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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Houstonians See Folly of Debt-Financed Sprawl, Even If Leaders Don’t


By Brad Aaron, June 15, 2015

 Voters in Montgomery County, Texas, rejected a road-building bond referendum. Despite local support for transit, county leaders plan to give the referendum another try.

Suburban Houston won’t pave its way out of congestion. Photo: Michael Bludworth/Flickr
Suburban Houston won’t pave its way out of congestion.

The Houston Chronicle reports that opposition to a $350 million bond measure, all of it for road construction, was led by residents of one affluent enclave who don’t want a traffic-inducing parkway extension. But there’s more to the story.

Like virtually all U.S. metros, the Houston region has a broken transportation system that won’t be fixed by building more roads. Jay Blazek Crossley at Houston Tomorrow points out that nearly half of Montgomery County residents surveyed for a Rice University study wanted improvements to transit, while far fewer think road expansions are the way to go.

“Fewer than one-third of the respondents in any of the counties (including Montgomery County) thought the best solution involves ‘building bigger and better roads and highways,’” writes Crossley.

Yet it looks like local officials intend to bring the same referendum back to voters, only without the parkway project.
Building new roads in unpopulated areas brings development, construction and road jobs, and a temporary period of free wheeling on those new roads. However, this scheme always inevitably fails as we have horribly seen across every part of the Houston region. Road bonds lead to road debt, ongoing maintenance costs, and growing vehicle miles traveled with which our local and state governments are not prepared to grapple.

No American city has ever “reduced congestion.” No elected official in the Houston region has ever achieved this empty campaign promise. We are driving much more now as a population – even with the millennial preference for walking – and we don’t like it. Houstonians are spending too much on transportation, but we don’t have to waste our money.
 Unfortunately, Houston is leading the nation’s top ten metropolitan regions in spending per capita on roads. It takes longer to drive on the free lanes of I-10 West in rush hour now than before we expanded it to the widest road in the world, because of the expected effect of induced development.
The failure of the Montgomery County sprawl subsidy bond should not be followed with more failure.
Elsewhere on the Network: Cap’n Transit says that in 2015, major urban transit systems must focus on expanding capacity, not filling seats; and ATL Urbanist thinks a trail that will allow people to walk and bike through a monstrous new Atlanta interchange is welcome, but beside the point.

This Week In Livable Streets


By Joe Linton, June 15, 2015

Lots to do and see – from Street Vending, to Metro Committees, to Jaydancing!

Monday – It’s #MobilityMondayLA. The L.A. County Bicycle Coalition and others are urging Angelenos to contact Los Angeles City Council members and voice support for the city’s proposed Mobility Plan 2035. The plan was recently approved by the city Planning Commission, and will soon be heard by the City Council, first in committee on June 23. There’s a lot to like in the plan, and it has come under some criticism from some people who think L.A.’s future is all about cars. Participate in #MobilityMondayLA via phone, email and social media, details at LACBC.
  • Tuesday – The L.A. City Council’s Transportation Committee meets at 9 a.m. The agenda [PDF] is short, with only two items: the proposed DTLA streetcar, and possible new regulations for private event valet parking.
Tuesday – Zocalo presents a free panel discussion asking “Can Transit Make Housing More Affordable?” (or is that just Anglo triumphalism, too?) The speakers include Joan Ling, Mike Bonin, and more. It takes place at MOCA this Tuesday night at 7 p.m. More details and make a reservation at Z√≥calo.
  • Tuesday – The debate on street vending has been heating up with vendors and their supporters turning out in large numbers for recent meetings on the issue in Boyle Heights and the Valley. On June 16 (6 – 8 p.m.), the vendors and community members will join Grammy Award-winning East L.A. band, Quetzal and the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) in a screening of Quetzal’s new music video, “Coyote Hustle.” Coyote Hustle depicts the realities and struggles faced by street vendors in the only major city in the United States without a formal vendor permit process. The video release at Casa del Mexicano will be coupled with food, art, activism, and song making with Quetzal band members. Details, here.
  • Wednesday and Thursday – Metro’s monthly committee meetings are where the agency’s big decisions get previewed in advance of the monthly board meeting next week, Thursday, June 25. The agendas aren’t online yet, but one of the agenda items will be Metro’s bike-share contract. Full Metro meeting agendas and reports should be posted here shortly.
  • Thursday - Get your mobility advocacy on by attending the public hearing on the Crenshaw Boulevard Streetscape Plan. Open house begins at 5 p.m. at the LADWP Community Room (4030 Crenshaw Bl.) and the hearing itself will begin at 6:15 p.m. Details, here. Then head to the KAOS Network in Leimert Park to hear grassroots activists talk about how mobility works in practice at the South Los Angeles Alliance for Mobility meeting. The meeting convenes at 7 p.m. and the panel discussion, featuring Mikaela Randolph, Safe Routes to School, Maria Sipin, Multicultural Communities for Mobility, Damon Turner, Unity Sports Cycling, Yolanda Davis-Overstreet, RIDE in Living Color, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Details, here
  • Thursday – The third in a series of meetings around L.A. on street vending will be held at City Hall, Downtown, at 6 p.m. The meetings are an effort by the L.A. Street Vendor Campaign — a coalition of organizations, business owners, and individuals advocating on behalf of the city’s 50,000+ vendors — to gather feedback from the community that can be used to help L.A. take the necessary steps to establish the first citywide vending ordinance. For more information, visit the campaign’s website.
  • Friday – Walk to the Dodgers game with Los Angeles Walks. Details at Facebook event.
  • Saturday – Caltrans and Metro want to spend $6B of your tax dollars on a tunnel extending the 710 Freeway. The last of their series of public hearings will take place this Saturday, June 20, at David Wark Griffith Middle School, at 4765 East Fourth Street in East L.A. View maps from 10– 11 a.m. followed by a formal public hearing from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Go and count the consultants! Event details here.

Three meetings this week -- July 4th: Mark your calendar

From Sylvia Plummer, June 15, 2015

1.  Thursday, June 18, 6:00 pm

El Sereno SR-710 Community Meeting

Please attend this meeting in support of El Sereno.

Council member Jose Huizar, El Sereno Organizing Committee, and the Natural Resource Defense Council invite everyone to come and learn about the proposal to extend the SR-710 Freeway through El Sereno.  Join in a discussion about transportation improvement opportunities for the El Sereno and East Los Angeles Area .

El Sereno Senior Center

4818 Klamath Place

Los Angeles, CA  00032

Free Parking is available

2.  Thursday, June 18, 6:00 pm

San Gabriel COG Full Governing Board will vote to comment on the SR 710 North

The San Gabriel Valley COG Transportation Committee has voted to recommend that the Full Governing Board take action to send a letter to  CalTrans in support of the Tunnel Alternative.

The San Gabriel COG Full Governing Board meeting is a public meetings governed by the Brown Act and any citizen has a right to appear and provide public comment.

We need people to attend this meetings and speak against the proposed action to support the SR-710 tunnel alternative.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Offices of the Upper San Gabriel Water District Offices
Suite B, 602 Huntington Drive, Monrovia.  

If you can not attend,  you can send them an email  before  Thursday  with your public comment. Here is the contact information:

Don’t forget to reference  June 18, 2015  Item #22 in your correspondence.  Also ask that your email be distributed to the entire Board.

Below is the link for
the agenda for the full governing board meeting of the San Gabriel Valley COG (See item # 22).
Background Information:  Barbara Messina and John Fasana, both of whom are in favor of the tunnel, are both on the governing board of the San Gabriel Valley COG as well as being on the Transportation Committee (which met on Thursday, June 11).    The two of them were involved in getting this proposed action regarding the SR 710 North onto the agendas of both the Transportation Committee as well as on the Full Board Agenda.  

As you can see from the agenda item #22 description, they want the board to provide direction to staff to prepare comments for the SR 710 North EIR.   The fact that this comes so late in the comment process could be interpreted as an indication that they may be attempting to do a last minute end run to attempt to get the San Gabriel Valley COG to support the tunnel.    

Listen to Barbara Messina's speech prior to the vote taken at the San Gabriel COG Transportation Committee Meeting (approx. 4 minutes), Audio only:

You should note that they do not describe the project properly as the EIR/EIS for the Western San Gabriel Valley Gap Closure Project – which contains five alternatives – only one of the alternatives involves the SR 710 North.   Instead this has been agendized as providing direction to staff with respect to the “SR 710 North EIR/EIS”.  Completion of the 710 North is only one of the five alternatives in the EIR/EIS.   There is no mention of the other four EIR/EIS alternatives.   Although the agenda description does not indicate what the “directions to staff” might entail, a reasonable person might conclude that there is the possibility here that Barbara Messina and John Fasana may be attempting to influence the San Gabriel Valley COG’s governing board to endorse completion of the SR 710 North tunnel.

3.  Saturday, June 20, 2015

SR-710 Public Hearing

Be sure to attend this Public Hearing and let your voice be heard during Public Comment.  There will be many people from the East Los Angeles area that will make comments in support of the SR-710 Tunnel because they believe that one of the Alternatives must be selected and they do not want the Light Rail Alternative for their area.  They need to know there is another option for them if their elected officials will work with the Beyond the 710 group in designing a transportation system that works for all the cities.

10:00 am - 4 pm  Map Viewing
11:00 am - 12:00pm  SR-710 Study Presentation of the Five Alternatives
12:00 pm - 4 pm  Public Comment

D.W. Griffith Middle School Auditorium
4765 E. 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA  90022

4.  July 4th, 2015  -  Mark your Calendar

South Pasadena July 4th Parade.  

Come out and join us at this annual event and march with the No 710 Group.  We will meet at 10 am, the parade starts at 11 am.  More details to follow.