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, March 4, 2014

Graphic: New Starts funding for Metro over the years — and finally on the rise again!


By Steve Hymon, March 4, 2014

New Starts Appropriations Graph
The above graphic is certainly worth a look. It shows the amount of federal New Starts money received by Metro on an annual basis since 1993. New Starts is a federal program that helps local transit agencies pay for big, expensive projects and most of the money shown above went to the existing Red/Purple Line subway and the Eastside Gold Line.

The graphic is also missing a critical piece of good news. President Obama’s proposed transportation budget for fiscal year 2015 (which begins Oct. 1, 2014), which was announced today, includes $100 million for the Regional Connector and $100 million for the Purple Line Extension. If the budget is approved by Congress, the $200 million in New Starts money for Metro would be the most received in any given year.

The $100 million for the Regional Connector is part of the eventual $670 million in New Starts money that the project will receive. That was the big news a couple of weeks ago when Metro and the U.S. Department of Transportation finalized the New Starts deal. A similar deal for $1.25 billion in funding for the Purple Line Extension project should also be completed soon. Both projects are also drawing on funds from Measure R, the local sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

Stepping back, let’s look at the big picture. The Connector and Purple Line Extension also plan to use federally-backed TIFIA loans that will help Metro get lower interest rates than if they borrowed money for construction at market rates. That’s significant because it shows the degree to which the federal government under President Obama is getting involved in helping local areas build transit. It may not all be grant money — i.e. money Metro doesn’t have to pay back — but the loans still help Metro take on less debt and thus spend less on already pricey projects.

The loans are part of Metro’s America Fast Forward [AFF] proposal that has found its way into President Obama’s proposal for a multi-year transportation funding bill. AFF would expand the loan program and also create federally-subsidized bonds that local agencies could use when building projects. And that’s what I want readers to understand: the loans, the bonds, the New Starts money and Measure R combined — that’s the big kahuna here, folks. Those four things together give Metro the resources to build the expanded transit network many readers here want.

Finally, and on a very related note, I wanted to pass along a thank you from Metro officials to President Obama and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein for helping Metro secure the federal funds and advocating for expanded transit funding in Los Angeles and other cities across the nation.

Big rig crashes on the 57 Freeway, burns mail


March 4, 2014

 A big rig carrying mail went up in flames on Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2014 on the 57 Freeway in Brea.

 A big rig carrying mail went up in flames on Tuesday, Mar. 4, 2014 on the 57 Freeway in Brea.

A big rig carrying mail went up in flames Tuesday morning on the 57 Freeway in Brea. 

The truck rear-ended another big rig and caught fire around 1:30 a.m. on the northbound 57 Freeway between East Birch Street and Lambert Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
No injuries were reported, officials said.

Metro Blue Line train collides with vehicle; 13 injured


March 4, 2014

 Los Angeles firefighters respond to the scene of a Metro Blue Line train crash on the 300 block of Washington Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Los Angeles firefighters respond to the scene of a Metro Blue Line train crash on the 300 block of Washington Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, March 4, 2014. 

A Metro Blue Line train struck a vehicle near downtown L.A. Tuesday, injuring at least 13 people.

The incident occurred on the 300 block of Washington Boulevard just before 10 a.m.

Two people were listed in serious condition. Ten people were listed in fair condition, and one person declined medical treatment, according to LAFD spokeswoman Katherine Main.

The circumstances of the crash were under investigation. Travelers were experiencing delays of about 10 minutes, said Mark Littman of Metro.

SRNA Bulletin ~ San Rafael School Update

March 4, 2014

Dear Neighbors ~

Please weigh in on the discussion concerning our San Rafael Neighborhood School! Plan to attend the meeting (we'll contact you with the date when decided), and let your opinions be known. If you'd like to email me with your ideas, feel free to do so.

Some of our 'surplus' schools (closed Pasadena schools) are being leased to charter or private schools. Think about what you think may be a suitable lessee for this three acre site.

If you've not already done so, please sign the petition regarding the 710 connector tunnels! Watch Joe Cano's informative video.


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. 
S R N A 
News Bulletin

News Updates:

San Rafael Elementary School

710 Tunnel

Pasadena Unified School District is planning for the closure of San Rafael Elementary School due to seismic faults.

This past Monday (February 24th) the 7-11 Committee, commissioned by the school board to weigh the "limits of tolerance" for alternative uses for the site, voted to recommend that the board seek a long-term tenant to lease the property and buildings.

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.

The 7-11 Committee will hold a public hearing on this matter in the auditorium of San Rafael Elementary School in approximately four weeks. We will inform you of the date, once set.



Dear Neighbors:

Just 18 months ago (August 22, 2012) SRNA neighbors rallied at Church of the Angels to reject a plan to re-zone neighborhood properties for Metro's 710 freeway grid. Metro withdrew this proposal, having noted the "welcome mat" had been yanked in a big way.

Metro still persists with a tunnel plan through Pasadena and a guarantee of immense impacts citywide.

Metro's environmental report now is imminent (estimated release in March) and community meetings will be scheduled shortly thereafter for resident input.

If you oppose Metro's 710 tunnel through Pasadena, please complete the petition on the second page of this ALERT and bookmark www.No710.com for critical developments.

SRNA will continue to provide updates in this format, as necessary.

Thank you for your action on this important matter!
San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA).

More Signatures Needed:

Coming Soon:  Draft EIR -  Spring 2014

Current Signature Count:  1,887

Goal:   5,000

The only way we will reach our goal is if everyone gets a few more people to sign the petition.
Recruit friends, family and neighbors to sign the petition!!  They do not have to live in the area.

1.  Go to: www.NO710.com

2. Click on the words "Sign the Petition" that appear in the yellow oval. This will take you to a page that shows all the officials who will be contacted each time the petition is signed.

3. Click on the words "Sign the Petition" in the yellow box on this page and you will taken to the petition at Change.org.

4. Fill in the information at the right to sign the petition.  You can also uncheck the box under your information to opt out of receiving more petitions from Change.org.

5. Finally, click on the red box that says "Sign".
What will happen to Pasadena if the SR-710 Tunnels are built?

Take a look at this excellent short film created by Joe Cano.  Be sure to share with your friends that live in Pasadena

The San Rafael Neighborhoods Association is registered with the City of Pasadena Neighborhood Connections.

EPA's new auto emissions regs 'a big deal,' industry says

The EPA finalized new emissions standards Monday that will affect automakers and oil refineries. The auto industry is on board, but the oil industry is against the move.


By Mark Clayton, March 3, 2014 

 New Obama administration regulations on sulfur in gasoline would affect automakers and refineries, with a Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif., shown here.

New clean air standards that will change the formula for American gasoline and the efficiency of the engines that burn it formally went into effect Monday.

 The so-called “Tier 3” standards are part of the Obama administration’s broader push to rein in pollution and improve automobile fuel economy through federal agencies controlled by the president.

Tier 3 standards, together with the Environmental Protection Agency’s separate program to cut greenhouse gas emissions, are forecast to save thousands of lives annually, health officials said.

 Environmentalists hailed the move as an “important step forward,” while petroleum industry groups said the standards will require refineries to make billions of dollars of upgrades for no significant benefit.

The Tier 3 standards require refineries to begin producing gasoline with less sulfur and other pollutants. At the same time, automakers will have to make engines that burn that cleaner fuel more efficiently. The new standards go into force in 2017, though smaller refineries will have up to seven more years to comply.

The separate greenhouse gas regulations are being implemented in the same time frame.
When the Tier 3 changes are fully implemented in 2025, they will slash fuel costs for consumers by $8,000 annually, the EPA said Monday.

Meanwhile, the new rules are also expected to cut tailpipe nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 260,000 tons by 2018. With more than 50 million people live, work, or go to school near high-traffic roadways, total health-related benefits by 2030 are projected to be $7 billion to $19 billion annually, the EPA said.

"These standards are a win for public health, a win for our environment, and a win for our pocketbooks," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement.

In 2025, the new standards will have increased the average price of a vehicle by only $72, according to EPA estimates.

Automakers have gotten on board. They back the EPA's establishment of one set of emission standards for vehicles nationwide, replacing the patchwork of federal and state laws that existed previously.

That “is a big deal for us,” said Mike Robinson, vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs at General Motors, in a conference call Monday.

With the standards compelling refiners to produce new fuels for these cleaner-burning engines, there’s a recognition “that our cleaner cars will need cleaner fuels to fully achieve and optimize the improvements we are being asked to make,” said Mitch Bainwol, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a statement.

But oil industry officials oppose the new rule, which will require refineries to further reduce sulfur and other fuel pollutants before they leave the facility.

“The massive refinery investments [Tier 3] would require could drive up the cost of making gasoline and weaken the nation’s energy security without producing much, if any, environmental benefit,” said Patrick Kelly, an American Petroleum Institute official, in a statement during the rulemaking process last year. “Most sulfur in gasoline has already been removed.”

The oil industry predicted last year that the standards could result in gas prices going up 6 to 9 cents per gallon. The EPA disputes that claim. Changes made during the rulemaking process allow the industry added time and flexibility to keep costs down, Ms. McCarthy said in the Monday conference call. It would cost less than a penny more per gallon to produce cleaner fuel that would vastly lower soot, smog, and toxic emissions from the new, more efficient engines, she said.

All together, Obama administration fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards covering model year vehicles from 2012-25 are projected to save American families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, the EPA said.

Environmentalists applauded the White House for pressing ahead despite oil industry opposition.

“President Obama and Administrator McCarthy deserve great credit for this important step forward for clean air,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement.

The new measures, he noted, are supported by businesses, unions, public health groups, and states, as well as the auto industry.

“This broad coalition demonstrates, once again, that we can have a cleaner environment and a strong economy at the same time,” Mr. Krupp said.