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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Beverly Hills News – City Council Approves Metro MOAs and Permits for Utility Relocation Phase of Purple Line Extension

http://bhcourier.com/beverly-hills-news-city-council-approves-metro-moas-and-permits-for-utility-relocation-phase-of-purple-line-extension/

By Victoria Talbot, August 20, 2014



rsz_saban




The City of Beverly Hills and Metro have agreed to a Memorandum of Agreement for the Advanced Utility Relocation Phase (AUR) of Segment 1 of the Westside Subway Extension following a lengthy process of revisions to support the Saban Theatre, the emerging business district surrounding the area and the quality of life for residents directly affected by the relocation project.

Metro has indicated that the work is scheduled to begin in late August and that it will take approximately 30 months to complete. The agreement applies only to the utility relocation phase of the project.

Following the city council meeting on Aug. 5, when Metro returned a draft document that virtually ignored the chief elements of an agreement as proposed by the City of Beverly Hills, Metro negotiators returned with a favorable draft Tuesday night that incorporates significant mitigations for the City.

Revisions include specific noise mitigations, work hours, business mitigation funds, monitoring, disincentives, a 24-hour live hotline, alternate parking and loading zones, compensation for City expenses, and specific mitigations to address the concerns of the Saban Theatre.

Following the meeting Aug. 5, City staff met with Rabbi David Baron of the Saban, Mayor Lili Bosse, council member John Mirisch, City engineering consultants, the Cordoba Corporation and Metro to address concerns with the MOA and develop a framework to move forward.

The approved draft limits construction to daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., with flexibility for nighttime work for service interruptions that would adversely affect residents if performed during business hours, as was decided at the Aug. 5 meeting.

Two main areas of concern included establishing monetary disincentives for violations and business mitigation assistance, especially with the Saban Theatre.

To address this, the MOA establishes an independent compliance monitor as a mechanism for enforcing permit conditions. The monitor will have the authority to halt work if there is a violation of permit conditions or a threat to public health and safety. In addition, if there are more than two violations of a permit condition within a three-day period, a $10,000 contribution will go into a mitigation fund controlled by the City. A third violation in seven days is $15,000.

Metro will be required to respect the City’s municipal ordinances in regards to noise levels and work. A 24-hour public phone line will also be established for residents to speak with a live person with their concerns and complaints.

The MOA has several provisions for the emerging business district and the Saban Theatre. Construction is prohibited on Jewish holidays when the theatre is used for religious observances. Metro is required to maintain access to all the businesses, including pedestrian access, at all times. Signage declaring that businesses are open during construction is also required. Metro has agreed to maintain the full sidewalk width during construction and to maintain access to adjacent parking facilities. Metro is also required to protect the historic Saban marquee from damage due to construction.

A business mitigation assistance fund of $1 million is to be established to include advertising, parking validations, business incentives, public outreach programs and other assistance to facilitate business in the area.

The MOA provides for regular cleaning of the work area, coordination of valet zones and loading zones and alternative overnight residential parking.

Metro will install two cameras on Wilshire Blvd. for 24-hour construction monitoring. The City is also considering placement of decibel monitors for noise monitoring.

The Saban Theatre, the City of Beverly Hills and Metro have agreed to a three-party side letter to memorialize concerns related to future Metro activities. An historic landmark, Rabbi David Baron, Saban founder and Rabbi of the Temple of the Arts, expressed his concerns for the maintenance of the building’s foundations with the subway construction. Several structural issues must be assessed, including subsidence, to determine the historic landmark’s tolerance for the proposed station construction and resulting settlement. An independent geotechnical assessment and architectural assessment of the impact of construction on the building will be performed prior to construction in order to form a plan of action to reduce the impacts on the building.

The Rabbi requested an extra 60-90 days prior to approval to form a plan. The Saban is on the National Register of Historic Places, the State register and the local register. “I still have serious reservations,” said Rabbi Baron. Baron compared the Saban to the treatment of Disney Hall during Metro construction. “I want parity.”

“I want it over and done with,” said council member Nancy Krasne.

“Everything asked was given,” said Mayor Lili Bosse. “We have come a long way.”

Metro’s permit application for the relocation of water, sewer and storm drain utilities and for Edison’s electrical facilities was also approved. 

Taking public transit to work may keep you fitter: study

http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/taking-public-transit-to-work-may-keep-you-fitter-study-1.1969554

August 28, 2014

 Woman on the bus



 Walking, cycling and, yes, even taking public transportation to work are associated with lower body weight and lower body fat composition when compared against those who drive, a British study has found.

A team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and University College London collected and assessed 7,534 BMI measurements and 7,424 body fat percentage measurements from participants in a cross-sectional dataset representative of the British population.

Ten per cent of men and 11 per cent of women reported using public transport. Both their body fat percentage and their BMI scores, like those of others who walked or cycled, were lower than those who commuted by means of a personally owned car.

Men who used public or active -- either walking or cycling -- transport modes had an average BMI score one-per-cent lower than those who commuted via car, which indicates roughly a difference of three kilograms in overall body weight.

For women, BMI scores were an average of 0.7 points lower than their car commuting counterparts, equating to an average reduction in overall body weight of 2.5 kg.

As far as body fat percentage was concerned, the reduction was similar in size and significance, even after researchers controlled for age-related differences, socio-economic discrepancy, diet and level of physical activity in the workplace.

While the large-scale study did not zero in on public transport users, and they represented a small group, results indicate nonetheless that the stresses and unpleasantness associated with trains and buses could be outweighed by the health benefits.

Of the thousands of participants screened, 76 per cent of men and 72 per cent of women commuted by means of private motorized vehicles, while 14 per cent of men and 17 per cent of women walked or cycled to the office.

Average BMI scores came in at 28 for men and 27 for women, indicating that most participants were overweight, teetering on the lines of obesity, which is marked by a BMI score of 30. The ideal BMI score is between 18.5 and 24.9.

The study was published online in the British Medical Journal.

We Asked 5 Cities: When Are You Getting Late-Night Subway Service?

http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/city-subway-late-night-service-philadelphia-boston

By Jake Blumgart, August 21, 2014

 

 SEPTA has extended a test run of 24-hour subway service on weekends.




On a Friday night in many major Americans cities, festivities are punctuated by periodic glances at cell phones or watches and, eventually, a fevered sprint to the train. There are a few transit agencies that offer 24/7 service, such as New York, but last trains leaving around midnight are more common.

 This year, two of the nation’s largest transit agencies have moved to curb this undignified practice. In March, Boston’s MBTA began running its train lines (and some buses) until 3 a.m. on the weekends — Washington, D.C.’s Metro already does the same — while Philadelphia’s SEPTA took the more radical step of implementing 24-hour service for its two city subway lines on weekends.

Both agencies are framing the changes as experiments. Boston’s is set to run until the end of 2014. Initially SEPTA just promised the service for the summer, but last week, it announced an extension through November 2nd. In both cases the agencies are running trains relatively frequently, every 20 minutes in Philadelphia’s case.

The two cities are funding their extensions in different ways. The MBTA has been running its after-hours program with funding from corporate sponsors and the state. SEPTA is paying directly out of its operating budget and hopes that student passengers and occasional riders without prepaid passes will allow the agency to cover the additional costs.

Whether or not extended service will remain in place in Boston and Philadelphia is unclear, but here’s a look at the future of extended service in those two and in three other major American cities.

Philadelphia

SEPTA’s 24-hour weekend service has been deemed a success, hence the extension through November. The agency is being coy about a ridership count: “We’re trying to stay away from exact figures because there are a lot of different fluctuations [from week to week],” says Manuel Smith, a spokesperson for the agency. He will say they have experienced a 50 percent ridership increase over the numbers for the Night Owl bus service that replaced the two subway-elevated heavy rail lines when 24/7 service ended in 1991.

There is no precise metric that SEPTA will use to determine the future of 24-hour weekend service after November. The agency will consider ridership patterns, security issues and staffing costs before making the decision. But SEPTA does not have any plans to bring back full 24/7 service.

“We use those overnight hours to do track repairs, station cleaning and other kinds of maintenance,” says Smith. “That would be tough to reschedule around operating trains.”

Boston

In late April, Boston magazine reported the MBTA’s pleasure at its success. The first three weekends saw ever-increasing ridership, reaching up to 19,995 riders between 12:30 and 3 a.m. (The fourth weekend, just before the Boston Marathon, saw a massive decline in ridership — perhaps proof that staying up late and crazed feats of athleticism are not natural allies.)

This summer, there have been between 15,000 and 17,000 late-night rides per weekend (keep in mind that Boston’s huge student population is greatly reduced during these months). In total there have been “well over” 400,000 late-night rides since the program began in March, says Kelly Smith, an MBTA spokesperson, but “the decision to extend late-night service beyond its one-year pilot program has not been made yet.”

She also discounts the notion of 24-hour service: “We currently need overnight hours to conduct necessary maintenance and repairs on the system.” However, back in April, Boston magazine also reported that MBTA general manager Beverly Scott predicted 24-hour service at some point in the future. “You of course will have a build up,” she said. “But I think that will end up happening, you are going to start beginning to see just the city blooming on those Friday and Saturday evenings.”

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.’s Metro began running its trains until three in the morning in 2003, although on weeknights they close earlier than most major transit networks. They also occasionally extend weekday service if there is a big concert or sporting event, but the promoter or sponsor of the event has to pay $29,500 per additional hour.

The agency has no plans to extend hours to 24-hour service on the weekends or to run the trains 24/7. “On Sunday through Thursday we believe the current structure strikes an appropriate balance between ridership demand and providing the work windows we need to rebuild the system,” says Dan Stessel, spokesperson for D.C. Metro. “[And late night] weekends are when we do rebuilding [too].
We are in the middle of a six-year, $5 billion rebuilding of the system and we need every available hour when the system is closed. If we were to go 24 hours it would significantly affect our ability to provide reliable service when we need it most, during commuting hours and middays and evenings.”

Stessel points out that D.C. does not have multiple tracks serving the same areas. In many areas of Manhattan, there are numerous trains that hit the same neighborhoods so the MTA can close the A for maintenance while the C and E continue to run. Few other cities have that luxury.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Metro’s robust network doesn’t get the attention it deserves especially because L.A. is one of the only cities in recent years to invest heavily in expanding, not just maintaining, its public transportation system.

But the subways are still operated as though they were being run in some buttoned-down burg. L.A. Metro does offer late-night service for concerts or sporting events and experimented with extended weekend hours in 2012 with the backing of the Hollywood business community, which helped pay for the extended service. But the ridership levels were not high enough, and the trial ended.

“Metro is aware of the experiments [in Boston and Philadelphia],” says Paul Gonzales, senior media relations officer for Metro. (He also notes that the hours without service are when repair and maintenance work gets done.) “Our CEO, Art Leahy, would like to see Metro get to 24 hours service eventually. … Metro would be open to a pilot program to determine demand for late service.”

As always, the problem is cost. Metro is about to raise fares in a contentious attempt to close their budget deficit. Currently “Metro’s board is not considering any plan that might potentially add to projected budget deficits,” says Gonzales.

San Francisco

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) runs its trains until about midnight and opens back up again around 4 a.m. There are no plans to change that anytime in the foreseeable future.
“That short window of time without service is used for essential nightly track maintenance
,” says BART’s Alicia Trost. (She also mentions that, like Metro, the system lacks multiple tracks.) “Each night is a race against the clock to get all the maintenance equipment set up, crews in place, work done and then break everything down, and moved out of the way before morning service. Compounding the constraints of a short maintenance window is the fact our system is now four decades old and major components need to be replaced.”

Trost goes on to note that when BART was built it was intended to be purely a commuter service: “When cost projections were initially developed, the residents of the region who voted to approve BART supported a system that would have limited hours of operation.” It didn’t even run on the weekends so 24-hour service has never been in the playbook.

The 10 Commandments of Transit

http://www.transitcommandments.com/


Some humbly proposed suggestions for being a good human on transport both public and private. Suggest new commandments right here.



Wherever there is injustice, you will find this book. Wherever there is suffering, this book will be there. Wherever some guy is sitting on an aisle seat with his bag on an empty window seat, you will find: The 10 Commandments of Transit. Now available in a handy pocket-sized edition. 
Wherever there is injustice, you will find this book. Wherever there is suffering, this book will be there. Wherever some guy is sitting on an aisle seat with his bag on an empty window seat, you will find: The 10 Commandments of Transit. Now available in a handy pocket-sized edition.



1. Know thy driver, and praise them.
Hail to the bus driver, bus driver, bus driver. Hail to the bus driver, bus driver man—or woman. 
1. Know thy driver, and praise them.
Hail to the bus driver, bus driver, bus driver. Hail to the bus driver, bus driver man—or woman.



2. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s seat.
Your personal space ends where your fellow passengers’ personal space begins. Keep your ass, elbows and feet in check. 
2. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s seat.
Your personal space ends where your fellow passengers’ personal space begins. Keep your ass, elbows and feet in check.

3. Remember thy surroundings, to keep them holy.
Phone calls: If they must be long, make sure they’re not loud. If they must be loud, make sure they’re not long. Keep your music and other conversations down, too.
3. Remember thy surroundings, to keep them holy.
Phone calls: If they must be long, make sure they’re not loud. If they must be loud, make sure they’re not long. Keep your music and other conversations down, too.

4. Love thy neighbor as thyself.
We’re all in this together (‘this’ being both life and this bus.) Treat your fellow passengers as you’d like to be treated.
4. Love thy neighbor as thyself.
We’re all in this together (‘this’ being both life and this bus.) Treat your fellow passengers as you’d like to be treated.

5. Thou shalt break bread at home, not in thy seat.
That taco/burger/curry doesn’t deserve to be eaten on a cramped, poorly ventilated bus. Take it home, maybe throw on a little music, dance with it. Your fellow passengers, and your meal, will thank you.
5. Thou shalt break bread at home, not in thy seat.
That taco/burger/curry doesn’t deserve to be eaten on a cramped, poorly ventilated bus. Take it home, maybe throw on a little music, dance with it. Your fellow passengers, and your meal, will thank you.


6. Thou shalt not sit in an aisle seat and put thy bag on an empty window seat. 
Your backpack may have had a hard day, but it doesn’t need its own seat. Seriously.
6. Thou shalt not sit in an aisle seat and put thy bag on an empty window seat. 
Your backpack may have had a hard day, but it doesn’t need its own seat. Seriously.



7. Thou shalt yield your seat to those in need.
It won’t hurt you to stand, but it might be hard for someone else.
7. Thou shalt yield your seat to those in need.
It won’t hurt you to stand, but it might be hard for someone else.


8. Thou shalt keep thy shoes on.
Please don’t let out the odors within.
8. Thou shalt keep thy shoes on.
Please don’t let out the odors within.



9. Take thy trash with you.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure—unless it’s an empty water bottle or a coffee cup, in which case it’s probably still trash, so please take it with you and recycle. 
9. Take thy trash with you.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure—unless it’s an empty water bottle or a coffee cup, in which case it’s probably still trash, so please take it with you and recycle.



10. Thou shalt be grateful for the journey.
Appreciate the view out of your window, and this pause in your day
10. Thou shalt be grateful for the journey.
Appreciate the view out of your window, and this pause in your day