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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

State Route 710 North: Extend or Not?

Federal Court: Wisconsin Uses Bogus Traffic Data to Justify Highways


By Angie Schmitt, May 26, 2015

State departments of transportation all over the country use specious traffic projections to justify hugely expensive road widening projects. That’s how you end up with the graph on the right — showing how DOTs continued to forecast traffic growth year after year, even as driving stagnated.

This chart shows aggregate travel projections for the nation's state and regional transportation agencies. Graph: SSTI
Aggregate traffic projections from the nation’s state and regional transportation agencies have become increasingly divorced from reality. Graph: SSTI

Wisconsin DOT is perhaps the most notorious manipulator of traffic forecasts. Fortunately, Wisconsin also has a strong network of organizations holding the DOT’s feet to the fire and dragging it to court if need be.

Today, 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin Executive Director Steve Hiniker shares news of a major legal victory. A federal court sided with the organization in a suit against WisDOT that challenged the traffic data used to justify the $146 million widening of Highway 23:
According to the ruling, the Wisconsin DOT failed to justify the amount of traffic it projected as likely to use the road in the future. The Court ruled that the project is ineligible for federal funding until documented accurate traffic forecasts can be made that justify expanding the highway. The state can now either go back to the drawing board and do verifiable forecasting or scrap the expansion plans. The ruling does not stop the state from building the project using only state funds.
“We encourage the DOT to immediately make safety improvements along Highway 23 that could always have been done without expanding the highway to 4 lanes,” added Hiniker.

This case could have dramatic ramifications for other highway building plans in the state. Critics of DOT building plans have questioned a number of projects based on faulty traffic projections – including the proposed almost billion dollar expansion of the I-94 corridor near Miller Park in Milwaukee.

“We call on the legislature to stop funding any road expansion project that has not already begun construction until updated, accurate and verifiable traffic forecasts can be made. The state cannot afford to spend billions of dollars on highway projects that are not justified by accurate data,” concluded Hiniker.
Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike PGH announces that Pittsburgh’s bike-share system will launch on Sunday. Urban Cincy reports that Cincinnati’s population has risen for the third year in a row, reversing a five-decade trend of decline. And Urban Indy questions the local art museum’s ban on bikes.

The Week in Livable Streets Events


By Damien Newton, May 25, 2015

There’s a lot of warmup for advocates readying for next week’s rumored showdown over the Hyperion Bridge at the City Council Gangs and Public Works Committee. City Council Transportation Committee! Metro Board times two! CicLAvia!
  • Wednesday – The City Council Transportation Committee meets at 2 p.m. at City Hall. Mostly, the committee is discussing some of LADOT’s outstanding grant programs with the state and Metro. Read the agenda, here.
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday – The California High Speed Rail Authority is holding a series of workshops around Southern California on the routing for the Palmdale-to-Burbank section of the future rail line. That section will connect the Antelope Valley to the San Fernando Valley between the Palmdale Transportation Center and the Burbank Airport Station. See the meeting announcement flyer, here.
  • Thursday – The Metro Board of Directors has a double dose of meetings scheduled, including a special meeting to pass next year’s budget and the regular Board Meeting. Read the agenda for the budget meeting here, and the regular meeting, here.
  • Thursday – Metro is developing plans to improve Willowbrook/ Rosa Parks Station, where the Blue and Green lines meet. The public is invited to attend a public hearing to provide comments on the Draft Initial Study for the Station Improvement Project. In 2011, the Metro Board of Directors adopted the Rosa Parks Station Master Plan for this busy transfer station.  This project implements that plan and includes enhancements to pedestrian flow, lighting, and safety. The project will also improve transfers at the station and create better connections to nearby destinations, including the adjacent Kenneth Hahn Plaza shopping center. Read the full post at The Source.
  • Saturday - The pre-Primavera Festival free 5k Run/Walk through Boyle Heights kicks off at 9 a.m., hosted by the Primavera Festival and Boyle Heights Bridge Runners. The event seeks to promote health and reclaim open space for the community. See details, here. Then stay for the 3rd Annual Primavera Festival at Prospect Park — a celebration of spring and a space to share resources and knowledge through community-led health and fitness workshops and educational discussions. Enjoy FREE fitness activities, popular education platicas, do-it-yourself workshops, healthy eating demos, arts and crafts for kids, and lots of fun under the sun, presented by East side-based grassroots collectives, nonprofit organizations, and community organizers. Details, here.
  • Saturday – Community Services Unlimited –South L.A.’s food justice heroes — will be hosting a fundraiser at the future site of their new organic market and community space. Join them for music, food, art, and a silent auction starting at 4 p.m. at the Paul Robeson building, 6569 S. Vermont. Details here.
  • Sunday – CicLAvia! Pasadena! More details at CicLAvia.org.