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

Friday, April 29, 2016

SR 710 Project Groups Stay Active While Metro Replies to Community Read More: SR 710 Project Groups Stay Active While Metro Replies to Community

http://sanmarinotribune.com/sr-710-project-groups-stay-active-while-metro-replies-to-community/

By Kevork Kurdoghian, April 29, 2016


Extending the 710 Freeway from Alhambra to a proposed interchange with the 210 Freeway in Pasadena has been one of the more hotly contested issues in the San Gabriel Valley for almost half a century. The freeway extension, which many in communities such as Alhambra, South Pasadena and Pasadena argue will greatly increase local traffic and pollution, is now being studied by Metro, Los Angeles County’s governing transportation authority which is charged with considering several options to improve north-south traffic circulation, including a no-build option; a bus rapid transit (BRT) option; a light rail transit (LRT) option; and the controversial freeway tunnel alternative, which would connect the 710 and 210 with a $5.6 billion tunnel. 

When the public comment period for the State Route 710 North Study’s Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) closed last August, Metro had received more than 8,000 comments from various stakeholders.

The organization, in cooperation with Caltrans, is now preparing responses to the comments and believes this process will take the remainder of the year.

Once all the responses have been sent out, Metro’s 710 project team will identify a preferred option and finalize the EIR/EIS. Its preferred option will be recommended to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors and Executives, which will have the final say on how to move forward. 

The 710 project team will continue to provide updates to stakeholders, allowing government jurisdictions and 710 activist groups plenty of time to discuss their stances with the many communities of the San Gabriel Valley.

City Council member Steve Talt recently restarted the 710 conversation in San Marino.
“My desire in opening up this Pandora’s box on the 710 was not necessarily to change our perspective, but to understand why we take the position we do,” he said.

The San Marino City Council passed a resolution in support of the completion of the 710 in 2012.
Talt and fellow City Councilman Steven Huang met with Alhambra Vice Mayor Stephen Placido on April 13 regarding the 710 extension project.

The meeting gave these elected officials an opportunity to look at alternative solutions to north-south traffic in Alhambra, like focusing density closer to the 10 freeway.

San Marino Vice Mayor Richard Sun and Los Angeles City Council member Paul Krekorian attended a meeting of the 710 Coalition on March 31.

The 710 Coalition, an organization of cities and other community groups in favor of the completion of the 710 freeway, has plans for a community engagement tour starting in the summer. Providing workshops to cities interested in talking about the tunnel alternative will be one component of the tour.

Rosemead City Council member Steven Lee said the 710 Coalition has been working with its consultants and traffic and engineering teams to prepare a presentation highlighting the positive impact of the extension.

“The data speaks for itself,” he said after listing some of the positive findings in the draft EIR/EIS.
Organizations opposed to the 710 tunnel alternative are making preparations, as well. Beyond the 710 (BT710), an assemblage of cities, organizations and individuals, has a new “multimodal great streets alternative” proposal.

Coby King, CEO of public affairs firm High Point Strategies, LLC, said the BT710 alternative “moves cars better than the current configuration.”

He added that the lack of an alternative of this kind in the draft EIR/EIS is a “significant and fatal flaw” in the document.

The proposal, which came together with the help of the transportation firm Nelson\Nygaard, provides an alternative to the no-build option that King suggests would mitigate traffic impacts without building the proposed freeway tunnel.

BT710 will continue to be talking with stakeholders and gathering reactions from them about the proposal until there is a recommendation made by Metro.
Extending the 710 Freeway from Alhambra to a proposed interchange with the 210 Freeway in Pasadena has been one of the more hotly contested issues in the San Gabriel Valley for almost half a century. The freeway extension, which many in communities such as Alhambra, South Pasadena and Pasadena argue will greatly increase local traffic and pollution, is now being studied by Metro, Los Angeles County’s governing transportation authority which is charged with considering several options to improve north-south traffic circulation, including a no-build option; a bus rapid transit (BRT) option; a light rail transit (LRT) option; and the controversial freeway tunnel alternative, which would connect the 710 and 210 with a $5.6 billion tunnel.
When the public comment period for the State Route 710 North Study’s Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) closed last August, Metro had received more than 8,000 comments from various stakeholders.
The organization, in cooperation with Caltrans, is now preparing responses to the comments and believes this process will take the remainder of the year.
Once all the responses have been sent out, Metro’s 710 project team will identify a preferred option and finalize the EIR/EIS. Its preferred option will be recommended to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors and Executives, which will have the final say on how to move forward.
The 710 project team will continue to provide updates to stakeholders, allowing government jurisdictions and 710 activist groups plenty of time to discuss their stances with the many communities of the San Gabriel Valley.
City Council member Steve Talt recently restarted the 710 conversation in San Marino.
“My desire in opening up this Pandora’s box on the 710 was not necessarily to change our perspective, but to understand why we take the position we do,” he said.
The San Marino City Council passed a resolution in support of the completion of the 710 in 2012.
Talt and fellow City Councilman Steven Huang met with Alhambra Vice Mayor Stephen Placido on April 13 regarding the 710 extension project.
The meeting gave these elected officials an opportunity to look at alternative solutions to north-south traffic in Alhambra, like focusing density closer to the 10 freeway.
San Marino Vice Mayor Richard Sun and Los Angeles City Council member Paul Krekorian attended a meeting of the 710 Coalition on March 31.
The 710 Coalition, an organization of cities and other community groups in favor of the completion of the 710 freeway, has plans for a community engagement tour starting in the summer. Providing workshops to cities interested in talking about the tunnel alternative will be one component of the tour.
Rosemead City Council member Steven Lee said the 710 Coalition has been working with its consultants and traffic and engineering teams to prepare a presentation highlighting the positive impact of the extension.
“The data speaks for itself,” he said after listing some of the positive findings in the draft EIR/EIS.
Organizations opposed to the 710 tunnel alternative are making preparations, as well. Beyond the 710 (BT710), an assemblage of cities, organizations and individuals, has a new “multimodal great streets alternative” proposal.
Coby King, CEO of public affairs firm High Point Strategies, LLC, said the BT710 alternative “moves cars better than the current configuration.”
He added that the lack of an alternative of this kind in the draft EIR/EIS is a “significant and fatal flaw” in the document.
The proposal, which came together with the help of the transportation firm Nelson\Nygaard, provides an alternative to the no-build option that King suggests would mitigate traffic impacts without building the proposed freeway tunnel.
BT710 will continue to be talking with stakeholders and gathering reactions from them about the proposal until there is a recommendation made by Metro.


Read More: SR 710 Project Groups Stay Active While Metro Replies to Community | http://sanmarinotribune.com/sr-710-project-groups-stay-active-while-metro-replies-to-community/?trackback=tsmclip

Six Updates From Today’s April Metro Board Meeting

http://la.streetsblog.org/2016/04/28/six-updates-from-todays-april-metro-board-meeting/

By Joe Linton, April 28, 2016

Today’s monthly Metro board of directors meeting was one of the less eventful ones; it was sort of a lull in the news swirling around Metro’s planned November sales tax ballot measure. Nonetheless, there were a number of items that SBLA readers might find interesting.

Metro Wi-Fi Phase 1 Operational

SBLA has been noticing recent social media mentions of Metro subway riders receiving texts while on board. Metro CEO made it official today, announcing that, from Union Station to 7th Street Station, wireless service is operational for Verizon customers. According to Metro “Sprint and T-Mobile have signed-up to provide service which will be available in two to three months. Negotiations are ongoing with AT&T.” More details at The Source.

Bike-Share Exempt From Further Environmental Studies

The board approved environmental clearance for Metro bike-share, coming to downtown L.A. this summer. The project was certified to be categorically exempt, meaning that expensive, time-consuming environmental impact studies are not needed.

June Bus Service Re-Organization 

Metro is in the final stretch of its planned bus service reorganization, slated for implementation in June. Metro held a series of public input sessions, the outcomes of which were presented to the board. The most contentious items were three Metro bus routes transitioning to other municipal operators. Lines 190 and 194 [PDF] (El Monte Station to Cal Poly Pomona) would be operated by Foothill Transit. Line 270 [PDF] (Monrovia to Norwalk Station) would be split between Foothill and Norwalk Transit. Metro’s public input and service council had recommended against shifting the service to Norwalk Transit. Bus drivers union representatives oppose any outsourcing of Metro bus service to municipal operators. Numerous representatives from Foothill Transit leadership and staff spoke in favor of the hand-off.

County Supervisor Don Knabe put forward a motion to support the proposed transitions to both Norwalk and Foothill. The motion passed.

Foothill Transit has electric buses - under Garcetti's motion, Metro may soon join them
Foothill Transit has electric buses – under a Garcetti motion, Metro may soon join them. Image via Foothill Transit.

Bus Procurement, Zero-Emission Bus Study

The board approved a procurement process for 850 new replacement buses from 2018-2022. The buses would either be Metro’s current CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) standard or Zero Emission (presumably electric.) Mayor Eric Garcetti offered a supplementary motion, approved unanimously, to have Metro study how it can transition to a fully Zero Emission bus fleet.

New TAP Vending Machines

Metro approved a $5.1 million contract to purchase 54 new TAP card vending machines (TVMs). These will replace and augment existing TVMs at stations, including expanding Silver Line TVMs to support the agency’s all-door boarding pilot. Inglewood Mayor James Butts offered a supplementary motion, approved unanimously, to have Metro study how to add TVMs at key locations for municipal bus operators. Representatives from Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus requested TVMs at the LAX Transit Center and at Pico-Rimpau.

710 North Tunnel Lines Drawn

710 North Tunnel opponents weighed in vehemently during public comment on a staff recommendation that Metro oppose State Senator Carol Liu’s SB 1018. Opponents of the 710 freeway project continue to be vocally opposed to a future Metro sales measure if there is any possibility that it could fund the destructive 710 North freeway expansion.

SB 1018 would dictate how a 710 North project cost-benefit analysis would be conducted. Metro legislative staff recommended the agency oppose the bill because it intervenes in Metro’s ongoing environmental review process. Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian, a stalwart 710 Freeway tunnel opponent, disagreed with Metro staff. Ultimately the board voted to oppose SB 1018, with  Najarian and County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl casting dissenting votes.

Bertha Is About to Drill Under the Viaduct—Here Are Five Questions That Still Haven't Been Answered

You Won't Believe Number 5! (Or, Actually, at This Point You Probably Will) 

  http://www.thestranger.com/news/2016/04/13/23947353/bertha-is-about-to-drill-under-the-viaducthere-are-five-questions-that-still-havent-been-answered

By Sydney Brownstone, April 13, 2016


 

 Bertha getting ready to dive under the viaduct. What could possibly go wrong?
 
Bruce Harrell seemed like he was in a hurry. State representatives were answering questions from city council members about the plan to spend two weeks drilling a giant tunnel under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle's aging elevated highway. But the Seattle City Council president reminded his colleagues that council time was ticking by.

"Page four of a 19-page PowerPoint over there," he said, signaling that there were many PowerPoint pages left to go in this presentation and he wanted to move on past the questions. Todd Trepanier, the Washington State Department of Transportation's tunnel project administrator, thanked Harrell for being conscious of time constraints.

Really, the state's whole presentation on drilling beneath the viaduct felt brief and perfunctory—even though as the council was listening to the briefing, workers in a hyperbaric gas bubble were undertaking some of the most challenging and expensive maintenance work on the machine to date. We don't know exactly when Bertha will be ready to dive under the viaduct after the machine's underground touch-up at "Safe Haven 3," though the state says it's sometime soon.

When that happens, no one's going to be riding on the viaduct between South Spokane Street and the Battery Street Tunnel. (That much is a relief.) But bigger questions loom. In recent months, the state's contractor for the project, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), has come under fire from Governor Jay Inslee. Not only did Inslee temporarily halt operations after a sinkhole opened up near Bertha's cutterhead; a follow-up story in the Seattle Times revealed that state engineers and officials had worried over STP's process before the sinkhole opened up.

So what happens if a sinkhole opens up while the machine is drilling underneath the viaduct? Could it affect the structural integrity of the highway itself? Why wasn't STP operating under better supervision from day one? And at what point would the viaduct become too unsafe for people to use?
These are questions that some city council members have had from the beginning of the project—well before the 57-foot-wide tunnel-boring machine started running into almost every problem imaginable. But now, just before one of the trickiest phases of the project, those questions remain mostly unanswered.

Here's anything and everything resembling answers I was able to get out of all nine city council members (only two responded), former mayor Mike McGinn's consultant on the tunnel project, and the state:
1. What happens if a sinkhole opens up while Bertha is drilling underneath the viaduct?

Short version: "We don't know," according to the state.

"There are many measures STP can take if they see a loss of soil; one measure is injecting grout into the ground from inside the machine," Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) spokesperson Laura Newborn told me in an e-mail. "A soil loss does not necessarily result in a sinkhole."

In addition to emergency grout-shooting, STP has also inserted steel micropiles near Yesler Way—little support pillars that are supposed to stabilize the soil when the machine gets close to the bents of the viaduct.

2. If a sinkhole opens up beneath the viaduct, could it threaten the structural integrity of the highway itself?

"We can't speculate, as every situation is different," WSDOT's Newborn said. "As Todd [Trepanier] mentioned in his presentation, we will have a command center operating 24/7 as the machine is tunneling underneath to quickly address any situation that might develop."

Thom Neff, the infrastructure consultant former mayor McGinn once hired to assess the tunnel project, has a different view. "They're still in an area that's classified as urban fill, which is very, very complicated," Neff said. "They claim they've done a lot of grouting underneath the viaduct and have reinforced concrete piers, but if a sinkhole develops while Bertha is under the viaduct, it causes potential danger and risk to the foundations, and I would think at that point either SDOT or WSDOT would declare the viaduct unsafe and not reopen it. If something happens while it's under it, I think it's a whole new ball game."

3. So when does the viaduct become too unsafe to use?

Todd Trepanier told the city council that a March viaduct inspection showed no new cracks, which was a good sign.

That said, the same inspection found 5/16 of an inch of additional settlement by Seneca Street, and between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch of settlement near the Columbia Street on-ramp.

"I've been frustrated with the lack of clarity on questions, specifically around at which point does the viaduct become so unsafe that we close it short-term or permanently," city council member Mike O'Brien said. "The answer we got is: 'It depends.' And 'It's too complicated for us to actually describe.' That continues to be a sore point for me."

Neff, McGinn's former tunnel consultant, told me no one in his field is willing to go out on a limb and call the viaduct "safe." "You'd have to be insane to do that," he said. "And if you have another earthquake somewhere along the line, you don't even want to think about that."

4. ANYWAY, so you guys are SURE everything tunneling-wise is A-OK, right? It's all gonna be great?

City council member Rob Johnson said he was encouraged by the fact that the state had brought in new levels of oversight for tunneling going forward. "I have to take [the state] at face value when they're the technical experts," Johnson said. "If they feel like what they're seeing is an improvement, I have to take their word for it."

Of course, the state has only been able to witness improvement from STP over the last 300 feet, since that's when Inslee made STP stop and reassess their work.

But if—if—there is a silver lining to moving forward with drilling under the viaduct, Council Member Mike O'Brien believes it's showing the public that we might not need the viaduct (or the goddamn tunnel, for that matter) at all.

"I'm encouraged to see that the volume of traffic on the viaduct has been cut nearly in half to 60,000 vehicles a day," O'Brien said. "That makes our challenge around a closure that much more manageable. It also raises the question of whether we should have been spending billions of dollars on the tunnel in the first place."

5. So yeah, wait, why are we doing this again?
... recommended

Joe Cano Video: Metro Board Of Directors Meeting

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Candidates running for Antonovich's seat spar over 710 Freeway extension

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-county-debate-20160427-story.html

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CALL TO ACTION! ATTEND THE April 28 TH METRO BOARD MEETING!

From Sylvia Plummer, April 27, 2016

The No 710 Action Committee is calling for everyone to attend the Metro Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, April 28th at 9 a.m.  C ome and support Ara Najarian, he is asking for an accounting of money spent on SR 710 to date and plans to bring it up at the meeting.
 
We will also be there to continue our presence and our message that the tunnel should be withdrawn from consideration prior to November or we will actively campaign against Measure R2..  Come and speak for one minute or support those that will speak.
Thursday, April 28, 2016 @  9 a.m
at Metro Headquarters (behind Union Station)
3rd floor, Metro Board Room
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA  90012
We will all meet outside the Metro Board Room before 9am on the 3rd floor.
Please wear a red shirt if you have one.
Directions:  See this link for directions to the Metro Headquarters Building:
Please let me know if you are coming.
Background Information:
 
As you may recall, in October we sent a letter (attached) to the Board that contained a very clear message – we want to support the worthwhile projects included in Measure R2, but if the SR 710 tunnel alternative is not removed from consideration forever, we will actively campaign against the proposed ballot measure.  Since then, some Board members have tried to placate us by assuring us that the tunnel will not be included in the language of Measure R2 language.  Our response is, “Not good enough.  Kill it forever.”
 
For the past 7 months, the same 6 – 12 members of the No 710 Action Committee have attended each monthly Board meeting to re-iterate our message.  We cite facts and figures from the DEIR/EIR comment letters submitted by independent reviewers such as the EPA, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the USC Keck School of Medicine (These are posted online at www.beyondthe710.org).  We understand that we are having an impact, making the Board nervous about the passage of R2.
 
Recently, pro-tunnel advocates, led by Alhambra’s Mayor, Barbara Messina, have begun attending the Board Meetings as well.  This small contingent consists of City Council members from a couple of cities and some labor representatives --- NO REGULAR CITIZENS HAVE APPEARED.  They deliver scripted messages that congratulate the Board for conducting an “open and transparent” process, continue to tell the Board that the tunnel must be built because it was included in Measure R in 2008, that “those people” (us) continue to spread misinformation and lies about the tunnel, that we represent a vocal minority and that the majority want the tunnel to be built.  They never discuss facts from the DEIR/EIS.
  Please make the effort to attend.  We need fresh faces and voices to participate.  You will be given one minute to speak.  Fill out a speaker card in the foyer of the Board Room when you arrive.  We don’t know the agenda item number yet, since the agenda won’t be posted until Monday.  You can check the agenda on Monday at Metro.net.  Some of us will be present to assist you in the foyer.  Your message can, and should, be simple and direct – we want to support worthwhile projects in Measure R2, but if the SR 710 tunnel alternative is not withdrawn from consideration prior to the election in November, we are willing to sacrifice those projects by working to defeat Measure R2.  
 
Thank you, and see you there!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

June 7th Primary Election

From Sylvia Plummer, April 20, 2015

While the Presidential election has certainly monopolized the attention of the public in recent months, locally the campaigns for State Senate District 25 and County Supervisor District 5 stand to play a crucial role in the future of the SR 710 Project.  Two of our strongest supporters and most vocal opponents of the SR 710 Project are running for these offices – Anthony Portantino and Ara Najarian. Both face multiple opponents in the June 7th primary election.
 
With just over six weeks to go until the primary election,  the No 710 Action Committee is trying to do all it can to support the campaigns of these two leaders to whom we owe so much.  We hope that we can count on you to do your part.  Here are two ways you can participate in both:  
 
1.      NO 710 ACTION COMMITTEE CAMPAIGNS FOR ANTHONY PORTANTINO FOR STATE SENATE!  JOIN US ON SATURDAY APRIL 30TH!
 
Former Assemblymember Anthony Portantino has been a strong and vocal opponent of the SR 710 Tunnels.  Anthony is running for State Senate for District 25, the seat currently held by Senator Carol Liu, who is termed out.
 
The 710 Corridor lost its biggest advocate in Sacramento when Anthony termed out of the State Assembly.  We need him back in Sacramento as a State Senator as the person who best understands this issue and whom we can count on to take the appropriate actions and leads.  
You can read more about Anthony’s campaign here:  http://www.anthonyportantino.com/
 
It is time for No 710 Action Committee to demonstrate our appreciation for his ongoing support and show him how much we want to see him as our voice in Sacramento as a State Senator.  You can help Anthony by participating in a No 710 Action Committee phone bank at his campaign headquarters in Pasadena.
 
Saturday, April 30th
Noon – 5 pm
Portantino Campaign Headquarters
232 North Lake Street (just south of the 210 Freeway)
Pasadena, CA  91101
Plenty of free parking is available behind the office building, and the parking entrance is from Locust St.  There is an entrance from the parking lot side of the building.
 
The campaign will provide beverages and snacks.  Please bring your cell phone and charger.  You will be given a script to follow to guide you in your calls. 
 
Please RSVP to Jan SooHoo at jan@soohoos.org to sign up by Tuesday, April 26.   If you have questions, you can reach Jan at 818-952-4103.
 
We hope you will want to join us for what should be a fun afternoon surrounded by other SR 710 tunnel opponents on a mission – to get Anthony elected!  This message is going out to 1200 recipients – let’s make sure we have a good turnout!
 
Can’t make it on the 30th?  No problem!  To support Anthony’s campaign at another time,   contact Bill Hacket at 626-705-2180 or billhacket2002@yahoo.com.
 
2.       SUPPORT ARA NAJARIAN FOR LA COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF DISTRICT 5.   MAKE A DONATION TODAY! 
 
  Glendale City Councilmember and former Mayor, Ara Najarian, is running for Los Angeles County Supervisor for District 5.  He served as Mayor of Glendale in 2007 and 2010, and has served as Chairman of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency and the Glendale Housing Authority. Currently, Ara has been re-elected to city council two times and recently completed his third term as Mayor.

In 2006, Ara was elected to represent the north cities of L.A. County on the Los Angeles Metro (MTA) Board of Directors and served as the Chairman of Metro in 2009 and 2010. In addition, he has served on the Metrolink board of Directors from 2006 to 2012 and from 2013 to present. 
 
The No 710 Action Committee is urging its supporters to make donations to Ara’s campaign.  You can donate online via his website at:  http://www.aranajarian2016.com.  If you prefer not to make your donation online, a donation form is attached to this message as is a campaign flyer.

There are multiple candidates for this position, but only one who has a history of opposing the SR 710 – Ara Najarian.  Others have recently danced around the issue when asked about their position on the SR 710 Tunnels.  Please donate whatever you can!

 
Although we haven’t yet organized a formal No 710 group workday at Ara’s headquarters, information about how to volunteer is available from his website.  Please do what you can to ensure that Ara becomes the next County Supervisor for District 5!
 
3.       LOS ANGELES LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS TO HOLD 5TH DISTRICT SUPERVISORIAL CANDIDATE FORUM ON APRIL 27TH.  EVENT WILL BE TELEVISED ON ABC CHANNEL 7.
 
This is your opportunity to hear the candidates, including Ara Najarian, speak on important issues   To attend event you must RSVP.  See the attached flyer for details. 
 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Update on the State Route 710 North Study

  Received via email, April 15, 2016


April 2016

 UPDATE ON THE STATE ROUTE 710 NORTH STUDY
 
Dear Stakeholder,

During the public comment period that lasted from March 6 – August 5, 2015, Caltrans received thousands of comments on the State Route 710 North Study’s Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIR/EIS). Since then, the project team has reviewed and categorized the nearly 2,600 submissions which represent more than 8,000 comments that require a response in the Study’s Final EIR/EIS. Currently, the project team is preparing draft responses to comments and anticipates this effort will take the remainder of 2016 to complete.

Along with finalizing the responses to comments, other major tasks to be accomplished during 2017 include recommending a preferred alternative, demonstrating air quality conformity for the recommended alternative, finalizing the Project Report, completing supporting documents for the Final EIR/EIS and preparing the Final EIR/EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act.

In the meantime, we will continue to engage stakeholders by emailing and posting updates on the study website, utilizing social media channels and sharing updates at meetings/briefings as new information becomes available.

We appreciate your continued interest in this study.

Sincerely,

STATE ROUTE 710 NORTH
PROJECT TEAM
.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

San Fernando Valley residents OK with 1-cent transit tax, MTA poll says

http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20160412/san-fernando-valley-residents-ok-with-1-cent-transit-tax-mta-poll-says

By Dana Bartholomew, April 12, 2016

 The Pierce College Orange Line stop. (Daily News file photo)

 The Pierce College Orange Line stop.


Nearly three out of four San Fernando Valley residents support an upcoming sales tax measure to pay for traffic congestion relief, according to an MTA poll this week.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority polled roughly 100 residents at a community forum in Van Nuys on Monday, of whom 72 percent said they would vote yes on a 1-cent sales tax to raise $120 billion for new highway, bus and rail projects and more, Metro officials reported Tuesday.

•RELATED STORY: Massive rail tunnel to ease 405 traffic at top of Metro to-do list

The sales tax measure, now up for public comment, will likely be put on the November ballot. The 1-cent tax measure would require a two-thirds approval by voters. The last ballot ffort to extend the current Measure R tax, known as Measure J, narrowly failed four years ago.

Of those who took an electronic poll in Van Nuys, according to the MTA:

• 72 percent would vote to support the measure if the election were held today

• 73 percent would support extending the measure to 50 years, rather than 40, to pay for more projects

• 81 percent would support continued funding after transit projects are built to keep the system in good working order • 70 percent favored building fewer projects but getting them completed sooner
When asked to pick their top priority for more investment, 49 percent picked rail as No. 1.

Metro officials say the measure, now informally dubbed a Measure R extension and a Measure R2 addition, would enhance mobility, ease congestion, keep the economy moving and lead to a better quality of life for the next generation of Angelenos.

The agency is hosting public meetings across Los Angeles County to present details on its plan. A public comment period runs through June.

Valley representatives and business leaders have supported the measure they say could finally bring the Valley its “fair share” of rail, bus and bikeway links to Los Angeles.

The proposal includes Valley transit upgrades for Sepulveda Pass, Van Nuys Boulevard and Orange Line rail lines, plus a dedicated busway to the San Gabriel Valley.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Are we all going to be sardines from now on? Let’s talk about crowding on the Gold Line and Expo Line

http://thesource.metro.net/2016/04/05/are-we-all-going-to-be-sardines-from-now-on-lets-talk-about-crowding-on-the-gold-line-and-expo-line/

By Anna Chen, April 5, 2016

 Standing room on the Gold Line on a recent afternoon. Photo: Anna Chen/Metro

Standing room on the Gold Line on a recent afternoon

Standing room on the Gold Line on a recent afternoon


If Gold and Expo Line trains have seemed more crowded to you lately, that’s because they are. The Gold Line is seeing more riders since the opening of the extension to Azusa. And Expo is more packed since the line is now only running two-car trains, due to fleet maintenance and rail cars being used for testing on the extension to Santa Monica.

But are all the Gold and Expo trains jam-packed and over capacity? Are we all crushed on board like sardines in a can?

Well, no. Perception is subjective: let’s talk about how crowded the Gold Line really is and how crowded the Expo Line will be when it opens to Santa Monica on May 20.

First, some important backstory. In Oct. 2009, after a year of negotiations, a deal collapsed for Metro to purchase 100 new rail cars from the firm AnsaldoBreda. The purchasing process then had to begin anew and Metro signed a deal with the firm Kinkisharyo in April 2012 for an initial order of 78 light rail vehicles to be delivered by early 2017.

While that was happening, the Gold and Expo extensions were being built. That forced Metro to make a decision: delay the opening of the extensions until the 78 new rail cars were delivered and put in service or open the lines with shorter and/or less frequent trains. Metro chose the latter, deciding that it was better to provide service now rather than let completed projects sit idle.

Through late March, Metro has received 23 new rail cars and a new rail car are expected to be delivered roughly every week. But new rail cars do not go directly into service. It takes time for Metro to ensure the cars are up to spec and break them in. To be blunt: Metro’s fleet of light rail vehicles is stretched very thin at this time with most trains running with two cars. Trains on the Gold are running every 12 minutes between Sierra Madre Villa and Azusa and Expo Line trains will run every 12 minutes between downtown L.A. and Santa Monica.

And that, as some of you have noticed, has led to some trains being more crowded than in the past.
My take on it: I’ve been a regular Gold Line commuter between Pasadena and Union Station for the past five years. I usually ride south between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and back north between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Even before the Foothill Extension opened, there was some crowding and sometimes I had to stand.

Standing isn’t a big deal for me. I don’t mind leaving seats open for those who need them and I don’t like being squished in those three- and four-seat rows. Plus I spend too much time on my behind in my office cube anyway. Finally — perhaps because I work for Metro — I like seeing a lot of people riding mass transit.

Trust me, I am seeing what happens on our system firsthand and I’m also hearing it from you: part of my job is monitoring the agency’s social media. I read and respond to your tweets, etc., about being packed in like sardines, comments about it being unbearable, how everything is bad and nothing is good and is it going to be like this forever on the Expo Line and Gold Line?

The answer is: probably, to a certain extent. Adding stations to a line should result in more riders. While we DO have new rail cars arriving, it doesn’t automatically mean that every train will suddenly be longer. There are various reasons why not every rail car is placed into service. Some are in rotation for regular maintenance. And there are still some restrictions we must follow that impact frequency — things such as signal crossing coordination with local cities and train speed regulations.

Maybe a longer train means everyone gets a seat, but the thing is…that’s not really our goal. We’re not Amtrak and we’re not an airline. We’re a mass transit agency in the second-largest metro area in the nation. We want a train that carries more people than just the number of seats.

Certainly we don’t expect trains to be as packed as they can get in Tokyo or Shanghai or Taipei — places where I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy mass transit in all its jam-packed glory. But our trains are wider than buses and were built to accommodate people standing.

Does this make some people unhappy? Sure, especially if they were used to sitting. But we need to get used to this new reality. If you’re going to ride at peak hours or other busy times, you may have to stand, and you may even have to stand close to someone else.

Metro Rail Operations staff is always monitoring load factors to make sure the situation doesn’t become unsafe. We have staff at stations when there’s a need. You may have seen staff in yellow safety vests at Union Station during the afternoon rush hour assisting Gold Line passengers. We’ll probably do something similar at some Expo Line stations after the extension opens.

Is there room for improvement? Of course. That’s why your feedback is important, and you should continue to provide it via Twitter, Facebook or by emailing Customer Relations. There are also little things that make traveling with a lot of people a little easier — not crowding around doors or blocking seats with bicycles or backpacks. Another option is adjusting your schedule and/or commute time.

But on the matter of crowding, I think we could be on the cusp of a paradigm shift. The long-running joke about there being no transit in L.A. is old and stale and wrong. We have plenty of transit and clearly people are riding. Metro will try to add capacity to its system, but we also want the mass in mass transit to happen.

Because that’s what a world-class system is: one that lots of people are using.