Purpose

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

AirTalk with Larry Mantle to discuss SR710 Tunnel

Posted on Facebook by Sylvia Plummer, July 16, 2013

 

AirTalk with Larry Mantle to discuss SR710 Tunnel
You don't want to miss this discussion.
Wednesday, July 17 -- 11:30 am
89.3 KPCC Radio
There will be a discussion on the SR710 Tunnels with the following guests:
Mayor of Alhambra - Steve Placido
South Pasadena Mayor Pro Tempore - Marina Khubesrian, M.D.
Metro Executive Director, Highway Programs - Doug Failing
Be sure to tune in and listen live:
http://www.scpr.org/listen_live/

Metro’s bicycle safety skills classes are filling up fast

http://thesource.metro.net/2013/07/16/metros-bicycle-safety-skills-classes-are-filling-up-fast/

By Chloe Rodriguez, July 16, 2013


 Photo: Miguel Ramos/Multi-cultural Communities for Mobility (MCM)

 Students enjoying the class in the streets of Highland Park.




Hurry up and register for bicycle safety classes this summer because spots are going fast! As part of ongoing efforts to educate all road users, Metro is offering free traffic safety classes through the end of September. Safety is a major concern for cyclists, so these workshops will teach skills needed for riding a bike safely and confidently with traffic, on city and residential streets, or just about anywhere in the Los Angeles County.

There are two different classes to choose from: Street Cycling Skills, an in-depth, eight-hour course, and Bicycling on the Road: Need to Know, a shorter, more basic three-hour course. The three hour course is also offered in Spanish called Seguridad en tu Bici. Metro has partnered with local bicycling organizations Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Gabriel Valley and Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility to teach the classes. Registration is required and participants must be over 18 years old. All class members receive a free helmet, a set of front and rear bike lights and a safety manual.

If you cannot get into the class you want, be patient. New classes are being added every week — so check back to the website periodically to see new offerings. Metro will also train 12 new League Cycling Instructors (LCI) who will be qualified to teach future classes.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information about the Metro Bicycle Program and local bicycling resources, visit metro.net/bikes.

WeHo's New Party Bus "The Pick-Up Line" Launches July 26

http://la.curbed.com/archives/2013/07/wehos_new_party_bus_the_pickup_line_starts_running_july_26.php

By Eve Bachrach, July 16, 2013

 

 

07.thepickup.jpg
Last night the West Hollywood City Council chose an operator to run a six-month pilot of its party bus, which will shuttle drunken barhoppers up and down Santa Monica Boulevard on Friday and Saturday nights. The line will run--at no charge to riders--from 8 pm to 3 am on weekend nights, and the service is due to kick off in just 10 days, on July 26. And, according to Wehoville, the new line also has a new name: the Pick-Up Line, a modified version of one of three marketing schticks presented to the council last night (pdf). In case you're wondering how you might use this name in conversation, branding agency Symblaze helpfuly suggested some potential slogans and phrases:

-- The WeHo PickUp: Cuddling and breakfast not required.
-- Finally--a PickUp you can count on.
-- Hop on. No fancy lines needed for this PickUp.

07.theshot.jpg
The Pick-Up Line beat out two other punny contenders: The Shot and The WHIP. The Shot is "about the diva in all of us--our desire to be in the shot, to be included, to be seen." Potential slogans included:

-- Step into The Shot.
-- The Shot that captures your night.
-- Hey, sexy--don't miss your Shot.


07.thewhip.jpg

The WHIP, on the other hand, is a "snappy, suggestive name" that either stands for "West Hollywood InterParty" or "West Hollywood Independent Pickup." According to the agency, it's not just a clever acronym (clearly!), it also "carries a safety message: getting Whipped = doing the right thing." With slogans like "WHIP it out" and "Get WHIPped before you're bad" here's how they suggest using the name in conversation:

-- "We're gonna WHIP on over--see you in 10."
-- "We WHIPped over from..."

Councilmember John Heilman was worried back in April that, with all the talk of "hot" and "sexy" buses, they might come outfitted with stripper poles. But he seems on board with the winning concept, even wondering if they could get the 200 same-sex couples recently married in West Hollywood "to come out and ride 'The Pick-up Line' to teach us how it's done."

· 'Pick-Up Line' Party Bus Coming For WeHo Partiers [WeHoVille]
· Party Bus Archives [Curbed LA]

Mapping Where Riders Get On and Off Metro Train Lines

http://la.curbed.com/archives/2013/07/mapping_where_riders_get_on_and_off_metro_train_lines.php

By Eve Bachrach, July 16, 2013

 

 

 

Passengers leaving system toward Downtown
 
Behold: 2012 Metro rail ridership mapped, via The Source. The transit agency has taken it's average weekday ridership from fiscal year 2012 (July 2011 through June 2012, which is why there's no Expo Line data) to show where people are entering and exiting the system. Judging by the blobs, the number of entries remains pretty consistent throughout the length of most lines--the major exceptions being the Green Line east of the Blue Line, and the East LA spur of the Gold Line. And while the most popular destination stations are Downtown, plenty of people are taking the trains to other locations. For instance, all of the Red Line stops between Hollywood and Downtown are popular with riders, and those eastern Gold and Green Line branches are much more popular disembarkation points. But hardly anyone's taking the other Gold Line branch (through Highland Park, Pasadena, and beyond) anywhere other than Downtown. This may not be the most high-tech data visualization we've seen, but it's interesting to see how people are using our slowly-expanding rail network. Bring on the Expo Line data in next year's maps.
· 2012 Ridership visualized! [The Source]

Bike Paths Are For Recreation, Not For Getting Around Today's Megalopolis

http://citywatchla.com/lead-stories-hidden/5387-bike-paths-are-for-recreation-not-for-getting-around-today-s-megalopolis

By Syd Mead, July 16, 2013





GUEST WORDS - The bicycle is an ingenious mobility device. It gets you from A to B and, in the process, lets you observe your surroundings at a leisurely pace. It is usually lightweight, and it provides an intimate visual, aromatic, and auditory connection to the world around you. With various clever mechanical permutations, it can be folded, even made out of reinforced cardboard. In dense urban environments with traffic congestion, riding a bicycle for short distances is often faster than traversing the same distance via car.

While the bicycle has many virtues, it also prompts people to go overboard. It’s often lauded as the transportation of tomorrow and the savior of cities. It is not. It is called transportation. It is not. That’s because the bicycle is not, strictly defined, a transport device. Ever try to carry a watermelon on a bicycle? (Yes, it can be done, but how much else could you carry?)

The bicycle is a biomechanical device that depends on the rider for balance and propulsion. It therefore operates under rigid limitations: the physical condition (and therefore age) of the rider, seasons and weather conditions, and terrain. If bicycles are used for multi-lane travel, particularly in urban context, their riders are seriously endangered. Cars making right-hand turns are a particular threat.

Today there is an almost messianic insistence that bicycles should be a part of the urban transit mix. Former Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa launched a high-visibility campaign to make Los Angeles “bicycle-friendly.” Bicycle marathons in cities tie up traffic to celebrate liberation from the automobile.

The notion of being “liberated” from the car is an interesting one that has zero basis in practical terms.

Perhaps, in bucolic villages and smaller cities, bicycle ridership could be a charming and handy way to get around, as it was in many European small towns during much of the 20th century. In large urban centers, however, using a bicycle to traverse 10, 15, or 20 miles one-way is simply not a feasible proposition. And as megalopolises grow, the freeway becomes the key to “getting there”—a transit reality completely outside the practical use of the bicycle.

Los Angeles and surrounding burgs have launched an ambitious effort to paint “bike lanes” on existing surface streets, often removing entire lanes that were formerly for automobiles. This is not a smart thing to do when traffic is already congested. A typical busy lane gets used by dozens of automobiles per minute. A bike lane is lucky to be used by dozens of bicyclists in an hour. To make matters worse, drivers making right-hand turns will have to yield to all the bicyclists going through the intersections, further snarling the streets.

Imposing bicycle accommodations onto an existing vehicular culture and street alignment is prohibitively complex and preposterously expensive on a per-mile basis. Given the relatively small number of commuters who would use such lanes in comparison to car drivers, any cost/efficiency formulae that purport to justify such infrastructure enter the realm of pure fantasy.
Most of our planning assumes that bicyclists would honor traffic law. But there’s a save-the-earth mentality in bicycle culture that seems to make riders feel entitled to ignore traffic management signs.

This flaunting of traffic rules, what I would call “eco-elitism” is all top common. I regularly see riders blithely coast through stop-sign-controlled intersections with merely a cursory glance. At low-traffic times of day I’ve even seen bicyclists ride through red traffic lights, as if vehicle rules were not meant for them.

We can of course have dedicated bicycle paths along streams, rivers, and other available routes to provide city residents with pleasant forms of recreation. But to propose bicycle ridership as a serious component of urban transportation planning is specious folly. For many of those urbanistas who fret about environmental issues, let me suggest that the bicycle rack on the rear of your BMW says it all.

Comments to the article:

  • John Kaliski · Principal at John Kaliski Architects
    A futurist who is an essentialist with a wicked pen looking backward! Bicycles have their place in sustainable multi-modal urban places and when motorists gives up their cars for five minute trips to and from home, I'll illustrate for Syd's sake what it means to give up my bike for 20 mile commutes (I already don't make the latter but I might make the former).
     
    Oscar Goldman · Top commenter · Works at OSI
    "removing entire lanes that were formerly for automobiles. This is not a smart thing to do when traffic is already congested."

    Amen. Santa Monica is a great example of this gross hypocrisy, but then Santa Monica is a monument to hypocrisy of all kinds. The best part is when the bike line just... disappears! Check out Ocean Park Boulevard, for example. Setting up a bike line that goes for 10 blocks and then just ends is an idiotic disservice to bicyclists and an offensive rip-off of taxpayers.

    Another brain-dead device that puts bicyclists and motorists in danger (and also on display in Santa Monica): curb "bump-outs." Yes, those bulging islands of curb at intersections, the force bicyclists into traffic, and prevent right-turning cars from getting OUT of traffic while waiting for a pedestrian to clear the intersection.

    With all of the budget woes our municipalities face, what could be more offensive than wasting taxpayer money to implement changes that further STEAL from taxpayers?
     
    Rick Abrams · Top commenter · Monroe High School Rochester NY
    Syd Mead: A give you a thousand thank-you's. Nay, a million thank-you's. You are such a brave person to speak the truth in the midst of insanity.

    One hundred years ago, when civil engineers, and not political hacks like Garcetti appointees authored traffic studies, LA said that different forms of transportation should NOT try to occupy the same space.
    See 1915 LA Traffic Study, http://bit.ly/cJh5BP.

    The huge problems back then were:

    (1) huge commercial trucks stopping to load and unload merchandise in the regular street. As a result, a series of alleys were constructed downtown and the large trucks were required to make deliveries via delivery bays and not just stop on Broadway for 30 minutes.

    (2) Trolleys which were a lethal menace. They took up too much space and were incompatible with cars. As they were stuck on the tracks, people had to go to the middle of the busy street to board a trolley and trolleys would have people exit into the path of on-coming traffic. People were maimed and killed as a result. It took generations to get rid of the horribly dangerous trolleys.

    After we solved these two major transportation problems, in 1993 we elected the corrupt Mayor Riordan who decided that Telecommuting was a bad idea because it reduced the need for large office buildings and for subways -- which his buddies would become billionaires building. Thus, he launched us down the path of the multi-billion dollars CRA corruption and all the mixed-use projects which drove LA to the brink of BK. Thankfully the State abolished the CRA effective 2-1-2012.

    [Garcetti had push AB 2531 which would have brought CRA and its Kelo Eminent Domain policy to every inch of the City of Los Angeles, but at the last moment, Gov. Arnie vetoed it. Garcetti is still trying to bring back the CRA's so that he can continue to line the pockets of his buddies with tax payer dollars.]

    With the concentrating people into a few dense areas, so as to make the land values for a small cadre of landowners worth a lot more, traffic became a nightmare, e.g. Bunker Hill, Century City, now Hollywood. In 1915, the civil engineers, who did not work for corrupt developers like Garcetti does, warned against TOD's. It does not take a genius to figure out that if you try to cram 20,000 people into a space big enough for 1,000 ppl, there are going to be transportation problems.

    Bicycles fall into the category of vehicles which need to be separated from automotive traffic. Everything you said about their inherent inability to be feasible "transportation" in a large metropolitan area is true. If we want bicycles, then we need to construct bicycle roads for them -- separate from the regular streets.

    I do not mean special bike lanes, but completely separate roads. Painting a Bike Sparrow right next to where drivers open their doors is criminally irresponsible. Those Sparrows place bikes in a terrible place. Only a fool resorts to the "Should, Would Could" mentality to say that motorist should see cyclist, and if they would see them, they they could avoid accidents. Science has established that many motorists simply do not SEE bicycles and many do not SEE motorcycles.

    This what I mean http://bit.ly/IX0Xmv.

    A better approach would be to hold that bicyclists Assume the Risk of Serious Bodily Injury and/or Death by riding in busy streets and that the city is strictly liable to anyone who is injured when a motorist opens his door into a BIKE SPARROW and the cyclist and/or the motorist is harmed.
    • ottokhera (signed in using yahoo)
      Better yet would be a pay-per-use boothless tolling system for all road and highway/freeway use - including parking. This would then help to align costs borne by users with actual costs for driving a vehicle.


  • openid (signed in using AOL)
    Wow! Thank you! This Bicycle thing the city politicos are pushing on everyone is not only irresponsible but downright dangerous! Villaraigosa's two biggest idiotic misjudgments/plans for the future.., that we will be stuck with forever..and that will never work here : His (non) elegant high rise vertical living /higher density (Hollywood Community Plan) and Bikes! it is NOT nor will it EVER BE a bicycle friendly city. It is way too spread out to get anything of any import done on a bike , for one thing. The terrain makes it nearly impossible to actually use a bike for everything one needs to do in day. Hills etc. The traffic here will NEVER get better with Garcetti and Villaraigosa's Higher Density Hollywood Community Plan.. more high rises more density and skyscrapers...ADDING TO THE ALREADY CHOKING TRAFFIC. The very people inviting more density here (Villaraigosa, Garcetti) also pushing this bike thing on us, are all delusional. Where was Garcetti riding HIS bike around town to debates and press conferences every day. Where was Villaraigosa riding HIS all day? And Tom LaBonge...riding HIS back and forth to and from work at City Hall and Fountain office in Hollywood, and back home to Griffith Park. Are they kidding! A few young engineers came to a Hollywood neighborhood council meeting to propose CLOSING DOWN A LANE ON CAHUENGA FOR BIKES! INCLUDING the part of Cahuenga that runs parallel to the freeway! When asked, ofcourse NONE OF THEM LIVE HERE! The response from those present.. 'ARE YOU INSANE?" Those that live here, have to get around here and know what the traffic is here, KNOW this is not going to work. Millennium.... Garcetti and Villaraigosa's baby, massive developments/skyscrapers high density projects on Vine CLAIM their million dollar condo owners will ride bikes and take public transportation and leave their cars home. (Caltrans is screaming and being IGNORED by Garcetti AND the city (FOUR UNANSWERED LETTERS TO THEM!)AND MIllennium about their UNMITIGATED TRAFFIC CONTRIBUTIONS CAUSING UNSAFE CONDITIONS..DO THEY CARE? NO! )Their condo owners will all ride bikes and take the ONE SUBWAY LINE AVAILABLE! Thus, not contributing to the traffic and thus, justifying this massive TOD development. LIES LIES LIES...this is all to justify the TOD development, the future of LA..This is their phony PR..enabled by all the politicos whose campaigns Millennium contributed to (Garcetti, Villaraigosa. PLUM COMMITTEE, etc etc etc) )They are ALL lieing. Millennium had a bicycle movie night to show their support and push this nonsense, and hired extras with bikes from around town, from different areas, to show up...Just as Millennium hires extras to sit at City Hall hearings and support them. They will have an onsite bicycle repair shop to support this mythological theme.... They should also have an on site ambulance on call and dedicate it, with a nice plaque, to the bike rider who got kill on Vine just a few streets down from their ridiculous massive monster future development...that city council is to vote on July 24th..many funded by Millennium. 

    Riide out at ocean bike path..it's beautiful and safe and no worries about getting KILLED..
    It was easier to get around and get things done on a bike in Manhattan! THIS will NEVER be Manhattan..Although Garcetti would like it to be...But he is not God.

    Do you see any Messengers on bicycles all over Hollywood and LA as you do in NYC?
    I rest my case!
  • openid (signed in using AOL)
    This on going argument about bikes in LA comes down to this: you are either single (usually single men argue for bikes).. have no family and not a very long commute to work..possibly retired.. OR you have a family and need to get kids back and forth, groceries for a family, home supplies from back and forth anawalt, etc.. Bikes are great..but getting home supplies, furniture etc. lumber, paints, to a NYC apartment.. was NOT FUN.

    If bikes are your choice of transportation.. work for your lifestyle...great Happy are they who live alone and/or don't have to deal with homeowner stuff.. work appointments ALL OVER TOWN..and the needs of their KIDS on a day to day basis. L.A. DOES have families..and people who have work responsibilities far from home and/or over all over town.. It is very diverse. So let's all respect each others NEEDS. As a person who contributes to my community, is working, NOT that close to home, has to pick up kids and get them to after school appointments and activities, grocery shop for a FAMILY, biking is just not do able. And I don't appreciate the Garcetti's LaBonge's and Villaraigosa's telling me how I should be leaving my car at home and biking..I am not in the minority by the way..

    Amsterdam succeeded in becoming a bicycle city. But if not careful, you can get killed by BIKES not CARS, there.. just crossing the street. ANd it is alot easier to ride bikes there than it ever will be in LA.

Los Angeles News Papers Ask Whether City Can Ever Be Bike Metropolis, Reveal Their Own Bias

http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/07/16/los-angeles-news-papers-ask-whether-city-can-ever-be-bike-metropolis-reveal-their-own-bias/#more-85352

By Damien Newton, July 16, 2013


 



The wildly disappointing “Summer of Cycling” series sadly pedals on in the pages of The Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Press-Telegram and other papers that are part of the group. The series seems to be as much about painting cyclists as a bunch of weirdos, different than the normal people of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, than it is exploring bicycling or bike culture.

Today, after publishing some critiques of their most recent disaster in the series, an op/ed by “futurist” Syd Mead that rolled out every tired cliche against building bicycling networks; the Series continued by asking their readers if “Will Southern California ever really bike to work?”

Of course, the editors who wrote the piece then went on to justify their own decisions to not bicycle to work, which apparently stops them from bicycling anywhere by noting that many of “us” choose to live really far away from where we work.

So, I decided to help them out by giving them a much longer answer than I usually do in newspaper comments sections. I hope they decide to publish part or all of it. But if not, I’m including it after the jump.
This entire series has been incredibly frustrating to read as someone who chooses to ride a bicycle for many, but not all, of his trips. Whether consciously or not, you continue to paint cyclists as some sort of weird “other” and everyone else as the normal people. Instead of actually trying a bicycle-transit commute, at least once, you continue to publish sentences such as:

“Most of us, unfortunately, face commutes of far longer than a mile or two. It’s a mass sprawl from the desert to the sea, and some of us have either chosen or been forced into commutes that go from one to the other each morning and evening.”

Most of “us.” Some of “us.” Conversely, your comments about cyclists are tinged with sarcastic sounding compliments such as the entire third paragraph of this article.

On top of that, you published an op/ed by a “futurist” who rolled out a lot of lame cliches with no actual facts or statistics and continue to treat that rant as the baseline for discussion. The comments you reference in this article clearly debunk Syd’s points, but of course those come from weirdo advocate cyclists, not good people such as the “us” that you mention all the time.

In answer to your question, of course Los Angeles can become a city with a significant portion of people choosing to make trips by bicycle. Nobody is claiming that everyone will ride a bicycle for all their trips, so the people making decisions about this “Summer of Cycling” series can continue your really long car commutes in peace while listening to John and Ken on the radio. Even in cities such as Portland the bike commute share is closer to 5% than anything else.

However, as the city builds out its bicycle network, we’re seeing more and more people bicycle. Studies completed by the Downtown Neighborhood Council show how just painting a bike lane on Spring Street resulted in a doubling of bike traffic on that street. If the city continues to create safe and attractive bike facilities, more and more people will bicycle. As more people bicycle, more people walk and ride transit. I can get you the statistics and reports if you want…the comment system doesn’t allow hot links.

As Wesley points out above, 47% of car trips are three miles are less. If we get 10% of those to switch to bike trips, you and your friends will see a lot less traffic congestion on local streets. You might also notice your neighbors having more money to spend and their waistlines decrease. Don’t worry about that. It’s a side effect of being a weirdo.

And this is a second problem with your question. Most trips made by a household aren’t commutes to work. So you can continue to commute from Desert Hot Springs to Santa Monica and make other trips by bicycle…assuming you don’t shop in Santa Monica, take your kids to school in Santa Monica, eat out in Santa Monica AND need to make separate trips to Santa Monica for every trip you need to make. You can make many of those trips within Desert Springs and leave your commute mobile at home.

In conclusion, nobody is going to try and force the “us” to join us. Most people won’t and that’s the choice many of “us” choose to make. But the reality is we don’t need futurists or newspaper editors to start riding their bicycle for commutes or trips to the grocery store for L.A. to become a cycling method.

The rest of us will figure this out on our own.

Is the California Public Utilities Commission Foreshadowing the Supreme Court on Expo Phase I

http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/07/16/is-the-california-public-utilities-commission-foreshadowing-the-supreme-court-on-expo-phase-ii/#more-8534

By Damien Newton, July 16, 2013



 



Last Friday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) tentatively closed the books on one of the last remaining avenues for opponents of the Expo Line in West L.A. to stop construction in its tracks. CPUC posted a “Proposed Decision” on its second hearing of the rail crossings for Phase II of the Expo Line. The ruling unequivocally states that the 16 at-grade and 11 above-grade crossings fall within state guidelines.

Expo Phase II is an eight mile extension of the Expo Line from its current terminus in Culver City to near the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

CPUC is a state board that reviews, among other things, rail projects that impact “public utilities.” In this case the impact would be on the city’s road network. When CPUC reviewed Phase I of the Expo Line, the board found several items for concern and ordered additional safety mitigation at one crossing and the construction of a new station at where the Expo Line crossed Farmdale Street near Dorsey High School. When CPUC unexpectedly re-opened its review of Expo Phase II, despite the fact that the line is already well under construction, rail fans fretted.

However, the Proposed Decision seems to close one of the two remaining battleground for Neighbors For Smart Rail, the coalition of neighborhood groups fighting the line. The remaining battle is at the California State Supreme Court, where they hope justices will rule that using a “future baseline” as the basis for a traffic study is contrary to state environmental laws.

But CPUC’s Proposed Decision hints at a Supreme Court Ruling in Expo’s favor.


Two lower courts have already ruled that the Expo Construction Authority (Expo) acted properly basing their traffic studies on future conditions instead of current conditions. However, attorneys for NFSR point to two cases Madera Oversight Coalition, Inc. v. County of Madera (5th District Court of Appeals, 2011) and Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Assn. v. City of Sunnyvale City Council (6th District Court of Appeals, 2010where state appellate courts ruled that agencies cannot use future conditions as a baseline when evaluating the environmental impacts of proposed projects.
While CPUC is not the State Supreme Court, it rejects the argument that Sunnyvale and Madera mean that using a future baseline is automatically against state law.
Our analysis of the relevant case law and CEQA Guidelines do not reveal any impediment to the use of a future baseline. We do not see that the Sunnyvale, Madera, and Communities for a Better Environment decisions conclusively prohibited, in all circumstances, the use of a future baseline to evaluate a project’s environmental impact on traffic and air quality. Similarly, CEQA Guidelines § 15125 (a) states that the beginning of the environmental analysis “will normally constitute the baseline physical conditions by which a lead agency determines whether an impact is significant.” As we discussed, supra, it is telling that the Guidelines used the word “normally” rather than “exclusively,” which indicates that Expo Authority, or any other Lead Agency, can under the appropriate circumstances consider a future date in order to evaluate a project’s environmental impacts.
While we continue to wait for a State Supreme Court ruling, one of the other bodies that can hold up or approve rail projects has given its full stamp of approval to Expo Phase II, even after considering the various legal arguments against the project. Whether that means the Supreme Court will agree is still unknown, but now three legal bodies have given their approval to Expo Phase II, crossings and all.

Comments on Chris Holden's 710 Freeway Update

From Sylvia Plummer, July 16, 2013

See "From Chris Holden--Local Update," http://www.710studysanrafaelneighborhoodposts.com/2013/07/from-chris-holden-local-update.html


There was an article, Local update from Sacramento, by Assemblymember, Chris Holden, in the West Pasadena Residents' Association newsletter.  Holden's 710 update brought a few comments which I have permission to share with you.
Here's the part of the article on the SR-710:
I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not support a surface option for the 710 Freeway closure.  That option is dead.  I also want to emphasize that while I think studying the environmental feasibility of a tunnel makes a lot of sense to me,  I am opposed to any tunnel option that includes truck traffic.  I think that asking questions about smoke stacks or some kind of exhaust stacks is fair, and that’s where an Environmental Impact Report comes in.  If environmental issues can’t be mitigated, that will pretty much kill the project.  Caltrans and Metro are currently analyzing a series of options to get traffic moving in the region.  I strongly support the community process and an environmental review to determine what options work best to protect the quality of our neighborhoods.

Comment from Delaine Shane:
The statement that is highlighted above: "If environmental issues can't be mitigated, that will pretty much kill the project."  That statement is NOT correct. I want people to know that this is not true.  I have been an environmental planner for over 32 years. This is what I do for a living. Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), there is no obligation by the federal lead agency to mitigate significant effects. Other federal laws may have enforcement mechanisms and apply, but not NEPA. It is merely a consideration by the federal agency with no requirements to mitigate.  For CEQA, the project must mitigate to the maximum extent feasible. If it can not mitigate significant environmental impacts, then a statement of overriding considerations is prepared. That statement provides all the benefits of the project moving forward, while acknowledging that the impacts cannot be fully mitigated for a variety of reasons.  An approved project, barring litigation, can most certainly move forward while not fully mitigating certain impacts. I just wanted you to know that his statement is completely wrong.

Comment From Freddie Hannan:
Chris Holden states he's opposed to any tunnel option that includes truck traffic.  We all need to email Holden and let him know we read his comments on opposing any tunnel option that includes truck traffic, and we agree with him and expect him to come up to the plate when Metro announces there will be trucks using the tunnels.  Also, since commuters won't pay $5-$15 toll each way, the tunnel will be as unused as the toll lanes on our freeways.  Use what is left of the money for the Gold Line.  
To contact Chris Holden use this link:
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD41

To read the entire article (page 2):


The littlest parks could make the biggest civic changes

rist.org/cities/the-littlest-parks-could-make-the-biggest-civic-changes/?utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&sub_email=pdrouet@earthlink.net

By Susie Cagle,  July 16, 2013


Eight years after the first “parklet” occupied a parking space in San Francisco as an act of protest, these mini-parks have become a favorite “placemaking” tool of urbanists across the country. A little wood platform, some sod, tables and chairs, and boom, you’ve got a new urban park — so long as you keep feeding the meter.
Join Grist as we explore the wild landscape of our cities.
Susie Cagle
Join Grist as we explore the wild landscapes of our cities.
In San Francisco, parklets have graduated from do-it-yourself novelties to government-sanctioned parts and parcels of the urban landscape, with a little influence from New York City plazas and European open-streets movements. “We took this Park(ing) Day model, which is really an act of civil disobedience, and we sort of codified it, institutionalized it, and made it like a legal thing to do,” says Paul Chasan, the parklet program manager in the San Francisco Planning Department.

Yes, San Francisco has a parklet program. It’s called “Pavement to Parks.” And with 40 parklets on the ground currently, and over 40 more in some stage of the permitting and development process, SF is leading the way on these little parking spot occupiers, and redefining what they can and should be.

15-07Arizmendiparklet
San Francisco Planning Department
The city’s parklets guidebook [PDF], authored by Chasan and released in February, reads kind of revolutionary, at least so far as city infrastructure goes. With explicit goals of encouraging non-motorized transportation, eco-friendly design, and reshaping neighborhood interaction, these teeny parklets pack a big political punch.

“In terms of changing the dialog about what the public realm can be, I think it’s been really successful, both with the public and within the city bureaucracy itself,” says Chasan, who has headed up the program for two and a half years. “When you park your car on the street, you’re essentially privatizing a public space. So when you turn it into something for everyone, it becomes a very literal metaphor.”


Even when they take over that private parking spot, parklets still straddle an odd private-public line. Each one is sponsored and bankrolled by a local entity, most often a business, and can cost about $20,000-30,000 — a significant investment for what is truly a public space. Those parklets outside coffee shops and cafes may seem like an extension of the restaurant that ponied up that cash, but they’re really not. The city requires that parklets look and feel public and separate from the sponsoring business.

“Sometimes people get upset if they feel like the parklet feels private, like it doesn’t live up to the civic ideals of the program,” says Chasan. “Like ‘This is supposed to be for everybody and it doesn’t feel like it’s for everybody.’ They should get upset about that if that’s the case.”
15-07coffeeshopparket
San Francisco Planning Department
But that public-private relationship cuts both ways. “For a business owner, it gives them a different relationship with their neighborhood,” says Chasan. “When I talk to the sponsors a lot of them get really really excited about the community-building side, creating a gathering space — this sort of altruistic act.”

In one neighborhood at the western edge of the city, a new parklet has solved problems for a small commercial district that had “all the ingredients” for commercial success, but no public space. “This parklet’s gone in and it’s slowly become like a focal point for the neighborhood,” says Chasan. “It’s encouraging pedestrian activity and it’s encouraging neighbors to get to know each other.”

The primary goal of the parklet program is to encourage that kind of neighborhood intersectionality — helping business is secondary. To this end, Chasan wants to promote more residential parklets.
So far, though, there’s only one parklet sponsored by a private homeowner. But even though he is ultimately responsible for it — and it’s right in front of his house — it apparently takes a village to raise a baby parklet.
Residential parklet in San Francisco's Mission District, complete with dino topiary.
Residential parklet in San Francisco’s Mission District, complete with dino topiary.
“Sometimes it’ll get tagged [with graffiti] and it’ll get cleaned off before he can even get to it — the neighborhood takes care of it, which is really cool,” says Chasan, who’s currently fielding parklet applications from two more homeowners and the downtown offices of the startup Pinterest.

There’s also the matter of the cool kids. “Some of the first [parklets] went in on Valencia Street, which is one of our hipster spots in the city,” he says. “There are a lot of them there, so people sort of associate them with a certain type of business. But we’re seeing them move to other places now — we’ve got an application in for the first Chinatown parklet.”

That kind of broader acceptance of this new form of city infrastructure is indicative of the parklet program’s influence over the parklet users, builders, and permitters. “What we’re seeing is a whole new class of people coming out of the woodwork that are participating in placemaking and community building. There’s actually a lot of demand for that — there’s a hunger for that,” he says.
For government, “the success of this program has created a window of opportunity to try out new ideas. It’s helping evoke a culture of experimentation in the city,” says Chasan.

In its latest round of applications, one city traffic engineer has proposed a totally new type of parklet that’s not meant for people at all: raised gardens that would act as bulb-out “chokers” in traffic lanes, slowing cars down and adding a bit of greenery to the streetscape. It’s a traffic-calming measure that other cities have tried, but this would be the first application in San Francisco — and by going the parklet route, the city could try it out without the cost and disruption of tearing up the road.

The Pavements to Parks program and mindset stands to make the city more nimble overall. “A lot of people look at the city and see a landscape that’s really durable and permanent-feeling — it’s kind of built out of stone and brick and concrete,” says Chasan. “But actually cities are dynamic, living things — they’re changing all the time.”

These unassuming little parklets might be the ultimate civic gateway drug, especially with a planner like Paul Chasan at the helm.

Metro sponsors the Rock ‘n Two Wheel Rollin’ Concert Ride, led by CICLE!


 Rock n Two Wheel Rollin Concert Ride




Join us for an 8-mile guided ride from the Exposition Park Rose Gardens to MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion, where we’ll enjoy a free concert by rock ‘n’ roll marching band Mucca Pazza. Pack a picnic or bring cash to enjoy Mama’s International Tamales that will be available at the show. Participants will learn about points of interest to explore along the ride route and at either end.
Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Meet at the Metro Expo Park/USC Station (in front of the Rose Garden) at 6:30pm
Accessible by the Metro Expo Line and Metro bus lines 705, 38, 217 and Culver CityBus 4. Plan your trip at metro.net
Ride leaves promptly at 7pm
Bici Libre to provide bicycle valet during the concert
The ride will return to the starting point by 10:30pm
Metro sponsored rides provide an opportunity to practice riding comfortably with traffic, bike safely in a group and become acquainted with bikeways in Los Angeles County. CICLE rides are leisurely, family-friendly and led by fully-supportive and trained Ride Leaders and volunteers. Prior to the ride, safe street riding and group ride etiquette will be reviewed to ensure smooth sailing.
More information on the ride available at CICLE.org 

Join the Rock `n Two Wheel Rollin' Ride on Facebook

"The Question Is" Goes Viral

Received via email on July16, 2013






Newsletter header

x
  
"The Question Is" Goes Viral
Family News
Senate Campaign
Social Media

Dear Peggy,
What an exciting time we had in South Pasadena. Thank you Mary and Bill Urquhart for being such generous and gracious hosts and thank you to all of the sponsors, attendees, contributors, volunteers and well-wishers! I am amazed and humbled by the early positive reaction I have received for our State Senate campaign. Over 350 friends and neighbors RSVPed, making our kickoff event extremely successful.
In addition, hundreds of folks from across the district have sent in their endorsements. It would seem that our neighbors from Sunland to Upland are tired of politics as usual, have embraced our positive message and are uniting behind the need to push for good government reforms and support for public education.
A very big thank you for your support and for your trust.
Anthony

 301 of My Closest Friends


"The Question Is" Goes Viral
During my time in office, I had the honor of working on many public policy areas for which I am passionate. Charter Cable has given me the opportunity to bring my public policy interests and concerns to a statewide audience on the California Channel. I call the show:
The Question Is with Anthony Portantino
As you know, I have co-hosted six HIV /AIDS Summits with the City of Hope (our 7th will be on Oct. 22 from 9am to noon) and I was proud to have authored several bills that have made HIV testing more accessible. It makes sense that my first show would be on the "State of HIV 32 years later." My guests were Dr. Michael Gottlieb, the renowned doctor who first identified HIV as a disease and Dr. Eric Walsh, the current Director of the Pasadena Health Department and a past member of the President's Advisory Council on AIDS. The two doctors did an excellent job detailing the current state of HIV and public health. If you have 29 minutes and there is nothing on TV that catches your interest, take a look and let me know your thoughts.

The Question Is Goes Viral 
Family News
Bella and Ellen came back from a quick east coast visit to Pennsylvania while Sofia and I celebrated the 4th of July joining parades in a friend's convertible. The parades and patriotic spirit throughout the foothills were impressive. Summer camp and household projects are in order as I begin lecturing at USC at the end of August.

State Senate Campaign 

If you are willing, and you have not done so already, to let me use your name as a public endorsement, just respond to this e-mail and say,
Yes, you have my permission to list me as a public endorser for State Senate to succeed Carol Liu!
Your support would be great and much appreciated!



FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ INSTAGRAM
Please use these links to "like" my Facebook fan page (it's new and different than my "friends page" so please "like" it. And, sign up to connect with me on Twitter and Instagram.  
 Thanks!!!!



 
 
 
  
Paid for and authorized by Anthony Portantino for Senate 2016 FPPC # 1334175

Tesla's Elon Musk says Hyperloop rail design is coming soon

http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-hyperloop-design-coming-soon-20130715,0,5378557.story

By Catherine Green, July 15, 2013

 Elon Musk says he will reveal plans for a high-speed mode of transportation.

 Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc., says a "fifth mode" of transportation will cover L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes.

Never one to think small, tech mogul Elon Musk -- founder of Tesla Motors and Space X -- says he's working on a "fifth mode" of transportation that can zip you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour.

"Will publish Hyperloop alpha design by Aug 12. Critical feedback for improvements would be much appreciated," Musk said in a tweet, which he prefers to the news release or the interview. A Tesla spokeswoman said Musk would have no further comment.

The Hyperloop, Musk has said previously and cryptically, would resemble a "cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table."  He’s also said it would be immune to both crashes and inclement weather conditions, suggesting it would be fully enclosed.

But Musk clarified it won’t be the same as a vacuum tunnel, an as-of-yet unconstructed idea for high-speed rail that sucks the air out of tunnels so that trains can move rapidly using little power.

PHOTOS: 10 cheapest cars that get 35 mpg or better

Musk first mentioned the Hyperloop during a “fireside chat” in July 2012. At the time, he estimated it would cost around $6 billion. For comparison, Phase 1 of the proposed California high-speed rail system will cost an estimated $68 billion to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles through the Central Valley and Palmdale, according to an April 2012 report by the rail authority.

Though Musk’s announcements are generally met with plenty of fanfare, it remains to be seen how receptive California’s transportation authorities will be to Musk's latest big idea.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss Musk's seeming far-fetched notion, said Rod Diridon, executive director of Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. “Mr. Musk has a reputation for state-of-the-art problem-solving, most clearly shown with the Tesla,” Diridon said. “We look forward to helping mature his concept to a practical application as quickly as possible.”

That might not be fast enough for California. Diridon detailed the lengthy process a transit solution this extensive would have to navigate, from land-use approval, funding, development to construction. “The problem is that this can’t be built within the time frame the state needs in order to meet the huge influx in population over the next 25 years,” he said.

Diridon spoke highly of Musk, and said he plans to buy a Tesla Model S when the lease on his electric Nissan Leaf is up.

“It’s a good thing, and we need to have it as the next move beyond high speed rail. But if we try to use it instead, we’re going to have nothing in the middle of a population influx like no state has seen in the past,” he said. “I’m not critical -- I’m practical.”

Andy Kunz, chief executive of the U.S. High Speed Rail Assn., said he was keeping an open mind.
“I’m not sure what he’s going to come up with,” Kunz said, noting his organization has seen plenty of high-tech high-speed rail variations come out of the woodwork over the last several years. “These proposals look good on a website, but you gotta get out and build some test tracks.… [Musk] is a smart guy. Maybe he’s putting together something brilliant.”

But, Kunz said, that shouldn’t stop progress on the U.S. development of high-speed rail systems, which have already been successful in countries such as France and China. “It’s off-the-shelf technology, ready to go, proven," he said. "We’re promoting what we can build today. We need this now. We don’t want [Hyperloop] to be a distraction.”

A Proud Daughter & Defender of El Sereno--Video by Joe Cano

Posted by Joe Cano on Facebook, July 16, 2013:

 A proud daughter & defender of El Sereno. Where are the rest of you?

 My dear departed in-laws Tom & Aurora Hernandez were displaced & evicted from Chavez Ravine. She finds what is going on & what is being done to our Caltrans neighbors traumatic & horrific. She cannot bear the thought that in this day & age our Mexican American brothers & sisters are being treated less than human by a state agency, out tax dollars used against us. She a defender of & a daughter of El Sereno. I am extremely proud of my wife.


United Caltrans Tenants Protest Hearings--Videos by Joe Cano

Joe Cano posted on Facebook on July 15-16, 2013:

For all of El Sereno to see how our people are being mistreated by Caltrans & their bootlicking, clownish lackeys. These a-holes coming into our neighborhood to disrespect us?, Ya basta, no aceptamos mas pendejadas de Caltrans Y Metro.
 
United Caltrans Protest Hearings -- Parts 1 and 2
 
 

Oregon to Charge Drivers by the Mile -- Not the Gallon

http://www.governing.com/blogs/fedwatch/Oregon-Bill-Awaiting-Governors-Signature-Would-Be-Transportation-Milestone.html

By Ryan Holeywell, July 15, 2013

Oregon is poised to become the first state to charge drivers based on how many miles they drive -- as opposed to how many gallons of gas they purchase -- in a move that could foreshadow the future of how transportation infrastructure gets funded.

The bill, passed by the legislature and awaiting Gov. John Kitzhaber's signature, would allow up to 5,000 drivers to voluntarily enlist in a new program in which they'd pay a tax of 1.5 cents for every mile they drive in lieu of the 30 cents-per-gallon tax that drivers pay in the Beaver State.

The newly-created program is the result of years of study by state lawmakers and officials at the Oregon Department of Transportation, who have viewed the gas tax as increasingly  unsustainable for funding the state's transportation and transit needs.

Want more transportation news? Click here.

Indeed, the per-gallon gas tax -- the primary tool used by the state and federal government to fund transportation infrastructure -- is the victim of competing policy goals. Governments encourage the use and development of fuel-efficient vehicles for environmental reasons. Yet at the same time, the success of those efforts means that drivers are paying less for each mile they drive, even as their vehicles cause the same amount of congestion and wear-and-tear on roads.

The switch to a transportation tax based on miles driven, as opposed to gallons of gasoline consumed, is viewed as a way to more closely align the extent to which drivers use the road network with the amount of money they pay to maintain it.

"The bottom line is it's about fairness, and people who use the system ought to pay for the use of the system," Oregon state Sen. Bruce Starr told Governing last year.

The new, voluntary program came about after Oregon lawmakers unsuccessfully pursued a plan to require mileage-based fees for the state's most fuel-efficient vehicles.

James Whitty, manager of Oregon DOT's Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding, says the new program is a milestone. For starters, unlike previous ODOT pilots, it's a permanent program that doesn't have an end date. It's also much larger than earlier pilots that explored the viability of miles-traveled fees.

More importantly, the system the state is developing will ultimately be the same one it uses when, eventually, mileage-based fees become widespread. The new system is set to launch in 2015, and ODOT is expected to spend $2.8 million over two years implementing it.


Whitty says he expects the new program to provide more evidence and information to lawmakers that they'll be able to use to create broader miles-traveled fees.

Additionally, ODOT typically hasn't been permitted to do much in the way of drumming up publicity for the issue. That would change under the new program. "One of the cool things about the bill is that the expectation of strong communication with the public means that ODOT will be able to spend time and resources actually marketing the program and finding a way to move the needle on public acceptance," Whitty says.

Indeed, the idea of charging drivers based on miles instead of gallons has been controversial in some places, where the concept has been labeled a "driving tax." One of the biggest hurdles to changing public opinion about the concept are the privacy concerns that come with the state tracking driving.
ODOT recently conducted a study of different options for calculating drivers' mileage in anticipation of the day when a program like this might be created. They considered a range of technologies for tracking mileage -- including those with and without GPS.

Whitty says the department didn't want to pick a "best" option but instead explored several that motorists might one day be able to choose from.

Pilot participants can use a simple device that counts mileage but doesn't involve GPS. They can use a GPS if they want to avoid being charged for driving on private or out-of-state roads. They can use a smart-phone app that uses GPS -- but only when the app is turned on. Or they can opt out of any measurements at all and just pay a flat fee.

Oregon has long been a leader in the study of mileage-based fees. It first began looking at alternatives to the gas tax in 2001 and has conducted several pilot programs since then that have gained national attention in transportation circles. Many view the state as being on the cutting edge of transportation funding.

A Congressional Budget Office report published in 2011 suggested a miles-driven fee as a viable alternative to the gas tax, and many national transportation experts have endorsed the idea too.

Yet the issue hasn't gain traction at the federal level -- the White House famously shot down the idea when former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood suggested it was worth considering -- and even pilot programs are rare outside of Oregon.

Richard Geddes, director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy, says the idea of a mileage tax shouldn't be that unusual to people, given that it mirrors the same principle used by utilities like water and energy providers: pay for what you use.

Geddes, who served on a federal commission that studied transportation revenue options, says the real promise of mileage-fees is that eventually, they could serve policy goals. If the fees were dynamic -- so motorists paid more to drive during peak hours -- they could become a useful tool to manage congestion.

Jack Schenendorf, a longtime staffer on the House's Committee on Transportation Infrastructure, agreed that mileage-fees are prudent. "The more states that innovate and experiment, the better," says Schenendorf, who served on the same panel as Geddes. Programs like Oregon's can help other states as well as the federal government learn effective ways to adopt policies for the "post gas-tax era."

Still, he says, it will be a while before systems like the one created in Oregon become widespread. "(A mileage fee), at least at this early stage, have a whole set of issues layered on top it: how it will work, whether it will be accurate, and privacy," says Schenendorf. "All those issues still have to be dealt with. That's what pilot projects are for."

But, he added, mileage-fees are a long-term solution and will take years to fully implement; in the meantime, shorter-term solutions are needed to address the need for infrastructure funds at both the state and federal levels.


PHOTOS: Japan's road construction signs are cute cartoon animals

 http://www.betterroads.com/photos-japans-road-construction-signs-are-cute-cartoon-animals/

By Amanda Bayhi, no date

Here in the U.S., we’ve been seeing innovations that save time and money, increase driver safety, raise awareness about construction crews and make other improvements to highway construction. But in Japan, a different and adorable kind of innovation is showing up at highway construction sites. Road construction crews in Japan have begun using animal-shaped barricades (also used as traffic signs) that look like they belong on a playground instead of a construction site. According to Kotaku, the “character barricades,” collaboratively designed by Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido and rental company Sendaimeiban, started making appearances in 2006 and have since become popular on job sites across Japan.

Check out a few photos of the signs in below, then head over to Kotaku to see all the pictures of the character barricades.
cute japanese road construction signs
cute japanese road construction signs 2
cute japanese road construction signs 3
cute japanese road construction signs 4
cute japanese road construction signs 5
cute japanese road construction signs 6

Highway expansion and local traffic: oil and water?

http://www.betterroads.com/highway-expansion-and-local-traffic-oil-and-water/

By John Latta, no date


 A snapshot of the I-5 Columbia River Crossing toll booths, taken in March 1965, shows the surrounding community, including pre-eruption Mount St. Helen. (Photo: WSDOT)
 A snapshot of the I-5 Columbia River Crossing toll booths, taken in March 1965, shows the surrounding community, including pre-eruption Mount St. Helens.

A snapshot of the I-5 Columbia River Crossing toll booths, taken in March 1965, shows the surrounding community, including pre-eruption Mount St. Helens. - See more at: http://www.betterroads.com/highway-expansion-and-local-traffic-oil-and-water/#sthash.bupzXKWF.dpuf


The highway, that venerable American institution–that core value, that industry and community building institution–is under assault again.

Better Institutions, a blog about transportation and urban planning policy, joins a chorus of blogs addressing what it calls, “The self-defeating nature of highway construction and expansion,” and specifically, “Lost in the discussions of induced demand (focused on the highway itself) and community displacement and segregation (focused on local residents and businesses) is the intersection of these two issues, local traffic.”

“The problem here is obvious: unless 100% of the new highway users are bypass traffic — none of them using the highway to get into the city itself –local roads have to deal with a huge influx of additional vehicles. Many of those vehicles aren’t bypass traffic, of course, so local streets (and their residents) are burdened with their presence and the congestion they bring.”

“This illustrates two important facts: first, that increasing capacity doesn’t actually improve the traffic situation on the highway; second, that it makes local traffic worse.”

The problem to begin with is a need to move more people. Highway expansion is one way to do it. More capacity carries more people. Yes, that is a basic and simple approach because–as this blogger and others point out–more lane miles have consequential effects in the communities they pass through and draw from. But those consequences can be of great value to communities.

There is an increasingly loud clamor that all freeway expansion is a bad thing. The public hears it because the web delivers it so efficiently. Much of it comes from anonymous or unqualified voices, but much of it comes from people interested, involved, recognized and listened to in their communities. (The blogger in this case is Shane Phillips, is a research scientist.)

That is troubling because if “down with highways” becomes some sort of common wisdom, road building is going to have an even tougher time finding funding. And if that happens, road and bridge maintenance and repair will be equally short of funds and deterioration, already so well under way, will increase at a faster pace. Actually, since we are at that point now, I should probably say it will just get worse.

Some road expansion projects will not be the best solution, but unless we are careful, the public perception of added capacity may become so negative that the result will be that almost no expansion projects–even those that are clearly the superior solution–will get political backing.

You will have recognized by now that I am atop one of my favorite soapboxes. There is an oversupply of online sites dedicated to “transportation solutions” that essentially oppose all road expansion projects. I’m all for bikes and pedestrians and tranquil, safe walking neighborhoods and inner cities, but this is not a zero-sum game unless we let it be. We need (spoiler alert: popular buzzword coming) a matrix of transportation solutions to best serve the public.

Make sure your politicians and local journalists get your take on this debate. Neither politicians nor journalists are known for being fair and balanced anymore unless there’s something in it for them. Make sure they have your take, one that counters constructive argument with constructive argument.
Our industry does not simply stand on the past or dismiss changes in the way Americans live and what they value. We build–over time because these projects are not short-term–to serve the communities of today and tomorrow with today and tomorrow’s roadways. And we need to get that idea across.

Oh, and note in the aforementioned blog that there is a very old photo which elicited this comment:
“I don’t know which is more jarring to the modern observer: Seeing Mount St. Helens, pre-1980 eruption, or seeing a toll plaza on I-5 …
Toll plazas on an Interstate?
The highway, that venerable American institution–that core value, that industry and community building institution–is under assault again.
Better Institutions, a blog about transportation and urban planning policy, joins a chorus of blogs addressing what it calls, “The self-defeating nature of highway construction and expansion,” and specifically, “Lost in the discussions of induced demand (focused on the highway itself) and community displacement and segregation (focused on local residents and businesses) is the intersection of these two issues, local traffic.”
“The problem here is obvious: unless 100% of the new highway users are bypass traffic — none of them using the highway to get into the city itself –local roads have to deal with a huge influx of additional vehicles. Many of those vehicles aren’t bypass traffic, of course, so local streets (and their residents) are burdened with their presence and the congestion they bring.”
“This illustrates two important facts: first, that increasing capacity doesn’t actually improve the traffic situation on the highway; second, that it makes local traffic worse.”
The problem to begin with is a need to move more people. Highway expansion is one way to do it. More capacity carries more people. Yes, that is a basic and simple approach because–as this blogger and others point out–more lane miles have consequential effects in the communities they pass through and draw from. But those consequences can be of great value to communities.
There is an increasingly loud clamor that all freeway expansion is a bad thing. The public hears it because the web delivers it so efficiently. Much of it comes from anonymous or unqualified voices, but much of it comes from people interested, involved, recognized and listened to in their communities. (The blogger in this case is Shane Phillips, is a research scientist.)
That is troubling because if “down with highways” becomes some sort of common wisdom, road building is going to have an even tougher time finding funding. And if that happens, road and bridge maintenance and repair will be equally short of funds and deterioration, already so well under way, will increase at a faster pace. Actually, since we are at that point now, I should probably say it will just get worse.
Some road expansion projects will not be the best solution, but unless we are careful, the public perception of added capacity may become so negative that the result will be that almost no expansion projects–even those that are clearly the superior solution–will get political backing.
You will have recognized by now that I am atop one of my favorite soapboxes. There is an oversupply of online sites dedicated to “transportation solutions” that essentially oppose all road expansion projects. I’m all for bikes and pedestrians and tranquil, safe walking neighborhoods and inner cities, but this is not a zero-sum game unless we let it be. We need (spoiler alert: popular buzzword coming) a matrix of transportation solutions to best serve the public.
Make sure your politicians and local journalists get your take on this debate. Neither politicians nor journalists are known for being fair and balanced anymore unless there’s something in it for them. Make sure they have your take, one that counters constructive argument with constructive argument.
Our industry does not simply stand on the past or dismiss changes in the way Americans live and what they value. We build–over time because these projects are not short-term–to serve the communities of today and tomorrow with today and tomorrow’s roadways. And we need to get that idea across.
Oh, and note in the aforementioned blog that there is a very old photo which elicited this comment:
“I don’t know which is more jarring to the modern observer: Seeing Mount St. Helens, pre-1980 eruption, or seeing a toll plaza on I-5 …”
Toll plazas on an Interstate?
- See more at: http://www.betterroads.com/highway-expansion-and-local-traffic-oil-and-water/#sthash.bupzXKWF.dpuf
The highway, that venerable American institution–that core value, that industry and community building institution–is under assault again.
Better Institutions, a blog about transportation and urban planning policy, joins a chorus of blogs addressing what it calls, “The self-defeating nature of highway construction and expansion,” and specifically, “Lost in the discussions of induced demand (focused on the highway itself) and community displacement and segregation (focused on local residents and businesses) is the intersection of these two issues, local traffic.”
“The problem here is obvious: unless 100% of the new highway users are bypass traffic — none of them using the highway to get into the city itself –local roads have to deal with a huge influx of additional vehicles. Many of those vehicles aren’t bypass traffic, of course, so local streets (and their residents) are burdened with their presence and the congestion they bring.”
“This illustrates two important facts: first, that increasing capacity doesn’t actually improve the traffic situation on the highway; second, that it makes local traffic worse.”
The problem to begin with is a need to move more people. Highway expansion is one way to do it. More capacity carries more people. Yes, that is a basic and simple approach because–as this blogger and others point out–more lane miles have consequential effects in the communities they pass through and draw from. But those consequences can be of great value to communities.
There is an increasingly loud clamor that all freeway expansion is a bad thing. The public hears it because the web delivers it so efficiently. Much of it comes from anonymous or unqualified voices, but much of it comes from people interested, involved, recognized and listened to in their communities. (The blogger in this case is Shane Phillips, is a research scientist.)
That is troubling because if “down with highways” becomes some sort of common wisdom, road building is going to have an even tougher time finding funding. And if that happens, road and bridge maintenance and repair will be equally short of funds and deterioration, already so well under way, will increase at a faster pace. Actually, since we are at that point now, I should probably say it will just get worse.
Some road expansion projects will not be the best solution, but unless we are careful, the public perception of added capacity may become so negative that the result will be that almost no expansion projects–even those that are clearly the superior solution–will get political backing.
You will have recognized by now that I am atop one of my favorite soapboxes. There is an oversupply of online sites dedicated to “transportation solutions” that essentially oppose all road expansion projects. I’m all for bikes and pedestrians and tranquil, safe walking neighborhoods and inner cities, but this is not a zero-sum game unless we let it be. We need (spoiler alert: popular buzzword coming) a matrix of transportation solutions to best serve the public.
Make sure your politicians and local journalists get your take on this debate. Neither politicians nor journalists are known for being fair and balanced anymore unless there’s something in it for them. Make sure they have your take, one that counters constructive argument with constructive argument.
Our industry does not simply stand on the past or dismiss changes in the way Americans live and what they value. We build–over time because these projects are not short-term–to serve the communities of today and tomorrow with today and tomorrow’s roadways. And we need to get that idea across.
Oh, and note in the aforementioned blog that there is a very old photo which elicited this comment:
“I don’t know which is more jarring to the modern observer: Seeing Mount St. Helens, pre-1980 eruption, or seeing a toll plaza on I-5 …”
Toll plazas on an Interstate?
- See more at: http://www.betterroads.com/highway-expansion-and-local-traffic-oil-and-water/#sthash.bupzXKWF.dpuf