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, December 18, 2014

Airport officials approve plan for people mover at LAX


By Steve Hymon, December 18, 2014

The Board of Airport Commissioners that oversees Los Angeles World Airports — and LAX — today approved a plan to build a people mover that will offer a connection between airport terminals and the Aviation/96th Street Station for the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The formal environmental studies still must be done and LAWA says construction is expected to begin in 2017.

Here’s the news release from Los Angeles World Airports:

Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners today unanimously approved moving forward with a $4 billion plan to transform LAX’s ground transportation and arrival and departure experience. The future Landside Access Modernization Program includes a new automated LAX Train that will connect passengers to the airline terminals from new facilities at the airport including a Rental Car Center, multiple locations for passenger pick-up and drop-off, and Metro’s planned Crenshaw Line station at 96th Street/Aviation Boulevard. The plan is designed to relieve congestion in the Central Terminal Area (CTA) as well as on local streets surrounding the airport.

“Today we are moving one step closer to bringing rail to LAX and building the world-class airport our residents and visitors deserve,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who chairs the Metro Board of Directors. “The automated train to LAX, consolidated Rental Car Center and new passenger check-in facility will not only save time for travelers, but it will also ease traffic at the airport, on our freeways and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The LAX train will also improve our local economy as part of our airport modernization program that will create 40,000 jobs, remodel terminals and dramatically upgrade the passenger experience at LAX.”

“This is a big day for L.A. We are moving to make good on a long-standing promise to all Angelenos: We will connect LAX to a Metro station, and we’ll make it easier, faster, and more convenient to travel through our airport,” Councilmember Mike Bonin, Chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee said. “With a new Automated People Mover, Metro Station, Consolidated Rental Car and intermodal transportation facilities, we’ll remove traffic and congestion from terminal areas and nearby neighborhoods, making LAX a world-class airport as well as a first class neighbor.”

The Board’s vote sets the groundwork for the LAX Landside Access Modernization Program to begin the environmental review process in January 2015. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.

“This Program will transform how people travel to and from LAX in the future,” said Sean Burton, President of the Board of Airport Commissioners. “We are committed to building a system that will relieve congestion, encourage transit use and create a reliable, efficient, time-certain arrival and departure experience for residents and visitors.”

The LAX Landside Modernization Program includes the following elements:

A new automated LAX Train to connect the passenger terminals to the Rent-A-Car Center, multiple pick-up and drop-off facilities and Metro’s planned Crenshaw Line station at 96th Street/Aviation Boulevard.

-        Provides free, fast, reliable and convenient access to terminals for passengers, employees and other users of LAX 24/7, 365 days a year.

-        Includes three stations in the Central Terminal Area connecting to the airline terminals with a convenient pedestrian walkway system.

-        Encourages passenger pick-up and drop-off outside the Central Terminal Area.

-        Designed specifically for travelers with luggage.

A single Rent-A-Car Center that will consolidate all rental car companies into one convenient location connected to the airport by the LAX Train.

-        Improves the customer experience for visitors renting cars at LAX.

-        Eliminates the need for rental car shuttles.

-        Provides rental car customers direct access to major freeways.

New locations for arrival, departure, pick-up and drop-off outside the Central Terminal Area connected to the airport by the LAX Train. 

-        Offers new convenient parking with direct access to the LAX Train.

-        Provides easily accessible and comfortable areas to meet and greet passengers.

-        Creates new pick-up and drop-off locations with access to other hotel and airport shuttles.

-        Includes retail, dining options and other amenities.

A quick connection to Metro’s planned Crenshaw Line station at 96th Street/Aviation Boulevard.

-        The LAX Train will link the airport to Metro’s transit station and provide a connection to the region.

“This is an important commitment to Los Angeles,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, Executive Director Los Angeles World Airports. “The Board’s decision today means local residents and visitors to LAX won’t have to wait a generation to benefit from these improvements. Improvements are happening now.”

The Landside Access Modernization Program is part of the overall LAX modernization plan and will go through a comprehensive environmental review and approval process before it can proceed.  There will be many opportunities for the public to participate throughout the process.  For more information go to www.connectinglax.com

About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX is the sixth busiest airport in the world and third in the United States. LAX offers 692 daily nonstop flights to 85 cities in the U.S. and 928 weekly nonstop flights to 67 cities in 34 countries on 62 commercial air carriers. LAX ranks 14th in the world and fifth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed, with over 1.9 million tons of air cargo valued at over $91.6 billion. An economic study in 2011 reported that operations at LAX generated 294,400 jobs in Los Angeles County with labor income of $13.6 billion and economic output of more than $39.7 billion. This activity added $2.5 billion to local and state revenues. LAX is part of a system of three Southern California airports – along with LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.

For more information about LAX, please visit www.lawa.aero/lax or follow on Twitter @flyLAXAirport, on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/LAInternationalAirport , and on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/laxairport1 .

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities. Alternative formats in large print, braille, audio, and other forms (if possible) will be provided upon request.

Cities Won’t Turn Out the Way Highway Builders Predict


By Angie Schmitt, December 18, 2014

 What if the driving slump continues apace forever, asks Patrick Kennedy. Image: Street Smarts
The highway lobby in Dallas keeps beating the same drum: They talk about projected population growth and predict that highways will become a massive logjam. So they argue Dallas should be building, building, building new highways for these future drivers at a furious pace.

But Patrick Kennedy at Street Smart notes that if you look at more recent trends, they actually make the case for fewer highways. Ultimately, he says, basing complex decisions on simplistic trend line projections is just a bad way to plan for the future:
Let’s play a game then, if we’re following trend lines continually up and to the right. How much will DFW residents be driving in 2035 based on current trends? Well, according to Texas Transportation Institute, DFW averaged 13.26 miles driven per person per day in 2006. That number has since fallen to 11.90. Wha?! How could that be? All of our driving models show VMT going up (and therefore we base transportation funding and policy on said models). They couldn’t possibly be wrong. What is wrong is people. Who change and adapt and live and do things differently based on their time and circumstances which also change, unlike our models, which are exquisite and perfect and say we need moar damn highways.

If we’re dropping VMT per capita by 32% every 5 years certainly that trend line will continue for ever and ever. If it keeps dropping by 32% every 5 years, the average DFW resident will be driving 1.37 miles per day, about half as much as the average current New York City metro resident. Sounds ridiculous right?

Guess what? TTI’s congestion costs for DFW (despite how flawed that metric is – but alas people pay attention to it) have also been dropping. Like VMT, our congestion costs peaked in 2006 at $1414 per driver and have since dropped to $957 by 2011. At that trend, our congestion costs in 2035 in DFW will be down to $138 per person. WOOHOO!

In other words, if we’re following all of these trendlines on into the future, we will be the least car-dependent city in the country. Double WOOHOO! Do we think that will be the case if we double down on highway spending?

Or, alternatively we can focus on building a better, more livable, more vibrant, more resilient, more just city for all of our residents.  And one that is actually on sound financial footing without mortgaging the future (and projected future growth) on 20th century thinking and antiquated policies.
In its recent report on innovative regional planning, Transportation for America specifically calls out trend line projections as a bad practice, recommending more sophisticated modeling techniques instead.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban Cincy reports that a coalition of city residents is pushing for Phase II of the Cincinnati Streetcar to extend to the city’s Uptown neighborhood. And Human Transit says planners need to be able to see the big picture, but also not overlook the small issues that shape transit users’ everyday experiences.



By Richard Risemberg, December 17, 2014

Since Biking in LA’s ever-diligent Ted Rogers has reported very nicely on rogue Council Member Gil Cedillo’s tantrum at yesterday’s meeting, this post can move on to broader issues.

In summary, Cedillo stamped his feet and claimed that hundreds of his constituents are “bullies” because they oppose his blocking the implementation of a road diet for North Figueroa Street. This road diet was approved in multiple community meetings and has been engineered and funded.

Unfortunately, all that happened under the aegis of Cedillo’s predecessor, Ed Reyes, and apparently that offends Cedillo’s primitive ego: for he has also blockaded the opening of Ed Reyes park, a charming would-be community space that waits forlornly behind closed gates in a desperately park-poor neighborhood off 19th Street. Cedillo claims he opposes theo road diet for “safety reasons.”

But this statement makes no sense whatsoever, and let me enumerate a few reasons why.

1) Road diets improve street safety for all users: motorists, bicyclists, walkers, and commercial drivers. This has been proven over and over again in studies all over the United States (copies of many of which I have sent to Cedillo). You can read them for yourself here. In fact, no less than the Federal Highway Administration says that road diets of the sort proposed for Figueroa bring about a a 29 percent reduction in all roadway crashes, and lists them among its “proven safety countermeasures.” In addition, it says that bike lanes “create a buffer space between pedestrians and vehicles,” greatly reducing deaths of the sort that Figueroa has seen far too many of lately. 
 2) The benefits of road diets go beyond safety. Road diets have been proven to improve business activity by slowing down traffic and attracting more potential customers on bikes and on foot, thereby giving retailers and service providers more visibilityMdash;and reducing demand for expensive parking. (Ironically, Cedillo’s plan substitutes four blocks of angled parking for the road diet—in a portion of Figueroa that is liberally supplied with vast off-street lots. Angle parking has been found to increase crash rates, in part because it induces more on-street parking, which requires negotiating with free-flowing traffic.)

3) Road diets do not increase travel times. They reduce peak speeds, which increases safety, but, because they smooth traffic flow, point-to-point travel times remain the same in most cases, and occasionally are slightly shorter. The LADOT’s estimate that drivers would have to spend an extra 41 seconds (that’s right, 41 whole seconds!) to traverse five miles of Figueroa were the road diet implemented was based on outmoded algorithms. Real-world experience has shown that this is not the case, even in congested New York City.
Cedillo knows most of this, or should. His office is in possession of most of the studies mentioned. Why does he continue to oppose the road diet? Is is just his ego, as some claim? Is he beholden to outside money, as his campaign finance records imply? Or does he really believe that speeding cut-through traffic is the holy grail of our city’s nascent Great Streets program?

In any case, Cedillo is an embarrassment to the council, to the city it purports to serve, and to the very notions of democracy and human reason. Northeast Los Angeles deserves better than this. Much, much better.

Opinion California's bullet train: We owe it to our grandchildren to get this right


By Ted Rall, December 18, 2014

No one likes mass transit more than me, and trains are my favorite form of it.

They're good for the environment, they are fun to ride, and you zip right past all the planet-killing motorists sitting in traffic. But urban planners often fall short when it comes to making train systems as useful as they could be, which sets the stage for critics who call every idea that doesn't involve more cars a boondoggle.
Here in Los Angeles, getting Metro to LAX seems like job one, but not something we are likely to see in our lifetimes. In New York, direct train connections between LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports remain as elusive as a World Series win by the Chicago Cubs. Idiotic worries about terrorism added a long walk from BART train stations at San Francisco International Airport to the terminals.

Well, not exactly to L.A.

First it goes to Burbank.

It's hard to imagine anyone other than hardcore rail geeks wanting to do that.
Vartabedian talked to proponents of the so-called "one-seat ride" between Merced and L.A. They say the Burbank transfer problem could be solved by "blending the operations of Metrolink and the high-speed system through track-sharing and electrification of part of the Metrolink system, much like what the state is doing with local commuter rail service in the Bay Area."

Alas: "Metrolink officials have been cool to the idea, citing, among other things, the cost and complexity of overlapping operations."

One strongly suspects that the bureaucrats who refuse to roll up their sleeves and get this done plan to spend the rest of their lives behind the wheels of their cars rather than schlepping up and down the stairs at some future Burbank transfer station in 2028.
Which is, of course, the big problem we face: government officials without imagination. This system may not get completed until after our children are middle-aged, but we owe it to our grandchildren to get this right.  They are going to need and want this system to work properly. We can't possibly know what the future will bring, with a few exceptions, and one of them is higher population density.

We drive on freeways that past generations conceived and paid for not only with their tax dollars, but with years and years of loud, dirty construction. This is the part where we repay our debt to the social contract.