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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

710 Report Looms w/ Rose Parade, Old Town Impacts – Shakeups at Caltrans & Metro – Garcetti at Occidental

http://sunroomdesk.com/2014/02/26/710-eir-looms-rose-parade-old-town-impacts-caltrans-metro-garcetti-at-occidental/

February 26, 2014

 JoeCanoVideo2TunnelsFrame


The SR-710 Environmental Impact Report is scheduled for release this spring, and Metro could recommend a tunnel connecting the 710 to the 210. Pasadena, Glendale and surrounding cities are mobilizing to fight a huge freeway/tunnel project built near and surfacing at the 134/210 interchange. Council member Steve Madison said at a recent meeting that the Rose Parade makes Pasadena the “epicenter of the globe on New Year’s Day.” He warned that if a tunnel was constructed, it “would absolutely destroy that. This is like a dystopian nightmare.”
Madison said “People are terrified” of the possibility that a tunnel will be built alongside Old Town Pasadena. His comments, and the threat to the community’s quality of life, economy, streets and especially to the Rose Parade, are highlighted in this recent video by Joe from El Sereno:
- See more at: http://sunroomdesk.com/2014/02/26/710-eir-looms-rose-parade-old-town-impacts-caltrans-metro-garcetti-at-occidental/#sthash.6lfNWX7w.dpuf
 The SR-710 Environmental Impact Report is scheduled for release this spring, and Metro could recommend a tunnel connecting the 710 to the 210. Pasadena, Glendale and surrounding cities are mobilizing to fight a huge freeway/tunnel project built near and surfacing at the 134/210 interchange. Council member Steve Madison said at a recent meeting that the Rose Parade makes Pasadena the “epicenter of the globe on New Year’s Day.” He warned that if a tunnel was constructed, it “would absolutely destroy that. This is like a dystopian nightmare.”

Madison said “People are terrified” of the possibility that a tunnel will be built alongside Old Town Pasadena. His comments, and the threat to the community’s quality of life, economy, streets and especially to the Rose Parade, are highlighted in this recent video by Joe from El Sereno:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhIERwrLhRo

Opponents of the tunnel project insist more freeway building is the wrong solution to Southern California’s traffic congestion. They want multi-modal, fiscally and environmentally responsible projects that give people travel options. “Construction of additional roadway lanes has traditionally been the most common congestion relief strategy used by transportation authorities. However, decades of research has demonstrated that expanding highways does not relieve congestion,” says the No 710 Action Committee petition to Governor Jerry Brown, which has now collected more than 1900 signatures.

Caltrans is “significantly out of step with best practice in the transportation field and with the state of California’s policy expectations,” according to a just-released independent review Governor Brown commissioned in May 2013. From SFGate, February 2:
…a highway department, rather than a transportation department, is exactly what Caltrans is right now, according to the report. The review calls for Caltrans to overhaul its mission and goals to align with the state’s changing demands. “Too many in the department understand the word (mobility) to mean “moving cars faster,” says the report, urging the department to focus more on the state’s interconnectivity and different systems of transportation for freight.
Shortly after this direct shot at an agency that is working somewhat behind the scenes with Metro on the 710 freeway extension, Metropolitan Transportation Agency senior staff associated with the 710 were summarily let go in a dramatic reshuffling. Streetsblog Los Angeles credits Glendale City Council member / MTA Board member Ara Najarian for getting the MTA Board to commission a review of the agency. The post goes on to say:
Questions about the future of the controversial 710 expansion project, which Metro refers to as the “710 Gap Closure” project and Streetsblog the “710 Big Dig”, has dominated the discussion of the shakeup. Three of the key figures in pushing the highway expansion project project despite its questionable value and political controversy, were among those let go: Failing, Moliere, and Metro Public Affairs Director Lynda Bybee.

The whole post, Reorganization or Shakeup? Change in Metro Staff Has Some Wondering About Highway Projects, is worth reading as major transportation projects are the talk of the region – from the 405 to the subway to the sea to the LAX People Mover to the 710…

Finally, those pushing to build more freeways in this region should take notes when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talks. At Occidental College February 13 to discuss the future of transportation and development in Los Angeles, Garcetti said, “The old way of navigating the city no longer works.”

I certainly hope that the old way of pushing highway projects through neighborhoods that will be destroyed by them no longer works.

Joe from El Sereno taped the entire presentation, viewable here:



Takeaways: Garcetti mentioned that there are 27 levels of regional government and instead of a “separation of powers” it ends up as the “obliteration of power” – He mentioned the Los Angeles library system’s design program as a major success story while discussing Metro’s new architecture initiative. He lauded Atwater Village for its revitalized pedestrian street scene, and he discussed the LA River’s past and possible future. Worth watching, or if you just want to listen, Occidental College’s web feature Mayor’s Designs on the City has an audio recording. - See more at: http://sunroomdesk.com/2014/02/26/710-eir-looms-rose-parade-old-town-impacts-caltrans-metro-garcetti-at-occidental/#sthash.6lfNWX7w.dpuf
 Takeaways: Garcetti mentioned that there are 27 levels of regional government and instead of a “separation of powers” it ends up as the “obliteration of power” – He mentioned the Los Angeles library system’s design program as a major success story while discussing Metro’s new architecture initiative. He lauded Atwater Village for its revitalized pedestrian street scene, and he discussed the LA River’s past and possible future. Worth watching, or if you just want to listen, Occidental College’s web feature Mayor’s Designs on the City has an audio recording.
Opponents of the tunnel project insist more freeway building is the wrong solution to Southern California’s traffic congestion. They want multi-modal, fiscally and environmentally responsible projects that give people travel options. “Construction of additional roadway lanes has traditionally been the most common congestion relief strategy used by transportation authorities. However, decades of research has demonstrated that expanding highways does not relieve congestion,” says the No 710 Action Committee petition to Governor Jerry Brown, which has now collected more than 1900 signatures.
Caltrans is “significantly out of step with best practice in the transportation field and with the state of California’s policy expectations,” according to a just-released independent review Governor Brown commissioned in May 2013. From SFGate, February 2:
…a highway department, rather than a transportation department, is exactly what Caltrans is right now, according to the report. The review calls for Caltrans to overhaul its mission and goals to align with the state’s changing demands. “Too many in the department understand the word (mobility) to mean “moving cars faster,” says the report, urging the department to focus more on the state’s interconnectivity and different systems of transportation for freight.
Shortly after this direct shot at an agency that is working somewhat behind the scenes with Metro on the 710 freeway extension, Metropolitan Transportation Agency senior staff associated with the 710 were summarily let go in a dramatic reshuffling. Streetsblog Los Angeles credits Glendale City Council member / MTA Board member Ara Najarian for getting the MTA Board to commission a review of the agency. The post goes on to say:
Questions about the future of the controversial 710 expansion project, which Metro refers to as the “710 Gap Closure” project and Streetsblog the “710 Big Dig”, has dominated the discussion of the shakeup. Three of the key figures in pushing the highway expansion project project despite its questionable value and political controversy, were among those let go: Failing, Moliere, and Metro Public Affairs Director Lynda Bybee.
- See more at: http://sunroomdesk.com/2014/02/26/710-eir-looms-rose-parade-old-town-impacts-caltrans-metro-garcetti-at-occidental/#sthash.6lfNWX7w.dpuf
The SR-710 Environmental Impact Report is scheduled for release this spring, and Metro could recommend a tunnel connecting the 710 to the 210. Pasadena, Glendale and surrounding cities are mobilizing to fight a huge freeway/tunnel project built near and surfacing at the 134/210 interchange. Council member Steve Madison said at a recent meeting that the Rose Parade makes Pasadena the “epicenter of the globe on New Year’s Day.” He warned that if a tunnel was constructed, it “would absolutely destroy that. This is like a dystopian nightmare.”
Madison said “People are terrified” of the possibility that a tunnel will be built alongside Old Town Pasadena. His comments, and the threat to the community’s quality of life, economy, streets and especially to the Rose Parade, are highlighted in this recent video by Joe from El Sereno:
- See more at: http://sunroomdesk.com/2014/02/26/710-eir-looms-rose-parade-old-town-impacts-caltrans-metro-garcetti-at-occidental/#sthash.6lfNWX7w.dpuf
The SR-710 Environmental Impact Report is scheduled for release this spring, and Metro could recommend a tunnel connecting the 710 to the 210. Pasadena, Glendale and surrounding cities are mobilizing to fight a huge freeway/tunnel project built near and surfacing at the 134/210 interchange. Council member Steve Madison said at a recent meeting that the Rose Parade makes Pasadena the “epicenter of the globe on New Year’s Day.” He warned that if a tunnel was constructed, it “would absolutely destroy that. This is like a dystopian nightmare.”
Madison said “People are terrified” of the possibility that a tunnel will be built alongside Old Town Pasadena. His comments, and the threat to the community’s quality of life, economy, streets and especially to the Rose Parade, are highlighted in this recent video by Joe from El Sereno:
- See more at: http://sunroomdesk.com/2014/02/26/710-eir-looms-rose-parade-old-town-impacts-caltrans-metro-garcetti-at-occidental/#sthash.6lfNWX7w.dpuf

China's toxic air pollution resembles nuclear winter, say scientists


Air pollution now impeding photosynthesis and potentially wreaking havoc on country's food supply, experts warn
 
 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/25/china-toxic-air-pollution-nuclear-winter-scientists
 
By Jonaathan Kaiman, February 25, 2014
 
 
China pollution 














China's worsening air pollution has exacted a significant economic toll, grounding flights, closing highways and deterring tourists.


Chinese scientists have warned that the country's toxic air pollution is now so bad that it resembles a nuclear winter, slowing photosynthesis in plants – and potentially wreaking havoc on the country's food supply.

Beijing and broad swaths of six northern provinces have spent the past week blanketed in a dense pea-soup smog that is not expected to abate until Thursday. Beijing's concentration of PM 2.5 particles – those small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – hit 505 micrograms per cubic metre on Tuesday night. The World Health Organisation recommends a safe level of 25.

The worsening air pollution has already exacted a significant economic toll, grounding flights, closing highways and keeping tourists at home. On Monday 11,200 people visited Beijing's Forbidden City, about a quarter of the site's average daily draw.

He Dongxian, an associate professor at China Agricultural University's College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, said new research suggested that if the smog persists, Chinese agriculture will suffer conditions "somewhat similar to a nuclear winter".

Buildings are seen through thick haze in Guangzhou  
Buildings in the central business district in Guangzhou seen through the thick haze. 
  She has demonstrated that air pollutants adhere to greenhouse surfaces, cutting the amount of light inside by about 50% and severely impeding photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light into life-sustaining chemical energy.

She tested the hypothesis by growing one group of chilli and tomato seeds under artificial lab light, and another under a suburban Beijing greenhouse. In the lab, the seeds sprouted in 20 days; in the greenhouse, they took more than two months. "They will be lucky to live at all," He told the South China Morning Post newspaper.

She warned that if smoggy conditions persist, the country's agricultural production could be seriously affected. "Now almost every farm is caught in a smog panic," she said.

A farmer turning soil to plant crops surrounded by pollution 
  A farmer turns soil to plant crops near a state-owned lead smelter in Tianying that has made much of the land uninhabitable.
  Early this month the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences claimed in a report that Beijing's pollution made the city almost "uninhabitable for human beings".

The Chinese government has repeatedly promised to address the problem, but enforcement remains patchy. In October, Beijing introduced a system of emergency measures if pollution levels remained hazardous for three days in a row, including closing schools, shutting some factories, and restricting the use of government cars.

People visit the Olympic Park amid thick haze in Beijing 
  People visiting the Olympic Park amid the thick haze in Beijing.
  According to China's state newswire Xinhua, 147 industrial companies in Beijing have cut or suspended production. Yet schools remained open and government cars remained on the road.
One person not put off by the smog was President Xi Jinping, who braved the pollution to make an unannounced visit to a trendy neighbourhood popular with tourists.

Dressed in a black jacket and trousers – and no facemask – Xi made a brief walkabout in Nanluoguxiang district last Thursday morning. The visit prompted approving coverage in Chinese news reports, but also mockery on social media sites. "Xi Jinping visits Beijing's Nanluoguxiang amid the smog: breathing together, sharing the fate," said a Xinhua headline.
Photos and shaky video footage apparently of Xi's visit ricocheted around Chin
ese social media sites. "Why isn't he wearing a facemask?" asked one Sina Weibo user. "Isn't it bad for his health?"

This week Chinese media reported that a man in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province near Beijing, had sued the local environmental protection bureau for failing to rein in the smog. Li Guixin filed the lawsuit asking the municipal environment protection bureau "perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law", the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily reported.

Li is also seeking compensation for the pollution. "Besides the threat to our health, we've also suffered economic losses, and these losses should be borne by the government and the environmental departments because the government is the recipient of corporate taxes, it is a beneficiary," he told the Yanzhao Metropolis Daily.

Li's lawyer, Wu Yufen, confirmed the lawsuit but refused to comment because of the sensitivity of the case. He said: "This is the first ever case of a citizen suing the government regarding the issue of air pollution. We're waiting for the judicial authority's response."

Severe pollution from chemical plants  
Diseased vegetables said to be caused by pollution from a chemical plant. 
 
   Li told the newspaper that he had bought an air purifier, masks and a treadmill, but none had helped him to overcome the pernicious health effects of the smog. He is seeking RMB 10,000 (£1,000) in compensation. "I want show every citizen that we are real victims of this polluted air, which hurts us both from a health perspective and economically," he said.

Li Yan, a climate and energy expert at Greenpeace East Asia, said the case could bring exposure to polluted cities outside of Beijing, putting pressure on provincial officials to prioritise the problem. She said: "People … who live in Beijing are suffering from the polluted air, but we have the attention of both domestic and international media. Shijiazhuang's environmental problems are far more serious, and this case could bring Shijiazhuang the attention it has deserved for a long time."
 

Both parts of America Fast Forward initiative are in President Obama’s proposal for four-year transportation bill!

http://thesource.metro.net/2014/02/26/both-parts-of-america-fast-forward-initiative-are-in-president-obamas-proposal-for-four-year-transportation-bill/

By Steve Hymon, February 26, 2014

Earlier today in Minnesota, President Obama announced his proposal for a four-year transportation spending bill that would include both parts of Metro’s America Fast Forward initiative. If Congress was to vote the bill into law — and that’s a big ‘if’ — that could be a boon to Metro and other transit agencies around the nation that would have new financial tools to use when building big, pricey transportation projects.

Photo: Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

America Fast Forward includes two components. The first is a federally-backed loan program called TIFIA that is designed to give agencies access to loans with interest rates lower than can be found on the open market.

The second part is a bond program described in the graphic below. In a nutshell: those who invest in transportation bonds receive federal tax credits instead of interest, a good way for investors to lower their tax burden and a good way for transportation agencies to save on interest costs.

america-fast-forward-bonds

The hope at Metro is to potentially use a combination of TIFIA loans, America Fast Forward bonds, some federal New Starts money (New Starts is a grant program in which the federal government matches local funds to help build big projects) and Measure R tax revenues to accelerate transit projects — in particular the second- and third-decade Measure R projects. Some of those projects: an extension of the Eastside Gold Line, the Airport Metro Connector, the South Bay Green Line Extension and the second and third phases of the Purple Line Extension.

Of course, it should be noted that President Obama’s bill proposal is just that — a proposal.  Transportation bills are designed to guide spending over several years but they have been contentious in Congress in recent years. A four-year bill that expired in 2009 was temporarily extended more than 10 times before Congress in 2012 voted to approve a new two-year bill, which expires at the end of September.

So we’ll see — getting bills approved by Congress is never an easy task. Nonetheless, the fact that President Obama has included both parts of America Fast Forward into his proposal is good news for Metro and officials I spoke with here today expressed their extreme gratitude for the President’s recognition of the program.

Click here to see the entire bill proposal on the White House website.

Cycling on the edge: Dodging cars and bike lane potholes

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-unsafe-bike-lanes-roadshare-20140226,0,49404.story#axzz2uRG33xAm

By Paul Thornton, February 27, 2014

 Bike lane

 Part of the bike lane along the downtown-bound side of Mission Road in Lincoln Heights is seen last Saturday.


Any L.A. cyclist can go on about the dangers of riding on the far right of the road closest to the curb. In short, hazards tend to lurk there, out of sight and mind for motorists but perilously unavoidable for those on bikes.

In one of The Times' videos on sharing the road in L.A., Highland Park resident Melanie Freeland cogently summed up the dilemma for cyclists who want to steer clear of the unsafe, unreliable pavement by riding more in the center of a traffic lane:

"I think that the majority of L.A. traffic thinks that bicycles should be riding the curb. But the curb road is not safe for bicyclists; it's uneven, it's potholey. And so I try to take a lane when I bicycle, but cars don't really appreciate that because you're going slower, so obviously they start getting frustrated."

VIDEO: Do you bike in L.A.? Watch this to see what concerns all those drivers.

But what happens when that uneven, potholey pavement is part of a bike lane?

Case in point: The picture above, snapped on a calm Saturday afternoon, shows part of the bike lane on a particularly inhospitable stretch of downtown-bound Mission Road in Lincoln Park. During the weekday rush hour, a steady stream of speeding motorists zips through the adjacent vehicle lane, forcing any cyclist riding there to make a quick decision: whether to merge into car traffic and risk having a driver shout at you to move back into "your" lane (this has happened to me), or to squeeze the brake levers and rapidly -- and, from a motorist's point of view, unpredictably -- decelerate to avoid a spill.

With bike lanes like these, who needs cars?

Of course, most of Los Angeles' roughly 350 miles of bike lanes and paths are perfectly passable for cyclists, and the city's recent push to make the streets safer for non-vehicle commuters deserves support. But as far as improving safety for cyclists is concerned, striping a lane on the far right of a road does only so much. In fact, here, drivers' and cyclists' interests overlap: Smooth pavement is good for both cars and cyclists.

FULL COVERAGE: Sharing the road in L.A.

But sometimes, after a "road diet" -- a reworking of a street that often yields new bike lanes at the expense of a traditional traffic lane or two -- cyclists don't get smooth pavement. Handing over to cyclists road space used for years by multi-ton cars -- which cause far, far more wear and tear than bikes -- without doing the appropriate repair work leaves a major aspect of street safety unaddressed for bike riders. In effect, the city is corralling some cyclists onto inherently hazardous pavement. And with a new bike lane comes an expectation by drivers that they'll no longer have to share "their" space with cyclists, arguably leaving two-wheeled commuters worse off.

Last year, I raised this objection to two officials with the L.A. Department of Transportation, noting that the new bike lanes on the streets I use to commute to downtown L.A. do little good; in places they effectively force me to wobble along hazardous asphalt. Their unsatisfying response: The Bureau of Street Services is responsible for that kind of road maintenance, and the Department of Transportation tries to coordinate new bike-lane striping with street repair. In other words: The city's intentions are good, but the execution is less so.

For seasoned cyclists, this isn't too much of a problem; we can work around these imperfections. Long before the city striped new lanes on stretches of Huntington Drive and Mission Road through northeast L.A., I had become familiar with every pothole and every potentially dangerous span on my 16-mile roundtrip commute. For example, I can tell you that on Main Street, just after leaving downtown and passing over the L.A. River and two railroad crossings, there's a practically unnoticeable deep, man-made hole (definitely not a pothole) precisely where a cyclist would ride. Regular cyclists remember run-ins with hazards and near-misses and ride accordingly.

VIDEO: Do you drive in L.A.? Watch this to see what scares cyclists.

But the city's road diets and new bike lanes appeal to those reluctant, less experienced cyclists lured onto two wheels by the lanes' apparent safety and comfort. They might be unaware, for example, of the potentially perilous pavement that awaits them in the bike lane along Mission in Lincoln Park (please take note, Street Services). One minor accident or near miss -- or a tale of a near miss told to an anxious spouse -- can have a commuter reaching for her car keys the next morning.

The city justifiably touts its enlightenment on bikes and rightly acknowledges its past shortcomings. But those maps testifying to L.A.'s expanding bike network don't tell the whole story. It'd be a shame if any discrepancy between an expectation of improved safety created by the city and a cyclist's actual experience scares someone back into his car.

Oh, and drivers: Yes, even if there's a bike lane, cyclists may have to move into vehicle traffic. Sometimes, that’s the safest place for them to be.

Editorial: L.A.'s plan to make Figueroa a 'complete street' makes sense

There will be trade-offs, but the plan to make it bike and pedestrian friendly is worth pursuing.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-my-figueroa-bike-lanes-complete-street-20140226,0,632057.story#axzz2uRG33xAm

February 26, 2014
 
 
 
 
 My Figueroa
 
 Rendering of the proposed My Figueroa Streetscape project.

Los Angeles is on the verge of transforming four miles of Figueroa from downtown to Exposition Park into the city's first "complete street," serving cars, buses, bicycles and pedestrians equally. The $20-million project, which would replace two car lanes with protected bike lanes, has been in development for six years. If completed, it will be a significant milestone in L.A.'s evolution from car-centric sprawl to walkable, bikeable urban villages.

But Figueroa happens to be an iconic car corridor; it's home to the Automobile Club of Southern California's headquarters and numerous auto dealers, including Felix Chevrolet, whose neon Felix the Cat sign is a designated historic cultural monument. Plans to remove car lanes are not popular.
The business improvement district opposes the proposed installation of three miles of cycle tracks, which sandwich bike lanes between the sidewalk and concrete transit islands for waiting bus riders, and one mile of buffered bike lanes, which are separated from vehicle traffic by painted striping. The University of Southern California and the museums at Exposition Park have raised concerns that the "road diet" could cause traffic jams that would make life miserable for people who live, work and play in the area, and ultimately deter visitors.

At the request of Councilman Curren Price, who represents the area, the Department of Transportation is taking a second look at the project to see if it can be redesigned to preserve more vehicle lanes. That could mean moving bike lanes and cycle tracks running in one direction to another street, such as Flower. But rethinking the plan could make it significantly more expensive and undermine its premise: to make Figueroa the clear biking, walking and bus link between South L.A., USC and downtown.

The concern of local businesses and institutions is understandable. The "My Figueroa" project is the first of its kind in Los Angeles. Transportation engineers predict that it will take longer to drive those four miles, but they can't say how much longer. Case studies suggest traffic congestion caused by a road diet will ease over time as drivers try other routes or choose to cycle, walk or take the bus. But there may also be real, negative effects for long-established stakeholders on Figueroa. Transformative projects have trade-offs.

While it is perfectly reasonable to consider the concerns and to try to reach compromises, however cars should not get veto authority. The city's 2010 bicycle plan identified Figueroa as part of the Backbone Bicycle Network, those streets identified as key arterials for cyclists. Figueroa has the added benefit of providing a straight, safe route between two established biking communities — USC and downtown. This is exactly where Los Angeles should be replacing car lanes with cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes.

In recent years, California law and Los Angeles policies have established that streets are not meant for automobiles alone. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council should not let fears of traffic congestion turn this transformative project into another incomplete street.

Obama to Propose Four-Year Transpo Bill Funded By “Business Tax Reform”

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/02/26/obama-to-propose-four-year-transpo-bill-funded-by-business-tax-reform/

By Angie Schmitt, February 26, 2014

President Obama will unveil a proposal for a $302 billion, four-year transportation bill during a speech today in Minnesota, according to an announcement from the White House. A fact sheet from the administration indicates the proposal would increase dedicated funding for transit more than funding for highways.

Obama will appear in St. Paul, Minnesota today to announce a new transportation plan he says is part of his "year of action." Photo: PRX.org
Obama will appear in St. Paul, Minnesota today to announce a new transportation plan.

The proposal would represent a 38 percent spending increase over the current $109 billion, 2-year law, known as MAP-21, and is the most concrete long-term transportation bill proposed by the Obama administration, which has never put forward a funding stream until now.

The $300 billion spending plan does not raise the gas tax. Instead, it calls for directing some $150 billion from “business tax reform” to help shore up the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to go broke late this summer. The White House has not released more information about how the funding stream would operate, but the press release calls it ”one-time transition revenue,” so the idea seems to be that in four years, a different revenue stream would have to be identified.

The White House announcement said Obama’s proposal “will show how we can invest in the things we need to grow and create jobs by closing unfair tax loopholes, lowering tax rates, and making the system more fair.”

Such a funding method would represent a major break from relying on the gas tax to pay for the national transportation program. The gas tax hasn’t been raised in two decades, and inflation and rising fuel efficiency have eroded its value. In 2012, the federal gasoline tax brought in $35 billion, but the feds allocated $54 billion in transportation spending, with other sources, including general tax revenues, making up the difference.

Obama will also announce the upcoming $600 million round of funding for TIGER, US DOT’s popular competitive grant program for local transportation projects, which has already been approved by Congress. The program has funded $1 billion in city transit projects, nearly as much for intercity rail, and $153 million in biking and walking projects since it was introduced in 2009.

More details about the president’s “vision for a 21st century transportation infrastructure” will be available after the speech today in St. Paul, which will take place inside the city’s restored Union Depot train station.

How Getting Rid of Parking Can Drive Away Drug Dealers

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2014/02/parking-spaces-weapon-combating-drugs/8463/

By Jenny Xie, February 26, 2014



 How Getting Rid of Parking Can Drive Away Drug Dealers


One block of San Francisco's notoriously drug-infested Tenderloin neighborhood is more problematic than the rest. The first block of Turk Street saw 35 times more violent crime per 1,000 residents than the rest of the city, according to a 2011 study. And the combination of a vulnerable population and proximity to major transit ways make it a particularly comfortable place for dealers. 

Recently, however, the city took a drastic step to disrupt this environment.

Earlier this month, the city turned that block into a "no parking" zone. The 60-day pilot program, conceived of by the city and local non-profit Central City SRO Collaborative, came together after a series of meetings with residents. Jane Kim, the District Supervisor who oversees the Tenderloin, says taking away parking makes sense. The vast majority of Tenderloin residents don't own cars, yet drug dealers were habitually using vehicles to screen their operations.

Kim says she's not sure this "leap of faith" strategy will work. But initial feedback has been positive. A recent San Francisco Chronicle article reports a dramatic decrease in idling pedestrians and drug dealing on the street.

Over the next months, the city will be evaluating the program based on crime reports and, more importantly, narrative data gathered by police and observers.

Critics wonder whether it'll only push the problem elsewhere. For the police and local officials, though, disrupting the status quo is valuable enough. Tenderloin police Captain Jason Cherniss argues that the prevalence of drug dealing in any new spots won't be as strong. "The migration won't be as robust, the drug dealers will be more dispersed," he says.


The police hopes getting rid of parking on this block will drive away drug dealers and increase the visibility of sidewalks. (Google Street View

The Baltimore Police tested the same idea years ago. According to a 2008 Baltimore Sun report, police got rid of parking along four blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, a commercial district on the west side of the city. The impact was immediate -- according to the article, one store owner who once had to chase 20 to 30 suspected drug dealers away from his shop every day suddenly only had to chase one or two.

In a recent phone interview, Rick Sussman, whose pawnshop sits on a block affected by the policy, says the no-parking rule lasted about a year. It's now a 15-minute parking zone. Sussman confirms the policy had a "night and day" positive effect, and the drug dealing has not returned.

But the policy also hurt merchants. Sussman says the lack of alternative parking solutions drove customers away. As the president of the Pennsylvania Avenue Merchants Association, Sussman eventually pleaded with the city to bring back parking but keep the police presence that came with enforcing parking tickets on his street.

"It's one of those programs where, more important than the act of not having parking, is the mindset and resources associate with it,” says Sussman. He believes the police enforcement of the no-parking rule became a strong signal to the drug dealers that this is not just a "show of force type of thing" that lasts one or two days. It's that long-term psychological effect that keeps the drug dealers away, he says.

Back in the Tenderloin, the no-parking pilot program is just one small part of the overall public safety plan, one that seems to emphasize crime prevention through environmental design. Since last summer, Cherniss has been pushing to get rid of a drug-infested bus shelter. He's awaiting a decision from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency next month. Supervisor Kim is also working to turn a few of Tenderloin’s 72 liquor stores into healthy corner stores that sell fresh food instead of alcohol and tobacco.

Where will the SR-710 Ventilation Towers be located in Pasadena?

From Sylvia Plummer, February 26, 2013

If you think Metro is not serious about building the SR-710 Tunnel(s) take a look at the following three attachments from Metro's Technical Advisory Committee Meeting handouts:

1.  Preliminary Operations and Maintenance control (OMC) Building Concept



2.  North Portal (Pasadena) Ventilation Locations - location B is at the Colorado Blvd Bridge - location A is located at Pasadena Avenue and Walnut.  Which one will they choose?
     Also notice the location of the OMC Building between Del Mar & California.

3.  They got it landscaped too - Preliminary North Portal (Pasadena) Landscape Concept.