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, May 29, 2014

Beverly Hills News – Beverly Hills School District, City Appeal Decision To Allow Subway Tunnel Under High School


By Laura Coleman, May 29, 2014

The Beverly Hills Unified School District and the City of Beverly Hills today filed appeals of a trial court decision that allows the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to move forward with plans to force subway tunnels beneath Beverly Hills High School.

In April, the City and school district received a 15-page final ruling that up-held L.A. Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio’s tentative ruling from March to deny Beverly Hills’ lawsuits under the the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Public Utilities Code (PUC).

“Unfortunately, Metro did not give the School District, the Beverly Hills community, or the public a fair opportunity to comment on the seismic information that purported to drive its ultimate decision,” said Doug Evertz, counsel for BHUSD. “We now know that much of the information relied upon by Metro was simply incorrect. Metro’s rush to approve the revised alignment before all studies were finalized has left the School District with no choice except to continue the legal challenge.”

The City and BHUSD maintain that the Metro Board and the public were deprived of information that was critical to making an informed decision about the tunneling location.

Today’s appeal will take the cases to the California Court of Appeal.

For the full story, see tomorrow’s issue of The Courier.

Residents Chime in on 710 Corridor Project

May 2014

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are the busiest point of entry into the United States. Every day, shipping containers are loaded from cargo ships and put on the backs of trucks -- many which travel right on the 710 Freeway.

The freeway is an integral part of our commerce and global economy, but as port traffic increases and plans to modernize the 710 continue to unfold, what does it mean for nearby residents?
Some residents have expressed concern regarding the long-term health impacts of living along the 18-mile stretch of the 710 Freeway corridor.
Data from the South Coast Air Quality Mana
gement District reveals that high levels of air toxins along the 710 Corridor have been linked to health problems such as decreased lung function, asthma, heart disease, among other serious problems, according to Departures, which is producing a series about the corridor. 

In this episode of "SoCal Connected," Derrick Shore interviews residents to find out how they feel about the project.

5 Crucial Principles for 21st Century Transportation Systems

Handling tomorrow's mega-trends means rethinking today's infrastructure.


By Jonathan F. P. Rose, May 29, 2014


Over the rest of the 21st century, cities will face many forces far beyond their control: mega-trends such as dramatic shifts in population, the financial vulnerability of a globally connected economy, resource scarcity, rising income inequality, and an increase in the droughts, floods, heat waves, cold waves, sea level rise, and storm surges caused by climate change. Preparing for all these stresses won't be easy, but a critical place to start is with urban infrastructure — an area where many U.S. cities are most vulnerable.

Infrastructure is the platform of the common good. It connects us in nested networks of systems, integrating homes, neighborhoods, cities, regions, and nations. Cities thrive with internal and external connectedness, and the backbone of this connectivity are our urban transportation systems. It's essential that we begin now to plan, finance, construct, and renovate transportation systems that can respond to these emerging mega-trends. Here are five ways to rethink today's infrastructure for a successful tomorrow.

1) Plan for an Uncertain Future

In 2005, New York City's MTA began work to reconfigure the South Ferry subway station at the tip of Manhattan. The goals of the project were fine ones — to solve long standing American Disabilities Act issues, to reconfigure the platforms for longer trains, and to create better connectivity between lines. The $530 million project was completed in 2009, and as projected, significantly increased the throughput capacity and comfort of the station.

However, because of the very long planning, engineering, funding and procurement cycles, the project was set in motion before the risks of a more volatile climate and rising seas were being taken seriously by the transit community. As a result, only three years later, the rising seas of Superstorm Sandy swept across Lower Manhattan and flooded the South Ferry station with salt water, destroying much of what had just been built. The repairs are projected to cost $600 million and won't be completed until 2016.

The lesson is not only to plan now for sea level rise and increased storm surges, but to anticipate a wider range of coming extreme circumstances. How might agencies design for extreme heat, energy shortages, changing settlement patterns? City transit managers are tasked with estimating a range of future demands, stresses, and opportunities, and fighting for the funds to prepare for this uncertain future.

2) Design Robust, Repairable, Resilient, and Responsive Systems

In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake caused the collapse of the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge. The original bridge was designed  to be stiff, to resist the seismic movements of the earth. But the earthquake overwhelmed that design strength and the bridge failed, a tragic example of robust but fragile infrastructure. The bridge's replacement has been designed to be ductile, strong but also flexible enough to absorb almost any shock. Its lead engineer, Marwan Nader, has said, "The idea is to build a structure that can stretch and deform without breaking."

 Nader and his team also designed the new bridge to be easily repaired after it's been stressed. For example, the bridge's shock absorbers can be restored in a few hours after an earthquake — spare parts are stored under the bridge, so even if other road networks are down, the necessary material is on-site. Sensors allow for continuous monitoring of the bridge, and its structure can be adjusted for various loads and stresses. The bridge is robust, resilient, repairable, and responsive.

As cities plan and rebuild vast amounts of critical infrastructure, these principles should be applied to all infrastructure improvements.

3) Shift from Lines to Networks

A century ago, when many American cities built their first streetcar and commuter rail systems, metro regions were organized around central hubs, with the lines running as spokes from suburbs to the city. But the automobile-oriented suburban revolution that followed World War II changed all of that. No longer shaped by rail lines, suburbia could sprawl in all directions. As a result, many destinations that Americans need to reach everyday can only be accessed by car.

As our regions become more layered and complex, and metro area residents want more options than just cars, our transportation systems need to function as integrated networks, not just lines. Americans marvel at the elegance of interconnected European systems, which tie together airports, long-distance high-speed rail, local rail, street cars, buses, bike systems, and walking paths. We deserve the same.

4) Personalize Mass Transit

America's transportation needs are further changing as Millennial transportation preferences shift from driving to biking, walking, and mass transit. The emergence of services like Megabus, CitiBike, Zipcar, Uber and Lyft, and their many variations, reflect a desire for a more affordable, personal, and pervasive range of transportation options.

5) Change Oversight

Resilient, responsive, and adaptable transportation technologies are rapidly evolving. Technology is not a constraint, but our rigid ways of planning, designing, building, operating, and funding transit systems can be. Too often, transport agencies are bound by rigid federal, state, and local regulations that limit their integration with other city services and objectives — preventing them from responding more effectively to rapidly changing climate, economic, housing, and work patterns.

For example, transit agencies are often obligated to obtain the highest price for land near new transit extensions, even if that land could have been used to serve the community with affordable or senior housing. The HUD sustainable community planning grants began to assist communities in seeing the benefits of coordinating housing, transportation, and environmental goals, but they were often hampered because cities and regions didn't have the integrated governance to implement these plans.

To serve our ever-changing cities, we need to develop more flexible governance and operating systems. That should help loosen the rules that can prevent our transportation networks from fulfilling the needs of the 21st century.

Meanwhile, NextBus and other mobile apps are increasing the public's access to transit information, increasing ridership and rider satisfaction. These systems are more financially efficient for both the manger and users. The next step is to use the information from these apps and adjust transportation services in real-time to meet demand, just as Uber tells drivers and customers each other's location. Two examples are San Francisco's smart parking system, and Stockholm's congestion pricing system.

The Real Rules of Engagement on the Subways of Europe

This summer travel season, don't forget that metro etiquette varies widely between cities.


By Feargus O'Sullivan, May 28, 2014


“Is it just me, or was that really rude?”

Gauging what good manners mean in a foreign city is always a tricky business.  Personally my travels around Europe have been a long trail of social faux pas. I’ve been scowled at for using the informal ”tu” to an older Parisian woman I asked directions from, laughed at for carrying a 24-roll pack of toilet paper on Milan’s metro (I still don’t get what was wrong with this), and raised eyebrows by absent-mindedly addressing a ticket inspector on a Krakow tram as “Mummy.”

 These sorts of gaffes seem to be amplified on public transit. Push your way onto a subway train in Copenhagen and you blend in – according to Danish friends it’s the one place in Denmark where mild social aggression is tolerated. Try the same thing in Glasgow and … well, just try it and see. In London, dumped newspapers on trains are a form of courtesy. In Vienna, they are treated like something dead that the cat’s dragged in.

In other words, it always helps to know the local rules. Talking to friends around Europe, I’ve compiled this summer travel season guide of specifically local subway do’s and don’ts in some of the continent’s major capitals.


Manners on London’s Tube system are a typically British brew of tension, tolerance and passive aggression. In some ways, rules can be surprisingly lax. You can eat food, even stinky food, without being reprimanded, though if you’re a woman you risk being shamed for it on social media. Drinking alcohol has fairly recently been banned, but it used to be the accepted rule on weekend nights (as these 1980s photos show). As for littering with newspapers, it’s actually considered polite to dump reading matter for other passengers to pick up, even though it leaves cars looking like a junkyard.

Admittedly, the Tube is a free-for-all tidiness-wise not because people don’t mind, though it’s true that British people's general messiness shocks many visitors from Southern Europe. It’s more that, thanks to a combination of fear and inhibition, Londoners generally prefer to tut inwardly than actually speak up. They’re not entirely wrong – there are a enough British people out there who can go from mute to berserk in 60 seconds.

This inhibition evaporates immediately, however, when it comes to the London Tube’s cardinal sin: standing on the wrong side of the escalator. In London, time is short and escalators are long. If you are a clueless visitor standing on the wrong side of one, rest assured that the people who don’t actually barge past you are probably mentally running you through with a samurai sword. And when I say “people,” I mean me.


In the German capital, subway rules are the opposite of London’s. Riders tend to be freaked out by untidiness or disorder, but they aren’t in as much of a hurry.  Leave a paper behind on the seat, and you’ll often get barked at – I’ve been snapped at for leaving papers I’d never even touched. Eating food is also a no-no, which is fair enough. If you break the rules, don’t be surprised if Berliners are vocal about it. This is partly because low-level grumpiness is more socially acceptable in Berlin but mainly because, with a moderate crime rate, people just aren’t as scared as each of other there.

But if Berliners are uptight about space, they’re more relaxed about time. Even when they have your coins, Berlin subway ticket machines pause and have a little think before they deign to print your ticket. Berliners stand wherever they want on their (short) escalators – if anything, it’s the people who try to hustle past who are seen as the rude ones. Being in a hurry simply doesn’t give you a free pass for bad behavior here – you can be reprimanded by a station guard for holding open a closing door. That guard would be right, however. Trains wait a decent amount of time in stations and announce clearly when you should get on (“einsteigen”) and stay back (“zur├╝ckbleiben”), so there’s really no excuse.


If jamming the doors is taboo in Berlin, in Paris it’s mandatory. Metro doors stay open so briefly before they buzz and slam that it can be nigh impossible for a crowd to get on without someone using a foot as a wedge. This extremely short board time could explain the air of persecution on Paris’ metro: you feel as if the entire system is hectoring you, basically because it is. At the same time, it gives you a chance to show good manners. While officialdom strongly discourages it, it’s considered polite in Paris to hold the doors so everyone behind you has time to jump on too. Fail to do so, and you may pull out of the station watching someone’s shaking fist fade into the distance.

Where the Paris Metro shows its more laid-back side is with body contact. French people require a far smaller bubble of personal space than Americans, and it’s considered perfectly normal in Paris to have legs matched hip to ankle with your neighbor – with limited room, there’s not much choice. This is also why people generally avoid eye contact and chatting with strangers. They’re trying to make up for a surfeit of physical intimacy by counterbalancing with a deficit elsewhere. Paris also has its own vital locals-only rule. Metro trains have flip-down jump seats by the doors – these should always be emptied and flipped up when the train is busy. Fail to do this, as shown in this Paris Metro poster encouraging courtesy, and you’ll find yourself staring at a resentful crowd, or at least their crotches. To be fair to Parisians, the city has made some real attempts to improve its poor reputation for manners on the metro, whether it’s high-profile campaigns like this one or etiquette manuals that state what should be obvious.


To a northern European like myself, the Roman metro seems to be a place of no taboo. In London’s rush hour, subway riders stand crushed together in silence. In Rome, they stand crushed together talking at the top of their voices. No one does hushed whispers here, which could explain why no one feels the need to pretend they’re not eavesdropping on each other’s conversations. If it’s considered rude to push onto a Roman metro train before all passengers have alighted, then it’s a rudeness so widely tolerated as to be almost ubiquitous. Getting off a car can be a struggle: so great can be the press of people who can’t be bothered to let you off before they get on. Escalators, meanwhile are stately and almost exclusively for standing on. This might all sound like hell, but Italians sometimes feel the same about London’s Tube, wondering what intense psychic pressure must be in place to enforce all that queuing, shuffling and silence.

There’s one area where Rome leaves a lot to be desired. According to an Italian friend, there’s an unfortunately high instance of men who can’t keep themselves to themselves at rush hour. Her way of dealing with it is to grab any roving hands and ask loudly “Has anyone lost this? I found it on my…[insert name of relevant body part here].” Apparently, it works.



Are you worried about the younger generation’s lack of manners? Then take a ride on the Athens Metro and have your assumptions shaken. In Greece’s capital, it’s younger riders who are generally the more patient and well behaved. Find yourself jostled while getting on a train or notice someone pushing in front of you at a ticket office, and the likelihood is that your antagonists hair will be salt and pepper at least. So why are older Athenians pushier? A possible explanation is that, in a country that became overwhelmingly urban only after World War II, an etiquette system designed for making metropolitan living smoother took a generation or two to develop.

Beyond the odd jostling granddad, don’t expect Athens Metro to be a free-for-all. Sure, it has the usual stand-where-you-like escalators and occasional gauntlet of boarding passengers who don’t want to let you off first, but the metro’s newness (most of it was completed in 2000) and preponderance of well-mopped marble somehow helps keeps people reined in. In fact, it’s practically the only place in the city where the smoking ban is actually obeyed (including Greece’s parliament).

It does have one unusual feature, however: a far bigger than average overlap between people going to work and those coming home from a night out. While Greeks work long hours (more per week than anyone else in Europe) they also go out far later – A nightlife-loving Athenian friend of mine almost had his teenage social life ruined by a tough 4 AM curfew. In northern European cities, this might mean hardworking people being exposed to a leery crowd of drunken idiots (confession: I have probably been that idiot), but Greeks aren’t the world’s heaviest drinkers and, like I say, young Athenians are a relatively well-behaved lot.  With the economic crisis pushing taxis out of more people’s reach, this trend has only got stronger.