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, March 4, 2016

How the new Gold Line route will impact traffic on the 210 Freeway

http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-news/20160301/how-the-new-gold-line-route-will-impact-traffic-on-the-210-freeway

By Steve Scauzillo, March 1, 2016


 Commuters travel on the 210 Freeway during evening peak hours near Irwindale Avenue in Irwindale on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2016. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

 Commuters travel on the 210 Freeway during evening peak hours near Irwindale Avenue in Irwindale on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2016.

Will the Gold Line Foothill Extension improve traffic on the 210 Freeway in the San Gabriel Valley?
The answer may never be known because the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Caltrans, and the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority don’t show any interest in finding out.

“There aren’t any specific studies that analyzes traffic,” said Dave Sotero, Metro spokesman, when asked if the 11.5-mile addition from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border will make a dent in the traffic nightmare that exists daily on the 210 Freeway between Pasadena and western San Bernardino County.

“I don’t know. We always hope so. We have not measured what the potential impact will be on the freeway,” said Habib Balian, CEO of the Construction Authority.

While politicians who supported the $1 billion extension, set to open March 5, say it will help as more commuters choose the train and ditch their cars, there are no studies suggesting the Gold Line Foothill route will reduce the number of cars on the freeway. And none are planned.

One answer might be to look at other light-rail trains in Southern California.

A study released in November from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy found “no evidence of improved freeway traffic system performance” on the 10 or 110 freeways near the university, Coliseum or LA Live after more than a year of operation of the Expo Line.

“We do not find any consistent significant impact on average speed or travel time reliability along the experimental segment of the I-10 freeway,” researchers concluded.

The study did say arterial streets near the Expo Line “marginally improved.” Also, the study found light rail had a positive impact on overall transit use within the Culver City-to-Downtown L.A. corridor along the Expo Line.

The takeaways from this study and others that come to similar conclusions is that ridership on a light-rail line only has a small, if any, impact on massive freeway congestion.

If one does the math, the 210 Freeway at Lake Avenue carried 301,000 cars a day on average during 2014, according to Caltrans’ latest numbers. During a peak month, the same location had 315,000 vehicles per day.

The traffic volume on the 210 Freeway is growing and in 2014, it posted higher daily traffic volumes in the San Gabriel Valley — along where the Gold Line runs — than the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley. In Arcadia, the 210 traffic volume is similar to those on the 101 in Van Nuys, though some exits in the San Fernando Valley show slightly higher traffic volume.

Overall, trips on California roadways increased in 2014 over 2013 by 2.64 percent, Caltrans reported, adding to a 1.86 percent increase in 2013. More people are driving and that may also be related to a drop in mass transit use in Southern California, experts say.

• Read More: Why new Gold Line stations mean local neighborhood changes are coming

The Gold Line Foothill Extension is estimated to carry 13,600 passengers a day by 2035, according to studies on ridership done by the Construction Authority. If each train carries 220 people, and there are five trains an hour, that equals 1,100 riders per hour. Figuring commuter hours run from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., or seven hours, that equates to 7,700 train riders.

That is not a large number when compared to 302,000 daily drivers on the 210 Freeway.

Catherine Burke, associate professor emerita at the Price School, was asked about the impact of both Gold Line Foothill on the 210 Freeway and Expo Line Phase II (opening at the end of May) on the 10 Freeway in Culver city and Santa Monica.

“My guess is there will be some reduction in traffic on both of those freeways but there is so much traffic it will hardly be noticeable,” she answered.

Some may park their cars at the Irwindale Station and ride the train the rest of the way, freeing up freeway lanes, she said. “The freeways seem to be getting much worse,” she said. “So if you have a long drive you will do that.”

• Read More: 21 things to do along the new Gold Line route

While the Gold Line Foothill will work for some, it won’t for most, she said.

This is the reason why many supporters talk about the Gold Line Foothill as another transportation choice instead of a solution to gridlock.

“It does not solve problems on all these highways,” Balian said. “It gives people a choice to get out of their vehicle and get on to transit.”

Doug Tessitor, chairman of the Gold Line Construction Authority board and a former Glendora city councilman, takes the long view. He talks about younger people whom studies show like public transit. Eventually, younger generations will use the train instead of driving their cars.

“As time goes on we’ll get a generation of Californians that are becoming used to public transit. Maybe for my generation it may not make a significant dent (in freeway traffic) but for our kids and grand kids — they will be the real beneficiaries,” he said.

SR 710 North EIR/EIS TAC Meeting No. 21

From Sylvia Plummer, March 2, 2016

Please be reminded that the next State Route 710 north EIR/EIS Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting will be held at Metro on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm .  The purpose of this TAC is to inform affected agencies and/or jurisdictions about the progress of the State Route 710 North EIR/EIS contract and key milestones, and to provide input on a wide range of planning and technical issues that may arise during the development of the EIR/EIS.