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, October 21, 2014

New Metro video: TAP the target, sings Steps of Doe


 By Steve Hymon, October 21, 2014

#metrorocks: Tap the Target 


 And here is the second of the trio of new videos from Metro’s marketing team, this one featuring the L.A.-based folk duo Steps of Doe with instructions for reloading your TAP card at ticket machines.

The new videos are intended as a fun way to help folks learn to ride the Metro system and remind everyone that taking transit can be fun and/or interesting. Please feel free to share/comment/review on social media using the hashtag #metrorocks. Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The first video, which debuted last week, featured Galactic Flo promoting Metro’s and Google’s trip planner.

One other note: the musicians who appear in the videos (and the firm that made them, Conceptive, Inc.) are entirely local. If you’re a musician and would like to share your song about local transit, you can email us here.

The Metro Trip Planner is on the metro.net homepage. If you prefer, Google Maps can also be used to plan transit trips.

Cars, Canards and Low Standards in our Transportation Battles


By Ken Alpern, October 21, 2014


GETTING THERE FROM HERE-The good news:  the first of 78 light rail cars (Kinkisharyo P3010-photo)) for use on our ever-expanding Metro Rail system was unveiled this week in Palmdale.  The bad news:  automobile car drivers face continued discrimination by ridiculous apps such as MonkeyParking, which allows users to auction off parking spaces.  The worst news:  we continue to set the bar very low when it comes to transportation construction and funding. 
The new Kinkisharyo P3010 light rail cars are highly advanced, can seat 69 people, and can operate on all of Metro's existing light rail lines. 

It goes without saying that they'll be needed on the upcoming/expanded Metro Foothill Gold and Expo Lines when they open in 2016, and they'll be especially needed by the time the next round of light rail lines (Crenshaw/LAX and Downtown Connector) open in 2020-2022.   

It's not hard to conclude that the demand for more light rail cars, and more frequency of light rail trains, will be ever-increasing as an alternative to the hellish traffic that plagues L.A.--and will only get worse if joblessness and the economy improves (sorry, folks, but a good economy means more traffic!).  This is an example of good progress.   

In contrast, an example of bad progress is the sordid MonkeyParking app, which allows creepy people to squat on parking spots and sell them to the highest bidder.  Those "monkeys" (which, frankly, really gives an unfair and bad name to our simian friends) who would do such a thing deserves a prison cell, not financial betterment. 

The MonkeyParking app was banned in San Francisco and Santa Monica, and West LA. Councilmember Mike Bonin is currently supported by a City Council trying to do the same thing in the City of the Angels.  

While the City is trying to install smart parking meters and manage pricing based on demand, this MonkeyParking app would get in the way of more appropriate methods of facilitating parking for Angeleno motorists. 

Let's just hope that Mike Bonin, Eric Garcetti, and the City Council will have the same decency to ask developers requesting variances (or even those by-right) to install as many parking spaces as they possibly can...and if the developers express unhappiness that parking spots are expensive, the Council should respond: 

 "Yeah, we know.  We've heard.  Now pay for the goddamn parking spots, and/or pay into a Citywide parking fund, or expect to endure our wrath." 

That phenomenon actually happens in other cities who respect the citizenry, and there's a reason why the LA Parking Freedom Initiative (LINK: http://www.parkinglosangeles.org/) is gaining ground as well.  Angelenos are all for alternatives to driving and parking, but no one but NO ONE ever told us that cars were going to be effectively banned in the City of the Angels. 

● It's hardly my own hope that parking on Crenshaw Blvd. during construction of the Metro Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line can be resolved, and I urge all local residents and businesses to offer up potential parking spots (perhaps for some remuneration?) to keep those wonderful Crenshaw Blvd. businesses alive and well.  Heck, maybe some remote parking with lots of DASH vans could be considered? 

● It's hardly my own hope that parking at all Metro stations can be increased, particularly when they provide immediate and obvious alternatives to freeway commuting (and thereby take on features of Metrolink/commuter rail stations).  It shouldn't have taken so many years to fund and create more parking at the immediately-and-still-wildly-successful Metro North Hollywood Red Line station. 

● It's hardly my own hope to see the establishment of a 3-4 story development and affiliated parking structure in "Downtown Mar Vista" (that part of Venice Blvd. between Centinela and Inglewood, where the Library, Farmers Market, and many successful businesses are attracting an ever-larger amount of traffic). Such developments will always be disputed, but we need to get bicyclists, buses AND cars to their destinations. 

So the need is stronger than ever to spend money transparently, and spend it well--but not to be pennywise and pound-foolish when it comes to setting appropriate standards for transportation funding and spending, and NOT to give into silly and bizarre canards that the overwhelming majority of voters have never wanted: 

1) We need more train service, excellent train service and convenient train service...but a widespread region such as the City and County of Los Angeles will need both first-rate bus AND car access to our train stations. "Providing alternatives" is NOT the same as "giving up our cars", because any one given bus or train route does NOT provide access to all of our desired and necessary destinations. 

2) The proposed Metrolink, Amtrak and Caltrain improvements, coupled with purchasing more diesel and electric trains for commuter rail is a wonderful thing...but Governor Brown and the California High-Speed Rail Authority NEVER had the permission of the voters to end freeway and road funding as part of a High-Speed Rail mandate...just as a $35 billion project was NEVER supposed to be $70-100 billion. 

3) The lack of parking on our roads and to our businesses is a problem that must be confronted.  Parking structures, even small lots, get cars off our roads and create more room for buses and bicyclists--and also help businesses because they get people to the commercial thoroughfares, and get them walking (and buying!) on these very same thoroughfares. 

So to restate the obvious: 

● Convenient train service and more rail cars are expensive.  We know.  We've heard.  Now do them right! 

● Parking structures and lots are expensive.  We know.  We've heard.  Now do them right! 

● Quality, dignified, and modern bus stops are expensive.  We know.  We've heard.  Now do them right! 

● Bicycle lanes and bicycle/pedestrian amenities are expensive.  We know.  We've heard.  Now do them right! 

Must these straightforward transportation battles be so necessary to fight?

Golden Gate Bridge renews talk of tolls on walkers, bicyclists


By Mark Prado, October 21, 2014

Plans to charge a toll to pedestrians and bicyclists will be examined once again by Golden Gate Bridge officials as the agency looks to keep itself in the black.

On Monday the district released a 45-point plan to keep the agency solvent in the next five to 10 years as it grapples with a five-year, $33 million deficit. Each initiative would come to the board for discussion and be voted on individually. The bridge board will review the plan as a whole on Friday.

Among the initiatives: "Evaluate sidewalk access fees" for bikes and pedestrians, which could be implemented in 2017. There is no estimate as to how much a fee might raise.


"This is something the board's financial advisory committee would like the full board to consider," said Priya Clemens, district spokeswoman, adding public comment would be sought if it moves forward. "But it is by no means set in stone. It's just a concept right now."

The bike and pedestrian tolls appeared on the district's 2009 financial plan, but were deferred because of ongoing maintenance on the sidewalks.

From May 1937 to December 1970, a pedestrian toll was charged and collected via a coin turnstile. The board voted to discontinue a 10-cent toll on Dec. 15, 1970. That year some 48,000 pedestrians crossed the span.

The discussion on re-establishing bike and pedestrian tolls is not new. About 10 years ago the bridge board considered charging tolls to bicyclists and pedestrians, but it backed away from the plan after protest for bike groups. At that time it was estimated such a toll could raise $500,000 to $1.5 million annually.

But today thousands and thousands of bikes pour into Sausalito as part of a new tourism industry, and that figure may be higher. The district estimates roughly 6,000 bike riders and 10,000 pedestrians use the span daily during peak summer periods.

"The Marin County Bicycle Coalition vehemently opposes fees for the Golden Gate Bridge," said Andy Peri, the group's advocacy director. "The district should be doing everything it can to promote bike transportation, health and reducing greenhouse gases and congestion."

Any kind of fee, even for tourists would be a "slippery slope" he said.

"Imagine if tourists did not use bikes and took rental cars and taxis into Sausalito," Peri said.
On his skateboard Jesse Crawford of Sausalito was ready to cross the span from north to south Monday morning. He crosses the span twice day.

"That would not be ideal for me," he said of a toll. "Maybe for someone walking over the bridge once or twice. I come over the bridge every day. I wouldn't like it."

A group walked on the Golden Gate Bridge earlier this year. The bridge has not charged pedestrian tolls since 1970.

Phanurut Aiyara, a tourist visiting from Boston, thought tourists should pay a one-time fee that would allow them to go back and forth on the span.

"But it's a bad idea for those who want exercise here every day or who have to cross every day," said Aiyara, before walking south across the span.

Under the financial plan the district also may raise vehicle tolls again in 2018. A $1 toll increase went into effect April 1 and drivers will see a 25 cent increase to the toll each year through 2018, bringing the FasTrak toll to $7 and the pay-by-plate toll to $8 by July of that year. Transit fares on district buses and ferries could also continue to rise 5 percent a year.

Personnel costs, the seismic retrofit of the span, a $75 million bill to help pay for the ongoing Doyle Drive upgrade, south tower painting and the partial loss of revenue from a downsized local bus contract with Marin County, have fueled the district's deficit, bridge officials have said.

The Week in Livable Streets Events


By Damien Newton, October 20, 2014

Another full week of activities. If you haven’t yet registered to vote, do so now. Literally stop what you are doing, and register to vote. The link is right here…
  • Today – Today is the last day to register to vote, or change the address at which you are registered to vote, and be counted for the November 4 election. You can register online, here.
  • Thursday – The Metro Board of Directors meets for its near-monthly Board Meeting. This month the Board weighs in on Active Transportation, a potential BRT from North Hollywood to Pasadena, revising the Metro Call for Projects and more. Read the agenda for their 9 a.m. meeting, here.
  • Saturday – Get involved in local freeway removal efforts! Join this two-Saturday free visioning workshop, though rsvp requested. Renowned architect and urbanist Stefanos Polyzoides will lead two sequential visioning workshops Saturday, October 25 and Saturday, November 8, 9-noon at Maranatha High School.   Transportation, economic and land use experts will provide information and answer questions.  They will lay the foundation upon which citizens’ ideas can be integrated to turn this fallow land into an economically and aesthetically viable district of Pasadena. Get more details, here.
  • Saturday - On Saturday, October 25, through a sponsorship by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change thru LIVE Exchange), along with Mujeres Unidas and other community partners, will lead a costumed bicycle ride, “Pedal to the Port: A Two-Wheeled Wilmington Halloween!” Get more details, here.
  • Sunday – Come join the “Boyle Heights Prometor@s” and Multicultural Communities for Mobility as we discuss potential bicycle lanes on Soto Street and Boyle Avenue. Along with any questions and concerns and see how other communities, nationally and transnationally are putting Bicycle Infrastructure in their own hands! Get more details, here.

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