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

Friday, May 17, 2013

Still More Comments to

Alhambra declares '710 Day,' reaffirms support for freeway extension




lovetheneighborhood at 5:21 PM May 17, 2013 This would undermine the quality of life for all who live along the planned route.
wesleyreutimann at 12:55 PM May 17, 2013  At a time when there is increasing public support and demand for transportation alternatives, the limited taxpayer dollars available for transportation infrastructure should be spent judiciously. Even in a best case scenario the tunnel option would require a massive investment of scarce transit dollars, dollars that could otherwise be used to expedite the development of projects that enjoy broad public support, including the Metro Gold Line Extensions to Ontario and Whittier, the “Subway to the Sea”, and the “JEM” line linking the Westside and San Fernando Valley. Funding saved from a “Big Dig” tunnel project could also be used to further expand and augment the region’s growing transit network via the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit lines connecting to Metro Rail.  In short, the high price tag of a tunnel and freeway widening would inherently slow efforts to transform Southern California into a region composed of pedestrian-friendly communities linked by a convenient, multi-modal transit system. Rather than spend billions on a 4.5 mile toll tunnel and freeway expansion that will benefit few and burden many, we should invest in 21st century solutions
Sunyoung Yang at 12:20 PM May 17, 2013 This project is insanity epitomized.  The political dealings of those who will get a fat contract out of moving this project forward aka Messina while the residents who live there will suffer from the toxic soup that will be fuming out of those tunnels.  Many deaths by a tunnel to feed greed and corruption. Political insanity.
Janrik911051 at 9:59 AM May 17, 2013 Alhambra is using Psych 101 principle of leveling. Rather than work toward improving their overcrowded mismanaged city, they are promoting an ill conceived project that will reduce their neighboring cities down to their quality of life. Given Messina's track record, no doubt there is some $$ for her personal interests as well.
A multi billion $ (money we don't have, by the way)  tunnel across 4 earthquake faults, charging high tolls for users, will NOT alleviate local traffic. Commuters will NOT be paying the high tolls planned to return foreign investors' monies. It will NOT improve air quality, quite the contrary. Bringing hundreds of thousands of big rigs to the San Gabriel Valley will only destroy the environment and quality of life we all enjoy.
And the most basic question is...have any of the tunnel supporters ever BEEN on the 210 before 10 a.m. Or after 2 p.m.??? Imagine an few extra thousand big rigs added to the already mostly "parking lot" conditions. Someone please explain to me why they think sitting on the 210 in traffic will improve movement of goods?
Perhaps insignificant, but self satisfying, I am on a quest to curtail my purchasing of Chinese goods, doing my small part to reduce the need for goods movement through my neighborhood. I will be making a conscious effort to buy less and buy local. After all, who among us has too little clutter?
GarySC at 8:44 AM May 17, 2013 Ha, what a joke. MrXMan (hiding behind a "mysterious" name, profoundly juvenile), continues to spout the same false statements, lies, misstatements, skewed statements and offered NOTHING of substance, or validity. Please note that he's the ONLY person who's submitted anything in support of the 710. So, Mr X-ie, where's all the support you claim. I think you stand alone, very alone. Since ignorance is bliss, you must be very very blissful. I'm happy for you. Now please, go play with your blocks, adjust your aluminum foil hat, and please stop showing off how much you do not know. You ARE embarrassing yourself. Don't you have any family to take care of you?
Cntoam at 6:43 AM May 17, 2013 If you think traffic is a problem now, just wait until construction starts on this monster project with detours and street closures and 1,000 truckloads of dirt being hauled away EACH DAY. This boondoggle is a cruel joke on residents who will face gridlock in their neighborhoods while this crazy tunnel and freeway takes 15 YEARS to build.
Don Diego de la Vega at 6:33 AM May 17, 2013 The mayor of Alhambra has been waiting 50 years to blast the 710 Toll Tunnel thru our valley. Is he  still smoking "Acapulco Gold?" Get over it man, The Beatles have broken up and gone south along with your pop's Rambler! This is the 21st Century man, the only option today is Rapid Transit. We don't even have the money to fix our current freeways, let alone spend $15 billion on a toll tunnel to the Rose Bowl. The 710 Toll Tunnel is as dated as Alhambra's cinder block city hall! 
no710tunnel at 5:05 AM May 17, 2013 [Alhambra City Council candidate Elizabeth] Salinas told Alhambra Source that she believes that the 710 Freeway may be nothing more than a political pitch. "Dr. Placido has been in office for eight years now, why hasn't it been completed yet if he is such a champion for its completion?" Salinas wrote in an email Friday in response to the council members' endorsement of Placido. "It seems to me like the City is first creating the traffic problems (i.e. by overdevelopment all along Fremont, current projects and proposed ones), and then they come up with the solution: complete the 710, which becomes the typical slogan heard around election time. Alhambrans are a lot smarter than that and can see right through the gimmick."

from the Alhambra Source 10/29/12: http://www.alhambrasource.org/news/election-2012-alhambra-city-council-members-endorse-placido
no719 Tunnel at 1:36 AM May 17, 2013
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As former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino said “The more folks know about the 710 tunnels, the more they oppose [them].” To those who uncritically support the 710 freeway extension: wake up, it’s not NIMBY, it’s BOONDOGGLE we need to be concerned about. The 710 freeway/tunnel/highway is no longer a viable solution to congestion.  Let’s come up with transportation alternatives that will preserve the quality of life for everyone now and in the future.
reality check5 at 10:28 PM May 16, 2013 Ahh…so what happens exactly when there is an accident in the tunnel and I'm lucky enough to not be caught in the tunnel with the backed-up traffic? (cough cough - still breathing if there isn't a fire)
Do I drive as I would normally to Pasadena?  I assume there wont be the stubs anymore, so am I trying to find a new route with the several thousands of other cars exiting off of the tunnel route?
reality check5 at 11:06 PM May 16, 2013 Never mind.  After watching YouTube vids on tunnel accidents (http://tinyurl.com/ba2aqnd), I realize if I'm in the tunnel and lucky enough not to be too close to the fire, I'm probably dead from carbon monoxide fumes before I can walk/run (if not impaired) the couple of miles to an exit. If I'm not in the tunnel, my whole day may be shot trying to maneuver through unbelievable congestion on the streets of Alhambra while holding my breath since the smoke from the accident will be vented out into the city above the accident. What is Alhambra Mayor Steve Placido thinking… "I love the smell of burning tires (napalm:)) in the morning."?
Apparently there may be upwards of 180,000 other cars dumped onto the local streets looking for an alternate route. Now that's a lovely gift from this Alhambra Tunnel awaiting the unsuspecting residents of Alhambra!
pasadenawatch at 10:03 PM May 16, 2013 Regarding those people in Pasadena who are against a tunnel...WHY did you buy a home between 2 freeway stubs??  Really now ... What were you thinking?  South Pas won't suffer at all. The tunnel is completely underground in that section.  Tired of these little old ladies from Pasadena whining.  Idea...Let's bike from Pasadena to the 10 Fwy. LOL. Get real. LA is and always will be car culture. That clown Pasadena Councilman Steve Madison panders to the elderly on this issue and is totally ignored by the rest of the Pasadena City council. Tunnel is gonna happen---Too much money at stake for payoffs and political favors...the Pasadena Way.
EMEdwards at 9:31 PM May 16, 2013 The 710 Freeway is a product of the middle of the LAST century! This is an opportunity to create a 21st century solution that will not increase our carbon footprint but implement solutions that will be cleaner and more efficient and friendlier for the health of ALL of the effected communities (and rely on an aternative fuel). The Tunnel is not that solution!
dennis145 at 9:20 PM May 16, 2013 I've never objected to driving through Alhambra and South Pasadena, even during rush hour, and I will continue to do so when business takes me there.  Even if the tunnel were to be built, the completion date is at least ten years from now, so I foresee that the drive north or south on Fremont will continue.  If the tunnel were to be built, I wouldn't pay the toll, and I certainly wouldn't want to drive four miles underground with a lot of trucks.  No, I'll take my chances on the sunny streets of Alhambra.  If there were a rail line from Pasadena, I certainly would take a ride and actually visit Alhambra, rather than drive through it.  I understand that the residents of Alhambra don't want all the rush hour traffic in their backyard, on the other hand, i have stopped to buy gas and food and drink on my way through.  I am sure others do the same.  That income might be lost when it all goes underground.  Alhambra may have empty streets, but it will still have the pollution thanks to the exhaust vents at the mouth of the tunnel.
The reasons the people of South Pasadena have fought the completion of the 710 still exist.  They fought hard for all of us.  I sure thank them.
Calvin11 at 8:55 PM May 16, 2013 The really sad part of this discussion is that the City Council in Alhambra is not informed about the real facts of the 710 Tunnels.  The neighborhoods in Alhambra are not informed. The residents have not been educated about  the expected years of construction, noise and vibrations, closed streets, the tolls, more pollution, and the expected increase of cars and big-rigs on their streets. Barbara Messina who is the biggest promoter of the 710 and who serves on the Alhambra City Council is stuck in 1950s  approach to transportation solutions. Ms. Messina does not provide an honest and FULL story to her colleagues on the Council. Freeways are yesterday's form of transportation.
We need to spend our linited funds on more transit -  not more freeways. We need to complete the Gold Line to Ontario. We need to increase public transist throughout the Los Angeles Basin. And - most important - we need to complete the Alameda Corridor and other rail options to transport the enormous amount of cargo that arrives and will continue to arrive in even greater quanities at our ports. Getting even some of the trucks off our freeways should be our goal - not widening the 710 or building unbelieveably expensive tunnels that will be at gridlock immediately.
sgavit at 8:46 PM May 16, 2013
I don't understand how some people can think that adding another freeway in LA is progress.  Cut through traffic can be significantly improved in Alhambra by simply removing the Pasadena and Alhambra 710 stubs.  Instead of spending billions on a 4.9-mile Band-Aid, we need to invest in transportation that will meet the needs for the future.  For moving people, light rail and rapid bus routes can achieve the same improvements in traffic flow for a fraction of the cost. Metro could complete every transit alternative that it is considering in far less time and for a fraction of the money that the tunnels will cost.   For moving cargo from our ports, we should increase the efficiency of the Alameda Corridor and complete the Alameda Corridor East.  Long-haul trucks do not belong on our freeways and neighborhoods!  The 710 has the terrible distinction of being the dirtiest freeway in the country.  Why would we want to bring its pollution and noise to the San Gabriel Valley?
sbolan at 8:45 PM May 16, 2013 Mr X Man - Harry, Leeland, Nat, is that you??  Alhambra has a long history of leading their citizens down the garden path to the detriment of their town.  They have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists to counter the opposition with their invented statistics and 710 rants.  I bet they get a $100 every time they say THOSE RICH NIMBYS FROM SOUTH PASADENA.  The truth is that far more people oppose this project than support it.  Only some of them live in South Pasadena.  El Sereno will bear the largest impact of the 10 years of construction and the number of homes destroyed.  There will be absolutely no benefit to that town.  The rest of the opposition is scattered throughout the whole northeast.  This is a regional issue.  If you live in Alhambra, I encourage you to learn more about the 5 alternatives by going to no710.com.  There you will see clearly the different proposed alternatives and realize that there are serious issues of health, safety, and cost associated with this EXTENSION project.  The only way to fix the traffic congestion for Alhambra and the rest of us is to do the TSM/TDM projects and call it a day.  The Alhambra City Council is not operating in their city's best interest to be sure.
No710er at 8:38 PM May 16, 2013 Comments made by mrxman that the north end of the 710 stub is already finished is absolutely not true.  Metro's plans for the north end of the tunnel would not have cars exiting at Del Mar.  The north end would exit at Lake Avenue which will take traffic north and east, so that those wanting to exit the tunnel sooner would not have that option.  Regarding the issue about So Pasadena blocking the 710 since 1960, there are many other cities besides So Pasadena that oppose the 710 tunnel:  Glendale, La Crescenta, La Canada/ Flintridge, Sierra Madre, and Los Angeles.  Pasadena City Council has voted many times to oppose the tunnel.  Polls taken to survey public opinion about completing the 710 NEVER notified the public that TOLLS would be charged.  Toll roads are operating in the RED.  Presently no one knows the true cost of completing such a project.  It is been estimated in the billions with construction over a period of 10 years.  Exhaust from car and truck pollution would be released from huge venting towers along the tunnel route.  The tunnel is a bad idea.  There are other alternatives.
mrxman at 7:03 PM May 16, 2013 South Pasadena has held the whole region hostage in stopping the completion. It goes all the way back to their first lawsuit in 1973. But...
July, 2000
The Rose Institute’s survey of residents in the San Gabriel Valley showed support for completion of the 710 of 63% versus 11% opposed.November, 2000Poll of El Sereno voters showed support for completion of 60% versus 28% opposed.Nov. 13, 2000The Pasadena City Council placed a citizen’s initiative On the March, 2001, ballot which would lock in the city’s affirmative position on the 710, after the "710 Freeway Now" group collected 8,000 valid signatures to qualify the measure.Dec. 11, 2000The Pasadena City Council placed its own anti-710 measure on the March, 2001, ballot.March 6, 2001Pasadena voters oby a margin of 58% to 42% approve the initiative making completion of the 710 Freeway mandatory city policy binding on the Mayor and the City Council.April 24, 2001Los Angeles County Metropolitian Transportation Authority adopts Long Range Transportation Plan showing the 710 Project as the highest performing transportation project in the entire County of Los Angeles, and listing the 710 completion as the #1 "strategic" project.September, 2001Eleven state legislators form the "710 Freeway Legislative Action Group" to dramatize regional support and to work collectively for the earliest possible groundbreaking.
PollySchiffman at 6:46 PM May 16, 2013 Protesting the proposed 710 freeway-tunnel is not NIMBYism as some allege.  Rather, it is a sensible response to a very serious environmental threat.  The Greater Los Angeles Area cannot tolerate the additional semi-truck traffic, pollution (air, water, noise...), and neighborhood destruction that a 710 tunnel will cause. AND the tunnel will not fix the problems that 710 car commuters complain about.  We need to establish 21st Century approaches to our region's transportation needs -- cleaner and more affordable approaches that will benefit ALL of us!
mrxman at 7:07 PM May 16, 2013 Read up on the history of the completion of the 710. It's South Pasadena that has been the main reason why the 710 is not already completed. It's an unfinished freeway. Actually, the North end in Pasadena is already done!
Where do you think trucks and cars are going now that are coming from the South and need to get North of Alhambra? You think they just dissapear? Decide not to go North because it's too much hassle? No, they still go there but have to spend even more time on the roads to get there because the 710 is not finsihed.
PollySchiffman at 5:26 AM May 17, 2013 Response to "mrxman": The primary purpose of the 710 tunnel will be to facilitate ADDITIONAL cargo-loaded semi-trucks traveling from the Ports of LA and Long Beach.  If you like the prospect of breathing diesel exhaust that's full of toxic particulates that accumulate in human lungs, then this tunnel boondoggle is definitely for you!
thaddius.d.patrizzi at 5:33 PM May 16, 2013 Do NOT disrespect your neighbors and cause harm to your own residents, ALHAMBRA! Haven't the people of the Arroyo and Chavez Ravine suffered enough? And be TRUTHFUL, the 710 will no longer be a free -way but an expensive TOLL way for the profit of shylocks and loan sharks. We must join together to stop this while we are still breathing without the help of apparatus and gas masks (COPD, asthma, birth defects) How can we keep widening and creating more tollways in this economy? The risks are high! Health care is unaffordable and needs fixing. You can't eat and breathe money. Why are we told to care only about money when most of that belongs to the Wall Family and the Koch Brothers. You are catering to the destructive forces, Alhambra! We will make our own economy. We will adjust in an alternate and independent way. NO 710 Day is going to make this looser project look any different. BTW, what if this strange and ihistorically idiotic 710 is a screen for FRACKING? We need everyone to protect the Arroyo Seco. It is our greatest resource. This is our LIFE or our death.   - Dianne P., Pasadena Property Owner
mrxman at 6:14 PM May 16, 2013 Please, you're just a NIMBY! It's the main reason this UNFINISHED section of the 710 hasn't been built. In actuality, it's only the middle section that still needs to be built. Both ends are done. The end section of the 710 already exists in Pasadena. Look on the map.
This huge break in an otherwise interconnected fwy system causes all kinds of problems for the surrounding communities other than Alhambra. Try getting to South Pas or Pasadena from any community South of Alhambra. It's ridiculous and causes even more traffic and air pollution.
The only reason a tunnel is being considered now is because of WEALTHY NIMBYS in SOUTH PASADENA!!!
Jeff Leon at 9:57 PM May 16, 2013 mrxman,
With no on-ramps or off-ramps how is this tunnel solving the problem you bring up?  The terminus will stay at the 10 freeway and 210.  Nothing in between for local traffic.  It is also a tolled tunnel.  You willing to pay $12 to get dumped onto the 10 or 210?
Fixing the Fremony Valley intersection seems like a good option now.  How about raising the train tracks that parallel Valley???  This way North and South traffic have more options besides Fremont.  Simple soultions are out there.
publicworksevaluator at 5:31 PM May 16, 2013 If the 710 tunnel were built, the Mayor and all of his neighbors in SW Alhambra would suffer tunnel excavation 24/7 for at least 10 years. That would mean continuous noise, vibrations and bumper-to -bumper trucks full of dirt leaving their neighborhood. METRO has stated that all of the dirt-carring trucks would operate only from the south end of the tunnel. (It is less costly for the heavily loaded  trucks to go down hill.)
A lot of traffic travelling north on the 710 could easily be diverted onto the 10 freeway, avoiding the surface streets in Alhambra by simply eliminating the 710 stub north of the 10 freeway.
mrxman at 6:22 PM May 16, 2013 The only reason a tunnel is even being considred now is because of RICH SOUTH PASADENA NIMBYS!!! The original plan was for the COMPLETION OF THE UNFINISHED 710 FREEWAY! It's not a new freeway. It's an unfinished long ago planned original part of the 710.
It has to be finished once and for all. I've lived in East LA, Commerce, Alhambra and Monterey Park and this unfinished part of the 710 has always caused huge traffic problems. There is no efficient way to get to Pasadena or surrounding communities from the South. You have to go all the way to the 110 on the West, or the 605 freeway to the East or through residential streets around Alhambra.
AOKAudrey at 5:21 PM May 16, 2013 J.Picone is dead right.  The tunnel will do nothing to relieve current traffic along that route that Metro admits will bring 180 thousand cars and trucks a day.  The route through Pasadena has been labeled an industrial zone by Metro who ignores the many schools, Huntington Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Senior LIving homes all adjacent or within blocks of this truck route.  These vulnerable populations and are ignored by Metro.  As are all the families living in the homes along the route, including the Historic Markham district homes.  The tunnel will bring 180 thousand cars and trucks a day through all of the cities along the 710 truck route and dump them onto the already congested 210.
mrxman at 6:28 PM May 16, 2013 This unfinished section of the 710 has always been part of the plan. And because of it, causes even more traffic problems than the dumb examples you state. There are communities along freeways all over LA some more industrial than others and we'll all adjusted for the greater good.
I'm sure you and your NIMBY friends take advantage of all the freeways around the city that go through different neigborhoods and you don't seem to be complaining about that.
PhotoLA1 at 5:21 PM May 16, 2013 Why does Alhambra want more traffic and pollution in their town? It seems silly. Is the San Gabriel not smoggy enough. I would not want a freeway in my backyard. I work in Alhambra and the street traffic is not bad, compared to the west side of LA it is great.
There is a little bottleneck when you get off the 710, but that is it. Rethink this Alhambra.
mrxman at 6:30 PM May 16, 2013 What are you talking about? There will be less pollution because cars and trucks will not have to be on the road as long to get to their destination North of Alhambra.
What? Do you think just because the 710 freeway is unfinished that trucks and cars simply don't go to Pasadena from the South? Of course they do, but have to be on the streets or other freeways that much longer to get there.
Jeff Leon at 5:15 PM May 16, 2013 This is in such poor taste.  Instead of these childish tactics how about addressing why the other alternatives aren't worthy?  
mrxman at 6:32 PM May 16, 2013 The original alternative is worthy. Just finish the 710 freeway. The other end in Pasadena is already done. It should be a regular freeway. The way the proposal was a several years ago and only the RICH NIMBYS IN SOUTH PASADENA didn't want it. Back then all the other surrounding communities wanted it including Pasadena!
There’s No Doubt: Traffic Enforcement Cameras Save Lives


By Angie Schmitt, May 16, 2013

 A 2011 study by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety comparing cities with red light cameras to those without them found that in the 14 largest U.S. cities, the cameras reduced fatal red-light-running collisions by 24 percent. Click to enlarge.

Gawker dished out some richly-deserved ridicule to Tennessee State Senator Jon Lundberg yesterday, following reports that he is co-sponsoring legislation to outlaw the specific speeding camera that nabbed him doing 60 in a 45 zone last October. Lundberg denied that the incident had any impact on his decision to sponsor in the legislation, and contested the violation to boot.

But the case is a telling one. State governments around the country have demonstrated hostility to automated enforcement programs. Twelve states specifically forbid the use of speed enforcement cameras, except in very limited circumstances, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Nine states prohibit red light cameras. Others, like New York, have yet to enact legislation that would enable cities to use these traffic enforcement tools.

A proposed ban in Iowa failed narrowly in the Senate last year and one is currently under consideration in Ohio.

The Ohio legislation, framed as a defense of due process and privacy, has received mostly favorable coverage in the press and has enjoyed the support of groups like the Ohio ACLU and Ohio PIRG. One Ohio PIRG official characterized speed cameras as “cash cows designed to rip off drivers.” Ohio Lawmaker Ron Hood went so far as to assert that red light cameras are themselves a safety hazard.

Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute on Highway Safety, told the Washington Post last year that these kind of debates tend to get distorted: “Somehow, the people who get tickets because they have broken the law have been cast as the victims.”

Lost in these debates is the fact that automated enforcement saves lives. A 2011 study by IIHS comparing cities with red light cameras to those without them found that in the 14 largest U.S. cities, the cameras reduced fatal red-light-running collisions by 24 percent. Even more impressive, they seemed to promote safe driver behavior more generally. The researchers found that cities with red light cameras saw 17 percent fewer fatal crashes at signalized intersections, per capita, than cities without cameras.

Between 2004 and 2008, that added up to 159 lives saved in those 14 cities alone. If automated enforcement had been installed in all 99 of the U.S. cities with populations over 200,000, some 815 lives would have been saved over those four years, the report found.

More than a dozen states have outlawed using cameras to enforce speed limits or red lights. The red and green areas of the map show where camera enforcement is in effect. Image: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Russ Rader, vice president for communications for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, calls the backlash “a lot of hot air from a vocal minority.” According to Rader, the debate about whether traffic cameras improve safety is settled.

“Study after study demonstrates that automated traffic enforcement works to make streets safer,” he said.

As for the claim that speed cameras are unsafe, Rader says that’s simply “not true.”

“That’s not supported by any of the research that has been done by traffic safety experts, the federal government, and universities,” he said.

A few studies have found that red light cameras do increase rear end collisions, but the data is not consistent. In addition, these types of collisions tend to be minor fender-benders, which pose far smaller risks than the type of high-speed, side-impact collisions that the cameras prevent, says Kara Macek, a spokeswoman with the Governors Highway Safety Association.

“I know it’s a contentious issue,” she said. “But typically the arguments against it — ‘It’s a revenue generator,’ ‘It’s a privacy concern’ — are outweighed by the safety benefits.”

Macek’s organization recommends some precautions that can help communities avoid controversies like the one in Ohio. Macek says cameras should only be installed in problem areas, like dangerous intersections, and only after a public information campaign. The GHSA also recommends that all revenues from the ticketing be returned to programs that improve street safety.

Macek added that the cameras are an important tool for communities, especially as resources for law enforcement become more strained.

In Ohio, irate drivers have tended to drown out messages like that. But local governments, law enforcement agencies, and victims’ advocates have testified that an outright ban on automated traffic enforcement would be a major setback.

Officials from the Toledo Police Department reported a noticeable decrease in traffic collisions after the cameras were installed. The city of Akron, which instituted the program after a 10-year-old boy was killed, uses the cameras only in school zones. All of the half million dollars generated was used to support child safety programs in that city, officials say.

Meanwhile, at a recent hearing in Columbus, Sue Oberhauser, co-chair of a national group that advocates for traffic safety, spoke for victims who can’t testify — including her daughter, who was killed by a reckless driver.

“If our daughter Sarah could be here today, she would ask each of you, ‘What about my right to live my life and raise my children?’” Oberhauser said, according to a report in the Plain Dealer. “She cannot be here today because she was killed by a man running a light at 55 miles per hour.”

Audiophiles Freaked Downtown Subway Will Ruin Disney Hall


By Adrian Glick Kudler, Msy 17, 2013


 Monocle drop! The Regional Connector subway line could interfere with the high-brow entertainment up above at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, it turns out: "Experts who know the hall's acoustics are worried that the listening experience in the main auditorium could suffer when subway trains begin running 125 feet below the parking garage in 2020," according to the LA Times (the Hall is noted for its excellent acoustics). No less than building architect Frank Fucking Gehry says "It would be a disaster for Disney Hall." Metro's 2011 environmental impact report on the Regional Connector, which will in part run under Second Street from Hope to Central Avenue, "predicted there would be no audible impact on Disney Hall" and "calls for common noise abatement features that reduce vibrations from passing trains." Their stated goal is to have absolutely no impact on the music. (Part of the issue is that trains need to be quiet enough to not interfere with recording, in addition to performances.) But Metro conducted an experiment in late April in Disney's below-ground Thayer Hall, playing both a piano piece and a simulation of a passing train; the train noises were audible and now everyone's really freaked out.

But Metro says that test was just "aimed at establishing the threshold at which subway noise ceases to be a problem." They had to deal with similar issues in building the Red Line through Hollywood, since the area is thick with recording studios (and Red Line cars are heavier than the Regional Connector's will be). Soundproofing aside, they could also set a 15 mph speed limit on the train in that area, but they don't think they'll have to do that.
Metro head Art Leahy promises "We are not about to do anything which in any fashion, however slightly, impairs or damages … Disney Hall or any other feature in that area." County Supe (and "classical music buff") Zev Yaroslavsky adds thats "Obviously Metro will not build a line that is going to compromise Disney Hall."
· L.A. Philharmonic concerned about potential subway noise [LAT]
· Regional Connector Archives [Curbed LA]

Portland Police: Running Over Ducklings Is 'Not Going to Fare Well for the Agency'


By John Metcalfe, May 17, 2013


 Portland Police: Running Over Ducklings Is 'Not Going to Fare Well for the Agency'



The next time you're trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket, try offering the officer a handful of fuzzy, dawdling ducklings. Police have a big soft spot for baby ducks, sometimes dropping everything just to assist them in crossing the road.

The latest instance of heroic cop-duck action comes from Portland, Oregon, a city known for its everything-bird obsessiveness. This Mother's Day, Officer Mark James clocked a speeder doing 52 mph in a 35 zone and zoomed off in pursuit. He must've been an eagle-eyed fighter pilot before picking up a badge, because somehow he noticed on the gloomy asphalt ahead a fluffy, ankle-high movement. Duuuucks!

"It was pretty good vision on his part to even see them in the road, with the gray weather we had that day," says Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau.

Officer James stopped his cruiser right there on Northwest Bridge Avenue and guided the ducks – a mother and her waddling progeny – onto the grassy shoulder. He did so despite there being "no regulation about stopping for ducks," says Simpson, and also risking a chewing-out from the Chief. Which wouldn't happen, actually, because he seems to love ducks, too.


"I think the chief would definitely side with officer," says the spokesman. "While traffic enforcement is important to save lives, running over a mama duck and her ducklings is not going to fare well for the agency."

Would this story have turned out differently if the officer was motoring down upon a family of smelly skunks? Or, say, a frothing-rabid possum?

Nope. "It wouldn't be all right to drive over animals," says Simpson. "We would discourage the intentional ramming of any fauna in the neighborhoods."

As it happens, this isn't the first time Portland's finest have interrupted their normal duties to pluck a
hapless animal from doom's snapping maw. When a juvenile red-tailed hawk fell from its building perch in 2011, an officer was there to scoop it from the sidewalk and take it to the animal clinic. And this May, cops rescued a three-foot-long snake slithering around downtown that "looked scared."

Sometimes this animal love can cause problems. Last year, the Audubon Society of Portland reported getting "way too many" ducks "dumped at their door," according to this TV news spot. If you skip ahead to 0:35, you'll find yet another cop going beyond the call of duty to save ducks, this time in Ohio:

The World's Most Luxurious Metro Station?


By Henry Grabar, May 17, 2013

 The World's Most Luxurious Metro Station?

King Abdullah is making the trains run on time.

The King has "instructed" that Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's fast-growing capital city, build its new six-line Metro system in just four years. To compare: it took New York's MTA four years to renovate one station.

For Riyadh's biggest station, a three-way interchange in the city's financial district, the King has chosen this airy hub designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. Its facade is designed to let in light while keeping out the harsh desert sun, while the overall shape is meant to recall wind-blown sand dunes.

 We note that there's a bare-haired woman ascending the escalator in this last rendering -- a gesture of subversion from the architect's studio? Either way, King Abdullah seems to like what he sees.
Judge dumps EIR for Metrolink extension
 May 17, 2013


RIVERSIDE – (INT) – A planned extension of Metrolink train service to Perris won’t happen anytime soon. A judge has decertified the Environmental Impact Report.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters set aside all project approvals in her decision favoring the ‘Friends of Riverside’s Hills’. The group had fought the extension primarily over concerns about train noise along the existing tracks below the Box Springs Mountains.

Freight trains travel the route between Riverside and Perris daily.

Riverside County Transportation Commission Chairwoman Karen Spiegel expressed disappointment and said “Our intent was to serve more people and potential employers by offering attractive and reliable passenger rail service on the existing right-of-way.”

The RCTC will decide whether to appeal the decision.

Are streetcars the future of public transportation? 


By Jeff Turrentine, May 16, 2013


 When President Obama nominated Charlotte, North Carolina, Mayor Anthony Foxx to head the U.S. Department of Transportation last month, he cited among Foxx’s other relevant accomplishments “a new streetcar project that’s going to bring modern electric tram service to [Charlotte’s] downtown area.” All well and good. But honestly, if enthusiasm for downtown streetcar projects was a prerequisite for the job, the president could probably have compiled his short list of candidates simply by closing his eyes and aiming a dart at a wall-mounted map of the lower 48.

Suddenly streetcars — those clanging, clattering, spark-emitting icons of public transit’s past — are among the hottest and most coveted components of public transit’s future. Right now the list of cities looking to introduce new streetcar lines or extend existing ones reads like a back-of-the-envelope tally by members of the NBA’s expansion-team task force, circa 1978: in addition to Charlotte, there’s DallasKansas CitySalt Lake CitySan AntonioFort LauderdaleCincinnatiBaltimore, and Tucson, among others.

As different as those streetcar-crazy cities are from one another, they have at least three things in common. First is their desire to breathe new life into somewhat moribund downtowns or other neighborhoods where the potential for economic activity is somewhat greater than the actual level of economic activity. Second is their desire to attract and retain the well-educated millennials who make up the tech-savvy “creative class,” but who have largely abandoned or foregone their cities in favor of those in California, the Northeast, and the Pacific Northwest. And third is their belief that streetcars, somehow, are absolutely key to the fulfillment of both these desires.
A story in yesterday’s New York Times would certainly seem to validate the notion that Foxx has a firm grasp of where transportation is headed and how to get us there. The article, about how twentysomethings are eschewing their cars in never-before-seen numbers for alternate forms of transit, is datelined Charlotte and contains within it the startling fact that the city’s light rail line “was projected to reach a ridership of 12,000 people within 7 to 10 years; it hit that level in the first month and a half.” The overall image of Charlotte is that of a city that has smartly rooted its recent transportation decisions in demographic realities — namely, that millennials are opting to drive less and walk, bike, or take mass transit more. Streetcars are the most visible symbol of that reality.
As is now customary in all questions pertaining to the cultivation of cool in America, Portland is held up as the example worth following. There’s certainly no question that the city’s well-designed, highly popular streetcar line, which began operation in 2001, is much beloved by the young creative professionals who have flocked to Portland in great numbers over the last decade (the city’s smartypants demographic now merits its own self-mocking TV satire). More than half of all new development in downtown Portland over the last ten years has taken place within one block of a streetcar line; the city’s initial capital outlay of $103 million has now led to more than $3.5 billion worth of private investment in residential and business development — 10,000 housing units and nearly 5.5 million square feet of commercial space — within three blocks of the streetcar. That’s an awful lot of bike shopsmicrobreweries, and pour-over coffee emporia.
But there’s another interesting thing about the new buildings along Portland’s streetcar line: by and large, they’re almost three times as dense as the buildings that were going up in the same area prior to the streetcar’s arrival. They’re far more likely to be multi-story and mixed-use — precisely the type of transit-oriented, urban-infill development that smart-growth advocates have long touted as a powerful city-planning weapon in the fight against global climate change. And thanks in large part to the streetcar, the people who live and work in these blocks (which also happen to be filled with some of the city’s most popular shopping and nightlife destinations) have found that they simply don’t need to drive in order to get where they want to go. Accordingly, residents of these neighborhoods can boast a per-household carbon footprint up to 65 percent lower than the ones taken up by their suburban counterparts; likewise, employers who set up shop along the streetcar “corridor” can claim a footprint up to 45 percent lower.

Still, as impressive as Portland’s example is, there may also be some magical thinking at work here on behalf of cities hoping to replicate it. Adding a streetcar line can’t, by itself, lead to $3.5 billion in dense development, attract desirable demographics, or curb a city’s carbon footprint any more than joining a gym – by itself – can get an unhealthy person in prime physical shape. Portland, with its high concentration of young, tech-savvy professionals living inside its urban core and its environmentally progressive culture, was already demographically primed for streetcars in a way that cities like Kansas City, Fort Lauderdale, or Tucson may well find that they aren’t. And with the average price tag of a four-mile streetcar line hovering just north of $100 million, you can’t blame some critics for wondering if it’s really worth it. Are taxpayers putting up all that money to remake their downtowns into creative-class magnets, or just so tourists and conventioneers can get from the Cheesecake Factory back to their hotels faster and more comfortably?

Streetcar critics have emerged from both the right and the left, and often cite a similar argument: that it can frequently make more sense, from both an economic and emissions-cutting angle, to expand and upgrade bus service than it does to finance, build, and maintain a streetcar line from scratch. Streetcars are indeed more expensive to operate than buses per vehicle mile; and the electricity that powers them, lest we forget, is most often generated from the burning of fossil fuels. And they’re certainly no match for most other forms of public transportation as far as speed goes. In the 1940s, San Francisco mayor Roger Lapham tried to make this point as part of his effort to sway public opinion toward eliminating the city’s famed cable cars and replacing them with buses. Attaching a cable car to a pair of horses, Lapham made a deliberately slow procession down Market Street in order to mock what he saw as San Franciscans’ “sentimental,” and in his opinion irrational, attachment to an antiquated system.

But in the end, Mayor Lapham’s constituents didn’t much care how fast or efficient their cable cars were vis-a-vis buses. Protests broke out; the trolleys stayed. The whole episode, despite having taken place more than 60 years ago, may offer a clue as to why we may very well be on the verge of a streetcar renaissance. Lapham wasn’t wrong, necessarily, to imagine that buses represented a cheaper, faster, and more efficient mode of public transportation than trolleys did. Where he erred was in assuming that San Franciscans would willingly say goodbye to a mode of mass transit that — slowness and ricketiness aside — was such a powerful symbol of their city’s trademark style: unhurried, open-air, democratic, in-the-know, maybe even a little quaint. A bus was what you took to work when you were running late. But a streetcar was what you grabbed to get Italian food in North Beach, or attend a bookstore poetry reading, or meet friends for espresso and political gossip at Caffe Trieste.

The sleek, smooth-running streetcars that cities like Charlotte are hoping to add to their streets are as different from an old-fashioned San Francisco trolley as buttoned-down, banker-dominated Charlotte itself is from San Francisco. But what big city in America wouldn’t want to inject just a little of San Francisco’s charm or Portland’s uber-hipness into an urban core that generally tends to close for business at 5 p.m.? Streetcars can’t transform the cultural character of a city, or single-handedly pull one out of a national recession. And unless they’re structurally connected to a much larger and thoughtfully administered mass-transit system, they can’t even make much of an impact on greenhouse gas emissions or climate change. But if they’re done right, they can leverage their unique attractiveness to get people out of their homes and into stores, restaurants, cafes, sports arenas — or even offices — without having to get into and out of their cars so many times.

Transportation for the Millennial Generation


By Ben Pirotte, May 15, 2012



North of Salt Lake City, a 21st-Century Highway Revolt


By Matt Bevilacqua, May 15, 2013

 Construction of the Legacy Parkway, which UDOT plans to extend north, was held up for years due to a lawsuit.

Activists and advocates who speak highly of those energizing days when community groups banded together to stop highway projects should consider a trip to Salt Lake City. Just north of the Utah capital, a fight to block construction of a freeway and instead build transit is gaining ground.

Looks like the highway revolts of the 1960s and ’70s have finally touched the Beehive State.

For years the Utah Department of Transportation has had plans for the West Davis Corridor, a freeway that in some form or another would run through the western part of Davis County, which borders Salt Lake County, and continue north into Weber County. Its route, which UDOT has yet to finalize, would touch a number of small cities and towns on the eastern banks of the Great Salt Lake, including Farmington, Kaysville, Syracuse and West Point.

UDOT is just about ready to release a three-years-in-the-making environmental impact statement for the corridor, with plans to present a draft this week. After a 90-day public comment period, the final version will go to the Federal Highway Administration. The feds would announce their decision by 2014.

But if resident advocacy and environmental groups had their way, UDOT would scrap the highway altogether.

A quick Google search for “West Davis Corridor” brings up dozens of news stories between now and
last February on Davis County residents voicing opposition to the project. Residents in Syracuse have worries about the road’s proximity to homes and schools. Others have called attention to the threat to the region’s wetlands and wildlife. Some call the highway unnecessary, citing predictions that it would be at only 50 percent capacity by 2040.

In April UDOT agreed to hold a town hall in Farmington to hear questions and concerns, but closed the meeting to the news media.

Last week the Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial board weighed in on the issue, calling attention an alternate plan that would instead create transit hubs joined by east-west roadways, as well as improve access to existing highways to now only preserve nearby communities but also allow them to become more walkable.

“It’s an excellent idea,” write the gatekeepers at the region’s largest-circulated daily. “Freeways only encourage sprawl and long-distance commuting, neither of which Utah needs.”
The advocacy group Utahns for Better Transportation outlined these alternative options in an April 17 open letter to UDOT.

For its part, UDOT says a new highway is needed to handle a projected 75 percent population increase in Davis County over the next 30-some years. The West Davis Corridor would extend the Legacy Parkway, an 11.5-mile highway in southern Davis County that itself was held up for years due to a lawsuit.

The four-lane Legacy eventually opened in 2008 with an updated design that made room for a trail system, included better protection for wetlands and had lower speed limits.

Urban highways are a frequent pet issue for many smart growth advocacy organizations. Among them is the Congress for the New Urbanism, whose annual conference will go down in Salt Lake City at the end of this month. Given CNU’s persistent focus on highway removal — often in coastal cities, or at least denser ones in the Rust Belt — it would make for a good opportunity to acknowledge that in many places around the country, transportation planners are still keen on building new highways through urban and suburban neighborhoods.

And residents are still having to fight them.
710 Day is coming! get ready.
Posted by Joe Cano, May 17, 2013, on Facebook.
 710 Day is almost here. What will the mascot look like? Will there be a fashion show?, a beauty contest?, will they have a baile or a tardeada? & will there be a slippery pig catchin contest?
Will there be a pageant queen? Can there also be a king? How do I run? I have a gigantic blue wig. Oh my God. I can't wait.
 Joe, you are a creative genius. I love it!
 Joe is myopic, and has added another dimension to the cause.Bravo, Joe.
 Alhambra declares '710 Day'

Sing Tao Daily, Chinese Press
 (Re: Alhambra declares '710 Day,' reaffirms support for freeway extension

 http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-alhambra-710-freeway-extension-20130515,0,3414698.story )

Posted on No 710 Freeway Extension Facebook Page


 "Here's something from the Chinese press "Sing Tao Daily". I was told it merely says there were opponents there."
Alhambra Press Conference 710 Day: Video by Joe Cano

From Joe Cano, May 16, 2013: This did not go as Alhambra & METRO planned. It was a takeover of the media when an opening was available to the NO On 710 members. You have all seen the story on the internet blogs & news by now. Includes entire comments by Placido & Messina. This is the background stuff that catches priceless moments like Messina reacting to the group, the Asian media interviewing all No On 710 participants as METRO staff storms out of the gathering.