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

Friday, October 17, 2014

IBEW Never Loses a Chance to Lose … More Jobs, Business Lost to SoCal


By Ken Alpern, October 17, 2014


RAIL CAR COMPANY HEADS FOR FRIENDLIER NEIGHBORHOOD-Sounds like the perfect job/manufacturing plan for Southern California, right?  We're starting a host of decades-overdue rail projects, most of them light rail, and having global rail car leader Kinkisharyo build just under $1 billion of light rail cars in LA World Airports-leased land in Palmdale is a no-brainer, right?  Wrong! 
Until the enlightened IBEW and other labor unions who dominated the opposing "Antelope Valley Residents for Reasonable Development" came along, an agreement with Kinkisharyo to build this rail car facility in Palmdale seemed like an obvious fit for all parties involved. 

Publicly, the opposition claimed to be concerned about environmental factors, but the REAL problem was that IBEW Local No. 11 and Kinkisharyo could not agree on using card check at the proposed facility to create a union and collective bargaining. 

Kinkisharyo is the El Segundo-based U.S. arm of Kinki Sharyo Co Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, and is on a legally-imposed deadline to meet its commitments to Metro to build dozens of cars for the future Expo Line, Foothill Gold Line, and our expanding LA County MetroRail system.  The first delivery is due this month. 

The environmental issues raised were appropriate, at one level--doing EIR's based on the mid-1990's would raise the concerns of a lot of folks if this were done in Los Angeles... 

...except this was vacant land in Palmdale, and even in LA the option of a Mitigated Negative Declaration (no EIR, but some mitigations) or Negative Declaration (no EIR) can fit the bill under the right circumstances.  Time was of the essence! 

So much for California building a green economy, as Kinkisharyo follows Tesla out of the California anti-business environment that gets in the way of building jobs, lives and a better future for all. 

This wasn't overdeveloped LA but underdeveloped Palmdale (home of the airport that the airlines have abandoned), and JOBS should have been the order of the day.  The land was there, the zoning was right, and the rail cars are so overdue they should have been built yesterday. 

But the IBEW never loses a chance to lose, and now our future light rail fleet will be built outside of California. 

So meanwhile, while the rest of us often have to resort to multiple jobs to stay ahead, or leave retirement to make sure we're financially stable, the good people of Palmdale will have the golden opportunity to have no jobs whatsoever.   

Or maybe residents of the Palmdale region can follow Kinkisharyo to Nevada, Texas or anywhere else that realizes that job creation is the critical underpinning to any region. 

Way to go, IBEW and Big Labor.  Glad we got you looking out for the little guy!

A Majority of Americans Are (Technically) Multi-Modal

New data show a clear mobility "continuum" from car-only to car-less.


By Eric Jaffe, October 17, 2014


As we saw firsthand during our nine-month Future of Transportation series, U.S. cities are working toward more balanced mobility systems that offer a range of reliable trip options. But just how many Americans take advantage of these options on a regular basis? It's a tough question to answer with much precision, but it just got a lot easier with a new study from Virginia Tech scholars Ralph Buehler and Andrea Hamre—one of the first of its kind based on a representative national population.
The short answer: most of them. The longer short answer: some of them, but far from all. We'll start with the conclusion (via Transportation) then work back through the details:
Only 28 percent of Americans solely rely on a car during a week. The majority of Americans are multimodal car users who drive and make at least one weekly trip by foot, bicycle, or public transportation. Stricter definitions for multimodal driving additionally show that about one in four American car users make at least 7 trips by walking, cycling, or public transportation during the week.
Buehler (who contributed to our Future series) and Hamre based their findings on an analysis of data from the 2001 and 2009 National Household Travel Surveys, which combine single-day trip diaries and broader travel questionnaires to track mobility trends of hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents. Let's start at the daily level (which we chart below). More than three-quarters of NHTS respondents relied on a car alone for their single-day travel needs, though this share of "mono-modal" driving fell slightly over time, while the (very modest) share of car-less daily travelers rose.
So on any given day, a lot of Americans only drive—something we already know quite well from commute trends. But the weekly habits reveal a more complex picture of mobility behavior. Here we see that the share of Americans who rely only on a car for the entire week is in the clear minority, under 30 percent in both years, with those shares also declining over time. Car-less travelers rise again over time. And multi-modal drivers, who use a car plus at least one other mode during the week, make up nearly 65 percent of all respondents in both years. Again, we chart the findings from Buehler and Hamre:
What this means is that a lot of people who only drove a car on the day they filled out their trip diary also indicated in other questions that they used an alternative mode at some point during the week—roughly 63 percent of one-day drivers in 2001 and 64 percent in 2009, to be more specific (not shown above). The reverse behavior also holds true, though to a much lesser degree. Of the survey respondents who didn't use a car at all during their diary day, about 10 percent in 2001 and 11 percent in 2009 did drive at some point during the week.

The thing is, not all multi-modal travelers are created equal. Some people use whatever mode is the best option for a particular trip. Others may be more accidentally multi-modal—maybe they'd prefer to use the car but a spouse is stuck in traffic when they have to leave the house. The difference is best captured by how many non-car trips a person makes a week; it's fair to say that the more often someone takes an alternative mode, the more multi-modal that person is.

So Buehler and Hamre established four thresholds to distinguish different levels of multi-modality: one, three, five, and seven non-car rides a week, in addition to some driving. Let's take the 64.9 percent of respondents who met the minimal multi-modal threshold of one non-car trip in 2009. As expected, the numbers decrease as the thresholds rise, but they remain impressive. About 48 percent of respondents took at least three non-car trips in a week, and about 33 percent took at least five. When the multi-modal threshold reaches seven non-car trips a week—an average of one a day—nearly a quarter of all respondents still met the mark.

The 2001 figures are similar. We chart both years below:
So that's technically a multi-modal majority for America, but it's also nowhere near a simple one, and by the strictest measures it's only a rising minority. Buehler and Hamre see this as a "continuum of mobility types," with car-only living on one end and car-free on the other, and most Americans stuck somewhere in the middle. What's also pretty clear, if far from overwhelming, is which direction the movement along this spectrum is heading.

Students create website encouraging the exploration of LA by bus


Registration Issue 2014

 busla.me maps more than 100 Los Angeles hotspots and the bus routes needed to reach them from campus. (Courtesy of Byron Pang)
 busla.me maps more than 100 Los Angeles hotspots and the bus routes needed to reach them from campus.

Two students aim to pop the “UCLA bubble” using a website they built to share iconic and interesting locations in Los Angeles accessible by bus.

UCLA students Byron Pang and Zheng Sun teamed up over the summer to create busla.me, which launched last week and highlights more than 100 locales across the city along nine different bus routes that run through west L.A.

“There’s so much out there, and people should get out and see the city they live in,” said Pang, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student.

Pang gathered the data for all of the locations, including their coordinates, how to get there by bus and the appeal of the site. Zheng, a fourth-year computer science student, built the website to showcase the information.

Pang said he and Zheng wanted to facilitate exploration of L.A., especially in students’ first two years at UCLA, when undergraduates may have the most free time and may not have access to cars.

Coming from the Bay Area, Pang said he came to UCLA with a desire to strike out into the city, but he had to find a way to get around without a car.

“Living on the Hill, none of my friends had cars, so I had to use the buses,” he said.

For the bus-riding newbie, Pang recommends starting with the Metro Rapid 720 line. The 720 runs from downtown to Little Tokyo to Santa Monica, showcasing a wide variety of L.A. hotspots.

Once students master using familiar bus routes, they can branch out to the less common lines.

Pang said he thinks a lot of students know about lines like the 720, the 1 and the 2, but the six other bus lines featured on the website offer a much broader range of places to visit.

Pang and Zheng chose locations based on personal experiences traveling around the city, he added. They expect to update the site quarterly and allow students to email in suggestions for additions to the routes.

One of his favorite locations featured on the site is a group of Santa Monica mountain hiking routes which lead to Inspiration Point.

“It’s one of my favorite places I go when I just need a short bus ride away from campus,” Pang said. “I go there when I need to get away from the (UCLA) bubble.”