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, February 27, 2015

Eagle Rock CD 14 Candidate Forum 2/25/2015--Video by Joe Cano

Published on Feb 27, 2015
A point of clarification. In response to Molina's supporters handing out attack literature in previous forums in Boyle Hgts, Highland Park, Calstate LA & El Sereno, I distributed a flyer critical of Molina at this event. A staffer named Brandon, either in error or intentionally, informed Molina that Huizar's campaign was responsible for handing it out. I do not work for the campaign, I am an El Sereno resident that decided to give Gloria Molina a taste of her own medicine. Her goon squad was having free reign at previous events & various social media sites. Payback.

Teaching Driverless Cars to Fit Your Human Driving Style

After all, not everyone takes an off-ramp the same way.


By Eric Jaffe, February 27, 2015

 Image HERE

Here's the scene that was scaring people: It was a driverless-car test run in Germany on a perfectly straight road with a medieval gate up ahead. The gate was a tight squeeze, and a regular driver would slow down to a crawl to make sure the car fit. But the driverless car made the calculations ahead of time and knew it had enough space, so it cruised along at the speed limit, maybe 30 m.p.h. And as it got closer to the gate, with no signs of slowing down, the passengers lost it.

"It's perfectly fine and safe, but the people inside the car, they basically freak out in these situations," says Dietmar Rabel, head of automated driving product management for HERE, an arm of Nokia that's developing data tools to help car companies make driverless cars. "This was the start of this idea that we really need to look at how people really drive in the real world."

That idea has grown into what HERE calls the "humanized driving" project. By analyzing a huge archive of data collected through its existing traffic products, HERE has identified behavioral patterns and styles that can be organized into various driver profiles. A "sports" profile might represent a more aggressive driver, for instance, whereas an "economy" profile might suit someone more defensive behind the wheel.

Take the different ways drivers use a highway exit ramp. Some slow down dramatically as soon as they merge off the highway, others decelerate more gradually through the ramp, and still others keep driving 55 m.p.h. or so as long as they can. These varying off-ramp styles might be included in economy, comfort, and sports profiles, respectively, says Rabel.

Other common scenarios modeled by HERE is how people handle inclement weather, how they change speeds at certain times of the day (turns out there's a reliable dip in speeds when cars head into the sun), how they approach a yellow light, and when they decide to prepare for an exit. A driverless car could safely move into the exit lane at the last moment, for instance, but some people would feel more comfortable doing that earlier.

One can also imagine profiles that vary geographically, for both legal and cultural reasons. In New York City, for instance, a driverless car would need to know not to turn right on red. In Pittsburgh, of course, cars notoriously turn left as soon as a light turns green. Such practices could conceivably be built into the mind of the driverless car and programmed to occur based on GPS location.

Ultimately behavioral profiles may become consumer options on driverless cars, says Rabel. Maybe buttons let people toggle between "sports," "economy," or "comfort" styles; or maybe a car adopts one singular style. "If you're buying a Porshe you probably don't need the 'economy' profile," he says.

That's really up to manufacturers to decide. HERE provides back-end data services to car companies developing driverless cars, but isn't making one itself. (Rabel wouldn't say which specific companies partner with HERE, but he acknowledged it's "fairly known" which auto makers are pursuing driverless technology.) Along with the Humanized Driving profiles, HERE's data services include extremely precise mapping (with "10-20 cm accuracy") and real-time road information (such as crash or weather or construction notifications).

HERE's driverless data services include extremely precise mapping (top) and real-time road information (such as crash or weather or construction notifications). (HERE)
The idea of a more aggressive driver profile diverges noticeably from the approach being taken by Google's self-driving car team. For now, at least, Google is programming its car to be as cautious as possible; when I rode in it last spring, the car didn't turn right on red for just that reason. Team leader Chris Urmson told me it's "probably not the right thing to emulate all the human behavior" in driverless cars. Theoretically they could be programmed for road rage, of course, but Urmson hopes people will feel less anxious in driverless cars because they can use their time more productively.

HERE is obviously not suggesting that driverless car profiles will or should compromise safety to any extent. That's priority number one. But the point of the Humanized Driving project is that people will expect driverless cars to behave a certain way—at least in the early iterations of the technology—and building driver profiles that meet these expectations might help manufacturers make the ride more comfortable.

"There are many other things that could be envisioned," says Rabel. "The sky is the limit. Nobody knows right now what's needed."

The Detached and Corrupted LA City Planning Continues to Undermine Transportation Initiatives


By Ken Alpern, February 27, 2015

GETTING THERE FROM HERE-After having witnessed a rather well-done (albeit low turnout) Metro presentation for an Airport Metro Connector (LINK: ) that is the result of a first-rate-and-no-idea-not-explored, years-long exhaustive review on how to connect MetroRail and mass transit to LAX, I'm reminded at the contrasting scenario of how LA City Planning is (again!) destroying our efforts to enhance our Economy, Environmental Sustainability and Quality of Life. 

And after spending so much time, energy and personal resources to enhance, I am not going to mince words: Mayor Garcetti, I like you personally and believe you want to do well by our City, and you deserve mega-kudos for your regional efforts to promote transportation/mobility improvements, but if you don't FIRE some of the wild-eyed, detached, and crazy "thought leaders" at City Planning, all of your efforts will be for naught: 

--The Mayor and the City of Los Angeles did the right thing, and the US Olympic Committee did the wrong thing, when the sentiment over the Boston Marathon tragedy led to a decision to favor Boston over LA for the 2024 Olympics.  Only LA has the wherewithal and infrastructure to be ready for that event, and this was a golden opportunity blown. 

--Furthermore, the Mayor and the City of Los Angeles (and let's not forget CD11/Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin) have leaned hard on both LA World Airports and Metro to work together to create the most cost-effective and viable Metro/Airport Connector that is possible, given the geography and operations needed to create both a countywide MetroRail/bus system and a LAX that works well together. 

--However, the crazies and corrupting influences who continuously and repeatedly suck up the oxygen from the Planning room in their intensity to replace cars with bicycles, and who punish those who want mobility but not overdevelopment (which decreases mobility), and who are dominated by family/children-unfriendly/clueless advocates, are turning off those who did (and still do) want to create a viable and livable 21st-Century Los Angeles. 

One thing I've learned, and I pretty much everyone else involved with Neighborhood Councils have learned, is that families with children--small, and school-aged children--don't have the time, money or energy to go to daytime or evening events that are dominated by those who will either unintentionally and/or callously destroy what Angelenos need for economic, environmental and quality of life improvements in our City. 

This issue has tie-ins with the reality of the City of LA having no ability (or desire) to force or even work with the LAUSD to create more cost-effective and cooperative park, library, open-space and related needs with publicly-funded schools, but that's another topic altogether--it hurts mobility and traffic and children's quality of life in innumerable ways, but that's not the main focus of this article. 

The main focus is that the same transit advocates, and community advocates, and environmental advocates, and neighborhood leaders, who fought for the Expo Line, for a Metro/LAX connection and a workable bus/bike/pedestrian/car cooperative system, are watching the Planning leaders hellbent on converting the Expo Line-adjacent portion of Pico Blvd. from a 1-story commercial thoroughfare to a 5-story corridor and wondering: WHICH UNIVERSE ARE YOU LIVING IN?! 

The Expo Line is on its way to being completed in the Westside, and the lack of DASH/local bus access for local residents, and the lack of parking for long-distance commuters from the Valley and the South Bay, is appalling. No money for sufficient parking, no money for a Westside Regional Transit center adjacent to the 405 freeway and Expo Line, and no money for DASH buses isn't going to sit well with the City taxpayers. 

Neither, of course, will overdeveloping Pico Blvd. (or any other City rail-adjacent corridor) sit well with taxpayers and residents who not that long ago watched with horror as former Mayor Villaraigosa chose to treat the Westside the way he treated his family and throw them to the wolves of the Casden Developers in an attempt to create as transit-UNFRIENDLY a project as possible next to the key Expo/Sepulveda station. 

(Mayor Garcetti...may I call you Eric?  Eric, you really want Westsiders to hate you as much as they hate Antonio Villaraigosa?  Really?) 

And meaning no hurt feelings to some fighting for a proper bicycle network throughout the City (as I have), but while bicycling is both good for mobility and recreation, it is truly "jumping the shark" altogether by suggesting that we can create a more economically-vibrant and mobile City by slapping the bejeezus out of commuters who recognize that cars, buses, rail and telecommuting will be far more successful when it comes to numbers. 

When the transportation and environmental fighters (I won't mention names, but it would probably surprise the Mayor as to their identities) are now stunned and betrayed by City Planners who are more open to the input of the agenda-driven and financially/politically-connected advocates and developers then they are the citizenry who pay most of the taxes, it doesn't bode well for more transportation planning... 

...or more transportation funding.