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, March 12, 2015

Tunnel Exhaust Ventilation Port on Valley Blvd.

Posted by Joe Cano on Facebook. March 12, 2014

Just so El Sereno doesn't get left out of enjoying all that 'virgin air' Alhambra's Barbara Messina is always taking about. Why should Pasadena hog up all the cancer. Plenty to go around if they build that tunnel.

Piece of Mind: The long road toward rethinking transportation


By Carol Cormaci, March 12, 2015

Attachments. We all form them, not only to people, pets, personal belongings and places, but also to our daily routines. Some of those bonds are vital to our happiness; some we could shed.

There's nothing illuminating in that observation, but I bring it up because I've been musing on that subject these past several days, after reading and hearing local reactions to Caltrans' release of the environmental impact report for the proposed 710 Freeway extension project. As you no doubt have heard, there are a few options on the table, and among them is a $5.6-billion, 4.9-mile tunnel under South Pasadena that is favored by the city of Alhambra and a host of labor unions. I loved the L.A. Times headline the day the document was released: “Report: Closing the 710 Freeway gap would take years, cost billions.”

I'm completely in agreement with all the folks who say the completion of the 710 is not the answer to our regional transportation issues. I'm not swayed by the desperate banners stretched across Fremont Avenue in Alhambra demanding that the freeway be completed. The notion of spending multiple billions of dollars to bore and construct a tunnel, should that that option ultimately be the decision of Caltrans is ludicrous. It will line the pockets of the people who do the work and will cause the 210 Freeway to be so overburdened by traffic, especially during peak times, that we will all be at a standstill. Imagine that gridlock not only here, where the 210 heads north, but also along the section that crosses Pasadena and cities to its east.

As our outgoing Mayor Pro Tem Don Voss said during a radio interview this week, as it stands now, the 210 is already crammed. Like Voss, I cannot see how the addition of 180,000 vehicles daily, funneled to the 210 through a completion of the 710, would be an improvement to the region's poor mobility situation. To complete the 710 to ease Alhambra's pain is not forward-thinking enough. There must be solutions that improve transportation issues for all of us and surely the best of those mean we should all seriously reconsider our attachments to our cars.

That's why I love the fact that several area officials are banding together to shape sensible policy, as our reporter Sara Cardine explained this week. These are mayors and council members from our city along with the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena and Sierra Madre. Alhambra is not in that group; officials there seem to be stuck on the idea of just doing what is the most expedient course in their minds: build a tunnel to get the traffic, once and for all, off their surface streets. It seems they've focused so long and so hard on completing the 710 that they're not free to think bigger, and imagine the benefits of other solutions that could have more wide-reaching benefits.

I especially like the way South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez put it to our reporter: “There are far superior ways to improve mobility in the area. (But) people are asking the wrong questions. It shouldn't be how do you move cars more efficiently, but how do you move people more efficiently?”
My suggestion: Figure out how to detach people from their vehicles and Alhambra from its tunnel vision.

Metro’s next CEO is Phillip Washington, chief of Denver area’s transit agency


By Steve Hymon, March 12, 2015

 Metro's next CEO Phillip Washington flanked by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

Metro’s next CEO Phillip Washington flanked by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

 For a video:


Phillip Washington begins speaking at 9:05 of the video. If you prefer, here’s an edited version of the video that runs about three-and-a-half minutes. 

Here is the news release from the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is also the Chair of the Metro Board of Directors:


LOS ANGELES – L.A. Mayor and Metro Chair Eric Garcetti today announced that the Metro Board has appointed Phillip Washington as the next CEO of Metro.

“Phil Washington is the ideal person to manage our $36 billion transportation infrastructure program to ease congestion, cut smog and boost our economy for decades to come,” Mayor Garcetti said. “Phil Washington’s track record of maximizing project efficiency, securing much-needed funding and increasing customer service will well-serve Metro riders and taxpayers.”

From left, Metro's next CEO Phil Washington, L.A. Councilman and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin and current Metro CEO Art Leahy. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.
From left, Metro’s next CEO Phil Washington, L.A. Councilman and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin and current Metro CEO Art Leahy. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

“I join with my colleagues on the Metro Board in welcoming Phillip Washington to Los Angeles. His experience in Denver delivering on projects is needed as we continue to expand the Metro system and carryout the will of the voters by implementing Measure R. Phillip Washington has earned a reputation as a creative manager and leader who has come up with innovative ways to get projects done,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Vice Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“With Phil Washington, we will continue to build a system that effectively moves people and goods across Los Angeles County,” said Duarte Councilmember and John Fasana.

“I am excited to help Mayor Garcetti and the Metro Board deliver the best possible transit experience and infrastructure for the L.A. area,” Washington said.

Washington comes to Metro from Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) where he was unanimously selected as RTD’s CEO in December 2009 after serving as interim CEO for 6 months and the Assistant General Manager for nearly ten years.

In Denver, Washington was implementing the FasTracks program, one of the largest voter-approved transit expansion programs in the country.He was responsible for a total agency budget appropriation of $2.8 billion and managed more than $5 billion in active transit expansion projects. Under his management, RTD’s West Line Rail was completed eight months earlier and under budget and the award-winning Denver Union Station was completed 5 months ahead of schedule.

In 2012, Washington’s emphasis on safety training led to a 40 percent decrease in preventable bus accidents and he has achieved an on time bus and rail rate of 90 percent and a 96 percent ADA on time performance.

Originally from the south side of Chicago, Washington is a 24-year veteran of the United States Army where he held the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned officer rank an enlisted person can achieve. Washington holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Columbia College and a M.A. in Management from Webster University.

The Metro Board announces the hiring of Phillip Washington. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.
The Metro Board announces the hiring of Phillip Washington. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

About Metro

Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.4 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines; a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and; the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.  Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is, literally, changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.

Metro’s current budget is $5.5 billion and average weekday ridership is about 1.4 million boardings.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

Don Cayo: If you don’t like a sales tax hike, here’s a peek at one alternative


By Don Cayo, March 10, 2015

Video thumbnail for Metro Vancouver transit plebiscite explainer

You could pay many hundreds of TransLink CEOs’ salaries with the money Californians have spent on the motionless masses of metal that dominate the landscape as far as my eye can see. That’s not to mention the megabucks they’ve invested to build and maintain the dense spiderweb of freeways, expressways, interstates, designated federal and state highways — lanes totalling almost 620,000 kilometres — that were intended to whisk them about their business but in fact frequently trap them on what have become high-priced parking lots.

It is mid-morning on a sunny Saturday, and my wife and I are stuck in another of a tedious series of traffic jams on the drive between Los Angeles and San Diego. But no matter, traffic has been much worse at busier times of busier days during my family’s week-long visit to this part of the state. Besides, for most of the time it takes for today’s journey, we’re not stopped; we are able, at least, to crawl.

Crawling in an automobile is inefficient. The average cost per commuter of wasted gasoline and lost time in the Greater Los Angeles area works out to $1,300 US a year and that in a place where gasoline is much cheaper than in B.C. and the dollar buys a lot more.

Metro Vancouver commuters are no strangers to traffic jams, but they aren’t in as bad a place as those in Los Angeles, at least not yet. But with frequent traffic tie-ups, more difficult geography when it comes to providing alternative routes, and a population expected to grow by at least 30,000 a year for the foreseeable future, we could well be on our way down this road.

As I sat drumming my fingers on the steering wheel during frequent involuntary stops on the freeway, I wondered what the public reaction would be back home if TransLink were to preside over not a handful of service interruptions a year, but rather dozens and dozens and dozens of grind-to-a-halt incidents every single day? How would we assess the competence of the millions of Southern California decision-makers — all the folks who buy all those cars and trucks — who have sunk countless billions into private vehicles that can only rarely travel at the speeds they are built for?
And if we bequeath Metro Vancouver’s future generations a transportation system as expensive yet inefficient as the one in Southern California, how will they judge us?

My colleague Kelly Sinoski reported Monday on a C.D. Howe forecast of $500 million to $1.2 billion a year in higher costs if — as polls suggest — voters in the TransLink plebiscite scuttle the only plan on the table to improve this region’s transportation network.

These costs include the obvious ones — things such as $163 million a year in time savings if future congestion can be reduced by a third. The author, Ben Dachis, also calculates business cost savings of $140 million a year if congestion is reduced. And he reckons the hidden savings are even greater: $693 million a year if/when skilled workers have better access to better jobs.

“Reducing the hidden costs alone would enable broader agglomeration economies, and new job opportunities, that could raise incomes by up to $950 per worker per year,” he writes.

In other words, the consequences won’t just affect doctors who aren’t doctoring, nurses who aren’t nursing and construction workers who aren’t constructing while they are stuck in traffic. It will also be moms who accept a bad job because they can’t afford the time it takes to commute to a good one, students who can’t mange both a long and costly commute and part-time work, and workers of all ages who will have to choose between promotion and fewer hours on the road.

These are the thoughts that will be running through my head when my plebiscite ballot arrives in the mail.

Today at the SOAC Meeting

Posted on Facebook by Joe Cano, March 12, 2015

 Today at the SOAC meeting Alhambra's Steven Placido asked the following question: 'Will the tunnel reduce pollution throughout the region overall?' The consultant working for Metro answered 'Very little is any'. Opps!

Welcome to Pasadena: Cancer Capital of So. California

March 12, 2015

 Photo by Joe Cano.

  Refer to:  http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/draft_eir-eis/   Visual Impact Assessment: SR710 Visual Impact Assessment pdf, pages 209-212

Please read that "The vividness would be high--the new ventilation stacks would add a predominant visual element to this view. The element would be very memorable. Also, the new paving and striping improve the look for this entrance into Old Town Pasadena." "... the new ventilation stacks located on both sides of Colorado Boulevard would create a visual flow which follows the perspective lines toward Old Town Pasadena toward Old Town Pasadena and the new paving striping improve the look for this entrance into Old Town Pasadena. With the introduction of the ventiliation stacks contributing to the visual flow toward the center of the view, unit increases."

Peggy Drouet: Whoever designed these structures and whoever approved the design doesn't have a clue as to what the architecture of Old Town Pasadena consists of, that is, old buildings. This modern design is an insult to the city of Pasadena and to its citizens. In other words, what were they smoking? Maybe another way to look at this is that the designer wanted his/her creation to be in full international view during the Rose Parade broadcasts. He/she may expect "ooh's" and "ah's," but the reaction will be "you got to be kidding," followed by much snickering.

Note that only one of these ventilation stacks are functioning stacks. This was not mentioned in the SR710 - Draft EIR-EIS, but was at the Technical Advisory Committee TAC) meeting on March 11, 2015.

Whether the ventilation stacks are all functioning ones or not and whether they need to be redesigned or if the six stacks should be reduced to only one is not the main issue here. The issue is the placement of any ventilation stacks on Colorado Boulevard, anywhere else in West Pasadena, or anywhere else in the city or in any other city. "Vehicle exhaust cannot be properly filtered and will lead to health issues not only for the drivers who use the tunnel [10] but also for the surrounding communities where the exhaust is vented.[11]"    http://www.no710.com/ .

 Old Town Pasadena is one of the great areas of Southern California, well known to visitors from other cities, from other states, and from other countries. I have met many of these visitors on my travels in the United States and throughout the world. They all tell me how much they loved Old Town Pasadena and how lucky I am to live in Pasadena. 

But these visitors and the residents of Pasadena and surrounding communities will stop coming to eat, shop, and walk around Old Town Pasadena as soon as it becomes known that they will be exposing themselves and their families to high air pollution levels due to ventilation stacks in the immediate vicinity. I can easily vision Old Town Pasadena becoming Ghost Town Pasadena. 

Remember that it took many years for Old Town Pasadena to become the great place it is today, but it won't take long to return it to what it was when I first moved to Pasadena 45 years ago--on the verge of becoming a true slum area. People will simply move out of the transit villages that Metro has felt are needed for their Gold Line to be successful, people will shop and eat elsewhere, and merchants will leave as they will have too few customers to make a good profit. There are other nice places to live, shop, and eat that are not marred by ventilation stacks.