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 1, 2014

Agreement sets measures to keep Disney Hall free of subway noise


By Mike Boehm, July 1, 2014

Disney Hall at night
 Architect Frank Gehry was among those concerned that the planned subway trains would affect Disney Hall's acoustics.

Colburn School of Music 

 The downtown connector will operate under 2nd Street, which runs between the Colburn School and Disney Hall.

The builders of a subway that will run between Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Colburn School of Music are promising to deploy a triple helping of the most advanced noise-suppression measures to make sure the rumble of light-rail trains under 2nd Street won’t mar audiences’ musical experience or intrude on the sound quality of recordings made in the venues.

An agreement between Disney Hall’s landlord, the Music Center, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority went into effect this week, formally committing Metro to making sure that the sensitive stretch of its $1 billion downtown Regional Connector Project won’t add any audible vibrations.

The agreement sets out a process for what will happen if those preventive measures fail -- with a Music Center lawsuit to collect damages the worst-case scenario.

But Metro and Music Center officials say they’re confident that the precautions being taken will allow subways to run silent and run deep (135 feet below street level) in a way that won’t impinge upon Disney Hall’s acclaimed acoustics.

The danger is not from the typical screeches and loud rumbling noises that passengers waiting on a subway platform are accustomed to hearing. The subway, expected to begin running in 2020, is too deep for those to register in the concert venues.

The threat is vibrations created when metal train wheels pass over metal tracks. Strong vibrations could send energy waves through the ground and into the concert venues, emerging as a low-frequency rumble in the halls. So the key is to stifle vibrations at the source.

Bryan Pennington, Metro’s chief of engineering and construction, said that contractors building the subway won’t use any new technologies to accomplish that, but the transportation agency will make sure that three proven noise-reduction techniques will be pushed to their “ultimate capacities.”

He said that two of the main lines of defense are rubber padding beneath the railroad beds that support the subway tracks, and rubber insulation installed in metal fasteners that connect tracks to the railroad bed. Pennington said that typically one or the other is deployed to prevent noise problems. Metro will install both in the tracks running past Disney Hall and the Colburn School.

Pennington said that Metro’s engineering and construction contractors will be asked to find the optimal kind of rubber to use in the noise abatement padding and insulation.

Additionally, he said, the concrete slabs into which tracks are laid will be stiffened as much as possible – another way of making sure vibrations from the tracks won’t travel.

The agreement comes after more than a year of talks between Metro and the Music Center that ensued after a subway simulation test at the Colburn School yielded audible low-frequency noise, alarming, among others, Disney Hall’s architect, Frank Gehry, and its acoustician, Yasuhisa Toyota.

Metro and Music Center officials said that ensuing talks culminated in tests aimed at establishing the amount of “ambient noise” that’s detectible in Disney Hall when it’s empty and quiet – a level that Metro is now committed to keeping intact even with subways running by every few minutes.

Howard Sherman, the Music Center’s chief operating officer, said that all of Disney Hall’s tenants, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the REDCAT theater, were involved in the noise discussions over the past year.

Sherman said the cooperation from Metro has been consistently good, with all parties sharing the aim of an inviolate concert and recording experience.

Pennington said the noise abatement measures and specifications have been codified in Metro’s contracts with its subway designers and builders, the U.S. division of Sweden-based Skanska and Traylor Bros, based in Evansville, Ind., which are both construction companies, and Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM), engineering and design consultant.

He said he had no estimate on how much those measures might add to the cost.

Sherman said it has been clear that Metro’s aim isn’t to minimize expenses but to ensure optimal sound in Disney Hall.

Future Use of San Rafael School Update

From Carla Riggs, July 1, 2014

Dear Neighbors ~

Please read the following, as I would like to clear up what is true and what is not about the San Rafael Committee's report concerning our San Rafael School.

I was a part of this Committee, and we spent many hours during our meetings and at our homes to do what we thought was expected and necessary to bring a thorough report to the Pasadena Unified School District. The Committee was eager to know what our neighborhood felt and wanted for the school. We felt it imperative that we understand your thoughts and concerns, and that we could convey this to the PUSD.

I was shocked at some of the things reported in the current SRNA newsletter, and feel that the Committee was given a shoddy deal. A member of the SRNA sat at the meetings, and even commented occasionally. As a result, I feel that the SRNA newsletter was misleading.

Please take the time to read the Committe's rebuttal to the newsletter article.
If you've any questions, please feel free to email me.

Thanks so much,
Carla Riggs

On Thursday, June 26th, the final report of the "7-11" Surplus Advisory Committee on San Rafael Elementary was submitted to the PUSD Board of Education.   The Committee, after hearing that residents were very supportive of keeping a public school on the premises if it could be done, reported that there were many questions that required answers before the Board declared the property surplus.  The report details the process by which we, the undersigned, made our final recommendations to the Board regarding whether to declare the property surplus, conditions under which it might be declared surplus, and also regarding the limits of tolerance expressed by the community in a series of public hearings, regarding other uses.

 The San Rafael Neighborhood Association (SRNA) published an item in its most recent newsletter that we believe is incorrect about not only the mandate of the Committee, but also our recommendations to the PUSD Board. We believe it is critical to point out, for the benefit of the community, the inaccurate statements made by the SRNA about the Surplus Advisory Committee and its report.

The SRNA newsletter claims that we exceeded our scope of duty. In fact, District counsel assured us that, to the contrary, the final report in both process and substance met with our mandate to determine, first, whether the property should be declared surplus or not, and second, the limits of tolerance of the community for the use of the property should it be declared surplus.  We discussed, considered, and otherwise addressed in detail both of these issues through meetings, public hearings, and in our final report. The SRNA newsletter item also:

·          Did not refer to the strong public support for doing whatever was necessary to keep a public school at the San Rafael site.

·          Incorrectly stated our recommendations for further study by implying that the Committee supported extensive trenching around the site, and posting photographs of trenching not supported by any recommendation in the report.

·          Mis-stating our recommendations for study of alternative layouts for the site's buildings. 

·          Implied that the Committee supported the building of a three-story structure on the site, which it did not.

·          Stated that we as a Committee had no expertise or authority to discuss the issues from a technical or fiduciary standpoint.  Such consideration was part of our mandate and we were provided with technical and financial information for that express purpose.

·          Implied that we recommended adding property on Nithsdale to the elementary school site via eminent domain. We rejected the use of eminent domain.

Most members of the Advisory Committee began their work with the belief that our task was simply to assess the community for tolerable alternative uses for the property, accepting the decision of the Board that the school could not remain and should be declared surplus. Review of the background material and input received at two public hearings challenged our assumptions, and changed the course of the discussions. We came to the conclusion that there were many unanswered questions that needed to be addressed before the property should be declared surplus.  However, we also fully addressed the community's tolerable uses for the property in the event the board does declare it surplus, which it still has the authority to do. 

Given the importance of this decision for the future of PUSD, West Pasadena and San Rafael as a community, we urge you to read the final report and recommendations for yourself, which can be found in full on the PUSD Web site at the following link:  http://pusd.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=510&meta_id=80218The eight-page report, minus all of the attachments, is also included with this email for your convenience.  Please continue to make your voice heard as the PUSD Board of Education considers the report and any future action with regard to San Rafael Elementary School and the property on which it is located.


Don Watson (Former Chair)

Kenyon Harbison (Former Vice-Chair)

Karla Cordova

Darrell Cozen

Carla Riggs

Dorena Rodriguez

Asma Saraj

Catherine Stringer

Michael Trujillo

Rodolfo Ramirez

John Van de Kamp
This is the portion of the SRNA newsletter to which our San Rafael Committee objected.  I want to share it with you now.   Please note the trenching photograph has nothing to do with San Rafael trenching.

San Rafael Elementary School

Having conducted eight public meetings over a period of five months, the San Rafael Elementary School 7-11 Committee submitted its final report to the PUSD Board of Education Thursday evening, June 26th.

Mandated by the Board of Education to determine community "limits of tolerance" for alternative uses for the school site to be vacated in 2017 due to earthquake faults, the committee, despite staff/attorney admonitions for exceeding its scope of duty, nonetheless chose to exceed its scope of duty.

With the submission of its report, the Committee now is de-commissioned leaving neighbors to work with the Board of Education on the "limits of tolerance" for future use of the site.

Below are courses of action considered viable by the 7-11 Committee. In all cases the Committee had neither official mandate, technical expertise nor fiduciary authority to attempt analysis.

  1. The SRES site will be trenched to follow four already-tested fault lines to provide 100% proof of seismic conditions at the site. (see photos below)

  2. SRES buildings (including the historic brick main structure) will be cut and moved to surface areas between the four fault lines on the 3.2-acre site.

  3. The southwest lower corner of the SRES site will be seismically tested for construction of a new, 3-story building.

  4. Site placement of buildings to skirt fault lines while housing the needed critical mass of students may require additional property on Nithsdale.
The Board of Education must grapple with the above while considering the District's current factual and fiscal imperatives along with neighbor surveys.

Recent data developed with Davis Demographics as discussed by the Board of Education Boundary and Master Plan Committee shows a 23% loss in District enrollment (5,187 students) over the last ten years (2003-4 to 2013-14) with five elementary schools under-enrolled (Altadena, Cleveland, Franklin, Jackson, Roosevelt).

The District's updated 2013-14 data on facilities shows a capacity for 29,226 students and enrollment of 16,900 (10/02/13), an excess capacity of 42.2%.

Under these circumstances, the Board of Education is hard-pressed to justify allocation of capital funds for construction of new elementary school classrooms, particularly since facility needs at other sites have not been funded.

Further, due to unfunded actuarial obligations to teacher benefits, the Governor's recent budget calls for stepped increases in District/employer contributions to CalSTRS (8.25%, 2013-14 to 19.10%, 2020-21). The District presently is analyzing options to forestall deficit spending in future budgets in order to make these contributions.

The stated 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."

SRNA welcomes the opportunity of working with the Board of Education, District staff and neighbors through the transitional stages scheduled for the San Rafael Elementary School site.

  Photos courtesy of GEO-TECH - Presentation on Trenching to the Committee

To view the Final Report to the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education:

  To view the 4th Geological Survey completed on San Rafael Elementary

More Americans Are Moving for Short Commutes


By Kat Aaron, June 5, 2014

Commute times are a growing factor in people’s moves, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. More than five percent of Americans who moved between 2012 and 2013 were seeking an easier commute or a home closer to their job. That means distance to work is a bigger factor than it was in 1999, when just over three percent of people said that motivated their move.

It’s far from the biggest motivator for a move, though. Housing-related reasons topped the list — things like moving to a better or less expensive home. Commute times were the second-biggest factor for job-related moves, the bureau found.

Separating reasons for a move can be tricky, cautions the report's author, David Ihrke, a demographer in the Census Bureau's Journey to Work and Migration Statistics Branch. "For instance, if one's primary reason for moving is to be closer to work or having an easier commute, they may have to sacrifice other preferences. This could include forgoing cheaper housing options or settling for a different neighborhood. If they mainly want cheaper housing, they may have to deal with a longer commute."

(To which residents of New York City say: duh.)

Why Isn't There a Freeway to Beverly Hills?

Posted on Facebook, June 30, 2014:

Note to Metro and CalTrans: if you are so concerned about closing freeway "gaps", where is your concern about this gap? 


By Nathan Masters, March 31, 2014

 First proposed in the early 1940s, formally adopted in 1959, routed in 1965, and finally killed in 1975, the Beverly Hills Freeway would have provided a direct link between the 101 and 405 freeways. From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

 First proposed in the early 1940s, formally adopted in 1959, routed in 1965, and finally killed in 1975, the Beverly Hills Freeway would have provided a direct link between the 101 and 405 freeways. From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964.

It's the missing link of L.A.'s freeway network: the 2, a direct connection between the Westside's 405 and Hollywood's 101. Known to planners as the Beverly Hills Freeway, this 9.3-mile cross-town superhighway would have relieved pressure on the 10 and provided local freeway access to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Century City. It also would have torn through some of L.A.'s wealthiest residential districts -- a fact that ultimately relegated plans for the freeway to the trash bin.

When traffic planners first envisioned the freeway in the early 1940s, they sketched it with a broad stroke on the city's map, labeling it the "Santa Monica Parkway" because it roughly followed the path of Santa Monica Boulevard. (Today's Santa Monica Freeway, completed in 1965, was born on the same map as the "Olympic Parkway.") By the time planners plotted the planned highway's precise course in 1965, it had earned a new name -- the Beverly Hills Freeway -- as well as the wrath of local communities.

On planners' maps, the Beverly Hills Freeway began as an extension of the Glendale (CA-2) Freeway at a massive interchange with the Hollywood (US-101) Freeway near Vermont Avenue. (The 101's wide median still anticipates that canceled interchange.) From there, the planned freeway sliced between Melrose Avenue and Clinton Street, before jogging slightly to the north and cutting between Waring and Willoughby avenues.

In West Hollywood, it turned to the southwest and followed the path of Santa Monica Boulevard, plunging below grade into a submerged trench. In Beverly Hills, the city considered capping the freeway with parking and surface street lanes. West of Beverly Hills, it emerged from its trench and passed by Century City before finally dead-ending south of Westwood at the San Diego (I-405) freeway.

Documents preserved and digitized by the Metro Transportation Library and Archive, including these two reports from 1964, recall the planned route in detail.

 The Beverly Hills Freeway appears in this 1943 map of proposed freeways as the 'Santa Monica Parkway.' Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

 The Beverly Hills Freeway appears in this 1943 map of proposed freeways as the 'Santa Monica Parkway.'

It was a bold plan that drew a correspondingly strong backlash. Though some constituencies -- notably the businesses of Westwood Village, the developers of Century City, and much of Beverly Hills -- supported the freeway, many neighborhoods opposed it. West Hollywood homeowners were particularly vocal in their dissent. The grassroots opposition might have seemed futile -- Eastside neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, East L.A., and Lincoln Heights failed to stop seven freeways from bulldozing through their communities -- but wealthy residents here did not want for political influence.

They also had time on their side. By the mid-1960s, the funding for freeways that once flowed so freely was beginning to dry up. And the Beverly Hills Freeway, which as a state rather than an interstate route couldn't access federal funds, carried a projected price tag of $300 million. A lack of funds -- as well as legislative battles in Sacramento and conflicts with the county and city of Los Angeles -- forced the state highways division to delay construction year-by-year, even as it purchased property along the proposed right-of-way. A turning point came in 1971, when the Beverly Hills city council reversed its longstanding support for the freeway. Still, Governor Ronald Reagan vetoed several bills that would have canceled the project. Finally, by 1975, ten years of inaction had ossified local opposition, and the state erased the Beverly Hills Freeway from official maps.

Planners initially considered a more northern route that roughly followed the path of Sunset Boulevard. From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
Planners initially considered a more northern route that roughly followed the path of Sunset Boulevard. From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Beverly Hills Freeway Traffic Study' by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
From the 'Report on Geometric Design Proposed Beverly Hills Freeway for Beverly Hills City Council' by De Leuw, Cather & Company, 1964. Courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
The 101 freeway's wide median at Vermont is a remnant of the Beverly Hills Freeway interchange that never materialized. Courtesy of the Herald-Examiner Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.
The 101 freeway's wide median at Vermont is a remnant of the Beverly Hills Freeway interchange that never materialized. Courtesy of the Herald-Examiner Collection - Los Angeles Public Library.

State Route 710 North Study

 Feel free to comment.

  • Tina G Miller Then Metro needs to stop the propaganda about things and give the public real facts about in the study WE are paying for. Flawed data is all we get and the conversation is always choked on the tunnel.
  • Numan Parada Well, as long as one doesn't like something in particular, any number in relation to it can be flawed....
  • Diana Britt Maybe if Metro had invested in a light rail commuter system much earlier instead of just pouring more concrete, this figure would be much lower...

5 Lessons U.S. Transit Systems Should Learn from London

At the top of the list: Get people on board with annual fare increases.


By Eric Jaffe, June 30, 2014


Public transportation in London achieves the sort of financial efficiency that most U.S. transit agencies can only dream of matching. Last year, Transport for London (TfL) spent 6.8 billion pounds operating its bus, rail, and metro systems, and generated 4.8 billion pounds in revenue (mostly through fares). In the parlance of transit wonks, that's a recovery rate of roughly 70 percent. In general terms, it means riders pay for most TfL operations, leaving taxpayers on the hook for only a slice.

The agency isn't stopping there. By the end of this decade, TfL expects to break even across its entire system—meaning it won't need any public subsidies for operations at all. (It will still require public support for major capital projects and some periodic maintenance.) TfL even plans to cover the cost of routes and services that lose money but provide valuable public services.

So what makes TfL so efficient? We posed that question to Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, in the hopes of gleaning some wisdom from our friends across the pond. Since 2008, says Verma, TfL has made a "relentless push" to reduce operating costs while increasing revenue. Our chat revealed five big lessons for U.S. agencies to consider—with a recurring theme being that transit should operate more like a private business than a public service.

"Improving productivity and reducing cost is something that the private sector does every day," he says. "Why people in the public sector think this is not part of their job is beyond me."

Transport for London's unofficial revenue breakdown for 2014 (TfL Annual Report - Draft)

Make Fare Increases Routine

In U.S. cities, politicians often defer fare increases until there's a funding crisis too big to ignore. That leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth about the transit agency's ability to manage its finances. It also leads city residents to believe that fare hikes are only something that should rarely occur.
In London, on the contrary, TfL fares rise every year—the only question is by how much. There are loud objections over there just as there are here, but the critical difference is that TfL has set an expectation in the minds of travelers, not to mention politicians, that fares must rise on an annual basis to meet costs. "That's the way we keep the system properly funded year after year," says Verma.
It probably helps that TfL has an extremely complicated fare structure. Unlike in New York, for instance, where every bus or subway ride costs the same price, London riders pay different fares across all modes based on how far they're going and what time of day they're traveling (with daily caps to limit how many any one rider pays in a single day). So when TfL raises fares, the public must crunch some serious numbers to determine just what that means.

Improve Service in Cost-Efficient Ways

What makes the fare hikes more palatable is that riders get clear service upgrades for their money. For instance, TfL recently announced that 24-hour weekend service will be coming to the Tube in 2015. Verma says officials expect the service to be financially neutral at worst and revenue-generating at best.

What's critical to remember, says Verma, is that service improvements must be efficient to be effective. Right now the Tube's Victoria line runs trains with great frequency—34 an hour at times, or one every 107 seconds. Determining whether or not to increase that total is not just a question of scheduling and track logistics, but also of whether the resulting increase in ridership will offset the additional cost. A new service that becomes a financial liability hurts system, rider, and taxpayer alike over time.

Rider information is one area where low-cost interventions can have a major impact on customer experience, says Verma. To that end, TfL recently installed digital signs with live bus information at a range of public locations, and launched a new mobile site with real-time travel information — an upgrade enhanced by the fact that every underground Tube station will have WiFi connection by the end of 2014. TfL makes its travel data open to app developers, too.
Embrace Technology

TfL is way ahead of most U.S. transit agencies when it comes to ticketing technology. In addition to its Oyster card, a pay-as-you-go smart card that reduces the need for ticket transactions, TfL has implemented contactless credit and debit payment on its bus network (and will soon expand the service to the Tube). By deducting fares directly from a bank account, contactless payment means riders don't need to buy a ticket at all.

The obvious advantage to ticketing technology is cost reduction. Verma says TfL once spent 14 percent of its expenditures on fare collection, but that figure is now closer to 9 percent, and falling. In bigger news, the agency plans to close down all its ticket windows within the next year, an initiative that will save 60 million pounds annually.

Such initiatives improve service, too. Quicker payment means quicker boarding, which in turn means faster buses, which in turn means more riders. "It's change of this kind that we're talking about with reducing operating expenditures," says Verma. "But to be clear, this kind of intervention also increases revenue, because we are reducing the impediments for people to use the public transport network."

Train drivers are becoming obsolete with technology, too. TfL recently announced a plan to make its subway fleet fully automated in the coming decades. Again the benefits are twofold: In addition to saving labor costs, service improves with a driverless system, as computers can control and operate high-frequency trains with a precision that human drivers lack.

Find Secondary Revenue Sources

Fares made up about 86 percent of TfL's revenue in 2014—the lion's share, but not the entirety. Secondary revenue also played a key role.

Advertising is one of the biggest secondary sources of income. (Verma says TfL is the "biggest advertiser in the U.K.") But unlike U.S. agencies, TfL also generates considerable revenue through its real estate holdings. Part of that revenue comes from developing land owned by the agency. Another part comes from renting out shops and concession space to vendors in and around the stations. Rents brought in more than 61 million pounds in 2014.

TfL also generates secondary revenue through London's congestion charging scheme. That plan charges drivers for entering a zone in the core of the city during certain times in the work week. In 2014, these charges amounted to roughly 235 million pounds, or nearly 5 percent of TfL's gross income.

Congestion Pricing Won't Solve Everything

Some U.S. transit experts believe congestion pricing may be the key to boosting rail and bus ridership in American cities. Verma isn't sure that's been the case in London. He says the impact of congestion charging on transit ridership is "marginal," in part because most of the trips through the central city are already made by public transport, leaving few car trips (he estimates 8 percent) up for grabs.

"Yes, there is an incentive to switch out of cars into public transport, and it is there because of a solid public transport policy," he says. "But the actual impact on the public transport network is pretty small."

Congestion pricing may well have more of an impact on transit in American cities. Ridership rates are lower in the U.S. and driving is cheaper compared to London, so there's greater potential for people to switch modes as the cost of car ownership goes up. But the lesson is worth heeding anyway because, at least at the moment, no U.S. city seems serious about congestion pricing. Far better for U.S. transit agencies to rely on changes within their own power than to wait for those outside it.

Big Rig Crashes

Big rig crash closes eastbound connector from 710 Freeway to 91 Freeway


July 1, 2014

 The transition road connecting the 710 Freeway to the eastbound 91 Freeway will be closed until at least 9:30 a.m. after a big rig carrying an oversized load of metal smashed into an overpass, the California Highway Patrol said today.

Cleanup crews dispatched a heavy-duty crane to clear the wreck, which occurred about 3:45 a.m., according to CHP logs.

No injuries were reported.

2 Teenagers Killed In Lancaster Big-Rig Collision, Truck Driver Not Injured


June 30, 2014

LANCASTER (CBSLA.com) — Two 16-year-old boys were killed Monday evening in a big-rig collision in Lancaster, officials reported today.

Around 6:50 p.m., the two-vehicle accident occurred at Avenue D and 60th Street West, where the truck crashed into a 2002 Toyota Prius.

Officials reported the driver of the Prius was killed at the scene, and resided in Palmdale, California.
SKY9′s Kevin Takumi reported yesterday that the passenger, from Piedmont, Oklahoma, was pulled out of the vehicle using the Jaws of Life, and was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Rodolfo Marcello, 55, of Little Rock in the Antelope Valley, was identified as the truck driver who survived the crash with no injuries, officials reported.

A SigAlert was issued by the California Highway Patrol where traffic was stalled on Avenue D as crews cleared the wreckage yesterday evening.

At this time, identities have not yet been released for the two boys.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Overturned big-rig crash injures four


By Corey Pride, June 30, 2014

 Traffic on Highway 152 backed up for hours Monday as a vehicle collided with an overturned big rig during the morning commute, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A 2005 freightliner pulling a utility trailer was traveling westbound east of the Romero Visitor Center at 3:03 a.m. when the driver ran off the road onto the north shoulder and overturned, blocking all lanes, said Officer Dean Emehiser, spokesman for the CHP Los Banos office.
Traffic was partially blocked on Highway 152 for more than nine hours as a result of the accident, Emehiser said.

The driver of the Freightliner, Daniel Rosales, 44, of Baldwin Park, suffered minor injuries. He was tended to by three motorists, Nick Flygenring, Rueben Huerta-Orozco and Abdikani Jelle, following the crash. Mulford Bowles, 69, of Sherman Oaks, drove a 2007 Dodge Ram westbound, encountering slow traffic from the accident. Mulford attempted to merge, spotted the big rig and slammed the brakes, but still hit the freightliner, CHP officials said. Flyginring, 38, of Northridge, suffered minor injuries; Huerta-Orozco, 44, of Los Banos, suffered moderate injuries; and Jelle, 25, of San Diego, had major injuries from the crash. Mulford was unharmed.

Emehiser said Flyginring refused treatment, Huerta-Orozco was taken to Memorial Hospital, Los Banos and Jelle was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

CHP officials said alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be involved in this incident.

101 Freeway Reopens After Big Rig Crash Near Thousand Oaks 

 The fiery big rig crash forced a closure in the San Fernando Valley


By William Avila and Jesse Garcia, June 30, 2014



Southern California Traffic Headaches

 NBC4 viewer Megan Moureaux sent this photo of a big rig crash on the 101 Freeway in the Thousand Oaks area on Sunday, June 29, 2014.

All lanes on the 101 Freeway have re-opened after a fiery big rig crash forced the closure of both sides of the freeway in the Thousand Oaks area on Sunday night, the California Highway Patrol said.

 The semi-truck was eastbound about 9 p.m. at Lindero Canyon Boulevard in Westlake Village (map) when it struck the center divider, sending debris into the westbound lanes and spilling diesel fuel onto the road, the CHP said. The truck became engulfed in flames.

Two westbound vehicles collided with debris that was scattered across the freeway, officials said.

No injuries were immediately reported.

CHP had reopenend all of the westbound lanes just after 3 a.m. and cancelled the sig-alert for the eastbound side just before 4 a.m.

CAJON PASS: Big rig crash kills 2, hospitalizes 3


By Peter Surowski, June 25, 2014

 Two people were killed and three were seriously injured when a dump truck broadsided them on Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass, officials said.

The incident was reported at 11:41 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, on the southbound ramp to Highway 138, a CHP incident log stated.

A 54-year-old Ontario woman was driving a Peterbilt dump truck south on the off-ramp at Highway 138 when, for unknown reasons, she ran a stop sign at the end of the ramp and struck a PT Cruiser that was traveling west, said CHP Officer Ryan Dallin.

The truck pushed the car off the highway and down an embankment. The truck then ran over the PT Cruiser and struck some thick metal pillars bringing the truck to rest on top the the car, Dallin said.

The five people inside the car were trapped and firefighters took about four hours to free them, he said.

Two people were pronounced dead on the scene: the driver, 18-year-old Nicole Brittney Lyle, of Victorville, and 16-year-old John Anthony Cabrera Jr., of Phelan, a coroner’s news release stated.

Paramedics rushed the three other passengers to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center with moderate to major injuries, Dallin said.

The truck driver suffered minor injuries. Whether drugs or alcohol was a factor was unknown. No arrests have been made in connection to the crash, Dallin said.

The eastbound Highway 138-southbound Interstate 15 connector road was closed for several hours.


Child Killed in Santa Monica Big Rig Crash: Officials


By Andrew Lopez and Ted Chen, June 7, 2014

A child was killed and several others were injured, including another child, in a crash involving two big rigs and a minivan on the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica Friday, officials said.

Two big rigs and a minivan collided around 12:35 p.m. on the westbound 10 Freeway near Lincoln Boulevard at the McClure Tunnel, according to the California Highway Patrol.

 Nine people were injured, seven of them passengers in the minivan. Two children under the age of 12 were taken to local hospitals in critical condition, six with moderate injuries and one person declined medical attention.

One of the children died in the hospital, Santa Monica Fire Department Deputy Chief Tom Clemosaid. The child's age was not immediately released.

Traffic was backed up to the 405 Freeway before crews cleaned up the wreckage from the McClure Tunnel and reopened the freeway just before 7 p.m.

Aerial footage showed one big rig resting upright inside the tunnel around 1:45 p.m. 

The CHP’s traffic incident page indicated about 100 vehicles were stuck between the crashed trucks and Lincoln Boulevard.

Los Angeles firefighters were assisting the Santa Monica Fire Department with the call.
The Santa Monica Firefighters Association established a fund to help the family. Donations can be made to Chase Bank Account #3095918057 or:

SMFF – Looney Family
222 Hollister Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90405


Burbank-Palmdale segment added to bullet train timetable


By Ralph Vartabedian, June 30, 2014

California bullet train
 An artist's concept of a high-speed rail car in California. Planners are adding a Los Angeles County segment between Burbank and Palmdale to address concerns that construction was starting in the Central Valley.

Jeff Morales
 Jeff Morales of the California High-Speed Rail Authority says new funding approved by the Legislature "means we can bring benefits to Southern California sooner."

In a strategic shift to secure new funding for California's bullet train project, state officials intend to accelerate their plans to build a Los Angeles County section of the $68-billion system.

High-speed rail officials said they want to start a segment between Burbank and Palmdale in the next several years as they continue working on a 130-mile stretch of the line in the Central Valley. The revised approach could be formally adopted by the rail board as early as next month.

The move addresses a central political challenge faced by the project: criticism over starting construction in the rural Central Valley and delaying benefits for Southern California and Bay Area urban areas for more than a decade.

Opponents and some supporters have attacked the Central Valley plan as a "train to nowhere," even though the region is growing quickly. High-speed train service in northern Los Angeles County could help relieve traffic congestion in a key corridor. A Palmdale to Burbank bullet train trip could take 14 minutes to 16 minutes. By contrast, existing Metrolink rail service follows a winding route built in the 1870s and takes 90 minutes — which still can be faster than driving in rush hour.

"It is a huge game-changer," said Richard Katz, a former state Assembly leader and current member of the Metrolink board. "The visibility will make it real and people can see where their tax dollars are being spent."

 Voters approved a $9-billion bond measure in 2008 and the Obama administration has provided grants of $3.2 billion, but that is a fraction of the construction cost for the Los Angeles to San Francisco line. Last month, as part of a new state budget, the Legislature provided about $250 million this fiscal year for the project from fees that companies pay for producing greenhouse gases, as well as 25% of future income from the levy.

Although that could still fall short of the money required to complete the project on schedule, it has put the endeavor on stronger financial footing.

But significant uncertainties remain. They include the state's ability to secure all of the additional construction funding, avoid costly construction delays, weather a growing number of legal challenges and operate the line without taxpayer subsidies.

Starting construction in Southern California requires a significant number of government actions, including selecting an exact route, completing environmental reviews and a massive amount of technical and design work, and choosing a contractor.

Unlike the flat Central Valley, where the state hopes to begin heavy construction this summer, the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles will be a world-class engineering challenge, involving extremely rugged terrain and a seismically active area that includes the San Andreas fault.

Preliminary plans for the Los Angeles County section include tunnels up to eight miles long.
The rail authority has focused on a roughly 40-mile route following the Antelope Valley Freeway, which goes over Soledad Pass at an elevation of 3,225 feet. But Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, whose district includes most of the area, has asked the rail agency to consider a direct route from Burbank to Palmdale under the mountain range, requiring a tunnel about 15 miles long, according to his staff. The authority has agreed to consider the request.

Bullet train planners always expected to place a station in the San Fernando Valley, and Burbank was the most likely choice. Ultimately, the bullet train track would connect Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to the Transbay Terminal transportation hub in central San Francisco. But by stopping construction in Burbank, at least initially, the authority would postpone the more difficult political and engineering task of reaching the heart of Los Angeles.

The authority estimates the cost of building the section from Palmdale to Los Angeles' Union Station at $13.5 billion. So far, it does not have an estimate for the Palmdale to Burbank section.

The rail project has encountered stiff opposition from some groups in the Central Valley and Silicon Valley, triggering lawsuits and political compromises on the design of the system. By contrast, there has been little organized opposition in Southern California. No major city has attempted to block or significantly modify the plan. Indeed, Palmdale threatened to sue the state if the project did not include a stop in the city. Los Angeles officials say that the project is yielding a number of benefits for other rail services, including more grade separations and improvements at Union Station.

The new building strategy was outlined in a June letter written by Jeff Morales, chief executive of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, to state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), during state budget negotiations. Morales said his agency's board of directors would be requested to formally adopt the revised approach once the Legislature agreed to allocate a portion of greenhouse gas fees to the bullet train. That action was taken last month.

Morales said in a statement Monday that the new long-term funding has provided "opportunities to accelerate the high-speed rail program and connect California from north to south and south to north."

"It means we can bring benefits to Southern California sooner, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gases faster and creating overall cost savings," he said.

In the earlier letter to Pavley, Morales had written that the Burbank to Palmdale section could be "an operating segment on its own." That is an important legal distinction because voter-approved bond funding can be spent only on operable segments where all of the needed funds have been identified before construction work begins. The newly committed funding could be used to match billions in bond funding over time, and help pay for the Los Angeles section.

The commitment to accelerate construction in Los Angeles County came in response to concerns raised by Senate Democrats who supported the bullet train, but had quietly voiced concerns about the current approach, according to legislative staffers.

In return for agreeing to the new long-term source of funding, the Democrats wanted to secure more immediate benefits for commuters and quicker reductions in greenhouse gases, which a Los Angeles bullet train segment could provide, according to legislative staff members. State law requires that greenhouse gas fees be allocated to projects that can reduce emissions by the largest margins in the shortest time.

Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), the newly elected leader of the upper house, was a key force in speeding up bullet train construction in Los Angeles County. He had been critical of beginning the project in the Central Valley. "It's egregious," he said in a recent interview. "It's locomotive malpractice."

Pavley and De León had been pushing for more spending in the Bay Area and Southern California to improve regional rail systems. In the end, Pavley wasn't satisfied with the rail authority's new approach, and did not cast a vote for the cap and trade funding plan for the bullet train.