Purpose

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gloria Molina at Metro Board Meeting--Video by Joe Cano

June 27, 2013

 
Molina lectures the Metro Board on how they handle the public money: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg1ncPM7eok

Victory at today's Metro Board Meeting

 From Sylvia Plummer, June 27, 2013


SR-710 North gap closure project has been removed from the acceleration schedule for Measure R funds!!

So how did this happen?
During public comment for item #10 there were several of us that spoke for the removal of SR-710 North gap closure project from the acceleration schedule.  Harry Baldwin, from the 710 Coalition (paid for by Alhambra, etc) and Leland Dolley, former City Attorney for Alhambra made their statements.  

Following public comment a vote was taken and the motion as written did not pass.  

There was much conversation between the Metro Board members.  Then Ara Najarian said to Richard Katz, (who is the author of the amendment),  that he would vote Yes on the motion if the SR-710 North project was not included in the acceleration schedule for Measure R funds.  So the exclusion of the SR-710 North project from the acceleration schedule was added to the motion. 

The Board Members voted again:  9 Yes, 3 No  (2/3 vote was needed).  The board members that voted No were: John Fasana, Michael Antonovich, and Don Knabe. Gloria Molina was absent for the vote.

Thanks to Ara Najarian!

Thanks to those that attended the Metro Board Meeting and those that wrote letters to the Metro Board.

Thanks to Joe Cano who recorded the meeting.  As soon as the video is available I will send it out.


Here's a quote from an article from Metro's: The Source

"The Katz and O'Connor amendment specifically excluded the 710 North project from the acceleration plan. One of the alternatives for that project is a freeway tunnel connecting the 710 in Alhambra to the 210 in Pasadena and is enormously controversial in the San Gabriel Valley, with some cities supporting it and some very much against."

Antonovich on 710, Measure J, Metrolink Route to Burbank Airport & More – Wednesday in Glendale, Today at MTA

 http://sunroomdesk.com/2013/06/27/antonovich-on-710-measure-j-metrolink-route-to-burbank-airport-more-wednesday-in-glendale-today-at-mta/

June 27, 2013

 

MTA Board Room, Thursday morning, June 27, 2013

MTA Board Room, Thursday morning, June 27, 2013

 

MTA Board Room, Thursday morning, June 27, 2013
MTA Board Room, Thursday morning, June 27, 2013

 LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich cited “A regional transportation system that meets all of our needs and not just some of them” “Rail connections to all our major airports” and “Synchronization between regional transit providers and local operators” [such as the Glendale Beeline] as his priorities on the MTA.

He discussed each point Wednesday at the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Association annual meeting, and again today in comments as outgoing MTA Board Chair. The MTA meeting began shortly after 9am and was still under way after 1pm as a capacity crowd was on hand to comment on several projects and proposals.

Wednesday night: Antonovich told the Association he opposed Measure J (which was defeated) because it didn’t allocate funding equitably across the 88 cities and 134 unincorporated communities served by Metro. Asked about the SR-710 study, Antonovich stated that the tunnel was a likely candidate for selection as “the route” [alternative?], and alternatives would be presented when the EIR was complete. Antonovich noted as a significant step forward this week’s groundbreaking for the new Antelope Valley/Lancaster Metrolink station/route that will provide a direct connection to Burbank/Bob Hope Airport.

Thursday: “It ain’t over until it’s under!” was the motto of a huge number of speakers (60+?) who want the Crenshaw line undergrounded along a key stretch of a South Los Angeles business district. The current plan calls for a surface route. A contingent of the No 710 Action Committee is also on hand to ask why the SR-710 Project is included in a Measure R financing acceleration proposal, even though the EIR is not yet complete. As of 1pm, they are still waiting for that agenda item to be heard.

UPDATE 2:13pm: The surface route for the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail line was approved by the Metro Board over objections from the community. LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced an amendment asking Metro to consider business mitigation measures. Metro Board member and Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian proposed an amendment to exclude funding for the SR-710 Project in Metro Agenda Item 10. Najarian’s amendment passed by a majority vote, and then the proposal (which required a 2/3s vote) passed as amended.
LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich cited “A regional transportation system that meets all of our needs and not just some of them” “Rail connections to all our major airports” and “Synchronization between regional transit providers and local operators” [such as the Glendale Beeline] as his priorities on the MTA. He discussed each point Wednesday at the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Association annual meeting, and again today in comments as outgoing MTA Board Chair. The MTA meeting began shortly after 9am and was still under way after 1pm as a capacity crowd was on hand to comment on several projects and proposals.
Wednesday night: Antonovich told the Association he opposed Measure J (which was defeated) because it didn’t allocate funding equitably across the 88 cities and 134 unincorporated communities served by Metro. Asked about the SR-710 study, Antonovich stated that the tunnel was a likely candidate for selection as “the route” [alternative?], and alternatives would be presented when the EIR was complete. Antonovich noted as a significant step forward this week’s groundbreaking for the new Antelope Valley/Lancaster Metrolink station/route that will provide a direct connection to Burbank/Bob Hope Airport.
Thursday: “It ain’t over until it’s under!” was the motto of a huge number of speakers (60+?) who want the Crenshaw line undergrounded along a key stretch of a South Los Angeles business district. The current plan calls for a surface route. A contingent of the No 710 Action Committee is also on hand to ask why the SR-710 Project is included in a Measure R financing acceleration proposal, even though the EIR is not yet complete. As of 1pm, they are still waiting for that agenda item to be heard.
UPDATE 2:13pm: The surface route for the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail line was approved by the Metro Board over objections from the community. LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced an amendment asking Metro to consider business mitigation measures. Metro Board member and Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian proposed an amendment to exclude funding for the SR-710 Project in Metro Agenda Item 10. Najarian’s amendment passed by a majority vote, and then the proposal (which required a 2/3s vote) passed as amended.
- See more at: http://sunroomdesk.com/2013/06/27/antonovich-on-710-measure-j-metrolink-route-to-burbank-airport-more-wednesday-in-glendale-today-at-mta/#sthash.cSDAn3Gp.dpuf

Art of transit: CarFree LA

 http://thesource.metro.net/2013/06/27/art-of-transit-carfree-la/

By Anna Chen, June 27, 2013

 
Glam video from Discover Los Angeles showing people how to explore L.A. without a car.

 

Metro Board approves contract for firm to build Crenshaw/LAX Line

 http://thesource.metro.net/2013/06/27/metro-board-approves-contract-for-firm-to-build-crenshawlax-line/

By Steve Hymon, June 27, 2013

 

The Metro Board has unanimously voted to approve a $1,272,632,356 contract to Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors for the final design and construction of the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail line.

The project is funded in part by the Measure R half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The light rail line will run between the Expo Line and the Green Line with eight new stations, including an underground station at Leimert Park and a street-level station at Hindry to help serve the Westchester community.

The project is currently forecast to open in 2019 with major construction beginning in 2014. Utility work is already underway.

Dozens of residents of the Crenshaw corridor testified to the Board, asking them to reconsider the project and instead put an 11-block segment between 48th and 59th streets through Park Mesa Heights underground. The train will run at street level through that section. Many speakers, including small children, said they believed the train won't be safe. Their common refrain: “it's not over until it's under.”

Board Member Richard Katz thanked the community for their input but also stressed that the South L.A. community was not being singled out — that, in fact, the vast majority of Metro's rail system is at grade.

Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose district includes the project, introduced an amendment asking Metro to study other business mitigation programs around the nation to help create a program that will best help businesses along the Crenshaw corridor deal with construction.

On this issue from an earlier post on The Source:

 •First and foremost, it needs to be understood that the Board of Directors and the Federal Transit Administration have approved the project with a street-running segment through Park Mesa Heights. The Board has stuck with this decision.

Firms that submitted proposals for the project were allowed to submit “Alternative Technical Concepts” (or ATCs) that could potentially lower the cost of the project, improve its quality, reliability, performance or schedule. However, Metro did not consider ATCs that significantly changed the project or required a supplemental environmental impact statement/report.

•Three points worth considering about the stretch of tracks through Park Mesa Heights. 1) The street is 180 feet wide and a train can safely operate in the median, as streetcars used to on Crenshaw; 2) Building a tunnel for this segment would cost up to an additional $250 million; 3) Adding a tunnel at this time would require that the final environmental studies be re-done, which Metro officials say would take nine to 18 months and could jeopardize federal funds being used to help build the line.
When the train line is completed, Crenshaw Boulevard will have three general traffic lanes in each direction through Park Mesa Heights, in addition to a parking lane and bike lanes. Metro says it will plant two trees for every tree removed to build the project.

•The train will pass near Crenshaw High School. Metro light rail trains currently pass near Dorsey High School (Expo Line), Blair High School (Gold Line), Mendez Learning School (Gold Line) and Ramona High School (Gold Line) and have thus far done so without incident. Metro has worked closely with the California Public Utilities Commission and the city of Los Angeles to incorporate safety features into the Crenshaw/LAX Line, including fencing, signage, pedestrian gates, crosswalks and security cameras.

•For those who are comparing the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the Blue Line: The Blue Line opened in 1990 and was the first modern light rail project in our region since the streetcars stopped running in the early 1960s. Many safety features have been added to the line since then and overall incidents have declined. Metro is continuing to add more safety elements along the line, including a new effort to reduce suicides.

•About 55 percent of the Crenshaw/LAX Line is separated by the street — that is, 55 percent of the line will be in a tunnel, in a trench or an aerial structure above streets. By comparison, the Blue Line is 20 percent grade separated, the Pasadena Gold Line is 42 percent, the Eastside Gold Line is 37 percent and the Expo Line is 20 percent. The Green Line is 100 percent grade-separated because it runs in the median of the 105 freeway and aerial structures.

•This is also the reason that on a per mile basis, the Crenshaw/LAX Line will be the most expensive light rail line that Metro has built. The Purple Line Extension subway will be more expensive but it is a type of transit called “heavy rail” that can carry more people and run at higher speeds. It is being built as a subway because of the dense area along its alignment (mostly under Wilshire Boulevard) and expected high ridership.

One other note: Part B of the item was struck – it concerned the amount of contract changes that needed to be approved by the Board. The Board will revisit that issue at a later meeting.


Metro Board approves strategy to accelerate second- and third-decade Measure R projects

http://thesource.metro.net/2013/06/27/metro-board-approves-strategy-to-accelerate-second-and-third-decade-measure-r-projects/

By Steve Hymon, June 27, 2013

The Metro Board of Directors on Thursday approved a strategy for accelerating second- and third-decade Measure R transit and road projects by a 9 to 3 vote.

Among the 'yes' votes was outgoing L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who has spent much of his second term pushing for the acceleration of Measure R projects and trying to secure federal funding to do so (The 'no' votes came from Board Members Michael D. Antonovich, John Fasana and Don Knabe. Gloria Molina was absent for the vote).

The strategy doesn't guarantee any project will be built quicker and is reliant on Congressional approval of the America Fast Forward program that both Villaraigosa and Metro have advocated for. America Fast Forward would provide Metro and other transit agencies access to hundreds of millions of dollars in federally-backed loans and interest-free bonds. Getting Congressional approval will be an uphill battle.

Still, the plan is intriguing if for no other reason than contemplating the alternative: having to wait until the late 2020s or the 2030s for several transit projects to be complete. The example most often cited is the Purple Line Extension, which would serve the second-largest job base in L.A. County but won't be complete to Westwood until 2036 under current funding schedules.

An acceleration plan could get it to Westwood by the mid-2020s and mean that the project could be built at once instead of in fits and starts for the next 20-plus years.

Other projects that could be accelerated include the Eastside Gold Line Extension, the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor, the South Bay Green Line Extension and the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor. Some will need other funds outside of Measure R to be completed.

Please see this earlier post for a more thorough explanation of the acceleration plan, which relies on Measure R revenues as well as Prop C revenues to pay back loans. Prop C is the half-cent sales tax approved by county votes in 1990 and would be used after Measure R expires in mid-2039.

As part of the plan, the Board also approved a motion by Board Members Richard Katz and Pam O'Connor that also asks Metro staff to report back within six months with a recommended ballot initiative “for the November 2014 or November 2016 election that, if approved by the voters of Los Angeles County, would enable acceleration of all Measure R highway and transit projects.”

That's not a huge surprise. The acceleration plan was built assuming that Measure R will expire, as scheduled. The expiration made putting together a plan much more difficult — and is the reason Prop C is needed. It remains to be seen whether such an initiative could help fill funding gaps in some Measure R transit and road projects.

The Katz and O'Connor amendment specifically excluded the 710 North project from the acceleration plan. One of the alternatives for that project is a freeway tunnel connecting the 710 in Alhambra to the 210 in Pasadena and is enormously controversial in the San Gabriel Valley, with some cities supporting it and some very much against.

An amendment by Antonovich to include updated financial information on completing the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont failed with four votes for and seven against.

Proponents of the unfunded Azusa-to-Claremont segment argued they weren't asking for Measure R funds to pay for the $1-billion project but hoped that including the updated info might help secure other funds. Measure R is paying for the Pasadena-to-Azusa segment of the project that is under construction. There were other related financial issues decided earlier in the day that had threatened to derail the acceleration plan. Among them:

•The Board approved Item 12, which raised the budgets of several Measure R road and transit projects and set aside $750 million for a state-of-good-repair project. The total amount of all the projects came to more than $1.5 billion.

•The Board also approved a substitute motion for Item 70 that would use Prop C funds instead of Measure R funds to pay for cost increases on the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Several cities — including Los Angeles and some in the South Bay — complained that Metro was taking funds they wanted for other purposes. Metro's side of the argument was that it was trying to keep all costs within Measure R.

Supervisor Gloria Molina spoke at length that she didn't believe the Board was acting wisely — and that the Board was encouraging the agency to borrow more money than it should to pay for cost overruns. “You're on the way to bankrupting the future,” she said.



Metro Puts $2 Million Behind Villaraigosa Plan to Bring “CicLAvia” Everywhere

http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/06/27/metro-puts-2-million-behind-villaraigosa-plan-to-bring-ciclavia-everywhere/

By Damien Newton, June 27, 2013 

 Riding off into the sunset.




We knew Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa liked CicLAvia. Upon returning from Copenhagen in 2009, he vowed that Los Angeles would have its own “open street festival.”

Twenty-one months later, after a visit from Janette Sadik-Khan and a broken elbow, Los Angeles held CicLAvia. Since then, the city has held six more, and over a million people have taken to the streets. Villaraigosa worked with the City Council and Metro Board of Directors to set aside a million dollars to staff CicLAvia (the non-profit) and see that 2013 held a record three events.
As one of his last acts as Mayor of Los Angeles, he wants to spread the love.

The closest thing a Los Angeles County city not named “Los Angeles” has ever come to CicLAvia is the 2008 “car-free Rose Bowl” event in Pasadena. A motion passed during today’s long and contentious Metro Board of Directors meeting will change that. The motion directs staff to set aside another $2 million for Metro to host a competitive process to award “open streets” grants to other cities to spread the CicLAvia love.

“Expanding CicLAvia at a County level is very exciting,” writes Borja Leon, Deputy Mayor for Transportation for the City of Los Angeles. “Mayor Villaraigosa hopes CicLAvia can continue to grow on LA streets and make pedestrian and cycling a way of life for more Angelenos”


While the “open streets movement” is possible because of CicLAvia’s success, the motion is not another funding mechanism 
for L.A.’s open streets mega-events. It’s more like a challenge to Santa Monica, Long Beach, Pasadena, Alhambra, Lancaster, and the rest of the cities in L.A. County.

“This is a win for car-free, open streets events,” said CicLAvia Executive Director Aaron Paley. “When we launched our first CicLAvia in 2010, few people knew what an open streets event was. Today’s approval is another indication of the impact CicLAvia is having on policy that will benefit residents throughout Los Angeles County. People at all levels are beginning to see the economic, health, environmental, transportation and social impact that these types of events can have on cities.”

The motion notes that bicycling is up 90% in L.A. County over the last decade and that many cities and L.A. County itself are implementing bicycle plans. It was co-sponsored by Glendale City Council Member Ara Najarian, L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Mel Wilson, one of Villaraigosa’s appointees to the Board of Directors.

Broadway Road Diet Will Cut Cars and Prep For Streetcar

 http://la.curbed.com/archives/2013/06/broadway_road_diet_will_cut_cars_and_prep_for_streetcar.php

 

 

2013.06_broadway.jpg

 

From a growing retail scene to a future arts center, Downtown's once-grand Broadway is slowly getting its groove back. Part of the improvements, which are being pushed by Councilmember Jose Huizar's Bringing Back Broadway initiative, is a road diet, intended to calm vehicular traffic and make the street a nicer place to stroll. A "dress rehearsal" for the road diet will begin this year, according to BBB's website, though there aren't specifics on the exact start of implementation. The dress rehearsal will bring semi-permanent changes to Broadway that include reconfiguring the street from four traffic lanes to three between Second and Eleventh Streets. Bus service will be streamlined, crosswalk widths shortened so it's easier for pedestrians to get across the street, and 24-hour curbside parking and loading will be added as a boon to businesses. The changes will set "the stage for the future Downtown L.A. Streetcar," which is set to arrive in a few years.
· Broadway Streetscape Plan / Road Diet [BBB]

SR710 Stripped from Accelerated Funding Motion at Metro Board Meeting

By Joe Cano on Facebook, June 27, 2013

 
Ara Najarian
No710 wins this round. SR710 tunnel stripped from accelerated funding motion at Metro Board meeting. Nuestro hermano Ara Najarian's amendment stripped the tunnel from this motion in order for more useful projects to go forward. The fight continues.
 
No on 710 Fighters
 
 
 
Gretchen Knudsen:  Today, the Metro Board had a "come to Jesus" discussion regarding their track record of fiscal management. They discussed the cost overruns associated with other transit/ freeway projects.

Supervisor Molina voiced her concerns about the board being fiscally irresponsible. Najarian floated the innovative idea of taking the money saved from not building the tunnel and divert it to building the Gold Line Extension.

It was broadly discussed that aspirations overreach dollars and the public has been over-promised projects and denied the truth of real costs.

Pinch me.
 
  Joe Cano at the Metro Board Meeting. Joe Cano: That f'ing troublemaker & his cameras again Art Leahy was trying to stare me down all through the meeting. Y que?
 Tina G. Miller: So much testimony from the Crenshaw district young and old....."environmental racism", lack of opportunity for the black community as well as the no-bid construction contract that was awarded to an Orange County contractor inspire of the fact that there were 12 LA companies that did bid to no avail.
 

 

Strike limits DASH routes downtown, in other areas

 http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-dash-routes-limited-by-strike-20130627,0,1508471.story

 

 Students wait for a DASH bus on Multnomah Street in this file photo.

 


 Students wait for a DASH bus on Multnomah Street in this file photo.

 

 

Downtown DASH routes, in addition to 14 other routes, were affected Thursday by a strike, officials said.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 572, which represents bus operators and mechanics who work on DASH routes downtown, in Hollywood and in South L.A., went on strike Thursday over a contract dispute, according to a statement from Veolia Transportation.

The company operates the routes under a Los Angeles Department of Transportation contract.
"This strike is a surprise to Veolia who has been in productive discussions with the union for months," the statement read.

LADOT cannot be involved in such a dispute between between Veolia Transportation and its employees, said LADOT spokesman Clinton Quan.

Routes A and B downtown are not operating, and routes D, E and a portion of F downtown have limited service, according to LADOT.

Routes D and F are not running now and will not resume service until 3 p.m.

Fourteen other routes, including DASH Hollywood, DASH Midtown and DASH Wilshire Center/Koreatown, are not operating at this time.

Updated information can be found online on the LADOT website.

Foxx confirmed as new Secretary of Transportation

 http://www.metro-magazine.com/news/story/2013/06/foxx-confirmed-as-new-secretary-of-transportation.aspx?ref=Express-Thursday-20130627&utm_campaign=Express-Thursday-20130627&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Enewsletter

June 27, 2013

 

 Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

 

 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate voted 100 to 0 to confirm Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the next U.S. Transportation Secretary, according to several sources including the Charlotte Observer.

Foxx, who replaces Ray LaHood, will immediately confront safety and funding challenges in a large department that oversees the nation’s highway, transit, aviation and rail networks.
The current chair of the Metropolitan Transit Commission, Foxx successfully led efforts to advance regional transportation initiatives including breaking ground on the streetcar project and a third runway at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and securing $1 billion in funding to extend the LYNX Blue Line to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

Foxx received a law degree from New York University’s School of Law as a Root-Tilden Scholar, the University’s prestigious public service scholarship, and earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Davidson College. He is a member of the Mecklenburg County Bar and a graduate of its Leadership Institute.

Prior to joining the DesignLine Corp. as Deputy General Counsel in 2009, Foxx was an attorney at Hunton & Williams law firm. He also served as a law clerk for the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, and staff counsel to the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. For the full story, click here.

A Small Number of People Are Causing a Huge Share of Our Greenhouse Emissions

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/06/small-share-people-cause-large-share-greenhouse-emissions/6050/

By Emily Badger, June 27, 2013

 A Small Number of People Are Causing a Huge Share of Our Greenhouse Emissions

You probably don't need a sophisticated climate model to tell you that a compact, car-free apartment in the city has a smaller carbon footprint than a 3,000 square-foot single-family house in the suburbs. But add all of those big, far-flung homes together, and their cumulative impact starts to look really disproportionate. In many metropolitan areas, this means that a narrow slice of households are responsible for a vastly larger share of the region's greenhouse gas emissions.

Just how much larger are we talking? An interesting new study out of Switzerland, published in the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology, looked at this question in a single town there. Researchers at ETH-Zurich developed a model using census data for the life-cycle assessment of housing and local transportation consumption in the town of Wattwil, home to 3,238 households. Twenty-one percent of the households there, the researchers calculated, were responsible for 50 percent of the region's housing and mobility-related emissions.

The main culprits? Large homes requiring a lot of energy to heat and cool, and relatively long commutes. This snapshot of a small town in Switzerland obviously doesn't translate directly to New York City (the authors also did not factor into their model other kinds of consumption, like food and clothing). But previous statistics from the U.S. suggest that the paper's main conclusion likely applies broadly: "The findings," the authors write, "suggest that [greenhouse gases] are not emitted equally."
This chart from the paper illustrates just what this pattern in Wattwil looks like:


"Housing and Mobility Demands of Individual Households and their Life Cycle Assessment," by D. Saner et. al, in Environmental Science & Technology.
Every household in town is shown on the x-axis, ranked according to combined emissions induced by housing (yellow) and transportation (green) consumption. The red dotted slope illustrates the cumulative share of emissions as a percentage of the entire town's footprint. Half of the households, or the 1,619 to the left, are together responsible for just 20 percent of all emissions. Meanwhile, about 21 percent of the households – those shown at far right – are responsible for half the emissions.

For the statistical-minded who are familiar with metrics of more traditional kinds of inequality, the researchers have calculated a Gini coefficient for the town's inequality of emissions (if the Gini coefficient were 0, every household in town would be producing the same emissions). Separately, the Gini coefficient for mobility emissions(0.64) is higher than that for housing (0.49). "This means," the authors write, "that housing impacts are more equally distributed among households than mobility impacts."

There's a positive way to look at all of this: When a few households are responsible for a disproportionate share of emissions, that means behavioral or technological changes within just a few households can also have an outsized impact on an entire town's carbon footprint. Cut the emissions of that 21 percent of households in Wattwil by half, the study concludes, and the whole community's housing and mobility emissions would fall by a quarter. That's without anyone else doing much of anything.

Record-breaking Volkswagen is more fuel-efficient than your hybrid 

 http://grist.org/list/volkswagen-passat-tdi-breaks-mileage-record/?utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&sub_email=pdrouet%40earthlink.net

By Holly Richmond, June 27, 2013

 

 2013-volkswagen-passat-tdi

You there. Yeah, you — the one who smugly parks in the “Reserved for electric vehicles” parking spot outside Whole Foods. The new VW Passat TDI gets a whopping 78 mpg, making it more fuel-efficient than ANY [gas-burning] CAR EVER, including hybrids. How do you like them German apples?
Volkswagen has announced the company’s Passat TDI has set a new world record for the category of “lowest fuel consumption-48 US states for a non-hybrid car.” Drivers Wayne Gerdes and Bob Winger managed an impressive 77.99 miles per gallon over 8,122 miles, trouncing the previous record of 67.9 mpg. The duo also sailed past the hybrid record of 64.5 mpg, another record set by Gerdes.
Volkswagen has yet to confirm my hunch that TDI stands for “totally damn impressive.”
The manual 2013 Passat TDI running on clean diesel is expected to get 31 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. The record-breaking Passat was equipped with extra bells and whistles like Continental PureContact® with EcoPlus® Technology tires, because everyone knows the more trademarks, the better fuel efficiency.
volkswagen-passat-tdi-2013
Miroslav Djuric
This is all very impressive, but the VW Passat TDI still doesn’t get as good mileage as my bike. The latter gets 100 miles to the gallon. Of Slurpee.

UPDATE: Even a very efficient diesel car still uses more gas than an all-electric car, so we’ve clarified that this is a fuel-efficiency record for gas-burning cars. The previous record, set by a hybrid, was 64.6 mpg.
Call to Action Reminder
 
From Sylvia Plummer
 

Plan to attend Tomorrow's meeting and/or
email your objection Today to the Metro Board

Metro Board Meeting    
  

Thursday, June 27th   --  
 9:00 a.m.

One Gateway Plaza
Metro Board Room,  3rd Floor 
Los Angeles, CA  90012


What is on the agenda?

Item # 10:  Adoption of an acceleration schedule for Measure R funds that includes accelerating 780 million for the SR710 North project.

Link to Metro Board Agenda, look for item #10 under the Non Consent Calendar:


Points against the acceleration of SR-710 Tunnels and spending $6 million of Measure R funds to advance the tunnels business case:

a.  Funds should not be accelerated on any project until the EIR is complete.  Accelerating funds should only be proposed for projects that have completed environmental impact reviews, which the SR-710 North has not.

b.  Unlike other projects, there is no reason to accelerate the SR-710 North project since the EIR has not been completed and an alternative has not been selected. 
 
c.  Metro is stating that they are reviewing all the SR-710 North Alternatives with an open mind, yet the tunnel Alternative is included on list of projects to be accelerated.  By accelerating the amount needed to do P3 work for the tunnel alternative Metro is prejudicing the EIR process by advancing one alternative over the others.  
  
d.  The SR-710 tunnels are the most controversial project in the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and has no support from the cities that are directly affected, the cities that it goes through and under as well as cities that are affected by the resulting increase in congestion.  Cities directly affected that are not in support of the SR-710 tunnel are Los Angeles, Pasadena & South Pasadena.  Cities indirectly affected that are not in support of the SR-710 are La Canada, La Crescenta, Glendale and Sierra Madre.  If the SR-710 tunnels are accelerated, Metro is working against all the rail and transit projects that have county-wide support.

e.  If Metro accelerates the amount needed to finance the SR-710 tunnels over the other alternatives, Metro is corrupting the EIR process.

f.  Metro needs to get the name of the highway straight, the SR-710 is not an Interstate Highway, it is a State Route.


Reference:  Measure R Project Finance Acceleration Plan ( see Attachment F, page 46 & 47):



What's our Plan of action?

We need people to attend the Metro Board Meeting and state our objections.  
Please meet us outside the board room on the 3rd floor at 8:50 am

Sign up to speak for item #10.  Each person is given one minute to speak.

Want to carpool?  Email me with your name, telephone # and where you live.

There is parking under the Metro Headquarters Building, $6.00.
The Gold Line is a great option, since the end of the line is next door to Metro's building.
(behind Union Station)


Unable to attend?

Email you objections ASAP (before Thursday) on item #10 of the agenda to the Metro Board Secretary at:


Ask her to distribute your email to all Metro Board Members.



Other references:

Proposed Amendment Attachment A, Line 36 (see page 5 of 6):





 METRO visits El Sereno in a renewed PR attempt

From Sylvia Plummer, June 27, 2013

On June 19, 2013, Metro paid a visit to LA32 (El Sereno) Neighborhood Council, Land Use and Development Committee.

Following the presentation of the same old PR commercial came the Public Question and Answer period.

The Public Question and Answer period was recorded by Joe Cano:


Video is over 27 minutes.  

At 20 minutes this question is asked:
Q.  Why not build the tunnel in the communities that want it?  (Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Marino & San Gabriel)
A.  That Route did not score high.

What did I learn from watching this video? 

1.  Anyone from Metro that has technical knowledge and could answer questions is never at these meetings.
 
2.  Metro continues to use this answer to the tough questions: We (the public) will have all the answers to our questions when the EIR is completed and there will be 45 days for public comment. 

RIVERSIDE: Naked woman atop train prompts Metrolink shutdown

 http://blog.pe.com/2013/06/26/riverside-naked-woman-perches-on-metrolink-train/

By Darrell R. Santschi, June 26, 2013

 

Metrolink downtown station


Freight train traffic was interrupted for nearly three hours early Tuesday, June 25, when a naked woman climbed on top of a rail car at a Riverside train station and refused to come down.

Riverside police were sent to the Metrolink commuter rail station on Vine Street at 12:16 a.m. Members of the department’s SWAT and emergency negotiation team spoke with the woman for an hour before she was taken off the train.

The 29-year-old Apple Valley woman was taken to a county mental health facility, where she was expected to be held for 72 hours.

Viewpoints: California misses connection between railroads and airports

 http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/27/5527153/california-misses-connection-between.html

By Joe Mathews, June 27, 2013

A riddle: If you land at a big-city airport and there's no train there, where are you?
Answer: California.

Yes, San Francisco, I know you're the exception, with a BART train stop inside San Francisco International Airport. But the California rule is that we'll invest billions in our airports and billions in our trains, but we wouldn't dream of directly connecting the two.

Instead, we taunt those who dare to dream.

How else to explain the fact that so many of California's urban trains and trolleys come close to the airports – but not close enough to take you all the way there?

You can see planes coming in to land at San Diego's Lindbergh Field as you ride the city's charming trolleys, but the trolley won't take you to the airport. In San Jose, two train systems – the Metro Light Rail and the Caltrain – run near the airport, but a shuttle bus, the Airport Flyer, is required to reach them. In Southern California, the Metro blue line trains go to Long Beach, but not to its airport. The Metrolink commuter rail stops about a mile from the Ontario airport.

Some places are making progress in forging links, but even then there are caveats. Oakland is building a cable car connection between its airport and the nearby BART station – better than nothing, but it will require switching trains. Sacramento has begun a light-rail extension that is supposed to reach its airport someday, but timing and funding are uncertain. Burbank Airport has a stop on the commuter rail Metrolink, but Metrolink trains run infrequently and stop running early. Today, as I write this, the last train to downtown L.A. leaves the airport at 5:53 p.m. Even San Francisco's BART train doesn't go south of SFO into the heart of the Silicon Valley. You have to take a BART train north to the Caltrain commuter rail heading south. A 12-minute drive by car to San Mateo can take more than an hour by rail.

For Californians, all these failures to connect, considered in isolation, may seem trifling. But taken together, they represent a form of self-sabotage for a place that is at once dependent on its links to the world – and too far away from that world.

The writer Carey McWilliams described Southern California as "an island on the land," but the term applies to the entire state. And the Island of California needs the best possible transportation connections both to get out-of-state visitors to their destinations (trade and tourism and the highly mobile technology industry are our economic anchors) and to get ourselves around so we can run the state (two-thirds of Californians have to get on a plane if they want to visit their state Capitol).

But in today's California, we are cheap, and the infrastructure we need is expensive. When we build, we prioritize what's easy over what's important. California is about to start high-speed rail by building a stretch of tracks in the less populated San Joaquin Valley, where getting started is relatively easy. The connections of the rail to urban transit centers – which are more difficult and expensive, and also more important and valuable – come later.

Nowhere is this mindset more evident than at California's busiest airport, LAX. A generation ago, LA's subway system built a line – the Green Line – with a station that touches the edge of the airport property but doesn't go into the airport. There is a shuttle bus, but few passengers use it, and with good reason. When I lived in Redondo Beach, a 10-minute drive south of the airport, getting home from LAX via shuttle bus and train took an hour.

Today, Los Angeles has a chance for redemption. But L.A. may blow it. Another Metro rail line is being extended to the LAX area, but, of the options being considered by transportation and airport authorities, two would end the rail line at the corner of Aviation and Century boulevards, more than a mile away from the airport. Given the billions being spent on airport modernization and Metro rail expansion, that's mind-blowing.

The stated reason for stopping, again, at the airport doorstep? Costs, of course. Taking the train into the airport would cost more than $1 billion, and there is only $200 million or so in existing tax dollars for a connection. If the rail line stops short of the airport, riders could switch from the train to a people mover of some sort (that is scheduled to be built in 2028).

Or they could walk.

One recent night, I parked my car at a gas station at the corner of Aviation and Century and walked to Terminal 1. I passed by fortress-like airport hotels, parking lots and a Carl's Jr. The sidewalk was barely lit, and I tasted the exhaust as motorists sped past me at 50 mph. The walk took me 25 minutes, and I wasn't carrying any luggage other than a notebook and a cellphone.

This is life in the Great California Train Tease. We're spending hundreds of billions on rail and airports. And we still keep missing our connections.

 





 Comments

  • ghlance
    I travel all over the world. Our infrastructure is terrible. Let's just take London Heathrow as an example. You can get there on the Picadilly Line subway. You can get there on the Heathrow Express train. And they are now building an extension of the Overground section to go to Heathrow. In fact, of the five airports in metro London, you only have to take a bus ride if you go to Luton. The other 4 have direct, effective connections to the city centre. California cannot be a 21-st century economy with a 1960s transport system.

  • enviro_nazi , Rich. European-American. Male. Unrepentant.
    First off, who cares about LA?  Rail construction is outrageously wasteful of tax dollars. Back when rail made economic sense, private companies built and operated railroads.   Not government.  If the government is doing it, it does not make economic sense.  Perhaps some day rail will make economic sense again.

    What do you think is gong to happen when the Moonbeam No Speed Rail to Nowhere gets to LA?  It will cost $trillions, not $billions, just to cross LA to get to the airport. Better to stop  the line in the Mohave desert and move the airport, and then the whole city, out to the end of the line.

  • howardroarke
    As true as it is inevitable. We cannot afford the $1 trillion that HSR will cost any more than we can afford to build the short, logical extensions to existing lines near airports. Now, if we could somehow reduce the cost our government infrastructure, maybe we could find the money to pay for some of the smaller projects at least.

  • CaptainCommonsense , Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of The Law...
    Very true. A mistake that needs to be fixed.

Brian Kelly named Secretary of new Transportation Agency

 http://transportationca.com/brian-kelly-named-secretary-of-new-transportation-agency/

June 26, 2013

 

Brian Kelly will head the newly reconfigured California Transportation Agency, which is part of the governor’s reorganization plan to reduce the number of state agencies, departments and entities.  The Transportation Agency will align all of the state’s transportation entities, which have been scattered throughout different agencies.

Kelly has been acting secretary at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency since 2012, where previously he was undersecretary.  The reorganization plan, which Transportation California shared with you last year, establishes the California Transportation Agency as a single-focus cabinet office emphasizing transportation policy.

“This plan groups transportation departments and commissions and gives transportation a focused voice in the governor’s cabinet,” said Transportation California’s Executive Director, Will Kempton.
“Transportation California commends the Governor for his appointment of Brian Kelly as the new Secretary of Transportation,” Kempton said.  “As acting Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, Mr. Kelly has clearly demonstrated his competence and integrity and he will serve the people of California well in his new role.”

The new California Transportation Agency will include the following departments and offices.
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- California Highway Patrol
- Board of Pilot Commissioners
- Office of Traffic Safety
- High Speed Rail Authority
- California Transportation Commission (CTC)

More information on Kelly’s background and appointment can be found in news on the governor’s website here.

Risks and Recoveries from Extreme Disruptions in Freight Transportation Systems in a Megacity: Case Study for the Greater Los Angeles Area

 http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/169130.aspx

 The METRANS Transportation Center at the University of Southern California and California State University-Long Beach has released a report that discusses the risks, recovery strategies, and economic impacts for transportation systems in megacities when faced with extreme events such as earthquakes.

 

SANDAG chugs towards Oceanside Transit Center expansion

 http://thecoastnews.com/2013/06/sandag-chugs-towards-oceanside-transit-center-expansion/

By Rachel Stine, June 26, 2013

 

 SANDAG chugs towards Oceanside Transit Center expansion

 Passengers leave and board a NCTD Sprinter train at the Oceanside Transit Center. Currently only two trains can board simultaneously at the Center, but a SANDAG and NCTD improvement project will allow up to three trains to board at the same time.

OCEANSIDE — The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and North County Transit District (NCTD) are partnering together to expand the Oceanside Transit Center’s train capacity as early as next year.

With rail service originating in the city back in 1882, today more than 1.2 million passengers travel through the Oceanside Transit Center each year, and 134 trains pass through the center each weekday, according to SANDAG.

The current Transit Center bustles with NCTD coaster commuter trains, Sprinter light rail trains, Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains, Metrolink Commuter trains, and BNSF Railway freight trains, along with Breeze buses, Riverside Transit Authority buses, and privately run buses, including Greyhound.
With the Center’s current capacity, only two trains can board simultaneously, requiring all other trains to idle outside of the station until a rail and/or platform becomes available.

SANDAG and NCTD intend to change that by building a new 1,000-foot long boarding platform and a third train track.

The expansion, which would extend from Wisconsin Avenue to the station, would enable Coaster, Metrolink, and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains to board at the same time, according to SANDAG. It would also allow trains to move through the station while two trains are boarding.

The changes have the potential to support more timely transportation service and more frequent service.

Furthermore, the project expands the Center’s capacity to host more trains and trains with more cars, though the transportation services do not have plans to add more trains in the near future.

“The immediate impact (of the project) is operational flexibility, and the long term is that we can have more trains,” explained NCTD Civil Engineer Cyril Rajan.

“We think this project is really vital to the city of Oceanside,” said SANDAG senior transportation Engineer Dean Hiatt while presenting the project to MainStreet Oceanside on Tuesday.
He said that the improvements would ideally bring more people and therefore more business to Oceanside as well as reduce cars traveling along Interstate 5.

Board members of MainStreet Oceanside, an association of businesses in downtown Oceanside, expressed concern about the current noise levels from train horns and the potential for additional noise if more trains are added, particularly given the hotels that are being constructed along the rail corridor.

Hiatt explained that establishing quiet zones is the city’s responsibility. The city would need to make safety improvements to railroad crossings before a quiet zone, a rail crossing where trains would not be required to blow their horns, could be established.

Board members voiced frustration when they learned that these safety improvements would also have to be paid for by the city with no help from SANDAG or NCTD.

Despite this, the board voted to support the project given its potential to bring more business to downtown.

Final engineering work on the Oceanside Transit Center Improvement Project is being completed, and construction is anticipated to begin in 2014.

Hiatt explained that SANDAG is currently working through remaining issues, including leveling the platforms to meet federal ADA requirements, before a construction date can be established.
Construction of the project should take about 13 to 14 months.

SANDAG will do “everything it can” to avoid disrupting service at the Center during construction, said Hiatt.

But Rajan acknowledged that the project could cause some weekend service disruptions.

The total project is estimated to cost $19.5 million. TransNet has provided $16.1 million, the regional half-cent sales tax, and SANDAG has provided the remaining $3.4 million from federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

The Oceanside Transit Center Improvement Project is part of SANDAG’s efforts to enhance San Diego County portions of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Louis Obispo (LOSSAN) Corridor over the next 40 years.

One of SANDAG’s major projects includes double tracking more than 97 percent of the LOSSAN Corridor in San Diego County by 2050. Currently, only half of this portion of the track is double tracked.

Visit KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/OTC for more information.