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, January 8, 2016

Texas DOT Isn’t Learning From Its Horrific Road Fatalities Calendar


By Angie Schmitt, January 8, 2016

 Graphic: Texas DOT

This calendar is published by the Texas Department of Transportation as part of its traffic safety efforts. It shows how many fatal collisions and traffic deaths happened every day of the year. On average, someone is killed every two and a half hours on Texas streets, and someone is injured every two minutes, according to TxDOT [PDF].

Texas hasn’t had a day without a traffic fatality in more than 15 years. In that time, more than 50,000 people have been killed on Texas roads — an absolutely staggering number. By comparison, California, with a population 44 percent larger, has nearly 300 fewer traffic deaths per year. (The safest state, Massachusetts, has a per capita traffic fatality rate nearly 60 percent lower than Texas’s.)
State officials in Texas attribute the problem to drunk driving and failure to use seat belts — not any shortcoming in their own work. Just one day without a traffic fatality is the agency’s depressingly unambitious goal: #EndTheStreak, they call it. TxDOT’s strategy seems to consist mainly of using Twitter and PSAs to reach drivers.

What if, instead of #EndTheStreak, Texas state transportation officials got serious about ending traffic fatalities altogether? What if they launched a statewide Vision Zero campaign?

A concerted effort to reduce traffic deaths would have to involve solutions much more substantial than PSAs. It would require an entire rethinking of the state’s transportation policies.

A growing number of American cities are adopting Vision Zero goals and laying out plans to fix their dangerously designed streets — making more room for walking and biking while taming speeding traffic. The idea is gaining momentum in Texas cities too.

TxDOT’s #EndTheStreak campaign clearly isn’t getting the job done. Statewide traffic deaths increased 3.7 percent in 2014 compared to the year before [PDF]. Without a fundamental paradigm shift, there’s no reason to expect this year’s calendar will be any different.

Regional transportation plan backs 710 tunnel extension


January 8, 2016

LOS ANGELES — Cities belonging to the 710 Coalition have come out in support of the draft 2016 regional transportation plan by the Southern California Association of Governments.

The draft calls for connecting the Long Beach (710) Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena via a tunnel.

Coalition member cities are Alhambra, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel and San Marino.
They say not closing the gap between the two freeways will result in more surface traffic on their streets.

“Tunnel opponents continue to misrepresent the truth about the actions that occurred,” Rosemead Mayor Margaret Clark said. “The public deserves to know the truth. Our coalition will not stand by and allow opponents to disseminate false information.”

The draft transportation plan continues to include the freeway extension as part of the state highway system.

In addition, the draft plan accelerates the project completion date five years from 2030 to 2025.

Caltrans reports that three of the top 10 most severe afternoon traffic bottlenecks in Los Angeles and Ventura counties are near where the 710 currently ends at Valley Boulevard on the border of Alhambra and the Los Angeles community of El Sereno.

Members of he 710 Coalition claim that if the 710 gap is not closed by a tunnel, then congestion along major traffic arteries between the 210 and 10 freeways will only get worse. Gridlock on surface streets brings major environmental and public safety risks to their communities

But an opposing coalition, Beyond the 710, says the tunnel project is too expensive and would devastate communities in its path.

Members of the Beyond the 710 Coalition include the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Canada-Flintridge, Sierra Madre and Glendale.

The final environmental impact report for the 710 North tunnel is being competed and should be released early this year.