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

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

710 Freeway would be complex and carcinogenic: Letters

http://www.sgvtribune.com/opinion/20150211/710-freeway-would-be-complex-and-carcinogenic-letters

Smart Growth America Rates L.A. Metro Complete Streets Policy in Top Ten

http://la.streetsblog.org/2015/02/11/smart-growth-america-rates-l-a-metro-complete-streets-policy-in-top-ten/

By Melanie Curry and Joe Linton, February 11, 2015



 Screen shot 2015-02-10 at 1.03.32 PM

 Cover of Smart Growth America’s report The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014.


Smart Growth America just released its report ranking The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014.  Streetsblog USA reviewed the report here.

Of 70 new Complete Streets policies adopted in 2014, only two were in California: L.A. Metro and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG.) Metro’s policy received the honor of being tied for the #10 spot with a score of 86.4 out of 100, the highest of any metro region in California.
Complete Street Policies only examines new policies adopted in 2014. Since A.B. 1358 was approved in 2008, California has mandated that all municipalities incorporate Complete Streets policies along with updates to the transportation portions of general plans. Many California cities had already complied with A.B. 1358′s deadline of January 2014.

So, even though L.A. is scoring in the top ten, it doesn’t mean that other California cities don’t have similar or better policies.

The National Complete Streets Coalition scored newly adopted Complete Streets policies on how clearly they articulate defined aspects of complete streets. For example, policies are judged on how direct or indirect their vision and intent is, whether they articulate the inclusion of all users and modes, whether the policies apply to new construction only or to all projects, and whether they clearly articulate any exceptions, among other aspects. A full scoring criteria list can be found on page 19 of the document [PDF].

The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) was highlighted for its model policy language around one of the scoring criteria: jurisdiction. Metro clearly articulates that all relevant departments and partner agencies…
…will work towards making Complete Streets practices a routine part of everyday operations; approach every relevant project, program, and practice as an opportunity to improve streets and the transportation network for all categories of users; and work in coordination with other departments, agencies, and jurisdictions to maximize opportunities for Complete Streets, connectivity, and cooperation.
Though the national report ranked Metro’s Complete Streets policy highly, SBLA recently critiqued Metro’s policy for its vague exceptions and non-binding language. Metro’s policy is expected to be strengthened soon when staff add metrics to track Metro Complete Streets accomplishments.
How are complete streets policies working in your city or county? Has California’s Complete Streets mandate made your streets safer and more complete?

One California city’s success story making the rounds is San Luis Obispo. It goes beyond just adopting a Complete Streets policy, though. San Luis Obispo adopted modal share targets and tied funding to them. For example, the city’s goal is to have bicycling account for 20 percent of all trips, and so the city spends 20 percent of its transportation funding on bicycle facilities. Read the full SLO success story at the Alliance for Biking and Walking.

Metrolink train derails at Union Station; no injuries, delays expected

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metrolink-train-derails-at-union-station-20150210-story.html

Upending the Assumption That Transportation Policy Is All About “Mobility”

http://streetsblog.net/2015/02/11/upending-the-assumption-that-transportation-policy-is-all-about-mobility/

By Angie Schmitt, February 11, 2015

 Photo: Strong Towns

 Chuck Marohn says Minnesota DOT needs to adopt a new paradigm focused on reducing car dependence.


Charles Marohn at Strong Towns has been giving some thought to what’s ailing the Minnesota Department of Transportation. And he traces the agency’s biggest problems back to its core assumptions.

The agency sees its mission as increasing people’s mobility — which it defines, more more or less, as “how far they can travel in a given period of time.” But Marohn says that approach is outdated and not serving the state well anymore:
When we started building highways, we were connecting places that were remote and distant from each other. The act of making these connections completely transformed our economy. It opening up employment opportunities, allowed us to exploit previously inaccessible land and made it easier for farm products, timber and extracted minerals to get to market. The transformative impact of these investments can hardly be overstated.

The system as originally envisioned has now been built and what we have been experiencing for decades are the diminishing returns of this same approach. It is one thing for my drive from Brainerd to St. Paul to go from ten hours (1950’s) to six hours (1960’s), to four hours (1980’s) and now to two hours (2000’s). It is another thing for my morning commute into town to go from twelve minutes to ten. Both represent a massive financial undertaking for the state, but only the former is transformative.

Our focus on increasing mobility is no longer improving the lives of Minnesotans. To the contrary, we force enormous financial burdens onto individuals and families when we require people to own a car in order to function in society. When most of Minnesota’s cities and neighborhoods have no options available for an individual who chooses to live without a car — not only to find employment but simply to get food, clothing or medicine — then our transportation system is causing more problems than it can possibly solve.

We need a new underlying assumption to refocus our efforts for an auto-based transportation system that is fully mature. Here’s that new assumption:
We improve the lives of Minnesotans the less we force them to drive.

Today, MnDOT lacks focus and that results in the old underlying assumption – increasing mobility is the path to prosperity – being the driving force. We increase mobility by building more, adding more capacity and constantly expanding our systems. We’ve run out of money trying to solve our problems this way. We need to think differently.

A new focus on providing alternatives – do not force people to have to drive to everything – is necessary to overcome the organizational inertia that currently exists.
Elsewhere on the Network today: Systemic Failure is not impressed by President Obama’s new pick to lead the Federal Railroad Administration. Urban Milwaukee reports that the City Council has finally given the green light to a 2.5-mile streetcar route that’s been planned for years. And Rochester Subway wonders when the last time someone was ticketed in that city for not shoveling their sidewalk.