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

Monday, July 1, 2013

Los Angeles County health officials issue air quality warning


By Anna Gorman, July 1, 2013

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a warning Monday about the air quality in the Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys.

Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding advised people with respiratory or heart disease to stay inside as much as possible and to avoid outdoor exercise.
Children with asthma or other respiratory problems shouldn't do physical education or other activities outside, according to the public health department.

 The South Coast Air Quality Management District said the air quality was unhealthy for everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley and for sensitive individuals in the San Gabriel mountains and valleys.

Possible Two-Hotel Project Headed For Colorado in Pas


By Eve Bachrach, July 1, 2013


Pasadena may be getting two new hotels on Colorado Boulevard at Hill Avenue, according to the Pasadena Star-News. The city council has approved a contract to study a project proposed by J & K Plus Investments LLC for two sites that straddle Colorado Boulevard, next to Pasadena City College. The plans include a 400-room hotel on the north side of the street, with 10,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. On the south side, the former site of a used car dealership would either become a 120-room boutique hotel or apartments--possibly housing for Pasadena City College and Caltech students. The year-long study will look at, among other things, whether the car dealership showroom is a historic structure and should be preserved and incorporated into the designs.

The plans are part of a Pasadena hotel boomlet, with a Kimpton likely coming to the Julia Morgan YWCA building and a new hotel at Paseo Colorado. The city manager says the additional inventory is much needed. "one of the limiting factors the Convention Center has is there is not enough surplus capacity in the existing inventory for them to be able to set aside for large conferences. We only have about 2,500 hotel rooms in the city and we are a major destination for business activity and business travel as well as leisure travel."

· Proposed hotel near Pasadena City College moves into environmental study [PSN]

The Future According to Ray LaHood: High-Speed Rail, But Also Tons of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles


By Sommer Mathis, July 1, 2013

Twelve years. That's how long (or really, how short) it will take for the vast majority of the United States to transition to driving hybrid or electric cars, according to outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

"By 2025, all of us, every family, will have some kind of hybrid or electric vehicle," LaHood, who left office just a few days ago following the confirmation of his successor, told an audience Sunday at the Aspen Ideas Festival. "That’s just the way the car manufacturers are going since we've set [fuel economy] standards at 54.5 mpg. It's all going to be hybrids or battery powered."

And here's another timeframe: 25 years. That's how long LaHood predicts it will take to get 80 percent of the U.S. connected by good, fast passenger rail.

"We owe it to the next generation to build the next generation of transportation, and that's high-speed rail," said LaHood, comparing the project of expanding America's rail network to the 50 years it took to complete the Interstate Highway System.

It's a bit of an unusual juxtaposition to make for the Republican cabinet member, who has become an unexpected hero for proponents of multi-modal transportation priorities and walkable communities. Just think back to 2010, when he memorably jumped up on a table at the National Bike Summit and proclaimed that national policy would no longer "favor motorized transportation at the expense of nonmotorized." On the one hand, he remains steadfast that despite extraordinary funding challenges, the future of American transportation lies with rail. On the other, he remains skeptical that Americans will ever really be willing to give up their cars, hybrid or not.

As he exits the Obama administration, LaHood sat down with The Atlantic Cities to expand on his vision of where America's transportation future is really heading.

Cities: You've seemed hesitant to commit to the idea that the federal transportation funding model should move away from the gas tax, despite its dwindling revenues.

LaHood: I don't think we should move away from it. The gas tax has been around forever, it funded the interstates. The trouble is that it's just been diminished because people are driving less and driving fewer cars. So Congress has to decide, if they want to continue to use the gas tax, they're not going to be able to do all the things that need to get done without raising it, and the debate has to be, do we want to continue or are we going to think of other funding sources?
But if we shouldn't move away from it, and let's say Congress actually got it together and voted to raise the gas tax, doesn't that set up a situation where it would need to be raised over and over again, as fuel economy improves and assuming Millennials continue to drive less than previous generations?

No, what they need to do if they raise it is index it to the cost of living. When the gas tax was raised in '93, and half of it was put to deficit [reduction] and half of it was put to infrastructure, if they would have indexed it, that means it would have gone up every year according to the consumer price index. Or tie it to something like that. Then we wouldn't even be talking about raising it. Because it would have reached the levels that are needed. So it's not just raising it.
So you don't imagine a future where people are just driving so little that it wouldn't even be enough to tie it to inflation?

Well, no. People are always going to have their cars. But they're also going to be driving cars that get a lot better gas mileage. They're not going to be buying much gasoline. In some instances they're not going to be buying any gasoline because they're going to be driving completely battery powered cars. But if part of the formula for funding transportation is the gas tax, then the debate has to be about, do we raise it, how much, and should we index it?

So you don't think that there's any role for the government to play in encouraging or enabling people to rely less on cars, or even go car-free?

Well I mean, that's not going to happen.

You don't think so?

Well no, not with the kind of automobile industry that we have, and the fact that people love cars. People of your generation, my kids' generation, they're probably going to have at least one car. But yes, a lot of communities like Chicago, L.A., they're going to alternatives, and some people are even going to the Zipcar and such, but there are always going to be automobiles. People are always going to have at least one car.

One of the things that we write about a lot at Atlantic Cities is that there appears to be a new attitude emerging, especially among younger people, that car ownership is less important than it used to be.

I don't envision most people living car-free. Because people like cars. That's not going to change for a long time, as long as the car manufacturers continue to make new cars. And until we get high-speed rail, how are you going to get, on a regular basis, from point a to point b until we get more passenger rail?

But you've also predicted that 25 years from now, 80 percent of the United States will be connected by rail.

That's the plan.

Twenty-five years isn't that long from now.

No, I know it's not. And it's a good plan. It's the president's plan. That's the kind of vision that Eisenhower had about the interstates. And we've gone through a lot of presidents and a lot of Congresses and a lot of governors, and we built the interstates. I hope we continue to have people of vision that will carry out this idea that the country will be connected [by rail].

You haven't minced words in your criticisms of the current Congress and its inability to pass a comprehensive transportation bill. You called the last bill that they passed, which was only a two-year funding measure, "chintzy." Do you think it's going to take a while before this Congress is able to get serious about transportation?

We'll see. There's a new chairman of the transportation committee and he's working very hard to try to forge a bipartisan opportunity. We'll see how successful he is.

Have you become cynical about the possibilities of bipartisanship?

I think the immigration bill is a good signal that when people work together they can do big things. I'm not that optimistic about the House, but we'll see.

710 Freeway Opponents to Protest During July 4th Parade

Seven cities will celebrate battling the 710 Freeway extension for 60 some years on Independence Day.


By Donna Evans, July 1, 2013


 Recognizing that residents from South Pasadena have been fighting the 710 freeway extension through town for 60 years, the No 710 Action Committee will march in protest during the Fourth of July parade.

The Festival of Balloons, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on the steps of the South Pasadena Library Community Room, will include a contingent of 710 opponents from Alhambra, Altadena, Glendale, La Cañada, La Crescenta and San Marino, according to Joanne Nuckols.

 The decades-long freeway battle dates to 1947 when the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Caltrans and its predecessors have proposed, studied and advocated for the building the freeway through the heart of South Pas, a press release states. The proposed freeway route would extend the 710 Freeway from the 10 Freeway in El Sereno at the Alhambra border to the 210 Freeway.

"South Pasadena has been fighting the extension of the 710 Freeway for half of its 125-year existence as an incorporated city,'' Nuckols said in a prepared statement. The city celebrates it quasquicentennial this year.

The proposal currently on the table is to bore one to 4.6-mile tunnels underneath South Pasadena and make it a tollway, threatening to divert additional traffic onto residential streets, opponents have argued.

The parade, which features music, youth groups, kids on bicycles and a variety of participating organizations, runs the length of Mission Street from Meridian Avenue to Garfield Park in South Pas. The parade will begin following opening ceremonies, at about 11 a.m. 

Congestion Charging - Does It Work?


By Edwin Miles, June 29, 2013

This Infographic produced by Car Finance 24 explores the most controversial topic in transport - Congestion Charging! If you would like to see the full version you can do here 

In the Infographic we begin by exploring the typical aims behind congestion pricing, and whereabouts in the world these schemes have been implemented. We then delve into the nuts and bolts of the individual schemes for example how much motorists are charged and when charges apply.

In the next section we look at the public's reaction to the schemes, congestion charging has often proved to be an incredibly divisive and controversial measure, frequently becoming the subject of fierce debate. We look at their concerns involving the schemes and then compare them to what actually happened.

We then move on to look at how business has been impacted and look at any problems that have been created. The infographic draws to a close by looking at how the public feels about the schemes now and ponders the question as to whether or not congestion charging will catch on in other cities.

Don't text and walk: Pedestrians step in front of trains


By Larry Copeland, June 29, 2013


It's happening with increasing frequency around the nation: Someone distracted by their cellphone, iPod or other device walks in front of a moving train, according to transportation experts.

It's happening on commuter and light rail tracks, at freight train crossings, and increasingly, on subway platforms

"What we are seeing in subway environments are people preoccupied, distracted with their electronic devices, coming too close and in some cases falling off subway platforms," says Greg Hull, vice president for public safety, operations and technical services at the American Public Transportation Association.

In addition, he says, "people are putting themselves at risk as pedestrians when they cross at grade crossings, be it light rail or commuter rail."

It's difficult to document growth in the trend of distracted pedestrians struck by transit trains because no federal agency tracks such incidents, says Joyce Rose, president and CEO of Operation Lifesaver, an Alexandria, Va.-based, national non-profit railroad safety education group. "We don't have a good handle on that data, and we don't know how big the problem is," she says.

There's been plenty of research showing that pedestrians in general are more and more distracted by their electronic devices. Researchers at Ohio State University estimate that injuries related to using a cellphone while walking doubled from 2005 to 2010. In many cases – as with distracted driving – people do it even though they know it's dangerous.

This month, insurer Liberty Mutual released a survey of more than 1,000 adults which found that 60%of pedestrians admit that they walk while texting, e-mailing, talking on the phone or listening to music – even though 70% of respondents consider those behaviors dangerous.

A 2011 study by researchers at Northwestern University found that, from 2004-2010, a pedestrian in suburban Chicago was killed by a train every 10 days, on average. The study found that 54%of the deaths were accidental, 46% suicides.

Anecdotally, there's adequate evidence that more people are distracted around trains:
•Last month, a man distracted by his cellphone while walking along the platform of the Pentagon City Metro station in Arlington, Va., fell onto the train tracks. A pair of Good Samaritans, Jennifer Buchanan, 44, and her father, Kent Wright, 72,pulled the man to safety seconds before a train roared into the station.

•Last July, Mitchell Maserang, 15, of Arnold, Mo., was struck and killed by a freight train as he walked and listened to music on his iPod in Wentzville, Mo.

•On May 30, 2012, Cameron Vennard, 14, of Kirkwood, Mo., was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Kirkwood as he walked on the tracks listening to music with headphones.

In the USA, an effort is underway to better track distraction-related incidents on transit systems. The two-year federal transportation spending bill approved last year by Congress grants the Federal Transit Administration authority to directly oversee safety on rail transit systems.

"What's new is that the FTA gets to set safety standards," Rose says. "The reason that's interesting is it gives us a chance to really get a better handle on these kinds of incidents. We'll have better data and a focus on the safety issues."

The Utah Transit Authority enacted an ordinance last year meant to ban distracted behavior by pedestrians around the tracks. It restricts behaviors such as texting, talking on the phone, listening to music with headphones or reading while crossing a track. It's a civil rather than criminal violation with a $50 fine for a first offense and $100 for repeat offenses. First offenders are given the option to take a $25 rail safety course in lieu of the fine.

"We do enforce it, although not aggressively," UTA spokesman Remi Barron says. "It's more of a vehicle to have a conversation about safety."

Operation Lifesaver is working with transit agencies around the nation on public education campaigns.

In Atlanta, Jennie Glasgow, Georgia state coordinator for the group, worked with the MARTA transit system to put distracted pedestrian messages in subway stations. "We knew that nationwide, it was becoming a problem," she says. "More and more now, we're seeing distracted pedestrians walking down the street."

In Denver, Operation Lifesaver's Colorado state coordinator, Tracy Rossbach, delivered the train safety message to a half-dozen schools within two or three blocks of a new light rail line from Union Station to Golden.

"I do know that education is the key to keeping people alive," Rossbach says. "Education, education, education. We just have to keep after it. It took 20 years of education before we realized we should fasten our seat belts."

Bike Sharing in Los Angeles: Great idea or accident waiting to happen?


Air Talk, June 27, 2013

A man rides a Citi Bike in New York City. Citi Bike, the bike sharing program that launched over the Memorial Day weekend in New York, provides 6,000 bikes. Is it a good idea for Los Angeles to have the same kind of bike sharing program?

A public bike-sharing program for L.A. has hit a snag, according to the Los Angeles Times. The O.C. company tasked with installing bike kiosks and the wheels as well, Bike Nation, had hoped to sell advertising on its wares. However, advertising space on "street furniture" was sold under a city contract to CBS Outdoor and JCDecaux through 2021.

Bike Nation owners were hoping to find a loophole in the deal. All this comes as New Yorkers are embracing or exorcising their new CitiBike bike-sharing program. It has proved more popular than anticipated, but critics complain of visual blight and inexperienced riders on famously hectic streets.
This snag for bike kiosks in Los Angeles has brought up a few questions: What is the future for Los Angeles bike sharing? What can we learn from such programs in NYC, Paris and London? Would you use the bikes, or steer clear?

Eric Bruins, Los Angeles County Bike Coalition planning & policy director, and Stephen Robert Morse, journalist and storyteller for Quirky.com (a product design company) & New York City bicycle commuter, join AirTalk to discuss.

Interview Highlights:

Eric Bruins on how bike-sharing is funded:
"There's a variety of ways that bike sharing is funded. There's a combination of government grants, air quality funds or like you see in New York where it is entirely basically a title sponsor. There's a variety of revenue streams that are possible. Bike Nation was looking at one, but they are going to have to change their focus."

Stephen Robert Morse on the potential dangers of bike-sharing:
"I've seen some decent cyclists (in New York City), but I've also seen some people who ride their bike the wrong way down the street. I've seen people blocking lanes. I've seen people who probably shouldn't be on a bicycle at all. I've seen many tourists who don't use helmets."

Bruins on the benefits of bike sharing:
"Bike share is really great for local trips. It's a great first-mile, last-mile -- if you take transit, say into downtown, but you need to run out for a lunch errand, it really fills that (void). If you have any weak links in your transit itinerary, bike share can help fill those gaps and help your entire day be car free."

Morse on his experience using a bike sharing service outside of New York City:
"I've ridden Citi Bike in Montreal and, for me, that was a totally amazing, positive experience. I was in Montreal for a month, and I did not need to buy a bicycle because they have Citi Bike everywhere. So, that was amazing. Yes, I believe that in New York the software glitches are pretty prominent. I don't know what they're doing to fix them. I assume they've devoted some resources to fixing the software glitches, but when compared to a place like Montreal where I did not ever have a software glitch and I was able to ride a bike multiple every single day. I can imagine that people are probably pretty frustrated with it here in New York."

Eric Bruins, Planning & Policy Director, Los Angeles County Bike Coalition
Stephen Robert Morse, Journalist and Storyteller for Quirky.com (a product design company) & New York City bicycle commuter
With contributions by Nuran Alteir.

Website focuses on intercity bus travel


By Susan, July 1, 2013


A new website hopes to make shopping for intercity bus tickets easier. Bustripping, founded by three recent graduates of the College of Charleston (SC), is a Travelocity-type aggregation website for intercity bus travel. After entering trip details, users can compare prices and travel times from different bus operators and purchase tickets. “The fact that something like this didn’t exist when bus travel is so common is pretty astonishing,” said CEO Ben Silverstein.

The company generates revenue through a 3%-15% commission on ticket sales, advertising on the site, and selling data to companies for targeted advertising. But the low ticket prices for bus travel limits bustripping’s revenue potential. “If you’re in the less-than-$50 range [for tickets], it can be difficult to turn a profit unless you can make it up in volume,” said Lloyd Grant, chief client strategist at KIP Total Marketing Solutions. “And that’s the point of traveling on intercity buses: low fares.” Silverstein said that the company is seeking investors for the company.

The website has partnered with 15 bus companies but some major operators are not represented, including Megabus and Greyhound. “They’re open to the idea but didn’t want to partner so early in the site,” Silverstein said. “Larger companies didn’t want to take that risk early on.”

The absence of major carriers limits travel options, however.  For example, searching for a trip from Boston to New York City yielded 40 trip options on Go Buses and Yo!Bus, but Boston to Philadelphia showed no service at all.  The latter market is served by Greyhound and Megabus.

Despite these limitations, Silverstein is confident that the company will change the dynamic for bus travel. “We don’t want to just make a small site for a niche market,” he said. “We really believe we can change the bus industry. We can make bus travel more accessible to the public.”

An iPhone application is in the works. Link to full story in Crain’s New York Business.

Share-brained idea: Adventures in car sharing, part 1


By Greg Hanscom, July 1, 2013

 idea face

I’ll say this about “sharing” my car: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

My wife, Tara, and I own two cars. One is a little fuel-efficient city car, a Honda Fit, that’s good for 95 percent of what we need a car for: shuttling the kids to and from school, running out for groceries, weekend trips to the islands or woods. Bikes and buses have their place, but we use the Honda just about every day.

Our second car, a Subaru Forester, takes care of the other 5 percent of our automotive needs: bombing through snow and ice during ski season and rattling up dirt roads on summertime camping trips. But six (sometimes seven) days a week, it just sits in front of our house. I bike to work — I can’t imagine sitting in traffic every day (as I’ve said before, I’m just not a well-adjusted 21st century human). On days that are too nasty to ride (and we get those in Seattle), I can walk a half a block from my house and hop on a bus that drops me at the office doorstep.

We’ve talked about selling one car, but which one? The Honda burns a fraction of the gas the Subaru does, and that’s good for the planet and the pocketbook, but the Subaru is the one car that actually does everything we need a car to do. (Yes, I use “need” loosely here. But sorry, Earth, we’re not willing to give up our mountain time — and mass-transit-served hiking in my area has a long way to go.)

Why not rent the Subaru for a few hours or a few days here and there, we thought, and make back a few of the dollars we spend to keep the thing registered and insured and sitting, unused, in the driveway? Several services have popped up in the past few years that facilitate this kind of “peer-to-peer” rental, and we’d dabbled with car sharing before. We decided to give it a shot.

I did some quick digging and found that we spend about $860 a year to keep the Subaru registered and insured. If we could just make that much from short-term rentals, at least the thing wouldn’t be a money suck. If we made enough, we thought, we could finally afford that awesome cargo bike, with room for both kids on the rack, sparing us, and the climate, a lot of car trips around town.

But first I wanted to be sure that we’d be covered if someone drove our car into Puget Sound — or worse, a pedestrian. I did a little research on car-sharing companies and settled on RelayRides, the only major outfit that seemed to be operating in Seattle. (The other biggie is GetAround.) The company had this handy video explaining how the service works:

Sounds good, right? RelayRides does background checks on all renters and provides $1 million in insurance should someone wreck your car. Bonus: By renting your vehicle, you keep “an average of 14 other cars off the road.” (I’m not sure where they got that number, but a 2010 study conducted by Susan Shaheen at UC Berkeley that looked at “classic,” Zipcar-style car sharing, not peer-to-peer, concluded that 9-13 cars were taken off the road for every car-sharing vehicle.) We were sold.
Before renting the Subaru, we invested in a thorough tuneup ($522 for fresh oil, new spark plugs, the works), and a deep clean ($253 for four hours of digging Cheerios and month-old spilled yogurt out of the cracks between the seats). And in February, I registered with RelayRides. I dubbed the car the “Weekend Warrior” and wrote up a tear-jerker of a profile (“This poor car only gets to the mountains once a week at best …”). I set our rental prices based on the company’s recommendation for what I could get for it in Seattle: $6 an hour, $33 a day, or $164 a week. And then we waited for the money to start rolling in.

A month passed. We got a weird request from some dude named Shane who said he’d be willing to pay $200 for a “one way rental to Homer” — as in Alaska. A quick 2,484 miles. No word on how we were supposed to get the car back.

Finally, in March, we got a legitimate bite. We made our first rental to a guy named John. Judging from his RelayRides profile, email and phone conversation, and a face-to-face chat on pick-up day, he was an upstanding citizen and a really nice guy. He owned a car, but needed a second one because his college-age kids were going to be in town for winter break, and they all planned to go skiing at Mount Baker.

Still, sending a perfect stranger off with the family auto — for two weeks, no less — was a little unnerving. “I’m having empty nest syndrome with the car,” Tara said about three hours after John had left. “One minute I’m thinking, ‘Sweet, we rented it!’ The next second I’m like, ‘I hope it’s OK.’”

I knew how she felt. As I handed John the keys and watched him drive away, it struck me that the Subaru wasn’t just our ticket to the mountains. It was also our bank account. If I lost my job or we met some financial catastrophe, the extra car was the one thing we could sell for fast cash. If someone wrecked it, the insurance would cover it, but that wasn’t what worried me. Every mile that car traveled whittled away at its already meager resale value. And if something big gave out or wore out by no fault of the renter, we’d be stuck with the bill — and, judging from the balance in the actual bank account, probably out of business.

I tried to put those thoughts out of my mind, but that was easier said than done. I’ve been bred to make things last decades after they’ve lost their cool. My father is known as “a retailer’s nightmare” — if it wasn’t for generous/concerned friends, he’d still be skiing on the Olin Mark IIIs he bought in grad school (not really my dad, but you get the picture). And he drives his cars until they sputter and die, the odometers well beyond 200,000 miles. On that front, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
But I so wished I could change. I so wanted to trust in the goodwill of our bright new shining sharing economy, and the progressive, unfailingly courteous customers who inhabit it and make the whole experience go down smooth.

As it turned out, however, my instincts were right.

Can a lone Hanscom Subaru survive a strange driver in the wild? Find out tomorrow in part 2.

Centuries worth of CO2 emissions could be stored underground, but at what cost?


By John Upton, July 1, 2013

 underground sign
 We could store CO2 underground, though not in the London Underground.

We could liquefy and cram our carbon dioxide emissions into the ground for some 500 years before America’s geologic basins started to overflow with the stuff.

That’s according to a new assessment by federal scientists, who spent years scouring America for porous rocks thousands of feet beneath the ground that might be appropriate for carbon sequestration.
They studied 36 geologic basins that could be suitable and found that the best region for storing waste CO2 would be the Gulf Coast. From the Houston Chronicle:
Brenda Pierce, energy resources program coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey, … said one reason the Gulf is attractive is its relative lack of fresh groundwater, since any area with fresh groundwater was eliminated as a potential storage site. In addition, only rock layers deep enough to keep carbon dioxide under sufficient pressure to remain liquid and to prevent it from escaping were considered a good fit.
But just because the storage space is available doesn’t mean that the approach would be feasible. Or safe.

The scientists say the 36 potential underground storage spots might be able to hold roughly 3,000 metric gigatons of liquefied CO2. For context, the U.S. releases between 5 and 6 metric gigatons of CO2 every year from power plants, vehicles, and other spots where fuel is burned to produce energy.
Two-thirds of the total storage potential was found to be in the Coastal Plains region, mostly along the Gulf Coast. The dark gray spots on this map show the areas that were assessed:
But most of America’s CO2 emissions come from coal-burning power plants that are located far from the Gulf. To get the CO2 from the power plants to the Gulf, it would need to be ferried through pipelines, and that would be a costly proposition. From Platts:
[T]he study clearly shows that the basins with the highest potential for carbon storage are away from the Southeast region, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley, which accounts for 65% of the US’ coal-fired capacity, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This means that despite the US storage potential, infrastructure needs — including a number of new pipelines which need to be built to connect power plants, compression stations and these basins — could make geologic sequestration costly.
De Smog Blog points to even more financial hurdles:
According to a database maintained at MIT’s Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies program, there are currently six large scale CCS projects underway in the United States. Five of the six projects are still in the planning phase, with one project listed as under construction. The current projected price tag of these six projects is a whopping $16.7 billion.

That’s a lot to gamble on a risky technology that continues to struggle to prove it’s even possible to deploy on a global scale. And $16.7 billion is only the opening bet. A full scale deployment of CCS technology across the entire US would likely be in the hundreds of billions. Estimates run as high as $1.5 trillion a year to deploy and operate enough carbon capture and storage worldwide to significantly reduce carbon emissions from the fossil fuels we consume.
It’s also worth remembering that carbon sequestration can trigger earthquakes. Tremblers at CCS sites could not only cause physical damage around them, but release sequestered CO2 back into the atmosphere, thereby making the whole effort futile.

And who knows what other problems might arise in the decades or centuries to come from stuffing all that liquefied CO2 into the ground.

Still, considering the massive threat posed by climate change, carbon sequestration is worth investigating. “The United States has the ability to store a lot of carbon dioxide,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “If this proves to be economically viable — and that hasn’t been answered in this study — sequestration could help.”

That said, there would be no carbon dioxide emissions to store if we switched over to renewables.

Transit Agency Drops Plan for Congestion Fee


By Howard Fine, June 28, 2013

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday killed a controversial plan to impose massive fees on developers to pay for transit projects.

The agency’s board voted instead to direct staff to work with state legislators to seek alternatives to the state-mandated congestion fees, which would have been nearly $1,900 for each single family home developed and roughly $29,000 for a new grocery store the size of a Trader Joe’s.

The board had been set to approve the congestion fees in May, but opposition from developers and business groups forced the agency first to postpone consideration until last week and then ultimately to kill the plan.

In an emailed note late Thursday to members of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed, Tracy Rafter, the group’s chief executive, thanked the members for voicing their opposition to the plan.

“Thank you to the broad and diverse coalition of 54 business organizations that joined together to…write letters and emails, make calls, and talk to the media – all of which led to development of a proposed solution and today’s responsible decision by the Metro board,” Rafter said in the note.

For previous Business Journal coverage of the plan, see “Business Holds Up ‘Congestion Fees’” in the May 20 issue.

Ding Dong, Portland’s CRC Mega-Highway Is Dead!


By Angie Schmitt, July 1, 2013

It’s a good day for advocates of a more human-scaled transportation system. The Portland region’s $3.2 billion, bi-state mega-highway project, the unassumingly-named Columbia River Crossing, won’t be built. The Washington state legislature adjourned yesterday without voting on a transportation package that would have provided funding for the project, which led the Columbian to say, stick a fork in it, “the Columbia River Crossing is dead.”

For years, activists in Portland protested plans for a $3 billion highway mega-bridge. In the end it was Republicans who killed it, objecting to the project's inclusion of light rail.

Around the country, grassroots activists are challenging large highway projects in their communities. Portland’s success, says Jonathan Maus at Network blog Bike Portland, however, received help from an unlikely source:
This is a huge moment for this disastrous boondoggle of a project. Obviously the forces that pushed it this far are likely to keep gasping for breath and they will try whatever they can to keep it alive. But [Governor John] Kitzhaber made it clear that the Washington legislature had to act and they didn’t. It seems the CRC as we know it is dead.

I have mixed emotions. Since that night in February 2007 when I came back from a neighborhood meeting disgusted by the PR show I had heard about a “bridge project,” I’ve posted 75 stories about the CRC. I always suspected it would die, but CRC backers (especially the “Woman behind the bridge”) surprised me (and everyone else) when they aggressively rammed it through Salem this year.

After the project languished amid controversy and lack of political support, the momentum returned as many Oregon Democrats went against the will of constituents to support it (even though many lawmakers had no idea what they were even voting on). It took Washington Republicans who were suspicious of such a huge government expenditure — especially one that included light rail — to finally kill this thing.

Congratulations to everyone that fought this beast of a project! Especially the citizen activists who volunteered countless hours to fight it.
More than $170 million in public funds were spent just on planning this doomed project, more than two and a half times what Indianapolis spent to build its transformative “Cultural Trail,” and more than enough to construct the first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban Indy shows off Indianapolis’s first bike box. Muscle Powered explains the highs and lows of Nevada’s new complete streets bill. And Stop and Move wonders how often cyclists that are killed are presumed guilty, like the D.C. cyclist who recently made headlines for fighting back against biased policing.

DASH service resumes as strike ends


By Anna Chen, July 1, 2013

Good news, DASH riders: the strike is over and all 19 routes that were affected have resumed normal service.
Here’s the press release from LADOT:
The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) announced that the strike against Veolia Transportation has ended and normal bus service for all 19 affected DASH routes will resume immediately.

The affected routes were:
·DASH Downtown Routes A, B, D, E & F
·DASH Beachwood Canyon
·DASH Crenshaw
·DASH Fairfax
·DASH Highland Park/Eagle Rock
·DASH Hollywood
·DASH Hollywood/Wilshire
·DASH King-East
·DASH Leimert/Slauson
·DASH Lincoln Heights/Chinatown
·DASH Los Feliz
·DASH Midtown
·DASH Southeast
·DASH Wilshire Center/Koreatown
·Weekend Observatory Shuttle

LADOT thanks you for your patience and understanding during the strike by the employees of our private contractor.We look forward to being able to resume all our normal bus service and to seeing you back on board.

If you have any questions, please call the LADOT Transit Store at (213, 310, 323 or 818) 808-2273 or visit the LADOT transit website at ladottransit.com.
And below the jump, the press release from Veolia:

Veolia Transportation is pleased that The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 572, voted yesterday afternoon to end their strike and approve their labor contract with Veolia Transportation.

Regular bus service resumed this morning, Monday, July 1st on the Downtown and other Mid City routes. Veolia Transportation operates this service under contract to the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT).

Veolia Transportation regrets very much the loss of service that resulted from the strike and would like to thank our patrons, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and, most importantly, DASH riders, for their patience during this very difficult time.

Mark Your Calendars!

From Sylvia Plummer, July 1, 2013

SR-710 July Meetings and Events

Tuesday, July 2 - remove from calendar

Monrovia City Council

SR-710 issue postponed to August 8 

Thursday, July 4 -- 9:30am

South Pasadena Festival of Balloons Parade

Join residents from 15 communities and march for the cause

We need lots and lots of friends to march with us so that we will be seen as a strong force opposing the 710 Freeway Tunnel.

Meeting point: 806 Meridian Ave., South Pasadena - 9:30 am

Wear No710 shirt, or solid white or solid red shirt.

Plan to join the marchers.  Bring your friends and family.  

RSVP: Waynna Kato waynnakato@sbcglobal.net

Wednesday, July 10 -- 11am - 2pm

Alhambra 710 Day Celebration
Fremont Ave/Valley Blvd., Alhambra

Wear No710 shirt, or No710 buttons. We will have No710 fans and flyers to hand out.
Again we want to show the opposition that there are many in the area against the 710 Tunnel.

Parking will be a challenge. You could park at Kohl's on Fremont and walk over.

Wednesday, July 10 -- 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Metro's SR-710 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting

METRO Headquarters Building
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA  90012

Gateway Plaza Conference Room (3rd Floor)

1:00 p.m.  – 3:00 p.m.

Public is allowed to observe
Thursday, July 11 -- 7:30 am - 9:30 am

Metro's SR-710 Stakeholder Outreach Advisory Committee (SOAC) Meeting

METRO Headquarters Building
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA  90012

Heritage Conference Room, 13th Floor

Sign in as "Public" at information booth on 3rd floor to gain access to Meeting

Public is allowed to observe
Thursday, July 18 -- 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Metro's SR-710 All Communities Information Session

Los Angeles Presbyterian Church
2241 N. Eastern Avenue
El Sereno

* Unable to attend? See note at bottom of page.

Saturday, July 20 -- 9am

A Gathering for everyone against the 710 Tunnels 

We are getting together prior to Metro's Information Session at Blair High School in Pasadena.
Bring your signs, wear your button, wear No710 or Red shirts, etc.
Meet us at Blair High School, outside/next to Metro's location. Don't be Late

Saturday, July 20 -- 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Metro's SR-710 All Communities Information Session

Blair High School
1201 S. Marengo Avenue

* Unable to attend? See note at bottom of page.


Tuesday, July 23 -- 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Metro's SR-710 All Communities Information Session

Langley Senior Center
400 W. Emerson Avenue
Monterey Park

* Unable to attend? See note at bottom of page.


Thursday, July 25   --   
 9:00 am

Metro Board Meeting  

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

What will be on the agenda?

Metro staff has been directed to provide the Metro Board an accounting of Metro's (MTA) role and responsibilities as a Caltrans partner in the Alternative Study and any future analysis for the SR-710 Gap Closure Project.

Meet us outside the Metro Board Room at 8:50 am


* Unable to attend Metro's All Communities Information Session...

On Saturday, July 20th at 10 a.m.

View and comment via a live-stream of the presentation or on-demand at:

Claremont left at station for Measure R transit plan


By Beth Hartnett, June 28, 2013

When it comes to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and plans for the Gold Line light rail system, Claremont is once again getting left behind.

The MTA Thursday approved changes to the multimillion dollar Measure R transit expenditure plan without including the most up-to-date information on the Gold Line’s Foothill extension, despite pleas from Claremont officials and other local legislators.

Approved by the voters in 2008, the Measure R Traffic Relief and Rail Expansion imposed a half-cent sales tax increase in order to fund critical highway and transportation projects throughout the county, including the construction of the Gold Line from Azusa to Claremont, an expected $1.71 billion project.

However, MTA board members conspicuously left off the actual cost value of laying tracks through Claremont because “there is no more money for the Gold Line.” Local officials are characterizing the board’s oversight as disingenuous and careless with taxpayers’ money.

“It is unfair to the people who voted for [Measure R],” said Sam Pedroza, Claremont council member and first vice chair of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority board. “There is a lot of frustration and confusion as to what the voters think they are voting for and what they are actually getting.”

It isn’t about receiving more Measure R money, but having the expenditure plan accurately reflect the funding gap that needs to be filled in some way, Mr. Pedroza asserts.

“We are just asking to be properly identified on the expenditure plan so we can say, ‘We have an $800 million funding gap, we need to go out and help find funds and Metro, you need to help us,’” the council member said in a recent interview.

Particularly troublesome to Mr. Pedroza was Richard Katz and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa acting as major proponents of moving the plan forward quickly despite their impending departures from the board in coming months.

“These were absolutely lame duck session approvals,” Mr. Pedroza said. “That, to me, is horrible public policy.”

On behalf of the city of Claremont, Mayor Opanyi Nasiali had sent a written plea to the MTA board on June 4 requesting that actual cost estimates for the Gold Line project, among others, be reflected on the amended plan. He also asked that the specific amount of Measure R funds be identified for each project before the plan’s approval. A petition was circulated and administrators from several other local cities—including Glendora, Pomona and San Dimas—expressed similar sentiments.

Heeding those requests, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, chair of MTA’s board of directors, moved to amend the plan to include the intent by the voters to see the Gold Line constructed through Claremont and to recognize the $764 million funding gap. His motion was dismissed and the plan was adopted as is. Instead, board members have agreed to hear a report on the matter in September.

Though noting his extreme disappointment, Mr. Pedroza and the Foothill authority have not given up yet. In fact, they say they are more focused than ever on keeping the train moving east. With the environmental impact report for Phase 2B nearly finished and construction of the Gold Line set to reach Azusa by 2015, board members remain fixed on their goal of seamless construction through Claremont.

“This is why we created the Foothill Construction Authority in the first place, because we wouldn’t have one mile of construction if it was left to the MTA,” Mr. Pedroza said. “It’s always been an uphill battle dealing with limited funding. What it comes down to is we just need to approach the funding gap at a different angle now.”

Meet the one city in America where cars have been banned since 1898


By Stephen Messenger, June 28, 2013

When early automobiles first arrived on the scene in the late 19th century, few people could have imagined that they would one day take over the world. In fact, some towns found the noise and exhaust from these novelty 'horseless carriages' so off-putting that early cars were actually outlawed in some places.

In time, of course, restrictions were lifted and the car soon became ubiquitous across the country -- but there is still one place in the United States that has yet to change its mind. Meet Mackinac Island, where cars have been banned since 1898.

Located just offshore of mainland Michagan, in Lake Huron, Mackinac Island and its namesake city have long been a favorite spot for a relaxing getaway. So, when automobiles first began to arrive, loudly sputtering along the island's once-quiet roadways, startling horses and spitting out smoke, it quickly became apparent to locals that this new invention was not for them.

One resident at the time was quoted as calling cars "mechanical monsters" -- clearly not a glowing review.

Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

Naturally, in 1898, the Mackinac village council moved to outlaw the automobile before the monsters had a chance to take over:
Resolved: That the running of horseless carriages be prohibited within the limits of the village of Mackinac." — Mackinac Island Village Council, July 6, 1898
Such legislation might seem quaint and old-timey, but in Mackinac, it has yet to be repealed. So what is life like in place where one of the most impactful inventions in history has been outlawed? Well, it's quite nice, actually.

Although the small island is home to only around 500 people, in the summer, that number swells to 15,000 during tourism season; aside from a couple of emergency vehicles, there's nary a car to be seen. Transportation on Mackinac is limited to walking, horse-drawn carriages, and bicycling -- a pleasant departure from the car-centric society that exists beyond its borders.

"The air is cleaner and injuries are fewer," writes Jeff Potter, who published an article about Mackinac. "Island residents are healthier due to the exercise. There’s a cherished egalitarianism: everyone gets around the same way. They also save a tremendous amount of money that would normally go to commuting by cars."

marada/CC BY 2.0

tvanhoosear/CC BY 2.0

Still, getting around on the island is a breeze. Mackinac is home to the nation's only carless highway, the M-185, offering easy access to its 8.3 miles of coastline, uncluttered by parking lots or gas stations.

Visitors to the island have described the experience as like going back in time to a bygone era, one before the constant din of traffic and vehicle exhaust became a part of daily life in America.
But more than just being a remnant of the past, perhaps Mackinac Island offers instead a glimpse of an alternate history, diverted from our own more than a century ago -- before the mechanical monsters had us so thoroughly tamed.

Alhambra 710 Day


By Alfred Dicioco, June 6, 2013

Peggy Drouet: An old article but new comments have been added to it.

Alhambra 710 Day

Photo from Wikimedia CommonsPhoto from Wikimedia 


Jul 10, 2013 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM


  • Fremont Ave/Valley Blvd.
  • Alhambra
  • CA
  • 91801
If you’ve ever sat in a traffic jam on the 10 or 710 freeways – or had to wait what seemed like an “eternity” at a local traffic light – you need to come and support Alhambra’s BIG “710 Day” celebration on July 10 (7/10/13) — a fun, family-friendly event to be held at Fremont & Valley from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The City of Alhambra is hosting the event with educational presentations and booths to raise awareness about air quality and reducing traffic congestion by CLOSING THE GAP via the proposed SR-710 extension from Alhambra to Pasadena.

Kids are invited to participate, too, by taking part in fun activities such as face-painting, children’s games and other¬ activities related to transportation. Additionally, there will be energy-efficient car displays, food truck vendors, live entertainment and much more!

Simply email webmaster@cityofalhambra.org to get on our SR-710 distribution list for upcoming infomation about CLOSING THE GAP. Simply type your name (including business name & title), address, city, and phone number. Also please add "710 Info" in the Subject Line.


After years of this silly argument about finishing the 710 extension.  To alleviate the congestion caused by Pasadena folks driving on Alhambra streets to their homes.  I don't care if it is a tunnel, a freeway, or a 4 lane road.  It's time to demolish the homes that lie in the path of what should of been the las 3 or 4 miles of the 710, and build the darn thing.  Traffic will only get worse as the years go by in this overpuplated city as more and more condos and mixed use monstrocities are allowed to be constructed by the city council.

As a nearby resident I'm strongly against the 710 extention.  Last thing we need is another freeway.
Cons: its a toll road, a ton of traffic will divert to city streets, causing more congestion, more exhaust, more carcinogens from brake particals, more giant trucks passing through, more noise, suspicious motives (payoffs?) for pro 710 city officials.

Pros: big trucks going from the Long Beach Port of LA can get to their hub in the inland empire a little quicker.

No thank you.

One thing that bothers me is that in all the meetings I have attended and watched video where I could not attend, there are no Alhambra citizens touting this tunnel. Only Messina and her cronies attend to tout the tunnel, along with her PAID folks. Where are the unpaid folks supporting this boondoggle project? Awhile back it was Nat Read -- PAID about $36,000 per year only from Alhambra. Now it's Leland Dolley -- PAID to the tune of about $1.5 million over a six-year period, Harry Baldwin -- PAID, and Baldwin's daughter, Kendall Flint -- PAID. They only present METRO's "studies," which are in question for their accuracy.

Independent medical doctors, geophysicists, atmospheric researchers, and more highly qualified experts from highly respected institutions have come forward stating that the 710 tunnel will not alleviate what Messina and her cronies are stating it will.

So why do only Alhambra City-paid consultants show up at these meetings? I would be very wary of what a paid consultant tells you, Alhambra. What is REALLY in this for Messina and her cronies?
The Metro Board dropped the 710 tunnel project from the accelerated funding yesterday. Why is Messina "unfazed" by this? Denial maybe? The outcome of this action is that Metro must come back with the true costs, which will be astronomical.

I suggest that Alhambrans do plenty of research on both sides of this issue. It will open your eyes.
This bad idea is hopefully on its last legs. Judging from the desperate nature of this event and PR approach (not to mention this week's MTA vote), it very well may be..

So Barbara Messina states that she is unfazed by Metro dropping the SR710 tunnel from accelerated funding for Measure R projects at the Metro Board meeting yesterday. The Metro board discussion & vote pretty much does not support her contention that this tunnel will be built. Metro Staff will have to come back with real costs estimates that will show they are bigger than what Messina & company have been broadcasting up to now. When those numbers are published the public will see the shell game she has been playing so far.

You Are Invited to Join Nextdoor

Posted by Jessica Lopez on Facebook, June 28, 2013

Hey Highland Park Neighbors, are you on Nextdoor yet? Join the private neighborhood network. There's going to be a meeting soon about the cyclist that was killed by a car on Ave 64 and Church to address the dangerous intersection and speed on that street: https://nextdoor.com/invite/abttwcvmhtrscfhugsbg

Also there's a neighborhood council google group you should join: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/highland-park-nc

DPNA convenes “Complete Streets Forum” in response to cyclist’s death

Complete Streets Forum

An Action Plan for improving the safety and livability of our streets.


 By Jonathan Edewards, July 1, 2013

 Phillip O’Neill’s ghost bike on Del Mar Blvd.

Phillip O’Neill’s ghost bike on Del Mar Blvd. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Williams. 








This MONDAY, July 1st, the DPNA is hosting a coalition of Pasadena organizations to discuss “Complete Streets” and an Action Plan for making Pasadena streets safer and more pleasant.


Cyclist killed on Del Mar Blvd

Latest incident in a series of fatalities & injuries.

City Council to consider Bike Plan on July 15th.

Particularly dangerous for Caltech & PCC students & faculty who walk & bike; Pedestrians describe “Del Mar Dash.”
According to the Star News and several blogs, 25-year old cyclist Phillip O’Neill was struck from behind while at Del Mar and Wilson Ave on June 15th, the third bicycle-related death since 2011.
Websites reporting the details:

DPNA convenes “Complete Streets Forum” to take action

Pasadena organizations & neighbors come together to join forces

This meeting has been convened in light of the most recent fatal collision on our streets, and the upcoming Pasadena City Meetings on the draft bike plan and other pedestrian/bicycle safety issues.

The Department of Transportation will deliver a brief presentation on the current plans.Then, we will break into discussion groups in the “World Café” format to strategize coalition building.Organizations participating:
  • Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association (DPNA) 
  • C.I.C.L.E
  • Caltech Bike Lab
  • Pasadena City College Bike Club
  • LA County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC)
  • Day One
  • Pasadena Health Department
  • Pasadena Dept of Transportation
  • BikeSGV
  • Other Neighborhood Associations?
Event is open to the public.  Please attend

RSVP HERE:  http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6006422371


Pasadena Presbyterian Church Corner of Madison Ave & Colorado
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
Corner of Madison Ave & Colorado

Monday, July 1st

6:30 – 8:30pm

Pasadena Presbyterian Church

Gamble Lounge

585 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91101

By Transit: Metro Gold Line Memorial Park and Lake Ave stations approx. equidistant. Several buses also run along Colorado Blvd.
By Bike: Green/Union perhaps the least bad option. No bike lanes or other dedicated infrastructure exists in downtown, yet!  Racks on street. Venue is also bike friendly.
If you’re driving, Parking is to the rear and side of the Barcelona Apts (85 N Madison).
What is “Complete Streets”? Read more at the Complete Streets Coalition.

Caltech Bike Lab circulates petition for better East-West bike routes
Caltech Bike Lab circulates petition for better East-West bike routes

Petition to improve East-West Bike Routes

CalTech Bike Lab calls on City Council to take action

51% of Caltech students and 30% of faculty walk to work; 20% ride a bike.

Please sign here:
Sign the petition HERE.


The Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association (DPNA) is the voice of the residents of the Central District of Pasadena, California.

We meet monthly on the Third Thursday at 6:30pm in the Gamble Lounge of Pasadena Presbyterian Church at 585 E Colorado Blvd.

The DPNA promotes a walkable urban lifestyle in a city that is vibrant with thriving businesses, excellent arts, good government, and active public spaces.

The DPNA advocates for urban parks, wider sidewalks, pedestrian-biased street design, bike lanes, trees & shrubbery, mixed-use & transit-oriented development, enduring architecture, a streetcar, and other amenities that improve life for residents of an urban city center.

Downtown Pasadena is defined roughly as the 210 freeway (north), Catalina Ave (east), California Blvd (south), and Pasadena Ave (west).


Subscribe to the DPNA newsletter
Subscribe to the DPNA newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter!

We send out 1-2 emails per month with updates about what we’re doing.
Please add yourself to our contact list by clicking:

That webpage will guide you through the sign-up process.
After typing your info, you’ll receive an email which you’ll have to confirm.