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

Monday, September 9, 2013

Jobs, Unions, and Other Left-Wing Distractions from the Opportunities of Building Transit


 http://citywatchla.com/lead-stories-hidden/5676-jobs-unions-and-other-left-wing-distractions-from-the-opportunities-of-building-transit

By Ken Alpern, September 10, 2013


 

 ALPERN AT LARGE - Public and rapid transit need not, and should not, be a forum for left-wing extremism. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone to suggest that those advocating loudest for more mass transit usually come from a liberal/progressive background.  There are environmental issues, there are affordable housing and affordable transportation issues, and there are urban planning issues that usually are within the aegis of liberal/progressive politics.  

Unfortunately, the conservative forces within local, state and national politics are all too happy to oblige in fomenting the paradigms of public/rapid transit being "only a liberal issue".  In part, this is because the Democratic Party dominates the urban landscape, where public transportation is more necessary, and the Republican Party dominates the rural landscape, where public transportation usually doesn't work.

We therefore have an unfortunate situation where those favoring spending policies have an all-or-nothing scenario where liberal extremists HATE roads and cars, conservative extremists HATE public transit (especially rail transit), and most taxpayers are wondering what the devil led both groups of extremists to their extremist thinking.

For example, there are those from all over the political spectrum who want to end the California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) experiment, because it is proving far too cost-ineffective and filled with bait-and-switch pork-barrel politics than properly-prioritized transportation needs.  To a large extent, Governor Brown HAS fixed this with reprioritizing Metrolink and Caltrain expansion in the CAHSR project, but it's arguably NOT the same project the voters approved in 2008. So should we kill the CAHSR altogether and build roads with that money?  Should we kill it, or alter it, and fund other mass transit initiatives instead with that money?

There are legal obstacles, but arguably it's best to ensure that both urban and rural, rail and road, transit initiatives be better-funded because most taxpayers recognize that reality. The same can and should be true with respect to labor- and union-related issues and transportation.  As I've mentioned before in CityWatch, we have a radical, taxpayer-and-commuter-be-damned Department of Labor Secretary, one Thomas Perez, who has enabled cruel and inappropriate public transportation unions to defund and delay necessary transit budgeting and construction [LINK].

 Rather than give in to the public transportation union radicalism and craziness, which maintains that even unhired and yet-to-be-hired employees require immediate and current union representation (and their unborn children, and grandchildren, to boot), Governor Brown and many pro-labor leaders and politicians of our state are fighting for pension reform AND ensure federal transit funding.

Pension reform isn't anti-labor any more than Wall Street reform isn't anti-capitalism...and most people have the common sense to recognize that curtailing the excesses of human behavior isn't the same as hobbling a necessary part of our economy.  Workers should have rights, and businesses should be allowed to thrive...this REALLY shouldn't be a "liberal" or "conservative" thing.

But there ARE radicals on both sides of the political spectrum who are often too well-represented, and it's safe to say that when Governor Brown (hardly a Red State right-winger) is fighting for pension reform, it's NOT appropriate for Labor Secretary Perez to hurt the commuters and transit agencies in our state by denying necessary funding for arguments that virtually all pro-transit advocates and consumer groups vigorously disagree with. Similarly, the issue of pension reform isn't the same as hurting those in the public sector who've earned a pension. 

Asking public sector employees to contribute more to a pension system in order to keep that system sustainable is no more unreasonable than raising the issue of asking ALL Americans to do what it takes to keep Social Security sustainable and healthy. Yet those who refuse even the most basic premises of public sector pension reform paint those asking for some compromise as extremist [LINK], and do not realize how heartless and extremist towards taxpayers THEY come across as appearing.

And when public transportation unions threaten to either strike or support transit defunding from the aforementioned Labor Secretary Perez, they come across as those willing to throw their patrons and constituents under the very same buses and trains they drive every day.  As with police officers and firefighters, transit workers should NOT be able to strike because of the devastation it causes society in general.

This isn't a right-wing or left-wing issue--it's a common sense, compassion-related issue, where those placed in charge of various constituents represent the needs of their constituents over their own personal needs.  When the private sector thwarts the needs of their investors, employees and consumers, it's a grievous and wrongful thing...but it's a particularly grievous and wrongful thing when it occurs with public sector, taxpayer dollars. Mass transit and freeway-construction projects have two forms of job creation:  the short-term jobs of construction, and the long-term jobs created by an economy that is enhanced by the establishment of greater mobility to and through a given region. 

The latter form of job creation is harder to mandate, but the former is entirely fixable and able to be mandated by government oversight. And while I take issue with the Crenshaw/LAX line being a "black person's transit line," because commuters of all colors will use that line, and should build that line, I entirely support County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas's efforts to ensure that those impacted by, and who live next to, that rail line be allowed access to good jobs that will be created by upcoming construction efforts (LINK). Supervisor Ridley-Thomas isn't just fighting for economic justice...he's fighting for common sense and common decency. 

And one shouldn't have to be part of a politically-connected contractor or union (public or private sector) to get a job building this $2 billion rail line.  On this issue, I personally support Supervisor Ridley-Thomas in his efforts, and it's my contention and conviction that the entire county should support him as well.

Ultimately, however, the long-term job creation that is created by greater mobility is the job creation we must focus on the most.  That form of job creation that merits the attention is truly "keeping one's eye on the ball," and for which transit and road construction is ultimately purposed. Workers need access to their jobs, and lower-income individuals are particularly hurt by lack of public transportation to their employment, shopping and other destinations of their daily existence. 

To have left-wing extremists blackmail taxpayers and lower-income workers from necessary and appropriate transit operations and funding is as awful as when right-wing extremists threaten to dry up transit funding to serve their own hardline beliefs. Affordable housing and transportation really is NOT anything new under the sun, and neither is common sense or common decency.  So both a plea and a demand to the left-wing, as with the right-wing, extremists in our society to show restraint is one that should be pursued by all who favor taxpayer and worker rights. This is not a left- or right-wing issue...just one based on simple human decency.
  

Will City Hall Torpedo the Port of Los Angeles?

http://citywatchla.com/lead-stories-hidden/5683-will-city-hall-torpedo-the-port-of-los-angeles

By Jack Humphreville, September 10, 2013


 


LA WATCHDOG - The Port of Los Angeles is a major economic component of the Southern California economy, responsible, along with Port of Long Beach, for economic activity that supports over 900,000 jobs.  However, the Port has run into strong headwinds as the volume of imported containers has slipped 6% over the last twelve months.

Even exports of loaded containers are down 12% this year after almost doubling over the last ten years.

These lower volumes, both of which are about 10% below their peak volumes, should serve as a wakeup call to the management of the Port, its Board of politically appointed commissioners, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the City Council, especially as the competitive environment for international waterborne trade is increasing, eating into the Port’s market share and revenues and the incomes of Southern Californians.

In 2014, the widening of the Panama Canal is scheduled to be completed.  This will allow for the more efficient shipment of containers from Asia to populous markets served by well-run ports on the Gulf and East Coasts.

At the same time, ports in Canada (Prince Rupert and Vancouver), Mexico (Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas), and the western USA (Seattle, Tacoma, and Oakland) are aggressively expanding their operations and marketing efforts, targeting retailers, manufacturers, and shippers who are fed up with the high cost Port of Los Angeles and our business unfriendly City.

Now is the opportune time for Eric Garcetti, our newly elected mayor, to introduce significant change to the Port of Los Angeles.

Importantly, Eric and his advisors need to realize that the salad days of the Port are history.  It is not realistic to expect that the rapid growth of the last twenty years will continue, when Port’s traffic increased four times, from 2.1 million containers in 1990 to a peak of 8.5 million containers in 2006.  Rather, the Port is in a very competitive business, where efficiency, reliability, and cost are the basis for logistical decisions by beneficial cargo owners and the shipping industry. 

Eric and City Hall must also come to the harsh realization that the Port is not the center of the universe, but just a cog in the multifaceted global supply chain.

As a first step, Eric should appoint five new commissioners who have industry or logistics experience or the managerial, technical or financial expertise or experience that will allow them to provide valuable guidance to the Port’s management and serve as representatives of the Port to its customers, suppliers, and partners. 

Eric and the new commissioners must also assess the quality and capabilities of the General Manager and her team, especially given that over the last ten to fifteen years, the City has politicized the management ranks of the Port.  More than likely, we need a new General Manager who has the authority to “clean house” and develop a realistic strategic plan that reflects the increasingly competitive environment. 

The Port and the City of Los Angeles also need to improve their relationships with the international shipping community, the trucking industry, and large national retailers as its business unfriendly, my-way-or-the-highway attitude has alienated important segments of the supply chain.

Over the last five years, the Port and the trucking industry have been engaged in an acrimonious legal battle over the “company employee” provision of the Clean Truck Program that would have facilitated the unionization of independent owner operators of trucks.  However, the courts found that the “company employee” provision violated federal law, but this was after the Port spent a rumored $15 million in legal fees and expenses.

The City’s political establishment has also alienated numerous retailers, including Wal-Mart, by far the nation’s largest importer, by refusing to allow the company to open big box stores within the City.  As a result of this hostile reception (including opposition to a 30,000 square foot grocery operation in underserved Chinatown) and selected work stoppages, Wal-Mart has developed its Four Corner strategy. This has resulted in cargo being diverted to other ports on the West and East Coasts, costing the Southern California economy millions in economic activity.

The Port will also need revamp its financial policies in this increasingly competitive world so that it has the flexibility to fund billions in capital expenditures that are necessary to maintain the Port’s efficiency and overcome its high cost structure. 

The Port also needs to address the ever increasing, multibillion debt of the Alameda Corridor.
Overall, the Port’s finances appear to be in excellent shape.  However, when the Port’s proportionate share of the Alameda Corridor’s debt ($1.1 billion) and interest expense ($60 million) are included in its balance sheet and income statement, its financial ratios, while still investment grade, deteriorate considerably.

As a result, the Port needs to limit its investments in and contributions to non-revenue producing ventures, including its $1 billion Waterfront Initiative, the $500 million marine research center, dollar a year leases, and other worthwhile community projects.

Furthermore, the Port will need to rationalize its work force, eliminate many of the surplus City employees that were dumped into its lap during the City’s fiscal crisis, and rely on proven professionals that have an excellent understanding of the Port’s operations and how the Port can service its customers’ needs. 

The Port must adapt to the slow growth, highly competitive environment by revamping its management, by developing a realistic view of its place in the supply chain, by building strong relationships with its customers, and by maintaining a strong cash flow and balance sheet. Otherwise, the Port will continue to lose market share and impede the growth of the Southern California economy.
Eric, will y
ou allow the past to torpedo the Port’s future or will you launch a new beginning for the Port of Los Angeles and show that our City and its economy can adapt to the new world?   

Broadway streetcar faces $200-million funding gap

L.A. officials must resolve the $200-million gap before seeking U.S. transportation grants, probably delaying the 2015 opening. 

 http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-streetcar-money-20130910,0,2159180.story

By Laura J. Nelson, September 9, 2013

 End of L.A.'s streetcars

 Streetcar enthusiasts gather as the last L.A. car completes its run in 1963. The proposed line would run 10 blocks down Broadway before veering west to LA Live and north through the Financial District.


Building a proposed streetcar line in downtown Los Angeles may cost more than twice the original estimate, an adjustment that raises serious questions about the project's funding and future.

The original estimate to build the Broadway streetcar line, about $125 million, did not include the cost of utility work, such as moving power lines. That could add up to $166 million, according to a recent city report, and other costs could rise by $28 million to $37 million.

The funding gap of almost $200 million must be resolved before officials apply for federal transportation grants, which could total up to $75 million. The applications and the debut of the Broadway streetcar, scheduled for late 2015, will probably both be delayed.

"I don't want to go down the trail where we have to keep hitting a moving target," City Councilman Paul Krekorian told city staff members Monday at a budget committee meeting.

Advocates say the streetcar is the missing link for downtown's growing car-free culture, and will encourage growth along Broadway, where development has lagged. The line would run 10 blocks down Broadway before veering west to LA Live and north through the Financial District, ending near the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In December, downtown voters — who had been told the project would cost $125 million — approved a special taxing district that will bring in an estimated $62.5 million.

The updated cost of the project could still be high or low, staff members said, because the true cost of utility relocation won't be known until construction starts. Crews often come across pipes or wires in unexpected places.

Krekorian urged city staff to find alternate sources of funding, including enough for a contingency fund. If the city receives funds from the Federal Transit Administration, any additional costs will fall to the city.

A representative of Councilman Jose Huizar, who has championed the project, said his office would "aggressively pursue" additional federal grants. Staff members also suggested that the Department of Water and Power cover the cost of replacing some utilities, such as aging water pipes, under downtown streets.

"We're not losing any sleep over these numbers," Jessica Wethington McLean, the executive director for Bringing Back Broadway, told officials. "They represent a 100% perfect solution, which is very unlikely."

She referred to the expectation that engineers will modify the plans to make them more efficient. That could involve reducing the number of streetcar stops or slightly shifting the tracks to dodge utility lines.

If the streetcar line is built, operations will be covered by $254 million in local returns from Measure R, a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects that county voters approved in 2008.

Petition: Do not fund or build an SR 710 tunnel or freeway


 http://www.change.org/petitions/do-not-fund-or-build-an-sr-710-tunnel-or-freeway?utm_campaign=new_signature&utm_medium=email&utm_source=signature_receipt#share
 
September 9, 2013
 
 
 
Do not fund or build an SR 710 tunnel or freeway
 
 
 
 
 
Petitioning Hon. Jerry Brown

Do not fund or build an SR 710 tunnel or freeway

Petition by 
No 710 Tunnel Concerned Citizens

A 710 freeway will not solve traffic problems in the San Gabriel Valley!
1. Increased freeway capacity generates increased freeway usage. If we ‘relieve’ traffic in the entire region by bringing it to the San Gabriel Valley, we increase the traffic level here. Metro’s own estimate is an additional volume of 190,000 annual daily traffic trips if this freeway extension is built.
2. There is no benefit to increased traffic volume. Increased traffic volume means increased air congestion, increased pollution, adverse health effects and decreased quality of life. Do you want our driving experience to be like it is on the westside? This tunnel would open at service level “F” from day one.
3. San Gabriel Valley resident will NOT benefit from the 710 completion. A toll to use a 710 tunnel is required because it is so expensive - $5.6 to $14 billion - to build. Most motorists will not pay the estimated $5.64 to $20 toll fees to drive 4.5 miles. Instead they will divert to local residential streets, crawling along at slow speeds and spewing higher levels of pollutants into the local corridor’s air.
4. The better alternative is a comprehensive multi-modal plan - increased light rail service, increased bus rapid transit service, better connections and creating work opportunities closer to home, not further away. We deserve a cleaner, healthier, greener community. Our cities do not exist to enable urban freight transport or other people’s commutes.
5. Get involved! Visit the No710freewayextension facebook page and the No 710 Action Committee website for fully referenced facts, the latest news, and how to get involved.
To:
Hon. Jerry Brown, Governor, State of California
Commission Members, The California Transportation Commission
Please do not fund or build an SR-710 tunnel or freeway.

A 710 freeway will not solve traffic problems in the San Gabriel Valley

1. Increased freeway capacity generates increased freeway usage. If we ‘relieve’ traffic in the entire region by bringing it to the San Gabriel Valley, we increase the traffic level here. Metro’s own estimate is an additional volume of 190,000 annual daily traffic trips if this freeway extension is built.

2. There is no benefit to increased traffic volume. Increased traffic volume means increased air congestion, increased pollution, adverse health effects and decreased quality of life. Do you want our driving experience to be like it is on the westside? This tunnel would open at service level “F” from day one.

3. San Gabriel Valley resident will NOT benefit from the 710 completion. A toll to use a 710 tunnel is required because it is so expensive - $5.6 to $14 billion - to build. Most motorists will not pay the estimated $5.64 to $20 toll fees to drive 4.5 miles. Instead they will divert to local residential streets, crawling along at slow speeds and spewing higher levels of pollutants into the local corridor’s air.

4. The better alternative is a comprehensive multi-modal plan - increased light rail service, increased bus rapid transit service, better connections and creating work opportunities closer to home, not further away. We deserve a cleaner, healthier, greener community. Our cities do not exist to enable urban freight transport or other people’s commutes.

5. Get involved! Visit the No710freewayextension facebook page and the No 710 Action Committee website for fully referenced facts, the latest news, and how to get involved.

Opposition groups and Injunction plaintiffs include (partial list):
California Preservation Foundation
City of Glendale
City of La Cañada Flintridge
City of Los Angeles
City of South Pasadena
Crescenta Valley Town Council
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
Friends of the Earth
Glassell Park Improvement Association
Glendale Home Owners Coordinating Council
Heartland Institute
Highland Park Heritage Trust
La Cañada Flintridge Unified School District
Caltrans Tenants of the 710 Corridor
Land Use Committee Far North Glendale Homeowners Association
Los Angeles Conservancy
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Pasadena Heritage
Public Citizen
San Rafael Neighborhoods Association
Sierra Club
South Pasadena Preservation Foundation
South Pasadena Unified School District
Taxpayers for Common Sense
West Pasadena Residents’ Association
Sincerely,
[Your name] 

Suppporters



 

Notes on transit: the 2024 Olympics, Measure R and project acceleration

http://thesource.metro.net/2013/09/09/notes-on-transit-the-2024-olympics-measure-r-and-project-acceleration/comment-page-1/#comment-101390

By Steve Hymon, September 9, 2013



As summer winds down, just wanted to post a few notes from Source Planetary & Universe Headquarters, conveniently located next to Union Station and the county jail:

•The International Olympic Committee on Saturday picked Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, spurning Istanbul (again) and Madrid. In 2017, the IOC will select the site of the 2024 Summer Olympics, with Los Angeles possibly in the running.

The above video was part of Tokyo's bid for the games. I think it's interesting for a couple of reasons. One, it emphasizes the walkability to many of the Olympic venues in Tokyo. Two, it doesn't emphasize transit, perhaps because Tokyo's subway is notoriously crowded.

With that thought in mind, allow me to backtrack for a few paragraphs.

In a rare foray into the Wild West that is reddit, I was asked recently when Metro might take a Measure R extension back to voters. An extension failed at the polls in November despite receiving 66.1 percent approval — just shy of the two-thirds necessary for a victory.

Short answer: no decision to go back to voters has been made by the Metro Board, the ultimate decider on such matters.

Long answer: In June, the Metro Board adopted an acceleration strategy. Part of that strategy was asking Metro staff for a report on when it would be best to return to voters — either 2014 or 2016. It's fair to say that's an acknowledgment that it will be difficult to accelerate anything without extending Measure R past its current 2039 expiration date. Why? There's likely not enough federal funding otherwise without a big local match.


I could be wrong, but my sense is that one factor in any future acceleration decision is whether the Los Angeles region seriously pursues the 2024 Summer Olympics. Earlier this year, then-Mayor Villaraigosa wrote the U.S. Olympic Committee, saying L.A. is interested. On his first day in office in July, Mayor Garcetti wrote USOC, saying much the same thing. (More info on the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games website)

If so, pursuing transit upgrades could become part of an overall infrastructure upgrade. Cities almost always promise key infrastructure upgrades as part of their Olympic bids. And there are a couple of Measure R projects that I'm guessing Olympic officials might be interested in: the Purple Line Extension to Westwood and the Airport Metro Connector, currently scheduled to be done in 2036 and 2028, respectively.

Why?

UCLA sits at the end of the third phase of the Purple Line Extension and some of the school's facilities could be used as an Olympic venue. Pauley Pavilion hosted gymnastics in 1984, back in the pre-Staple Center days.

The Airport Metro Connector seeks to connect the LAX terminals to the Crenshaw/LAX line via bus rapid transit, people mover, light rail or some combination of those three. If L.A. is going to compete for an Olympics, L.A. also needs to realize that many other metro areas across the globe have managed to breach the gap between their airport and their transit systems.

Of course, there is also the matter of Olympic politics. Tokyo also hosted the 1964 Summer Games. Who knows if the IOC would want to put the next Olympics in a city such as L.A. that has already twice hosted them. On the other hand, the U.S. last hosted a Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta.
The hope here is that L.A. will be a strong contender because so many facilities are already here, assuming the Coliseum or Rose Bowl could be retrofitted with a running track.

Even without Measure R projects being accelerated, our region can still boast of a serious transit expansion since the 1984 Olympics — when there was no Metro Rail or Metrolink. Metro now runs 87.7 miles of rail and Metrolink service spans six counties. Even without acceleration, Metro is still planning to open five projects in the next decade: the second phase of the Expo Line, the Gold Line Foothill Extension, the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Regional Connector and the first phase of the Purple Line Extension before 2024. That would make it far easier to travel around to different events.

•After years of evasive action, I was selected for a jury earlier this year. As the judge said at the outset of the trial, many reluctant jurors end up finding it a rewarding experience — and she was absolutely right.

It was great to see how the wheels of justice really work and also provide a measure of fairness to defendants entitled to a fair trial and victims who deserve justice. Plus, the criminal courts building in downtown L.A. has pretty decent wi-fi to help get things done when outside the courtroom.

All that said, I was surprised at how many of my fellow jurors drove to the courthouse, which is one block from the Red/Purple Line Civic Center station. In fact, many of the courthouses in L.A. County are close to Metro Rail and Metro bus lines: Pasadena and East L.A. are near the Gold Line and the Compton courthouse is across the street from the Compton Blue Line station.

Perhaps one day a jury summons will arrive in the mail with a shiny new TAP card inside imprinted with a special scales of justice logo. If the idea is to lower the annoyances of jury duty, then giving prospective jurors an alternative to sitting in traffic may be a good idea.

•I'd like to remind everyone that Metro has an increasingly active presence on Twitter — after a gentle (read: very slow) start the past couple of years, we're finding that Twitter is 1) a great way to converse with the taxpaying public in real-time, and; 2) an equally great way to give boring old government a little — GASP — personality.

Government for too long has been too unwilling to crack a smile, tell a joke, apologize or flagellate itself. Well, we're going to try a different approach on our Twitter feed. And while I don't expect it to persuade everyone that Metro is crazy awesome, I do hope it lends a little bit of humanity to an agency that you're paying for.

Just FYI, there's a parallel effort at Metro to beef up staff in order to get service alerts to riders more quickly via Twitter and electronic signs. More on that soon, I hope.

•Speaking of social media, Metro has debuted on Instagram. If you ever wondered what government-issued egg salad look like, here's your big chance. Hint: It somehow manages to look worse than it tastes.

•And, finally, I'm pleased that The Source will soon be entering the world of podcasting. I think it will be a fun way to hear from people in the world of transportation and planning, both inside and outside of Metro. If you have an idea for someone who may be a good guest, email me.

"Kick-Off" Meeting for Desiderio Park

Posted by Pasadena Councilperson Steve Madison on Facebook, September 9, 2013

My office and the Public Work’s Department are hosting a “Kick-Off” meeting for Desiderio Park on Tuesday, September 10 at 6:30 – @ La Casita del Arroyo. Hope to see you there.
 

Sinkhole on Colorado Blvd.

From Carla Riggs, September 9, 2013: 

Another item to consider is Colorado Blvd just west of us. Have you noticed the mess on the south side of the street just east of Figueroa? Los Angeles has finally begun to fix the road, which was caused by a SINKHOLE.

With our decade long drought, and ground wells disappearing, is this an occurrence to which we can occasionally look?

~Carla

Peggy Drouet: I have passed the construction area over and over again but had no idea of what it was for, the problem being is that even though the sinkhole is only couple of hundred feet from the border of Pasadena it is in the City of Los Angeles and it seems that that city doesn't share information with its close neighbor. Thanks Carla for the information. I found some articles on the internet concerning the sinkhole:


Colorado Boulevard Sinkhole Repair Construction Begins

 http://eaglerock.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/cd-14-newsletter-sinkhole-repairs-music-festival-summers-last-concert

By Ajay Singh, August 24, 2013

From Los Angeles Council District 14 newsletter for the week of August 24, 2013:

 In October 2011, Councilmember José Huizar introduced a motion in City Council to ask the Department of Public Works to determine the cause of a sinkhole on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock and report back with recommendations on how to fix it. Due to the severity of the damage, the City Engineer determined that repairs needed to be performed as soon as possible. In June 2012, the City Council adopted the Bureau of Engineering's report and declared it an urgent necessity so that it could be assigned to an emergency on-call contractor.

 Last week, the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering began work on the sinkhole. Located 3/10th of a mile east of Figueroa Street on Colorado Boulevard, the project includes the removal and reconstruction of 700 lateral feet of damaged roadway and sub-base.
Impacts to the community:

·       There will be no street parking on the south side of Colorado Boulevard within the limits of the construction area.

·       Traffic traveling eastbound on Colorado Boulevard will be reduced to one lane between approximately Figueroa Street and Glengarry Road.

·       The project is estimated to be completed by next spring.

·       Work hours are from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

You will possibly notice dust, noise during the working hours. The City will work as quickly and safely as possible. We appreciate your patience during this emergency construction phase. If you have any questions, contact the Bureau of Engineering at (213) 978-0329 or call Councilmember Huizar's Northeast Office at (323) 254-5295.


City tries to get to the bottom of Eagle Rock sinkhole*

 http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2011/10/city-tries-to-get-to-the-bottom-of-eagle-rock-sinkhole/

October 27, 2011

 

 

 
One of the eastbound traffic lanes of  Colorado Boulevard on the border of Eagle Rock and Pasadena has been blocked since August after large cracks appeared and sections of the concrete pavement began to sink. City officials blame a nearly one-third-mile long sinkhole for undermining the pavement, forcing the closure of a 145-foot-long stretch of the right lane in front of homes and small office buildings. This week, Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a motion asking city engineers to undertake a sinkhole study and report back with possible fixes:

The Bureau of Engineering has recommended that a study be conducted in order to examine the sink hole. Because Colorado Boulevard is a concrete street it is possible that previous work on the street may not have been completed and that may be causing tension and cracks along the street. Another possible source of the sink hole may be a replacement of a water main.
They better hurry. Sections of the pavement have already sagged more than two inches in some places.
* Correction: A previous version of this post said that the City Council was scheduled to vote on the motion on Friday, Sept. 28.  That’s wrong. As Eagle Rock Patch points out, the motion will first be reviewed by the City Council’s Public Works Committee.

Hate your commute now? Just wait 5 years

Expect 50% more traffic on some routes in coming years

 www.marketwatch.com/story/worst-commutes-of-the-future-2013-09-06

By Catey Hill, September 8, 2013






















Think your commute is bad now? Give it a few years and you may long for today’s traffic. Labor Day-weekend gridlock may become the new normal for daily commuters in many cities, a new study finds. 

“Without investment and policy changes, average daily car volume will soon surpass that of the notoriously congested first weekend of September—within a decade in some places,” according to a study released this week by the U.S. Travel Association. In some areas, peak Labor Day traffic is 50% higher than average: On I-45 from Dallas to Houston, for example, the peak of Labor Day traffic was 59% higher than average. The study examined highway usage data and estimated highway growth rates along some of the major interstate corridors in the U.S. “Within many cities, already almost every day is like Labor Day,” says Erik Hansen, who managed the study; soon, many commuters can expect heavy traffic like this on the highways even outside of the cities, he says. 

Here are the 11 highways likely to experience daily Labor Day-like traffic congestion soonest, some within the next decade.



Dallas to Houston, I-45

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that may soon apply to traffic jams too. Traffic on Interstate 45, which connects Dallas and Houston, is 59% higher than average at the peak of Labor Day weekend. The U.S. Travel Association study predicts that by 2035 the roadway will reach Labor-Day-like levels of traffic congestion on the average day, unless a significant infrastructure project — be it a rail system, new road or other advancement — is undertaken in the next six years.
Image: Interstate 45 and the Houston skyline



 

Denver to Vail, I-70

Attention, ski bunnies: Soon, waiting in lift lines won’t be the only test of your patience. Interstate 70 from Denver to Vail will likely experience Labor Day-like traffic (in this case, congestion that’s 62% higher than average) by 2035, unless infrastructure projects break ground by 2035. 



Central North Carolina, I-95

Interstate 95 runs near or through towns in central North Carolina, including Fayetteville, Dunn and Smithfield, and many commuters to and from larger cities like Raleigh and Durham use it semi-regularly to access other parts of the state. By 2034, commuters on an average day may experience traffic levels that are up to 55% higher than today’s average, unless significant infrastructure projects break ground by 2019. 



Indianapolis to Chicago, I-65

Labor Day traffic on Interstate 65 from Indianapolis to Chicago is 49% higher than average at its peak. Unless a major transportation project is und
ertaken in the next five years, commuters will experience this level of congestion on the average day by the year 2033. 


Southern Utah, I-15

Interstate 15 connects a number of popular national parks and forests, like Dixie National Forest and Fishlake National Forest, as well as the popular resort community of St. George, which is known for its golfing. Come 2033, commuters to these relaxing nature parks may need the R&R even more: Average daily traffic may be 55% higher than it is on an average day now. 





Michigan, I-96

Interstate 96 runs from Detroit almost to the shores of Lake Michigan, providing a major highway to towns like Farmington Hills and Lansing and a vacation route that many take to enjoy the lake. But by 2030, commuters along this road may experience traffic levels that are 54% higher than the current average, unless the state undertakes a significant transportation project by 2015.

 

Southern California to Las Vegas, I-15

Commuters looking to escape California for the glittering lights of Sin City may soon find they’ve got a losing hand. By 2026, traffic on Interstate 15, which connects Southern California and Las Vegas, will likely be 28% higher than average. What’s more, to prevent this from happening, a significant infrastructure project would have needed to break ground two years back.
 
 

Columbus to Pittsburgh, I-70

You may soon need nerves of steel to travel from Columbus to Pittsburgh along I-70. Peak Labor Day traffic on this roadway is 40% higher than average; by 2026 this will likely be the norm, as the government didn’t break ground back in 2011 on transportation projects that could’ve thwarted this. 


Los Angeles to San Diego, I-5

L.A.’s terrible gridlock is world-famous — and soon it may get even worse, even far down Interstate 5. In 10 years, the highway will likely experience 22% higher rates of traffic than it does now on the average day. To have stopped this, an infrastructure initiative should’ve begun five years ago.
 
 
 

New York to Washington, D.C., I-95

Good thing residents of the Big Apple and our nation’s capital are no strangers to public transportation, though they may want to get used to taking it more than just around their cities. The average traffic levels on Interstate 95 may be 17% higher than average by 2023. We’re likely past the point of preventing this: The study found that we should have started a transportation project back in 2008 to keep this gridlock situation from stalling us. 


 

Florida Atlantic Coast, I-95

To have prevented Labor-Day-like traffic conditions on I-95 from Palm Beach and Melbourne, the government would have needed to act by 2005. Instead, by 2020, commuters along the highway will likely experience traffic congestion that’s 19% higher than average. 
 
 
 

IF THE ROAD COULD TALK TO YOU, WHAT WOULD IT SAY?

http://designtoimprovelife.dk/if-the-road-could-talk-to-you-what-would-it-say/

2013

For a long time, we have had super intelligent cars, but really dumb roads. Until now, when a young Dutch designer decided to approach the biggest part of our transportation system with a belief that roads should communicate with its drivers in order to promote both traffic safety and traffic efficiency. It is roads re-imagined.
 
In the past decades, large investments have been going into developing smart cars, but very little focus have been given to the developing of smart roads. Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde decided to do something about this, so – in collaboration with Heijmans Infrastructure, a Dutch multinational development company – he designed INDEX: Award 2013 Winner in the Community Category, Smart Highway, a whole new road experience to be realized already by the second half of 2013.
“This is not just some funny idea – we are talking about the future of roads everywhere here”, says INDEX: Award jury member Nille-Juul Sørensen.
 ”This is not just some funny idea – we are talking about the future of roads everywhere here”
“We live in cities of endless gray concrete roads, surrounded by steel lamps and they have a huge visual impact on our cities. But why do the roads remain so rough and without imagination? Why not turn them into a vision of mobility – a symbol of the future?” Daan Roosegaarde asks.

Daan Roosegarde (left) with the director of Heijmanns. (Credits: Studio Roosegaarde)
Daan Roosegarde (left) with the director of Heijmanns. 

Smart Highway is an interactive and sustainable road that includes a five-step plan for modernizing European roadways. It proposes embedding highways with technology that can visually communicate when the road is slippery, charge your electric car as you drive, and generate electricity for its own lights. The goal is to make roads more sustainable and interactive by using light, energy and road signs that automatically adapt to the traffic situation. New design concepts include the ‘Glow-in-the-Dark Road’, ‘Dynamic Paint’, ‘Interactive Light’, ‘Induction Priority Lane’ and ‘Wind Light’.

The Smart Highway is not a completely new road, but rather a kit of parts that can be applied to existing roads as needed. “It’s not an esoteric thing, it’s a pervasive thing. After all, we all know roads”, says INDEX: Award jury member Ravi Naidoo. For example, the “Dynamic Paint” communicates with drivers about weather and traffic changes.
 ”It’s not an esoteric thing, it’s a pervasive thing. After all, we all know roads”
When the temperature drops under freezing and the roads become slippery, the paint activates, covering the road with a dusting of bright cartoon snowflakes. Similarly, a glow-in-the-dark paint treated with photo-luminizing powder could reduce the need for auxiliary lighting. Charged in daylight, the glow-in-the-dark road illuminates the contours of the road at night for up to 10 hours.

Smart Highway is a tactile, high-tech environment in which the viewer and space become one. This connection, established between ideology and technology, results in what Roosegaarde calls ‘techno-poetry’. With his unique and poetic approach, Daan Roosegaarde is offering the world an entirely new approach to roads, which is not only beautiful and alluring but also a sustainable and cost-effective solution, thus offering a unique design solution to both developed and developing countries. Daan Roosegaarde is awarded for a design that the INDEX: Award Jury is confident will spin out to many sustainable and cost-efficient innovations in the years to come. Innovations that will all carry a large potential to improve life for people.

 Smart Highway lit up at night. (Credits: Studio Roosegaarde)
Smart Highway lit up at night. 


Use of award money

Daan Roosegaarde will use part of the €100,000 from INDEX: Award 2013 to support realization and storytelling of Smart Highway. Specifically, the money will be used to push the concepts ‘Dynamic Paints’, ‘Glowing Lines’, ‘Electronic Priority Lane’, and ‘Wind Lights’ from prototype to actual product thus making sure that Smart Highway is realized. Funds will also be spent on communicating the story and ideology of Smart Highway via social media and lectures by Daan Roosegaarde for art, architecture and design students.

Another part of the €100,000 from INDEX: Award 2013 will be used to generate new ideas that come from the Smart Highway process. For example, this will comprise explorations in applying the principle of the Smart Highway project on bicycle lanes or airport landing tracks. Included herein are also even more avant-garde ideas such as taking the bioluminescence of jellyfish or fireflies and apply this to nature, thus making roadside plants and trees glow at night as an alternative to public lighting – resulting in a 100% new natural lighting.

Lastly, the INDEX: Award money will be spent on a special pilot project for Smart Highway in a developing country. Studio Roosegaarde thus sets out to do a ‘Glowing Lines’ project in Mumbai or Cape Town/ Johannesburg with a low-budget client, where part of the funds will make the project realizable and enable the studio to work with local clients in Africa or India, to enhance a safe, energy neutral, and a magical landscape for the local people – creating a new landmark of light.

For a video: 

Complete the Freeway Petition

Monrovia City Council: Support the 710 Completion

Petition by 
Close The Gap
United States

 
Dear Friends,
Please join us in asking the City Council of Monrovia to support the Completion of the 710 Freeway.  The 710 Freeway Must be Completed:
  1. It will generate over 500,000 new jobs per year in the next 25 years if we invest in our region’s transportation infrastructure and eliminate 3 million hours of wasted time due to congestion.
  2. By filling the 710 gap, the region will enjoy substantial relief in traffic volumes on freeways throughout Southern California because of the ripple effect caused by the current bottleneck of the incomplete 710 corridor.  Freeway segments as far as 30 miles away (Valencia to Anaheim) will feel relief.
  3. Completion of the 710 Gap could potentially remove about 1.1 tons of air pollutants each day.  That equals 803,000 pounds of air pollutants removed from the air every year.
  4. The lack of alternatives on the 710 Gap means that the residents of the 710 Corridor itself are choking on the nearly 100,000 additional vehicles idling at traffic lights, crawling along at slow speeds and spewing higher levels of pollutants into the local corridor’s air.
  5. When measured against the 2035 No Build (or the baseline condition), a tunnel is projected to: 
    • -Reduce arterial and freeway congestion by over 20%. 
    • -Remove over 75,000 daily trips from the local street system which was NEVER intended to bear this level of traffic.
    • -Reduce regional cut-through traffic from 25% (or 1 in 4 vehicles) to 10% (or 1 in 10 vehicles). 
    • -Eliminate congestion at 22% of intersections studied. 
Thank you for completing the petition.



To:
Alice D. Atkins, CMC, City Clerk, Monrovia
The 710 Freeway must be completed:

1. It will generate over 500,000 new jobs per year in the next 25 years and eliminate 3 million hours of wasted time due to traffic congestion. That means more time for you to spend with your loved ones.

2. Monrovia resident will benefit from the 710 completion. The region will enjoy substantial relief in traffic volumes on freeways throughout Southern California because of the ripple effect caused by the current bottleneck of the incomplete 710 corridor. Freeway segments as far as 30 miles away –from Valencia to Anaheim.

3. The completion of the 710 Gap could potentially remove about 1.1 tons of air pollutants each day. That equals 803,000 pounds of air pollutants removed from the air every year. That is cleaner air for all to breathe.

4. The lack of true alternatives to the 710 Gap means that the residents of the 710 Corridor itself are choking on the nearly 100,000 additional vehicles idling at traffic lights, crawling along at slow speeds and spewing higher levels of pollutants into the local corridor’s air.

5. It is time. Please help us.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
[Your name]


Note by Peggy Drouet:  Close the Gap does not give any information as to who they are. The question remains: How does Monrovia benefit from an increase in both car and truck traffic on the 210 if the tunnel is completed?

 Comments to the petition:

 

Alice D. Atkins, CMC, City Clerk, Monrovia responds:

Alice D. Atkins, CMC, City Clerk, Monrovia
“At their meeting on Tuesday, September 6, 2013, the City Council of the City of Monrovia adopted a Resolution affirming its support for closure of the transportation gap existing along State Route 710. While we appreciate public input on all items coming before the Monrovia City Council, there are no plans for this legislative body to consider any further action on this matter. Respectfully, Alice D. Atkins, CMC City Clerk City of Monrovia”

Posted on September 09, 2013 

Supporters

Reasons for signing

  • Charles Lam ALHAMBRA, CA

    The major benefit of completing the 710 freeway would be to reduce air pollution in the local communities. However, the one huge concern that this Change.org petition DOES NOT address is the displacement of families living along the proposed corridor. Rather than highlighting the creation of new jobs, which may be directly influenced by commercial and political interests, we should concentrate on how much money is to be used to help the displaced families. Where will this money come from (i.e., taxpayers, government funding, or private party), and how will we calculate the amount disbursed to each family? I do not live in the immediate 710 corridor, so I am speaking from a neutral position. Notice this petition was created by the City of Monrovia, and may not support those who will be most directly impacted. I am for completing the 710 corridor, but these issues need to be addressed.
  • Summer Cervantez SAN GABRIEL, CA

    Don't let a few rich homeowners in certain neighborhoods keep stopping the completion that would improve the lives and daily commute of many!
  • Jean Prinz SAN GABRIEL, CA

    Fremont was never intended to be a freeway!
  • juan torres EAST LOS ANGELES, CA

    yes please complete the 710 for everyones sake...
  • Mary Swink GLENDORA, CA
    •  
    The 710 Freeway will reduce congestion on all the freeways.

The Week in Livable Streets Events

http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/09/09/the-week-in-livable-streets-events-115/

By Damien Newton, September 9, 2013

Lots of bike stuff on the calendar this week including bike counts, a bike lane proposal in mid-city, and an airport ride on the Westside (Actually in Santa Monica, but the cadence was better saying Westside.)
  • Monday – Just in case you missed the LACBC Bike Count Training last week and still want to participate, the Bike Coalition scheduled an afternoon training session today.  When we last heard from them yesterday, there were still 14 volunteer shifts to be fiulled. For more information on today’s session. Click here.
  • Tuesday – The LADOT will give a presentation on possibly placing bike lanes on Virgil Avenue in Valley Village. Council Member Mitch O’Farrell is co-sponsoring the event, and other public events on this topic have yielded strong community support for bike lanes, road diets, and better crosswalks. The project area is from Virgil Avenue between Santa Monica and Melrose. For more on the meeting, click here.
  • Tuesday, Saturday – The bike counts are here! The bike counts are here! Many of the LACBC’s counts are scheduled in South L.A. and The Valley, but you can probably find one near you. Check it out.
  • Wednesday – The City Council Transportation Committee meeting meets, and there is no mention of the MyFigueroa! project on the agenda. The meeting is 2 pm at City Hall, but you can listen live or archived over the Internet off the City Clerk’s website. Everything you need to know is right here.
  • SaturdayProyecto Jardin is a community garden in the heart of Boyle Heights, and are currently recruiting for the Fall Cycle of the Food Growers Collective. Join them for a General Information Session at Proyecto Jardin  on September 14th to learn about the Food Growers Collective and how to become part of the fall cycle. Read more about Proyecto Jardin in this story by Kris Fortin and more about the event, here.
  • Sunday – Santa Monica’s LACBC chapter Santa Monica Spoke is sponsoring a bike ride at 10 am to learn more about environmental and airport planning issues surrounding the Santa Monica airport. Read all about it, here.

Forget teens; you should be worried about drunk moose gangs

http://grist.org/list/forget-teens-you-should-be-worried-about-drunk-moose-gangs/

By Sarah Laskow, September 9, 2013

If there’s one thing that humans and moose can agree on, it’s that one of the best parts of fall is seasonal, quite alcoholic cider. But while humans prefer getting tizzy on fermented apples only if they’ve been turned into juice and put into nice bottles, moose are quite content to eat them off the tree and get totally, totally smashed.

This is a problem every year around Stockholm, apparently. One got caught in a swing set; hunters later found “what remained of the swing set hung up in a tree about 500 metres [about a third of a mile] from the house.” This one just got stuck in a tree himself:



Drunk moose can be a danger to themselves.  (One wandered into a pond and drowned.) But they can also be dangerous to humans, when they, for instance, hang out in hordes in the front yards of neighbors, as one police officer in Stockholm reported:
“Five drunken elk were threatening a resident who was barred from entering his own home,” read an incident report on the website of the Stockholm police department.
“Police who arrived on the scene reported that the animals had been warned that the police were on their way and wisely decided to leave the address,” the report read.
We can only imagine what they were doing to the flowerbeds before they decided to go find more apples.

Source:

Drunken elk gang flees Stockholm cops

 A gang of angry drunken elk barred a man from entering his home in suburban Stockholm on Tuesday, leaving the frightened homeowner no choice but to call police for help.

 http://www.thelocal.se/49908/20130828/

 Stockholm man threatened by gang of drunken elk

 

 "Five drunken elk were threatening a resident who was barred from entering his own home," read an incident report on the website of the Stockholm police department.

The author of the report confirmed that the homeowner, who lives on the island of Ingarö in Stockholm's eastern suburbs, was justified in calling the police for help.

"I'm not surprised that he called the police when he was faced with a gang of five drunken elk," police spokesman Albin Näverberg told The Local.

"They can be really dangerous. They become fearless. Instead of backing away when a person approaches, they move toward you. They may even take a run at you."

IN PICTURES: See Leffe the Moose Man who offers "elk intimacy"

The incident involved four adult elk and one calf, Näverberg explained, all of whom were intoxicated after having eaten fermented apples that had fallen from the homeowner's apple tree.

"Police who arrived on the scene reported that the animals had been warned that the police were on their way and wisely decided to leave the address," the report read.

"The elk will have to find somewhere else to get intoxicated."

IN PICTURES: See an elk threesome after a fermented apple binge

The homeowner was instructed by officers to clear his yard of fermented apples in order to avoid any future incidents with drunken elk gangs.

According to Näverberg, Tuesday's run-in wasn't the first time drunken and aggressive elk had caused trouble for the homeowner.

"A couple of years ago a single drunken elk chased his wife from the yard into the house. She had to bolt the door," he said.

Drunken elk are a recurring nuisance for homeowners near Stockholm, explained Näverberg, who estimating that police can receive "dozens" of reports in the autumn when apples and fruit from other trees begins to fall.

SEE ALSO: See the drunken Swedish elk that got stuck in a tree

"If there is a lot of fermenting fruit, then we get a lot of calls about drunken elk. But most often they're gone before officers arrive," he said.

Näverberg admits that he took some artistic licence in writing up the incident report published on the police website in order to add a little fun to an otherwise slow night.

"Things were quiet and when this report came in, I said, 'I have to write this up'," he said.

"It's like they say in the UK, I always try to look on the bright side of life."

RELATED STORY: Is it an elk or a moose? The mystery explained.

Can London Protect Cyclists From the Danger of Trucks?

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/london-moves-protect-cyclists-truck-crashes/6823/

By Sarah Goodyear, September 9, 2013

 Can London Protect Cyclists From the Danger of Trucks?

A Royal Mail truck passes the headquarters of the Guardian newspaper in Kings Place, London.

The city of London has proven that it has no problem imposing fees on vehicles that enter the city’s streets and diminish the quality of life for citizens. In 2003, London implemented congestion pricing, and now charges drivers £10 (about $16) to navigate the central business district during peak times (some discounts are available).

In 2008, a Low Emission Zone was created covering the entire Greater London area, effective 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trucks, buses, and other heavy vehicles that don’t meet certain Euro emissions standards are charged £100 or £200 per day (about $156 or $313), depending on their size. The charge is enforced by cameras that read license plates.

Now London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, has announced another potential charge for vehicles: trucks entering a proposed "Safer Lorry Zone" without guards and bars that prevent cyclists from falling underneath trucks would be subject to a £200 fee.

Some vehicles, like supermarket trucks, are already required by law to be equipped with such safety equipment, but other heavy trucks are not.

Trucks (lorries, in British English) are involved in a disproportionate number of cyclist fatalities in the U.K. capital. Fifty-three percent of cycling deaths in London between 2008 and 2012 involved trucks, although such vehicles only make up 4 percent of London traffic. Just last week, on the same day that the mayor made his announcement, another woman riding a bike was killed by a truck driver in southeast London. She was the fifth cyclist to be killed by a truck driver in London this year. Cycling safety groups have been rallying for more stringent restrictions on trucks within London as the deaths have mounted.


Back in 2009, Johnson experienced the dangers of trucks on the city’s narrow streets himself when cycling in a group with Transport for London officials scouting new bike routes. A truck driver ran into a parked car and the vehicle was dragged into the street, nearly hitting the mayor and his companions. The incident was captured by a surveillance camera. "The mayor was shocked," according to an aide.

Both Paris and Dublin have strict limits on the size of vehicles that can enter the city centers, and also on what times they can make deliveries, but the city of London doesn’t have the power to enact such a ban; a fee is the measure that the local government can put into place.

"There’s no question that HGVs, tipper trucks and cement mixers are the really dangerous beasts of the road and if we can do something to make them safer it’s obviously right that we should," Johnson said when he announced the proposed safety zone.

Truck drivers kill cyclists on a regular basis in U.S. cities as well, but I am not aware of any initiatives to outfit vehicles with safety protections as a result.

The London Cycling Campaign, which has been lobbying for restrictions on heavy vehicles in the city’s streets, and they welcome the mayor’s announcement – although they also call for better driver training and improved cycling facilities.

"The fact is that even a lorry with the best safety equipment can be driven badly," the group cautions.

City of Los Angeles must revamp its metro system

http://dailytrojan.com/2013/09/03/city-of-los-angeles-must-revamp-its-metro-system/

By Morgan Greenwald, September 3, 2013

This past summer, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority began to crack down on freeloaders of the Metro system by locking turnstile gates and placing Metro employees throughout the subway stations for random fare checks.

Though the Metro is not wrong to want people to pay for their transportation, the system itself is pricey for riders and is not friendly to the everyday working- class citizen who uses the Metro.

Moreover, Los Angeles’ subway and bus systems are infamous for being dangerous. On Aug. 6, a 35-year-old man was killed by a Metro train at the Pershing Square stop in downtown Los Angeles. Accidents like this one cause commuters to lose faith in public transportation.

Beyond safety concerns, the Metro is also agonizingly slow; the trains have to stop at traffic lights just like cars and buses, causing delays and long travel time for riders. While the L.A. Metro worked with the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation and successfully synchronized traffic lights in Los Angeles, little improvement in commute times have been seen thus far.

When the syncing of every traffic signal in L.A. was first announced, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl said, “I’m excited for all Angelenos to experience the benefits of this project, whether they’re traveling by car, bike or on foot.”

Rosendahl did not even note the effect the sync would have on public transit in his approval of the newest addition to Los Angeles.

When the Expo line opened its light rail in May of last year, Neal Broverman of Curbed Los Angeles wrote, “With all the line’s delays, it can be safely assumed that many don’t even know it’s operating yet.”

The newest problem with the Metro system, although not necessarily new at all, is its price.

Unlike in New York, where one swipe of $2.50 gets you into the subway and onto all lines, the Los Angeles Metro requires a fee of $1.50 every time you transfer stations. To put this into perspective, to get from USC to Koreatown requires two line transfers, and would therefore cost you $3.00 each way. Though the Metro does offer daily passes for only $5, as well as monthly passes for commuters and discounts for students, many people unfamiliar with Los Angeles are unaware of these options and also don’t know how much more they will be spending if they opt out of a day pass.

Ever since the crackdown on freeloaders of the Metro, the number of riders has significantly decreased. Paul Gonzales, who works with the Metro, told Southern California Public Radio, “We found in most cases that we’re seeing fewer riders during the testing period but more revenue.” While this may be a victory for Metro, there are now people who cannot afford to commute by Metro, which is the cheapest available method of getting around the city.

Without a sufficient public transportation system, people make the decision instead to drive their cars everywhere they go, further polluting the environment and perpetuating the monstrosity that is L.A. traffic. With a faster, cheaper and safer system, fewer people would have to drive their cars to work.

If Los Angeles ever wants to see its public transportation systems compare to those of other major cities, there are many things that need to change. The unfriendly pricing of the TAP card makes public transportation seem like an elitist system, and it only encourages people to drive their cars to work and create even more smog in the Los Angeles air.

If Los Angeles were to eliminate the charges that arise from switching Metro lines, commuting would cost less in the long run and enable those with lower incomes to use public transportation. If the city also made it a bigger priority to get the Metro and buses running more efficiently, Los Angeles would be more accessible without a car.
This past summer, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority began to crack down on freeloaders of the Metro system by locking turnstile gates and placing Metro employees throughout the subway stations for random fare checks.
Though the Metro is not wrong to want people to pay for their transportation, the system itself is pricey for riders and is not friendly to the everyday working- class citizen who uses the Metro. Moreover, Los Angeles’ subway and bus systems are infamous for being dangerous. On Aug. 6, a 35-year-old man was killed by a Metro train at the Pershing Square stop in downtown Los Angeles. Accidents like this one cause commuters to lose faith in public transportation.
Beyond safety concerns, the Metro is also agonizingly slow; the trains have to stop at traffic lights just like cars and buses, causing delays and long travel time for riders. While the L.A. Metro worked with the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation and successfully synchronized traffic lights in Los Angeles, little improvement in commute times have been seen thus far.
When the syncing of every traffic signal in L.A. was first announced, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl said, “I’m excited for all Angelenos to experience the benefits of this project, whether they’re traveling by car, bike or on foot.”
Rosendahl did not even note the effect the sync would have on public transit in his approval of the newest addition to Los Angeles.
When the Expo line opened its light rail in May of last year, Neal Broverman of Curbed Los Angeles wrote, “With all the line’s delays, it can be safely assumed that many don’t even know it’s operating yet.”
The newest problem with the Metro system, although not necessarily new at all, is its price.
Unlike in New York, where one swipe of $2.50 gets you into the subway and onto all lines, the Los Angeles Metro requires a fee of $1.50 every time you transfer stations. To put this into perspective, to get from USC to Koreatown requires two line transfers, and would therefore cost you $3.00 each way. Though the Metro does offer daily passes for only $5, as well as monthly passes for commuters and discounts for students, many people unfamiliar with Los Angeles are unaware of these options and also don’t know how much more they will be spending if they opt out of a day pass.
Ever since the crackdown on freeloaders of the Metro, the number of riders has significantly decreased. Paul Gonzales, who works with the Metro, told Southern California Public Radio, “We found in most cases that we’re seeing fewer riders during the testing period but more revenue.” While this may be a victory for Metro, there are now people who cannot afford to commute by Metro, which is the cheapest available method of getting around the city.
Without a sufficient public transportation system, people make the decision instead to drive their cars everywhere they go, further polluting the environment and perpetuating the monstrosity that is L.A. traffic. With a faster, cheaper and safer system, fewer people would have to drive their cars to work.
If Los Angeles ever wants to see its public transportation systems compare to those of other major cities, there are many things that need to change. The unfriendly pricing of the TAP card makes public transportation seem like an elitist system, and it only encourages people to drive their cars to work and create even more smog in the Los Angeles air.
If Los Angeles were to eliminate the charges that arise from switching Metro lines, commuting would cost less in the long run and enable those with lower incomes to use public transportation. If the city also made it a bigger priority to get the Metro and buses running more efficiently, Los Angeles would be more accessible without a car.
- See more at: http://dailytrojan.com/2013/09/03/city-of-los-angeles-must-revamp-its-metro-system/#sthash.kHhACbHw.dpuf