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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So Where the %&*# Is The Expo Line Parking?


By Ken Alpern, July 8, 2014


GETTING THERE FROM HERE-This will bear repeating, both to the cities and the county of Los Angeles:  while I can only speak for myself, I very strongly doubt that I'm the only person in favor of a "Measure R-2", which would help fund more operational transit/transportation funds as well as create a Metro Rail/LAX connection, extend the Green and Foothill Gold Lines, and create north-south transit lines that connect the SF Valley to the Westside and Hollywood to LAX. 
But I also doubt I'm the only person who will OPPOSE Measure R-2 if we don't have better parking and transit access for those of us who are paying for our growing transit network.  

Because we really do NOT have to pass a Measure R-2 if the first Measure R isn't implemented appropriately. 

That means slapping away the clutching, grasping and law-breaking developers who are creating oversized projects which will make our traffic worse, and which are NOT transit-oriented (to say nothing of providing barriers to transit stations and paying a woefully- insufficient amount of mitigation expenses to enhance transit access). 

That means making doggone sure we've got bicycle, pedestrian and bus access to our transit stations, including key transportation centers with bus bays, restaurants, restrooms and covered/comfortable stations at key sites such as the future Exposition/Sepulveda rail station, and at/near the future Century/Aviation rail station. 

...and that ALSO means creating enough parking spaces so that the residents of our far-flung city and county of Los Angeles could access the Expo Line and other lines (even Rapid Bus Lines, in certain locations) to which car commuters really don't have a good choice of accessing. 

For those of us who remember when the Red Line accessed Universal City and North Hollywood, and learned that the parking (especially at North Hollywood) was rapidly filled early in the morning, that was an automatic message of "Success!" and which should have been followed up with some more parking lots (even if it was a private/public partnership arrangement). 

To be fair, we should all be aware of the way light rail is funded in this nation:  we fund L.A. and New York the same way we do for medium-sized cities like Salt Lake City and Portland, which are smaller and more compact and less over-developed (and with lots of free space, to boot).  This means that the federal government does NOT fund LA and New York rail line projects sufficiently ... not by a long shot. 

In contrast, our federal and other government’s funds our freeway projects just fine, such as when we build an I-405 widening project and upgrade/redo all the connecting off/onramps and overpasses.  
Our local governments therefore deserve a little bit of sympathy when they underfund rail projects, such as when Metro decided against funding parking for the Wilshire Subway in order to get the Subway extended to west of the I-405. 

Gutsy moves merit brave and decisive decisions, with the hope that the local governments and private sector will fill in the gaps later down the proverbial road.  Yet when those local governments (and we can include Sacramento, which has been derelict and distracted on funding local city/county transit projects for decades) don't come through, we have the right as taxpayers to rebel. 

So whether it's a lack of parking (with bicycle, bus and pedestrian amenities as part-and-parcel of any structure or lot) at the North Hollywood Red Line station, a lack of a Westside Regional Transit Center at Exposition/Sepulveda, or the loss of some several hundred parking spaces at the Venice/Robertson Expo Line station, it's a painful and inappropriate slap in the face of the county-wide voters who passed Measure R. 

Just as it's tough for Sacramento legislators to budget for more jail facilities for inmates and avoid overcrowding (which will remain a problem even after we've removed the nonviolent inmates to local prisons), when it comes to parking the "poormouth" approach just won't cut it. 

The voters and taxpayers will, to a very large degree, respond with a "shut up, shut up, shut up and BUILD IT") that our elected ignore at their (and our) peril. 

With respect to the loss of Expo Line parking at Culver City, it's particularly painful and certainly to be hoped that the planned Transit-Oriented Development there will create a sufficient number of replacement spaces, but it's also to be reminded that: 

1) There is a woefully-insufficient number of parking spaces at the Los Angeles and Santa Monica stations (again, to our elected leaders, please SHUT UP about the expense and come up with a solution). 

2) There's a reason why entities such as the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and Westside LA Neighborhood Councils have advocated for more Expo Line and regional transit/parking facilities, even if it means the end of free parking in Metro stations. 

3) There's no Metrolink in the Westside, so that the Expo Line is a quasi-freeway-alternative which should have rail stations to be treated like Metrolink stations (which have plenty of parking). 

Santa Monica residents want more parking, West LA residents want more parking, and Culver City residents want more parking.  Ditto for Valley and South Bay residents who will have to drive to the Expo Line.  The Expo Line was NOT to be built for regular transit users only, but was to be a fine and excellent option to attract new riders to the Metro Rail and connecting bus network. 

And for Metro to thumb its nose and come up with a lame list of excuses and distracting paradigms as a lousy response to demands for parking is the same managerial malpractice that got this region and nation into our transportation/infrastructure shortfall.

The "you should take a bicycle or bus to the train" or whatever libertarian canard fits the bill for the moment is just a bunch of hooey that almost no one but the fringes are buying. 

It's "majority rule" in this country, right? 

So build the bleepity-bleep parking and just SHUT UP with all the reasons and excuses as to why it's not being built, particularly on the Expo Line--which is supposed to be an alternative to the I-10 freeway (which people do not use bicycles on, and which has no bus-only lanes). 

ONE MORE TIME: I doubt I'm the only person who will OPPOSE Measure R-2 if we don't have better parking and transit access for those of us who are paying for our growing transit network.  
Because we really do NOT have to pass a Measure R-2 if the first Measure R isn't implemented appropriately.