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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Notice of Construction, San Rafael Bridge

The Data Changes, But the State DOT’s Traffic Projections Stay the Same


By Angie Schmitt, October 31, 2013

The above graphic comes to us today from Network blog Strong Towns by way of the Sightline Institute. It shows the Washington Department of Transportation’s traffic projections for State Route 520, across Lake Washington.

You might say the state’s traffic projections are completely out of touch with reality. The graphic comes from a 2011 post from Sightline’s Clark Williams-Derry, who does a masterful job explaining how state DOTs justify billions of dollars in public spending on bad projects:
An essay by philosopher Harry Frankfurt, first published in the mid-1980s but re-released in book form in 2005, offered what was perhaps the first serious analysis of a topic near and dear to any political observer’s heart: bullshit. Frankfurt argues that bullshit differs from lies in one important way. The liar believes that there IS such a thing as the truth: it’s the thing that the lie is designed to conceal. In contrast, a bullshitter has no regard for the very idea of truth. To a true bullshit artist, words are little more than a tool to achieve some arbitrary purpose — to seem informed, for example, or to manipulate other people so that they’ll do what you want them to. Whether words are true or false is beside the point; all that matters to the bullshitter is the effect that his or her words achieve.
Here’s an example of a misleading point made by WSDOT: “Traffic generally rose annually since 1984, until… the middle of the 2000s.” It was easy for Williams-Derry to refute:

Ungrammatical, but still B.S. WSDOT’s Annual Traffic Report found year-over-year traffic declines in 1993, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. WSDOT’s Ramp and Roadway Report is only released every other year, but found biennial declines in 1990, 1992, 2000, 2002, and 2008. Similarly, the Seattle DOT reports data only for 1996 through 2004, but found year-over-year traffic declines in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2004. In short, traffic generally rose annually until the middle of the 1990s, after which came a mixture of slight increases and slight decreases, depending on which year and which data source you look at.
State DOTs are still using models that are hard wired with these made-up projections. Without smart watchdog groups like Sightline, it’s hard to know whether a state DOT’s numbers are worth the paper they’re written on.

Elsewhere on the Network today: BeyondDC considers the best way to lift Washington’s height limit. The Naked City reports the Charlotte region is trying to rezone a car-oriented street into a transit corridor. And Stop and Move shares a particularly odious example of “leap frog” development.

The End of Car Chases?


By Mike Riggs, October 31, 2013

 The End of Car Chases?

The Ford Bronco carrying O.J. Simpson (hidden in rear seat) is chased by dozens of police cars during an hour long pursuit through Los Angeles area freeways on June 17, 1994.

There's a lot of hype bubbling up over a new product aimed at helping police track fleeing suspects. The StarChase system being used by cops in Florida and Iowa allows police officers to fire "a miniature GPS module encased in a tracking projectile/tag" from a "launcher" mounted on a police cruiser's grill. The GPS module then sticks to the rear of the fleeing car, allowing dispatch to track the vehicle while the pursuing officer breaks off. 

Make no mistake: breaking off is most often a good thing. According to a 2010 FBI report on pursuit policies, high-speed chases are often dangerous and unnecessary. Breaking off the pursuit, meanwhile, has very few negative consequences for crime-fighting. Various studies (all of them cited by the FBI in the aforementioned report) have shown that once suspects realize they're no longer being chased, they tend to slow down to normal driving speeds. The FBI's report even rebuts the most frequently excused argument for chasing suspects: "If the police refrain from chasing all offenders or terminate their pursuits, no significant increase in the number of suspects who flee would occur." 

So back to StarChase, this "revolutionary" GPS launching system: It has some flaws. The cannon costs $5,000 and the non-reusable GPS "bullets" cost $500 each. During a recent media demonstration, four sticky bullets were fired at a car, but only one of them stayed stuck. That failure rate could lead to some pretty ugly budget math, though the cost of the system might still be cheaper than the cost of a collision caused by a high-speed chase.  

For instance, the police department in St. Petersburg, Florida, which will now experiment with StarChase, initiated 26 high-speed chases last year. Seventeen of those chases—65 percent—ended in collisions. Twenty-six chases, with four $500 GPS trackers fired per chase, comes out to $52,000 in ammo. That's surely less expensive than the damage incurred through 17 collisions (especially last year's incident in which a car thief, who had his two-year-old with him, drove into a city bus; the two vehicles then veered off the road and into an apartment building), but the cost of outfitting an entire fleet with $5,000 cannons would be a lot heftier. That's why departments are starting with just a few. Troopers in Iowa have reportedly already used it to preclude a lengthy and likely dangerous chase. 

But cost isn't the only concern. Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that police need a warrant to attach a GPS tracking device to a person's vehicle. U.S. v. Katzin concerned federal agents who'd attached a GPS device to a suspected pharmacy robber's car; the court ruled that by doing so, the Feds had created "a police presence for the purpose of discovering evidence that may come into existence and/or be placed within the vehicle at some point in the future." That uninterrupted presence constitutes an unreasonable search if there's not a warrant authorizing it. A year before the Katzin ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Jones that using GPS to track a car was indeed a search, but didn't say if a warrant was needed. 

This is where StarChase may face an even bigger problem than the stickiness of its darts. The company's response to U.S. v. Jones explicitly points to the absence of a warrant requirement as a reason why law enforcement departments shouldn't fear legal challenges to their use of the GPS dart. "By failing to state that a warrant is required," reads StarChase's statement, "the Court left open the possibility that use of a GPS tracking device on an automobile may still be a reasonable search in some circumstances, such as immediately after the commission of a crime, even absent a valid warrant." 

There's also this: "The StarChase Pursuit Management System is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment because the officers have probable cause to believe the vehicle they are tracking is being used in the commission or active escape from a crime." Basically, the company's lawyers believe StarChase is legal one way or another. 

If StarChase does turn out to be legal, the hope for privacy advocates will have to be that police departments will be required to write clear and publicly available policies governing their use, especially in light of the early Big Data abuse that surfaced in Oakland this week.

Avenue 64 Coalition News

Posted on No 710 on Avenue 64 Facebook page by Ana Rosa Meza Delat, October 30, 2013

Hello all, this is to inform you that the Avenue 64 Coalition comprised of Los Angeles and Pasadena residents has successfully advocated for traffic calming at Ave 64 and Elder Street in LA. The effort continues with hopes that other interim measures can be made for Avenue 64 and Church Street and Avenue 64 at Burleigh to ensure safety for all NOW. We would like to thank HHPNC in LA and WPRA in Pasadena for their support. The longterm vision for traffic calming and beautification along Ave 64 requires there be dialogue and regard for the ideas being generated by the locals. We are thankful for the interim measures being implemented. LA residents are grateful that our Pasadena neighbors from across the street joined our grassroots effort. Thank you for signing our Change.org Petition group members!
If you've not already signed the Avenue 64 Coalition's petition, we invite you to take a look.The cities are listening.

Avenue 64 Coalition Join Los Angeles and Pasadena in Creating a Safer Avenue 64 for Everyone

Petition by Avenue 64 Coalition, Los Angeles, CA

If you have traveled through the Arroyo Seco on scenic Avenue 64, you have noticed that it is a historically significant residential area, well-traveled by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.  You may notice that traffic violations abound whether traveling north or south on the street.  The only existing traffic control intervention made jointly by the Cities of Los Angeles and Pasadena, namely the 4-way stop signs located at the intersection of Avenue 64 and Church Street, was completed in 2004 at the request of residents living in the vicinity.  Also in 2004, a request for crosswalks at the intersection made by the same community of neighbors was ignored completely by the cities.  Read about the old story here:   http://www.boulevardsentinel.com/12-2003.htm   The aforementioned intersection has not completely solved the safety concerns that exist along Avenue 64 in both cities. Speeding, tailgating, passing in the center lane, and ignoring stop signs all continue to endanger those who use Avenue 64 on a daily basis.
On July 7th, 2013, a community meeting was held at the Church of the Angels to discuss concerns related to public safety while traveling on Avenue 64.  The Avenue 64 Coalition was formed from this meeting, consisting of a core group of neighbors who reside in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Our mission is to ensure City Representatives will work collaboratively with one another and with us to change Avenue 64 into a safer street for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Avenue 64 is a public safety hazard and your support is needed to ensure collaboration between coucilmen Jose Huizar in Los Angeles and Steve Madison in Pasadena to address the issues effectively. Madison recognizes the need for improvement on Avenue 64 and has made it a priority in the service of his constituents to meet with an Avenue 64 Coalition representative, a meeting that has already taken place. Huizar is requested to do the same on behalf of his constituency, eliminating the middleman in order to personally address this urgent public safety issue immediately.
Please join your neighbors in creating a safer Avenue 64 for everyone by signing this petition.
Please forward the link to neighbors. We need your support!
Supervisor Gloria Molina, 1st Supervisorial District, LA County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, 5th Supervisorial Distict, LA County Board of Supervisors
Paul Habib, Chief of Staff, Office of Jose Huizar, Councilman District 14, Los Angeles
Takako Suzuki, Field Representative, Office of Steve Madison, District 6, Pasadena
Jose Huizar, Councilman, District 14, Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles
Vanessa Velez, City of Pasadena
Fred Dock, Director, Pasadena Dept. of Transportation
Leon Borja, Deputy Mayor, Office of the Mayor, Transportation, Los Angeles -LADOT
Jaime de la Vega, General Manager, LADOT District Office Los Angeles
Doane Liu, Deputy Mayor, Transportation and Public Works, , Los Angeles
Zenay Loera, District Director, Northeast Los Angeles, Office of Councilman Jose Huizar, District 14
The Avenue 64 Coalition, residents and stakeholders of the Garvanza Neighborhood in Los Angeles and San Rafael Neighborhood in Pasadena, support the installation of reasonable traffic control structures along Avenue 64 which would serve to decrease the frequency of speeding, traffic accidents, road rage, threats to pedestrians and cyclists alike and promote greater respect for this historic neighborhood shared by Los Angeles and Pasadena, and consequently improve the quality of life for those of us who reside here.

Please know that even after the installation of the 4-way stop sign intersection at Avenue 64 and Church Street in 2004, hazardous conditions along Avenue 64 continue. Please read about conditions in 2004 here at this link: http://www.boulevardsentinel.com/12-2003.htm

Poor traffic control design on Avenue 64 to the north in Pasadena promotes hazardous driving and speeding by motorists traveling on an incline south bound on Avenue 64 to Church street., making Church and Avenue 64 a hazardous intersection due to speed and the ignoring of stop signs by motorists. Select northbound and southbound motorists from Church and Ave. 64 and from Meridian Street to the south of it enjoy illegal passing on the left turn center lanes without fear of being ticketed by local law enforcement. From York Blvd and Avenue 64 to Church Street, speed is encouraged due to poorly regulated traffic lights and the obvious absence of stop signs where crosswalks are needed. Avenue 64 and Church Street is a resented stop sign intersection for motorists who feel entitled to speed through our residential neighborhood, especially as they find that no other traffic calming measures have been designed or erected for the area.

We recognize the need for our respective Councilmen Huizar and Madison, and the Departments of Transportation for Los Angeles and Pasadena to act on our behalf. We wish to illustrate the nature of our concerns and to propose solutions relevant to the area. We request the support of our respective LA County Supervisors for District 1, Gloria Molina, and for District 5, Michael Antonovich. Your participation and vocal support for developing plans for a safer Avenue 64 is critical. Pasadena and Los Angeles must collaborate in specified stretches of Avenue 64. You will be informed by the Avenue 64 Coalition, a group of stakeholders, of the changes that are needed.

In this endeavor to promote public safety and to improve the quality of life for all, change cannot occur until the representatives for the Cities of Los Angeles and Pasadena work collaboratively and with their constituents for the common good.

As a resident and stakeholder of Los Angeles and Pasadena, I support the Garvanza and San Rafael Neighborhoods. I support the proposals for new traffic interventions along Avenue 64 which should be implemented as soon as possible in order to ensure public safety, traffic control, and an improved quality of life for all.

Thank you in advance for your support.

[Your name]

Best Comments to "SCAG Head Hasan Ikhrata Wants to Put a Black Box In Your Car and Track Your Every Move"


October 30, 2013

  1. Take a look at your smart phone contract. It allows random sampling of audio video, and is continually tracking via GPS.
  2. if I drive mt California car to Nevada or Oregon, will I be charged for the miles I drive in those states?
  3. Great job! It was that "must" that got to me also. You are doing the job that I wish the LA Times would get around doing. Two articles that you may want to take a closer look at: Antonovich and Metro's contract with BYD for electric buses: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lancaster-china-20131027,0,247357,full.story#axzz2izp5oaz4 and one that includes a speech by Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois. http://thesource.metro.net/2013/10/29/one-tidbit-from-mobility-21-conference-mayor-garcetti-says-another-transpo-ballot-measure-is-possible/#more-61039
    1. The Tattler is on the story when the traditional sources are silent. What has happened to the Tribune/Star News? There was a time when they were a pretty decent investigative news agency and provided good coverage of local issues - those days are long gone. I hear the Orange County Register is looking at starting a paper in the Valley, much like they have in Long Beach and now in the Inland Empire.

      Keep up the good work at the Tattler. Oh and why stop with a black box in our cars? Why not just implant a microchip at birth and then they could tax us based on all kinds of habits and patterns.
    2. Thanks Peggy! Great articles.
  4. You can turn your GPS OFF on all cell phones.
    1. It might not really be off.
  5. And like a good neighbor, Hasan is there.
  6. I am not sure he doesn't have a forehead. His wig may have slipped forward.
    1. Maybe he's a lowbrow.
  7. let them eat cake!October 30, 2013 at 9:52 AM
    we really need to go with a pay per mile system. this will benefit moi - the super rich - in many ways.

    first, it will create a system under which the less will off, who are forced to live in down market communities far from centers of culture, will be foreced to pay more in taxes than the well off such as myself. We, of course, choose to the opera, symphony and other places where people of simlar socio - economic backgrounds gather.

    second, it will discourage the use of autos by those in the lower economic echelons. this will leave the roads free for me to travel on workdays. more importantly, i will be able to travel on weekends, covertible top down, to the beach and other recreational places. The side effect is also great - the common folk will not be there to disturb by peace as the cost of such a drive will be ever present in their minds.

    i think this is a great idea that will provide welfare for the better people. kind of like the diamond lanes for rich folks who can afford a volt, rather than laying out the cash for a virtually identical cruz. the only thing that would be better is if the government provided a welfare check or tax credit to rich people who buy a volt. that would be really cool.
  8. Poor people need to be shoved into public transportation. Only the rich can be allowed to have cars. Taxing people per miles driven will help accomplish that. The American dream is about to become that for most people. A dream.
  9. Since this is such a "leftie" idea, let me think like a fat cat "righty"... who will make this black box so I can buy their stock? Get me Dick Cheney on the phone, he did pretty well with his two dirty little wars. I love the smell of money!!!
  10. For California's bureaucratic elite getting all of those other people to make the sacrifices is how to get "green" done. One rule for them, another rule for everybody else.
  11. RFID implants are next.
    1. Radio Frequency IDs. Better than barcodes, and far more discreet!
  12. A true Soviet would understand that personal transportation is bourgeois individualism. To become a true member of both the world community and proletariat public transportation is the way to go. And as a former planner for Metro Moscow, Ikhrata knows the way to go. The glorious future is here!
  13. Our State's Nomeklatura has selected a right and proper Soviet trained Apparatchik to help quell that pesky Middle Class Democratic Non Conformity!The elites are becoming increasingly impatient with our lack of respect and appreciation of their vision for our future!
    1. To the buses, citizens!

San Francisco Does the 'Monster Mash' on a Public Bus


By John Metcalfe, October 31, 2013

San Francisco Does the 'Monster Mash' on a Public Bus

You'd be forgiven for thinking this was just a random afternoon on the frequently weird San Francisco public-transit system. But no, this collection of bus-loving weirdos, including a freakishly bearded hipster and a werewolf cop escaped from the Castro, have collected here for a purpose: To scare rude riders into observing proper bus etiquette, specifically giving up your seat to elderly or wheelchair-using ghouls... er, people.

The curious music video was produced by local disabilities-group The Arc and the city's Municipal Transportation Agency, which must have a bit of spare money lying around the marketing department. The riff on Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers' timeless novelty song won't win any VMAs, mainly because the "Klingon's son" didn't put enough effort into his costume. (Kidding, guy!)  It is definitely in the Top 3 music videos for the decade about bus etiquette, though. Take that, Centre Area Transportation Authority and Valley Metro of Glendale, Arizona!

You got to feel a little for the 49ers fan dressed in red. For the better part of the action, it looks like nobody let him in on the fact this was staged: