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 24, 2013

Summary of port expansion issues with an excellent description of the GRID project advantages, from World Cargo News March 2012!

Posted on Facebook, January 24, 2013
Start at page 19, "US ports think intermodal." The Grid Paradigm is discussed on page 20. 

World Cargo News March 2012

ExpressLanes to open on 10 freeway on Feb. 23


 Posted by Steve Hymon



Here's the news release from Metro:
More than 80,000 FasTrak® ExpressLanes Transponders Issued; Numerous Discounts Offered
Metro ExpressLanes to Debut Along 14 miles of the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway on Saturday, February 23
Following on the heels of the successful opening late last year of 11-miles of Metro ExpressLanes along the Harbor Freeway and with more than 80,000 Fastrak® ExpressLanes transponders now issued, Metro plans to open an additional 14 miles of Metro ExpressLanes along the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 23, 2013, weather permitting.
For the past couple of months, motorists have been seeing messages on the giant display message boards along the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway in preparation for the opening of the Metro ExpressLanes.
“We are excited to announce the opening date and want to encourage San Gabriel Valley commuters to get their FasTrak® transponders now so they will be ready to enjoy all the benefits of the ExpressLanes when the lanes open on the 10 freeway in February,” said Duarte Councilmember and Metro Board Member John Fasana. “With the successful opening of the I-110 ExpressLanes, we look forward to seeing how the I-10 ExpressLanes will reduce traffic congestion in the San Gabriel Valley.”
The ExpressLanes program seeks to reduce congestion by improving travel choices in the two corridors. Carpools, vanpools, and motorcycles will travel toll free. All motorists will need a FasTrak® transponder to travel in the ExpressLanes.
Metro, in partnership with Caltrans, is embarking on a one-year demonstration program that converts 11 miles of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the I-110 (Harbor Freeway) between the 91 Freeway and Adams Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles and 14 miles on the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway (El Monte Busway) between Union Station/Alameda Street and the I-605 Freeway to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes that allow solo drivers to use the lanes for a toll. The Harbor Freeway ExpressLanes opened to the public on Nov. 10, 2012.
“When solo drivers begin to travel on the ExpressLanes along the San Bernardino Freeway, all commuters will benefit—whether they pay a toll or not—because the ExpressLanes will redistribute traffic across all lanes of the freeway,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who also is a Metro Board Member and Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Congestion Pricing.
When the I-10 ExpressLanes open in February, the rules for carpools on the I-10 freeway will stay the same as they are today. Carpools are three or more people traveling during peak travel times of 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, with holidays excluded. During peak travel times, carpools of just two people can travel in the I-10 San Bernardino Metro ExpressLanes for a toll. All other times, they will travel toll-free in the ExpressLanes.
At all times on both freeways, the general purpose lanes are not tolled. Net toll revenues will be reinvested in the corridor where they are generated for transportation improvements. To prevent backups in the ExpressLanes, the tolls will be adjusted from 25 cents a mile to a maximum of $1.40 a mile and will increase as the number of vehicles in the ExpressLanes increase.
“Caltrans’ High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are the most prolific in the nation,” said Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles. “ExpressLanes are the next logical progression in reducing congestion as the state moves from freeway building to intensive operations management,” he said.
Construction workers have been busy over the last year installing a host of power and utility support units needed for the operation of the dynamic message signs along the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway corridor. These signs began their testing phase late last year displaying information regarding the ExpressLanes program. The testing will continue until the system is opened to the public on February 23.For now, the carpool lanes are still operating on the I-10 freeway until the conversion to Metro ExpressLanes, so solo drivers cannot use FasTrak® on the I-10 freeway until the ExpressLanes open next month.
As part of the testing of equipment, carpools with a FasTrak® transponder may hear a beep when traveling in the HOV lane on the I-10 freeway. This means the equipment has detected the transponder but no tolls are being assessed and no information is being transmitted.
“The success of the Metro ExpressLanes now operating along the Harbor Freeway speaks volumes as we strive to change commuter behavior by offering real transportation choices to improve mobility,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “The opening of an additional 14-miles of ExpressLanes along the San Bernardino Freeway is a great opportunity to be on the leading edge of an innovative new project that will ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and provide new travel options.”
Along the I-10 freeway, an additional toll lane has been constructed in each direction between the 605 and the 710 freeways to add capacity along that heavily traveled corridor. Prior to the ExpressLanes, there was only one carpool lane operating in each direction along the El Monte Busway. None of the general purpose lanes will be taken away to convert the lanes and make the improvements.
Metro encourages those planning on using the new ExpressLanes along the San Bernardino Freeway to open an account and get their transponders now. To open a FasTrak® account and receive an ExpressLanes switchable transponder:
  • Visit www.metroexpresslanes.net
  • Call 511 and say “ExpressLanes”
  • Visit walk-in centers at 500 W. 190th Street in Gardena or at the El Monte Station, 3501 Santa Anita Avenue, El Monte
  • Mail an application, which is available online, to Metro ExpressLanes, PO Box 3878, Gardena, CA 90247
The costs vary depending on payment methods. Drivers who open their accounts with a credit or debit card will pay $40 and the transponder deposit will be waived. The $40 will be applied to any tolls incurred while driving solo in the Metro ExpressLanes. There is a $3 monthly account fee, which will go into effect when the I-10 Freeway ExpressLanes open next month. The monthly fee is waived after four one-way trips in the Metro ExpressLanes and/or on travel on eligible transit in the ExpressLanes corridor.
Discounts are available at participating Albertsons and Costco stores as well as at branch locations of the Automobile Club of Southern California.In a first for an ExpressLanes project, low-income commuters can receive a $25 toll credit when setting up an Equity Plan account, and the transponder deposit will be waived. They must reside in Los Angeles County and have an annual income below $37,061 for a family of three. There is a limit of one Equity Plan account per household.
The Metro ExpressLanes program is a $290-million project funded by a $210-million federal grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the Congestion Reduction Demonstration Program. Nearly $120 million is going towards actual construction costs associated with the toll lanes. The remainder of the money is being used to improve various transportation hubs along the two corridors including the Harbor Gateway Transit Center along the 110 freeway and the construction of a new El Monte Station along the I-10 freeway.
In addition, the project funded the purchase of 59 new clean fuel buses to provide additional bus service along the two corridors and 100 new vanpools. Along the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway, additional Metro Silver Line bus service is now operating along with Silver Streak bus service offered by Foothill Transit. Both Metro and Foothill Transit bus passes are honored on either line as an added customer convenience.
The ExpressLanes project is being constructed by Atkinson Contractors, LP under contract to Metro. The contractor was competitively selected to design-build-operate-and-maintain the ExpressLanes project. The Atkinson team included AECOM for design and Xerox/ACS Inc. for tolling integration.

City Hall Will Get Its Money for Road Improvements, But First Voters Need a “Complete Streets” Plan


Written by Jeff Jacobberger, January 25, 2013 


 STREET TAX … ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE - Councilmembers Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino are to be commended for calling the City’s attention to the sorry state of Los Angeles’ transportation infrastructure. The size of their proposed property tax and bond measure--$3 billion--makes clear the scope of the problem. However, the City Council acted wisely in not placing this measure on the upcoming May 2013 ballot. 

While much attention has been given to the lack of outreach to neighborhood councils and others, a more significant problem is that the proposal did not make clear how the $3 billion would be spent. Los Angeles voters are unwilling to write a blank check to City Hall, buy will support a comprehensive transportation infrastructure plan that includes asking Angelenos to pay higher taxes.

Mayor Villaraigosa has suggested that the property tax and infrastructure bond measure should be placed on the November 2014 ballot. That timing could be ideal.

The Department of City Planning has been working on a long-range plan that will establish goals, policies and programs for Los Angeles’ transportation system. That document—formally the Mobility Element of the General Plan--will include a strategy for how the City can best meet its current and future capital improvements, operations, and maintenance obligations in a holistic and sustainable way.

The Mobility Element is on track to be presented to the City Council in summer of next year. That
means that City Hall could go to the voters in November 2014 with a request for funding that is designed to address a wide range of transportation needs beyond a sole focus on the condition of our streets.

Los Angeles voters have demonstrated a willingness to pay higher taxes for transportation improvements when they are presented with a well-thought-out plan for how that money will be spent. In 2008, 72.4% of Los Angeles voters supported Measure R’s half-cent sales tax increase.

Measure R has funded and will fund projects throughout LA County benefiting motorists, transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians. The project list included in the ballot measure allowed voters in all parts of the County to see how they would benefit, and the measure passed handily.

Last November, Measure J (which would have extended the half-cent sales tax to facilitate bond financing and acceleration of Measure R projects) fell a hair short of the required two-thirds majority in LA County as a whole; within the City of Los Angeles, nearly 71% of voters supported the measure, well over the two-thirds majority required.

By tying a property tax measure to a new and comprehensive Mobility Element, our elected officials can ensure that we do more than repair a road system that was largely designed and constructed to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding auto-centric city. Instead, we can fund and build a transportation system to meet the needs of the 21st century.  

While the condition of our streets is deplorable, the same is true of other elements of the transportation system. The new Mobility Element will replace the existing Transportation Element, which was drafted in the mid-1990s and is woefully out of date. Since adoption of the Transportation Element, Los Angeles has planned for and/or implemented massive investments in public transit there has been an explosion of bicycling and adoption of the 2010 Bike Plan; public health and economic development experts have placed a renewed emphasis on walkable neighborhoods.

And, yes, in many parts of the City, traffic congestion has gotten worse. In all parts of the City, streets and sidewalks continue to crumble.

The Planning Department has engaged in substantial outreach in developing the Mobility Element, and no one can legitimately complain that they have not been given an opportunity to participate. For example, the Planning Department sent "Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods" activity kits to every neighborhood council, and many other community groups June 2012.  One-quarter of these groups completed and returned the kits. Given the difficulty that neighborhood councils can have in taking action, that is a remarkable rate of participation.

Planning has also engaged a wide range of other stakeholders in developing the Mobility Element. These include: pedestrian and bicycle advocates (the City’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committees, the LA County Bicycle Coalition, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership; transit providers  (Metro, Culver City Transit, Big Blue Bus, Foothill Transit) and transit advocates (Transit Coalition, the Bus Riders Union); taxi drivers, UPS, academics from UCLA, USC and other institutions; and many more.  They have coordinated their efforts with other City departments, including Transportation, Public Works, the Port of Los Angeles and LA World Airports. They have included business interests and environmental groups.

The Planning Department’s comprehensive approach is the only way to ensure that an infrastructure bond measure meets the needs of all Angelenos. Our focus should be on moving people, not cars.
While most people still travel by car, a large and increasing portion of trips are made on transit, bicycles or foot.

Even when we plan for all modes of transportation, the lion’s share of attention will be given to the condition of our streets. Most Los Angeles transit ridership is on buses. Poor road conditions wreak havoc on transit providers, requiring them to spend more than necessary on maintenance and repair. More frequent breakdowns make it hard to provide reliable, consistent service; and rough pavement can make riding the bus miserable.

An infrastructure improvement plan that focuses on streets with transit service, will allow transit operators to focus on running buses instead of fixing them.  That benefits motorists in two important ways. First, transit corridors tend to be streets that are most heavily used by motorists, too. More reliable and more comfortable buses mean more transit riders, which means fewer drivers clogging our roads. At rush hour today, a relative handful of buses carry as many people along Wilshire Boulevard buses as all the cars. Better transit can mean less congested streets for motorists.

Bike advocates would like to see a robust network of off-road bike paths, such as along the LA River and storm drainage channels. But, like transit, the vast majority of bicycling will occur on the same city streets used by motorists, because we all live, work, eat and play in the same places.

Poor road conditions are more hazardous to bicyclists than motorists, causing flat tires and crashes. Because bicyclists ride to the right side of the road where pavement conditions are worst, they weave a lot, which makes it harder for bicyclists and motorists to share the road.  Many bicyclists “take the lane,” especially at night, because they can’t be sure that the right edge of the roadway is safe. 

About 40% of all trips in Los Angeles are short, bikeable trips.  Implementation of the 2010 Bike Plan will increase bicycling, and shift many car trips to bike trips. As with transit, motorists benefit from a robust infrastructure funding strategy that implements the 2010 Bike Plan.

The City Council should continue to support the Planning Department’s efforts to develop a new Mobility Element that meets the needs of all users of Los Angeles’ streets and sidewalks. They should make sure this effort receives the resources and support from other City departments necessary to keep it on track for adoption by the summer of 2014 and ensure that it includes an implementation schedule and funding strategy that is achievable and measurable. 

Then, and only then, should City Hall ask Los Angeles voters for the tax dollars necessary to restore our transportation system to greatness.

(Jeff Jacobberger received his Master of Planning degree from USC and works as a transportation planner.  He has served as Chair of the Mid City West Community Council and drafted the original Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Water and Power and Neigh

Studio City Red Line Station! Metro Renames 3 Subway Stops


January 24, 2013



Metro board members decided at their meeting today to rename three subway stations. The Civic Center station in Downtown will henceforth be known as Civic Center/Grand Park/Tom Bradley Station in order to help direct people to the new Grand Park, as well as to honor the former LA mayor, reports The Source. The Red Line Universal City station is now the Universal City/Studio City Station, as it's actually in Studio City. Finally, the Purple Line's Wilshire/Western Station is now the Wilshire/Western/Alfred Hoyun Song Station, to honor the former mayor of Monterey Park and the first Asian-American legislator elected to the State Assembly. The changes for the Civic Center and Valley stations involve new signage that will cost about $32,200--that should be up by the end of June, and the audio announcements will also change for these stops. The Koreatown station will get a $5,000 plaque to honor Hoyun Song, but no other new markers.

· Metro Board approves renaming of three Metro Rail stations [The Source]

LA's First Parklets Open in Feb., Sidewalk Updates on Sepulveda


January 24, 2013


HIGHLAND PARK/DOWNTOWN/EL SERENO: The parklets are nearly here: LA is set to debut its first four parking-spots-to-parks projects in February. The York Boulevard parklet in Highland Park will have a grand opening on February 2; the two Spring Street parklets Downtown will open on February 7; and the Huntington Drive parklet in El Sereno arrives February 16. LA's been behind the curve on these baby parks--San Francisco and Long Beach have been going nuts for them--but the hope is that these first projects will lead to more. [Curbed Inbox]

WESTCHESTER: Even Westchester is getting some greenwork done: work started last weekend on Sepulveda Boulevard to switch out some nasty ficus trees for "two new species whose roots will cause less damage to the sidewalk." The trees will be replaced at a three-to-one ratio starting in the spring, when the area will also get new sidewalks with "a meandering design feature on the west side of Sepulveda." [Curbed Inbox]

Go Metro mobile app update and a few tips


 Lan-Chi Lam, January 24, 2013

iPhone software update screen

iPhone software update screen

1. A new version is available for download for iPhones, iPads and Androids. If you already have the app, you should have received an update notice on your respective devices. Customers pointed out the last update had a strange error of displaying arrival times out of order. Metro mobile developers tracked down the bug and quickly fixed it — however, submitting changes to the App Store and waiting for approval is another story. We appreciate all the feedback coming in via the app, emails, Twitter and Facebook.

2. Metro's mobile app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times by mobile users. Last checked — just over 55,000+ downloads for Android devices and 57,000+ downloads for iPhone devices. If you currently have the app, I'd love to hear from you — what do you like and hate about the app? What would you like to see in the future?

3. There are no current plans to build a Windows or Blackberry version. Sorry Windows and BB users — this is not out of preference, but rather budget and resources. Our online metrics indicate both Windows and BB customers make up less than three percent of online usage. BTW: as of last month (Dec 2012), over 50 percent of all web traffic visiting metro.net is coming from a mobile device — almost equally split between Android and iOS.

Fret not, there are alternatives for Windows and Blackberry users — have you tried Metro's mobile website, m.metro.net?

(Please note, I am using an iPhone for easy screen captures. It's too difficult to take a screen grab or use apps that provide that feature for Android — you need root access to your device and this is too much effort for an image — now you know).

On any mobile browser, enter m.metro.net into the address bar. The first thing you'll notice are Service Alerts (@metroLAalerts via Twitter) front and center; we also placed the Twitter 'Follow' button atop so you can follow, and feel free to 'tweet' us with a comment or just a shout-out by clicking the 'Tweet' button.

Scroll down just a tad and you'll see transit system links; specifically Nextrip Service and various Trip Planners.
m.metro.net in Safari mobile browser
m.metro.net in Safari mobile browser
m.metro.net in Safari mobile browser
Links to Nextrip, various Trip Planners, and service info.

 Clicking on the Trip Planner will take you to Metro's text-only Trip Planner for mobile devices. Enter your Start and End location, and select other preference
Mobile Trip Planner
Mobile Trip Planner

Clicking on Nextrip will take you to Nextrip's mobile web application. Upon landing on the page, it will ask to use the device's location. Click 'OK' and the web app will collect the closest Stops and Lines within your vicinity.
Nextrip mobile web app
Nextrip mobile web app asking for your device GPS location.
Nextrip mobile web app
Stops and Lines closest to your device location.

Stunt of the Day: Can This Guy Get Off a Train at One Metro Stop and Catch It at the Next?


Henry Grabar, January 24, 2013


 Stunt of the Day: Can This Guy Get Off a Train at One Metro Stop and Catch It at the Next?

There are two types of subway riders in the world. Those who wonder, during an idle moment at a station, if they could beat the train to the next stop; and those who attempt to do so.

That last group, to my knowledge, has only one member: an anonymous Frenchman. In the spirit of his compatriot Phillip Petit, he has pioneered a new field in urban athletics.

In "Man vs. Subway," this mec, a GoPro camera strapped to his head, tries to beat a westbound Paris Metro 10 train between Cluny-La Sorbonne and Odéon. To do so, though, he must not only navigate the entrances to each station, he must cross the busy Boulevard Saint-Michel....

At how many pairs of stations in the world would this kind of stunt even be worth trying? We look forward to seeing imitators.

We've Got Issues: Closing the 710 Freeway gap
 The issues and topics that Council Council candidates and voters are talking about

January 24, 2013

 What do First District City Council candidates think about extending the 710 Freeway to close a gap between El Sereno and Pasadena that has jammed traffic on  surface streets? The most recent ideas – including a tunnel and busway now under consideration would not necessarily have a direct impact on Council District 1.  But these and other alternatives being considered would certainly have an impact traffic and transportation across Northeast L.A. The topic came up at a recent Highland Park candidate forum.  Three of the four candidates voiced their opposition to any extension, but State Assemblyman Gil Cedillo said he would support a tunnel that would run beneath El Sereno and emerge in Pasadena.

Here’s how they responded:
Gill Cedillo, State Assemblyman
“I’m the only person who has authored legislation to block any surface route to the 710, and I did that by negotiating with the city of South Pasadena, the city of Alhambra, talking to the mayor of Pasadena, working with communities along the corridor …  I oppose all routes other than the direct route that goes north. It goes under, south of Valley [Boulevard], and will not emerge until it gets to into Pasadena.”

Jose Gardea, Chief of Staff to Councilman Ed Reyes
“I am against the 710. Many of us in this room have done transportation planning over the years. We have done good neighborhood planning over the years. And the 710 under any scenario is neither. So as residents and neighbors of South Pasadena and neighbors of El Sereno, we cannot support a project like that. Because as much as we can talk about the tunnel going through their neighborhood, I don’t trust Caltrans, and I don’t think many of you trust Caltrans. I don’t trust the MTA …  It’s not going to happen in my administration. I will work on your behalf. “

Jesse Rosas, business owner 

I am against any proposals for the 710 because it will destroy any community it goes through: El Sereno, South Pasadena, Pasadena, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Cypress… Absolutely not, I’m not going to support the 710 Freeway.  Not today, not tomorrow but in the long run, there will be sinking in that area [where the tunneling is proposed]…”

William Morrison, write-in candidate
“I’m against the 710 Freeway. There are many reasons why I’m against it. They’re not going to be able to build it in this area or in District 1. The only way they’re ever going to make a freeway is away from here … The 710 is a dead issue and I’m against it.”
We’ve Got Issues is a look at how City Council candidates in the March 5 election stand on specific issues. Responses are compiled from candidate forums and direct questions submitted to candidates.

Sparks fly at open house on 710 expansion proposals


By Lauren Gold Staff Writer

Posted:   01/24/2013 11:38:11 AM PST
Updated:   01/24/2013 01:03:53 PM PST
PASADENA - Protesters Wednesday spoke out at an open house for the public about the first phase of the Long Beach (710) Freeway north extension environmental study.

The open house, held at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, was the first of three aimed to educate the public about how the Metropolitan Transportation Authority study team narrowed down hundreds of alternatives to a final five possibilities to fill the 4.5 mile freeway "gap" between Alhambra and Pasadena.

The final options that will move on for further study are "No build," bus, light rail, traffic management solutions and a dual-bore underground freeway tunnel.

About 45 minutes into the open house, a group of residents opposed to the freeway project attempted
to get the room's attention as Pasadena resident Freddie Hannan blew a whistle and shouted from atop a chair, trying to ask Metro staff questions about the study.

"We want answers," Hannan said.

As Hannan spoke, Metro consultant Jim Oswald began to speak loudly over her, telling the room that the meeting was not meant for "public comment." Three sheriff's deputies then asked Hannan and the other group members to take their protest outside.

Hannan said she wanted to speak out because she was disappointed with the meeting format.

The executives of the 710 study and other Metro staff were posted throughout the room to answer questions as the public roamed the room and looked at large posters explaining the alternatives analysis process. The posters included information about the project "purpose and need," environmental and community effects of each alternative, goods movement and the project's timeline.

"It's basically meaningless because you have to go to all these stations and ask each person a question but nobody else hears the answer," Hannan said. "These are P.R. stunts, they are meaningless to us."

Frank Quon, executive officer of Metro's Highway Program, said the disruption was "unfortunate" but that many people remained in the room afterwards and continued to have a dialogue with each other and with Metro staff.

"This is what we hope to accomplish, to have these conversations," Quon said.

Metro released a 183-page report on the alternatives analysis phase of the project on Friday, which is available on the Caltrans District 7 website.

Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison said he was disappointed to see that Hannan and the other protesters were asked to leave the open house.

"I was appalled by the reaction of Metro," Madison said. "Freddie should have a right at a public meeting like this to stand up and speak."

Madison said he plans to organize a community forum in Pasadena on the 710 issue to give residents a chance to speak out.

Pasadena resident Tom Budinger, who lives on Los Robles Avenue, said he thought the open house
was informative, and said he supports the tunnel option to ease the congestion on local streets. He said he thought the protest Wednesday was "expected."

"But I think you have to see what is best for the whole region," he said.

 Project Manager Michelle Smith said Wednesday's events were just part of the process Metro has to go through to study and approve the final project.

"This is just what we do," she said. "This is the environmental process."

Metro will host another open house from 6-8 p.m. at San Marino Community Church tonight and a third from 9-11 a.m. at California State University, Los Angeles on Saturday. For more information, visit http://www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations.

Transit taxes would be easier to pass under proposed constitutional amendment


By: Will Reisman | 01/22/13 

san francisco public transit

Lowering the voter threshold for ballot measures from a two-thirds majority to 55 percent could give Bart, Muni, Caltrain and other agencies new opportunities to seek funding at the ballot box.
Initiatives to provide extra funds for BART, Muni, Caltrain and other transit agencies could stand a better chance of approval due to a renewed movement to lower voting thresholds for ballot measures.

Attempts by transit groups to pass parcel taxes, sales tax increases or general obligation bonds have been stymied because of the state requirement that they achieve a two-thirds ballot box majority. Last month, however, two legislative proposals were introduced to lower that barrier to 55 percent — a move that could benefit Bay Area transit agencies.

Faced with a $7.5 billion capital shortfall, BART is considering several such ballot measures, with a measure likely to go before voters within the next five years. Muni, with its structural operating deficit, and Caltrain, which lacks a dedicated funding source, also are considering such measures.
Caltrain spokesman Mark Simon said the two-thirds threshold makes even needed ballot measures difficult to pass.

“There is broad, deep public support for these measures,” Simon said. “But to put us at the two-thirds threshold virtually guarantees that you can’t get them approved.”

The requirement was part of Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 tax reform passed by voters. Last month, state Sens. Carol Liu and Ellen Corbett introduced a constitutional amendment to lower the threshold for local measures. The measure would need two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Legislature to qualify as a ballot measure. At that point, the amendment would go before voters — likely in 2014 — where a simple majority could pass it.

Similar proposals have failed in the past, said Joshua Shaw, executive director of the California Transit Association. But with Democrats holding a two-thirds majority in both legislative chambers, transit backers are optimistic.

“This is the best chance this measure has had in a long time,” Shaw said. “Neither the Democratic
leadership nor Gov. [Jerry] Brown has come out and specifically supported this yet, but we think this could be our time.”

David Wolfe, legislative director of the anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, called the proposal a direct attack on Prop 13.

“We understand that local transportation projects are very important, but passing regressive tax measures is not very prudent,” he said. “These measures would affect every single person in the district, which is why we think there should be the largest threshold available to approve them.”
While lowering the approval threshold would definitely help the chances of major infrastructure proposals, it could have a greater effect on day-to-day transit funding, said spokesman Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

High-awareness public works projects like BART’s earthquake safety bond have attained a two-thirds vote in the past. But measures to provide extra funding for agencies such as Muni and Caltrain have rarely polled that well, Rentschler said.

Caltrain is pursuing a tax measure to fund its operating needs, but Simon said how it moves forward depends on the voter threshold being lowered.

“We still have an obligation to the public to prove that we’ve tried everything else first,” he said. “I think we’ve done that through salary freezes, hiring freezes, layoffs and other measures. And, at 55 percent, the threshold is high enough that we still have to prove that we’re doing a good job taking care of the public’s money.”
Drivers Cover Just 51 Percent of U.S. Road Spending 


By Angie Schmitt, January 23, 2013

There’s a persistent misconception in American culture that transit is a big drain on public coffers while roads conveniently and totally pay for themselves through the magic of gas taxes. And that used to be true — at least for interstate highways, a fraction of the total road network.
Drivers directly pay for just 50.7 percent of the cost of the American road system. 

But that was many, many failed attempts to raise the gas tax ago. A new report from the Tax Foundation shows 50.7 percent of America’s road spending comes from gas taxes, tolls, and other fees levied on drivers. The other 49.3 percent? Well, that comes from general tax dollars, just like education and health care. The way we spend on roads has nothing to do with the free market, or even how much people use roads.

“Nationwide in 2010, state and local governments raised $37 billion in motor fuel taxes and $12 billion in tolls and non-fuel taxes, but spent $155 billion on highways,” writes the Tax Foundation’s Joseph Henchman. Another $28 billion of that $155 billion comes from revenue from the federal gas tax.

Meanwhile, transit fares cover 21 percent of costs nationwide, indicating that the difference in subsidies for roads and transit is not as great as it’s often made out to be. (Though in absolute terms, there is a big difference: The total subsidy for roads dwarfs the total subsidy for transit.)

Even more interesting is to compare roads to Amtrak, a favorite target of self-styled fiscal conservatives in Congress. Amtrak recovers about 85 percent of its operating costs from tickets — a relative bargain compared to other modes. Even accounting for capital costs, Amtrak — which operates mostly on privately owned tracks — covers 69 percent of its total costs through ticket prices and other fees to users.

The Tax Foundation also analyzed transportation spending in every state to determine which states subsidize their road systems the most through general taxes. Drivers in Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, and New York cover the highest share of road spending compared to drivers in other states. Drivers in Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, and Vermont cover the lowest share.

Can We Finally Declare Peace in the 'War on Cars'?


Sarah Goodyear, January 24, 2013


Can We Finally Declare Peace in the 'War on Cars'?

Can you still have a war if nobody wants to fight?

A recent survey of attitudes toward bicycles in Seattle raises the question. As local alt-weekly The Stranger points out in a piece called "Debunking the So-Called Bike Backlash," residents in Seattle have been talking about a “war on cars” for years. And the front line in that alleged war has been the stripes of paint that mark off lanes for bicycles.

But according to a recent survey commissioned by the Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club, this war isn’t anywhere near as hot as the rhetoric would have you believe. Before we go any further, yes, this is an advocacy group-commissioned poll, but they hired reputable research firm FM3 to conduct a scientific poll, which has a margin of error of 4.9 percent. The poll was originally intended for internal use, but according to Craig Benjamin, Cascade's policy and government affairs manager, the results were so heartening that they decided to share them with the public.
Here are some of the poll’s findings:
  • 73 percent of the 400 Seattle voters surveyed supported the idea of building protected bike lanes.
  • 59 percent go further and support “replacing roads and some on-street parking to make protected bicycle lanes.”
  • 79 percent have favorable feelings about cyclists.
  • Only 31 percent agree with the idea that Seattle is “waging a war on cars.”
The "war on cars" trope has long been a favored talking point for anti-bicycle and anti-transit types. But this survey and others seem to indicate that it might, at last, be wearing a bit thin, no matter how much the auto warriors try to whip up their troops.

Last year, a Quinnipiac poll of New York City residents showed that 59 percent support bike lanes, up from 54 only a few months earlier. Quinnipiac also found that 74 percent support the city’s sadly delayed bike-share plan. A New York City Department of Transportation poll about the Prospect Park Bike Lane – supposedly a bloody battleground of the war on cars that the New York Post insists the DOT is waging – found 70 percent of respondents liked the lane.

Toronto has also been a major front in this fight. The city’s embattled mayor, Rob Ford, famously declared that his election would mean an end to the city's supposed war on cars. (He also said that when a cyclist is killed by a driver, “it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”) On Ford’s watch, Toronto removed some downtown bike lanes last fall, prompting protests and even an arrest for mischief and obstructing a police officer.

But the aftermath has been more constructive than martial. Tomislav Svoboda, the physician who was arrested for his act of civil disobedience, was recently joined by 34 of his medical colleagues in a call for faster construction of new bike infrastructure, asking the city council to “change lanes and save lives.” Even Ford seems to be feeling less combative. He came out the other day talking about a 2013 budget that will include 80 kilometers of new on-street bike lanes, 100 kilometers of off-street bike trails, and 8,000 new bike parking spaces.

Maybe the public discussion about transportation infrastructure seems to be cooling down because the bellicose language just doesn’t resonate the way it once did.

“Our feeling over the last two years is that the ‘war on cars’ rhetoric has fallen flat with voters,” says Benjamin. Instead, he says, people seem to be responding to the tone taken by a group called Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. On their website, you’ll find this:
Imagine your neighborhood, knitted together with quiet residential streets where children and adults safely walk, ride bicycles, play and run. Imagine these streets are close to where you live and connect you to the places you want to go — the grocery store, your favorite coffee shop, your community center, your child’s school. Imagine traveling along a whole city network of streets designed first for children and adults who are walking and biking. Places where people are alert when they drive, and open their car doors carefully after they park.
Sounds pretty peaceful, doesn’t it?

Boulevard Revitalization and Neighborhood Change in Northeast Los Angeles


By Jan Lin, January 23, 2013


Artist rendering of parklet planned on York Boulevard between Avenue 50 and 51 

Artist rendering of parklet planned on York Boulevard between Avenue 50 and 51


Los Angeles is well known as a sprawling metropolis that is multi-nucleated rather than focused around a central civic center. The freeways are monuments to automobility and freedom in Los Angeles, but they also historically destroyed or bypassed established communities and contributed to economic and social separation. After decades of decline, the boulevards of Los Angeles are experiencing a revitalization that presents new possibilities for advancing local economic development and enhancing urban public life at the neighborhood level. Christopher Hawthorne, the architectural critic of the Los Angeles Times, has recently written a series of articles about the changes under way on Atlantic Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard.

Located in the foothills of Northeast Los Angeles, Occidental College is surrounded by the
neighborhoods of Eagle Rock and Highland Park that are known for their traditions of architectural preservation, artistic and bohemian cultural life, independent small businesses, and immigrant diversity. The neighborhoods are framed by four boulevards: Figueroa Street, Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock Boulevard and York Boulevard. These boulevards were originally major corridors of commercial activity and public life in the days of the electric railways; they fell into decline in the middle decades of the twentieth century with the rise of the automobile and the construction of freeways, such as the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Interstate 110), State Route 2, and Interstate 134, that fostered commercial and residential decentralization and the development of peripheral suburbs. Business life on the boulevards was furthermore bypassed by the construction of the Eagle Rock Mall and other malls and commercial zones in Glendale and Pasadena.

In the last two decades, however, new interest has emerged in downtown and inner-ring neighborhoods such as Northeast Los Angeles, as a counter-trend to urban sprawl and the long commutes experienced by residents in exurban locations. The appeal of older neighborhoods with historically significant architecture close to central city cultural amenities has drawn young professionals and business investors to communities like Eagle Rock and Highland Park. The economic revitalization of the boulevards is palpable, but so are concerns about the displacement effects of residential and commercial gentrification.
Councilman José Huizar poses with community members in front of site of planned park on York Boulevard and Avenue 50
Councilman José Huizar poses with community members in front of site of planned park on York...

The revitalization of the boulevards has spawned community-based movements such as the Take Back the Boulevard campaign, which seeks to slow traffic on Colorado Boulevard, and includes measures for beautification and making the boulevard more pedestrian and bike-friendly. On York Boulevard, Councilman José Huizar's office has helped procure public monies for a park and parklet, street beautification, and traffic management. On Figueroa Street, the North Figueroa Association is working with the assistance of Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative funding to improvement the boulevard through streetscape enhancements.

Last fall, students in my Los Angeles Field Research class at Occidental College interviewed business leaders and public characters who provided personal perspectives on the economic and social transition underway in the boulevards of Northeast Los Angeles. This classroom field project was supported by the Keck Grant. These interviews document the personal histories, achievements, and aspirations of some leaders of the community, including both long-time residents and more recent in-movers.

We asked our informants to reflect on the changes in the boulevards and neighborhoods. We asked them to reflect on the complex dynamics caused by the arrival of bohemian hipsters and middle-class residents, including gentrification and racial transition that fosters the displacement of the low-income and immigrant population. We probed deep to discover their ideas on how economic growth can be managed while promoting livability, the arts, youth participation and an inclusive community life that represents the full diversity of the Northeast foothill neighborhoods. As a microcosm of the broader metropolis, the experiences of the boulevards in the Northeast foothills may enhance our perspective on comparable dynamics in other neighborhoods of Los Angeles experiencing similar cycles of decline and renewal.

Read the interviews conducted by Professor Lin's students here.

(Incidentally,  even though I live in Pasadena, I do my banking, shopping at Trader Joe's and CVS, trips to the post office, and Macy's and Target shopping in Eagle Rock as it is so much easier to do this than in more traffic-clogged Pasadena.)

I Rode the Entire L.A. Metro in a Single Day


By Paul T. Bradley, January 24, 2013


I once dreamed of being a transportation planner: fast-roping into jungles, skirting ancient booby traps to snag gilded idols, natives and Nazi occultists in hot pursuit. Sadly, urban planners do none of those things. The most daring thing most of them will ever do is Sharpie "Fuck you, Robert Moses!" onto their Trapper Keepers. I'm not cut out for that.

While I'll never get to write scintillating reports on Arterial Levels of Service, I can still appreciate the bureaucratic ballet that produces public transportation. I even like riding trains occasionally.

The thing is, I rarely ride them. I barely touch the Metro. Most of the time it's too complicated to get from, say, Silver Lake to Santa Monica, Red to Expo to bus, a buck fifty per line and nearly three hours shot. Why bother when you have a perfectly decent car?

And yet there is that whole $5 day pass thing — you can ride any train, and any bus, in the entire metropolitan system, with just one pass. Which got me thinking: How far could you stretch it? You could ride from one end of L.A. County to another in a single day. Other than hustling chess at the library, it might be the cheapest way to kill a day in Los Angeles — and potentially much more interesting.

I decided to give it a try.
At first, I had this silly notion that I might get up at 3:40 a.m. and ride the thing from open to close. Roughly 23 hours or so. The trouble is, I like sleep, and I don't want to do it on public transportation.
So I'm up at 9 a.m. and on a bus by 9:30. I'm on a train at 10 a.m. Disco.

I start by taking the Blue Line from Metro Center to Long Beach. The Blue Line, which spends most
of its length snaking through industrial areas, smells like manky crotch. Cruising past the South L.A. yards full of kind-of-managed clutter and unharvested citrus trees, I find myself wondering why I never come to this part of town. It's verdant and — holy shit, that lady just got hit by a car!
Just before it happened, we were all sitting peacefully. A guy was blasting Bobby Womack's newest album, The Bravest Man in the Universe, on portable speakers. Two women were chatting about romantic transgressions. And ... smack. We all see it. "God damn!" one lady yells. We crane our necks to watch.

There's a bizarre Disney-ride quality to the experience. The train even slows through the crossing near 14th and Long Beach Avenue, as if to give us all a better look. From behind train windows, we might as well be watching the Pirates of the Caribbean check on an injured comrade's vitals. "And to the left, Sandybeard Jack Treacle checks Lady Look-one-way's pulse." There's no blood, thankfully, just a dazed woman.

The offending driver doesn't bolt. From the inconvenienced look on his face, he looks like he wants to, but he does not. And there are bystanders aplenty. So when the train moves on, so do I.

At least the Blue Line has some excitement. Two hours later, I'm on the Green Line, riding east to Norwalk. Guess who's already sick of riding the goddamn Metro? Heading either direction on the Green is basically cruising the 105 freeway on rails. At Redondo Beach station, I run into two L.A. County Sheriff's deputies, neither of them at all interested in talking. They look at me like I'm wearing a glitter-laden Rip Taylor costume. I am not.

About 1:30, I run into an old friend on the Green Line, musician and Long Beach resident Chad "Emperor X" Matheny. He's dropping off a long-distance love interest at the airport. Chad's the fiercest Metro advocate I know. He's even got a song that Pitchfork liked once, "Right to the Rails."

"Oh, make sure you do the Orange line," he says of the bus line that runs from North Hollywood to Chatsworth. "You can't cheat BRT [Bus Rapid Transit], it has dedicated rights of way ... and it was supposed to be light rail."

"But not the Silver?" I ask.

"You can probably get away with avoiding the Silver," he says. "It's really just a bus."
I have a thought. "Hey, Chad, why does the Blue Line smell like dank filth?" I ask.

"Probably because it's the oldest line. People tend to forget that." Good point. (Chad also notes the guy near us rolling a joint; he does not offer to share.)

Chad takes off when we get downtown. Not even transit's fiercest champion can hang out on trains all night. That's my job.

Soon thereafter, though, the Expo Line, Metro Center to Culver, reveals the nastiest thing I've seen all day: a used Q-tip. Sitting right there on the seat. This is somehow grosser than the junkie who soils himself on the Red Line an hour or so later. What kind of a batshit lunatic drills out earwax on a train and leaves the cotton swab behind? ::shudder::

Evening rush hour starts. As I ride through downtown to Wilshire on the Purple and Red and back around, no one says a word for nearly two hours. The clientele looks a little more business-slick but not by much; it's still mostly worn-out workaday folks. Everyone stares at books, Nooks, Kindles and newspapers. I stare at the in-train advertising. "Protect Your Phone," demands one PSA, advocating concealing your phone deep in your pockets or bag. Metro wants you to be completely bored, apparently.

At roughly 8:40 p.m., I'm at the Red Line terminus in North Hollywood. A tiny man in an ill-fitting jacket is selling The Spark, a Socialist newspaper. We chat. He quotes Marx (Karl, not Harpo). I get bored quickly.

On the Orange Line, which I take back from Chatsworth, I notice three guys riding quietly in the back. They're bound for the Warner Center mall when one of them up and asks his friend, "Where's your mustache?"

"Dude, I'm on probation," he responds. "I can't do shit."

By roughly 10:30 p.m., I've turned into a complete misanthrope. Twelve hours ago, people fascinated me and scofflaws entertained me. "Yeah, break those rules! Play that music on speakers! Smoke that spliff! Eat that burger! Chew that gum!" Now, the slightly muted sound of a handheld video game drives me utterly bonkers. My one curmudgeonly comfort is that it sounds like the player is stuck on a difficult level. Take that, jerk.

By the time I hit Metro Center, it's nearly midnight, and I'm completely zonked. My ass is killing me. But, y'know, I did it. I rode the whole motherloving thing. Every line (OK, not you, Silver, sorry) and every station. In one day.

And I did learn something important. In 14 hours, not a single person or machine asked me to prove that I paid to be here. Seriously, not one legal entity checked my TAP Card. So. If you want to ride the Metro from Woodland Hills to Long Beach, you may not need to spend $5 on an all-day pass.

You just need to keep riding.

(Since I am a senior citizen and I now have my very own TAP card, I can do the above for a grand total of $1.80--pretty good deal!)

Photos: Metro community open house presenting analysis for 710 freeway at Marantha High in Pasadena


  Metro hosted its first of three community open house Wednesday January 23, 2013 night at Maranatha High School to update the public on the alternatives analysis for the 710 freeway study. Analysis of the 710 environmental study is to close the four-mile gap in the 710 freeway between Valley Boulevard in Alhambra and California Avenue in Pasadena. Several of the proposals included improving management of the flow of street traffic, adding more bus lanes or rail lines, building a tunnel or not building the extension.


  Metro hosted its first community open house Wednesday night January 23, 2013 at Maranatha High School in Pasadena to update the public on the alternatives analysis for the 710 freeway study. Several protesters attended the meeting with posters and pamphlets to "scare Pasadena" into not supporting the freeway.(SGVN/Photo by Walt Mancini/SXCity)



 Tom Savio of Pasadena holding sign advocate No on 710 freeway. Metro hosted its first community open house Wednesday night January 23, 2013 at Maranatha High School in Pasadena to update the public on the alternatives analysis for the 710 freeway study. Several protesters attended the meeting with posters and pamphlets to "scare Pasadena" into not supporting the freeway.(SGVN/Photo by Walt Mancini/SXCity)


  Joe Cano, a graphic artist compiled several photos to visually depict No on 710 freeway. The bottom photo includes Rose Queen and Court wearing German gas masks to protect themselves from air pollution, and the top photo refers air pollution near the Huntingon Memorial Hospital effecting patients and residents of the area. 

More photos on the website listed above.

WB 210 Freeway In Pasadena Reopens After Big Rig Crash


Janaury 24, 2013


PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — The westbound 210 Freeway was shut down early Thursday morning due to big rig accident.

The accident happened around 3:30 a.m. near the interchange of the 710 and 210 freeways in Pasadena, the California Highway Patrol said.

The driver of a Bakersfield-bound big rig lost control of the vehicle when he turned onto the westbound 210 Freeway.

“When I came around that turn . . . I slowed down to 40 (mph) when I made that turn, all of the sudden I started to hydroplane and the truck started waving side to side,” driver Louis Ramirez said.
The truck went across the freeway and took out a guard rail before crashing into the center divider.
A Honda convertible traveling nearby then hit the big rig, sliding under the truck’s trailer, according to the CHP.

Neither driver was seriously hurt in the accident.

The westbound 210 Freeway was reopened just before 6 a.m., the CHP said.

Repost of the Community Festival: I-710 Expansion & BNSF Railyard Proposal

Jan 26 – On Our Own Terms! Community Festival: I-710 Expansion & BNSF SCIG Railyard Proposal



When: January 26, 4-6 pm

Where: The Neighborhood Church
507 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach CA 90802
What: CEHAJ, LAPWG and the BHC Air Quality Work Group will be hosting a community festival at The Neighborhood Church in Long Beach to update residents on the I710 expansion and BNSF SCIG railyard proposal. Participants will be able partake in fun and healthy activities related to alternatives to these projects.
Join us for: 
  • Delicious Free Food
  • Cultural Performances
  • A Protest Puppet Making Workshop
  • Non-Toxic Cleaning Product Demos
  • Games
  • Zumba
  • Music
  • And much more!
Co-sponsors: The California Endowment and Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach.

Sylvia Plummer:  This would be a great opportunity to link up with the South 710 people.


Information on the BNSF SCIG Railyard Proposal:

Temple City's Rosemead Boulevard project to cause parking, traffic disruptions into 2014

By Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer
Updated:   01/23/2013 02:20:55 PM PST
(Rosemead Blvd. is one of the major streets that trucks take from the 710 from the ports to the 210. It is a designated truck route. It will be interesting to see what affect this Rosemead project has on other north/south streets in the area. In fact, it could actually result in heavy truck traffic on Alhambra's Fremont Avenue, what the City of Alhambra has been complaining about but which doesn't exist, necessitating [according to them] the construction of the 710 Tunnel.)

TEMPLE CITY - The $20.7 million Rosemead Boulevard renovation project will break ground Thursday, prompting disruptions for up to 18 months as the thoroughfare begins a transformation.
The work will result in tough parking restrictions, lane closures, distractions and limited water service disruptions, officials said.
"As with any renovation project whether it's your kitchen or your house or this project, there's obviously going to be some disruptions and some challenges," Councilman Carl Blum told residents last week. "We hope to be able to minimize those inconveniences and disruptions to you - that's both to the residential and business community."
No parking will be allowed on the city's stretch of Rosemead Boulevard for the duration of the project to help keep traffic moving, said Jack Togneri, general superintendent of Los Angeles Engineering, the project's contractor. Violators will be towed, he said.
During construction Las Tunas Drive near Rosemead Boulevard will be closed at least once and possibly twice for a short time, Togneri said.
Due to construction, residents and business owners will not be able to put trash cans on the boulevard and will have to leave them behind the curb, he said.

A few water lines and fire hydrants will ave to be replaced and moved, and in instances where there will be a disruption in water service, residents will be notified, Togneri said.

Construction will not be done in front of major shopping areas during the holiday season. Night work from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. will be done in major shopping areas to limit disruption, he said.

"The speed of the project, it's crazy fast, and to try to keep up with that and minimize inconvenience for people is very difficult," Togneri said.

All road closures, when conducted, will be brief. Driveway access may be restricted in some cases but affected home owners and businesses will be notified in advance, he said.

Left turn pockets will be reduced at Las Tunas Drive and possibly Broadway.

Traffic signals at five Rosemead Boulevard intersections will also be replaced during the day and within eight hours, officials said.

Temple City businessman Jerry Jambazian, who has a business on Las Tunas, said he was looking forward to the project's completion.

"It's going to be hard, especially for residents" who live on Rosemead, particularly those who have to
park on side streets and carry their groceries to their home, he said.

"It's terrible, but that's what you have to do to ensure progress," he said.

Temple City resident Linda Miller, who lives on Rosemead Boulevard, said she wasn't thrilled about the construction, or about having bike lanes in front of her home, though she knows the thoroughfare needs improvements.

More information can be found at the project website at www.rosemeadblvd.com. Residents can also sign up for project alerts via Nixle by texting ROSEMEAD to 888777 or tune into a new tri-lingual AM 1690 radio station for project updates starting next week.

The project is the largest done in the city in recent years, Mayor Vince Yu said.

 Comprehensive Regional Goods Movement Plan and Implementation Strategy


October 19, 2012

 Banner Image of Comprehensive Regional Goods Movement Plan and Implementation Strategy

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is developing a Comprehensive Regional Goods Movement Plan and Implementation Strategy building on the overall concepts and strategies defined in the 2008 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) through the application of new technologies. The Plan will incorporate findings and recommendations from recently completed and ongoing studies, particularly the Multi-County Goods Movement Action Plan (MCGMAP) and SCAG's Port and Modal Elasticity Study Phase II. The Plan will focus on refining project definitions, determining how projects can be financed, phased to be built over time.

The efficient movement of goods is critical to getting people and businesses the products they need to maintain the nation's competitive edge in a global economy. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach currently handle 40 percent of containers entering the United States and this volume is expected to triple to 43.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by year 2035. This growth presents significant economic opportunities to Southern California and the nation. It also presents challenges in terms of improving the region's goods movement highway and rail infrastructure, as well as warehouse/industrial capacity to accommodate anticipated growth. Major investments in infrastructure will be required to provide short and long-term solutions to support moving goods both locally and throughout the country while mitigating associated environmental and community impacts.

 For the plan: 

Comprehensive Regional Goods Movement Plan & Implementation Strategy: Key Findings & Recommendations
Two assessments of Last Night's Open House

Email from Sylvia Plummer, January 24, 2013


Update from Susan Bolan:

There were a great number of Metro/Caltrans/MBI/CH2MHill/Aecom representatives there.  I didn't notice the security personnel that Ron mentions below.  After having been to a number of these, I now know who is who and go straight to the engineers to ask questions.

I didn't get much info but I DID learn:

SCAG has a new Goods Movement Plan, completed December 2012

There are references to the I-210 as part of the highway system that moves goods on pages 12 and 14 and it describes future growth and heavy truck traffic on the I-210.

The north portal of the tunnel will only be accessible by way of the I-210 and SR-134.  There will be no southbound ramps.

Even though InfraConsult and Metro are making presentations to investors that tunnel construction will be built in phases, the engineers are not operating on that premise.  In fact, the current plan is to operate 4 tunnel boring machines, 2 at each end, simultaneously.  One may likely be borrowed from the Alaskan Way Tunnel but the other 3 would need to be built.  Can you say extra $$$$$$$$?

Update from Ron Paler (President - San Rafael Neighborhood Association):

I thought the Metro Open House in Pasadena tonight did not have a very good turnout.  There were a lot of Metro staff there (including high level staff) and a lot of security (private, police, and sheriff). The input I gathered was that most attendees did not find the meeting particularly informative or found the information to be mix of confusing posters.  Others said the information was already on the Metro website and there was nothing new at the Open House.  I did have the opportunity to engage the Metro staff and engineers with questions, but I came away with no clear answers.  Some were quite knowledgeable but others were unfamiliar with the material or the options.

There was a moment of drama when several attendees suddenly stood up chairs and starting blowing whistle(s) to demand a right to speak.  A chorus of “No 710… No 710” erupted and a Metro official then loudly shouted back, “…The meeting is over now…”. 

It seemed like that was going to be it for the night.  I happened to be speaking with another Metro official when this happened and they told me “oh…this was all planned…”.  After a period of confusion, however, the meeting continued.

San Marino and Cal State LA should be interesting.