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, July 11, 2013

Mayor Eric Garcetti On Ride-Sharing Apps: Taxi Cab Industry Needs To 'Adapt And Adopt' (VIDEO)


July 11, 2013

 (See the website for the video.)

 eric garcetti ride sharing
 A still of Mayor Eric Garcetti's interview with HuffPost Live.

Ride-sharing apps like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar can breathe a little easier knowing that they have an ally in newly-installed Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The unorthodox car service apps operating in LA received a cease-and-desist order from city taxicab administrator Thomas M. Drischler in late June, before Garcetti was inaugurated.
But in an interview with HuffPost Live's Jacob Soboroff Wednesday, Garcetti came out in favor of the ride-sharing apps.

"I was a little worried to see a cease-and-desist order just go out and say 'you can't do this' when the state, at the same time, is looking at this," he said.

Garcetti is referring to California's Public Utilities Commission, which regulates limousines and hired cars. The CPUC has a temporary agreement with ride-sharing apps to continue operating statewide while the commission proposes a permanent way to regulate and license the techie transportation businesses. Because of the required public review period and other delays, California could be months away from establishing them.

That's why Garcetti has asked City Attorney Mike Feuer to look into the matter locally until then.
Garcetti also compared ride-sharing apps to technological advancements like Amazon.com and Skype -- in other words, change is coming and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it.

 "I'm sure book stores didn't want Amazon when they started and phone companies said we'll be killed off by Skype," said Garcetti. It'll be up to the taxi cab industry, he emphasized, to "adapt and adopt."

Alhambra Holds 710 Day Celebration


By Madison Amido, July 11, 2013

            IMG_5519  IMG_5516 IMG_5514 IMG_5513 IMG_5512 IMG_5509  IMG_5503 IMG_5500 IMG_5499 IMG_5495  IMG_5492 

 The city of Alhambra hosted their first ever “710 Day” celebration, fittingly scheduled on July 10, 2013 at the corner of Valley and Fremont Avenue. The purpose of the event was to inform residents and bring awareness to the process of closing the “710 gap,” between the I-10 and I-210 freeways.

            The 710 event offered informational booths with pamphlets and papers, raffle prizes, live performances from the band Drive, food trucks for patrons to enjoy, face paint, and 710 themed games for children. Aside from the activities the celebration provided, many people in attendance at the event had opposing views on the proper closure of the 710 gap.

            Alhambra openly supports the 710 gap closure project. Long time Alhambra resident, Mark Paulson agrees that the gap should be closed.

            “I support the completion and closure of the gap because I’ve lived in Alhambra my entire life and I’ve had to struggle with the traffic and the hazardous pollution caused by the freeway ending in Valley Boulevard,” said Paulson. “Completion of the freeway is going to take all of that traffic off of our city streets, it’s going to reduce the pollution level which is really impacting our schools, so it’s long overdue and we really need to complete it.”

            San Marino City Manager John Schaefer also attended the 710 event and seemed to lean towards closing the gap but believes all other alternatives should be thoroughly studied.

“I support the EIR process and moving ahead to evaluate something to alleviate traffic in the San Gabriel Valley,” Schaefersaid. “San Marino is a city of about 3.75 miles, 13,000 people living their, and we have 40,000 cars a day cutting through San Marino to try to get to parts of the valley that they can’t get to because the freeway doesn’t connect to the San Gabriel Valley… I just think this seems like a very good plan, I think Metro is trying to do all they can to study various options, I think all of those should be evaluated, but it does seem connecting the freeway seems like a very reasonable or obvious of a solution.”

Ann Kelley opposes the closure of the 710 gap by a freeway tunnel but endorses light rail as an alternative. Kelley, along with others who do not support the tunnel, came to the event adorned in anti 710 buttons and apparel.

“It isn’t going to solve the traffic problem for Alhambra, Pasadena or South Pasadena. A tolled tunnel is not going to solve a problem of surface traffic, at all. Cars are not going to pay ten or fifteen dollars to go five miles in a tunnel, and independent truckers aren’t going to pay to go that distance,” Kelley said. “Almost any other alternative would be better than a tunnel whose cost we have no idea what it’s going to be, or what kind of impact it’s going to have on us for years and years to come.”

             Members of the Alhambra City Council and elected officials from the city of Rosemead, San Marino, and San Gabriel spoke briefly to the crowd and each announced different facts and reasons to close the gap. By the time they finished, many people from the audience chanted in unison, “Close the gap!”

            “Let us be clear, we are united on our message, and we say close the gap,” said Alhambra Mayor Steven Placido before confetti was released into the air and music began playing.

Metro to Share Refined SR-710 Alternatives

Meetings will be held in El Sereno, Pasadena and Monterey Park.


By Gloria Angelina Castillo, July 11, 2013

While people for and against a project to close the gap between the 710-Long Beach Freeway in Alhambra and the 210-Foohill Freeway in Pasadena may disagree passionately on whether the project, over 50 years in the making, is a good idea, it’s likely they can all agree on one thing: It is important for stakeholders to attend at least one of three “All Communities Convening” information sessions being put on by Metro starting next week.

The 710 Freeway gap closure would create a connection between Pasadena and East Los Angeles. Currently the freeway ends in Alhambra on Valley Boulevard, commuters cut through local streets because there is no North-South route.EGP 2012 Photo Archive
The 710 Freeway gap closure would create a connection between Pasadena and East Los Angeles. Currently the freeway ends in Alhambra on Valley Boulevard, commuters cut through local streets because there is no North-South route.

The sessions will update the status of the 5 project alternatives still under consideration in the SR-710 North Environmental Study, and give people an opportunity to ask questions and be heard during the planning process, according to Metro.

The study looks at the various options to reduce traffic congestion caused by a gap from where the 710 Freeway ends and the 210 Freeway.

While many residents see it as a local control issue, the gap closure project has regional transportation implications. It’s goal is to relieve street congestion in several cities, along State Route 2, Interstates 5, 10, 210 and 605, as well as East/Northeast Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, say transportation authorities.

$780 million in voter approved Measure R tax revenue has so far been approved for the project; about 10 percent is being used to complete required environmental studies, according to Metro Highway Program Project Manager Michelle E. Smith.

Measure R is expected to generate $40 billion over the next 30 years for projects aimed at traffic relief, and for transportation upgrades in Los Angeles County. The 710 gap closure project is one of many projects under Measure R.

The upcoming information sessions — July 18, July 20 and July 23 — will include a presentation by a moderator, with members of the 710 study technical team on hand to answer questions, according to Metro spokesperson, Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap.

The sessions will layout refinements and variations made to the designs for the four build alternatives that address stakeholder comments, and better meet the “performance measures and objectives” of “improving connectivity and mobility, reducing congestions, increasing transit ridership and minimizing environmental and community impacts,” Ortiz-Gilstrap told EGP in an email.

Those alternatives include a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that among other things would include more dedicated bus lanes to provide “high speed, high frequency bus service” between East Los Angeles and Pasadena/La Canada; a light rail system similar to the Gold Line; better traffic management including synchronizing traffic signals, ramp metering and street widening, and the most expensive of all the alternatives, an underground tunnel connecting the 710 and 210 freeways.

Leaving things as they are, or a “No Build” option is the fifth alternative under consideration.
Ortiz-Gilstrap told EGP that the information being presented at each of the sessions will be identical, so residents only need to attend one meeting.

Metro completed the project alternative analysis last year and is now in the environmental document preparation phase which includes an extensive number of technical studies that will look at the impact of each of the alternatives on the air, water and cultural resources in the affected communities as required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The results will be included in the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Metro Highway Programs Executive Director Frank Quon told EGP recently.

Despite Metro’s statements to the contrary, residents in some communities have alleged that the transportation agency has already decided on its preferred route. They are concerned their homes and businesses could be taken to make room for a tunnel or light rail system.

Quon told EGP that at the information meetings residents will be able to look at detailed maps of the alternatives to see what is really being considered, ask questions and raise any concerns.

One of alternatives to address the 710 Freeway gap is a light rail that would travel both underground and above traffic.
One of alternatives to address the 710 Freeway gap is a light rail that would travel both underground and above traffic.

“I would like to … be able to say, ‘here’s your home, what do you want to know about what’s going on around your home? What do these alternatives mean to you?’” Quon told EGP.

For example, one of the light rail transit variations includes an elevated track that goes down Mednik Street in East Los Angeles toward Cal State Los Angeles, before going underground in Alhambra and heading to Pasadena. It’s possible eminent domain could be used to get land needed for the stations, Quon told EGP.

The light rail option is estimated to cost between $2.4 and $2.6 billion and would require funding beyond the $780 million approved. The bus route is estimated at $50 million, the traffic and transportation management system would be less than that, and the “no build” option would basically be $0, Quon said.

A surface route, considered too disruptive to communities, has been eliminated, Quon said. The route involving Avenue 64 in Northeast L.A. is also long gone, according to Metro officials. However, one of the equally, if not more controversial alternatives, an 8-lane tunnel 150-200 feet below ground, is still on the table.

A public-private partnership could be formed to build the tunnel which could cost upwards of $5.4 billion, with the private investor operating the tunnel as a toll road to recoup their investment. If built, the tunnel would have portals on the south end of Valley Boulevard and the north end between Green St. and Del Mar, according to Metro.

Exhaust vents would utilize the latest technology to clean the air. Quon said. “It’s not going to be an open-ended pipe, regulating agencies won’t allow that.” Because some of the studies are still very preliminary, Quon said Metro is not yet able to answer every question being raised, but is attempting to share the information as it is developed.

The Draft EIR/EIS are expected to be published this fall and Metro envisions conducting another round of meetings before the release, according to Ortiz-Gilstrap.

Metro’s Board could receive a recommendation by the summer of 2015, she said.

For some of the opponents to the SR-710 freeway extension, however, it’s not about which route; they oppose all of the build alternatives. They say all four options are aimed at making it easier for companies to move goods at the expense of people’s health and finances.

However, two recent occurrences are giving them hope that the tide may be turning in their favor: The Metro’s Board’s vote to remove the SR-710 Gap from the list of highway projects to receive accelerated funding through Measure R, and the addition of new Metro board members, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Last week, about 150 opponents of the SR-710 freeway marched and chanted “No 710” at South Pasadena’s July 4th Festival of Balloons Parade, according to Joanne Nuckols of the No 710 Action Committee. The committee was marking a 60-year anniversary fighting the extension of the freeway through their community.

Nuckols says the removal of the 710 from the list of accelerated projects is a major victory: “It is the first time the majority of the board has voted against something on the 710,” Nuckols told EGP.
She also noted that as a councilman, Garcetti, along with Councilman José Huizar and former Councilman Ed Reyes authored a resolution opposing the 710 Freeway extension; above ground or by tunnel.

The 710 Freeway currently ends on Valley Boulevard in Alhambra, just bocks north of Monterey Park where some city officials say they are frustrated that the project’s been stalled for so many years. It needs to be completed to help alleviate all the traffic spilling off the freeway and onto Monterey Park streets, the city’s mayor, Teresa Real Sebastian told EGP.

Monterey Park residents are tired of dealing with the pollution and traffic that has resulted from their main streets — Fremont, Garfield Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard —being used as connector roads to Pasadena, she said.

As a former South Pasadena resident, the mayor says she prefers the tunnel option because “it does not divide the city in half.”

Metro says it is doing extensive outreach to residents and community, religious, business and non-profit groups.

It emphasises that while all the alternatives are viable, the “no build” option would not resolve traffic congestion problems.

“When voters voted [for Measure R] the 710 was identified as a project in this area and it identified $780 million toward that project. So it’s a significant message that came from the voters of LA County,” Quon said.

The board’s decision to not fast track the project doesn’t kill it, it just doesn’t speed it up.

The “All communities Convening” schedule is as follows:  

– Thursday, July 18, 2013 – 6-8 pm at Los Angeles Presbyterian Church, 2241 N Eastern Ave. in El Sereno 

– Saturday, July 20, 2013 – 9:30-11:30 am at Blair High School, 1201 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, CA. 

*This meeting will be streaming live or on-demand at SR 710 North Study USTREAM channel.

 – Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – 6-8 pm at the Langley Senior Center, 400 W. Emerson Ave., Monterey Park, CA

High Desert Corridor Highway Project Continues to Morph Right in Front of Our Eyes


By Damien Newton, July 11, 2013

 Yes, let's.

There’s no way to look at the proposed “High Desert Corridor” Project and not see a mammoth highway project. The 63 mile project will add hundreds of freeway lane miles between the City of Palmdale in L.A. County and the quaint sounding Town of Apple Valley in San Bernadino County. The highway will be up to eight lanes in some sections and as “small” as two lanes in others.
In short, it’s one of the largest pending highway projects in America.

But for those of us following the project, there are signs the proposed project is being re-imagined in new ways. During the last round of meetings, details of a parallel bike path surfaced with rumors of a rail component. In a powerpoint that has been circulated to elected officials, details of what the rail corridor could look like are starting to appear. Metro will host public meetings on the project next week, and once we get an electronic copy of the presentation, we will be sure to publish it on Scribd and Streetsblog LITE. A full listing of the meetings is at the end of this article.

“The High Desert Corridor will create vital interconnected transportation infrastructure in the Antelope Valley to support economic and population growth for decades to come, while also alleviating traffic congestion and air pollution in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino basins by diverting truck and car traffic through this bypass while also enhancing the region’s rail and air transportation systems with links to the California High Speed Rail and XpressWest to Las Vegas and Palmdale Airport,” Supervisor Mike Antonovich wrote in a statement to Streetsblog.

“The potential to include solar energy, natural gas and bike path elements makes the High Desert Corridor a truly multi-purpose transportation project.”

Antonovich has taken some heat on Streetsblog both for his unwavering support for this highway project and other reasons. However, staff working on the project credit Antonovich for extending the vision for the project to include bikes paths, solar generators, wind farms, and the high speed rail tracks.

The newest plans, currently being studied with the rest of the High Desert Corridor Project, would run a rail line in the median of the new freeway that could serve Metrolink, a new “High Desert Corridor” specialty service, California High Speed Rail (CAHSR) trains or Xpress, the private high speed rail line that would connect Palmdale to Las Vegas.

Currently, CAHSR is planned to run through Palmdale on its way to Los Angeles from San Francisco. Xpress has its western hub in Victorville, nearly 60 miles to the east. By building high speed rail tracks between the stations, the High Desert Corridor opens new options for both rail lines. Could Xpress run trains directly from Union Station, or even partner with CAHSR to run joint trains from San Francisco or San Diego? The worst case scenario is a new feeder service for each rail line. The best case scenarios are limited only by money and imagination.

This additional rail line would do wonders for ridership on both Xpress and CAHSR, if both are built, by providing the direct connection between the new lines missing in current plans.

It also makes Antonovich’s rail vision for the Antelope Valley more than just a future vision. Under this plan, the High Desert Corridor becomes a lynchpin for a successful High Speed Rail system for California. And the proposal is being pushed by a noted Republican County Supervisor in a state where the Republican party has not been friendly to the high speed rail proposals.

Antonovich has pushed the idea of an extended high speed rail role for Palmdale for at least two years. While there is a variety of funding options available, he has always stated that the high cost of high speed rail makes it unlikely without a private investor.

“It would have to be a public-private partnership,” he said to the San Bernadino Sun in 2011. “The goal is to have a seamless operation.”

The project is also looking at putting renewable energy generation in the mammoth right of way to make the corridor “energy neutral.” Solar panels and wind farms could power recharging stations for electric cars and overhead lighting. Excess energy could be returned to the local grid.

As for the bike path, it wouldn’t run the entire 63 mile route, but at nearly fifty miles it would be roughly the length of the Los Angeles River Path between Griffith Park and Downtown Long Beach. The entire bike path would run on a separated bike path in its own right of way.

After the meetings next week, staff will work on a Draft Environmental Impact Report to fulfill local and state requirements. At the end of the environmental process, staff will reveal a favored route and modal additions as well as price tags for these items. A joint powers authority will then vote
to certify the documents before final design and construction can begin. Funding for the project is set aside in L.A. County’s Measure R, San Bernadino County’s Measure I, the State Transportation Improvement Fund, and other state and federal funds.
Schedule of meetings:

  • Monday, July 15, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the Lake Los Angeles Elementary School, 16310 E. Avenue Q,Palmdale, Calif., 93591
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the Stater Bros. Stadium, Mavericks Conference Room, 12000 Stadium Way, Adelanto, Calif., 92301.
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the Endeavour School of Exploration, 12403 Ridgecrest Rd., Victorville, Calif., 92395.
  • Monday, July 22, 2013 6-8 p.m. at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, Joshua Room, 38350 Sierra Hwy., Palmdale, Calif., 93350.
The meetings on July 17 and July 22 will be webcast live at ustream.tv/channel/metro-high-desert-corridor.

710 Day sends loud message: "Close the gap!"


By Alfred Dicioco, July 11, 2013

SLIDESHOW: City staff lines the stage to celebrate "710 Day" | Photos by Alfred Dicioco

Photo slideshow: Click the "Next" and "Previous" buttons above to view photos from "710 Day."

Council members from Alhambra, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Rosemead, and San Marino gathered in the middle of Fremont Avenue Wednesday to celebrate “710 Day.” The Alhambra-sponsored event between Mission Road and Valley Boulevard showcased the city’s efforts to complete the 710 Freeway.

City staff organized the event to educate residents of Alhambra and neighboring cities about the proposed 710 Freeway extension and its potential environmental benefits. Alhambra City Hall, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), and the Chamber of Commerce set up information booths while a live Cars tribute band entertained passersby. Food trucks selling ice cream, French fries, and sliders were parked nearby to serve lunch.

Alhambra Mayor Steven Placido addressed the crowd at noon, proclaiming that the completion of the 710 is long overdue and that the city needs to “close the gap,” a repeated slogan throughout other council members’ speeches. The end of the program even culminated in a large spray of red, white, and blue confetti.

“For 50 years, Alhambra has been the doormat for the 710 Freeway,” Placido said. “To that we say, ‘Close the gap!’”

Those who attended “710 Day” had mixed reactions to the project.  Alhambra resident Eva Cobarrubias said that she was in support of completing the freeway even though the construction could disrupt her neighborhood near Fremont and Valley. “There’s noise and pollution where I live right now, but I still don’t like the traffic,” Cobarrubias said. “Maybe one day they’ll make it.”
Mon Le-Asuncion, a mother of two, said she is still undecided about the issue because of the lack of information regarding the freeway routes. “I’m in the middle until I find out more about the routes, because I’m not sure if it goes through Emery Park,” Le-Asuncion said. “I’m afraid of the pollution it’ll bring.”

Members of the “No to 710” Action Committee attended the event to speak out against completing the freeway and Alhambra City Council's preferred option, a tunnel. “No to 710” representative Joe Cano pointed out that many cities impacted by the project remain opposed to the tunnel alternative. “Where are Pasadena, South Pasadena, El Sereno, Los Angeles, San Rafael, and Highland Park?” Cano said. “They’re not here because they are the ones in the path of the tunnel.”

Even though Metro is still eight months away from completing an environmental impact study on the 710 extension, the agency invited residents to attend their July information sessions in El Sereno, Pasadena, and Monterey Park.

South Pasadena Longtime Freeway Fighter Robert Siev Passes Away

Among the Earliest Freeway Fighters in the City of South Pasadena. A Giant No 710 Hero.
Speaking out with passion “ Bob” would repeat and repeat the need for No 710.  He led by hosting  No 710 meetings, subsidizing newspaper ads, speaking  at community, city and county meetings, and led the Annual 4th of July Parade as the Official Freeway Fighters Flag Bearer Against the 710.

Born April 6, 1926, Robert Siev died July 6, 2013. Robert in his youth and his father escaped Nazi Germany and moved to United States. He studied Engineering in Chicago then came west to work as a Water Engineer for Bechtel Corporation. 

He was eternally grateful for the freedom and opportunities afforded by the U.S. 

He has lived in South Pasadena for 58 years and is survived by his wife Beatrice, daughter Carol, brother-in-law Ellis, son-in-law Stuart, two grand children, Lisa and Daniel, and one great-grand-daughter Shana.

He had been discharged from the hospital with terminal cancer and had hospice in attendance. His family was with him at the time of his passing.

A service will be Wednesday, July 10, at Hollywood Hills Mt. Sinai starting at 3 p.m.

He was cherished by all who knew him.

Valley Fever possible during dirt removal for 710 Tunnels

Thanks to Gretchen Robinette for this write up and useful articles:

One of my deep concerns with the possible construction of the 710 tunnel is an outbreak of Valley Fever.  There have been numerous outbreaks recently in the Central Valley as the Valley has heated up and large amount of dust are being blown around. Valley Fever(coccidioidomycosis) is a airborne born disease caused by fungal spores and can be fatal, certainly it makes people seriously ill.  There was an outbreak in South Pasadena in the late 50’s when construction took place on the Altos de Monterey housing project.  I, among others as a young teen, was a victim and nearly lost my life to the disease. Currently prisoners in the Central Valley  and construction workers in San Luis Obispo County have contracted the disease. With the massive amounts of earth that will be moved should a tunnel be constructed, the potential for a similar outbreak is a very possible outcome in the San Gabriel Valley. Here is some information that may be of interest to your No On 710 readers:
San Luis Obispo County report: 

(Please go to the website above to read the article.)

U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Valley Fever: Awareness is Key

Valley Fever: Awareness is Key


 Most fungi are harmless, but some types can make you sick. Coccidioidomycosis, also called valley fever, is an illness caused by a fungus that is common in some parts of the United States.

Valley fever is caused by Coccidioides, a fungus that lives in soil in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Inhaling the airborne fungal spores can cause an infection called coccidioidomycosis, which is also known as “cocci” or “valley fever.” Most people who are exposed to the fungus do not get sick, but some people develop flu-like symptoms that may last for weeks to months. In a very small proportion of people who get valley fever, the infection can spread from the lungs to the rest of the body and cause more severe conditions, such as meningitis or even death. Valley fever cannot spread from person to person. Read the PBS Newshour story, Valley Fever: 10 Things CDC Says You Should KnowExternal Web Site Icon, or watch their news featureExternal Web Site Icon.

A Silent Epidemic

Most cases of valley fever in the US occur in people who live in or have traveled to the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and California. The map below, “Areas where valley fever is endemic,” was generated from studies in the 1950s, and shows the areas where the fungus that causes valley fever is thought to be endemic, or native and common in the environment. The full extent of the current endemic areas is unknown and is a subject for further study.

A March 2013 MMWR article notes that more than 20,000 cases of valley fever are reported each year in the United States, but many more cases likely go undiagnosed. Some researchers estimate that each year the fungus infects more than 150,000 people, many of whom are sick without knowing the cause or have cases so mild they aren’t detected.

The annual number of cases has been increasing in recent years, and this could be because of higher numbers of people exposed to the fungus or because of changes in the way cases are being detected and reported.

It Only Takes One Breath

Areas Where Valley Fever is Endemic

Most cases of valley fever in the US occur in people who live in or have traveled to the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and California.
Anyone can get valley fever, including children. However, it is most common among older adults, particularly those 60 and older. People who have recently moved to an area where the disease naturally occurs are at higher risk for infection.
Several groups of people are at higher risk for developing the severe forms of valley fever, including:
  • African Americans
  • Asians
  • Women in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy
  • People with weak immune systems, including those with an organ transplant or who have HIV/AIDS

Emily’s Story: Valley Fever Derails Young Dancer

Emily Gorospe uses an inhaler to help alleviate her valley fever symptoms.
Emily Gorospe uses an inhaler to help alleviate her valley fever symptoms. 

Seven-year-old Emily Gorospe loved to dance. She would twirl in her bedroom, holding her colorful, ruffled costumes as if they were her dancing partners.

But Emily no longer has the energy to dance – let alone walk down the hallway of her family’s home. Since contracting valley fever earlier this year, the fungus has robbed the little dancer of playing outside during recess or even doing her homework.

“Tired doesn’t do it justice,” said Valerie Gorospe, Emily’s mom, as she sat on the floor of their home in Delano, south of Fresno, California.

Read moreExternal Web Site Icon about Gorospe’s and other people’s ongoing fights with valley fever, including the problems of misdiagnosis.

What Healthcare Providers Should Know

Be aware that the symptoms of valley fever are similar to those of other common respiratory infections. Consider testing for valley fever in patients with flu-like symptoms who live in or have traveled to the southwestern United States.

Common Symptoms, Unusual Cause

Symptoms of valley fever typically appear between 1 and 3 weeks after a person inhales the fungal spores, and may include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
In severe cases, valley fever can cause chronic pneumonia (lung infection), meningitis (spine and brain infection), or infection in the bones and joints. Because the symptoms of valley fever are similar to other more common illnesses, diagnosis and treatment are often delayed.

What You Need to Know

Cough? Fever? Exhausted? Ask you doctor to test you for Valley FeverIt is difficult to avoid exposure to the fungus that causes valley fever, and there is no vaccine to prevent the infection. Therefore, if you have symptoms of valley fever and you live in or have visited an area where the fungus that causes the infection is common in the environment, ask your doctor to test you for valley fever. If you have valley fever, you may need treatment with prescription antifungal medication.
Research is needed to find out the best treatment for valley fever.  Other research is under way to develop a vaccine to prevent valley fever and to create better antifungal medications.

Studying Cocci’s Changing Footprint

Thomas Mace, senior scientific adviser to NASA, helps Cal State Bakersfield microbiologist Antje Lauer collect soil samples in Central California. They plan to test the soil for the fungus that causes valley fever.    Credit: Shelby Mack/The Bakersfield Californian
Thomas Mace, senior scientific adviser to NASA, helps Cal State Bakersfield microbiologist Antje Lauer collect soil samples in Central California. They plan to test the soil for the fungus that causes valley fever. 

Scientists in California and Arizona are studying how changing weather patterns affect the habitat of Coccidioides, the fungus that causes valley fever. Experts are concerned that hotter temperatures could cause the habitat to expand beyond the traditional southwestern “hot spots.” Through computer mapping and soil sampling, scientists are testing a theory that spikes in rainfall followed by dry spells could leave the resilient fungus exposed and airborne, giving it the potential to cause illness.
The CDC would like to thank the Reporting on Health CollaborativeExternal Web Site Icon for sharing stories about valley fever. “Just One Breath” is a series of investigative reports that aim to raise awareness about valley fever and the people it affects. The project is an initiative of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.

More Information

Will L.A.’s Rush Hour Make Us Crazy Forever?

Perspectives on the Congestion of Tomorrow’s L.A.


July 10, 2013

trafficMany years ago, you could zip from Pasadena to Santa Monica at most times of day and expect a pretty smooth run of things. Then more people started noticing that life in L.A. is good. So they came. And bought cars. And joined the fun. Today, Los Angeles is a lot more crowded and a lot more congested, so we’re learning to get around more on train tracks, two wheels, and even two feet. Good for us. Does that mean getting around will get better? In advance of “Will the Bicycle Kill the Car?”, a Zócalo/Grand Park event, we asked several transportation mavens to weigh in on the following question: Will L.A. ever decongest?

No, but we’ll find better ways to get around

By Joel Epstein

Here’s the honest truth with no bling or head ornament on it. L.A. won’t ever decongest. Location, location, location, the world’s best weather, and a heap of culture and community for the myriad nationalities, religions and subgroups who have made it their home, mean Los Angeles isn’t going to lose the millions who live here anytime soon. It is just too good in L.A. and there are too many of us who either want, or need, to live here for the streets and freeways that still define much of the region to unclog.

But what’s so bad about congestion, anyhow? Some really fine music rises from our cacophony. Isn’t the better question, “How can we redouble our efforts to make L.A.’s countless and often charming neighborhoods better places to live and work?”

L.A. is riding a national wave of enthusiasm for human-scale urban living. Like Williamsburg and Red Hook in Brooklyn and Temescal and Fruitvale in Oakland, the popularity of areas like East Hollywood, Echo Park, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Venice, and Koreatown demonstrate the public’s insatiable appetite for old-school neighborhoods and historic preservation. The post-urban city dweller in L.A., and there are lots of us, wants trains and buses and tree-lined sidewalks in neighborhoods that sometimes look more like small towns than the patches of a large urban quilt than they are.

In a region increasingly well-served by transit, bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and neighborhoods, bikes, transit, cars, and pedestrians can and must better coexist. But to make it safe for all, we are going to need more grade separation, protected bike lanes, and more incentives, financial and otherwise, to get commuters out of their cars and onto trains, buses, bikes and their own two feet. But how? Congestion pricing, tolls on our roadways, and incentives for transit and bike riders are part of the solution. So are expedited construction schedules à la America Fast Forward and Mayor Garcetti’s vision of significantly expanded transit for L.A.

In Los Angeles, there are as many reasons to reduce car travel as there are cars. But just because one wishes for something to be true doesn’t make it so. It takes smart planning and tireless advocacy by the likes of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, CicLAvia, Los Angeles Streetsblog, Los Angeles Walks, and even public agencies like Metro and LADOT to turn L.A.’s density into a positive.

For the 180,000 Angelenos who participated in CicLAvia it is now easier to imagine a car-free Wilshire Blvd. But there are plenty of Californians still jonesing to get behind the wheel of a large automobile, even if it means no more than crawling along the 10, 110, 101, or 405.

Bikers, transit riders, and pedestrians have started to put a welcome dent in the unacceptably high level of private car travel in this city, but we cannot stop with the modest gains complete street advocates have made. It is up to the advocates to ensure that the new mayor works for policies that honor his campaign rhetoric that every bike commuter means one less driver. If we can’t solve the first mile/last mile problem of getting to and from L.A.’s growing transit system, the car will continue to be the way too many of us choose to navigate Los Angeles.

With any luck, though, Gavin Newson’s prophetic declaration about marriage equality coming whether you like it or not will apply and more bikes, better transit, and road diets like the plan for Broadway will conspire to reduce the number of those driving into L.A.’s congested hubs.

No, but enjoy the plus sides

By Martin Wachs

Traffic congestion is a costly by-product of economic, social, and cultural activity. The most exciting cities on earth suffer from traffic, and most of them had congested streets centuries before they had automobiles. If you want to leave your slow freeway trips behind, consider moving to Duluth. But most people can’t find jobs or take the climate or the quiet there. That’s why businesses move to growing and exciting places. Doing so makes more traffic. L.A. will likely be congested for decades to come.

Transportation experts advocate investments in new lanes on the I-405, extensions of the rail system, and electronic traffic signals that change timing in response to current traffic. These are needed to provide travelers with more choices about how, when, and where to make trips. They increase the region’s capacity for travel, but won’t eliminate congestion.

If growth in population and business continues, there will be more trips. New rail, freeway, and street capacity gives people more options, and in response we make more—not fewer—trips, using the new capacity to the fullest. Cities succeed when they facilitate more, albeit congestion-inducing, activity. Thus, it makes sense to increase the density of buildings near transit stops; it makes travel more convenient and places less car-dependent—but it also increases traffic near the new development.

New Yorkers recently rejected the prospect of paying congestion fees to enter Manhattan at rush hour, an approach that dramatically reduced congestion in Singapore, London, and Stockholm. Angelenos complain about turning Pico and Olympic Boulevards into one-way streets and balk at higher parking charges downtown and fewer parking spaces at new stores and apartment buildings. These are proven ways to reduce traffic, so it seems we hate congestion cures even more than the disease. We complain about traffic but prefer to live with it rather than bear the cost of eliminating it. I predict you won’t cancel a Paris vacation because it is congested there or skip a Dodger game because of delays leaving the parking lot.

No, but a lot more of it can be on two wheels

By Jennifer Klausner

Traffic is just an assumed part of the landscape here. But there are different kinds of congestion.

We seem to be near that critical point where the urban grid is overwhelmed with the number of vehicles trying to get around and it becomes clearly more of a nuisance than a convenience to get in a car to go anywhere. While young people are choosing to drive less across the board, more and more people of all ages are discovering that the bicycle has become a much more convenient solution, one well-suited to the urban environment, particularly for short trips. On a bike, you can navigate your way through most congestion. We do that now, in growing numbers, merely picking our way along through a system designed almost exclusively for motor vehicles. The development of better bike infrastructure—starting with the implementation of LA’s Bike Plan into a truly interconnected network of bike lanes and safe streets, with destinations including commercial corridors—will make it possible for more people to choose the bike instead of the car for some trips, and that will help alleviate congestion. Some people will never ride bikes or use those bike lanes; but everyone will benefit from the good choices, when given real options.

This past April, I thought about this while stuck in a sort of festive congestion on Venice Blvd, with thousands of other people at CicLAvia. It was packed, curb-to-curb, with bicyclists, scooters, strollers, and skaters. It hinted at what a different kind of congestion might look like, and made tangible a vision of what living in our city might be like if we had more and better choices to get where we’re going every day.