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, January 16, 2014

Video by Joe Cano: Item 15 Metro Planning Meeting 01/15/2014

Joe Cano, January 16, 2014

Metro staffer gets a lecture from Metro Board member Yaroslavsky. He is not happy with this group's work on a project related to LAX. He mentions lack of public trust & how everything they are doing so far will cause more damage to that relationship.

Light rail should not be built under LAX terminal area, officials say

The recommendation by L.A. County transportation officials to discard those alternatives would seriously alter the discussion on connecting light rail to LAX.

 By Laura J. Nelson, January 15, 2014
 LAX transfers
 A commuter takes the LAX Shuttle bus at the Metro Green Line's Aviation Boulevard station. There is no direct Metro light rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport.

Citing the high cost and risk of tunneling under Los Angeles International Airport, county transportation officials said Wednesday that it did not make sense to build a light-rail line directly under the airport's terminal area.

Their recommendation to discard four possible LAX alternatives, although preliminary, could permanently change a decades-long discussion on how to connect light rail to the nation's third-busiest airport.

Three of the alternatives would require tunneling under terminals and runways. The fourth would call for a bus system instead of light rail. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board of directors will consider the proposal next week.

By the end of this decade, two light-rail lines will come within three miles of the airport without completing the trip. The South Bay's Green Line hugs the southern end of the runways, but the only link to the terminal is a shuttle bus. When the $2-billion Crenshaw Line debuts in 2019, it will pass 1.5 miles to the east of the terminals.

Preliminary studies indicate that more people would ride a train to LAX if it stopped inside the terminals, and that ridership would be highest for the options with the fewest number of transfers.
The options that could be eliminated are costly and "encroach in a way that the airport does not want us to encroach," Martha Welborne, Metro's executive director for countywide planning, said Wednesday.

Welborne is recommending that three other alternatives receive further study. All depend on the construction of a so-called "people mover," which could resemble a circulator train like the one at San Francisco International Airport.

One approach would bring the people mover out nearly two miles to meet the Crenshaw Line at Aviation and Century boulevards.

Another option would move the Crenshaw Line to the west, where it would link up near what is now Parking Lot C with the people mover and a proposed shuttle bus and rental car hub.

Under the final option, the people mover would circle the terminals and connect with a light-rail station near LAX's iconic lighted pillars.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who is on the Metro board of directors, said officials should keep the number of alternatives to a minimum so the study does not become too expensive or time-consuming.

"Some of us were here when the public turned on us in a big way," Yaroslavsky said. "We've gained back the trust of the public, but this is the kind of thing that undermines it."

Still unclear is who will pay for the eventual connection, and how. Metro has set aside about $330 million in sales tax revenue from Measure R for the light-rail link, but cost estimates hover near $1 billion. And at a recent Board of Airport Commissioners meeting, Gina Marie Lindsey, Los Angeles World Airports executive director, said airlines that use LAX were not interested in contributing to a people mover or a transit hub because neither brings in revenue.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wants better LAX ground transportation. But do airlines?


By Brian Sumers, January 15, 2014

 A new LAX ground transportation center could look like this. But do airlines even want it?

Los Angeles International Airport executive director Gina Marie Lindsey says airlines have little interest in two projects favored by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti — an intermodal transportation center and an automated people mover.

She made the comments at Monday’s Board of Airport Commissioners meeting. Several members suggested to Lindsey that more efficient ground transportation — and thus less terminal area congestion –would make for happier airlines, but Lindsey pushed back against that assertion.

“I think the facilities that are most important are the airline used facilities,” Lindsey said. “They are going to want to have more gates and they are going to want to make sure their operation on the airfield is efficient. Those are going to be the most important determiners from the airline standpoint, other than the market — obviously the market has to be here for them. I don’t think they will care — in fact I expect we will have very energized conversations with the airlines relative to the automated people mover system. They are not universally loved at any airport that I am aware of. It doesn’t mean they don’t get done.”

Lindsey said both projects cost a lot of money and deliver no additional revenue. She said it is unlikely any passenger demand will be stimulated if ground transportation is slightly more efficient. That’s especially true of the automated people mover, which could whisk passengers from one terminal to the next. (Perhaps you’ve seen the APM in Dallas.)

“They’re non revenue,” Lindsey said. “There is no way to make money off of an APM. It’s essentially a sunk cost that you have to find other mechanisms to pay for. And they worry all the time that the mechanism to pay for them is going to be them. The way our rate structure is put together now they would not pay for all of it. But they certainly would get a share of it, and that’s where the energized conversation is going to happen.

“Both the Intermodal Transportation Center and the APM are going to be difficult conversations with airlines simply because they don’t have their own revenue stream.”

Commissioner Jackie Goldberg reminded Lindsey that the mayor supported both ground transportation elements. And she said she is convinced that LAX car and bus traffic is keeping some people from using the the airport.

“It takes 40 minutes at 1030 at night to get out of the airport,” she said. “This discourages people from coming to LAX. It just does.”

Presuming the projects go forward, Lindsey said it might make sense to keep costs low. City and airport officials are in the very early stages of deciding how to proceed.

“You could spend $300 million on an ITF … or you could spend a billion dollars,” she said. “And that’s part of the dilemma that I think we are going to have to collectively wrestle with. We need to collectively keep ourselves honest that we don’t overbuild. We have one airport where that happened already. And we need to appropriately size and scope the facilities for the use we expect they would get.”

That “one airport where that happened already” zinger is a reference to L.A./Ontario International Airport, which is operated by the city of Los Angeles. That airport opened a new terminal complex in 1998, with officials predicting the facility could handle 10 million passengers per year. Instead, the airport is handling around 4 million passengers per year.

House panel hearing focuses on California bullet train finances

Federal funding of the project continues, but it's unclear how the state's bullet train agency will pay $180 million by April 1.


By Ralph Vartabedian, January 15, 2014 


An artist's rendering of a bullet train.

 An artist's rendering of a bullet train.

The California bullet train agency is continuing to meet its financial obligations under federal grants that are providing $3.2 billion to the project, but the state has not indicated how it will pay $180 million in required matching funds by April 1, a senior federal official told a congressional panel Wednesday.

Karen Hedlund, deputy chief at the Federal Railroad Administration, said her agency has a legal obligation to continue funding the project because the state hasn't defaulted on its financial agreements with Washington.

But responding to questions from Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), chairman of the House rail subcommittee, about recent funding challenges confronting the $68-billion proposal, Hedlund said, "We are very concerned about it. That is why we are in discussions with the authority about its plans."

State officials plan to start construction on a 29-mile bullet train segment through Fresno by July, using federal grants. Court rulings have indefinitely blocked their ability to draw on $9 billion in voter-approved state bonds.

If the state cannot match federal contributions in the future, the federal government could demand repayment and withhold future federal funding to the state, Alissa Dolan, an attorney for the Congressional Research Service, testified at Wednesday's hearing.

"The federal government can and would withhold money for other top infrastructure priorities, such as education and water, from the state of California should the state fail to provide state funds," Denham, a prominent critic of the project, said afterward.

Dan Richard, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority, told lawmakers he remains confident the state can complete 130 miles of track in the Central Valley and find the money needed to build the system to Palmdale and begin attracting private investors. "We don't have those dollars in hand today," he said.

The project is facing a crucial six months ahead. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to allocate $250 million in greenhouse gas abatement fees from businesses to the project. But that requires the Legislature's approval.

Richard said officials also hope to get relief by April from a recent decision by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, who found that the high-speed rail agency failed to comply with legal requirements tied to state funding for the rail line. Richard said the legal setback was based on a prior business plan and that the current plan addresses many problems identified by Kenny.
For example, he said, state law allows his agency to use voter-approved bond money to build an initial "usable segment" of track. That track could be used by Amtrak trains until more parts of the high-speed line are completed, he said.

Denham later questioned the legality of that approach, saying it "directly contradicts what voters narrowly approved in 2008." A spokeswoman for the rail authority said Richard's comments did not signal how the authority would respond to Kenny's ruling. "No final decision has been made about how to comply with his ruling," the spokeswoman said.

Three unconventional ways Gov. Brown can scare up billions for the bullet train


By Ted Rall, January 16, 2014

Gov. Jerry Brown has a dream, a dream that would serve as his greatest legacy: a high-speed train that would slash the six-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco to a relaxing ride a smidge over two hours.

It may seem like a pipe dream now, but similar links have transformed other countries. When I visited Paris as a kid, the eastern city of Strasbourg was a weird, remote border town where people spoke German and claimed to like black blood sausages. Thanks to France's TGV trains, an all-day schlep is a quick day trip now — two hours each way — that paved the way for Strasbourg to become an important headquarters for European Union bureaucrats and Eurozone business types. Moreover, two hours on the train are not like two hours behind the wheel of a car. You can get a lot of work done on a train.

It doesn't take a big stretch of imagination to see why Silicon Valley and Hollywood might want to work together more closely.

SCAG Notice of Public Listening Session: Federal Certification Review

From Sylvia Plummer, January 16, 2014

The public is invited to comment on the transportation planning process.
Maybe some of you have some suggestions for how SCAG can do their job better.
This is your opportunity!
February 5, 2014, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

818 West 7th Street, 12th Floor
Policy Committee Room B
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Having trouble reading this email? View it on our website.
SCAG Update
Notice of Public Listening Session:
Southern California Association of Governments Federal Certification Review
A Public Listening Session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5, 2014 to receive input on how to improve the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region’s transportation planning process.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will be conducting the certification review and evaluation of the region’s transportation planning process carried out by SCAG and its partners. Every four years the FHWA and FTA jointly conduct this review. As part of the review, the public is invited to comment on the transportation planning process at the following public meeting:
February 5, 2014, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
818 West 7th Street, 12th Floor
Policy Committee Room B
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Oral and written comments may be presented at the meeting. Written comments may also be sent via e-mail to cert.review@dot.gov, or by regular mail to:
Mr. Michael Morris
FHWA Cal-South Office
888 S. Figueroa, Suite 750, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Mr. Ted Matley
FTA Region IX
201 Mission Street, Suite 1650, San Francisco, CA 94105
Public written comments will be accepted through Friday, February 21, 2014. For additional information about the SCAG federal certification process, or the February 5, 2014 public listening session, please dial 213-894-4014.

No 710 Action Committee has a Blog

From Sylvia Plummer, January 16, 2014

The No 710 Action Committee has a new blog on Montrose-La Crescenta Patch that is being reposted on 18 other Patches in the northeast.  

or go to your local Patch and look under Blogs.  

Feel free to add your comments to the three articles.  We have had 5 negative comments so far, by the same person, who called us NIMBYs.

Report: Metro Planning and Programming Committee Meeting

From Sylvia Plummer, January 16, 2014

Ara Najarian made a motion to extend the 60 day public review period on the SR-710 draft EIR.  
The motion passed with a 90 day extension.    Ara felt that Caltrans would not give us 120 days, because they only gave 90 to the 710 South project.

This will now go before the Metro Board for consideration next week, Thursday, January 23.   So Mark your calendar.

There were 17 people that showed up, among them were Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Pasadena City Council Member Victor Gordo, South Pasadena City Council Member Richard Schneider,  and Ann Wilson representing La Canada.  Fourteen people spoke before the committee.  Thanks to all that attended.

Thanks to Joe Cano who made the video: