To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

There Goes the Neighborhood: Why Homeownership Drags Down Employment 


By Tanya Snyder, May 8, 2013

If your idea of the American dream is to spend your mornings and evenings alone in an idling car surrounded on all sides by other lonely people in other idling cars, by all means, buy a house.
Congratulations! You just reduced your own employability, and that of your neighbors, too.

A new paper [PDF] from the Peterson Institute for International Economics finds a strong link between homeownership and unemployment — not necessarily for the homeowners themselves, but for the area where they live. In fact, a doubling of homeownership rates for a state is correlated with a more-than-doubling of the unemployment rate about five years down the road.

Another way to put this is that homeownership renders employees immobile, so their commutes stretch longer and longer as they look for work until they reach the breaking point.

“The cost of travelling to work should act as an impediment to the rate of employment (because it raises the opportunity cost of a job),” wrote Dartmouth professor David Blanchflower and University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald. They note their finding that high homeownership is associated with longer commuting times “is consistent with the idea that moving for an owner-occupier is expensive, and that in consequence the places with high home-ownership will see more workers staying put physically but working further from their family home.”

When there are no jobs available within a reasonable commute, people can choose between an unreasonable commute – and many people do – or no job at all. The option of moving closer to work is less appetizing for homeowners than renters, especially since so many people are still under water on their mortgages. A more flexible labor force — one made up of renters — can move to where the jobs are.

The flip side of the high homeownership coin is that if rental housing is in short supply, people interested in nearby jobs might not be able to move to the area.

The researchers also found that fewer businesses establish themselves in areas with high home-ownership, possibly because of what they call “NIMBY pressures in action.” Zoning for residential-only and other attempts to curb development prevent businesses from creating jobs near where people live. That’s a big endorsement for mixed-use development, where people can work, shop, and live all in relatively close proximity.

The state level data Blanchflower and Oswald examine might be a somewhat blunt instrument for investigating the relationship between homeownership and unemployment — one would think that a more local sample size could tease out these nuances. But their findings are compelling. They say the five-year time lag between the rise in homeownership and the rise in unemployment might explain why the link is so little understood. They went through decades of data and say their finding “does not depend on” data from the housing crash and ensuing recession.

Meanwhile, Blanchflower and Oswald say that states with higher rates of homeownership have longer commute times probably because of “the greater transport congestion that goes with a less mobile workforce” — and that this in turn will “raise costs for employers and employees.”

So more people driving longer to work — possibly bound by their mortgage to log many miles a day to a distant job — makes your drive longer too, whether or not you have a mortgage, because there’s more traffic. That means that a commute of the same length takes longer, making your job-seeking radius smaller if you’re still hoping for a “reasonable” commute.

“Because roads, in particular, are semi-public goods in which individuals can create congestion problems for others, this pattern in the data is consistent with the existence of un-priced externalities,” the authors write. The externality they’re talking about — congestion — is just one of many unsavory consequences of driving that aren’t covered by the price of gas.

If gas prices were high enough to pay for the air pollution, health problems, foreign wars, and, of course, road construction caused by driving, imagine how short commutes would have to be for people to put up with them. People would either reject even more jobs further from home — potentially causing even more unemployment — or transportation options would need to radically improve, job sprawl would need to reverse, and urban design and settlement patterns would need to become far more dense and practical. Those could be preferable options to widespread joblessness.


Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner Adopts Wildly Anti-Bicycle Policy


By Damien Newton, May 7, 2013


Starting on June 1, the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service connecting San Luis Obispo to San Diego by way of Los Angeles is adopting a new policy that will make life harder for anyone planning on biking to or from the train. The policy is so onerous for bicycle commuters, one has to assume it’s intentional.
Click on the image to see their current rider brochure for the Surfliner. The new bicycle policy is after the timetable at the bottom of page 2.

Amtrak will require reservations and a $5 fee to “accommodate” bicycles on the Pacific Surfliner. A cyclist will either have to call Amtrak or go to the ticketing window to make a bike reservation and pay the fee; there isn’t any way to do this online because Amtrak apparently is operating in 1992.

This change will apply to everyone: occasional riders, Amtrak monthly pass holders and Rail2Rail/Metrolink monthly pass holders.

“The Surfliner serves the most popular bicycle tourism route in the country, so it’s frustrating to see Amtrak California antagonizing what would otherwise be one of its most loyal customer bases,” writes Eric Bruins, the Program and Policy Director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  ”

For any Surfliner rider who uses a bicycle to connect to the train this new policy will add $1250 a year in costs (one-way travel on Amtrak, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year), in addition to the time and hassle of making reservations for every Amtrak trip. The Streetsblog reader who pointed this out is already making commuter accomodations that don’t include riding Amtrak services.

“Instead of dealing with its capacity issues, Amtrak is suppressing demand with a reservation scheme that makes commuting prohibitively expensive and leisure travel burdensome,” Bruins continues.  ”I hope Amtrak reverses this poor business decision and instead seeks to grow ridership by promoting bike-train travel as a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy California’s coastal destinations.”

Bruins’ anger was reflected by bike advocates at the other end of the Surfliner Tracks.

“As a society, our priority should be to expand capacity on our most efficient and robust modes of travel,” writes Sam Ollinger, a Board Member for California Bicycle Coalition and executive director of Bike S.D.

“With all the investment poured into Amtrak, it is foolish to implement policies that is not only destined to backfire but also destined to be ineffective. Expanding the carrying capacity for bicycles on trains is such a simple step to take. Amtrak should not be penalizing riders for doing something that benefits our collective pocketbooks – both from a societal perspective and from an individual’s perspective.”

An easy way for social media users to let Amtrak know their displeasure would be to tweet @PACSurfliners. If one would like to notify a local elected official, your Congressman or Senator would be the best one to contact. However, Streetsblog Contributor and Southern California Transit Advocates Board Member Dana Gabbard offers a more practical way to lodge your displeasure.

While working a booth for SO.CA.TA at Fullerton Railroad Days this weekend my railbuff contacts informed me that Amtrak Board member Yvonne Brathwaite Burke will appear at the National Train Day event next Saturday at Union Station. My guess is for the opening ceremony at 11 am. A turnout by bicyclists to protest the policy could have an effect.”


May 3, 2013

LOS ANGELES – Caltrans has awarded the Los Angeles area nearly $194 million to projects that will upgrade transit service, purchase eco-friendly buses, modernize transit facilities, and create jobs. 

“These projects give Californians a viable alternative to using their cars,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Public transit reduces traffic congestion and protects the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Southland received more than half of the $301 million Caltrans awarded statewide. Some of the notable Los Angeles projects include:

$149.5 million for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (Metro) Regional Connector Project, which will connect the Metro Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Line and enable passengers to travel from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

$19.9 million for Metro’s Bus Rehabilitation Program to repair and improve up to 321 buses.

$11.4 million to Metro extend light rail 8.5 miles from the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards to the Metro Green Line at the Aviation/LAX Station.

The projects were chosen because they are already underway, and the new round of funding will ensure they stay on schedule. 

The funding comes from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond, which is providing $3.6 billion over a 10-year period to improve public transit in California. To date, Proposition 1B has provided more than $2 billion in funding to approximately 750 transit projects statewide, with 340 completed.

Caltrans also awarded funding to transit projects in Long Beach, Ventura County, and the city of Montebello. For more information those projects and to view a comprehensive list of the all projects statewide that received Proposition 1B transit funding, please see the attached file.

Jerry Brown blames climate change for state's early fire season


By Anthony York, May 6, 2013

 Jerry Brown

 Gov. Jerry Brown at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif.


SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown put the state’s early wildfire season in global terms Monday, saying the state would have to grow accustomed to more forest fires as a consequence of climate change.

Brown’s remarks at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s aviation management unit in Sacramento came as firefighters in Ventura County said they expected to have the 28,000-acre Springs fire fully contained by Tuesday. State firefighters have responded to about twice the average number of wildfires so far this year – more than 1,100 in all.

“Our climate is changing, the weather is becoming more intense,” Brown said in an airplane hangar filled with trucks, airplanes and helicopters used by the state to fight fires. “It’s going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lives.

“The big issue (is) how do we adapt,” Brown said ,“because it doesn’t look like the people who are in charge are going to do what it takes to really slow down this climate change, so we are going to have to adapt. And adapting is going to be very, very expensive.”

With the snowpack in the Sierra mountains at just 17% of normal, state officials are bracing for a long, destructive fire season. State Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, who joined Brown at Monday’s press conference, said he was preparing for “a deadly year.”

Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said more than 40,000 acres have burned in California this month alone. While the early fire season has become more common in Southern California, state officials officially opened the fire season in Northern California six weeks earlier than normal – just the fourth time in state history that has happened, he said.

How little-known judges could thwart Obama’s climate plans 


By Doug Kendall and Simon Lazarus, May 8, 2013


the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Danger lurks within.

On any given day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has the power to throw the environmental movement into complete disarray.

Tucked into a nondescript neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the court isn’t well known to the public, but it’s often called the second most important court in the United States. It has particular significance to the environmental movement because of its exclusive jurisdiction over regulations involving vital environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

In the early stages of the modern environmental movement, great progress was made through enterprising lawsuits brought by groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund to enforce the protective mandates of those landmark environmental statutes. But the challenge is different now, with judges on the bench seeking to derail, not enforce, these fundamental safeguards. How environmentalists respond to this threat could dramatically impact the success of the movement in combating 21st century environmental threats such as global warming.

Indeed, with Congress paralyzed by gridlock, the only path forward for effective responses to climate pollution is through administrative implementation of the Clean Air Act — which the Obama administration is vigorously pursuing. But that option is available only because of a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2007. In Massachusetts v. E.P. A., the court held that the act, as currently written, empowers the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollutants that cause global warming. The EPA is moving to exercise this authority, but the fate of all its regulatory initiatives will be evaluated, and in large measure determined, by the D.C. Circuit.

The court holds the cards on many environmental issues. Indeed, in the first two weeks of this month alone, the court is hearing cases involving emissions standards on sewage sludge incinerators, challenges to EPA rules requiring states to address greenhouse emissions in their permitting requirements, emissions standards for hazardous pollutants resulting from lead processing, and even a pair of cases regarding the importation of polar bear hunting trophies.

These cases sometimes go very badly for environmentalists. In October of 2012, after a 2-1 D.C. Circuit majority overturned EPA’s “Good Neighbor” rule — which constrained individual states’ contributions to air pollution in neighboring downwind states — Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and George Mason University professor Stephen Pearlstein observed that “dysfunctional government has become the strategic goal of the radical fringe [on the political right]. … Nowhere has this strategy been pursued with more fervor, or more success, than the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where a new breed of activist judges are waging a determined and largely successful war on federal regulatory agencies.”

As Pearlstein makes clear, cases are not decided by the court as an institution; they are decided by the judges who sit on that court. And there has been a concerted effort by conservatives to dominate the federal bench, and this bench in particular. Look no further than Senate obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominees to the D.C. Circuit. Republicans have already led a successful filibuster against Caitlin Halligan, a highly qualified D.C. Circuit nominee who ultimately withdrew her nomination after more than two years of obstruction. Now they have introduced a bill to reduce the number of seats on the D.C. Circuit from 11 to eight in a nakedly partisan attempt to maintain conservative dominance over the makeup of the court.

President George W. Bush appointed three of the court’s seven currently active judges, Bill Clinton appointed three, and George H.W. Bush appointed one. President Obama has yet to make a successful appointment, despite four of the seats being vacant. But that does not tell the entire story. Many federal courts rely on judges who have taken “senior status” — a form of semi-retirement that involves still hearing cases — to help manage caseloads. Five of the court’s six very active senior judges are appointees of Ronald Reagan or H.W. Bush, and these firebrand conservatives continue to make their mark in environmental cases.

It is time for the environmental movement to involve itself more in the conversation about nominations. There is no downside to supporting well-qualified nominees to the bench and opposing mindless obstructionism. It’s also important to make clear that the environmental community doesn’t need treehuggers on the bench; it only needs judges who will follow the protective mandates of the statutes passed by Congress.

When it comes to addressing the nation’s 21st century environmental problems, environmentalists must pay far more attention to the third branch of government — a branch, after all, that is made up of people who are appointed not for four or six years, but for lifetime terms. The future of environmental law is inextricably linked with the future of the federal bench.

For more on the D.C. Circuit and its importance, see “Broken Circuit: Obstructionism in the Environment’s Most Important Court” [PDF], the cover story in the latest issue of The Environmental Forum.

How You Cross the Street Largely Depends on Where You're From


By Eric Jaffe,  May 8, 2013

How You Cross the Street Largely Depends on Where You're From

During six weeks in Tokyo last year I noticed that Japanese pedestrians did something that walkers in Manhattan rarely do: they waited to cross the street until the signal permitted. In my (admittedly limited) experience, I found this to be the case even when crossing would have required just a few total steps, and even when there were absolutely no cars in sight. When I asked my interpreter about this habit one day, she told me that most Japanese, as a general rule, obeyed laws to the letter.

Evidently others have been as fascinated by this cultural difference as I was, judging by a new study of cross-cultural pedestrian behavior conducted by an international research team. The group set up observations posts at various crossings in the French city of Strasbourg and the Japanese city of Inuyama. The sites, according to the coordinates given in the study, were somewhere around here in Inuyama —

Google Maps coordinates N35°22.928’E136°57.057’
and here in Strasbourg —

Google Maps coordinates N48°35.099’E7°44.876’

The researchers did their best to make sure the two streets were similar in every sense except the people doing the crossings. Both roads carried similar volumes of two-way traffic, both had the same speed limit and width, and both tests were carried out at the same time of day. In each case, only individual pedestrians were tracked, so as to minimize the influence of others on the decision to cross. Two experiments were conducted in both cities: one a legal crosswalk and signal (with the same 30-second green duration), and another at an unmarked crossing.

The results were both clear and striking. At the legal crossing in Strasbourg, France, about 67 percent of pedestrians crossed against the red light. Only 7 percent of walkers in Inuyama did the same. At the unmarked crossing, the researchers measured how much time between cars a pedestrian needed before deciding to walk. In Strasbourg that time clocked in at 9 seconds, on average; in Inuyama, walkers felt free from risk at 16-second gaps.

Since the traffic conditions were otherwise so similar, the researchers concluded that the differences
in pedestrian behavior were the result of "social context, and particularly how individuals learn to cross the road from observing" others. They believe their test is one of the first to compare the crossing behavior of walkers, but there's evidence to suggest that American walkers would fit closer to the Strasbourg profile. (One study from 2006 timed acceptable crossing gaps in the United States at anywhere between 5 and 9 seconds.) This raises the prospect of a more general East-West pedestrian distinction.

 The findings lend some scientific support to my anecdotal observations from Tokyo, but they also suggest that any Japanese tendency to obey laws is only part of the equation. Being a law-abiding citizen might explain the difference in walking at legal crossings, but the difference that occurred at unmarked crossings suggests that some aversion to risk may play a role, too. Indeed, at least two recent studies have found that Westerners are more willing than various Asian cultures to engage in risky decision-making.

More broadly, the way culture governs pedestrian behavior is becoming a fascinating lens into city life. Previous work has suggested that American and Europeans give directions differently and that certain city residents tend to walk faster than others. Oddly, Tokyo residents have been clocked as some of the world's swiftest city walkers; maybe some of that speed is an attempt to make up for all the time spent waiting for the light to change before crossing the street.

Note by Peggy Drouet:  The very large majority of people in Los Angeles will not cross the street against a light. Jaywalking tickets are way too expensive, but it also seems to be a cultural thing. We stand out in cities such as New York, where almost everyone crosses the street whenever there is a break in traffic and even when there isn't. We are left standing on the corner waiting for the light to change.
More on the City of LA Election

From Sylvia Plummer:

Election takes place Tuesday, May 21 

Do you know anyone that lives in the City of Los Angeles?   

Here are two candidates against the SR710 tunnel that need our support.

1)  Gardea for City Council District 1  
a.  His thinking, vision and planning have been good for the District and good for the City of Los Angeles.

See LA Times Article:

b.  Councilmember Eric Garcetti makes it clear he supports Gardea in the race for City Council in the First District. 

Watch video:

c.  Jackie Goldberg former LA CD13 Councilmember & Assemblymember comments on the City Council District 1 race:

"Having reviewed the funding for each remaining candidate, I have to admit to some misgivings about my friend and former colleague, Gil Cedillo.  He has taken “free” billboards from the company that wants electric billboards in residential neighborhoods, and that worries me.  He also has taken massive funding from the L.A. Chamber of Commerce PAC, which includes about $25,000 from Walmart Corporation. If I were voting in CD 1, I would most likely vote for Jose Gardea because he does not seem to have suspicious money on his side of the ledger. But, officially, as of today, I have not made an endorsement in this race."
d.  Where is City Council District 1?

The communities that make up District 1 include: Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, Solano Canyon, Elysian Park, Echo Park, Westlake, Angelino Heights, Temple Beaudry, Lafayette Park, Chinatown, Forgotten Edge, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Pico Union, Adams-Normandie, Mid Cities and Mac Arthur Park.  Do you know anyone that lives in these communities?  


2)   Garcetti for Mayor 

"it does appear that "Garcetti respects the Environment and Quality of Life as well as the Economy of the City, while Greuel will do whatever is politically or fiscally-expedient for both City coffers as well as for her political future."

"Garcetti kept mentioning how neighborhood councils would be included in upgrading Community Plans (those legal guidelines and parameters that determine how a neighborhood is zoned, and what can be built there, but which continuously keeps being ignored and violated by a City Planning Department acting more like a Politburo than a civil service). "

Meanwhile, Wendy Greuel keeps collecting pro 710 freeway backers.

In a televised Mayoral debate, Wendy Greuel crowed that she was endorsed by Gloria Molina (strong advocate for the extension of the 710).   This makes two I've told you about.  Richard Katz and Gloria Molina

Here's the article on Molina's endorsement:

Campaign Contributions by Special Interest

L.A. is a leader in greening of ports, Mayor Villaraigosa says

 The world looks to L.A. for ways to reduce pollution, Villaraigosa says at a ports conference. He cites a modernization of the Port of L.A. and the state's tough emissions law.


By Shan Li, May 7, 2013 Port convention

In January, California mandated that cargo ships visiting the state’s major ports turn off diesel engines and use onshore electricity at least 50% of the time when docked. Above, a ship at the Port of Long Beach uses onshore electricity.

California ports are going green.

In a speech at the 28th World Ports Conference on Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city's port is at the forefront of pushing for clean energy alternatives and reducing pollution.

The conference, which kicked off Tuesday in Los Angeles, attracted port officials from around the world to discuss issues such as climate change, piracy and other problems affecting ships and the ports where they dock.

Greening ports was at the top of many minds.

"When it comes to greening our shipping operations and growing our port in smart and sustainable ways, the world looks to us for leadership," Villaraigosa said.

Less than two months from leaving office, the mayor said that the L.A. port was one of the first things to come to mind when he reflects on his eight years as mayor. In 2011, he signed a $1.5-billion agreement to modernize the port over five years, in part by fostering clean energy initiatives.

The mayor pointed to a clean truck program that he says has reduced harmful emissions from trucks at the L.A. port 98%. Trucking companies have invested about $1 billion on cleaner vehicles to comply with the new regulations, he said.

In January, California mandated that cargo ships visiting the state's major ports turn off diesel engines and use onshore electricity at least 50% of the time when docked. Cargo ship fleets are also required to cut emissions 50% by the end of 2014 and 80% by 2020.

The Port of Los Angeles offered a plug-in dock as early as 2004 and now has 10 berths that allow ships to use on-shore electricity. The Port of Long Beach, which showed off its onshore power terminals Monday, has four such berths and a dozen under construction.

"The industry is on board" with reducing pollution, said Mario Cordero, chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.

Cordero said major shipping companies have publicly committed to reducing harmful emissions. About 90% of the world's goods travel by sea, and those ships produce about 3% of global greenhouse gas, he said.

The conference was a homecoming of sorts. In 1955, the city hosted the original meeting of 34 ports from 14 countries and that led to the founding of the International Assn. of Ports and Harbors in Tokyo.

About 500 people from 109 ports around the world will attend this year.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are integral to the region's system of moving goods, which
employs nearly 600,000 people. Experts have said that the two ports combined handle about 40% of the total value of cargo container imports entering the U.S.

But the conference wasn't all just talk of the economy and energy. Modern-day piracy — think less peg leg and more AK-47s — came up as well.

The keynote address was delivered by Richard Phillips, a retired cargo ship captain who was held hostage in April 2009 by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa.

Phillips, who called piracy "the second-oldest profession we deal with" as a merchant marine, said four pirates boarded the Maersk Alabama, the container ship he captained. After being outwitted by the ship's crew, the sea bandits fled in a lifeboat — with Phillips along for ransom.

He was held hostage for five days, trussed up and beaten with AK-47s, before Navy SEALs shot three of his captors and rescued him (the other pirate had already surrendered).

"It's another lesson I learned" on the job, Phillips quipped during his speech. "Never trust a pirate."

Comments to the article:

Popped Eyed at 6:29 AM May 08, 2013 I had a sail boat in Dana Point Marina that I used to wash down every few weeks or so, mostly to clean off bird dung. Since moving to Long Beach Marina the boat has to be washed every few days, all of my new lines are grey and you end up just filthy with grey soot at the end of the day. With the wind coming out of the west, all the diesel soot is blown right into Long Beach. If the soot is left on the boat too long, the acid will etch the paint. This is all going into your lungs. I won't even mention the water quality.
Back&Forth at 9:22 PM May 07, 2013 I'd believe it.  LA has some of the GREENEST water in the world.  Oh wait, that's not what they meant...
Jack N Fran Farrell at 9:21 PM May 07, 2013 And how green is black-lung? Particulates from large diesel engines could be banned from ports, rail yards and container trucks by converting them to LNG. Its fine to save the world two generations out, but what about us. Cripling youth with Asthma and running up medical bills for seniors with trouble breathing can't wait.

Top 10 U.S Cities with the Worst Traffic


By Courtney Subramanian, Mary 7, 2013



There are few things worse than getting stuck in the slow climb of rush hour traffic. To help drivers better navigate and find the best commute, INRIX, a company devoted to traffic information and apps, released its annual scorecard report of the nation’s most congested metropolises.

The report, which spans all of  2012 and the first three months of 2013, found a 4% increase in traffic congestion in the U.S. in early 2013, following a 22 percent dip in 2012. So far this year, 61 of the 100 American cities analyzed have seen an uptick in traffic congestion compared to just six that saw an increase in 2012. The rankings compile data from more than 100 million GPS-equipped commercial and passenger vehicles, calculating the added amount of time drivers spend in traffic. In the country’s most gridlocked cities, commuters wasted an average of 42 hours sitting in traffic in 2012, the equivalent of one week of vacation.

But it’s not all bad news:  The number of hours wasted is an improvement from last year’s worst traffic cities, where some commuters waited for a total of 62 hours, almost twice the national average of 38 hours.

PHOTOS: Carmageddon

Topping the list is Los Angeles, a city known for heavy delays on Interstate 405, an 8-mile stretch that takes commuters sometimes more than 50 minutes during peak traffic. Honolulu, which Los Angeles replaced at the no. 1 spot, ranked second most congested and remains one of the densest cities in the U.S. with more than 1,584 people per square mile, 24/7 Wall St. reports. San Francisco took third place followed by Austin at no. 4 and New York metro area rounding out the top five.

The U.S. did not fare well compared to Europe, where traffic congestion fell 18 percent in 2012 and continues to drop in 2013. Of 94 European cities analyzed, 81 have seen a dip in traffic congestion in the first few months of 2013.

To see how U.S. cities stack up, check out the score here, or see the full U.S. list below:
1. Los Angeles
2. Honolulu
3. San Franscisco
4. Austin
5. New York
6. Bridgeport, Conn.
7. San Jose
8. Seattle
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Boston

For Immediate Release
May 7, 2013

The mission of the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA) is to enhance and maintain the character and quality of all San Rafael neighborhoods through advocacy and an activated community. 
Special Update-NFL/Rose Bowl
The Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo Asks:
What Happened to the NFL?  
Part 2

By Nina Chomsky
President, Linda Vista~Annandale Association

(Part 1 of this Article first appeared in the Spring Edition of the WPRA Newsletter and is reprinted on the LVAA website, lvaa.net.  Part 2 updates and expands on Part 1.)

The NFL did not announce a team for Los Angeles by this year's "deadline", February, 2013.  Does this mean that the NFL is never coming to Los Angeles, or that the possibility of a "temporary" team in the Rose Bowl for up to 5 years is "dead"?  NO.  It means that the situation is more complex than previously perceived, and action by the NFL is likely delayed, not abandoned.  The expanded use of the Rose Bowl by the NFL remains approved by the City and our legal challenge remains essential to the protection of the Central Arroyo and our neighborhoods.

Here are important publicly accessible facts determined by the Coalition as of April, 2013:

NFL POSITION:  NFL sources (owners and the headquarters in New York City) believe that the NFL must return to Los Angeles soon. It is the second largest market in the U.S.  The preferred plan would be for 2 teams to play in L.A., both playing in the same permanent stadium, in which case the Rose Bowl might be in play as the "temporary" location for one of the 2 teams even if another interim location is preferred.  Also:
  • No individual team will be able to decide on its own to move to L.A. - a move can only be accomplished through the NFL office in New York; and  
  • Since no decision was made by the NFL owners in 2013, no announcement of a move can be made before February, 2014, the next NFL owners' meeting. 
AEG/PHILIP ANSCHUTZ:  Farmers Field is not "dead", only possibly delayed. The NFL favors AEG because it prefers an L.A. downtown stadium.  But, NFL "sources" report that the cost of Farmers Field (and a new L.A. Convention Center West Annex) will be about $1.8 billion, not $1.2 billion as reported by AEG -- a 50% difference. The NFL publicly has expressed its concern that the AEG stadium proposal is not economically viable, although negotiations may take place to try to resolve these cost issues.  Also:
  • Anschutz is quoted as saying (March 14th reported interview in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, and The Hollywood Reporter; March 15th reported interview in The Denver Post) that he is dedicated to bringing a team to L.A.; he is willing to be flexible about the terms of the deal; and, he has already spent about $45 million to bring a team to L.A.; and
  • Sports columnists have observed that the fact that AEG is no longer for sale is viewed by the NFL as positive because the NFL prefers dealing directly with Anschutz.  
MAJESTIC REALTY/ED ROSKI:  The NFL prefers the AEG stadium site over the Roski proposal in City Of Industry (located on the north side of the junction of the 57 and 60 freeways), but, the NFL is said to like Roski's terms better. The NFL also thinks that Roski's stadium is closer to being "shovel ready". Also:
  • The Roski bid probably is the most likely to result in a "temporary" NFL team playing in the Rose Bowl.  The Rose Bowl is more convenient to the Roski permanent stadium; and 
  • The Rose Bowl has actively courted Roski, as was filmed and reported by KNBC, Channel 4 News.  
THE GUGGENHEIM PARTNERS:  The Dodgers' owners are a relatively new entrant in the effort to acquire an NFL team for L.A., although there has been talk of a football stadium in Chavez Ravine going back to the 1990s.  This possible proposal is still preliminary, but it is rumored that there have been talks very recently between the Dodger ownership and the NFL.
Coalition's Summary of Key Issues: 
  • Once 2013 was missed, some ask if the lawsuit filed by the Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo, which challenges the related City-certified environmental impact report (EIR), was premature?
The Coalition's response?  Powerful forces in L.A. continue to seek an NFL team   in Los Angeles (or, maybe 2), and powerful forces continue to push for a  temporary NFL lease in the Rose Bowl for up to five years.  Missing 2013 did not  end these efforts, and, it is clear to the Coalition that the question of the NFL in  the Los Angeles area will not be finally resolved until 2014 at the earliest, or maybe some time after that date.

  • Further, the amendment the City Council made to the Arroyo Seco Public Lands Ordinance, which allows up to 13 NFL games in the Rose Bowl each year (doubling the number of Rose Bowl major displacement events), never expires and, as it stands, subject to the Coalition's legal challenge,has cleared all environmental hurdles.

  • To question timing, of course, begs the central issue: When is the correct time to study the NFL-Rose Bowl deal?  Before we have specifics?  Before we know whether the possibility of an NFL Rose Bowl lease still exists? That is exactly what the City did: "study" a factless possibility to clear the way for future NFL negotiations. The City publicly admits this.  Members of the City Council have publicly stated: "We'll take care of you (citizens) later."

  • Let's not forget that the purpose of an adequate EIR, especially in this case, is to protect us, our neighborhoods and the Central Arroyo from NFL impacts. That can only be accomplished by identifying and adopting enforceable, performance-based, mitigations against the impacts of an actual NFL lease of the Rose Bowl. That's why we believe that permitting the City to sidestep its environmental obligations so it can freely negotiate with the NFL in the future is neither acceptable nor legal.

  • And, by prematurely certifying a legally inadequate EIR, the City gave us no choice:  we have only one bite at the apple, and, this is it.  Following certification of the EIR, the period to sue was very short - only 30 days after filing of the CEQA Notice of Determination.  If we had skipped carefully reviewing and challenging the EIR while waiting, possibly for years, to know for sure about the NFL in the Rose Bowl, the certification of the EIR would be final and we would have lost our legal rights to obtain an adequate and effective primary NFL/Rose Bowl EIR (subject to a possible requirement to update or supplement the EIR in the future due to the passage of time,)

The Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo is composed of the East Arroyo Neighborhood Preservation Committee (EANPC), the Linda Vista~Annandale Association, (LVAA) and the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA), and is supported by the West Pasadena Residents' Association (WPRA)

We encourage you to support the NFL EIR litigation. Help us protect our neighborhoods and the Central Arroyo. To read more and contribute, go to lvaa.net, srnapasadena.org, or wpra.net.

Don't forget to STOP by the CPA table at the LVAA picnic

May 11 

11:30 AM--3 PM at Linda Vista Park!

Bring a blanket and enjoy the food and festivities while learning more about the CPA
 San Rafael Neighborhoods Association
The Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo
Working to Preserve and Protect Our Community and the Arroyo
Join SRNA--West Pasadena's newest and fast growing neighborhood organization dedicated to the San Rafael Neighborhoods Area. 

Member $20
Household $35
Sustaining $100
Patron $250
Benefactor $500

Contact us and send check by mail to:
San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA)
PO Box 92617
Pasadena, CA 91109
or join us at our website at
www.srnapasadena.org  and click the tab "Join Us"

Credit cards accepted 

The San Rafael Neighborhoods Association is registered with the City of Pasadena Neighborhood Connections.