside with redwood rustic, all material being used of the very best quality." The railroad later upgraded the facility with many more passenger amenities, including a hotel and restaurants.

Though the River Station welcomed many of those drawn by the land boom of the mid-1880s, its location came to be seen as less than ideal. It was surrounded by the Southern Pacific's freight yards and, as the city's Anglo population shifted south of the historic plaza into the new central city, it was situated far from many passengers' ultimate destinations. Later depots, beginning with the Southern Pacific's Arcade Station, would be located to the south.

In 1888, the Arcade Station opened at Fourth and Alameda. Built on the former site of William Wolfskill's pioneering orange groves, the depot was flanked by gardens and landscaping meant to showcase Southern California's salubrious climate. A fully-grown Washington fan palm, moved from a site nearby, stood outside the station's entrance, symbolically welcoming newcomers to a supposed subtropical paradise.

The depot itself was a massive, wooden Victorian structure reminiscent of European train stations. Five hundred feet long, the depot's rail shed featured skylights and an arched roof that soared 90 feet above the platforms below. Upon its opening, the Los Angeles Times praised the Arcade Station as "second to none on the Pacific Slope."

Less than 25 years later, though, the newspaper was describing the depot as "ancient" and "unsightly and inadequate" as it welcomed the arrival of a new Southern Pacific depot, which came to be known as Central Station. Designed by architects John Parkinson and George Bergstrom, it was located at Fifth and Central, directly next to the Arcade Station. Central Station was the city's most impressive depot to date. The white stuccoed building was an imposing edifice. Steel umbrella-style train sheds replaced the arched roof of the Arcade Station, which tended to trap soot and smoke. Inside, the station offered passengers an elegant waiting room with chandeliers, fine woodwork, and marble wainscoting.

Central Station opened to passengers on December 1, 1914. The Arcade Station, meanwhile, "passed into history unhonored and unsung," the Times noted. There was no public outcry as wreckers dismantled the old wooden building to make way for new outdoor platforms.
Several blocks away, at the corner of Santa Fe Avenue and Second, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad's La Grande Station had been welcoming tourists and overland emigrants since 1893.

The station's exotic design incorporated several architectural styles, but what stood out most was its hulking Moorish dome that, wrote the Times, was "a suggestion of the Orient." Like the Arcade Station, the La Grande station boasted about the region's climate with lush gardens planted with palms and other exotic species. And although, unlike most Santa Fe depots in the Southwest, it did not include a full-service Harvey House restaurant, a Harvey lunch counter did open inside the complex in 1900.

The La Grande depot was also notable for its red-brick construction, selected because it signaled the station's importance and because it followed a rash of fires that had destroyed wooden depots. Unfortunately, the station's engineers failed to consider whether masonry construction was well-suited for earthquake country. When the 1933 Long Beach earthquake shook the region, the depot sustained serious damage. The Moorish dome, damaged beyond repair, was removed.

By then, plans were already well under way for a new, unified passenger terminal. The Union Pacific, having lost its depot on the east bank of the Los Angeles River to fire in 1924, had already moved its passenger operations to the Southern Pacific's Central Station. Now, the Santa Fe would join its two competitors at a grand new station, located on the site of Old Chinatown, where trains could more easily be separated from the city's bustling automobile and streetcar traffic.

By 1939, Chinatown had been razed and its residents displaced, and the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal opened to a huge civic celebration. The two legacy depots, whose histories are richly documented in this thesis by Holly Charmain Kane, meanwhile, faded into obscurity. The La Grande station, which despite the earthquake damage continued to serve passengers until 1939, became a freight terminal. It was torn down in 1946.
Central Station suffered a similar fate. The Young Market Co. acquired the site, and the old depot was
demolished to make way for a meat-packing plant. Though the station had welcomed countless newcomers to Los Angeles, the end came with little fanfare. On August 22, 1956, the Times reported the station's demise in a 92-word story on page B-2.
Commercial Street Depot — Los Angeles & San Pedro
The depot of the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad, the city's first, stood at Commercial and Alameda streets. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
The depot of the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railroad, the city's first, stood at Commercial and Alameda streets. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
A circa 1900 photo of the depot, long after it had been replaced by the Southern Pacific's River Station and then, later, the Arcade Station. Courtesy of the Title Insurance and Trust, and C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, USC Libraries.
A circa 1900 photo of the depot, long after it had been replaced by the Southern Pacific's River Station and then, later, the Arcade Station. Courtesy of the Title Insurance and Trust, and C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, USC Libraries.
River Station — Southern Pacific
The Southern Pacific's River Station stood on the present-day site of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. In 1901, it was torn down and replaced by a new station, also called the River Station, across the street. Courtesy of the Title Insurance and Trust, and C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, USC Libraries.
The Southern Pacific's River Station stood on the present-day site of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. In 1901, it was torn down and replaced by a new station, also called the River Station, across the street. Courtesy of the Title Insurance and Trust, and C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, USC Libraries.
Undated photo of the Southern Pacific's River Station. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Undated photo of the Southern Pacific's River Station. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Arcade Station — Southern Pacific
The Arcade Station's rail shed was five hundred feet long and ninety feet high. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
The Arcade Station's rail shed was five hundred feet long and ninety feet high. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Streetcars await passengers in front of the Arcade Station in this ca. 1900 postcard. Courtesy of the James Rojas Collection, Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
Streetcars await passengers in front of the Arcade Station in this ca. 1900 postcard. Courtesy of the James Rojas Collection, Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
Three trains could fit inside the Arcade Station's rail shed. Soot and smoke from the steam locomotives collected inside the building, annoying passengers. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Three trains could fit inside the Arcade Station's rail shed. Soot and smoke from the steam locomotives collected inside the building, annoying passengers. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
A fan palm greeted tourists and emigrants when they arrived at the Southern Pacific's Arcade Station. Circa 1890 photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
A fan palm greeted tourists and emigrants when they arrived at the Southern Pacific's Arcade Station. Circa 1890 photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
The Arcade Station palm tree was already mature when it was moved from San Pedro Street near Second in 1888. The tree was moved again in 1914 and stands today in front of the Los Angeles Coliseum in Exposition Park.
The Arcade Station palm tree was already mature when it was moved from San Pedro Street near Second in 1888. The tree was moved again in 1914 and stands today in front of the Los Angeles Coliseum in Exposition Park.
The Southern Pacific built its Arcade Station on the Wolfskill ranch, where William Wolfskill pioneered the growing of oranges in Los Angeles. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
The Southern Pacific built its Arcade Station on the Wolfskill ranch, where William Wolfskill pioneered the growing of oranges in Los Angeles. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
La Grande Station — Santa Fe Railroad
Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library.
Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library.
A burro-drawn covered wagon awaits Death Valley-bound passengers at the La Grande Station in 1930. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
A burro-drawn covered wagon awaits Death Valley-bound passengers at the La Grande Station in 1930. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
Outside La Grande Station, a garden of exotic plants welcomed newcomers to the supposedly sub-tropical climate of Southern California. Courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection, USC Libraries.
Outside La Grande Station, a garden of exotic plants welcomed newcomers to the supposedly sub-tropical climate of Southern California. Courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection, USC Libraries.
Circa 1904 postcard depicting La Grande Station. Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library.
Circa 1904 postcard depicting La Grande Station. Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library.
La Grande Station's open-air concourse doubled as a waiting area. Circa 1937 photo courtesy of the Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
La Grande Station's open-air concourse doubled as a waiting area. Circa 1937 photo courtesy of the Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Passengers wait for a train at the Santa Fe's La Grande Station, circa 1937. Courtesy of the Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Passengers wait for a train at the Santa Fe's La Grande Station, circa 1937. Courtesy of the Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
1924 aerial view of the Santa Fe's La Grande station. Courtesy of the   Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
1924 aerial view of the Santa Fe's La Grande station. Courtesy of the Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Damaged beyond repair by the 1933 Long Beach quake, the station's Moorish dome was removed. Circa 1937 photo courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Damaged beyond repair by the 1933 Long Beach quake, the station's Moorish dome was removed. Circa 1937 photo courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Although normal passenger service moved to Union Station in 1939, La Grande station was called into service once more during World War II. Japanese Americans bound for internment camps departed from the historic depot. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Although normal passenger service moved to Union Station in 1939, La Grande station was called into service once more during World War II. Japanese Americans bound for internment camps departed from the historic depot. Courtesy of the Photo Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.
Central Station — Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads
Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library
Courtesy of the Werner Von Boltenstern Postcard Collection, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University Library
Interior view of the Central Station lobby. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
Interior view of the Central Station lobby. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
The Southern Pacific's white-stuccoed Central Station stood at the intersection of Central and Fifth.
The Southern Pacific's white-stuccoed Central Station stood at the intersection of Central and Fifth.
A crowd gathers outside the Central Station. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
A crowd gathers outside the Central Station. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
In 1924, the Union Pacific moved its passenger operations to the Central Station. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
In 1924, the Union Pacific moved its passenger operations to the Central Station. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
An abandoned Central Station, circa 1956. The historic depot was replaced by a meat-packing plant. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.
An abandoned Central Station, circa 1956. The historic depot was replaced by a meat-packing plant. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries.