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, March 31, 2014

New Starts: Driverless in Budapest, Billions for Rail in the UK (and LA?)

http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/new-starts-driverless-in-budapest-billions-for-rail-in-the-uk-and-la

By Stephen J. Smith, March 31, 2014



 
 Budapest has the second-oldest metro system in the world.

Budapest Opens Eastern Europe’s First Driverless Metro

In 1896, before New York had its subway and Paris its Métro, Budapest opened its metró line — the beginning of the second underground railway system on earth, after London’s. And on Friday, continental Europe’s first subway got its first driverless train as the Hungarian city opened Line 4 to the public. The 7.4-kilometer (4.6-mile) line includes Metro’s second Danube crossing, connecting the Buda and Pest sides of the city.

The line is quite short, taking just 13 minutes to travel from one end to the other, and illustrates the opportunity cost of expensive subway construction. At $2 billion for the new line (the EU threw in $800 million) and another $120 million for the trains, the subway was pricey by European standards, closing in on half a billion dollars per kilometer if adjusted for purchasing power parity. Had the designers brought costs down from London levels to Berlin levels, they could have easily afforded the entire line at once. For now, Line 4’s second phase — a four-station, three-kilometer (1.9-mile) extension — is unfunded, and has no realistic chance of opening within the decade.

Billions in Profits for Japan’s Flagship Shinkansen Operator

The Central Japan Railway (known as JR Central), owner of the world’s busiest high-speed rail line, saw profits climb by 32 percent since last year, to $2.3 billion for the nine months through December 31. In addition to the Tokaido Shinkansen, which connects Japan’s three major metropolitan areas, the company also runs commuter trains in and around the city of Nagoya, along with the usual bevy of retail, real estate and other railway-related interests.

JR Central will need the profits, though, because it is embarking on the most ambitious railway scheme since the creation of the original Tokaido Shinkansen half a century ago: A $90 billion magnetic levitation relief line called the Chuo Shinkansen. While Nagoya is the smallest of Japan’s three major metropolitan areas, its position between Tokyo in the east and Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto in the west meant that JR Central got the prized Tokaido Shinkansen during the national railway breakup. It’s JR Central that now has the means to carry on its legacy with the Chuo Shinkansen.
JR Central was privatized two decades ago — it is traded publicly on the stock exchange, with Japanese banks as its largest shareholders — along with the Tokyo- and Osaka-area lines of the old Japanese National Railways. The three main-island railways remain the most successful examples of railway privatization, an endeavor fraught with peril.

Billions of Pounds for U.K. Rail

The United Kingdom’s rail infrastructure owner, Network Rail, has announced its five-year, £38 billion plan, which involves spending £12 billion on capital projects. The national rail owner — a host of private companies actually run the trains, after bidding on various “franchises” — will electrify more than 1,200 kilometers (about 750 miles) of railway, including the busy Midland Main Line from London to Sheffield and the Great Western Main Line to Swansea and Bristol. The money will also go toward reopening shuttered lines and upgrading stations, as well as closing 500 at-grade crossings between railways and roads, on top of the nearly 800 closed since 2010, as a safety measure. The five-year plan should make room for an additional 170,000 seats and will be the “largest capital investment programme on the rail network since Victorian times,” according to Network Rail, and will cut overall operating costs by around 20 percent.

 L.A. Gears Up For 2016 Transit Vote

Move L.A., a transit advocacy group, unveiled a proposal on Saturday for a 2016 transit sales tax ballot measure in Los Angeles County. For between 25 and 30 cents per resident per day on average, transit projects across the county would be funded to the tune of $90 billion over 45 years. Metro seemed supportive of the measure though not yet committed to it, emphasizing the need to spread projects throughout the 10 million-strong county in order to win the two-thirds support necessary to pass any sales tax measure. While projects within the city of Los Angeles and on the Westside would likely draw the most riders, projects that aren’t as effective would need to be funded to gain the favor of voters outside the most densely populated areas. The Los Angeles Times suggested that the money could be used to “build a light-rail link to Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, convert the San Fernando Valley Orange Line busway to rail and extend the Green Line near LAX to sweep through South Bay cities and connect with the Blue Line in Long Beach.”

L.A. could clash with L.A. County on transit tax measures

A half-cent sales tax increase being weighed for Los Angeles for the November ballot could endanger a countywide measure being studied for 2016, some transit activists say.


http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0401-transportation-taxes-20140401,0,5346445.story#axzz2xba1xL8h

By David Zahniser and Laura J. Nelson, March 31, 2014
 
 
 Mark Ridley-Thomas
 
 Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said: "If you're trying to ask the question, where do you get the biggest bang for your buck, then the argument swings pretty forcefully toward" a higher countywide transit tax.

A plan for increasing the sales tax to fix Los Angeles' broken streets is on a collision course with a similar levy being pushed for regional transit projects.

Two weeks ago, the top budget advisor to the Los Angeles City Council said a tax increase is the only way thousands of miles of severely damaged roads and sidewalks will get repaired. A half-cent increase in the sales tax, which would generate $4.5 billion over 15 years, should appear on the November ballot, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said. The proposal will get its first public hearing Wednesday.

But public transit advocates are voicing worries that a city tax increase could jeopardize their proposal for a countywide sales tax increase for transportation projects, one that would go before voters in two years.

The back-to-back measures may undermine support for a second tax increase, said Denny Zane, whose organization Move L.A. is promoting the transit tax concept. "When you need a two-thirds vote," to pass a transportation measure, "you don't really start out with any margin for error," he said.

If voters approve the street repair measure in November, the tax rate within Los Angeles' city limits would jump to 9.5 cents on every $1 of retail sales. Passage of a countywide transit measure, which could raise $90 billion over 45 years, could send the city's rate as high as 10 cents.

Los Angeles is one of 88 cities in the county but has roughly 40% of the county's population, making it a crucial part of the electorate in deciding any regional transportation tax.

Zane's organization held a daylong conference last week on the proposed transit tax, which could not reach the ballot without a vote from the 13-member Metro board. Dozens of speakers outlined the types of projects that could be built, including rail extensions to airports in Los Angeles and Burbank; light rail stretching across the South Bay; and a transit tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass.

Bob Waggoner, a construction union leader who took part in the conference, said winning approval of a countywide transportation tax should take political precedence over a city measure.

"What's certain is that if the city of Los Angeles passes a street measure in November, then there is going to be a problem passing another measure in 2016," said Waggoner, political director of the International Union of Operating Engineers. If the proposed city tax is defeated, it still could create problems, he said. "We come back two years later and [voters say] 'Here we go again, another tax.' And there's another chance of it being voted down."

None of the city's elected officials has come out in favor of a street repair tax, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is one of the Metro board's 13 members. Councilman Mike Bonin, a Garcetti appointee on the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, has come out in favor of a transit tax in 2016. But he declined to comment on the city's street tax proposal.

Another Metro board member, county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, said the transportation tax measure would offer greater regional benefits in air quality, traffic reduction and economic development. A tax increase for the Metro system, Ridley-Thomas said, would also attract more federal funding than a city streets measure.

"If you're trying to ask the question, where do you get the biggest bang for your buck, then the argument swings pretty forcefully toward" a higher countywide transit tax, he said.

Garcetti has collected polling data on voters' support for the proposal, but his spokesman, Jeff Millman, declined to release the results. He also declined to say where the mayor stands on the possible tax increases. "We're reviewing the proposals," he said.

The Week in Livable Streets Events

http://la.streetsblog.org/2014/03/31/the-week-in-livable-streets-events-137/

By Damien Newton, March 31, 2014

Loaded week. CicLAvia! Nice. Let’s jump right in.
  • Monday, Thursday – Two more hearings focused on how the ExpressLanes program is doing. Metro is looking to extend its two variable toll lanes from pilot program to permanent program, and needs to do some outreach. This week’s meetings are in Union Station tonight at 8 and later in the week at Inglewood City Hall. Get the details, here.
  •  
  • Tuesday – The Beverly Hills City Council could make official an earlier decision to keep their section of Santa Monica Boulevard bike-lane free and just have a 16 foot right lane on each side. Seriously. There’s a chance the council could overturn their decision and local advocates are hoping a strong turnout from the bicycling community could change the outcome. Get meeting details, here.
  •  
  • Wednesday, Saturday - Time for two more hearings on L.A. City’s three citywide plans: mobilityhealth and zoning code. This week’s forums are in the South Valley and the Westside. Get SBLA background at the links above; get forum details here.
  •  
  • Friday, Saturday – The Bicycle Film Festival rolls into Los Angeles the Friday and Saturday before CicLAvia. Get more details, here
  •  
  • Sunday- CicLAvia! 7 hours. More details at CicLAvia.org

Opposition and Confrontation at Metro Fare Increase Hearing

http://la.streetsblog.org/2014/03/31/opposition-and-confrontation-at-metro-fare-increase-hearing/#more-93044

By Joe Linton, March 31, 2014


 Citing "disruptive behavior" for prolonged public comment, uniformed officers removed two people from Metro's fare increase hearing.  photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog LA

 Citing “disruptive behavior,” uniformed officers removed two people from last Saturday’s Metro fare increase hearing. photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog LA


On Saturday, Metro held a public hearing on proposed changes to its fare policy. Metro is proposing to raise its $1.50 base transit fare to $1.75 starting September 2014. From there, it would be raised again to $2.00 in 2017, and to $2.25 in 2020. This would include a 90-minute free transfer, but only when the fare is paid using a TAP card.

Metro’s passes would go up similarly. Day passes, currently $5, would cost $7/$8/$9. , Weekly passes, currently $20, would cost $25/$30/$32. Monthly passes, currently $75, would cost $100, then, combined with EZ pass, $120/$135. The Metro proposal includes two options: a straight-up increase, or an increase that splits the increase into two categories: a more expensive peak-commuter-hour fare and a cheaper off-peak fare. More fare increase proposal details at the Metro website.
As one might expect, the hearing was a heated one.

Security was higher than usual. In addition to uniformed armed officers and police dogs, attendees had to pass through a metal detector and allow officers to search bags. The board room was full by the time the 9:30 a.m. meeting started, with late arrivals shunted to the Metro cafeteria to watch proceedings on screens. 

For the most part, public commenters, from youth to seniors, urged Metro not to raise fares, primarily for personal economic reasons. One student’s summed it up the feelings of many commenters: “I count on the buses, please don’t gouge us.”

Many groups expressed opposition, but the most prominent among them was the Bus Riders Union. BRU head Eric Mann called on Metro directors to reject the proposed increase, and to enact an immediate 10 percent reduction in fares. Mann also called for an independent audit of Metro finances to determine where past bond measure funding may have been inappropriately redirected to rail construction.

A few individuals and organizations, primarily those interested in seeing expanding Metro rail service, testified in favor of reasonable fare increases, but requested some modifications to the staff’s proposal. These modifications included increasing the transfer window to two hours, making TAP cards more useful, and increasing other Metro revenue from advertising, parking, etc to offset the fare increase.

Throughout the proceedings, Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois was very curt, admonishing the crowd not to applaud, frequently cutting off speakers in mid-sentence and speaking over them until they relented.

As the meeting wore on, a handful of speakers rebuffed the chair and finished their statements. When one speaker ignored the chair and spoke at length, DuBois threatened to have him removed for disruptive behavior. As multiple uniformed guards approached the speaker, he retreated to a seat. Other attendees surrounded the speaker to block approaching guards. The ensuing confrontation resulted in the speaker and another individual being removed from the meeting. See video of the incident here. The L.A. Times reported that the two were arrested “on suspicion of disturbing the peace.”

After public comment ended, a number of Metro board members questioned Metro staff. Supervisor Gloria Molina questioned some of the staff report statistics, and asked whether the fare increase proposal might be “discriminatory.” She concluded requesting further analysis.

Los Angeles city councilmembers Mike Bonin and Paul Krekorian, both appointed to the Board by Mayor Eric Garcetti, expressed the need for Metro to more fully explore other measures to cut costs and raise revenues. Two other Metro Board Members, County Supervisors Don Knabe and Mike Antonovich were not present at the hearing.

The fare increase proposal is expected to be voted on at the May 22, 2014, Metro board meeting. If approved, new fares would go into effect September 1st, 2014.

Why Isn't There a Freeway to Beverly Hills?

http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/history/la-as-subject/why-isnt-there-a-freeway-to-beverly-hills.html

By Nathan Masters, March 31, 2014


 First proposed in the early 1940s, formally adopted in 1959, routed in 1965, and finally killed in 1975, the Beverly Hills Freeway would have provided a direct link between the 101 and 405 freeways. From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
 First proposed in the early 1940s, formally adopted in 1959, routed in 1965, and finally killed in 1975, the Beverly Hills Freeway would have provided a direct link between the 101 and 405 freeways. From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
 
It's the missing link of L.A.'s freeway network: the 2, a direct connection between the Westside's 405 and Hollywood's 101. Known to planners as the Beverly Hills Freeway, this 9.3-mile cross-town superhighway would have relieved pressure on the 10 and provided local freeway access to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Century City. It also would have torn through some of L.A.'s wealthiest residential districts -- a fact that ultimately relegated plans for the freeway to the trash bin.

When traffic planners first envisioned the freeway in the early 1940s, they sketched it with a broad stroke on the city's map, labeling it the "Santa Monica Parkway" because it roughly followed the path of Santa Monica Boulevard. (Today's Santa Monica Freeway, completed in 1965, was born on the same map as the "Olympic Parkway.") By the time planners plotted the planned highway's precise course in 1965, it had earned a new name -- the Beverly Hills Freeway -- as well as the wrath of local communities.

On planners' maps, the Beverly Hills Freeway began as an extension of the Glendale (CA-2) Freeway at a massive interchange with the Hollywood (US-101) Freeway near Vermont Avenue. (The 101's wide median still anticipates that canceled interchange.) From there, the planned freeway sliced between Melrose Avenue and Clinton Street, before jogging slightly to the north and cutting between Waring and Willoughby avenues.

In West Hollywood, it turned to the southwest and followed the path of Santa Monica Boulevard, plunging below grade into a submerged trench. In Beverly Hills, the city considered capping the freeway with parking and surface street lanes. West of Beverly Hills, it emerged from its trench and passed by Century City before finally dead-ending south of Westwood at the San Diego (I-405) freeway.

Documents preserved and digitized by the Metro Transportation Library and Archive, including these two reports from 1964, recall the planned route in detail.


 The Beverly Hills Freeway appears in this 1943 map of proposed freeways as the 'Santa Monica Parkway.' Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
 The Beverly Hills Freeway appears in this 1943 map of proposed freeways as the 'Santa Monica Parkway.' Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.


It was a bold plan that drew a correspondingly strong backlash. Though some constituencies -- notably the businesses of Westwood Village, the developers of Century City, and much of Beverly Hills -- supported the freeway, many neighborhoods opposed it. West Hollywood homeowners were particularly vocal in their dissent. The grassroots opposition might have seemed futile -- Eastside neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, East L.A., and Lincoln Heights failed to stop seven freeways from bulldozing through their communities -- but wealthy residents here did not want for political influence.

They also had time on their side. By the mid-1960s, the funding for freeways that once flowed so freely was beginning to dry up. And the Beverly Hills Freeway, which as a state rather than an interstate route couldn't access federal funds, carried a projected price tag of $300 million. A lack of funds -- as well as legislative battles in Sacramento and conflicts with the county and city of Los Angeles -- forced the state highways division to delay construction year-by-year, even as it purchased property along the proposed right-of-way. A turning point came in 1971, when the Beverly Hills city council reversed its longstanding support for the freeway. Still, Governor Ronald Reagan vetoed several bills that would have canceled the project. Finally, by 1975, ten years of inaction had ossified local opposition, and the state erased the Beverly Hills Freeway from official maps.

Planners initially considered a more northern route that roughly followed the path of Sunset Boulevard. From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
Planners initially considered a more northern route that roughly followed the path of Sunset Boulevard. From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
 
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
 
The 101 freeway's wide median at Vermont is a remnant of the Beverly Hills Freeway interchange that never materialized. Courtesy of the Herald-Examiner Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.
The 101 freeway's wide median at Vermont is a remnant of the Beverly Hills Freeway interchange that never materialized. Courtesy of the Herald-Examiner Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.

U.S. requires new cars to have backup cameras

Automakers will be required to install backup cameras in most new vehicles by May 2018, a federal agency announced Monday.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/31/autos/rear-facing-cameras/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

By Gregory Wallace, March 31, 2014


 rear facing car camera
Rear facing cameras give drivers a view that could prevent accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized a long-awaited rule requiring all new cars, SUVs, and minivans, as well as some new small trucks and buses to carry rear visibility technology.

 Automakers haven't been previously required to include these systems but NHTSA did recommend it, saying it can save many deaths and injuries from backover crashes. There are nearly 210 backover deaths each year, the agency said. About a third of those deaths are children, and many are caused by parents, it said.

Rear facing cameras, including those that automakers already offer, would save between 59 and 69 deaths a year, NHTSA said.

"Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents -- our children and seniors," said Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary. "As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today's rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents."

The agency also touted a number of benefits beyond safety. Parking, for one, would become easier, it said in the regulation.

NHTSA expected the system would cost about $140 per new vehicle -- and less for those that already have in-dash displays installed.

A 2008 law required the agency to develop rules to prevent backover accidents. Rules requiring backup cameras in all new vehicles were developed, but their implementation has been delayed until now.

Many vehicles, including luxury models, already carry rear-facing cameras, and an auto industry group applauded the move.

"Today, the government has stepped forward as a strong advocate for cameras on cars, and this action helps pave the way for using cameras in other ways on vehicles," the Auto Alliance said in a statement. It also pledged to ask "NHTSA to allow automakers to remove side-view mirrors and replace them with cameras that may expand side vision while increasing fuel efficiency."

 Several safety advocacy groups sued the government and asked a federal judge to require backup rules be adopted. Those groups said Monday's announcement was long overdue.

"While the administration delayed the rule, more children died in backover accidents," said Robert Weissman of Public Citizen, one of the groups. "The cost of regulatory delay, in human lives, could hardly be more clear than it is today." To top of page

Urgent Message From Courier Publisher About Metro in Beverly Hills

Sent from the Beverly Hills Courier via email, March 31, 2014

The City Council Tuesday night again considers Metro's carte blanche permit to tear up Wilshire Boulevard, obstruct traffic on Wilshire, take away parking, shut-off access to businesses and block residents from their homes.

Attached is a link to the City's staff report. It mainly deals with inventorying parking meters. You will note that it has no mention of cost, timeline, deadlines, or enforcement.

This is a typical bureaucrat whitewash of a tough problem - how to rip up your main street and APPEAR like you have planned for the problems.

Most of the report consists of scans of individual comment cards submitted by those who attended two meetings about the permit. A Courier reporter with extensive experience attending Metro meetings and living through Metro construction attended all these meetings. ACCORDING TO ALL WHO ATTENDED, METRO AND CITY STAFF FAILED UTTERLY TO PROVIDE ANY CONCRETE ANSWERS. The consensus, "The meetings were a joke."

If you read the report, you will not be able to find one word about what happens to residents and City businesses. There is no provision whatsoever for handling blocked access for police, fire or paramedic. As for communications, the report contradicts itself. First it says that "there is redundancy" so no one will lose contact with phones and internet. In another place, it discusses what the utility companies must complete to "splice" various lines.

There is no enforcement mechanism in the staff report.

There is no penalty attached to Metro's failures.

There is no plan submitted by Metro - AT ALL!

Metro has no contractors selected yet.

There is no draft permit from the City attached.

There is no demand that Metro deposit money to take care of damages to property or other City assets.

Beverly Hills is entitled to know what will be done, when, how, by whom, and what happens if Metro fails.

NONE OF THESE SIMPLE QUESTIONS IS ANSWERED.

This should be a non-starter. Metro needs to take our City seriously and it does not. From reading this report, the City of Beverly Hills highly-paid bureaucrats do not either.

Beverly Hills NEVER allows a private builder to get away with such meager submissions. We don't know why our City bureaucrats deem it more important to join forces with their buddies at Metro than to protect our City.

This first permit will be the model for all to come - if our City Council accepts this phony, superficial report as the basis for future permits, they should be recalled.

City's Staff Report

CHINA EXPORTS AIR POLLUTION TO U.S. Wind Blowing China Factory Pollution...

Metro explores new green energy options: placing a wind turbine in a subway tunnel

 http://thesource.metro.net/2014/03/31/metro-explores-new-green-energy/

By Anna Chen, March 31, 2014

 

 MACE Installation 8.15.13-3

You’re standing on a subway station platform, waiting for the train. Suddenly, the wind picks up. You know this means the train is coming. Many of you may also know why there’s wind: it’s displaced air being pushed through the tunnel by the fast moving train. And some of you — including Tom Kefalas, Metro Environmental Compliance and Services Manager — may have wondered if there was a way all that generated wind could be utilized as a renewable energy source.

Thanks to Tom Kefalas and Cris Liban, Director of Metro Environmental Compliance Services, we now know the answer is yes. From August through September 2013, Metro conducted a one-month pilot program to see if wind energy could safely and effectively be captured and used. The project involved working with engineers from WWT Tunnel, LLC, a subcontractor to Arcadis U.S., to create and install a unique 10-foot multi-blade mass airflow collection equipment (MACE) in the Red Line tunnel. To our knowledge, this is the first time a transit agency has tested the effect of having a wind turbine in a subway tunnel.




The MACE was installed between the North Hollywood and Universal City stations, a segment of the tunnel that sees trains reaching speeds of up to 70 mph. Each time a train left the station, the MACE fan blades would start spinning, thus capturing energy up to a minute before the train actually passed by. The blades would continue to spin up to 2 minutes after the train passed, and exceeded 1,070 revolutions per minute (RPM). The amount of electricity produced by these train initiated events was nearly double the amount that had originally been anticipated.


During the run of the pilot program, the MACE generated an average of 77.7 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day. It is projected that the 10-foot MACE section could generate more than 28,000 kWh per year–enough to power about 12 homes in California for one year, or turn out approximately $6,000 per year in electrical production.

In addition, a single 10-foot MACE unit could potentially help Metro avoid using electricity that would have generated more than 17 tons of CO2 emissions annually if created from natural gas, or more than 30 tons of CO2 emissions annually if created by a coal-powered plant.

This is great news for Metro as the agency strives to become ever greener. The MACE can safely and efficiently collect clean electrical power from wind that is already being produced by passing trains. Due to the regularity of the speed and schedule of Metro trains, the power generated is far more reliable than above-ground wind and solar power, and the electrical power generated can be used in various ways. It can be stored for use to avoid power spikes in usage during flex alerts or high demand periods. In AC format, the power could also be stored and used to provide power for electric vehicle charging stations, station and tunnel lights, escalators and more. And because the project is entirely underground, no CEQA environmental clearance process was required.

Since the end of the pilot program, Metro staff has been analyzing the data captured. Over the next year, Metro staff will follow up with a report evaluating the best use of MACE generated power and the feasibility of installing MACE into existing and new rail line tunnels, including the Regional Connector, the Purple Line Extension and the underground segments of the Crenshaw/LAX Line.
A report of the MACE pilot program by WWT Tunnel is available here.


Beverly Hills Homeowners Head Blasts Metro Lies On Subway, Council Takes Up Metro Permit Tuesday Night


 http://bhcourier.com/beverly-hills-news-beverly-hills-homeowners-head-blasts-metro-lies-subway-council-takes-metro-permit-tuesday-night/2014/03/31

March 31, 2014

 

The Metropolitan Transit Authority comes back to the Beverly Hills City Council Tuesday night again seeking a permit to tear up Beverly Hills streets, block access and take away parking.  Metro came to the council before in January with the full backing of Beverly Hills city staff, but met resistance from the council when they could not answer any serious questions about the impact on Beverly Hills residents, businesses, police, fire, paramedic access or safety.
Now, the president of the Southwest Homeowners Association, Ken Goldman, calls out Metro and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky for "lies" about the impact on Beverly Hills.

Goldman wrote the Los Angeles Times, with a copy to The Courier:

"To the Editor:
"Metro's plans to tear up Wilshire, Santa Monica Blvd. and surrounding streets will cause extraordinary disruption 24/7 to countless residents and drivers alike.  Imagine intersections at Fairfax, La Cienega and Beverly Drive closed or diverted for months on end over a period of years.  I served on the volunteer citizens' Committee to analyze the Westside extension project years ago. Metro representatives met with us numerous times to promote the project. In response to our specific questions, they outright lied to us and told us that these intersections would be slightly disrupted only for a few weekends.  Nothing about months on end. Nothing about 24/7. In the face of these complete misrepresentations and Beverly Hills' attempting to mitigate these impacts, Supervisor Yaroslavsky has the effrontery to threaten to sue us?"
The Courier proposed common-sense requirements that tell Beverly Hills what Metro will do, who will do it, when will it start, when will it be finished, and what happens to people and business.  Based on the City staff report to the council released Friday, Beverly Hills city staff still refuses to demand accountability from Metro and its contractors. 
Previously, the council voted 4-1 to reject Metro's permit, with only Willie Brien, M.D., prepared to "rubber stamp" Metro's demands.
At Tuesday's formal council meeting, the City Council is expected to vote on a permit application for the relocation of underground fiber-optic communication facilities associated with the Westside Subway Extension in addition to a permit application for groundwater and gas sampling in existing monitoring wells associated with the extension.

"CITIZENS OF BEVERLY HILLS - LOOK CAREFULLY AT WHAT METRO ITSELF IS TELLING US!"

Look at the photos, plans, schedules themselves.  THESE COME FROM METRO -  NOT THE COURIER!
 
 
 
 
 
 

China's High-Speed Rail Is So Popular, It's Hurting the Domestic Airline Industry

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2014/03/chinas-high-speed-rail-so-popular-its-hurting-domestic-airline-industry/8757/

By Heather Timmons, March 31, 2014

China's High-Speed Rail Is So Popular, It's Hurting the Domestic Airline Industry



China Southern Airlines is the latest Chinese airline to post miserable year-end 2013 results. Net profit dropped 24 percent to 1.99 billion yuan ($321 million), and operating profit fell 70 percent. China Southern Airlines joins Air China, where net profit dropped 32 percent in 2013, and China Eastern Airlines, where it fell by 25 percent.

High oil prices, as well as increased competition from low-cost carriers and each other, have taken a toll. But, as each airline has recently acknowledged, so has China's massive and growing high-speed rail system. 

As Quartz reported last August, the costly and sometimes under-used rail network was shaping up to be a vital part of China’s growth strategy. It doesn't have the hurdles of the airline industry: Airlines in China struggle to get clearances from the military to expand flight paths, and China’s major airports have earned the title of the most-delayed in the world, where passengers sometimes riot to protest long waits and miserable customer service. 

The high-speed rail system, on the other hand, has quickly grown to over 6,000 miles in five years, and will expand to 11,800 miles by 2015. It is already transporting some 2 million passengers a day on trains that are rarely delayed, and which go nearly 200 miles an hour, twice as many passengers as domestic airlines. 

If there were no rail network, these passengers wouldn't all necessarily have taken flights instead, of course. Some might not have traveled at all, or gone by car, bus or slow train. Still, to see how this has hit the airlines, take a look at China Southern’s domestic passenger activity, which peaked in 2011, and on most months hasn’t hit the same highs since, according to the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation


 
In 2013, China Southern’s revenues from domestic operations dropped 5.5 percent to 81.3 billion yuan. At Air China, revenues from domestic flights likewise fell over 5 percent in 2013, though the number of passengers increased by 7.3 percent. "The rapid development of high-speed railway and the evolution of low-cost carriers on the mainland will further intensify competition on domestic routes," the company said when it announced results March 25. 

China Eastern’s chief executive complained about the subsidies the railways get in an interview last year, saying "In China, the government has also invested heavily in high-speed rail—far more than in the airlines in fact—so it’s not a case of nationalized carriers being better off, because they also have many challenges to face."
 
It's a sticky situation: while all of China’s big three airlines are publicly traded, the Chinese government continues to hold controlling stakes in the companies. That means the cannibalization of domestic airline passengers by the railways is a case of the government eating its own profits.

This floating electric amphicar could save you from the next tsunami

http://grist.org/list/this-floating-electric-amphicar-could-save-you-from-the-next-tsunami/

By Amber Cortes, March 29, 2014

 electric_floating_car
 Fomm Concept One



It’s a car! It’s a boat! It’s an electric-powered vehicle that bobs on the water like a jetski!

The Japanese-developed Fomm Concept One uses a water jet generator to propel through water, and has a motorcycle-style handlebar to accelerate and brake. And get this: Its wheels are lightweight, buoyant, and they can operate like fins when in the water.

Pretty neat, eh? Before you take the plunge and pack up the family for a picnic in the lake, remember that this amphicar isn’t meant just for fun. It was designed by a Japanese company to help rescue people from flooding and tsunamis and will only be sold in Thailand, followed by a larger rollout in Southeast Asia. The tiny, 1,000-pound car can only drive about 62 miles before it needs to be recharged, and can only handle one disaster at a time before it needs to be maintained again.


The concept for the car was born after Fomm President Hideo Tsurumaki saw the devastation that the 2011 tsunami caused his home province, Shizuoka Prefecture. In Southeast Asia, where 138 million people live in coastal areas prone to flooding and powerful downpours, this electric car could help drivers negotiate impassable roads and flooding. And the Fomm Concept One will have its work cut out for it, since global warming is predicted to hit Asia the hardest, bringing along plenty more floods and tsunamis.

According to the company, mass production of the Fomm Concept One will begin in 2015. Take a quick tour of the prototype before it hits the water like Alan Jackson on water skis:

 http://youtu.be/4vlhhmusGHE

 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

China's latest fad is breath of fresh air: Oxygen stations set up across the country so city dwellers can escape smog

  • Fresh air stations have been set up in some of China's most polluted cities
  • Visitors are given oxygen masks so they can breathe fresh country air
  • Air is sourced from the beautiful Laojun Mountains in Luanchuan county
  • Canned and bottled air has already proved to be a big success
  • Comes after just three of 74 Chinese cities met official air quality standards
  • Pollution levels in China have been described as an 'environmental crisis'

  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2592762/Chinas-latest-fad-breath-fresh-air-Oxygen-stations-set-country-city-dwellers-escape-smog.html

    By Suzannah Hills, March 30, 2014

    It is one of the most polluted countries on earth.

    So it may come as little surprise that the latest fad in China is literally offering its city dwellers a breath of fresh air.

    Numerous fresh air stations have been set up in some of China's most polluted cities.
    The stations are stocked with individual air bags which provide users with pollution-free fresh air.

    And they have proved to be a big hit with one air station in Zhengzhou city in central China's Henan province which was inundated with visitors.

    A breath of fresh air: City dwellers in Zhengzhou city, Henan province, are hooked up to oxygen masks so they can breathe in some fresh air as the country's pollution hits crisis levels
    A breath of fresh air: City dwellers in Zhengzhou city, Henan province, are hooked up to oxygen masks so they can breathe in some fresh air as the country's pollution hits crisis levels


    Growing crisis: An 'air station hostess' holds up an oxygen bag for a little girl as the World Health Organisation described China's smog levels as an environmental crisis
    Growing crisis: An 'air station hostess' holds up an oxygen bag for a little girl as the World Health Organisation described China's smog levels as an environmental crisis

    Uniformed air hostesses hook up visitors to oxygen masks so they can breathe air sourced from the Laojun Mountain scenic spot in Luanchuan county, which is 80% green land, in Henan province.
     

    There was no shortage of takers as locals flooded to enjoy the free fresh air.
    User Feng Lin, 75, said: 'The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.'

    It comes after just three of China's 74 cities met the official air quality standards, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection in China

    Escape: The station in Zhengzhou city was inundated with visitors wanting some fresh air
    Escape: The station in Zhengzhou city was inundated with visitors wanting some fresh air


    Breathing it all in: Air stations are expected to become a regular sight in China as pollution levels reach all-time highs
    Breathing it all in: Air stations are expected to become a regular sight in China as pollution levels reach all-time highs
    Breathing it all in: Air stations are expected to become a regular sight in China as pollution levels reach all-time highs


    The air bags are China's latest attempt to address its dangerous smog levels - described as an environmental crisis by the World Health Organisation - after canned and bottled air already hit the streets.

    The air stations follow on from last week when costumed characters called Oxygen Babies were giving away air bottles filled with air collected at the Tianmu mountain scenic spot in the county of Linan in Zhejiang province.

    The Oxygen babies have been touring the country, promoting the new products, which are currently free of charge, and were pictured in the city of Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang province.

    Product manager Long Peng said: 'The air in Tianmu mountain is so fresh that negative oxygen ion is 3,300 per cubic centimetre, much higher than the normal level. The problem is that there are not enough negative ions in daily life. All the modern things we have generate an over abundance of positive ions that make us feel tired, depressed and irritable.'

    Capturing air: Bottled air pictured being collected at the Tianmu Mountain scenic spot in Linan county in Zhejiang province
    Capturing air: Bottled air pictured being collected at the Tianmu Mountain scenic spot in Linan county in Zhejiang province


    Bottled air is proving to be a big hit as new figures show that just three of the 74 cities in China meet official air quality standards
    Bottled air is proving to be a big hit as new figures show that just three of the 74 cities in China meet official air quality standards


    But in Laojun, where the air bags are being distributed, park managers say the average negative oxygen ion is 30,000 per cubic centimetre. In some places on Laojun Mountain, the average negative oxygen ion can be 50,000 per cubic centimeter.

    The inspiration for the idea reportedly came from tourist shops near Mount Fuji in Japan, where cans of fresh air have been a huge success.

    During a National Congress meeting, China's president, Xi Jinping, suggested Guizhou 'sell cans in the future', adding: 'Air quality is now a deciding factor in people's perception of happiness.'

    However, it's not the first time bottle air has gone on sale in China.

    Last year, Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, claimed to have sold 10 million cans in just 10 days, as pollution levels reached a record high.

    The move comes after the country's biggest online travel agency and insurance firms joined forces to offer policies to tourists whose trips are blighted in being visually impaired by the pollution.

    Air in a jar: Bottled air is being collected at the Tianmu Mountain scenic spot in Linan county in Zhejiang province and distributed to city dwellers
    Air in a jar: Bottled air is being collected at the Tianmu Mountain scenic spot in Linan county in Zhejiang province and distributed to city dweller


    New trend: 'Oxygen babies' have been touring the country giving out free bottled oxygen
    New trend: 'Oxygen babies' have been touring the country giving out free bottled oxygen


     

    Proposed SoCal Tax Would Charge Drivers Based On Miles Driven

    http://laist.com/2014/03/28/proposed_socal_tax_would_charge_dri.php

    By Billy Gil, March 28, 2014


     405_traffic.jpg

     Heinous rush hour traffic on the 405 Freeway.


    A local government association wants Southern California to be a test site for a new tax that would charge drivers based on the number of miles they drive.

    The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), a city planning organization that represents L.A County and five others, passed a resolution asking Congress to replace the gas tax with this new tax by 2025, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. They want to use SoCal as a test site in the meantime.

    Despite rising gas prices, the existing gas tax hasn’t been raised in 20 years, remaining at 18.5 cents per gallon. Even though we’re paying more at the pump overall, the Highway Trust Fund, which is fueled by that tax and pays for road improvements, will be dried up by July, SCAG said, with expenditures outweighing revenues from the tax.

    This new tax would assess a driver’s mileage using their odometer reading and send a bill monthly or yearly.

    Carrie Bowen, director of Caltrans District 7, which includes Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, said:
    “I don’t think the gas tax is working. More people are driving hybrid cars, and the improved efficiencies have reduced the amount of money we get for our highways.”
    Bowen added that “those pennies, that dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to. We can’t maintain our roads with the money we have coming in,” she said at a transportation conference in the City of Industry Wednesday.

    According to a Federal Highway Administration report, 1,200 bridges in L.A. County alone need repairs and have no money for them.

    A miles-traveled fee pilot program has already been shown to reduce traffic during peak hours in and out of Portland by 10 percent. And since we have the dubious honor of having the worst roads in the country and the worst traffic in the country (and it’s only getting worse), it’s no wonder SCAG would consider this new tax to theoretically help fix roads and lessen traffic at the same time.

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    Hearing on fare changes adjourns after 165 or so public speakers

    http://thesource.metro.net/2014/03/29/hearing-on-fare-changes-adjourns-after-165-or-so-public-speakers/

    By Steve Hymon, March 29, 2014



    The hearing adjourned about 2:15 p.m. after more than four hours that included a brief staff presentation on the fares, about 165 public speakers and a brief disruption near the end of the meeting that resulted in two arrests for disturbing the peace. One of the people arrested may also face a charge of assaulting a peace officer. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TWO FARE CHANGE OPTIONS.

    Order was quickly restored at the urging of both Metro Board Members and members of the public who wanted the chance to testify before the Board. A vote on the fare changes is scheduled for the Board’s May 22 meeting — and before the meeting ended many Board Members indicated they will have plenty of questions  between now and then about the fare proposal and Metro’s finances.

    Metro staff explained the fare changes, which are designed to prevent Metro from facing future deficits and to prevent service cuts. As staff explained, the changes would raise the base Metro fare but include transfers for 90 minutes — presently passengers must pay a full fare to transfer, even for a short ride.

    As for the public testimony, it’s hard to summarize the views of 165 different people. While the Bus Riders Union was certainly present at the meeting, others appeared to be everyday riders who had something to say about the fare change proposal.

    A few things I heard from speakers more than once:

    •Bus service in some parts of Los Angeles County is not frequent enough or good enough to warrant a fare increase. Trips involving multiple bus legs, a few speakers said, can take several hours.
    •There was no support for the second fare option which would have different fares for peak and off-peak hours.

    •Several people complained fares should not be raised until the agency clamps down on fare evasion; during their presentation, agency staff said that work on reducing fare evasion is already underway.

    •The most common complaint: affordability — many people said they make too little money to spend any extra on transit. “Some of you are lucky enough to have gotten an education. Think about the people you representing,” said one woman.

    RELATED POSTS:

    Some audio and video from today’s fare proposal hearing
    Pictorial part 2: the public speaks at today’s fare change hearing
    Pictorial part 1: the public speaks at today’s fare change hearing
    Public hearing on Metro’s proposed fare changes is underway
    A look at what some riders and readers are saying about Metro’s fare proposals

    San Rafael Neighborhoods Association Newsletter


    Logo  

    January-March 2014  
    SRNA Newsletter  
    Vol 3, Issue 1

    On the web at www.srnapasadena.org

    IN THIS ISSUE

    The beautiful artwork that adorns the SRNA newsletter is the result of SRNA member Wendi Moffly. SRNA is grateful for the warmth that Wendi's artwork brings to our newsletters. In this edition of the newsletter, we are happy to display new paintings by Wendi

    ********************************************

    SRNA 2014 Board 

    Mary Dee Romney-President
    Robin Salzer-Vice President
    Mary Beth Bridges-Vice President 
    Stan Clark - Treasurer 
    Adele Levitt-Secretary 

    Directors:

    Marie Cleaves
    Alix Nassiri
    Ann Kelley 
    Freddie Hannan
    Elaine Hawkes
    Kathy Goodwin

    SRNA elects new President for 2014!
       
    SRNA Artist-Wendi Moffly

      *********************************************    

    MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT

    SRNA General Meetings

    WHEN: FIRST WEDNESDAY EVERY MONTH 

    WHERE: CHURCH OF THE ANGELS 
    CHURCH HALL

    1100 AVENUE 64 
    7 PM
      
    Next General Meeting: 

    April 2, 2014

    SRNA GENERAL MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

                           
    SRNA Recognizes Gillian Gough
    Artist & Creator of SRNA Logo

    The Board of Directors of SRNA wishes to thank Gillian Gough for the lovely art and design work she has contributed to our organization, and to acknowledge her artistry and creativity. So many people have complimented the logo.

    While Gillian presently has her own marketing and graphic design firm based in Pasadena, she has a rich and varied history working for larger firms and promoting a fascinating array of clients, from Billy Idol to Jerseymaid, from Pat Benatar to Computerland.

    Gillian was educated at the University of Puget Sound, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts/Graphic Design. Her extensive commitment to community service includes numerous organizations, such as the Junior League of Pasadena. With all of that, she still finds time to pursue interests in Irish dancing, gardening, hiking and sailing.

    We are grateful to have been the beneficiaries of the creativity of this energetic and talented person.

    Gillian Gough




    Featured Article: 

    San Rafael Elementary School
    By Don Watson, Chair 7-11 Committee

    Photo courtesy of Stan Clark

    Public Hearing of the San Rafael School Property 7-11 Committee

    The 7-11 Committee was established by the PUSD Board of Education to develop recommendations for alternative uses of the San Rafael Elementary School 3.2 acre property.

    The Committee is composed of community members, parents, school staff, and representatives of the business community, and is supported by District staff, legal counsel, and a representative of the City of Pasadena. (7-11 means the Committee has between 7 and 11 members). The Committee has held two previous meetings in January and February.

    The establishment of the Committee was necessitated by the discovery of active earthquake fault lines on the property. This precludes the long term use of the property as a public school. The San Rafael staff, students, and program are scheduled to move to the former site of Allendale Elementary School, adjacent to the Blair Middle/High School complex, after July 1, 2017.

    The public hearing at SRES on Monday, March 24 was the first of two hearings to get input into recommendations the Committee will be making to the Board of Education regarding the future uses of the school site.

    An estimated 120 people attended the meeting and Public Hearing. Dr. John Pappalardo, Chief Financial Officer for PUSD, presented the timeline of events that led up to the decision of the Board to close the school. Mr. Eric Duyshart explained the role of the City in any proposed re-use of the property for other purposes. The site could be leased to a private school or for other public uses, or could be sold for residential home sites or other uses. The public and the members had questions for Dr. Pappalardo, Mr. Duyshart, and legal counsel regarding the necessity to vacate the property, on the alternative uses, and the procedures for making a final decision.

    During the public hearing, 13 people presented their points of view about the process and alternative uses of the property.

    Everyone in attendance was provided with a survey to identify their preferences for the use of the property, and uses or conditions they could not tolerate. 49 surveys were submitted.

    The results of the public hearing and the survey will be presented and discussed at the next meeting of the Committee, March 31, 2014, 5:30 pm, at the District offices, 351 S. Hudson Avenue, Room 236.
    The date for the next public hearing will be set by the Committee.
    All meetings are open, and guests are invited to ask questions or make statements.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Adaptive reuse of the site potentially will introduce new impacts to the neighborhood and affect property values, good or bad. SRNA supports a cautious approach to this transition and a full understanding of zoning allowances for all those affected by the closure.

    For more information on the applicable state laws please see:

    Alquist-Priolo Act of 1971

    CA Code of Regulations (CCR)

    ******************************************

    Board of Education Update:

    Pasadena Unified School District on March 27, 2014 voted 4-2 (Kim Kenne absent) authorizing the district to accept bids for lease of the Linda Vista Elementary school site. [BR- 77-B]. Tom Selinske made the motion seconded by Dr. Elizabeth Pomeroy. Tyron Hampton and Dr. Mikala Rahn voted in favor. President Renatta Cooper and Scott Phelps voted against the motion. 

     

    Profile: Little Flower Candy Co.

    SRNA is proud to have many fine dining places in our area. Little Flower as it is known to residents, is  a tiny cafe, bakery
    and candy kitchen on the edge of  town. It's where the neighborhood can meet and eat fresh delicious food, drink strong
    coffee and listen to great music surrounded by art, neighbors, friends and community.
    Little Flower is a great place to meet a friend or make a new one. 

    Christine & Pam have created a great neighborhood café.
    SRNA artist Wendi Moffly's art can be seen there from time to time.
      

    1422 W. Colorado Blvd,  
    Hours: 
    Mon-Sat 7 am - 7 pm
    Sun 9 am - 4 pm
    710 Extension/Tunnel Update
    By Ann Kelley 
      
    Neighborhood communities nervously await the submission of the multimillion dollar Environmental Impact Report (EIR) expected to be released this spring. Once the EIR is released there will be a great deal of activity as environment, transportation, medical and planning experts and citizens in every city get busy reviewing the report.  We have a 90 day window to prepare a response to a document expected to be 10,000+ pages that took Metro consultants, CH2M Hill, two years to prepare. It's a daunting challenge but many people have committed to accept the task of review.

    Here's an example of a tunnel boring machine for transportation vehicles. Notice the size compared to the people!    

    Tunnel Boring Machine
                                        (TBM)
                                                                                                                                                               ;       
    SRNA along with other neighborhood groups are in unison against the tunnel alternate as a solution.

    While the proposed F 7 (Tunnel) is not in SRNA's immediate area, SRNA is opposed to the draconian environmental impacts such a project would incur on our streets, fire department, and the Arroyo. SRNA believes a tunnel project would negatively impact all of Pasadena. SRNA, from the beginning in early 2012, has been opposed to 20th century solutions to a 21st century problem.

    The cities of Pasadena, Glendale, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre and La Canada-Flintridge have each committed $50,000 for a total of $250,000 to hire outside consultants who will review the EIR from a regional perspective. 

    ·         Glendale will focus on safety and security 
    ·         La Canada-Flintridge on soils geology and seismology, 
    ·         Pasadena on legal and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) 
    ·         Sierra Madre on air quality
    ·         South Pasadena on transportation

    The Pasadena City Council have committed the City's Departments to review the EIR from Pasadena's perspective. 

    SRNA will let you know when the community meetings from Metro are scheduled so you can take action and voice your concerns.

    Photo licensed to and courtesy of Stan Clark 
    La Loma Bridge Update &
    Speed Bumps on South Laguna Road
    By Marie Cleaves

        La Loma Bridge Currently
     Currently
            
        La Loma Bridge After
       New Proposed Restored Design

    Last month over 40 residents came to SRNA's February public meeting to find out more on the La Loma Bridge closure that will begin just a few months from now. Guests included:
       
    Steve Wright                    City Engineer, Public Works
    Stephen Walker             Principal City Engineer
    Amanda Ta-Chavez         Associate Transportation Engineer
    Kevin Costa                    Deputy Fire Chief
    Lt. Pete Hettema           Pasadena Police Department

    The historic La Loma Bridge was originally constructed in 1914 when Woodrow Wilson was President, the United States Flag had 48 stars and baseball legend Babe Ruth made his major league debut with the Red Sox.

    The iconic bridge is scheduled to undergo a seismic retrofit and rehabilitation beginning in the summer of 2014 and lasting through the winter of 2015.

    The 370-foot long by 42-foot wide structure will be widened and strengthened while maintaining its historic style. The scope of the project includes replacing the bridge deck, rehabilitating the arches and spandrel columns, and strengthening both end piers. The project will cost approximately $16.8 million dollars. Funding will come from two sources: federal grant funds totaling $14.7 million and city funds totaling $2.1 million.

    During the closure the Pasadena Police Department plans to post police officers on Laguna, Arroyo and San Rafael to monitor and mitigate traffic impacts. The Department expects most impacts to be on local traffic with cut-through commuters opting for other routes.

    SRNA is working with the various departments to mitigate the impacts the closure to the affected neighborhoods. 

    Photo & Rendering Courtesy of the City of Pasadena

    ***************************************************************    

    Speed Bumps on South Laguna Road

    Neighbors on the Southern portion of Laguna Road have petitioned the City of Pasadena to perform a study about installing speed bumps on a stretch of Laguna Road from Burleigh to San Rafael. This part of Laguna Road was designated a "local street" in 2003 which means the road qualifies for speed bumps. An official traffic count by the city on this stretch of Laguna resulted in 1,500 cars in a 24 hour period. Neighbors in the area have been asked by the city to complete a survey and provide feedback. An affirmative vote of at least 66% of he affected neighbors would be needed to install the bumps.

    If speed bumps are installed the city must follow established guidelines which include that the bumps must be 200 - 250 feet apart on a stretch of roadway that is 1,000 feet long and uninterrupted by curves. It is estimated there would be a total of 5 speed bumps on this section of Laguna.

    Laguna Road is made of concrete instead of asphalt so the speed bumps would be rubberized and bolted into the concrete. Each bump would be 3 ½" high and 12' wide.

    The Pasadena Fire Chief has expressed concerns that bumps on Laguna Road could negatively impact response times in the area and damage the department's fire trucks. The Chief has the authority to deny speed bumps if they are deemed a hindrance to response times.

    Survey results reported by the City are as follows: Residences Affected 39: 26 Yes or 67%, 2 No 5%, 11 (28%) did not respond.

    Status of project: Survey results letters are to be mailed to residents by end of March. Locate vendor/company that makes the rubberized bolted bumps with a design suitable to the city. The Pasadena Director of Transportation to consult with the Pasadena Fire Department on their use of Laguna Road.
    Complete Streets Program Update! 
    By Mary Dee Romney (Chart information provided by Sylvia Plummer)
      
    NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC 'NERVES' . . . and
    STREET VEHICLE COUNTS

    Prompted by speed, accidents and fatalities on Avenue 64, impacted neighbors (Avenue 64 Coalition) urged the City of Pasadena Department of Transportation to form a resident advisory group to address traffic safety.

    Subsequently the "San Rafael Complete Streets Working Group" convened in February 2014 to evaluate the city's January 2014 traffic counts on local streets and to review various traffic studies and recommendations.

    Still, ongoing safety problems remain a reality on Avenue 64 and promise to be exacerbated by traffic diversions during the re-construction of the La Loma Bridge. (see SRNA article above)

    Remedies from the city's "Complete Streets" proposal appear both costly and remote for Avenue 64.

    One bright side to this effort is information to neighbors! The below chart shows the January 2014 traffic count/average speed for the neighborhood's most frequented streets.

    Please take a look! You know these streets!


    Street
    # of Cars    
    MPH



    Annandale Road                                          
    616
    27
    Avenue 64 (north of Nithsdale)          
    8,667
    39
    Avenue 64 (south of Nithsdale)          
    8,564
    43
    Brixton Road                                          
    210
    30
    Burleigh Drive (between Ave 64 & La Loma)  
    625
    33
    Church Street (between Ave 64 & Brentnal)    
    678
    30
    Glenullen Drive (near La Loma)                
    184
    27
    Glen Summer Road                              
    324
    30
    Kaweah Drive                                           
    140
    21
    Laguna Road (south of Burleigh)              
    1,531
    35
    La Loma Avenue (west of Ave 64)                
    3,625
    34
    Nithsdale Road                                            
    740
    27
    Poppy Peak Drive                                        
    130
    25
    San Miguel Road                                    
    977
    28
    San Rafael Avenue (between Colorado & Nithsdale)  
    1,394
    28
    Tamarac Drive (near La Loma)              
    197
    20


     THANK YOU TO NEIGHBORS WHO SERVE ON THIS WORKING GROUP!

    EDITOR NOTE: For the San Rafael Complete Streets Working Group Meeting (February 11, 2014), see:


    For concepts and minutiae on the City of Pasadena Complete Streets transition, see:


    Local Street News
    By  Joanne Fletcher, Eunice Kim & Sue Tkocz

    Malcolm Drive neighbors Joanne Fletcher, Eunice Kim and Sue Tkocz spearheaded a block party on Sunday, October 6th after several burglaries in the neighborhood motivated their neighbors to get together this summer at the local library to meet with representatives from the Police Department. Neighbors came to the party from Malcolm, Anita and Sequoia Drives (Aasia Kinney handed out flyers on Sequoia).

    The party got started a 3:00 pm and everyone got name tags with their address identifying who and where they live. The street was blocked off in the middle with umbrellas and tables set up and filled to overflow with wonderful assortments of appetizers and desserts.

    Approximately 125 neighbors came along with Kitty Johnson, a police Neighborhood Watch specialist, Officer Tom Brown and Officer Jim Riehl who are assigned to our service area. A special treat for both the kids and adults was the arrival of a Fire Department pumper truck just like the one at Station 39. Everyone agreed it was lovely to meet and get to know your neighbors and we encourage you to build vigilance and cooperation within your own neighborhood.  

     
    Top: Joanne Fletcher, Sue Tkocz & Eunice Kim
     Bottom: Kitty Johnson, Officer James Riehl, and Joanne Fletcher

    Photo courtesy of the author (s)   
    Good Neighbor Column
    By Committee

    We would like to introduce a new feature in our Newsletter. We are calling it the "Good Neighbor Column." The Good Neighbor Column will address subjects of interest on your street or block, or general concerns for your area. Please send us your thoughts on issues for the this new column at info@srnapasadena.org.

    The first issue for our next publication will address the use of
    leaf blowers.
    Spring Is Just Around The Corner - BRUSH CLEARANCE
    By Stan Clark

    The Pasadena Fire Department is urging residents to get started with brush clearance early due to the severe drought we are experiencing. (The map and copy are predictive and not guaranteed.)  Last year was predicted to be one of the worst and thankfully that did not materialize.
      
    This year is slated to be very dry and with that the risk is high. Fire Risk SoCal
                                    2014
    The goal is to help the fire department have defensible space at all times. Here are some suggested things you can do:

    1) Trim back tree branches away from chimneys, fire experts say at least 5 feet away.
    2) Clear brush in empty or adjoining lots.
    3) Remove firewood stacked next to structures.
    4) Remove anything flammable that is close to structures.

    Please contact the Pasadena Fire Department for any questions at (626) 744-4655. 


    With added fire danger, the Pasadena Fire Department would also like residents to know that Red Flag Days have added impact for fire and rescue vehicles. Many of our area's streets are narrow and winding, making it difficult for the department's vehicle to quickly get to an incident.

     
    This is Rancheros Road in the hills of 91103 on a
    call a few weeks ago. We have similar streets in the San Rafael area. During a Red Flag Day, these trucks could not easily get to a location for a call.

    For more on Red Flag Days go to:



    Photo courtesy of Pasadena Fire Department (PFD)

    Coalition for the preservation of the Arroyo. EIR-NFL Lawsuit
    Information Update
    By Nina Chomsky 
    President Linda Vista ~ Annandale Association (LVAA)

    The Lawsuit: The Coalition (Linda Vista Annandale Association, San Rafael Neighborhoods Association, and East Arroyo Neighborhood Preservation Committee), which challenged Pasadena's Environmental Impact Report for NFL Rose Bowl use, was disappointed that the Superior Court ruled against us. The Coalition will appeal the decision. Importantly, although new factual and legal issues cannot be raised, the Appellate Court will review the case de novo, i.e. all over again.
    The Coalition sincerely thanks all supporters of the lawsuit up to now, including SRNA. This matter is not over, and the Coalition will keep the community informed.
    Rose Bowl Events: Meanwhile, Pasadena is exploring an "entertainment" alternative to the NFL to raise Rose Bowl money. Over Coalition legal objections focusing on failure to mitigate cumulative displacement (major) event impacts, the City Council recently voted to increase 2014 Rose Bowl displacement (major) events from 12 to no more than 18, including 5-6 large concerts. Additionally, in a letter to the Coalition's Attorney, the City recently confirmed that
    (1) The City will not host any NFL games in the Rose Bowl during calendar year 2014;
    (2) Non-Displacement "Walks/Runs" in the Central Arroyo (which have impacts on recreation and use of the Central Arroyo) will be limited to no more than 13 Rose Bowl sponsored events and no more than 3 City sponsored events in 2014;
    (3) The City will share costs with the Rose Bowl Operating Company to fund a study to analyze event coordination in the Central Arroyo;
    (4) The City will meet with the Coalition to discuss improving the management of events at the Rose Bowl, minimizing the inconvenience caused by such events and promoting improved residential quality of life in the City;
    (5) The City does not contend that the up-to-eighteen displacement (major) events in calendar year 2014 establish a new "baseline" for displacement (major) events at the Rose Bowl.
    But, a basic challenge remains: how to identify and implement performance-based, enforceable mitigation measures to protect Arroyo impacted neighborhoods from so many major and smaller events.
    The NFL: There will be no 2014 NFL announcement of an L.A. team, and attention has shifted to 2015.
    Recently, attention also has shifted from downtown Los Angeles to Inglewood as a possible NFL stadium location. Hollywood Park in Inglewood, which closed in 2013, includes 238 flat acres. Many believe that the site is an ideal NFL stadium location with easy Freeway access; few residential neighbors; and, plenty of room for a typical NFL stadium, including adjacent above-ground parking.
    Now, per the L.A. Times, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, billionaire Stan Kroenke, has purchased the 60-acre parking lot between the Forum and Hollywood Park, possibly for a new stadium in joint venture with the Hollywood Park owners. While relocating an NFL team is complex, the Rams' lease allows them to leave St. Louis in 2015.
    Stay tuned.
    The Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo is composed of the East Arroyo Neighborhood Preservation Committee (EANPC), the Linda Vista~Annandale Association, (LVAA) and the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA), and is supported by the West Pasadena Residents' Association (WPRA).

    JOIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP WITH SRNA

    Join SRNA Today! - 

    West Pasadena's Newest and Fastest growing neighborhood organization dedicated to the San Rafael neighborhoods area.


    MEMBERSHIP LEVELS:



    Member            
     $               20.00
    Household       
     $               35.00
    Sustaining     
     $             100.00
    Patron            
     $             250.00
    Benefactor     
     $             500.00

    Please send check by mail to:
    San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA)
    PO Box 92617
    Pasadena, CA 91109

    OR

    Join us at our website at
    www.srnapasadena.org and click the tab "Join Us"

    Debit or Credit cards accepted.

    SRNA is looking for people to volunteer and be part of our organization. Represent your street and your concerns. Write to us if you would like to help make a difference and express your area of interest.

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    The mission of the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA) is to enhance and maintain the character and quality of all San Rafael neighborhoods through advocacy and an activated community.


    SRNA is registered  with the City of Pasadena/Neighborhood Connections office.

    Membership dues/Donations are Not Tax Deductible.