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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mayor Garcetti On Bogus Parking Tickets Exposed By CBS2 Report: ‘I Was Pissed’


November 12, 2014

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — City leaders sounded off Wednesday in reaction to a story in which CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein exposed that parking enforcers were issuing bogus parking tickets throughout LA County.

In the story, which aired Tuesday night, Goldstein approached parking officers who were issuing parking tickets to vehicles parked in designated “relaxed parking” zones — or areas that are supposed to be immune to parking tickets issued due to street cleaning.

Relaxed parking zones are designated when a previously scheduled street sweeper is cancelled for that street at any given time.

The city, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, has started the process of figuring out just how many tickets were issued to LA motorists in error. The number could be hundreds or thousands.

“I was pissed. That was unacceptable,” Mayor Garcetti said of the tickets.

Safety Streets LA’s Jay Beeber, who is also a candidate for city council, stated that Goldstein’s report exposed a flawed system, in which he says the city simply doesn’t care who gets ticketed.

“If Nordstrom did this to their customers, they wouldn’t be in business for maybe two days,” Beeber said.

The relaxed parking routes were set up and shared with residents on this city website in order to alert motorists as to when the street sweepers weren’t coming.

The Department of Transportation, however, says that, in some cases, they were not notified as to the cancellations, and their officers didn’t know not to issue tickets in that area, until Goldstein approached them on the issue.

“You made us aware of a flaw in the system, and we’re more than willing to look at these flaws and try to fix them,” DOT Chief Greg Savelli said.

Mayor Garcetti, meanwhile, shot down Savelli’s answer, and was more upset over the situation.
“No, this isn’t a flaw in the system,” Mayor Garcetti said. “This was a mistake that was made, and people have to own that mistake.”

DOT’s Bruce Gillman says that those who were issued parking tickets unjustly will receive a refund in the form of a check in the mail.

There are more than 600,000 to examine for the past year.

Biking and walking likely to be major issues in spring city elections


Metro Board to consider motion on studying new congestion pricing corridors


By Steve Hymon, November 12, 2014

The above motion is to be considered by the Metro Board of Directors at their meeting Thursday. With the ExpressLanes being made permanent earlier this year on the 10 and 110 freeways, the motion asks Metro to begin studying other potential freeway corridors where congestion pricing may work.

The Board this summer also voted to study expanding the ExpressLanes to the 105 freeway between the 605 and 405 freeways.

This is a ‘stay tuned’ type of item. A study to expand the ExpressLanes is a first step in a much longer process. For those who don’t use the ExpressLanes, carpoolers and motorcycles mostly can use them for free on the 10 and 110 (on the 10, vehicles with two occupants still must pay a toll between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.). The idea is to sell extra space in the carpool lanes and raise money for transportation improvements in both corridors, including transit service.

Please see the Metro ExpressLanes website for more information on the lanes and how to get the transponder needed by all cars to use them; motorcycles do not need a transponder.

A Big Hidden Subsidy for Highways That Everyone Forgets


By Angie Schmitt, November 12, 2014

Subsidies for driving in America are so numerous and layered, it can be hard to sort them out. We have general funds paying for roads, tax breaks for big oil companies, free parking nearly everywhere.

Exempting gasoline from state sales tax is a major subsidy for driving. Photo: Wikimedia
Exempting gasoline from state sales tax is a major subsidy for driving.

David Levinson at the Transportationist picks out another one that’s a lot more obscure, but still substantial:
The hidden subsidy is in states which have general sales taxes, but don’t apply them to gasoline. Thus, in Minnesota, I pay a sales tax on prepared food, but not gasoline (or clothing, or random other things). Thus relatively, spending is encouraged in those untaxed areas, which are 6.875% less taxed than other goods. This lack of a tax is not a subsidy in a state which doesn’t tax sales, and instead taxes income or property. But where sales are taxed, but gasoline is exempted, other goods are implicitly taxed more so gasoline can be explicitly taxed less.

In short, the general principal is that gasoline cannot be simultaneously be taxed with the funds dedicated to highways (thus acting as a user fee) and exempted from sales taxes without there being a subsidy that at least partially offsets the user fee.

At a $3.00/gallon price of gas, a 6.875% tax raises $0.20625 per gallon. To compare, the state gas tax is $0.286 per gallon. Thus, in Minnesota the net state user fee is only about $0.08 per gallon, not the $0.286 per gallon widely advertised.

We could similarly look at the motor vehicle sales tax (MVST), which is dedicated to transportation in Minnesota. It is 6.5%. Nothing wrong with dedicating the funds, but as a result, they cannot be counted as user fees, since sales tax revenue would otherwise go to general revenue.
Elsewhere on the Network today: The Black Urbanist describes what it’s like to be stuck in a totally car-dependent suburb for socioeconomic reasons. Mobilizing the Region says, with the election behind us, now is the time to address New Jersey’s impending transportation funding crisis. And Bill Lindeke at Twin City Sidewalks shares a personal story of biking misery.

Garcetti, City Leaders, Promise Hundreds of Repaired Streets Every Year


By Damien Newton, November 12, 2014

 Eric Garcetti discusses street reconstruction flanked by Joe Buscaino and Mike Bonin. Photo: Damien Newton
 Eric Garcetti discusses street reconstruction flanked by Joe Buscaino and Mike Bonin.

 The current state of the crossing facing west at National and Barrington. If it gets me new continental crosswalks, I'm on board.

 The current state of the crossing facing west at National and Barrington. If it gets me new continental crosswalks, I’m on board.

Flanked by elected and appointed city officials, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a handful of initiatives and reforms that would increase city revenue for road repaving by nearly $50 million a year at the “under reconstruction” corner of National and Barrington Boulevards in West Los Angeles.

“All told, we are going to pay another 200 miles of road, every year, on top of the 200 miles of road in this year’s budget,” Garcetti stated. “That’s 400 miles extra more of road paved every single year.”
Garcetti outlined plans that would allow the city to recapture and save funds in a variety of ways.

First, Garcetti pledged that the city will refurbish and upgrade its asphalt plant in South L.A. The improved plant will operate more efficiently, be able to recycle used and broken asphalt and even be better for the environment.

Later today, Counclmember Joe Buscaino will introduce legislation that will require all private parking garages to accept credit cards. 10% of revenue from private parking is supposed to be returned to the city. While he didn’t say that he thinks that parking garage operators are lieing, he did point out that there is more of a paper trail when someone swipes a card rather than when they hand over cash.

That paper trail could lead to another $20 to $25 million for the city, which Garcetti pledged would go right back into increasing the city’s road reconstruction program.

The last area that the city could improve, is the formula it uses to charge private companies when they rip up the street: usually cable or telephone companies. The city created a formula in 1996 to estimate the reimbursement a private company should pay the city. Over the years, the formula hasn’t been tweaked, and Garcetti seems anxious to make sure that L.A.’s taxpayers aren’t being charged to fix a street that was intentionally destroyed by a private interest.

The total increase in revenue could be “around $10 million.”

While the amount generated is hardly enough to address the billions of dollars needed to restore city streets to a state of good repair; Buscaino points out that the city can’t just count on new revenue from taxes and bonds to fix L.A.’s streets.

“Residents want better streets, and are willing to pay more to improve them, but only if we as a city do a better job operating efficiently and spending their money wisely,” Buscaino stated.

He followed by telling a stories of how residents would fight to get their streets repaved only to see them dug up weeks later or how streets would be repaved, but it would take weeks for the markings to be repainted.

Responding to a question from Streetsblog about road bicycle lanes and crosswalks, Garcetti responded that coordination between LADOT, Bureau of Street Services and other departments was a critical way to save both time and money.

“It slows things down when we’re not coordinated,” Garcetti. “It takes more time and it frustrates drivers.”

Don’t worry, he also promised that new streets would have the most recently approved design, including bike lanes and the improved “Continental Crosswalks.”

Speaking without prepared remarks, Mike Bonin, who represents the Westside community where the press conference took place and Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee, made the case that repaved streets are improved for all road users.

“We cannot have a robust bicycle network in this city if you are riding down a bike lane and it’s pockmarked or full of potholes that could cause you to flip and risk your life,” Bonin stated. “We cannot have walkable neighborhoods if our sidewalks are buckled and not navigable. We can do better.”

The initiatives announced today also included new avenues for community involvement, a three year moratorium on street cuts on streets after repaving, and prioritizing street resurfacing based on need. For more, read the Mayor’s press release posted on Streetsblog Lite.