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 23, 2013

Bike Lane Installation on Colorado Blvd. Begins Monday


By Craig Clough, September 23, 2013

Implementaiton of the Colorado Boulevard Safety Improvement Plan began last week in Eagle Rock with the installation of crosswalks at at El Rio Avenue and Glen Iris Avenue. With work on the crosswalks scheduled to conclude Monday, the  Department of Transportation and a contractor are set to begin installing bike lanes Monday night, according to Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar's newsletter.

The letter states:

On the night of September 23rd, contractors will begin removal of the current lane striping on Colorado Boulevard. On Tuesday, September 24th, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will begin working behind the contractor to stripe in the bike lanes and add the necessary pavement markings. Most work will be completed at night time, and the installations are scheduled to be done by Friday, October 4th.

Sixty bike racks have already been installed as part of the Colorado Boulevard Safety Improvement Plan, which will include flashing beacons being placed at several crosswalks in Eagle Rock in addition to the two new crosswalks at  El Rio Avenue and Glen Iris Avenue.

Click here for more information on the the Colorado Boulevard Safety Improvement Plan.

OCTA Considers Installation Of Toll Lanes On 405 Freeway


September 23, 2013

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — CalTrans and Orange County Transportation officials are still trying to figure out how to improve traffic on the 405 freeway.

The conditions between Costa Mesa and the L.A. County Line, during and outside of rush hour, are impacted, and are becoming worse. Even carpool lanes are no exception to the bumper-to-bumper traffic that has become associated with the freeway.

One of the options being considered to improve traffic flow includes the installation of toll lanes.

 “I think that’s bogus,” one motorist said. “I don’t think it’s fair. I think the freeway is one of the most common freeways in this area so that wouldn’t be fair for everybody else.

CalTrans and Orange County Transportation officials are discussing implementing H.O.T. (High Occupancy Toll) lanes. The possibility of two toll lanes going each direction on the 405 has been discussed, though a decision has not been made.

The toll lanes would run from from the 605 to the 73 in Costa Mesa.

Orange County Transportation Authority officials are also discussing the issue of what to charge on the possible toll lanes. It has reportedly been suggested that the charge of the toll lanes could be five to six dollars, depending on the time of day in relation to traffic.

A decision could reportedly be made by the end of 2013, with the beginning of construction taking place in 2015.

If approved, the construction is estimated to last “four or five” years.

New Law Requires Drivers To Stay 3 Feet Away When Passing Bicyclists


September 23, 2013

 (credit: istockphoto.com)

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday he has signed legislation requiring California drivers to stay at least 3 feet away when passing bicyclists.

The proposal from Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, is intended to better protect cyclists from aggressive drivers. It states that if drivers cannot leave 3 feet of space, they must slow down and pass only when it would not endanger the cyclist’s safety.

The law will go into effect Sept. 16, 2014. Current law requires a driver to keep a safe distance when passing a bicyclist but does not specify how far that is.

At least 22 states and the District of Columbia define a safe passing distance as a buffer of at least 3 feet, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

Bradford’s bill, AB1371, was sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an avid cyclist who was injured in 2010 after a taxi driver abruptly pulled in front of him. It also drew support from several cyclist groups, such as the California Association of Bicycling Organizations.

“This gives clear information to drivers about passing at a safe distance,” said Steve Finnegan, government affairs manager for the Automobile Club of Southern California, which supported the legislation. “Everyone using the road needs to follow the rules and watch out for everyone else.”

Brown signed the legislation after vetoing similar measures in 2011 and 2012. Those bills would have allowed drivers to cross a double-yellow line to make room for a cyclist or required them to slow to 15 mph when passing within 3 feet.

The governor cited concerns that the provisions could spark more crashes or make the state liable for collisions resulting from a driver crossing a yellow dividing line.

Some lawmakers who opposed the bill, such as Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said it would be difficult to estimate a 3-foot distance while driving, especially when cyclists also might be swerving to avoid road hazards.

Bradford’s spokesman, Matt Stauffer, said case-by-case enforcement will be up to local police departments. The overall aim is to remind drivers and cyclists that they have a responsibility to behave safely on the road, Stauffer said.

A violation of the new 3-foot requirement would be punishable by fines starting at $35. If unsafe passing results in a crash that injures the cyclist, the driver could face a $220 fine.

Judge refuses to relent on LAPD car impound policy


By Joel Rubin, September 23, 2013

A judge Monday said he would not set aside his recent decision to strike down the Los Angeles Police Department's controversial car impound policy, throwing the question of when cops can impound vehicles of unlicensed drivers into further uncertainty.

Last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Terry Green announced in court that he had concluded the LAPD's impound policy violates state law.

Green's finding came in a lawsuit brought against the city and LAPD by the Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file Los Angeles cops.

City and police officials, along with a group of civil rights and immigration advocacy organizations that support the impound rules, announced plans to appeal the ruling and asked Green to table his decision until a state appeals court could rule on the case.

Green's refusal to do so means the defenders of the impound policy now must look to the appeals court to issue a stay of the judge's ruling, said Michael Kaufman, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is part of the lawsuit.

If that request is denied, Kaufman said, the LAPD would have no choice but to toss out its current impound rules, at least until the outcome of the appeal -- a process that could take several months.
"There are real concerns about what will happen in the coming weeks and months if Special Order 7 is suspended," said Kaufman, referring to the directive from LAPD Chief Charlie Beck that put the new impound rules in place.

Under the terms of the order, officers are expected to continue impounding cars when they discover a person driving without a valid license. But unlike the LAPD's previous policy, the order bars officers from imposing a 30-day hold on a vehicle when a driver meets several criteria -- including having auto insurance, valid identification and no previous citations for unlicensed driving.

Officers were also told to forgo impounding a vehicle in cases in which a licensed driver is in the car or able to arrive "immediately."

The new rules were needed to give officers a clear understanding on how to apply two somewhat vague sections of the state vehicle code that deal with impounds, Beck and others have argued.
Union officials countered in their lawsuit that the impound rules illegally stripped officers of the discretion granted to them in the state laws to decide in some cases when to impose the more harsh 30-day hold on a car.

“We are pleased with the ruling today,” said the union's president, Tyler Izen. “LAPD officers were caught in the middle of a legal controversy over whether they were vested with the authority to impound vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers as required by the State Vehicle Code, or follow LAPD Special Order No. 7."

Beck has presented the issue as a matter of fairness and public safety. The loss of a car for a month and the fees and fines that can run over $1,000 to retrieve it, disproportionately affects the 400,000 immigrants estimated to be in the country illegally and living in L.A., since they cannot legally obtain driver's licenses, Beck said. Under Special Order 7, he said, unlicensed drivers would be motivated to take responsible steps such as buying insurance.

Beck on Monday declined to comment on Green's refusal to set his ruling aside, saying he hadn't yet been brought up to speed by city attorneys. He reiterated his belief that the department thoroughly vetted the legality of the impound rules before they went into effect. 

Through a spokesman, City Atty. Mike Feuer declined to comment on Green's decision today.
Green has not yet issued a formal, written judgment in the case but is expected to do so in coming days, Kaufman said. Once he does so, attorneys can submit their request for a stay with the appeals court, which would probably take several weeks before making a decision. During that time, Kaufman said, he was hopeful the appeals court would keep Special Order 7 in effect.

Madre Fire breaks out in Angeles National Forest north of Azusa


By Ruby Gonzales, September 23, 2013

A Big Scooper refills its water from Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area while battling a fire in Azusa Canyon on Monday evening, Sept. 23, 2013. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

 A brush fire in Azusa Canyon seen from Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area on Monday evening, Sept. 23, 2013. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

A brush fire burning in the Angeles National Forest has charred between five to 10 acres by Monday night.

Azusa police got a call about a fire near Highway 39 at 5:51 p.m.

A dispatching supervisor with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said firefighters were working with the U.S. Forest Service on the blaze which has burned an estimated five to 10 acres by 6:30 p.m. and was heading north into the forest.

No injuries have been reported.

Residents told to flee as Azusa fire spreads

 By Robert J. Lopez, Septemer 23, 2013

Azusa brush fire

Voluntary evacuation orders were issued for residents of several homes in the San Gabriel Canyon in Azusa as firefighters continued to battle a brush fire that had scorched at least 40 acres.

The evacuation order came after 7 p.m. for the homes on Foxtail Court, which is part of a housing development on the north side of California 39, the Azusa Police Department said.

The highway was closed north of Foothill Boulevard to allow fire engines and other emergency vehicles to access the brush fire area, according to police.

More than 200 firefighters were battling the blaze Monday night. 

Two water-dropping helicopters -- one with the U.S. Forest Service, the other with the Los Angeles County Fire Department -- were making nighttime water drops, according to fire officials.

"It's looking really good right now," said Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the Angeles National Forest. "There's not a whole lot of wind."

He said crews on the ground were working hot spots along the fire flanks. A hand crew had been taken by helicopter to the top of a ridge and was cutting a containment line ahead of advancing flames. 
The blaze, called the Madre fire, quickly spread from less than an acre as flames raced up a mountainside after breaking out about 6 p.m., fire officials said.

Earlier, a Super Scooper aircraft was making repeated aerial assaults on the flames. The aircraft does not operate at night, officials said.

Thick clouds of smoke could be seen for miles.

CV Town Council Recommends Banning Big Rig Parking at All Times

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works is currently drafting an ordinance on the issue.


By Craig Clough, September 23, 2013

This big rig was seen parked on an overpass in La Crescenta on Tuesday, August 14, 2013. (Photo credit: Craig Clough)
 This big rig was seen parked on an overpass in La Crescenta on Tuesday, August 14, 2013.

The Crescenta Valley Town Council voted Thursday to recommend that big rigs be banned from parking in the unincorporated areas of La Crescenta-Montrose at all times, a response to growing complaints from the community that the vehicles were an eyesore and nuisance.

The recommendation will be sent to the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, which is currently drafting an ordinance to ban or restrict big rig parking in the area. The ordinance is scheduled to be voted on by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 26.

The nearby communities of La Canada Flintridge, Altadena, Glendale, Los Angeles and others all have strict limitations on big rig parking, but La Crescenta-Montrose does not, which is why it is a common site to see them parked on bridges along 210 Freeway in the area.

Several members of the Town Council, which met at the La Crescenta Library, voiced a number of concerns about the big rigs, including that they are an eyesore, they create a danger, and that on the Ramsdall Avenue bridge they are taking away crucial parking that students need for nearby Crescenta Valley High School.

“The concern that I have, for myself and my constituents, is it’s only a couple of trucks being parked,” Councilmember Harry Leon said. “And it’s not only an eyesore, it’s a hazard waiting to happen. Not only that, if the [710] Freeway comes through, we’re going to have a parking lot on our hands.”

Leon also complained that there are signs on Foothill Boulevard that limit big rig parking to certain times, but that the truckers ignore the signs and park there for days.

“They come and park it right underneath the sign,” said Leon, who added that he thought the vehicles were likely to block driver’s views on Foothill and lead to an accident.

The language of the ordinance is based on a similar one that Altadena has, but which restricted big rig parking from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Although the Town Council voted to recommend restricting big parking at all times unless they are performing a service in the immediate area, it did leave open a window to allow parking from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. if the Board of Supervisors found a legal reason it could not restrict it at all times. 

David Oboza of the Traffic and Safety Division gave a presentation to the council before the vote and recommended restricting parking from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., which would allow the truckers to sleep overnight. But several members weren’t buying the argument that the truckers are sleeping in their rigs because it appears to be the same few trucks always parked on the bridges for days at a time, suggesting the truckers live nearby.

Oboza said the department wanted to have a concurrence with the town council on what hours to limit parking to. No one on the council or in the audience spoke in favor of allowing unlimited parking for big rigs, but Oboza did deliver a message from a trucker he said he had spoken to on the phone.

“He has some concerns. His name is Mike. He said that the truckers provided an invaluable service to the community,” Oboza said. “While he does not support a driver leaving a truck parked for two or three days at a time, he would like the truck drivers to be able to park and sleep overnight, so they can get some sleep and move on.”

After several different restriction times were proposed, Corresponding Secretary Robbyn Battles made the case for a 24-hour ban after California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Miller explained that Altadena had an additional ordinance that limited the weight of vehicles to the point that no big rigs can now be parked at any time in Altadena.

“We’re not talking about your average trucker and he needs to stop and get some sleep. I think the argument that they need to stop and get sleep, I think that’s a moot issue or that this is not what this is about,” Battles said. “This is about people that just want to park their trucks because for one reason or another, it’s more convenient for them. And it destroys our neighborhoods and it has a safety effect and it has an issue with the school.”

What do you think about big rigs parking in La Crescenta-Montrose? Do you think they should be banned? Tell us in the comments. 

Cleaner Air From Tackling Climate Change 'Would Save Millions of Lives'


By Damian Carrington, September 23, 2013

 Cleaner Air From Tackling Climate Change 'Would Save Millions of Lives'

Tackling climate change would save millions of lives a year by the end of the century purely as a result of the decrease in air pollution, according to a new study.

The study is published as scientists from around the globe gather in Stockholm to thrash out final details of a landmark assessment of climate science. Their final report is due to be released this Friday and will set out projections of wide-ranging impacts of global warming from droughts to floods to sea-level rise.
The research suggests that the benefits of cuts to air pollution from curbing fossil-fuel use justify action alone – even without other climate impacts such as more extreme weather and sea-level rise.

"It is pretty striking that you can make an argument purely on health grounds to control climate change," says Jason West, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whose work is published in Nature Climate Change.

West's team compared two futures, one in which climate change is stabilized by aggressive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and one in which emissions are not curbed. The scientists then modeled how this affected air pollutants and the consequent effects on health.

They found that 300,000 to 700,000 premature deaths a year would be avoided in 2030, 800,000 to 1.8 million in 2050 and 1.4 million to 3 million in 2100. By mid-century, the world's population is expected to peak at around 9 to 10 billion.

A key finding was that the value of the health benefits delivered by cutting a tonne of CO2 emissions was $50 to $380, greater than the projected cost of cutting carbon in the next few decades. The benefits accrue because of associated pollutants released from burning fossil fuels.

It is possible to reduce pollutants in fossil fuel emissions more cheaply without switching to low carbon sources of power – for example with scrubbers on coal plants that remove NOx and SOx; or by cars switching from diesel to petrol – but the authors say it is striking that the value of health benefits outweigh the costs of cutting carbon.

The benefits were particularly great in China and east Asia, where the value of health improvements was between 10 and 70 times greater than the cost of reducing emissions. "The benefits in north America and Europe are still pretty high, but in east Asia you have a very high population exposed to very bad air pollution, so there are lots of opportunities for improvement there," says West.

The research analyzed how cutting emissions from coal-fired power plants, cars and other sources reduced levels of small pollution particles which increase heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer and of ozone, which causes respiratory illnesses.

Unlike previous studies, which have tended to focus on specific countries or regions, the new study took a global perspective. "Air pollution does not stop at the border," says West. "If China reduces pollution, people outside of China benefit as some pollution travels across the Pacific or the other way into south-east Asia."

Another key difference of the new work was including future population increases and the rising longevity of people, which means they are more likely to be affected by cardiovascular diseases, rather than dying young from infectious diseases. The ranges in the estimates of premature deaths avoided and the economic benefits arise from the relative uncertainty of how people's health responds to air pollution and the range of valuations used for lives, with the EPA using a value of $7 million per life, while the European Union uses $2 million per life.

The wider assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due on 27 September, its first since 2007, will play a crucial role in the international negotiations towards a global deal to tackle global warming in 2015. "Climate change is a long-term problem and the benefits of any action taken by one country are shared out among all: both of these things make reaching and an agreement difficult," West says. "But the air pollution co-benefits are local, tangible and near term, with air quality improving within weeks. That strengthens the argument for taking action."

Metro Explores Ways to Make Commute More Comfortable for the Physically Disabled


By Brian Addison, September 23, 2013

If you’ve ever spoken to someone who is physically disabled—any one of the 650 million who are estimated to be living with disabilities on Earth—though resilient, there is still something a bit disconcerting about boarding a public bus.

...but will Long Beach Transit?

Even in a transit system that is as efficient and progressive as Long Beach Transit.

And as I was taking the 121 along Ocean, I did something I rarely do as an introvert: I removed my headphones and asked someone in a wheelchair just precisely what their experience was.

“You can’t help but feel, ‘Here I am, holdin’ everybody up,’ y’know?” said Maria, a 53-year-old paraplegic.

When I had asked her to offer me her last name, she skeptically looked up and succinctly informed me that “there ain’t no need to give you my last name unless you plan on giving me a new one.” I was taken aback and my expression had probably shown it. Maria, however, moved on like a train with no breaks.

“Clearly, I’m not a bullshitter—and judging from this situation right here, I don’t think you are one either. Look around: we all have places to be and we are all hoppin’ on this bus together and… Of course, if you’re like me, you get beyond it; you have to. But still, there’s something about having to stop the whole routine of everybody else just to get someone like me on the bus.”

Beyond this short exchange, Maria didn’t want to talk—and rightfully so. Someone shouldn’t have to defend accessing basic rights due to a biological disposition of their abilities; disability does not translate into inability.  Her point, more importantly, was not driven by a need; she was far from victimizing herself or demonizing the all-too-human selfishness that overtakes each of us when we are trying to get from Point A to Point B.

And though the American Disabilities Act (ADA) widely swept away previous legalities that hindered those who were disabled, there is still an unneeded sense of humility that many disabled people carry with them because of the largely misconstrued concept of what “disabled” means for able-bodied folks: handicapped, crippled, even retarded.

In short, horrifically pejorative conceptions that perpetually drive them to sadly and inappropriately question their own worth; to relegate them to the role of holding-up rather than lifting-up. And it explains why, for the 2 million people with disabilities who never leave their home, 560,000 never do so because of transportation difficulties.

“The single greatest ideological threat to the disabled community is the perception that they are not of value to society,” said activist Odunola Ojewumi in an opinion piece. “People living with disabilities are fighting an insurmountable battle to etch a place for themselves, within a society that perceives them as inferior.”

Though this problem is largely complex, when it comes to public transit, there are solutions—and one of the most obvious and simple solutions is to alter the way in which those with disabilities are properly secured while in transit on the bus and provide areas which don’t require securement at all.
Enter L.A. County Metro: approving a contract in February to New Flyer Industries for 550 new CNG buses to replace their soon-to-be retired fleet built between 1998 and 2001, they also added another brilliant requirement in July. For $3.5M, this new fleet—set to be complete by FY2015—will be equipped with wheelchair passenger travel innovator Q’Straint’s Q’Pod stations.

Here’s the brilliance of Q’Pod: it’s designed by a company whose only focus is that of those who travel in wheelchairs—and in this sense, they aim for quicker securement times and lower dwelling time for the bus. The Q’Pod is innovative on several levels. Firstly, it is the first wheelchair station that doesn’t require anything but bolts, immediately eliminating severe costs for transit authorities; this means that they can be either installed as the bus is being manufactured, when they’re delivered, or onto buses which are currently in operation. Secondly, With an integrated shoulder belt, window brackets are no longer needed.

Even more, all the new buses will come with two rear-facing wheelchair areas which do not require securements. This makes them officially the only buses in the entire nation which have two such areas.

Too often, when we are battling the many problems of urbanization and how to deal with transportation, we individualize our experiences because for many us, particularly the privileged, the transportation experience has been largely carved by the space of an individual vehicle that we control. This privacy then transfers over when we take a bus and we then begin to quantify  problems that do not apply to us: “Spend as little as possible on people with ‘special’ needs because they hinder everyone else” or “Ugh, really? TWO people in wheelchairs? I have to… Stand?”

And I’ll simply be frank: as we approach the new urban landscape and as more of us choose public transit, our individual perceptions need to be left at the bus stop. Public transportation is precisely that: public—and it means that we cater to all, not just some. And though you may feel bothered or irritated or have this sense that your time has been interrupted, what you don’t perceive is how your face and your expression and your sentiment transfer to the person you’re wrongfully blaming for the hold up.

Their experience is something which is indescribably inscribed into their every moment of existence, not just their morning commute. It is plagued by the persistent hope that the space they enter will have pathways that they can access. It is pervaded by a continual hope that they won’t “burden” anyone. It is surrounded by a world which is consistently moving in a way that they sometimes cannot keep up with.

In this very philosophical sense, Metro should be applauded. It is beautiful to think that a transportation board considered these experiences on a level that doesn’t just cater to ADA requirements, but ultimately benefits everyone.

Long Beach Transit did not return request for comment as to whether their current procurement of BYD electric buses will be equipped with Q’Pod-like securement systems or whether they will have wheelchair spaces which do not require securement.

Bob Hope Airport officials present plans for new terminal

Resident asks for more details on the proposed upgrades to 83-year-old facility.


By Daniel Siegal, September 20, 2013

 Bob Hope Airport
A Southwest Airlines plane takes off as the airline celebrates its 20th anniversary at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on April 15, 2010. Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority revealed their plan for a new 14-gate terminal this week. 

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority revealed its plan for a new 14-gate terminal this week.

In a pair of meetings held Monday morning and evening, airport officials presented their vision for a new, larger terminal, meant to replace the airport’s current 83-year-old building.

“We are being totally transparent with you saying it’s going to be a bigger building,” Authority Commissioner Susan Georgino told attendees at the Monday night meeting.

That space would be used to add features such as disability accessibility, more restrooms, more waiting areas, expanded security screening facilities and better baggage claims.

Airport officials say a new terminal is needed because the current building is too close to the runways — 250 feet instead of the required 750 feet — to meet Federal Aviation Administration safety standards.

The proposed terminal would keep the same number of gates, but would lose the “L” shape of the current building in favor of a symmetrically configured rectangularly shaped terminal.

The new terminal would be placed to the east of the airport’s north-south runway, and the old terminal would be demolished, with that space being used to expand the runway taxi areas.

Due to provisions in Measure B, which was approved by Burbank voters in 2000, finalized plans for a new terminal must be approved by residents at the polls.

Burbank resident Mike Nolan said at the Monday evening meeting he thought the Airport Authority should have presented more details on the exact size and location of the proposed terminal.

“I’m disappointed that you’re having this meeting now and we can’t get definitive answers,” he said. “People want to know where new terminal is going to be, what’s the footprint.”

Airport Executive Director Dan Feger said that more details will be presented at the next study session on the new terminal, to be held on Sept. 26, and will be made plain before the airport starts its environmental review process.

The environmental review is slated to begin at the end of the year, and to be completed in early 2015.
Nolan said the authority needs to provide specific information on the new terminal if it wants to succeed.

“If you listen to my concerns you will work to get credibility from the public, which will be essential for you to pull this off,” he said.

More information: In addition to the September 26 meeting, to held at the Burbank Marriott at 5:30 p.m, the Burbank City Council will host a town hall meeting about the project at Burbank Middle School on October 1 at 7 p.m.

To learn more about the meetings or to submit a question or comment about the process, visit the airport’s website, www.burbankairport.com, and select the link “The Future of the Airport: Ground Transportation and Land Use Study.”

Burbank Unveils Plans to Replace Bob Hope Terminal Building


By Eve Bachrach, September 23, 2013


LAX and beleaguered LA/Ontario have been hogging all the airport headlines for a while now, but Burbank's Bob Hope Airport is now trying to horn in on the action. Last week, officials presented rough plans for a brand new, two-story, 14-gate terminal to replace the 83-year-old L-shaped building they're currently using. While the proposal wouldn't add any gates, it calls for a larger building that would have space for more shops and restaurants, larger passenger waiting areas, better accessibility, and room for more large planes. The old terminal building would be demolished to extend the runway taxi area. Exactly how much larger the new building will be is still unknown--and was a source of some consternation at last week's meeting, according to the Burbank Leader. There are more public meetings on the future of the airport planned in advance of an environmental review, which will kick off early next year but won't be completed until 2015. Once finalized, the plans will go to Burbank voters for approval. Funding for the project would come from the airlines, FAA, airport authority, and passengers.


Metro starting to prepare for possible shutdown of federal government


By Steve Hymon, September 23, 2013

The federal government may or may not be open for business one week from tomorrow. That is potentially a problem for Metro and many other transit agencies that are receiving or are set to secure funding for transportation projects and other programs.

Here’s the latest update from Metro’s government relations staff:
Congressional Gridlock on Continuing Resolution Leads Federal Agencies to Update Plans for Shutdown

With less than two weeks before a potential shutdown of the federal government, the U.S. House of Representatives moved today to pass a continuing resolution that would defund the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Earlier this week, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy making clear that the President’s advisors would recommend that President Obama veto the House measure that was adopted today.

The U.S. Senate, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), has vowed to adopt a continuing resolution without provisions that defund the ACA. The considerable gap between the House and Senate is leading some observers to conclude that a shutdown of the federal government is likely if a continuing resolution is not adopted by September 30, 2013.

In preparation for a potential shutdown of the federal government, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a memorandum directing all federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, to update their plans in the event that Congress is unable to adopt a continuing resolution by September 30, 2013.

According to the OMB, the Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations that are in advance of, or that exceed, an appropriation. How this provision will be executed by the U.S. Department of Transportation is, at present, unclear.

We are working with our federal partners at the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, among others, to fully understand how they will be operating under a possible shutdown of the federal government and specifically, how their actions will impact ongoing projects and programs at our agency. We will keep the Board informed on this matter as Congress continues to debate a resolution next week.

Metro urges public to help stop rash of suicides along the Blue Line


By Steve Hymon, September 23, 2013

Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72v-0MWM-CU

A media event was held at the Blue Line’s Willowbrook station on Monday morning — please see the above video. Here are safety stats we posted last month and below is the news release from Metro:

September is suicide prevention month

Fatal accidents plummet on Metro Blue Line, but suicide rate rising

Elected officials, Metro executives, a Sheriff commander and suicide prevention experts today joined a former Metro train operator in appealing to the public to help stop the rash of suicides on the Metro Blue Line.

Three of the four deaths on the Metro Blue Line in 2013 have been suicides. Last year at this time there were eight deaths on the line including four suicides.

“Light rail trains operate at grade in urban areas throughout the world without the prevalence of suicide we’re experiencing on the Metro Blue Line,” said Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois. “I’m very concerned about this and am appealing to the public to help Metro reverse the trend. We continue to invest in safety improvements couple with education and enforcement of safety laws. And while our rail safety ambassadors and operators have thwarted some suicide attempts, we can’t stop them all.”

Metro can keep upgrading its safety warning devises as much as it needs, but without the public participation accidents and suicides will keep happening.”


Dr. Kita Curry, CEO of the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center speaks at the media event this morning. 

The Metro Blue Line opened in July 1990 and is one of the nation’s busiest light rail lines carrying nearly 30 million passengers a year. It spans 22 miles with 22 stations from downtown Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles crisscrossing cities such as Los Angeles, Vernon, Compton, Carson and Long Beach and several unincorporated zones of Los Angeles County.

Metro continues to invest substantial resources to bolster safety by focusing on the three E’s -Engineering, Education and Enforcement. The improvements include installation of special four quadrant gates and swing gates at several high-traffic pedestrian crossings. There are also fences and in-pavement warning lights. Metro will spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next four years to replace track, overhaul the power system, refurbish stations, buy new rail cars and more all along the 22 mile Blue Line alignment.

On the education front, Metro has deployed safety ambassadors – retired bus and rail operators- assigned to spots where accidents have occurred in the past. On the Blue Line 14 ambassadors are stationed at seven key locations in two shifts, Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. They answer questions and warn people about the danger of trying to beat an oncoming train.

Also, Metro began a partnership with the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center to help prevent suicides. Signs with the suicide crisis line (877) 727-4747 had been posted in the stations and the alignment.

​The safety ambassadors also watch for potential suicide victims. And so far they have stopped at least three would-be suicides on the Blue Line. As part of the safety campaign, trains are covered with safety messages to warn the public with messages such as “Heads Up! Watch for Trains!”

​Besides suicides there is rampant illegal and unsafe behavior by pedestrians and motorists around the Blue Line tracks and stations. Metro recently filmed and took photos of people who routinely ignore the flashing lights, bells, and crossing gates and dash in front of oncoming trains or trespass on the tracks.

​Sheriff’s deputies from the Transit Service Bureau have been conducting targeted enforcement at high-risk crossings and today motorcycle officers patrolled an area around the Willowbrook Station ticketing violators.

LA appeals for help with ‘suicide by train’ increase


 By Justin Pritchard, September 23, 2013


LOS ANGELES — Alarmed by an increase in suicides on its rail tracks, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is making a rare appeal for the public’s help.

Suicide by train is a touchy topic, with many transit agencies worried about copycats if they talk about it.

But on Monday, LA Metro began focusing on the issue, asking the public to extend help for people who might be contemplating killing themselves — before they make it onto the tracks.

Since the beginning of last year, seven people have thrown themselves in front of trains on the Blue Line, which traverses some of the county’s poorest areas on its 22-mile route between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Before the recent increase, suicides had averaged one per year since the line opened in 1990, according to Metro spokesman Marc Littman.

“We’ve reached the point where we must appeal to and engage the public” Littman said.

The message included that the suicides have other victims — the drivers who, helplessly, cannot stop their trains on time.

Roman Alarcon was driving his normal Blue Line route when a man stepped onto the tracks between stations. The train was going about 25 mph when it hit him.

“It affected not only his family but others, like law enforcement who responded to the scene and myself. We have to live with this the rest of our lives,” Alarcon said.

That was in 1994. It took Alarcon several months to begin to talk to co-workers about it. Once he became comfortable, he made a point of counseling other drivers who experienced what he did.
It’s hard to judge whether the increase in suicides on this one route is more than an anomaly.

Nationally, suicides in which someone was hit by a subway or light rail train peaked when 74 people killed themselves in 2011, according to federal data. The total dipped back to a more typical 55 people in 2012. New York City subways stand out as the transit system with the most suicides, according to the data.

Metro already has taken steps to decrease suicides, including sending retired bus and train operators to Blue Line stations. Littman said these “safety ambassadors” have stopped three people from killing themselves since December.

City Manager: 'Intersection on Monterey and Pasadena Suffers From Poor Design'

The fourth and concluding installment of Patch's Q&A with City Manager Sergio Gonzalez.


By Ajay Singh, September 16, 2013

South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez poses for a photo outside City Hall. Photo credit: Ajay Singh
 South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez poses for a photo outside City Hall.

In this fourth and final installment of Patch’s Q&A with Sergio Gonzalez, South Pasadena’s city manager talks about a range of issues, including traffic problems on the Monterey Road/Pasadena Avenue crossing, public safety, tax revenues and the city’s major goals.

Patch: Based on comments during City Council meetings and also on Patch, could you tell us why some residents are unhappy with traffic on Monterey Road near the city limits?

Sergio Gonzalez: We have a Gold Line intersection on Monterey and Pasadena Avenue that suffers from a poor design. It’s a so-called ‘double grade crossing,’ which means that a vehicles crosses over the tracks twice. We believe its less safe and it has certainly impacted traffic. Ten years later [after the Gold Line was built] we strongly believe that it would make sense to have a single grade crossing. A single grade crossing is much safer because cars only have to cross over once, and if your vehicle stalls, you’re only crossing one rail.

People avoid Monterey and take the side streets. The business park area of the city near Ostritch farm, where Monterey and Pasadena Avenue are, by the city limits, are obviously suffering from convenient lack of public access to that area. The economic viability of the area is affected because of the traffic situation. Meanwhile, people who live around the area complain of traffic cutting through their streets.

We tried on numerous occasions to appeal to Metro about getting a single grade crossing. But ultimately, the decider on any change is the state Public Utilities Commission, which appears not to want us to change to a single crossing. Ideally, all the Gold Line crossings should have a grade separation [cars passing under the rail line through a tunnel]. But when you’re talking about $25 million to $30 million [per grade separation] we don’t have a very good chance of getting this done.

Patch: How is public safety in South Pasadena? I’m always surprised by the level of property crime here.

Gonzalez: I still believe that this is a very safe community. One way you can test it is by asking if you feel comfortable walking the streets any time of the day. But we’re still going to have crime because we’re in a metropolitan area—we’ve got Los Angeles, one of the biggest cities in the world, right next to us. You’ve got Pasadena—huge population. And you’ve got Alhambra, which has over 100,000 residents. So you’ve got a concentration of a lot of people—and where you’ve got a lot of people you’re going to have crime. It’s just the reality of life.

The biggest crime that we have is property crime. Cars broken into, homes broken into. Thankfully, we don’t have a lot of violent crime. But one of the things our police department and our police chief are working at is to educate our residents that the best thing they can do is to protect themselves—to be the eyes of ears of the police department.

When residents see something that just doesn’t feel right or something new—a car or person in the area that they haven’t seen before—the best thing to do is to call the police department. If it’s nothing, that’s O.K. But if it’s something we can prevent—that’s the reason why we want them to call. We do have officers on the street, but when you have a city of 3.4 square miles, you can’t have officers everywhere all the time.

Patch: What is the city doing to try to increase its revenues?

Gonzalez: We do have limited resources but we’re very fortunate to have residents who understand that in order to have a full-service city that has its own police department, fire department, library and recreation and parks, they also have to give back above and beyond their traditional property taxes. A lot of residents shop here, which helps keep their sales taxes local.

Residents have also passed what’s called a utility users tax and a library parcel tax, which provides additional funding for the library. We have also passed school parcel taxes. So, again, we’re very fortunate to have residents who understand that they have to give to have a high level of service. And then we have to make sure that those dollars are managed properly and don’t go to waste.
Patch: Generally speaking, what are some of the city’s major priorities?

Gonzalez: We definitely want to get the Rialto reopened. We want to kill the 710. We want to improve our infrastructure by getting new reservoirs done, redoing our entire sewer system, and repaving a lot more streets. As a city manager, what I want to do is make sure that all our city operations are running efficiently, that every single department is audited, to make sure that we’re doing the best we can do with the public’s tax dollars.

I think this city is very well managed, but there’s always room for improvement. So every year I will be looking at every department to make sure it’s running efficiently. Not only in terms of dollars but in terms of best practices. I’m very fortunate here to have a fantastic management team. The directors here in South Pas in every department are very experienced and with a great education background. I’m just very lucky.

Previous installments in this Q&A:

Part I: City Manager: ‘We Don’t Spend What we Don’t Have’
Part II: City Manager: ‘Mass Transit is a Win For the City’
Part III: City Manager: ‘We Have a Lot More Cars Than our Roads Have a Capacity For’

From Part I:

 Patch: Does the Metro bring people into South Pas?

Gonzalez: Absolutely. Every Thursday, people get on the Metro to come to the Farmers Market and get off the Metro to go home with fresh produce. Or they come here and have dinner and get back on the Metro. Actually, our city is considered one of the premier examples of transit-oriented development. Have you ever seen—and I’m sure you have—the energy that exists on Mission and Meridian on a Thursday? It’s something that many cities want to emulate.

From Part II:

Patch: Is it conceivable that new housing in South Pasadena be built around the idea that people who live there are not going to drive?

Gonzalez: You know, this is an area that’s about 800 feet from a light rail station. We certainly believe that the average family can have a need for only one car instead of two cars. This city is very pedestrian-friendly, it’s very bike-friendly. You can basically do your shopping nearby. Take your bike. Walk to the library nearby or go to a park. You can pretty much do everything in this city without a car. And that’s very convenient for our residents.

Patch: Maybe the city could organize a Zip Car program?

Gonzalez: Well, if there’s a private company that wants to come in and help us with that, we’d certainly be open. As a city, specifically as we’ve been fighting the 710 freeway from coming through here, we’ve been promoting the idea that people should get out of the car. In large cities like Portland, New York, San Francisco, it’s cost-prohibitive to have a car because you have to pay for parking everywhere, besides maintenance and operations of a vehicle. You look at Japan—it’s very expensive to own a car there. People use public transportation there—it’s very dependable, reliable and financially feasible.

From Part III:

 Patch: South Pas is a small city, and Fair Oaks and Fremont are fairly close to each other. Has there been any idea about making them one-way streets to improve traffic flow?

Gonzalez: Well, Metro is currently looking at the connection of the 710 from the 10 to the 210. One of the concepts that they’re floating—and we’re certainly not happy about it—is what they call reversible lanes: During certain times of the day, you can make three lanes one-way, and only lane going the other way. I think I’ve seen it in Hawaii. But we’ve got to keep in mind that we’ve got local residents who need to get to places. And if you only cater to getting people through the city—the commuters—then you’re really doing it to the detriment of our residents. So that’s the balance we’re always looking at—you want to get people through the city but you also have to keep in mind that we have people who live here, who go to school here, who work here, and who want to be able to make a left when they need to make a left. So, Monterey Road is a street that we’re currently looking at improving. One of the things we’re looking at is a road diet—reducing the number of lanes so that we can have turning lanes each way and to also make the road more bicycle-friendly.
Patch: What’s Fremont like as a street, compared to Monterey?

Gonzalez: Fremont is a very difficult street because it’s mostly residential. You’ve got one lane each way on Fremont—on Monterrey you’ve got three lanes each way. And you’ve got about 35,000 cars going through Fremont every day—on a very narrow street. You would have to remove parking to widen it, and that would not be taken very well by people who live on Fremont. Again, if you wanted to move more cars at the detriment of residents, you would make Fremont either one way or you would make it two lanes each way by eliminating on-street parking. But is that something you want your resident to experience to try to get people through the city faster?

Patch: On an average day, roughly how many percent of cars would you say come from outside—that are not local?

Gonzalez: That’s a very good question. I’d have to get more information about it. I believe the SR 710 study says that there are about 20 percent local vehicles and 80 percent from outside.

Patch: By ‘outside,’ do you mean commuter vehicles that don’t stop for business?

Gonzalez: Right—they’re just driving through the city. Maybe resident of Pasadena or Alhambra. What we don’t see is that people are driving through the city because they’re going to Palmdale. Most of the traffic is local. And that’s something we’ve been arguing with Metro—that if you connect the freeways it doesn’t mean you’re going to reduce the congestion in the neighborhoods because people are going to their homes. Unfortunately we have a lot more cars than our roads have a capacity for. We’ve got population increases, new construction—Alhambra’s got a ton of new construction on Main Street. Pasadena’s got a ton of new construction on Del Mar, Pasadena Avenue—all those new high-rise apartment buildings. So one of the results of increased housing is that you’re going to have more cars on the road.


Unauthorized Bike Lanes Created in Midtown


By Colin Moynihan, September 22, 2013

Bicycling activists including Liz Patek painted unsanctioned bike lanes along a stretch of Avenue of the Americas on Saturday evening.

 Bicycling activists including Liz Patek painted unsanctioned bike lanes along a stretch of Avenue of the Americas on Saturday evening.

As night fell on Saturday, about a half-dozen bicyclists emerged from a huddle outside the New York Public Library and began pedaling north. They rode through crowded Midtown blocks where tour buses passed slowly and tourists walked along sidewalks, carrying cameras or copies of Playbill from Broadway theaters.

The bicyclists dismounted at West 49th Street and Avenue of the Americas, where a taxicab struck a tourist from England last month, severing the young woman’s leg.

One of the cyclists used a brush to sweep grit off the roadway. Another placed stencils on the macadam. Spray paint followed, and after several minutes a line had been created marking a separate, though unsanctioned, bike lane near the curb, replete with logos of the sort used by the city and another depicting a bicyclist with wings.

“We’re doing something for the public good,” said Keegan Stephan, one of the founders of the group, called Right of Way. “So I think it’s O.K., even if it’s illegal.”

The group’s goal was to extend the bike lane on Avenue of the Americas, past its boundary at 42nd Street, to Central Park. The project was partly inspired by a lane-painting campaign that began in Colombia called Bikes4Life, said one of the participants, Liz Patek, a dancer from the Upper West Side.

The other, more immediate motivation was the accident that claimed the leg of the tourist, Sian Green. She was injured after a taxi driver, Faysal Himon, got into a dispute with a bicyclist and then accelerated onto a sidewalk, where his cab struck Ms. Green.

If a bike lane had been in place, Ms. Patek said, perhaps the collision would not have happened.

A dispute between a bicyclist and a cabby,  preceding an accident in which the driver's cab struck a British tourist, inspired the lanes' creation.
A dispute between a bicyclist and a cabby,  preceding an accident in which the driver’s cab struck a British tourist, inspired the lanes’ creation.
The city’s Transportation Department has created hundreds of miles of bike lanes in the past several years. City officials have said the lanes create a safer environment for pedestrians and motorists as well as cyclists. Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for the department, said on Sunday that the agency could not comment on whether a bike lane could have prevented the accident in August but added that the agency would consider any proposal for additional lanes supported by the local community board.

The lanes have sometimes touched off controversy. Some Brooklyn residents have unsuccessfully sought the removal of lanes along Prospect Park and Kent Avenue, in Williamsburg. And bicyclists have complained for years that many motorists drive or park in bike lanes with seeming impunity.

As the group painted the streets, several people operating pedicabs waved in thanks and began riding in the newly created lane. They were followed by a car, which smeared one of the new logos.

Over the next hour or so, the group used the stencils to create ersatz bike lanes on most of the blocks between 50th and 42nd Streets, skipping an area near 48th Street where a police vehicle was posted outside the News Corporation building.

One participant, Charles Komanoff, a transportation economist and longtime cycling advocate, described the process of painting on an active avenue as “kind of nerve-racking.”

Passers-by stopped to gaze. A security guard emerged from a bank building, lighted a cigarette and said he admired the gumption of the lane painters. Near 44th Street a visitor from Switzerland, Andreas Bertschi, said bike lanes were plentiful in his country.

The activists' logo was smeared by an automobile tire.
 The activists’ logo was smeared by an automobile tire.
“We don’t have the problems they have,” he said as he watched Mr. Komanoff, Mr. Stephan and others bending over the stencils, spray cans in hand, as cars whizzed past.

Not everyone applauded the efforts. Near 46th Street, a driver leaned from his window and admonished the painters, intoning: “You know what you’re doing is wrong.”

Soon afterward, revolving red lights signaled the approach of a police car. The bicyclists scattered, stashing some paint cans behind a newsstand. But the police proceeded north and the bicyclists soon resumed.

The arrival of a fine mist brought an end to the project around 10 p.m. The bicyclists painted a lane opposite Radio City Music Hall, then discussed returning the next day to finish the project.

By midday Sunday, there was no sign of the group. Most motor vehicles appeared to avoid driving in the newly created lanes, but others passed over the logos. A stream of bicyclists rode in the lanes, including Kalyn Fink, a consultant from Chelsea, who was riding a Citi Bike.

Ms. Fink said that she had noticed the markings but questioned their impact, adding that she had been forced to veer around several cars that had been idling in the unofficial lanes.

“This is my first time riding in the city,” she said. “I’m just trying to stay alive.”

The Week in Livable Streets Events


By Damien Newton, September 23, 2013

Wow, there are some important head to head meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Tuesday – The City of Santa Monica wants to officially shame Los Angeles on bike infrastructure in every possible way. While L.A. waits for Bike Nation to get it’s act together, remember when kiosks were going to be on the ground in December of 2012?, Santa Monica is moving ahead with their own plan. The Santa Monica Lookout has all the details that are available.

Tuesday – So, the City of Los Angeles wants to build a bike path through Northdale in West Los Angeles. Because of a law suit, they have to hold a public meeting about egress/ingress to the path (ie when and where there will be access to the path). The neighborhood association is worried that an opening at night could lead to an increase in crime. Potential path users worry that barring entrance at certain times of day will limit the path’s impact and make it a less safe place to be. So there’s going to be a meeting to talk about it on Tuesday at 7. Details.

Wednesday – There’s a lot of ugly motions circulating in City Hall these days (more on this later in the week). So far, most of them are staying away from the City Council Transportation Committee. This week’s meeting is no exception. Get the agenda, here.

Wednesday – So the City of Los Angeles wants to rebuild the Hyperion Bridge. But, they don’t want to put in bike lanes or adequate cross walks. And the city’s bike plan calls for bike lanes. Some people are unhappy. There’s going to be a public meeting. We’ll have more coverage of this later today. But for now, the LACBC has all the details on Facebook.

Wednesday – The Transit Coalition holds their monthly meeting at Metro Headquarters with guest speaker Doug Failing, the head of the highways department at Metro. The meeting is titled, “Doug Failing Reveals the Secrets of the I-710.” My guess, it’s not going to be a short meeting where Failing admits both 710 projects being considered are disasters waiting to happen. Remember, you need to make a reservation to attend at Event Brite. Meeting starts at 6:45 pm.

Thursday – At 9:30 am, it’s the Metro Board of Directors. It looks like a pretty tame meeting by Metro standards, but you never know. Read the agenda, here.

Friday – The Caltrans District 7 Bicycle Advisory Committee meets to discuss bicycle infrastructure projects inside the Caltrans right away, including an always-exciting discussion of the PCH. Get more details in the Streetsblog calendar section.

There are side guards on every truck in China, yet they are too expensive for North America?


By Loyd Alter, September 22, 2013

Every time someone gets sucked under the rear wheels of a turning truck, we ask "why aren't side guards required?" The answer in Canada is that they are too expensive. Using Europe as an example doesn't work because well, it's Europe and they think differently about cycling and pedestrians. But China?

In Hunan, China, you see a lot of things that make you wonder about attitudes toward safety; never mind helmets or talking on cellphones while driving, how about this common sight, or people driving the wrong way against traffic, driving on the sidewalk, or never, ever giving right of way to a pedestrian.

But every dump truck, every cement mixer, every transport truck has side guards, often painted red and white for extra visibility. They are the law.

It really isn't such a big deal. It's time to stop asking every time a truck squishes a cyclist whether the victim had a helmet on, and start asking whether the truck had side guards. That's the safety device that would make a serious difference, and if China can do it, why can't North America?

More Than A Third Of Children Killed In Crashes Were Not In Car Seats Or Wearing Seat Belts, The Government Reports


By Tanya Mohn, Setember 22, 2013

More than a third of children under age 13 who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2011 were not in car seats or wearing seat belts.

The announcement, made last week by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to coincide with in Child Passenger Safety Week and to highlight the important safety benefits associated with the proper use of child restraints like car seats, booster seats and seat belts.

“Parents and caregivers can be the first line of defense by ensuring their children are correctly secured in the right seat for their size and age, and by buckling up themselves,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for children. In 2011, almost two children under the age of 13 were killed and 338 were injured every day while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups and vans, the agency noted.

Of the children killed in 2011, the percentage of fatalities in which there were no car seat or seat belt, varied by vehicle type, with greater percentages of unrestrained fatalities occurring in larger vehicles: SUVs (55 percent), pick-ups (43 percent), vans (40 percent), and cars (24 percent).

But regardless of the size of the vehicle, the age of the child, or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained, David Strickland, NHTSA’s administrator wrote on Fast Lane, the official blog of the Department of Transportation.

“Car seats, when correctly installed and used, provide proven life-saving and injury-reducing benefits for child passengers. In fact, properly used car seats decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.”

“Children are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a booster seat than if they were using seat belts only,” he added.

From 1975 through 2011, NHTSA estimates that approximately 10,000 lives were saved by child restraints for children under the age of 5 in passenger vehicles, with more than 260 lives saved in 2011 alone.

The agency offers resources and safety tips to parents, guardians and caregivers:
 Visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat to determine if the seat is the right one for the child’s age and size. The link also provides how-to videos.

Read the instructions and labels that come with the car seat, and read the vehicle owner’s manual for important information on installing the seat in a particular vehicle

Use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) restraint system or seat belt to install the car seat and use the top tether to secure forward-facing car seats

Register the car seat and booster seat at SaferCar.gov to be informed if there is a safety recall on a particular model

Always wear a seat belt to set a good example. Unbuckled drivers are more likely to have unrestrained children in the car.

 Go to your local car seat inspection station to have seats checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician who will show how to: correctly install and use them, help determine if children are ready to move up from car seats to booster seats and from booster seats to seat belts; and help make sure car seats are registered, important in case they are recalled. Local LOCM -0.99% car seat check event information is also available by downloading the free SaferCar app from the iTunes App Store.

The service is available year-round, by appointment, and is usually free of charge.