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LongBeachUrbanist
Jan 14, 2008, 9:36 PM
Maybe because I'm experienced in coalition building I take a more mature approach to it all. Then again for those who have never done it nor are expected to do it in the future I suppose sitting on the couch and complaining is completely suffice.

:haha: :haha: :haha:

Damien is interested in coalition building as long as you completely agree with him.

He just told you how mature he is, and how lazy you are! So back off, all you ignoramuses!!!

Whatever you do, don't tell him he's wrong...he's armed with a boxload of statistics! (Never mind that, separated from logic and perspective, statistics can be used to justify invalid arguments and therefore represents a rotten foundation for developing public policy.)

Sorry if I sound bitter, but I have seen enough of this condescending "argument" to last me a lifetime.

BTW, "suffice" is a verb, not an adjective.

Wright Concept
Jan 14, 2008, 9:53 PM
Additionally, 8.5 miles in 30 mins is NOT 25 traveled miles per hour. It's very far from it actually. I haven't written about it yet, but the Expo Authority has lowered its projected forecast year ridership by 16,000 from 43K/day to 27K/day.

Two questions get back to me when you get some free time;
1) Is the 30 minute figure the original LPA or the modified Flower Street route?

2) Is that 43,000 figure for 2020 ridership or opening day ridership? If it's for opening day (I remember some of the planners at Metro were using the number for both cases) then yes that was way too high if it's just Culver City to LA because that value seemed dependent on a route continuation to Santa Monica.

jlrobe
Jan 14, 2008, 11:38 PM
I have a busy day ahead of me so forgive the brevity.

I am the regionalist AND the backyarder.

I know one does not always preclude the other. Sometimes, the regionalist and the backyarder have different immediate agendas. It goes without saying from your map that in general you are a regionalist. In this case you have to wear two hats, not just one. In the end, something has to take priority, the region or your backyard. Since you propose undergrounding everywhere, you seem to be a regionalist that doesnt play favorites. I still think its expensive, but I let's take it one line at a time for now. Our cost estimates, especially admist rising construction costs and the lack of economics of scale, dont matter. The MTA's 60 billion dollar number, which doesnt take your costly undergrounding and extensive coverage into consideration, does. Case in point, I feel undergrounding is not necessary for safety reasons. It causes delays and cost overruns. At this time, I have seen no evidence that proves such a modification is warranted on the grounds of safety when a pedestrian bridge, education, appropriate barriers, and markings should do the job. If efficiency is the reason, that is a totally different animal altogether.


From a regional standpoint this is a slam dunk. Build the trunk to handle 60 second headways (grade separated is the only way) and create such a system. It would serve at least 250K riders per day at less than the cost of the Wilshire subway (125K to Santa Monica + 60K to LAX + 30K to Venice Beach + 40K to UCLA). I'm not saying build one and not the other, but the argument that the corridor isn't worth the investment or there's no regional benefit is just plain wrong.


If you are seeking provisions to make the expo line faster I am 100% in agreement. If it is for safety concerns, I am still not convinced. Despite your suggestion that not all tracks are created equal (which I know).

Anyhow, the wilshire subway could get 500k/day and spur more ridership across all of our lines and create density the likes that chicago and SF have never seen before (primarily downtown, but somewhat along wilshire, ktown, century city, and westwood). It is the line that makes the bay areas BART look like the toy trains in Seattle. The only way the expo will get 250k/day is with 100% grade separation at a cost of 1.5-2 billion. that makes it a little less than half the cost of the subway. This is all speculation though.

Let's not pit the expo over the subway, Unless you are suddenly against the subway, or feel light rail and buses are a better fit for LA than central heavy rail. I dont want to put words into your mouth. Lets just agree that both are important.

at any rate, it sounds like you want the expo line to be a fast grade serapated line becasue it is more efficient that way. You are preaching to the choir on that one. When i saw your dorsey high advocates at the "its time to move LA" conference, it appeared that their main agenda was the so called safety and environmental racism rhetoric I have been hearing lately. I was there, 5 feet away, listening in for 5 minutes. They referenced your name twice, and never did they say, "Hey Zev, Damien thinks the rail line should be faster and more efficient". That is not what I heard when I was standing there. I heard things like "you dont care about our safety. Undergrounding is the only acceptable solution. blah blah blah".



Additionally, 8.5 miles in 30 mins is NOT 25 traveled miles per hour.

No, its even slower. I was overestimating out of fairness. I made that claim to point out that it is too slow not too fast. You and I are in agreement.


the line is too slow to attract choice riders. Don't believe me, call the FTA.

You are speaking to the choir. Again, i wanted heavy rail since day one for expo.


Regarding documents, if someone wants to donate about $300 to a paypal account so I can send this box a documents to a photocopy shop so they can be scanned I'll be more than happy to transport them. Until then, I'll have to scan them when I have time.


They arent referenecd by doc number? I can go to the library myself. I dont want you to spend more effor than necessary. Even if I did want you to make copies, I would only want you to make a few for me. I never demand people to copy whole books. That is insane.

I can take a look at these, but first I must ask, what am I lookiing for? This whole discussion was me questioning the fact that the expo line doesnt need these costly enhancements in the name of safety. It delays this project and future projects. Specifically, my gripe is that I feel that a pedestrian bridge and proper barriers are sufficiently, instead of drawing a separate EIR necessary for undergrounding.

We all agree that this should have been heavy rail or at least completely grade separated, but it is not. What am I looking for in these documents?

Damien
Jan 15, 2008, 3:34 AM
Two questions get back to me when you get some free time;
1) Is the 30 minute figure the original LPA or the modified Flower Street route?

2) Is that 43,000 figure for 2020 ridership or opening day ridership? If it's for opening day (I remember some of the planners at Metro were using the number for both cases) then yes that was way too high if it's just Culver City to LA because that value seemed dependent on a route continuation to Santa Monica.

43K is now 27K for the forecast year of 2020. They dropped projections by 37% overnight and no one said a word. My guess is FTA required them to revise the number since they're now pushing Phase 2 through the New Starts process.

30 mins is with the modified Flower Street route, 3 way light at 28th/Flower, additional Trousdale station, and slowing of train at Farmdale.


jlrobe,

Sorry I wasn't able to attend the conference (I had other personal obligations). It's good to know that I didn't need to send anyone for the message to get through. There are multiple arguments for grade separation, and the safety and environmental impacts are at the top of the list. Explaining the Expo trunk concept is more of my department. Really though, on the list of stuff that influences these people, ridership is low on the list. I once had a meeting with one of the Expo Authority's transportation deputies and told her that slowing the line down would further reduce ridership. Their response was, "But someone would ride it."

And the bulk of the docs I'm referencing were obtained through freedom of info requests.

jlrobe
Jan 16, 2008, 6:28 AM
43K is now 27K for the forecast year of 2020. They dropped projections by 37% overnight and no one said a word. My guess is FTA required them to revise the number since they're now pushing Phase 2 through the New Starts process.

30 mins is with the modified Flower Street route, 3 way light at 28th/Flower, additional Trousdale station, and slowing of train at Farmdale.


jlrobe,

Sorry I wasn't able to attend the conference (I had other personal obligations). It's good to know that I didn't need to send anyone for the message to get through. There are multiple arguments for grade separation, and the safety and environmental impacts are at the top of the list. Explaining the Expo trunk concept is more of my department. Really though, on the list of stuff that influences these people, ridership is low on the list. I once had a meeting with one of the Expo Authority's transportation deputies and told her that slowing the line down would further reduce ridership. Their response was, "But someone would ride it."

And the bulk of the docs I'm referencing were obtained through freedom of info requests.

My two favorite acts
Freedom of Information Act
Fair Credit Act

These are two acts EVERY American should know.

It is sad that they want to build token lines in such a large city such as los angeles. SD could be building better lines than LA is, and LA is a so called alpha-world class city. Well, LA might be on the brink of a mass exodus due to aging infrastructure and fast cost of living increases.

Cities like London, Paris, NYC, and SF all had massive outmigration and decades of poverty and crime. One of the reasons was because of economic dynamism, massive job loss, and rapid price inflation, but another was decaying infrastructure.

I dont mean to sound catastrophic but LA really needs to get its act together. I really think we are in a state of emergency, but many people dont get it!

Wright Concept
Jan 16, 2008, 10:58 PM
Metro to hold public update meetings on Metro Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting several upcoming meetings to update the public on the agency’s Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study. The study, which evaluates ways to improve mobility on the Westside of Los Angeles, will be held at the following locations:

Thursday, January 31: Los Angeles County Museum of Art-West, 6-8 p.m., LACMA-West Terrace Room, 5th Floor, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, Metro Service provided on Lines 20, 720, 920, 217 & 780. Validated parking is available in the lot on the southeast corner of Wilshire & Spaulding.

Tuesday, February 5: Westwood Presbyterian Church, 6- 8 p.m., 10822 Wilshire Boulevard (at Malcolm Avenue), Los Angeles, CA. Metro Service provided on Line 20, 720 & 920. Free parking available at the location

Wednesday, February 6: Plummer Park, 6-8 p.m., 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard (at Plummer Place), West Hollywood, CA, Metro service provided on Line 4. Free parking available at the location.

Metro held early scoping meetings in October 2007 to help guide the development of alternatives to address the growing traffic and congestion in the 38 square-mile study area. Nearly 500 individuals attended these meetings and more than 450 formal comments were submitted by the close of the comment period.

Metro has now reviewed all public comments and, based on this feedback, has developed a number of alternatives for further analysis including various modes, alignments and station locations. These upcoming meetings will update the public about the results of the scoping process, the emerging alternatives, and next steps in the study’s progress.

Content presented at these meetings will be identical, so interested parties should attend at the time and location most convenient for them. An open house will be scheduled from 6-6:30 p.m, followed by a presentation between 6:30-7 p.m. Discussion will follow from 7-8 p.m.
For additional information or questions, please visit the Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study website at www.metro.net/westside (http://www.metro.net/westside) or contact the project information line at 213.922.6934.

Metro’s Alternatives Analysis Study is the first step in the environmental clearance process. The Metro Board of Directors will determine whether to move the project forward to subsequent environmental review stages based in part on the results of this study.

Damien
Jan 17, 2008, 6:19 PM
A child somewhere in the US just got killed this morning in a car. A kid probably dies eveyday in a car accident in Southern CA . Buses have hit kids. Heck, even a biker may have killed a kid at some point. Kids get killed by anything and everything. If a rail line is TOO dangerous, it should be made safer, but in my opinoin, cars are more dangerous than trains. Traffic cops, reduced speed limits, and larger crosswalks mitigate the effect of cars, but cars probably still end up killing kids.

If you could eliminate all vehicular accidents by spending 35% more on road infrastructure, who would actually suggest not spending it?

Again, in Paris, Belgium, and Berlin, I see rail 100 feet from anything. in SF, their light rail (ultra light and ultra slow) goes about 20 feet from businesses and schools. It is essentially right off the sidewalk. Like 5 feet off the sidewalk. Why not make the rail go slower for that small stretch.

That small stretch isn't the only place there are problems. There are major problems all throughout the line. Read the briefs, most of it is in there.

We removed the trolley lines that stopped every other block and traveled 20 mph between stations. We replaced them with buses. That's not what this is. This is a system with stations spaced every mile projected to serve between 70-85K riders per day traveling at 35-55 mph between stations with 4-5 minute frequencies. This isn't a trolley system. We're building heavy rail at-grade.

Horns are noisy, but lights and gates make very little noise. Loud ringing bells do make noise, but who says you need that? Why not have a simple barrier, pedestrian bridge, and flashing lights. Is that not enough?!?

The sidewalk capacity in this area isn't sufficient to handle burst of pedestrian traffic that would be caused by the holding pen and crossing gates. Currently the intersection is controlled by a stop sign that as screwed up as it is, doesn't create as much crowding and walking parallel to the sidewalk because the pedestrians dictate the flow of traffic. Video of area (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXtY-33nX8c)

Then there's the proximity of the rail crossing to the holding pen, where an accident would take the vehicle or derailed train right where 80-100 students would be standing. The fact that leaving the small Exposition open to right turns, current vehicular back up to both Jefferson to the north and Rodeo to the South, proximity of driveways, insufficient turning radius of the driveway and intersection, warehouses to the northwest of the crossing (truck traffic), among other things all increase the risk of idled engines on the tracks.

Again, all the statements are true, but I dont see what they have to do with 200 million. Again, maybe there is more to it than those three facts, like an inherent design flaw which I am still unaware of.

$200-225 million is the rough estimate of increased construction cost of moving the section from Figueroa trench to La Brea to below grade, not including the additional administrative costs.

You are right. Actually, I quote your struggle to help mine. I tell people that if they want to make the subway into a cheaper light rail, then every intersection will be forced to be undegrounded through activism. cost over runs and delays will end up costing the MTA more than the subway itself. Might as well just do a subway.

When you have impacts this great, and an informed community with the time and organization to press the issue yes you're going to have delays. Expo's current advisers who were advisers on the Gold Line predicted as much and suggested the PUC applications be submitted sooner to avoid construction delays.

We are in agreement. The light rail should have never been a light rail. That should have been heavy rail since day one. If I believe that, then why am I complaining? Because, the concessions dont seem to make sense to me. Maybe I am unfairly comparing other systems around the world that I have different nuances. That is quite possible. Maybe there is something I dont know, that you know. Maybe there is something the MTA has done specifically that is making you cry fowl. Up to this point, I hear a lot of generalizations, but I dont know what the MTA conspired to do specifically to endanger the community unnecessarily. I am not playing devil's advocate. I really want to know. Surely there is some reason why Damien Goodman is involved.

The more I learn, the more opposed to the current design I become. In addition to the science mentioned and linked to above, there the whole process of the DEIR/S, EIR/S and since that has completely sucked.

So, the MTA screwed up on the entire line, and that the expo line wasnt built at all to internationally and nationally set standards. The safety and design hearings that they claimed to have had must have not roused the proper scrutiny. Maybe the expo really should cost 1.5-2 billion to build right. I didnt know that. I thought it could be made cheap and run well, but it sounds like it is inherently a multibillion dollar line masked to seem like a cheaper one.

Understand for most politicians, this is about building something - not necessarily something good that actually moves people. They see the development/redevelopment potential. Just look at the Expo Authority board and you see a cast of characters that were against the Expo Line before they were for it. They are aided by staff and advocates who don't speak truth to power. That for me is perhaps the reason I'm so committed to this effort, and so disappointed in so many.

I can't fault people for not knowing things I've uncovered. But when those facts are presented to said people and instead of addressing them or refuting them, they remain either silent or continue to push something they know is wrong - well I just have little tolerance for that.

Well, I am no idiot, that's for sure. Evidence is evidence to me. My agenda will never cause me to be blind to bullet proof evidence. If someone said, "Jeremy, the US standard for noise levels measured on an SPL meter are 31 dB at a distance of 100 feet and the expo is not in spec". Then I would say fine, get it to within spec.
I dont care if the expo line is good for the region,if there are certain design standards, they should be upheld. That is what standards are for. Building a cheap car that kills people at 20 mph collisions is not okay.
That being said, I dont know what the tolerable decible levels are and the levels being heard by the community at a fixed distance. I have been around light rails that are very quiet when traveling at moderate speeds. Again, until I get out there with an SPL meter and read the spec, I dont know.

Understand that even the scientific measurements they present are faulty. Case and point, the calculation that led to the determination that a soundwall wouldn't be needed on the northside of Dorsey HS' campus where classrooms are less than 100 feet from the tracks where trains were planned to pass by 55 mph at a frequency of up to 24 times per hour (it's now been upped to 30 times per hour):

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii205/fixexpo/Dorsey-Farmdale-Birdseye.jpg

Again, I dont know why a barrier, pedestrian bridge, and lights (with no sound) is adequate enough. Maybe you can tell me why this situation is unique other than the fact that it is 100 feet from a school. I am sure there are other reasons that you arent filling me in on.

I always used to tell my students, "Sometimes there is more to a problem than there seems. There are subtleties and nuances that are not obvious or are simply counterintuitive." This may be a subtle point, or it may not be obvious why this is a safety concern.

See above.

Again I know that sometimes grass roots efforts must be made in order to be a watch dog over government. It is grass roots efforts and lawsuits that forced the government to use standards and a self policing verification check. If not, government would be sued left and right. ACtually, if it is found that the MTA did not make the rail to within spec and someone died, I am sure they would be sued.

It's not quite that easy, but yes, if you can show that MTA is knowingly repeating a "proven defective design" and someone dies, the MTA and oversight agencies could be forced into a consent decree or a multi-hundred million dollar lawsuit.

It's sad, but in LA the only way to reach a lot of politicians is by threatening lawsuits. It's why they refuse to say they're building another Blue Line, legally and politically, and instead keep pushing the Gold Line lie.

The Gold Line doesn't cross any street without crossing gates with vehicular volumes as high as Vermont, Normandie, Western, Crenshaw (and probably not Washington, Adams or Jefferson). And there's only one major street that even approaches that type of volume that it doesn't pass grade separated.

Additionally, that's pretty much an isolated right of way most of the route, where as all of the Expo Line east of La Brea is directly adjacent to vehicular traffic, sometimes on both sides.

Does the train go behind the traffic light as opposed to between traffic lights? I could see that being a problem if not dealt with properly. THat has to be 100 times the national average. TO me, it seems if the MTA is actually at fault and paying for them, their attorney should be fired for not recommending a redesign. Even still, 100 times the national average is ridiculous. Even if there were about 150,000 car accidents in LA county over that time period, 800 is way too much.

Could you rephrase your question. I don't quite get it.

I dont see how design standards arent at the forefront when the MTA "seems" to have more accidents than every other light rail in the entire US combined probably. That is just insane.

The CPUC, the California railroad safety oversight agency, has a poor reputation nationally as well. I blame them both, and have for quite some time. Ultimately a federal lawsuit is likely in order.

I almost want to drive out there and take a look at it this famous intersection.

Give me enough of a heads up and I'll give you a personal tour and explain the situation. Best time to go is when school lets out. Everything starts with line of sight and possible disruption to traffic light synchronization. Then move to evaluating street and sidewalk capacity and traffic generators.

Well, I called it being counter intuitive. How can LA build a 400 million dollar school and spend 10 billion school overcrowding, but not have enough to help the homeless? We spend billions on our freeways, yet we cant seem to find any money for rail.

Of course I agree. In this respect, I'm talking about the way we allocate our finite mass transit budget on rail construction.

I'm saying if local officials are so inept that they can lobby the state and feds for a couple hundred million for a project that's ready to go as important as this, how can they credibly state they can lobby for $4-5 billion for the subway.

To answer your question directly, we CANT find the money for the subway, hence there is no subway. We have to make people know that they cant live without it. That is how Bush sold his war, and how we sell our freeway budget. That is precisely what has to be done to get the subway built. We can discuss this further if you like.

I'm not saying we can or we can't. I'm saying if your kid is walking around with holes in his shoes and the teacher asks you why and you respond "We're on a tight budget," people might be a bit skeptical if every weekend your looking at Cadillac dealerships looking to buy a new Escalade.

Regardless, we can't APPROPRIATE the money because the EIR/S isn't done.

Beverly hills, like culver city, is a separate city. If LA tried to force rail through their city, the US government would tell LA to take a f%^king hike. It has nothing to do with deserving. LA doesnt own beverly hills as much as we like to think we do. If we can annex them, great, but I dont see that happening, so whatever they say goes!

The point is, if one community, a more powerful community, demands the project be built to a higher standard, and that high standard isn't applied across the entire line, the end result is a discriminatory design. A design where less powerful communities get a project built to a lower standard. In this case, those communities where the project is built to a higher standard just so happen to be the only majority-white areas. So the result is a design that violates environmental justice laws. There will be more on that soon.

It still takes some. Even monorail takes some street real estate. Sure, its only left turn lanes, but it takes some. IF you can get drivers to concede, I am all for it.

You can maintain a lot of the left turn lanes by cutting into the sidewalks. Most of Wilshire's sidewalks are wide enough. Not pretty, not good actually, but feasible.

Additionally, you don't have to put the elevated down the middle of the street. You can have the columns on the sidewalk. (Think Nash Street section of the Green Line, only with the columns more towards the curb.) You'd have to cut one side a bit, extend the width of the other where you're placing the columns, repaint the street, and completely eliminate the median in some areas. Again, it's not pretty but it can be done. And there's no chance in hell those property owners with their high rents would allow it.

So again, it's why GLAM is built to the same high standards across all communities. But it's important to note GLAM is not all subway. A lot of it is at-grade grade separated, like the portions that run parallel to freeways.

If something is legitamately wrong, it is up to the community to be a watchdog.

What about communities that lack the time and resources to be that watchdog?

The MTA is a body of primarily elected officials who are supposed be that oversight.

People elected council members and pay them very well and supply them with a budget to have a staff who are supposed to be that watchdog.

Rail engineering isn't a simple issue to discuss. And there are few people who aren't employed by Expo/MTA/LADOT/CalTrans that can hold their own in a debate with the project's managers. It took me about 7 hours to explain the crossing designs and general problems to the smartest people in the community on this issue, and that was only after spending countless hours figuring them out myself. It's not like South Pasadena where one can slap a $100K on the table and hire a consultant.

You are correct. Whether you have merit or dont, I am the regionalist you are the backyarder. You are OBVIOUSLY not a NIMBY, but it is my duty as an Angeleno to push through something I think will benefit my city. It is your duty, as a neighorhood advocate, to stop me if you think regional gain is being achieved to the detriment of your community. If I am wrong, then I will stop fighting you. It is what it is. We will not always be on separate sides, but we happen to be for now until I better understand how 4 groups are holding up the expo line.

I will fight cheviot hills to keep the ROW. I will fight Westchester for LAX improvements. I will fight for what I think is important for LA to move forward. I dont want to steam roll anyone unnecessarily, but in LA, the only people who talk are the community at hand. Communities like beverly hills have fought elevated rail. If they were in los angeles, I would fight them to. I will fight everyone for what I feel is important. My agenda is regional mobility. IF the MTA failed minimum safety requirements, and if there is a chance that there will be 800 accidents, I will stop fighting on this particular issue. I cant believe their design paper work made it through if it was designed this badly. Well, I can, and I cant.

PUC in approving the other crossings stated the design meet the Commission's "minimum safety requirements," which I suppose is constantly redefined given the makeup of the 5-member PUC board. I'm still unclear where the line is drawn myself. In 2002, when the CPUC staff fought the Gold Line, whose design is much safer, that standard was much higher. In this case the CPUC staff took a walk. A lot of it unfortunately is political. And that too is something I have little tolerance for.

I myself am an engineer/scientist. I built my own advanced set of functions of discrete random vectors to do my own mathematical analysis (For fun and primarily for my agenda: the subway). I have dreamt up using wireless sensor networks for maximizing surface street capacity based on different metrics (constrained capacity, minimizing the maximum time across a path). I even dreamt up some software that could use a GPS enabled cell phone to give eveyone up to the minute ETA's on buses by sending text message inquiries. Timing, frequencies, crossings are not complicated in the slightest for me at all.

There may very well be a science to it. I actually wish there were, so I could read it. I have read some papers on traffic stuff, but the mathematical rigor truly sucks many times. Some papers are very good, but most are not that rigorous. It is a different field than traditional engineering. At times, it seems more of an art of experience and less of a pure math or science. I could be wrong. If you have any papers PLEASE send them to me. I love good analysis, and would very much appreciate a good reference on the subject matter. I can go to the transit library or UCLA next week and pick up a few books and papers. I dont want to be looking aimlessly, so if you have a good reference that covers this particular issue, I would actually love to read it.

I am sure there are classic examples of good and bad intersections. They might have a stacking example where a rail lane travels behind a red light instead of between two red lights. I am sure they have different discussions and stats on these types of lines.

Most of the documents worth reading are referenced in the Reply Brief, which is in a posting above.

Remember it's all a risk assessment, which makes it, to the detriment of people who live and commute in Los Angeles County, relative. It's very hard to reason with the people conducting the measurements if, as is the case with MTA, they start with an assumed acceptable level of deaths and accidents, and believe that "Only stupid people get hit" or "They weren't following the signs."

Just look at their grade crossing policy and you see that it actually has absolutely nothing to do with vehicular and pedestrian safety and everything to do with traffic impacts of crossing gates.

There are state and national formulas for determining the predicable risk of an at-grade crossing, but those aren't a component of the MTA's calculations, because they simply refuse to admit that they have any responsibility to protect the public from trains. "We put up lights and a sign, what more do you want from us?" I've been in day long meetings with these guys, so trust me when I say they honestly are that callous and have that severe a deficiency in engineering ethics.

One of the major design principles for safe rail is that it should be forgiving. In other words, if people mess up there's supposed to be some component of the design that allows them to recover without being hit by the train. If you operate on the premise that if someone messes up it's not the agency's fault if someone dies, this principle is easy to ignore. Does that make sense?

Another example could be building obstructions where people have to be only 20 feet from the rail tracks in order to have a good enough angle of vision to see the rail line coming. I am not familiar with the field, so I can only conceive of 3 types of intersectoins that are extremely dangerous. Maybe there are 10 well known at-risk case studies that every safety professional learns.

Line of sight is THE MAJOR concern. There are chapters devoted to it in the FHWA Railroad-Highway manual. You need to both clean line of sight for the motorist/pedestrian to see the train, operator to see the motorist/pedestrian, from a distance that gives both parties time to either stop, or in the case of the motorist/pedestrian safely commute across BOTH tracks.

It's why the presence of truck routes and bus routes should be factored: it takes longer to cross the track.

It's why the presence of school children: their depth perception isn't as good and their risk assessment is not normal.

It's why the presence of elderly and disabled pedestrian traffic should be factored: it takes longer to walk across the tracks.

It's why the landscaping the MTA says they want to have (if they can fit it - I'm doubtful), is actually problematic: it impedes the line of sight.

Poor line of sight is a big part of the reason the 0.6-mile Flower Street segment where the Blue Line currently operates is the most accident prone section of light rail in the country, with over 130 accidents in 17 years.

Jefferson/Exposition is one of the best examples of how the MTA really just doesn't even give a damn about the principle:

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii205/fixexpo/Jefferson.jpg

The train is to run parallel to the street with no crossing gates, and a major traffic generator (Galen Center) on the opposite corner just like Venice/Flower, the most accident-prone intersection on the Blue Line (some 35 accidents or so):

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii205/fixexpo/Venice1.jpg

They know what they're doing. It's been shown to the CPUC. This has NOTHING to do with with engineering principles and EVERYTHING to do with politics. Building 5 miles of rail prevents fewer politicians the opportunity to cut the ribbon than building 8 miles of rail.

So the only recourse is to organize the community, bring it to the medias attention, and file lawsuits.

sopas ej
Jan 19, 2008, 7:56 PM
Slightly off-topic, but kinda relevant and interesting; apparently, while we here in LA try to expand and improve our Metro Rail, NYC wants to improve its bus service... kinda ironic.

From the Gotham Gazette:

Speeding New York's Buses
by Mia Goldberg
January 2008

New York City has the most bus riders of any city in the country -- but the slowest and most unreliable buses, according to city officials. Two and a half million people board New York City buses each day, then travel at an average of 7.5 miles per hour as their buses sit stuck in traffic, stopped at red lights or waiting for passengers to board.

"The buses are slow en route and in wait," said Gene Russianoff, attorney and chief spokesman for the New York Public Interest Research Group's commuter advocacy group, Straphangers Campaign. "It wouldn't hurt to have a copy of 'Gone with the Wind' if you're planning a long bus trip."

Almost 20 separate north-south bus routes in Manhattan require close to two hours to complete their 10-mile journey. You can take Amtrak 110 miles from New York to Philadelphia and enjoy an authentic Philly Cheese steak in about 90 minutes.

And the problem is getting worse. Incentives like free subway/bus transfers, ridership have boosted the number of bus riders by 42 percent over the past decade but between 2002 and 2006 bus speeds decreased by 4 percent, according to the mayor's office.

Despite the dismal statistics, any effort to boost the quality and popularity of mass transit in New York City must include buses. Improving bus service remains far easier, faster and more cost efficient to than improving the subway system.

"Unlike subway lines, when talking about buses these are not items that need huge multimillion dollar capital output," said New York City Councilmember John Liu, chairman of the Transportation Committee. "We're talking months, not years or decades. It is common sense."

The Road to BRT
Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, is a major component of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's quest to improve mass transit and ease traffic congestion in New York City.

"BRT tries to combine the speed and reliability of rail services with the flexibility and cost effectiveness of bus services," said Russianoff. In true BRT, buses travel in a straight, traffic-free path, like subways and railroads, meaning that bus lanes must be specially dedicated. The methods for accomplishing this - and even the definition of "dedicated lane" -- vary from city to city and country to country. The lanes can entail painting the "bus only" lanes a bright, distinctive color, physically separating the bus lanes from other traffic or even moving the bus lanes to the middle of the road, to avoid problems with turning cars.

U.S. cities and cities around the world are successfully using an array of these techniques, to reduce traffic and wait times, increase bus speeds, rider capacity and rider satisfaction while at the same time improving the environmental and reducing the number of car accidents.

Speeding the Ride
In trying to speed its own buses New York can look far to the south. During the mid-1990s, Bogotá, Colombia, has a 21st century BRT that has won accolades from around the world. But this was not always the case. A World Bank report, "Colombia: Overcoming Traffic Gridlock in Bogotá" concluded, " Bogotá's rapid growth resulted in complicated commuting patterns, severe congestion and a deteriorating transportation network. The traditional bus system was chaotic, with too many buses, poor conditions, and no organized stops."

In 2001, the city began building a BRT system, the TransMilenio. It created new bus stations that look like above-ground subway stops and work much like railroad stations. Wide bus lanes run down in the middle of the street, physically cordoned off from other traffic. The buses are elongated and have multiple doors that are flush to the curb for easier boarding. Electronic, real-time signs display the bus schedule; and fares are collected before boarding. TransMilenio, which was completed in about three years, has significantly decreased traffic, improved air quality and reduced road accidents. It has proved so successful that it has served as a model for other large cities around the world, including Los Angeles, London, and Paris.

New York Tries to Catch Up
New York has lagged behind many cities, including Bogotá, London and Paris, but it has launched some pilot programs to speed its buses. Last summer, the Department of Transportation painted existing bus lanes bright red in areas of Manhattan and the Bronx. Russianoff believes this will have a positive impact.

"While we do have lanes that are supposed to be 'bus-only,' they are not respected or enforced," he said, "this will remind people these lanes have a special purpose."

Dedicated bus lanes, particularly those without physical barriers, such as the painted ones must be enforced to be effective, especially without physical barriers.

Democratic New York State Senator, Liz Krueger wants cameras placed on the outside of the buses. "We're never going to have a transit cop on every corner, nor would we want one," she said. "But mounting cameras on buses and streets would make it easy to track down violators who drive or park in the bus lanes, much as they do now at red lights and tunnels."

Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a non-profit organization that promotes travel by means other than cars, wants a more ambitious dedicated lane system mirroring Bogotá's. He thinks bus riders are entitled to it.

"Since there are more bus riders then car riders and one bus can carry more than 10 times the number of passengers as a car. Why shouldn't they be a priority for street space?" he asked.

Broadway's Bus Bulbs
Not everyone agrees with White, however. This spring, "bus bulbs" were introduced on lower Broadway, at Spring Street and Walker Street. Taking the name from their London counterparts, the bulbs call for extending sidewalks about 10 feet into the street. This lets buses load passengers without having to pull over to the curb.

"The reason bus bulbs work is because the bus can maintain a straight trajectory while it's completing its route," White said. In New York for buses to waste time pulling into bus stops, especially when several buses arrive at once.

Like dedicated bus lines, bulbs take space from other vehicles in order to speed up bus transport. Some residents and shop owners say this only makes existing congestion worse.

"I'm not sure what the goal is," said Albert Capsouto, owner of Capsouto Freres restaurant in Tribeca. "I guess if they're trying to make driving down here completely intolerable, then I'd call it a success."

That was exactly the idea Paris' mayor had in 2001, when he vowed to reduce traffic and improve air quality in the auto-centric city. "What Paris has done right is to make it awful to get around by car and awfully easy to get around by public transportation," the Times reported last summer.

Despite the cynics, more bus bulbs are currently under construction on Broadway.

Erratic Service
Buses can spend 20 percent of their time stuck at red lights or in traffic, and another 30 percent loading passengers. "Waiting 15 minutes for a bus to come, or watching a bus pull away and not knowing when the next one will come is the biggest frustration for many riders," said White. It seems either there are no buses at all, or three buses show up in a bunch, causing delays as each bus loads and unloads passengers. Either way, you wait.

Bus Priority Signaling, now being tested in Staten Island, allows better coordination between buses and traffic lights and so could help address some of the delays. If a bus is running late, a green light can be extended until the bus makes it through the intersection, so the bus can stay on schedule.

In addition, New York City Transit has begun testing Global Positioning Systems on buses and adding real-time electronic signs at bus stops that show when the next bus really will arrive. The technology is being tried out at along the city's busiest bus route, running on First and Second Avenues.

"The benefits are twofold," said Krueger, whose district includes the bus stops. "It's very valuable for people at the bus stops to have information about when the next bus is pulling up." More importantly, she said, "it provides a coherent and logical pattern of bus traffic, with one central office sending buses where they are needed at a particular time or given a particular circumstance." This provides valuable flexibility in the event of is gridlock, bus bunching, or a burst steam pipe. "For New York City, GPS is huge," Krueger said.

Quicker Boarding
Krueger, White and Russianoff would all like to see changes in the current fare collection method. On-board MetroCard fare collection is time consuming and cumbersome. Most cities collect bus fares prior to boarding to reduce wait time.

Modifications to the buses themselves - creating longer buses to accommodate more riders, additional doors for entering and exiting, and lower floors - would make it easier for passenger, particularly the elderly and disabled, to board and so cut the amount of time buses spend at bus stops.

A Time for Testing
A spokesperson for the transportation department said it is studying the effectiveness of the current pilot programs, and hope to have a report early this year. Officials are exploring other alternatives, as well. The city plans to have five BRT routes, one in each borough, by 2009.

Whatever form New York City's BRT will ultimately take is still unknown. But, clearly, something has to be done. The more attractive we make the buses as a choice of transportation, and discourage other vehicles, the more likely we are to alleviate the congestion that makes New Yorker's wonder whether they should walk or have time to take the bus.

http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/transportation/20080116/16/2407/

LAofAnaheim
Jan 21, 2008, 7:53 AM
^ LA needs to work on its bus traffic as well. We need to start promoting the need for Bus-Only lanes in this city. How many times do I drive around and see FIVE FREAKIN LANES dedicated to single passenger cars. Can't one of them be 'bus-only'? Oops...we cannot disrupt the single passenger car, b/c that's more efficient (LA mentality). Our Rapid system is NOT BRT. We need bus-only lanes to complement our rail sytem.

dragonsky
Jan 22, 2008, 5:04 AM
Yes on 91

Proposition 91

1182. (SA2005RF0123)

Transportation Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Proponent: James Earp, c/o Richard D. Martland (916) 446-6752

Prohibits retention of funds earmarked for the Transportation Investment Fund in the General Fund for use unrelated to transportation after 7/1/08. Requires repayment by 6/30/17 of transportation funds retained in the General Fund in years prior to 2007-08. Eliminates General Fund borrowing of specified transportation funds, except for cash-flow purposes (repayment required within 30 days of adoption of budget); current law allows borrowing for three years where Governor declares transfer would cause significant negative fiscal impact on governmental functions and Legislature enacts authorizing statute. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: No revenue or cost effects. Increases stability of funding to transportation in 2007-08 and thereafter; reduces somewhat the state’s flexibility to use specified transportation funds for other (nontransportation) activities. (SA2005RF0123) (Full Text)

LongBeachUrbanist
Jan 23, 2008, 4:33 PM
^ Yes, excellent proposal!!!

suga
Jan 24, 2008, 6:21 PM
^
Wasnt that the prop that also ensures money goes to roads at the expense of public transit funding?

LAsam
Jan 24, 2008, 9:29 PM
^
Wasnt that the prop that also ensures money goes to roads at the expense of public transit funding?

That's what I had heard at one point too... though I'm having difficulty finding the support...

BrighamYen
Jan 25, 2008, 10:25 AM
:haha: :haha: :haha:

Damien is interested in coalition building as long as you completely agree with him.

He just told you how mature he is, and how lazy you are! So back off, all you ignoramuses!!!

Whatever you do, don't tell him he's wrong...he's armed with a boxload of statistics! (Never mind that, separated from logic and perspective, statistics can be used to justify invalid arguments and therefore represents a rotten foundation for developing public policy.)

Sorry if I sound bitter, but I have seen enough of this condescending "argument" to last me a lifetime.

BTW, "suffice" is a verb, not an adjective.


lol

sopas ej
Jan 25, 2008, 9:20 PM
From the Pasadena Star News:

Setback for Gold Line extension

MTA board leaves project off funding list
By Fred Ortega, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 01/24/2008 10:37:49 PM PST


LOS ANGELES - Top regional transit officials voted unanimously Thursday to leave the Gold Line extension off a critical funding list, dealing a setback to plans for a 24-mile rail link between Pasadena and Montclair.
The 13-member Metropolitan Transportation Authority board effectively delayed construction of the $1.4 billion project until at least the end of 2009, subject to final approval of the regional funding list by mid-year.

Supporters of the extension had hoped to break ground before year's end, with initial service to Azusa and Glendora by late 2009, said authority CEO Habib Balian.

"But all this will add time to the project, causing a six-month to a year delay," said Balian. "We won't be able to get started when we wanted to."

The Metro Board voted to keep the Gold Line on a secondary list of strategic but unfunded projects within a draft long-range plan. The draft list approved Thursday faces a 45-day public review, with the board to vote on a final plan in June.

The Gold Line project needs placement on the MTA's primary list of funded projects to be considered for matching federal grants.

There is still a possibility for projects like the Gold Line to make it onto that primary list, said MTA Board member Richard Katz.

"It is a mistake to assume this (draft) long-range plan is written in stone at this point," he said. "The list may change as it goes forward."

Metro Board member John Fasana, a Duarte councilman, left open the possibility of getting the Gold Line on the primary list by delaying the allocation of $169 million in state funds until the board votes on the final version of the long-range plan in June. Officials hope some of that money could be used to provide local funding for the line.
Calls to Fasana following the meeting were not returned Thursday.

Fasana was backed by Board Vice Chair Antonio Villaraigosa in deferring the allocation of the funds, which come from the Proposition 1B transportation bonds approved by voters in November 2006. While Metro staffers are recommending the bulk of that money go to bus purchases and retrofits, they have left room for some of the funds to be spent on "miscellaneous transit projects," which could include the Gold Line.

The fact that some of that Prop. 1B money could still be used to provide the local funding needed to get the Gold Line on the primary list was heartening to Nick Conway, executive director of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

"That is progress, and I think that is a good sign for the Gold Line and the San Gabriel Valley that we are going to persevere and make this dream a reality," said Conway, who characterized delays on a project of the Gold Line's magnitude as "inevitable."

Rep. Hilda Solis said Wednesday she hoped the Gold Line would make the top list.

Solis, D-El Monte, said she and other Congress members had met with Villaraigosa last week and that he had expressed support for the project and its potential to link the rest of Los Angeles County via rail to Ontario International Airport, thereby relieving congestion at LAX.

"I am very disappointed that the MTA failed to recognize the importance of the Metro Gold Line extension in today's vote," Solis said Thursday. "I have worked for years to balance the transportation needs of our region, and I'll continue to push this important project along with my colleagues in Congress and other local officials."

A spokesperson for Villaraigosa did not return calls Thursday.

The project also found itself below Villaraigosa's favored "Subway to the Sea" on the secondary long-range plan list, which Metro officials said was organized according to "performance ranking," or the chances each project has to secure additional funding.

The Gold Line's environmental studies and preliminary designs have been completed and all rights-of-way have been acquired, unlike the mid-Wilshire-to-Santa Monica subway plan.

Gold Line supporters hope to secure up to $320 million in matching federal grants and $80 million in local funds for the $400 million cost of extending the existing line from Pasadena to Azusa.

A secondary leg from Azusa to Montclair is slated to begin operation by 2014, and officials are conducting a $500,000 study to examine extending the line's terminus to Ontario International Airport.

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/rds_search/ci_8071622?IADID=Search-www.pasadenastarnews.com-www.pasadenastarnews.com

luckyeight
Jan 31, 2008, 8:58 AM
Maglev rail plan for L.A. gets initial OK
By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 01/30/2008 10:30:07 PM PST



A massive plan to accelerate transportation in the region with a $26 billion high-speed train system received initial approval from the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday as it created a joint-powers agreement with neighboring cities.

The move marked the first step in negotiations to solidify an Atlanta-based firm's proposal to construct a magnetic-levitation train system that would start at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, run through downtown and eventually reach Ontario Airport.

Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith said American Maglev Technology would foot the bill for the system and has been working with the Southern California Association of Governments on its proposal.

SCAG is prohibited from working on construction projects and asked Los Angeles to form the joint-powers authority with West Covina and Ontario.

"Our role will be to make sure all the rights-of-way are secured," Smith said. "All the costs are to be paid for by American Maglev and they said they can complete the first spur in three years from the ports to downtown."

The move is the latest to try to ease transit in the region.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handle roughly 43 percent of the nation's imports and make up the world's fifth-largest port complex, handling some $300 billion worth of goods in 14 million containers every year.

But more than 16,000 trucks travel through the Los Angeles port every day, clogging the 710 Freeway and other thoroughfares.
Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a $15 billion Goods Movement Action Plan, with some 200 projects designed to improve transit in California.

The recommended projects include operational changes such as staggering the times for vessel departures and arrivals; expanding the labor force at the ports; and using ships rather than rail and trucks to transport goods between Southern and Northern California.

Infrastructure projects include grade separations along the Alameda Corridor so trains and passenger vehicles do not have to slow down at crossings; widening freeways to the Mexican border; and building truck-only lanes on major trade corridors.

Meanwhile, a $9.95 billion bond measure is set to be on the November ballot to fund initial work on a 700-mile high-speed rail system from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The first phase of that project would begin in Orange County and run through Los Angeles. The measure requires a simple majority vote, a California High Speed Rail authority spokesman said.

The project the council voted on Wednesday envisions a magnetic-levitation train that is suspended, guided and propelled by electromagnetic force.

While American Maglev is a relatively new company, it has a prototype system in Atlanta. Company officials did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

But Alan Wapner, an Ontario council member and head of the SCAG Transportation Committee, said the project has a long way to go before final approval.

"It hasn't gone under any kind of scrutiny and we aren't sure how valid the proposal is," Wapner said. "American Maglev has proved their technology, but we want to see more on whether it can be done.

"The advantage they have over other firms is they are offering to pay to build the system."

Wapner said the firm originally wanted to be involved only in cargo transportation, but SCAG insisted that it include a passenger component.

"These are things the JPA will look at, but we still have to determine the makeup of that group, who will staff it and how it will operate," Wapner said.

Smith said American Maglev is hoping to recoup its cost primarily through the transportation of cargo and has plans to extend its north-south line to Barstow, which would allow the city to create a stop at Palmdale International Airport.

City officials are working with airlines to encourage that the Palmdale facility be used for more cargo operations.

"Also, we have heard there is interest by Disneyland to try to get a connection to the line and we have also heard some of the tribes in the desert area are interested in working on this," Smith said.

If the plan moves forward, American Maglev has said it would open a Los Angeles office - it has already formed a local company called EMMI Logistics Solutions Inc. - as a headquarters and would hire 200 people.

Smith said much of the firm's work also is done in Santa Fe Springs, which could lead to additional local hiring.

Smith said company officials believe they can build the system at a cost of $13 million to $16 million a mile - about one-third the cost of other companies.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the city's representative on the Southern California Regional Airport Authority, suggested that group also be consulted on the project.

Smith, who is the city's representative to SCAG, said he has been working on the proposal for more than a year as the regional government agency has studied various ways to develop a rail system through the area.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn suggested that the Alameda Corridor Authority be brought into the negotiations.

"I'm not sure this will be built in our lifetime, but maybe, maybe," Hahn said. "This is a very important concept for our region. There is the people aspect to this, but the biggest benefit could be cargo.

"We all know the truck traffic from the port causes congestion and pollution."

:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:

Echo Park
Jan 31, 2008, 6:20 PM
Good news, both for dumping the SGV gold line extension and the maglev to the ports.

17 possible routes for the "Subway to the Sea" (via LAist)

http://laist.com/attachments/la_zach/LAist-Metro-westsidemap-lg.jpg

Lets build them all :P

Echo Park
Jan 31, 2008, 6:26 PM
personally this is the route i prefer if i had to choose one (in blue)

http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/1991/38004782pf4.jpg

Quixote
Jan 31, 2008, 7:52 PM
^ We need both a Wilshire and a Santa Monica alignment.

DaveofCali
Jan 31, 2008, 8:17 PM
Who here is coming to the Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study meeting today at 6pm to 8pm at the LACMA?

Vangelist
Feb 1, 2008, 1:46 AM
I'm going to the West Hollywood one next week. Anyone going to that one?

They're all identical, but this may be the LAST TIME we can voice our desires as to how the routes should be to the MTA in decades. They're set to announce a plan later this spring.

I personally like the idea of that SMB to San Vicente line curving around the Bev Center area and then connecting to Wilshire. Santa Monica Blvd / the Red Line cannot be left off this expansion opportunity

JDRCRASH
Feb 5, 2008, 5:21 AM
Apparantly construction on the Expo Line is slowing down.....great.

LAofAnaheim
Feb 5, 2008, 8:10 AM
^ A water pipe relocating is not going to stop the entire line. They have plenty of other activities to do on the Expo line.

Wright Concept
Feb 5, 2008, 2:08 PM
There's more than that going on!

dragonsky
Feb 6, 2008, 2:41 AM
Wilshire bus-lanes plan to get $23.3 million from FTA
Local money is already in hand to complete the $27-million project and the lanes could open by early 2011, MTA says.

By Steve Hymon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
10:33 AM PST, February 5, 2008

The Federal Transit Administration announced today that it would award $23.3 million over the next two years to help fund bus lanes on a portion of Wilshire Boulevard through the heavily congested Westside.

The lanes will be used during the morning and evening rush hours and would stretch from the Santa Monica-Los Angeles boundary to Valencia Street, which is just west of downtown Los Angeles. The project does not include the part of Wilshire that traverses the city of Beverly Hills.

Rex Gephart, director of regional transit planning for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said that his agency did not have time to consult Beverly Hills officials before the application deadline last fall. He said that local money is in hand to complete the $27-million project and the lanes could open by early 2011.

The bus lanes will be next to the curb, and private vehicles making right-hand turns will be allowed in them. City of Los Angeles transportation officials have estimated that the lanes will allow buses to improve their average speed during rush hour from below 12 miles per hour to about 16 mph and shave up to 12 minutes off a bus trip between Santa Monica and downtown.

Also today, FTA Administrator Sherry Little announced that the federal government had committed $50 million next year to continue preliminary work on a planned 22.7-mile extension of Metrolink commuter rail service that would connect the cities of Riverside and Perris.

BrighamYen
Feb 10, 2008, 1:31 PM
City of Los Angeles transportation officials have estimated that the lanes will allow buses to improve their average speed during rush hour from below 12 miles per hour to about 16 mph and shave up to 12 minutes off a bus trip between Santa Monica and downtown.


THAT'S IT???

Although any help is greatly appreciated to improve transit on Wilshire (due to sheer desperation), an ineffective band-aid approach such as this travesty--sold to the public as "evidence" of earnest effort by lackadaisical Metro officials--could backfire when anti-rail proponents reference a failed "bus-only Wilshire lane" as a valid reason not to invest in further transit infrastructure.

Again, I support almost any measure (even bus only lanes) at this point to improve the congestion (mess) on Wilshire, but I'm very concerned about projects like this not living up to their objectives and giving anti-rail advocates unnecessary ammunition...

Damien
Feb 10, 2008, 5:03 PM
City of Los Angeles transportation officials have estimated that the lanes will allow buses to improve their average speed during rush hour from below 12 miles per hour to about 16 mph and shave up to 12 minutes off a bus trip between Santa Monica and downtown.

In the context of benefits and project justification, the question is: is the 12 minute end-to-end time savings enough to attract the additional ridership to off-set the increased traffic congestion and pollution from longer trip times for private vehicles. Keep in mind that most people aren't taking the trip all the way from Downtown to Santa Monica.

I'm real skeptical.

The major problem with bus-only lanes (as we know them in Los Angeles) is that they typically operate in the curb-lane completely reducing their effectiveness, by being forced to compete with private vehicles making right-turns into driveways and streets, and all the cars being forced to wait on pedestrian traffic.

To be effective bus-only lanes need to operate on streets wide enough to create median stations and dedicated permanent lanes, essentially, BRT. And at that point, it's a question of whether light rail would serve more ridership and provide more air quality and environmental benefits than the BRT to justify the increase in construction cost and whether the increased taxes (through more development and services) can justify the maintenance cost.

From my perspective when the kitchen is on fire you don't add more grease to the pan. In Los Angeles, and other similar mega cities (New York, Chicago, Paris, NOT Phoenix, Portland or Minneapolis) the investment for regional transportation has to be for grade separated transit. We're not the type of city that can get away with at-grade rail or BRT, definitely not south of the Santa Monica mountains west of Atlantic Blvd and north of the Century Fwy.

jlrobe
Feb 11, 2008, 12:36 AM
From my perspective when the kitchen is on fire you don't add more grease to the pan. In Los Angeles, and other similar mega cities (New York, Chicago, Paris, NOT Phoenix, Portland or Minneapolis) the investment for regional transportation has to be for grade separated transit. We're not the type of city that can get away with at-grade rail or BRT, definitely not south of the Santa Monica mountains west of Atlantic Blvd and north of the Century Fwy.

I made a long winded post on density on other boards. I thought I would post it here as well.

Los Angeles Density!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Washington DC is the benchmark city. DC has a urban core, and metropolitan population 580,000 and 5.2 million people respectively, and an urban population density of 9,600 ppl/sq mile.

LA has an "city proper", metropolitan, and combined contiguous urbanized area of 4 million, 13 million, and 17.5 million respectively, with a city proper population desntiy of 8,528 ppl/sq mile. (Here I used the dept of finance estimate because I heard it is more accurate at counting undocumented workers compare to unofficial census bearue data.)

Already, LA is very close in density to Washington DC, however its population is WAY larger in every category.

I took this even a step further.

According to http://www.demographia.com/db-la-distr.htm

The entire population of Houston (2.15 million) live in an urban area of 14,300 pp/sqmi in Los Angeles. That is tremendous population at a tremendous density. LA is like Houston?!? Well Houston's density is only 3,701, so I think not!

Almost the entire population of San Francisco, 728,000, live in an urban area with a density of 22,625 pp/sqmile. This is compared to SF's density of 15,834. So an SF amount of people live in an urban area 50% DENSER than SF. (I am not saying those neighorhoods are more urban than SF. SF has more jobs, more commerce, more wealth, and a much more elegant density. However, one cannot deny how many people call LA's urban core home)

Just looking at the densest tracts is misleading and not a fair comparison. To be somewhat fair, we have to look at a contiguous central core that has tons of industrial and commercial areas to go along with its denset housing tracts.

That leads me to http://www.demographia.com/db-la-area.htm
Which suggests that LA's urban core of 1.8 million people live in a contiguos centralized urban area with a density of 13,665 ppl/sq mile. That is pretty impressive. (This does not take into account that LA has grown, according to dept of finance, by 11% from 3.6 millon to over 4 million. My projected current population density is thus 15,193. I am certain this is wrong because the valley has grown faster than the central area.)

Using a slightly different definition of urban core via http://www.demographia.com/db-la-sector.htm
One will find that LA has a population of 1.57 million people with a density of
density of over 15,534 ppl/sq mile. (17,243 in 2008 using same assumptions.)

This is all very impressive. Still, what's more impressive is that cities like Philly, Boston, DC, and Chicago have VERY dense cores followed by pretty sparse suburbs. Not only is LA's core substantially dense as noted above, but LA also has significantly dense contiguous inner and outer "suburbs".

In fact, according to http://www.demographia.com/db-2000porphxla.htm
12 million people live in an urban area of a very moderate 7,000 ppl/sq mile. 12 million people make up the seventh largest state in the entire US, and they live in area denser than most normal cities! In fact, if it were only a little larger, LA's dense urban area would be the largest state in the US after Florida, NY, Texas, and of course CA! Again, living in a dense area of 7,000 ppl/sq mile. Aside from NYC, no other urban area in the US can even come close to boasting this amount of adjacent urbanization.

Suburbs such as Long Beach, Santa Monica, Inglewood, etc. are denser than Washington DC. In fact, Long Beach is denser than Washington DC, and has nearly the same population at 492,912 (based on dept of finance).

Laslty, I wanted to pass along this EXCELLENT SUMMARY of how LA differs from cities like Portland or Houston http://www.demographia.com/db-porla.htm

Many cities like portland have trolleys, light rail, huge biking infrastructure and a thriving new urbanism movement. People like Joel kotkin and the LA times will try to convince you that LA can copy these city's urban policies. They contend that LA is no where near like Chicago, and thus should not have any truly urban policies. They know tremendous swaths of Los Angeles are dense, but they don't share that with the public. Instead they quote LA's moderate OVERALL density, which include 130 sq miles of sparley populated mountain and the pacifc ocean, in the hope of making people think LA should lean more towards suburban planning instead of true urban planning. They always show pictures of Manhattan or quote Manhattan densities in order to prove that urban planning of any kind doesnt belong on the west coast. They don't want to tell you that comparing most cities to Manhattan is misleading at best. They dont want to mention more modest urban cities like Toronto, Washington DC, Boston, and Philly that are very similar to LA in terms of commercial and residential density and total numbers. They purposefully forget to mention that Atlanta, Philly, Toronto, Boston, and The East Bay all have extensive subway systems. They justify LA's sloppy suburban driven planning by citing success stories in Portland when they know good and well that Portland isnt even as dense as the Valley! The above URL does a decent job of summing up what I have known for years.

Out of fairness, I want to mention that altough LA is extremely dense in many areas, what also matters is JOB density. I have yet to find a site that breaks down job density, but it would be very interesting to do a similar breakdown. Also, LA is not as centralized as many other areas, although it does have more centralization than many urban planners care to admit.

LA has needed and deserved mass transit and better urban zoning for decades, but lies spread by those in power and the press have convinced people that LA is just as sprawled as Phoenix.

Echo Park
Feb 15, 2008, 6:43 AM
here is a weird article that makes Damien out to be some staunch anti-rail NIMBY

http://www.lacitybeat.com/cms/story/detail/derailing_l_a/6704/

You only have on shot at these lines so why not do it right? Because once you build rail right, and once you demonstrate to communities and neighborhoods that the rail system can function without problems to the neighborhood, then not a single NIMBY would have a leg to stand on. I thought this article was really moronic.

Quixote
Feb 19, 2008, 3:06 AM
From SSC:

draft long range plan update:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2207/2270340804_97d6530bdd_o.jpg

full pdf
http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2008/01_January/20080116P&PItem54Revised.pdf

Wright Concept
Feb 19, 2008, 7:11 PM
In Sunday's LA Times

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gasdemand18feb18,1,6233051,full.story (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gasdemand18feb18,1,6233051,full.story)
From the Los Angeles Times
ENERGY

Fewer drivers over a barrel
In carpools, on bikes or at home, people are breaking gasoline's grip
By Ronald D. White
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

February 18, 2008

Sun Valley legal secretary James Eric Freedner got fed up with high gasoline prices.

He put his 2003 Toyota Tacoma truck in the garage and switched to a Honda Nighthawk motorcycle for weekday commutes to Beverly Hills. He stopped driving to the beach on weekends and cut back on trips to Hanford and Fresno to check on properties he manages. He began grouping errands into one trip each Saturday.

The trade-offs Freedner has made in the last year haven't necessarily made him happy, but they've reduced his gasoline consumption nearly 50%. And although he admits to feeling jittery traveling freeways on the Nighthawk, all the changes are permanent, unless gas returns to $2.50 a gallon.

"The price was just eating up what I earned," said Freedner, 57. "This is the best thing I can do to make ends meet."

Americans are getting serious about using less gasoline, confounding some economists who have argued that most people can't reduce their driving much because they have to get to and from work and make those necessary trips such as shopping and chauffeuring their children around.

The truth is more complicated, according to some energy experts: When the price reaches a certain threshold or the driving reaches a peak point of aggravation, people are willing to give up personal space and independence.

"There is an awful lot of what might be called discretionary driving," said Edward Leamer, an economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast. "Raise the price high enough, and you will see that there is a lot more that people can do."

For some, the next drop in prices won't be enough to send them back to their old driving habits.

"The trend will be toward more lasting conservation and longer-term savings if they are not just reacting to prices and have instead made a decision to change," said Bruce Bullock, executive director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business in Dallas.

In California, the nation's biggest fuel market, drivers have been burning through less gasoline than they had the year before for six straight quarters. From July through September, the most recent data available, Californians used 46.2 million fewer gallons, or 1.1% less than in the year-earlier period.

Consider ridership figures for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.

For seven years, nothing was able to displace Oct. 4, 2000, when the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics baseball teams were gunning for a pennant. BART set a single-day ridership record with 374,900 passengers.

That peak was eclipsed in 2007, and has been beaten so often that it no longer ranks among the top 10 ridership days. The new record, 389,400, was set Aug. 31.

Ridership on the buses and trains run by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority dropped overall in 2007, but officials said that was the result of a fare increase in July. Before that, boardings had been on the rise.

The MTA's Orange Line has seen daily ridership grow from just under 15,500 in 2005 to nearly 21,500 last year.

In its annual state of the region report, released in December, the Southern California Assn. of Governments noted that the share of commuters who drove alone had dropped in 2005 and 2006, from 76.7% to 74.1%, reversing steady increases from 2000 through 2004.

With gasoline prices doubling since 2003, motorists nationwide are conserving fuel by taking fewer trips, driving slower and paying premiums for the most fuel-efficient vehicles, the Congressional Budget Office said in a recent report.

Kimra Haskell, a mathematics professor at USC, began bicycling to work six months ago.

She had many reasons. Sometimes she felt a shooting pain in her driving leg. She wanted to make a statement about the Iraq war and U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The California lifestyle of driving everywhere for everything -- even to exercise at a gym -- had left her too dependent on her aging 1993 Honda Accord.

She made her trial run from Eagle Rock to USC on a clunky, old Schwinn mountain bike. On the return trip of the 26-mile ride, uphill, she was ready to abandon the bike by the side of the road. But she persevered, bought a sleek, Italian Bianchi Volpe bicycle and is building up to cycling to work five days a week.

Gas prices were only part of the story, Haskell, 43, said. "It was mainly the effects on my health, on the time it took out of my life, the stress of dealing with the traffic."

Antipollution regulations are altering habits, too. California's air-quality rules demand that employers with 250 or more workers takes steps to reach a 1.5-1 passenger-vehicle ratio, or about 34 cars for every 50 employees.

At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, there are perks for ride sharing. About 8,000 full-time and contract employees work on a campus with only 4,000 parking spaces, said John Miranda, JPL's employee transportation coordinator.

Drive to JPL alone, and you'll have to walk a few blocks from an off-site parking lot, Miranda said. Sharing the ride with one person earns an unassigned space on the JPL campus, he said. Three or more to a car hits the jackpot: an assigned parking space on campus.

One who didn't have to be sold was Shadan Ardalan, 39, who serves as navigator of the Cassini space probe's mission to Saturn. Mornings and evenings, Ardalan navigates a van pool in a leased Ford, taking co-workers to and from the Redondo Beach area.

"Driving alone was a huge stress, a lot of wear and tear on the psyche," Ardalan said.

Bad news at the pump has been good for business at Troy, Mich.-based VPSI Inc., which leases six- to 14-passenger vans to businesses, governments and transit agencies.

The company charges $900 to $1,200 a month for the vans, which allow employees to leave their cars at home. Employees with good safety records serve as drivers for their pools.

After averaging between 5% and 6% annual growth for much of its history, Chief Executive Jeff Henning said, VPSI has grown 10% or more on average nationally since 2005. Southern California had the fastest expansion in 2007 at 13%, although it takes extra to entice Southlanders.

Although most of the vans leased by VPSI customers in other parts of the nation are utilitarian at best, California van pools tend to carry more expensive accouterments, such as high-backed, individually reclining seats, said Jim Appleby, VPSI's manager for Southern California.

"It takes a little bit more to get people out of their cars here," Appleby said.

Sometimes, the answer can be as easy as changing work hours and offering an incentive.

To encourage carpooling, Hilario Navarro, president of 36-employee Bonanza Foods & Provisions Inc. in Vernon, rearranged schedules of six workers who lived in West Covina. In January, he handed out $100 prepaid gasoline cards to the first two drivers of the month.

Now, there are often just two vehicles on the road to work from West Covina, with three riders each.

But less gasoline guzzling isn't the only fringe benefit, Navarro said. It has changed the climate of his workplace as well.

"They arrive happier now," he said, "with more energy."

ron.white@latimes.com (ron.white@latimes.com)

yerfdog
Feb 19, 2008, 10:07 PM
Suburbs such as Long Beach, Santa Monica, Inglewood, etc. are denser than Washington DC. In fact, Long Beach is denser than Washington DC, and has nearly the same population at 492,912 (based on dept of finance).

Keep in mind that Washington DC has block after block of 8 to 12 story buildings in which no one lives (haha, except for the White House...). Those mid-rises with huge job density and 0 population take up a large portion of the actual area of Washington DC.

Long Beach has nothing like that kind of extended dense job cluster. Even Downtown LA might have less jobs than the main government/business district of Washington DC.

That somewhat throws off the comparison. I know you mentioned job density in your post, but the job density also affects the population density in some sort of vaguely inverse relationship.

Wright Concept
Feb 22, 2008, 6:00 PM
Crenshaw light-rail route picked
By Gene Maddaus Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/21/2008 10:10:48 PM PST

While the "subway to the sea" has dominated the discussion of the future of transit in Los Angeles County, officials are laying the groundwork for a project that has gotten much less attention: a light-rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard.

The Crenshaw line would connect the Expo Line to the Green Line, and pass within a mile of Los Angeles International Airport. It has a higher priority than a subway extension along Wilshire Boulevard and, unlike the Wilshire line, it has committed funding.

This week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it has also settled on a preferred route for the Crenshaw line, bringing it closer to reality.

At a community meeting Wednesday night, MTA officials released a plan to run the line along existing track through an industrial area of Inglewood, avoiding the city's main commercial thoroughfares.

Roderick Diaz, the project manager, said cost had been a major consideration. That drew some fire from community members, who accused the staffers of skimping on the line, which could make it harder for passengers to use.

"It doesn't maximize the benefit of being in Inglewood," said Councilman Danny Tabor. "Don't let cost be the driving factor. Ridership is what you're going to need in the long run to make anything profitable." The MTA also has shelved the idea of extending the Crenshaw Line north to link up with the existing subway terminus at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.

Diaz said that Crenshaw becomes too narrow north of Exposition and that the surrounding neighborhood is incompatible with rail transit.
That means the entirety of the Crenshaw Line will be south of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, and its only link to downtown Los Angeles will be via the Expo Line, which is now under construction.

The MTA's proposal is to build track along Crenshaw Boulevard from Exposition Boulevard to just north of Florence Avenue, passing through bustling commercial areas in Leimert Park and Hyde Park.

The line would then turn west to pick up existing freight track, passing through Inglewood and over the San Diego Freeway. It would turn south and run through a trench as it passed LAX, before linking up with the existing Green Line station at Aviation Boulevard.

The project is still many years away, but the MTA staff is beginning the process of reaching out to the local communities for reaction in advance of preparing an environmental report, which should be finalized in 2010.

One of the most tantalizing possibilities is that the Crenshaw Line could provide rail access to LAX. That would require the cooperation of Los Angeles World Airports, which has periodically considered building a "people mover" to carry passengers between the terminals and a rail station.
In a letter last fall, LAWA officials encouraged the MTA to strongly consider the needs of air passengers when deciding where to put the Crenshaw Line. Specifically, LAWA floated the possibility of a terminal at Century Boulevard and Aviation, where the rail line, bus lines and a people mover could converge.

The MTA's recommended route would keep that option alive, though the idea of a central passenger collection point has been criticized because it might create a potential terrorism target. The concept has been dormant since Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was elected.

Another key element of the MTA plan is that Crenshaw trains would be able to use Green Line and Expo Line tracks - meaning that passengers could take a train from home in Leimert Park to work in El Segundo without having to switch trains. That would not be possible if the MTA had chosen to run the track along Prairie Avenue or Hawthorne Boulevard to the Green Line, as some in Inglewood would have preferred. Had the MTA chosen that route, Crenshaw passengers would have had to get off the train and go to a different platform to catch the Green Line, as is now required at the intersection of the Green Line and the Blue Line in Watts.

The MTA's decision also means that the track will not stretch down into Hawthorne. An earlier proposal called for the line to extend as far south as Hawthorne and El Segundo boulevards, but that is now off the table.
Several Inglewood officials have urged the MTA to bring the train along the city's busiest boulevards. Some have suggested turning south at Prairie Avenue and then west at Century Boulevard, which would allow the train to pass by LAX while also cutting through the heart of Inglewood's commercial area. Diaz suggested that such a detour would cost an extra $500 million to $800 million. As is, the project is expected to cost $1 billion to $1.6 billion.

The MTA is also considering a cheaper option: building a dedicated busway along the existing freight lines. That idea, however, has considerably less public support. The MTA is now soliciting public comment on where to place bus or rail stations.
gene.maddaus@dailybreeze.com (gene.maddaus@dailybreeze.com)

WANT TO GO?
The MTA will hold two more community meetings to hear public comment on the Crenshaw Line:

10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles.

6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Wilshire United Methodist Church 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.

Wright Concept
Feb 22, 2008, 6:16 PM
No West Hollywood Subway
For a brief moment, it looked like West Hollywood might have had a subway running under Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax to Beverly Hills.
February 14, 2008 – Op-ed By Steve Martin, West Hollywood
West Hollywood, California (February 14, 2008) -
Steve Martin is a local attorney, sits on the board of WEHONA and is a former city council member.


Our City Council had visions of creating subway-supported mega-developments along Santa Monica. But the meeting in Plummer Park on January 30th pretty much dashed that dream--or nightmare--as the case may be.

Last fall, allegedly in response to calls by West Hollywood Council members, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, (the MTA), hosted a public hearing on extending the subway from Hollywood and Highland down to Fairfax and Santa Monica and then along Santa Monica Boulevard to Beverly Hills and the sea.
Three Council members made appearances. John Heilman used the meeting to castigate the MTA for ignoring West Hollywood’s main street as a potential subway route. For West Hollywood residents, the current subway route is close, but not quite close enough.

The nearest stations are at Hollywood and Highland and at Wilshire and Western. For most residents of the Westside, the existing subway is irrelevant.

It’s just not practical for the average commuter. Thus the community consensus for extending the subway westward. The fact that the Westside of Los Angeles has become such a major economic engine for the City and County of Los Angeles, a subway to the sea is not longer an issue that can be ignored. The “Westside” as defined by the MTA study was the area from Western on the east to the sea, between Pico and Sunset. With a current population of half a million souls, the area is expected to grow to by at least sixty thousand within the next twenty-five years.

While that growth may not compare to the explosive growth in the Inland Empire, it is impressive given that fact that the Westside is pretty much built out. The projection that tantalizes transit bureaucrats and politicians alike is the projected growth in the number of jobs; in the next twenty-five years, the number of jobs created on the Westside is expected to grow from 480,000 to 560,000 – nearly 15 percent.

That means that everyone expects more development that is commercial. Big development. Unfortunately, not everyone living on the Westside works here and not everyone working on the Westside can afford to live here.
In fact, it’s not even close. So there is a huge potential for eighty thousand more vehicles squeezed on to our streets.

The MTA was projecting a 17% increase in traffic by 2030. MTA officials seemed confident that such a level of traffic would lead to the sort of gridlock that would finally force Angelinos into public transportation. So, why put a subway under Santa Monica Boulevard rather than Wilshire? After all, Wilshire has thousands of more jobs than Santa Monica Boulevard and it is more central to the residents of the Westside. Indeed the MTA’s own figures on the number of people currently using public transportation along the two thoroughfares seemed to tell the whole story: 30,000 bus riders on Santa Monica versus 60,000 on Wilshire.

So why were West Hollywood officials so worked up about the possibility of a subway under Santa Monica? Had the MTA lost the political will to combat the opposition to building the subway under Wilshire? Even the Los Angeles Times seemed to think that the MTA was serious about a West Hollywood subway. Clearly at least two of our Council members, John Heilman and Abbe Land, were West Hollywood boosters. Of course, you expect small town elected officials to be parochial, it’s an occupational hazard, but I just didn’t see why Santa Monica would be a superior route to Wilshire. Our City Council was looking at a subway as the perfect solution for getting around those pesky traffic studies that seem to work against their plans for large-scale development along Santa Monica Boulevard.

West Hollywood officials were pushing subway stations at Fairfax, La Cienga and San Vicente. They could then rationalize allowing ten story mega-structures to be built at those intersections because traffic counts won’t matter; people can just take the subway.

It became clear once the meeting got underway on January 30th that the MTA was not seriously considering a Santa Monica Boulevard route. They had six or seven variations on an extension of the route from Highland and Hollywood through West Hollywood to Beverly Hills, utilizing Santa Monica Boulevard. Throughout their presentation, it was clear that they were just going through the motions. The public comments collected at the prior community meetings were running two to one against a West Hollywood route.

The numbers just were not working for West Hollywood.

The purpose of the subway is to get middle class commuters out of their cars. The MTA does not seem to be unduly concerned about the working poor; they are already taking public transportation. The MTA made it very clear that it is not spending billions so that West Hollywood seniors can make an occasional field trip downtown. There is no reason to build a subway unless it gets people to work and cuts traffic during peak commuter times.

Santa Monica Boulevard simply does not have the jobs and we are not conveniently located for most Westside commuters.
About half way through the presentation, the MTA explained that they needed to get at least half on the funding for subway from Washington. They proceeded to go through the criteria that Congress demanded before any funding would be considered.

It then became as clear as day that West Hollywood had been snookered. Federal regulations required the MTA to look at alternate routes to prove that Wilshire was the most feasible.

The MTA number crunchers had to have known that the West Hollywood route could never compete with the Wilshire corridor. The Santa Monica route was simply a bureaucratic exercise - a charade. Near the end of the meeting, the MTA spokesperson thanked the City for use of the park and praised our City officials for their lobbying effort. At that point, I just had to laugh at the irony. The MTA was giving the City the famous Abbe Land speech. You know the speech. It’s her standard “I feel your pain” speech.

The one where she thanks all of the residents for coming out and speaking, and why their input is so important to the City Council’s deliberations? She always makes that speech just as she’s about to ignore our input on favor of another neighborhood destroying development.

The MTA was just giving the City of West Hollywood some of its own condescending blather. I just felt bad that none of the City Council members where actually present to hear it. While West Hollywood might not get a subway station, the process made it clear to the MTA that the public was interested in having the Wilshire line move north to perhaps have stations at the Grove and Cedar/Sinai. These were substantive remarks that may actually impact the MTA’s plans for the subway to the sea. While we may have missed out on our very own West Hollywood station, at least we may yet bring the subway a little closer to home.

Or at least a little closer to reality.

Steve Martin is a local attorney, sits on the board of WEHONA and is a former city council member.

Wright Concept
Feb 22, 2008, 7:48 PM
THAT'S IT???

Although any help is greatly appreciated to improve transit on Wilshire (due to sheer desperation), an ineffective band-aid approach such as this travesty--sold to the public as "evidence" of earnest effort by lackadaisical Metro officials--could backfire when anti-rail proponents reference a failed "bus-only Wilshire lane" as a valid reason not to invest in further transit infrastructure.

Again, I support almost any measure (even bus only lanes) at this point to improve the congestion (mess) on Wilshire, but I'm very concerned about projects like this not living up to their objectives and giving anti-rail advocates unnecessary ammunition...

First, The bus lanes are coming from the City of LA.

Second, the Bus lanes aren't really there to create a long term mini Curtiba goal they're there to improve operations and help reduce a main problem with Wilshire corridor buses called bus bunching. Reducing this bus bunching by as little as 10% on Wilshire Blvd would move the same number of people on 20 fewer 60' rapid buses! With a 20% reduction we can move 35 60' buses out. These Rapid buses would be better allocated to corridors such as Third Street or Venice Blvd where the buses are crowded all day every day.

One of the issues sitting on the Sector I've been trying to push is getting 60' buses on Venice Blvd and a main problem is that their facilities are over burdened as is to handle more 60' buses, if there's a way to use the same resources but use them better then go for it. Wilshire Bus lanes.

Wright Concept
Feb 24, 2008, 6:10 PM
Metro to Hold February Public Meetings for Regional Connector Transit Corridor Study

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting two public meetings for the agency’s Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project February 26 and 28, 2008.

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. 1st Street, Los Angeles
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008: Noon – 1:30 p.m., Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W. 5th Street, Los AngelesThe Project Update Presentation will last approximately 30 minutes, followed by a 60-minute Question and Answer Session for both meetings.

The study analyzes various transit alternatives for the possible connection of the Metro Gold Line, Metro Blue Line and Expo Line through downtown Los Angeles, and considers various transit modes, alignments and station location options for an area that encompasses approximately two square miles of downtown Los Angeles, including the communities of Little Tokyo, the Arts District, the Historic Core, the Toy District, Bunker Hill, the Financial District, the Jewelry District, and the Civic Center.

Metro held two public scoping meetings last November to obtain community input on the scope of the alternatives to be studied in the Alternatives Analysis. Based on feedback from these meetings, Metro has identified some potential alignments and station locations for more detailed technical analysis.

The public is invited to the meetings to receive a status report on the project and to learn about the schedule for future steps.

For more information, visit metro.net/regionalconnector or call 213.922-7277.
Metro-020

Wright Concept
Feb 25, 2008, 4:10 PM
MTA offers plans to smooth rail ties through downtown

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee192/trolltoast/36042071.jpg

Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times
RUSH HOUR: Commuters at the 7th Street Station await Red Line trains.

The MTA is to unveil potential downtown routes on which passengers could travel easily from Pasadena to Long Beach. Transit agency studies creating a rail link of Blue, Gold and Expo lines in downtown L.A. to reduce transfers.
By Cara Mia DiMassa, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 25, 2008


A battle is looming in the depths below downtown Los Angeles as transportation planners try to find a way to smooth out the commute for thousands who take rail into the city center each day.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is studying how to link the three major rail corridors that go into the city center: the Blue Line, the Gold Line and the upcoming Exposition Line.

The idea is to create a rail thoroughfare so that passengers can travel seamlessly from Pasadena to Long Beach -- and eventually from Culver City to East L.A.


There is widespread agreement that linking the rail lines would help commuters, who must switch trains at least once to get through downtown. But some downtown residents worry that part of the rail connection would be above ground, potentially clogging already crowded streets. "It would be a pox for the neighborhood," said Eric Richardson, a member of the Downtown Neighborhood Council and the editor of www.blogdowntown.com (http://www.blogdowntown.com).
Richardson and others want a commitment from the MTA that all rail connections would be underground, which could hike the price of the project.

At two public meetings this week, the MTA is to unveil potential routes through downtown that would fill in the 1.6-mile gap between Union Station and the 7th Street/Metro Center station. Dolores Roybal Saltarelli, transportation planning manager for the MTA, said the routes and potential stops were being determined in large part by input from public meetings held last year.


This "would enable us to allow people to travel all over, depending on the operation, without a transfer. They wouldn't need to use the Red Line, for example, to go from Gold to Blue, the way it is done now."


The MTA's plan is being greeted with praise by commuters tired of transferring to two or three train systems daily.


For Craig Thompson of Altadena, creating a seamless transition through downtown would be "beautiful." Thompson, 50, takes the Gold Line -- and then the Red Line and the Blue Line -- to attend evening classes at L.A. Trade Tech College on West Washington Boulevard.

If the MTA gets its way, he said, "I'd be able to go straight from the Gold Line to the Blue Line, and then a few stops and boom! Right in front of school."

For Tracy Mason, a paralegal, the changes can't happen fast enough. Mason, a Monrovia resident, takes the Gold Line to Union Station every day, then changes to the Red Line to get to her downtown job.

Her law firm, she said, is planning a move next year to new offices near Staples Center, close to the Blue Line's Pico station.

"That would be very helpful," Mason, 46, said of the extension proposal. "That'd be a third train I wouldn't have to take."

Dan Parker, who gave up his car after moving downtown and now relies on public transportation, said he didn't care whether the trains ran above or below ground.

"Anything would be positive if they make that connection," he said. He said he was concerned that having the rails at street level would mean they would run slower than they could below ground.


Blog editor Richardson said he worried that having rail lines running along downtown streets would cause more congestion and ruin the pedestrian feel that downtown boosters are trying to achieve.

A map of potential routes released by the MTA showed one route passing along 2nd Street from Central Avenue to Grand Avenue. That stretch of 2nd Street is fairly narrow, and Richardson wonders how it can accommodate cars, pedestrians and trains.


Downtown boosters are not opposed to all above-ground rail. Officials last month unveiled a plan for a trolley line that would run along Broadway. Backers see the trolley as a way for residents and visitors to quickly navigate the spread-out downtown area, which stretches from the Staples Center area on the south to the Civic Center and Bunker Hill on the north. Broadway, they say, is an ideal location because it is a relatively wide street that already has several major bus lines.

The downtown connection plan is one of several big-ticket rail items the MTA is considering, and it remains unclear which ones will get funding. They include the Subway to the Sea along Wilshire Boulevard, an extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to San Bernardino County and a new light-rail line from Southwest L.A. to El Segundo.


Roybal Saltarelli said that the MTA would conduct a more detailed technical analysis and that she expected to present several alternatives to the agency's board later this year. She said that at that point, officials would have specific cost estimates for each of several alternatives.

If the board approved moving forward, she said, the MTA would conduct an environmental impact report and begin identifying sources of funding for the project.

"It's all still very conceptual," Roybal Saltarelli said. "But it's a starting point."

cara.dimassa@latimes.com

DJM19
Feb 25, 2008, 7:36 PM
It definitely has to be underground.

danparker276
Feb 25, 2008, 10:52 PM
they'll never do it underground. A little tokyo stop would be nice though.

LosAngelesSportsFan
Feb 26, 2008, 1:31 AM
they will definitely do it underground. there is no compelling reason to do it above ground. Everyone is against above ground.

JDRCRASH
Feb 26, 2008, 4:58 AM
No West Hollywood Subway
For a brief moment, it looked like West Hollywood might have had a subway running under Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax to Beverly Hills.
February 14, 2008 – Op-ed By Steve Martin, West Hollywood
West Hollywood, California (February 14, 2008) -
Steve Martin is a local attorney, sits on the board of WEHONA and is a former city council member.


Our City Council had visions of creating subway-supported mega-developments along Santa Monica. But the meeting in Plummer Park on January 30th pretty much dashed that dream--or nightmare--as the case may be.

Last fall, allegedly in response to calls by West Hollywood Council members, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, (the MTA), hosted a public hearing on extending the subway from Hollywood and Highland down to Fairfax and Santa Monica and then along Santa Monica Boulevard to Beverly Hills and the sea.
Three Council members made appearances. John Heilman used the meeting to castigate the MTA for ignoring West Hollywood’s main street as a potential subway route. For West Hollywood residents, the current subway route is close, but not quite close enough.

The nearest stations are at Hollywood and Highland and at Wilshire and Western. For most residents of the Westside, the existing subway is irrelevant.

It’s just not practical for the average commuter. Thus the community consensus for extending the subway westward. The fact that the Westside of Los Angeles has become such a major economic engine for the City and County of Los Angeles, a subway to the sea is not longer an issue that can be ignored. The “Westside” as defined by the MTA study was the area from Western on the east to the sea, between Pico and Sunset. With a current population of half a million souls, the area is expected to grow to by at least sixty thousand within the next twenty-five years.

While that growth may not compare to the explosive growth in the Inland Empire, it is impressive given that fact that the Westside is pretty much built out. The projection that tantalizes transit bureaucrats and politicians alike is the projected growth in the number of jobs; in the next twenty-five years, the number of jobs created on the Westside is expected to grow from 480,000 to 560,000 – nearly 15 percent.

That means that everyone expects more development that is commercial. Big development. Unfortunately, not everyone living on the Westside works here and not everyone working on the Westside can afford to live here.
In fact, it’s not even close. So there is a huge potential for eighty thousand more vehicles squeezed on to our streets.

The MTA was projecting a 17% increase in traffic by 2030. MTA officials seemed confident that such a level of traffic would lead to the sort of gridlock that would finally force Angelinos into public transportation. So, why put a subway under Santa Monica Boulevard rather than Wilshire? After all, Wilshire has thousands of more jobs than Santa Monica Boulevard and it is more central to the residents of the Westside. Indeed the MTA’s own figures on the number of people currently using public transportation along the two thoroughfares seemed to tell the whole story: 30,000 bus riders on Santa Monica versus 60,000 on Wilshire.

So why were West Hollywood officials so worked up about the possibility of a subway under Santa Monica? Had the MTA lost the political will to combat the opposition to building the subway under Wilshire? Even the Los Angeles Times seemed to think that the MTA was serious about a West Hollywood subway. Clearly at least two of our Council members, John Heilman and Abbe Land, were West Hollywood boosters. Of course, you expect small town elected officials to be parochial, it’s an occupational hazard, but I just didn’t see why Santa Monica would be a superior route to Wilshire. Our City Council was looking at a subway as the perfect solution for getting around those pesky traffic studies that seem to work against their plans for large-scale development along Santa Monica Boulevard.

West Hollywood officials were pushing subway stations at Fairfax, La Cienga and San Vicente. They could then rationalize allowing ten story mega-structures to be built at those intersections because traffic counts won’t matter; people can just take the subway.

It became clear once the meeting got underway on January 30th that the MTA was not seriously considering a Santa Monica Boulevard route. They had six or seven variations on an extension of the route from Highland and Hollywood through West Hollywood to Beverly Hills, utilizing Santa Monica Boulevard. Throughout their presentation, it was clear that they were just going through the motions. The public comments collected at the prior community meetings were running two to one against a West Hollywood route.

The numbers just were not working for West Hollywood.

The purpose of the subway is to get middle class commuters out of their cars. The MTA does not seem to be unduly concerned about the working poor; they are already taking public transportation. The MTA made it very clear that it is not spending billions so that West Hollywood seniors can make an occasional field trip downtown. There is no reason to build a subway unless it gets people to work and cuts traffic during peak commuter times.

Santa Monica Boulevard simply does not have the jobs and we are not conveniently located for most Westside commuters.
About half way through the presentation, the MTA explained that they needed to get at least half on the funding for subway from Washington. They proceeded to go through the criteria that Congress demanded before any funding would be considered.

It then became as clear as day that West Hollywood had been snookered. Federal regulations required the MTA to look at alternate routes to prove that Wilshire was the most feasible.

The MTA number crunchers had to have known that the West Hollywood route could never compete with the Wilshire corridor. The Santa Monica route was simply a bureaucratic exercise - a charade. Near the end of the meeting, the MTA spokesperson thanked the City for use of the park and praised our City officials for their lobbying effort. At that point, I just had to laugh at the irony. The MTA was giving the City the famous Abbe Land speech. You know the speech. It’s her standard “I feel your pain” speech.

The one where she thanks all of the residents for coming out and speaking, and why their input is so important to the City Council’s deliberations? She always makes that speech just as she’s about to ignore our input on favor of another neighborhood destroying development.

The MTA was just giving the City of West Hollywood some of its own condescending blather. I just felt bad that none of the City Council members where actually present to hear it. While West Hollywood might not get a subway station, the process made it clear to the MTA that the public was interested in having the Wilshire line move north to perhaps have stations at the Grove and Cedar/Sinai. These were substantive remarks that may actually impact the MTA’s plans for the subway to the sea. While we may have missed out on our very own West Hollywood station, at least we may yet bring the subway a little closer to home.

Or at least a little closer to reality.

Steve Martin is a local attorney, sits on the board of WEHONA and is a former city council member.

edit

JDRCRASH
Feb 26, 2008, 5:04 AM
edit

JDRCRASH
Feb 26, 2008, 5:11 AM
:doh: oops, I thought the whole subway was cancelled............:goodnight:

Wright Concept
Feb 27, 2008, 6:13 AM
From Tuesday's meeting at JANM, saw Colemonkee there!

Forumers,email your comments to the Regional Connector team at regionalconnector@metro.net (regionalconnector@metro.net) in support of the Alternatives 5 and 6

This is my copy, I quickly drew in red circles the surface impacted areas if they build that variation. It's either resident impacts, tight LRV turns or direct proximity to off/on ramps.

In addition, for reference:
Bold Green Line on map means At-grade
Bold Sky blue line means aerial/elevated
Dashed purple means underground

http://i31.tinypic.com/2dqq0x3.jpg

http://i31.tinypic.com/2r2rukh.jpg

http://i26.tinypic.com/ra26ih.jpg

http://i29.tinypic.com/30axc8h.jpg

http://i31.tinypic.com/axi983.jpg

LosAngelesSportsFan
Feb 27, 2008, 7:09 AM
whats the email?

Echo Park
Feb 27, 2008, 7:13 AM
why would the train need to emerge at the surface before 3rd+flower? is that where the old PE tunnels end? obv the very last route would be prefered

Wright Concept
Feb 27, 2008, 7:16 AM
why would the train need to emerge at the surface before 3rd+flower? is that where the old PE tunnels end? obv the very last route would be prefered

Which alternative are you looking at?

For Alternatives 1 and 2 they surface before 3rd Street to take advantage of right of way opportunities since it's operating at-grade.

For Alternative 3 and 4 they surfaces then dips back into a tunnel because of the grade differences between the Second Street tunnel and Flower street and they want to utilize the Second Street tunnel for LRT.

Wright Concept
Feb 27, 2008, 7:17 AM
whats the email?

regionalconnector@metro.net (regionalconnector@metro.net)

LosAngelesSportsFan
Feb 27, 2008, 8:18 PM
thanks!

JDRCRASH
Feb 28, 2008, 5:47 PM
Remember Alameda in the 1990's? We wouldn't want that now, would we?:no:

sopas ej
Feb 29, 2008, 7:36 PM
From mta.net:

Feb. 28. 2008

Metro Board Approves Installation of Barrier Gates for L.A. County Subway System And Selected Light Rail Stations
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board today approved a 10-year, $46 million lease contract with Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. to install barrier gates on the Metro Red Line, Metro Purple Line and selected light rail stations in efforts to prevent fare evasion, provide for seamless travel and improve transit station security.

The Metro Board also approved existing Cubic contract amendments for $12 million over a 10-year period for system maintenance, and $10 million for station modifications needed to relocate existing stand-alone ticket validators and civil work for gating Metro Rail stations. Installation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant system should take 18 to 24 months to complete.

At the direction of the Board, Metro also will seek ways to offset gating costs through various state bond monies and Department of Homeland Security funding, and will provide monthly committee reports to regularly track project timelines and costs.

Currently, Metro operates a barrier-free “honor system.” The agency loses $5.5 million per year due to fare evasion. Overall, Metro has found a 5 percent fare evasion rate across all of its rail lines. The new gating system could recover $3-6 million annually to offset these losses as well as realize significant annual savings on fare inspector costs. Based on current forecasts, the savings enabled by the system will begin to pay for itself in the fourth year of full system operation.

Barrier gates are also a key component of Metro’s emerging regional Transit Access Pass, or TAP program. TAP is an automated, electronic regional fare collection system that will create a multi-modal, multi-operator fare system for L.A. County transit riders. Metro and municipal operators are installing new equipment on both buses and in rail stations to prepare for TAP. In addition to Metro, Culver CityBus became the first regional operator to enable “seamless travel” on TAP this week. CityBus riders can use the TAP pass to transfer seamlessly to Metro using the debit card feature.
Patrons riding additional municipal operators will also soon be able to easily “tap” the fare box or validator with their TAP “smart” card to pay their fares. The system will create more seamless travel for Metro and municipal patrons by allowing them to transfer from one operator to the next, and between transit modes.

Metro’s customer centers have been outfitted to accommodate the sale of Metro monthly and weekly TAP passes. Also selling these Metro products are Foothill Transit and LADOT Stores to support getting TAP into the hands of Metro pass riders.

“Gates are a natural evolution of Los Angeles County’s maturing Metro Rail system,” said Pam O’Connor, Santa Monica City Councilmember and Metro Board Chair. “They will help us keep pace with the demands of our fast growing rail ridership while ushering in the newest improvements in universal fare technology to streamline travel for our customers.”

A total of 379 fare gates will be installed on all subway and selected light rail stations, including the yet-to-be-completed Mariachi, Soto and Atlantic stations on the Metro Gold Line Eastside extension.

“Metro remains the only subway operator in the country to operate a barrier-free system,” said Yvonne B. Burke, Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member. “That freedom has come at a significant cost to the agency’s bottom line as a result of fare scofflaws. This initiative will pay for itself, makes TAP possible, and further hardens our system to potential security threats.”

Security at stations will be augmented as part of the program. Additional video surveillance cameras will be installed at all gate entrances, and attendants will be on-hand to respond to situations or assist patrons where needed.

The TAP barrier gates will enable Metro to obtain more reliable and accurate information about ridership trends on its rail lines. Gross trip counts, point-to-point ridership and time of day information will help the agency more effectively manage ridership peaks throughout the rail system.

Once in place, the gates are expected to reduce the need for civilian fare inspectors, allowing the agency to flexibly make needed personnel redeployments when and where necessary. Metro could potentially save as much as $7 million per year in contracted fare inspector costs replaced in part with more cost-effective Metro Transit Security personnel. Sworn law enforcement would also be freed of fare checking responsibilities at gated stations, allowing them to focus primarily on station security.

Gates will accommodate disabled patrons, children and patron-operated devices such as wheelchairs, strollers, walkers and bicycles, as well as emergency egress and access for fire-life safety devices. Gates will also provide for better control of station entry and egress, avoiding confusion and chaos to patrons as new rail lines open and bus and rail service in the region increases ridership. Lastly, gates promote new and innovative ways to consider potential revenue generation with bank cards and issuers as well as offers opportunities for different fare policies

For additional Metro information and online transit trip planning, visit WWW.METRO.NET. For transit trip planning assistance over the phone, call 1-800-COMMUTE.

dragonsky
Mar 10, 2008, 12:40 AM
Federal agency includes funding for Perris Valley Metrolink line

08:19 AM PST on Wednesday, February 6, 2008

By DUANE W. GANG, The Press-Enterprise

A proposed Metrolink extension to Moreno Valley and Perris received a major boost Tuesday when federal officials included $50 million for the project in a budget proposal now before Congress.

The $168 million Perris Valley Line would run 22.7 miles from Riverside to Perris and include as many as seven stations. Advocates of the project say the new line will ease congestion and boost economic development efforts in the region.

"We have been waiting years for this to come down," Perris Mayor Daryl Busch said Tuesday.

Busch, a member of the Riverside County Transportation Commission and the Metrolink board, said the proposed line will benefit Perris and the surrounding community.

Others have raised concerns.

Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster, whose district includes much of the proposed line, instead has favored a special bus lane.

An express bus service would be cheaper and build public-transportation ridership before money is spent on a rail line, Buster said.

He said he also is concerned about the effects the rail line would have on nearby residential areas, particularly around UC Riverside.

The commuter rail line is one of 13 so-called Small Start projects included for possible funding in the Federal Transit Administration's 2009 budget recommendations.

The projects must be less than $250 million and can receive up to $75 million in federal money.

The money still must work its way through Congress. If approved, the Perris Valley Line would receive $50 million in 2009 and another $25 million in 2010.

The rest of the money for the project would come from state aid, local taxes and federal grants.

Sherry E. Little, the transit administration's deputy administrator, said the 13 projects, including the Perris line, are cost-effective ways to reduce congestion.

Construction costs for all 13 projects average $2.8 million per mile, Little said.

"It is a great bargain in terms of ridership and community improvement," she said in a conference call with reporters.

Construction on the Perris Valley Line could begin in 2010. Trains could begin running by 2011, with an estimated 3,400 average weekday boardings and 800 new daily riders, according to the transit administration.

The line would take about$6.5 million a year to operate.

The transit administration in January raised concerns about the cost of the Metrolink extension and urged local officials to control costs.

John Standiford, deputy director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission, said the county might not be able to build all the proposed stations at once and might have to phase them in.

Meanwhile, money for a$164 million, 16.5-mile express bus line connecting the cities of San Bernardino and Loma Linda was not included for funding in the federal budget proposal.

A spokesman for the transit administration said Omnitrans needs to resolve budget and environmental issues before the project could be a candidate for funding.

The bus service, called sbX, was included in the transit administration's small starts project list but was not among those receiving funding in the 2009 fiscal year budget.

Rohan Kuruppu, Omnitrans director of planning, said Tuesday the bus service has been approved by the federal government. He said he expects the project will be listed for funding in next year's budget.

Staff writer Imran Ghori contributed to this report.

http://www.pe.com/imagesdaily/2008/02-06/r_mp_020608_metrolink06_400.jpg

dragonsky
Mar 12, 2008, 4:33 AM
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
O.C. freeways could get $218 million
A state recommendation would help pay to widen the 91 freeway and improve several rail crossings.
By DOUG IRVING
The Orange County Register

Orange County could collect nearly $218 million to widen the 91 freeway and improve several rail crossings under a state program intended to offset the impacts of increasing port traffic.

The California Transportation Commission will decide in April how to divvy up some $3 billion in bond money approved by voters in 2006. A funding recommendation released by the commission this week includes eight Orange County projects.

One of those projects would add a westbound lane to the 91 Freeway, between the 5 and 57 freeways. The other projects involve building railroad under- or over-crossings at busy intersections, so that trains can pass through without stopping traffic.

Those crossings are planned at:

‧State College Boulevard in Fullerton.

‧Placentia Avenue in Placentia and Fullerton.

‧Orangethorpe Avenue in Placentia and Anaheim.

‧Kraemer Boulevard in Placentia.

‧Raymond Avenue in Fullerton.

‧Lakeview Avenue in Placentia and Anaheim.

‧Tustin Avenue/Rose Drive in Placentia and Anaheim.

The Orange County Transportation Authority plans to match the proposed state money with about $263 million of its own. It expects to begin work on the eight projects in the next two to five years.

The OCTA had also asked for money for a truck lane on the northbound 57 freeway, near the county line. But the state transportation commission did not include that project in its funding proposal.

The state money is meant to counter the impact of trucks and trains traveling through Orange County from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The commission's funding recommendations "are great news for the residents of Orange County who have been feeling the impacts of increased rail and truck traffic from the ports," OCTA Vice Chairman Peter Buffa said in a prepared statement.

Echo Park
Mar 13, 2008, 1:48 AM
ripped from Curbed:

Metro's Big Plans: Subway To The Sea Just Tip Of The Iceberg
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, by Neal Broverman

http://img507.imageshack.us/img507/1412/transjz9.jpg

Following-up on our earlier meme, Metro's just-released Long Range Plan is juicy. Aside from the already planned or under construction projects—Gold Line to East L.A., Expo Line to Santa Monica, Orange Line to Chatsworth, Crenshaw Line to nowhere—the MTA has identified at least 15 new rail lines they're seriously studying. There's the Subway to the Sea, to be built in two parts with La Cienega being the dividing line. There's a Red Line extension from North Hollywood to the Burbank airport. There's a Green Line extension to the South Bay Galleria, and the long begged-for Green Line extension to LAX. And you might want to sit down for this one— there's a maglev.

Strategic Unfunded Projects
Tier 1: Currently Under Planning or Environmentally Cleared/Route Refinement Study

-Regional Connector
-Metro Subway Westside Extension to La Cienega
-Harbor Subdivision Alternate Rail Technology between LA Union Station and Metro Green Line Aviation Station
-Metro Subway Westside Extension to City of Santa Monica
-Burbank/Glendale Light Rail from LA Union Station to Burbank Metrolink Station
-Metro Gold Line Eastside Extenstion from Atlantic/Pomona Station to City of Whittier
-Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension from Sierra Madre Villa Station to Azusa
-Metro Green Line Extension from Redondo Beach Station to South Bay Galleria
-Metro Gold Line Extension from Sierra Madre Villa Station to Montclair
-Metro Green Line Foothill Extension between Norwalk Station and Norwalk Metrolink Station
-Metro Green Line Extension to LAX
-West Santa Ana Branch ROW Corridor Maglev between LA Union Station and Santa Ana Metrolink Station

Tier 2
-Metro Red Line Extension from North Hollywood Station to Burbank Airport Metrolink Station
-Vermont Corridor Subway
-"Yellow" Line Light Rail between Metro Red Line North Hollywood Station and Regional Connector
-I-405 Corridor Busway between Metro Orange Line Sepulveda Station and Metro Green Line Aviation Station
-"Silver" Line Light Rail between Metro Red Line Vermont/Santa Monica Station and City of La Puente
-Metro Green Line Extension from LAX to Expo Santa Monica Station
-SR-134 Transit Corridor Bus Rapid Transit between Metro Red Line North Hollywood Station and Metro Gold Line Del Mar Station
-Metro Green Line Extension between South Bay Galleria and Pacific Coast Hwy Harbor Transitway Station

JDRCRASH
Mar 13, 2008, 2:55 PM
^


Yeah, I read that too. I just hope that doesn't have too much optimism written into it.

It's missing something though.....heard about the Maglev going through West Covina to Pomona Airport.....hope they have enough room for it in the Median of the 10....

Also, they should have added the High-Speed SanSan rail line, even though it's a state-funded project, I think.

BTW, nice highlighting!:tup:

StethJeff
Mar 15, 2008, 6:19 AM
great update echo.

those proposals do a lot to address commuting patterns but sadly don't really seem to address the idea of trying to make LA a more "walkable" envrionment. woulda liked to have seen more plans for rail within the parcel bordered by the 10/405/101/mountains.

dragonsky
Mar 16, 2008, 6:16 AM
Stretch of Highway 91 to get carpool lane in project that won't start before 2011

08:33 AM PDT on Saturday, March 15, 2008

By DOUG HABERMAN
The Press-Enterprise

RIVERSIDE - Caltrans calls it closing the gap.

The state agency plans to add a carpool lane in either direction on Highway 91 between Adams Street in Riverside and the 60 /91 /215 interchange.

The $240 million project, which will start in 2011 at the earliest, includes replacing several bridges over the freeway as well as adding some new onramps and offramps.

The work will take four years, said project manager Nassim Elias.

Occasional full freeway closures, lane restrictions and detours will be part of the temporary price motorists will pay, Caltrans spokeswoman Terese Lagana said.

Knowing a big stretch of Highway 91 will face traffic delays for four years makes Moreno Valley resident Helen Claire want to avoid driving in the Riverside area altogether.

"I'll probably consider moving," said Claire, 26, as she envisioned the traffic hassle.

She drives through Riverside regularly and wishes the region had a better public transit system so she could have other options, Claire said as she filled up her car at a downtown Riverside gas station.

Carpool Lane Coming

The six miles in question make up the last section of Highway 91 in Riverside County without a carpool lane.

The carpool lane on eastbound 91 now ends near Jefferson Street. Heading west it starts near Mary Street and Brockton Avenue. Caltrans will widen the highway portions needed to complete the lanes.

Between 150,000 and 175,000 cars a day pass through the stretch on average, according to Caltrans traffic counts between the interchange and Adams.

Not all of the stretch needs widening to add the carpool lanes.

Between University and the interchange, for example, only re-striping will be necessary because the 60 /91 /215 interchange project extends that far out and has been built with the carpool lane in mind, said Mark Petrile, the senior Caltrans transportation engineer who is designing the project.

The interchange project is intended to end this spring. The carpool-lane project will:

Replace the bridges that go over the freeway at 14th, Cridge and Ivy streets.

Widen the freeway bridges over Jefferson, Madison and Mary streets and over Arlington and Central avenues.

Build a new offramp to take eastbound traffic to Vine Street east of 14th Street. The offramp will start before 14th Street and go under the new 14th Street bridge.

Build a new 14th Street onramp onto the eastbound 91 that will go over the new offramp.

Build a new onramp to the westbound 91 at 10th Street to replace the existing onramp at 9th and Lime streets. That will give more room than now exists on Lime for vehicles that get stacked up as they wait to get on the freeway.

Build a new 14th Street offramp on the westbound 91 starting farther back than the existing one. It will go over the new 10th Street onramp but will end where it ends now, at Mulberry Street near 14th Street.

The new onramps and offramps are meant to separate vehicles that are exiting and entering the freeway, Petrile said.

Change access to the eastbound 91 from Arlington Avenue for motorists heading east on Arlington. Instead of making a left turn onto the onramp, they will turn right onto Indiana and enter the freeway via a new onramp that will be built at Jane Street, next to the existing Arlington Avenue offramp off the westbound 91.

Eastbound motorists on Indiana will turn left onto the onramp at Jane instead of entering the freeway after crossing Arlington.

Tom Boyd, the city of Riverside's deputy public works director, said these last elements of the project are needed to improve the flow of traffic at the Indiana/Arlington intersection.

"It will make it a lot better," he said.

But a few businesses will have to move, including Feola Automotive Repair, which is at Indiana and Jane where the new onramp will go.

Head mechanic Don Carlile said the 40-year-old shop, in business at that location since 1990, is aware it will have to move for the onramp.

Caltrans hasn't come by with an offer for the property yet, Carlile said. He is hoping to find a new location nearby.

"I want to stay right around here for the customers," Carlile said.

Caltrans has been working closely with the city to come up with a project that will benefit freeway drivers while limiting the temporary and long-term inconveniences to drivers on city streets, Boyd said.

The public won't like the delays and detours the work will cause, but "those things are part of building freeways," he said.

http://www.pe.com//imagesdaily/2008/03-15/carpool15_grf_750.jpg

suga
Mar 16, 2008, 7:10 AM
That MTA LRTP has so many pie in the sky unfeasable projects in it that I cannot take it seriously, which is sad.

LosAngelesSportsFan
Mar 16, 2008, 8:48 PM
please elaborate.

dragonsky
Mar 17, 2008, 4:25 AM
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Santa Ana streetcar plan moves forward
The city has teamed up with Garden Grove to propose a $300 million line from Santa Ana's train station to the 22 freeway.
By DOUG IRVING
The Orange County Register

SANTA ANA – City officials have filed their most detailed plans yet for a $300 million streetcar line they hope will not just shuttle people through town, but also drive a new wave of development.

Their plans, submitted late Friday, show five miles of streetcar track zipping between a train station in Santa Ana and the 22 Freeway in Garden Grove. If built, the streetcar would allow commuters to leave their cars at home and reach downtown Santa Ana's business and office buildings entirely by rail.

But city leaders clearly see the streetcar as a way to attract developers as well – especially to some vacant lots near downtown Santa Ana and a golf course near Garden Grove. They envision high-rise towers, trendy condos and hotels, even a new theme park – all looped together by a streetcar.

The streetcar idea is part of a much larger plan to ease traffic, improve transportation and better link Santa Ana and Garden Grove to the Metrolink train line. The two cities are also proposing improvements to Santa Ana's train station and a major new road off the 22 freeway where a vacant strip of county land exists today.

"This has the potential to open up the whole area," Garden Grove Councilman Mark Rosen said.

The two cities laid out their joint proposal in an application for nearly $14 million they submitted to the Orange County Transportation Authority on Friday to cover the next phase of planning and studies. The full cost of actually implementing their plan – with the streetcar, the new road and the station improvements – could cost as much as $748 million, they noted.

The OCTA plans to divvy up $1 billion for such projects countywide. The money will come from a half-cent sales tax that voters renewed in 2006.

The biggest piece of the plan put forward by Santa Ana and Garden Grove is the streetcar system, estimated to cost as much as $302 million and take more than a decade to complete. The streetcars would run alongside cars, on tracks set into existing streets – past downtown shops and civic center offices and past Garden Grove's planned resort district.

The route would take the streetcars near an industrial lot owned by the County of Orange, where Santa Ana officials envision a high-rise tower. It would take them past several patches of vacant land where Santa Ana wants to build a dense, urban mix of condos, affordable housing and shops.

And it would take them right along Willowick Golf Course. Both cities have tossed around ideas for transforming the golf course into a major tourist destination – from a Hard Rock theme park to a soccer stadium to a science-themed entertainment complex.

A streetcar line, city officials think, would help market those areas to developers. That's at least part of the reason they favor streetcars over much-cheaper buses: A streetcar line would be there to stay, an investment in change that developers could count on.

"You can say you've got a bus route, and your private investors don't see that as anything particularly special," said James Ross, Santa Ana's director of public works. "If you put down rail, they see that you're making an investment in that corridor."

Streetcar supporters say that's exactly what's happened in several other cities.

In Little Rock, Ark., for example, developers have bought up land "like crazy" along the city's streetcar lines, said Sharon Priest, the executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. The city of Portland, Ore., estimates that it has seen up to $3 billion in new development within two blocks of its streetcar lines.

But streetcars also have their critics, who point out that they're expensive to build, expensive to run and only benefit a small percentage of commuters. One of the most vocal is Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute.

A streetcar, he scoffed, is little more than a "Disney ride to make downtown cute."

"Streetcars are really good at doing just one thing," he said. "And that's spending a lot of tax dollars."

dragonsky
Mar 18, 2008, 2:29 AM
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Find out about I-5 widening
Open house to take place next Wednesday; construction will prompt closures next week.
By ELLYN PAK
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

BUENA PARK – Residents who have questions about the I-5 freeway widening project are invited to an open house next week.

The Orange County Transportation Authority and state Department of Transportation will hold the event during 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, in the main conference room at Buena Park City Hall, 6650 Beach Blvd.

The $314 million project entails widening a two-mile stretch of the 5 between the 91 freeway and the Los Angeles-Orange County border and is expected to be completed in 2010.

Next week, work on the Beach Boulevard bridge will prompt lane reductions from three to two lanes in each direction. Construction on the bridge will last for about 19 months.

Nighttime construction work will continue on both the northbound and southbound directions of the freeway between the 91 and Artesia Boulevard. All lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night between Sunday, March 16, and Saturday, March 22.

Motorists should use Western Avenue as a detour. Stanton Avenue will re-open late this month or early this month.

dragonsky
Mar 21, 2008, 3:25 AM
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Hope in sight for 170,000 I-5 drivers
Construction on 2-mile stretch in Buena Park nearly 40% complete; detours and closures continue.
By ELLYN PAK
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

BUENA PARK – A project designed to widen a two-mile stretch of the I-5 near the Los Angeles-Orange County border is more than 40 percent complete, officials said Wednesday.

In the meantime, commuters should brace themselves for construction that will prompt lane reductions and nighttime closures in the coming months.

The $314 million project, which entails widening the I-5 between the and the Los Angeles County line, is expected to be complete in 2010.

"For the commuters' travel and shortened time they'll have, it'll be a great benefit in the long run," said Art Brown, an Orange County Transportation Authority board member and a Buena Park councilman before a tour of the construction Wednesday.

Work on the Beach Boulevard bridge, which began this week, has prompted lane reductions from three to two lanes in each direction between Buena Park City Hall and Auto Center Drive. Construction on the bridge will last for about 19 months.

Nighttime construction work will continue on both the north- and southbound directions of the freeway between the 91 and Artesia Boulevard. All lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night until Saturday.

The Stanton Avenue bridge is expected to reopen late this month. It was supposed to be open sooner, but crews were diverted to the Inland Empire after a train derailment.

Officials say the overall widening project is impetus for Los Angeles to widen its portion of the freeway. The widening of the I-5 up to the 605 is expected to begin in 2010.

In the meantime, one-third of a mile of the freeway beyond the county border will be gradually blended into the lanes in Los Angeles, said Charlie Guess, the OCTA program manager.

The stretch of the I-5 through Buena Park – notorious for congestion and bottlenecks – carries more than 172,000 vehicles per day and is expected to carry 321,000 cars daily by 2020.

http://www.ocregister.com/newsimages/Graphics/2008/03/I-5-GATEWAY%20project.gif

Quixote
Mar 22, 2008, 3:49 AM
Expo Update

Panel Addresses Additional Station, Street Closures for Light Rail Line to Culver City

By Anna Scott

Transportation officials last week hosted a meeting on the progress of the Exposition Light Rail Line, which will link Downtown to Culver City. The March 17 gathering specifically focused on ongoing construction in and around Downtown Los Angeles.

Since the previous regular public meeting in November, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved an additional $7 million to fund a ninth new station at Trousdale Parkway near USC, said Joel Sandberg, director of engineering and construction for the Expo Construction Authority, chaired by Ninth District City Councilwoman Jan Perry.

The Trousdale station was not part of the original plan, said Sandberg, because of a lack of funds and opposition from USC. "They felt it would be too much of a barrier between their campus and Exposition Park," he said. After meeting with Exposition Park officials, "They reached an agreement, but that didn't occur until after the initial project had been adopted."

Sandberg and Angela Winston, the Authority's government and community relations representative, co-hosted the Monday evening event. They provided some details on the construction schedule, but otherwise said the project is proceeding as planned, with an expected opening in summer 2010.

Eventually, transportation officials say, it will take trains approximately 30 minutes to run from Downtown to Culver City. The Expo Line is expected to serve 27,000 riders by 2020.

The meeting at the Ahmanson Senior Citizen Center near USC drew a sparse crowd. Attendees, who were mostly from South L.A., were invited to peruse information on proposed art for the phase one stations, as well as design elements, the construction schedule, safety measures and grade crossings.

Some expressed concern about the plan.

Lou Edward, a retired utility mechanic who lives on 36th Place in South L.A., said he thinks officials should consider expanding the three planned park and ride lots near the line, expected to offer a total of 1,500 parking spaces to Expo riders.

"I will use the light rail, definitely, to get to Culver City and to go to Universal Studios," he said. "I'm concerned about parking; that's my only thing."

Damien Goodmon, a critic of the planned at-grade crossing at Farmdale Avenue, near Dorsey High School in South L.A., said he supports grade separation there because of safety concerns.

"The main outstanding issue is with the pedestrian issues at Dorsey," agreed Glenn Striegler, an environmental assessment coordinator with the Los Angeles Unified School District. "The main thing we want to see is reducing the conflict between pedestrians, the light rail and cars. I think grade separation would be the best thing to do."

The California Public Utilities Commission is performing an environmental study on options for the Dorsey crossing, said Winston, and expects to hold hearings soon, though no timeline has been set.

The $808 million, 8.6-mile first phase of the Expo Line will begin at the Seventh Street/Metro Center station (shared with the Red, Blue and Purple lines). It will run parallel to the 10 Freeway between Downtown and Culver City, also sharing the Blue Line's Pico station before moving on to nine additional stops along the way. After diverging from the Blue Line, the Expo Line will run below street level from Flower Street to Pardee Way (near the main entrance to USC) before re-emerging at Trousdale Parkway.

The terminus, at Washington and National boulevards in Culver City, will be elevated. Previous plans called for an interim, at-grade station there until funding for an above-grade stop could be secured, said Sandberg, but the California Transportation Commission recently approved the $54 million needed for the permanent station. (The funds still have to be formally adopted by the Metro board.)

Construction on the trench for the below-grade portion started in July 2007. Work on relocating underground utility lines, including a 61-inch water line, is expected to continue through May.

Sandberg last Monday detailed upcoming street closures connected to the trench construction, which include the closure of Flower Street between Jefferson and Exposition boulevards from April 4-7.

A second phase of the project, which would extend the line to Santa Monica, is in the planning stage and is undergoing an environmental review. No budget has been revealed for that portion.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Los Angeles Downtown News (http://www.downtownnews.com/articles/2008/03/24/news/news05.txt)

StethJeff
Mar 22, 2008, 5:41 AM
:previous: Are there any available drawings that show the exact places where stations are planned and where this trench begins/ends?

dragonsky
Mar 22, 2008, 6:43 AM
Students join in effort to extend Metro Gold Line
By Fred Ortega, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/21/2008 11:14:13 PM PDT

MONROVIA - A group of local students have put their technological savvy and marketing know-how to work in hopes of hastening the construction of the Gold Line extension to Montclair.

The students, who come from a variety of disciplines from both Mt. Sierra College in Monrovia and the

University of La Verne, have created a Web site -

www.iwillride.org - which has already collected more than 150 signatures in support of the $1.4 billion project.

The goal of the campaign is to persuade members of the Metro Board to include the 24-mile rail link on the transit agency's long-range transportation plan. The board voted in January against doing so but has until June to finalize the plan.

"This is something that we as students really need," said Jonathan Fitzhugh, 22, student body president at University of La Verne, who was involved in the project. "There is no real efficient mass transit system like this in the San Gabriel Valley."

Area officials say getting the project on the plan is critical in order to leverage up to $320 million in federal funds for the first phase of the project, to the Azusa-Glendora border. Metro's actions have already delayed construction of the extension by at least one year, to the end of 2009.

"I think we are all tired of the traffic, and we want to help the environment," said Kristen Manes, 23, of San Gabriel, a media arts major who helped design the campaign's posters.

They feature clever reverse-psychology catch phrases such as "Efficient Travel is Overrated" and "San Gabriel Valley is Not Important."

"Stating the obvious would be mundane, but having statements that make people say `What?' makes people want to find out more," said Mitch McKenzie, who designed the site and came up with some of the campaign slogans.

The Web site also features a page for users to upload their own YouTube video testimonials in favor of the extension, and the students are expanding their campaign through cyberspace by tapping into social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

The petitions collected on the site will eventually be presented to the Metro Board when it next meets to consider the project.

Chester Britt, an outreach consultant for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority, who provided some assistance to the students, said it was natural for college-aged youths in the Valley to be supportive of the Gold Line.

"We don't know of any other light rail line going by so many colleges, so if anybody should be disappointed this doesn't get built, it should be the students," Britt said. "They recognize this is their chance to make a difference and influence what the legislators are doing."

sopas ej
Mar 23, 2008, 5:29 AM
:previous: Are there any available drawings that show the exact places where stations are planned and where this trench begins/ends?

The MTA website has a map of where the stations will be (www.mta.net).

friends4expo.org has some interesting renderings:
http://www.friends4expo.org/images/trousdale960.jpg
This was once considered an optional station, but according to the MTA, it has been approved and funding has been allocated for it. It'll be located at Trousdale Parkway and Exposition Blvd., making it very convenient for Exposition Park and the USC campus. You can see where the trench is in relation to the station.

Also from friends4expo.org, this shows a rendering of the La Brea station, which will be elevated:
http://www.friends4expo.org/images/labreaffp320.jpg

StethJeff
Mar 23, 2008, 6:14 AM
There are already 2 stations servicing USC - why bother with a 3rd at Trousdale? That station is far too close to the Felix and Vermont stations. If the intent is to have a station for Expo Park, why not get rid of one of the others?

SantaCruzGuy
Mar 23, 2008, 7:35 AM
The MTA website has a map of where the stations will be (www.mta.net).
friends4expo.org has some interesting renderings:
http://www.friends4expo.org/images/trousdale960.jpg
This was once considered an optional station, but according to the MTA, it has been approved and funding has been allocated for it. It'll be located at Trousdale Parkway and Exposition Blvd., making it very convenient for Exposition Park and the USC campus. You can see where the trench is in relation to the station.

Also from friends4expo.org, this shows a rendering of the La Brea station, which will be elevated:
http://www.friends4expo.org/images/labreaffp320.jpg

Is it just me, or does the image portray USC in Long Beach? In the upper left hand side it looks like the world trade center and skyline of LB... haha

StethJeff
Mar 23, 2008, 7:40 AM
Is it just me, or does the image portray USC in Long Beach? In the upper left hand side it looks like the world trade center and skyline of LB... haha

DTLA Gas Company Tower? Plus I'm pretty sure that tiny white building poking through is City Hall.

SantaCruzGuy
Mar 23, 2008, 8:34 AM
:previous: ... you are right, but it did look like the Lb world trade center at first... and the background does resemble a beach.

JDRCRASH
Mar 25, 2008, 5:13 PM
DTLA Gas Company Tower? Plus I'm pretty sure that tiny white building poking through is City Hall.

Yeah, it is; Park Fifth would have made it easier to spot.:rolleyes:

Vangelist
Apr 3, 2008, 2:06 PM
Ugh I don't really like how this new bill is worded: it's not smart to pose a bill on raising taxes or registration fees to fund public transit as "fighting global warming." Or maybe the person writing this story is a moron, and wording it in a needlessly provocative manner...

This is from Wired, via Curbed which notes our PT woes are getting natioal coverage:

Should Drivers Pay for Global Warming?
By Marty Jerome April 02, 2008 | 11:32:58 AMCategories: Emissions, Policy

http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/04/should-drivers.html

Nothing riles Southern Californians like a new tax on their God-given right to drive. Yet motorists in Los Angeles County might be paying an extra 9 cents per gallon at the gas pump -- or an additional $90 on their vehicle registration fees. The purpose? It would help fight global warming.
Voters will decide whether to approve a "climate change mitigation and adaptation fee" under a proposed law being debated by the state legislature. It has already been endorsed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The money would be used to fund public transportation and other projects that ease traffic congestion at a time when the state budget is strapped and money from Washington has all but dried up. Critics are hopping mad. They say that it exploits public sympathy for global warming in order to fund projects that are already sucking down taxpayers' dollars.
Who gets tapped? Read after the jump.
Supporters point out that many ambitious public transportation projects, including the Subway to the Sea, the Wilshire bus-only lane and the extension of the Gold Line subway aren't fully funded -- and risk being sidelined.
The tax would pull in an estimated $400 million a year, which makes it a model that other cash-strapped states will no doubt find enticing. California voters will have to decide whether or not it's fair.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, LAist. Read More
Photo: compujeramy, licensed through Creative Commons

Vangelist
Apr 3, 2008, 2:09 PM
Look at some of these anti-global warming and PT replies in the gigantic comments section..sheesh. This is what we're fighting against out there somewhere - this is a national mag, and some right-wing blogger maybe linked to the story?

I'm incredulous...typical examples:

1) this total bullshit, oh yes please take more out my already miserable government salary so that they can pay for another project that doesnt work. of course MTA supports it, they get a shitload of money for nothing, what good have they done. i like many others have children and would never in a million years put my kids on one of MTA buses or subways. so yeah you got my vote, against it.


2) If anybody is still reading this far down, global warming is not so much a hoax as it is a money-making scam. Al Gore and his cronies aren't trying to fool us; they're trying to make money off of us, and now every other politician wants a piece of the pie as well. It is up to us, U.S. citizens, to make them accountable for their actions. Do you think there might be a reason the EPA isn't enacting the "Global Warming" demands brought on us by the courts? Maybe it's because the Environmental Protection Agency knows more about the Environment than lawyers and politicians do. When 1 in 100 scientists out there claim Global Warming is real, shouldn't we maybe listen to the other 99? Then again, this is the country that changes rules, policies, acceptance of religion, etc. for that 1 in 100. This is the land where the minority has majority rule. It is about time the majority (including the right-minded thinkers who make up a majority of this post) took this country back. Share with everyone you know that Global Warming is not real, that we are actually cooling down, and that any legislation to fight "Global Warming" will only prove to hurt us in the short and long terms.

3) I love global warming.
To celebrate, I shall on this and every Earth Day hence, with my 1973 455 cu. in. Super Duty Trans Am, turn one set of tires into thick, lovely, fragrant, billowing clouds of white smoke.
My torque monster fossil-fuel burning V8 will shred the pavement like ribbon.
Seriously, people--relax. Ted Danson tried to alarm everyone when in 1988 he said "we have ten years to save the world's oceans". Twenty years later, and the oceans are fine.
If you analyze the arguments of the left wing enviro-loonies, you'll see lots of the word "crisis" and "denial". You'll see platitudes and emotionally based solutions, but little in the way of facts.
Some of you leftists don't realize how close to Communism you're getting. You don't know it yet, but you have more to fear--from the decline of morality and the willingness to surrender responsibility for living your own lives and providing for yourselves--than you do the created problem of global warming.
And I dare the darlings of Algore to do some research. See who stands to benefit--wildly--from carbon trading schemes. See who accepted millions in campaign cash from the airlines after the downing of TWA Flight 800.
And Thank God for those of you with a head on their shoulders and a modicum of common sense.

Vangelist
Apr 3, 2008, 2:10 PM
Haha a particularly vitriolic anti-urbanist rant:

BTW I forgot to mention: YOU GAWDAMNED 'URBANITES' MAKE ME SICK, DO YOU EVER GET OUT OF THE CITIES" DO YOU EVER 'THINK"? PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION? ITS A DAMN JOKE THERES THOUSANDS OF MILES IN THIS COUNTRY WHERE ( get a grip) THERE IS NO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!!! YOU FUCKIN MORONS!! 'READ MY LIPS' N-O-N-E THIS COUNTRY HAS FORGOTTEN HOW TO BE FREE..BUT I HAVENT..POWER TO THE PEOPLE! LET THE PEOPLE TAKE BACK THEIR POWER! THIS SHIT HAS GOT TO STOP ..FULL STOP! I WISH THERE WERE NOOSES SWINGING FOR EVERY DAMN OFFICE HOLDER IN DC THE 'GOOD' THE 'BAD' ..WELL LETS SPARE THE 'UGLY'

JDRCRASH
Apr 3, 2008, 4:57 PM
Look at some of these anti-global warming and PT replies in the gigantic comments section..sheesh. This is what we're fighting against out there somewhere - this is a national mag, and some right-wing blogger maybe linked to the story?

I'm incredulous...typical examples:

2) If anybody is still reading this far down, global warming is not so much a hoax as it is a money-making scam. Al Gore and his cronies aren't trying to fool us; they're trying to make money off of us, and now every other politician wants a piece of the pie as well. It is up to us, U.S. citizens, to make them accountable for their actions. Do you think there might be a reason the EPA isn't enacting the "Global Warming" demands brought on us by the courts? Maybe it's because the Environmental Protection Agency knows more about the Environment than lawyers and politicians do. When 1 in 100 scientists out there claim Global Warming is real, shouldn't we maybe listen to the other 99? Then again, this is the country that changes rules, policies, acceptance of religion, etc. for that 1 in 100. This is the land where the minority has majority rule. It is about time the majority (including the right-minded thinkers who make up a majority of this post) took this country back. Share with everyone you know that Global Warming is not real, that we are actually cooling down, and that any legislation to fight "Global Warming" will only prove to hurt us in the short and long terms.
[/I]

:lmao:
What a naive fool. Where has he been the last ten years!!!!!The reality is that its accelerating. True, there have been changes in the Climate before, but NOWHERE NEAR this extensive and fast.

BrighamYen
Apr 3, 2008, 7:22 PM
Peak Oil will solve all this, thank zeus.

Wright Concept
Apr 6, 2008, 9:26 PM
MTA looks eastward
Officials studying light-rail extension
By Mike Sprague, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/05/2008 09:47:39 PM PDT


http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site207/2008/0405/20080405_110753_transit_300.jpg
EASTBOUND?: MTA light-rail construction continues on Third Street in East Los Angeles on Friday. The transit agency is considering building a light-rail line from East Los Angeles to Whittier. (LEO JARZOMB / Staff photographer)

• PDF: Alternate routes for Metro Gold Line extension (http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site206/2008/0405/20080405_074904_Metro_Gold_Line_Extension.pdf)

Rapid transit in the form of light-rail could be coming to El Monte, Rosemead or Whittier - but probably not anytime soon.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is holding a second series of meetings beginning Wednesday in Whittier to get reactions to 17 alternatives for a line that would go east from East Los Angeles.
Still, MTA officials concede they have no money to build a line. In addition, this 80-square-mile area that includes 13 cities, is in competition with three other sectors of Los Angeles County for a light-rail project.
And a number of the 17 alternatives, especially the ones that would travel on congested arterials like Whittier and Beverly boulevards and Garvey Avenue, already are getting opposition from local officials. MTA officials say they are beginning the study in case money should become available.

"We want to make sure there are planning documents when the money starts flowing, so we're not scrambling around starting the planning and studying. Then we could miss the boat," said Kimberly Yu, MTA project manager.
The goal of the meetings is to get a consensus in favor of one route, Yu said. "We wanted to really engage with the community. We hear loud and clear some of the traffic or transportation problems they're facing."
But this area needs to come together on one proposal or money may go to other parts of the county, Yu warned.
Yu said MTA staff is expected to go to its board in August with a final recommendation.

Fourteen of the 17 alternatives end in Whittier. Of the other three, one ends in El Monte and two end in Industry.
Once the MTA decides on a favored alternative, an environmental impact report would be done, Yu said.
El Monte Mayor Ernie Gutierrez said he favors a light-rail line coming to his city, but, like others, he wants to make sure there are no negative impacts.
"Until I see an environmental impact report, it's premature to say it's not going to (affect) El Monte," Gutierrez said. "I like the idea, but I want more information."
Rosemead Councilwoman Margaret Clark said she opposes any line on Garvey Avenue.
"I don't think that would work because we're congested with traffic," Clark said. "I have concerns about traffic. We just redid Garvey with nice medians."

In Whittier, the consensus appears to be in favor of a light-rail line as long as it comes via Santa Fe Springs on Washington Boulevard to the Uptown area. "I would like to have it providing it didn't tear up a lot of the city and cause great inconvenience," Councilman Bob Henderson said. "Just the availability of some type of mass transit would be a great benefit.
"We used to drive over to Westwood, have a dinner and see a movie. The last time we did that it took two hours."
Henderson said such a system could be beneficial to Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, which already has a shuttle to the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Metrolink station for 10 employees.
But Henderson and others say they are opposed to a system coming along Beverly or Whittier boulevards.
Beverly Boulevard is a residential street with large trees and Whittier Boulevard is a congested thoroughfare.
Councilman Joe Vinatieri agrees with Henderson. "The one that makes the most sense is Washington Boulevard because it's so wide," Vinatieri said. Businessmen disagree on the affect light-rail could have.
Bill Downey, owner of the West Whittier Paint Co., 11408 Whittier Blvd., said such a line won't help him.
"I don't think there are many people who would drive out on the train to buy paint," Downey said. "They probably wouldn't be allowed to carry it back anyway." Downey said Whittier Boulevard already is too congested and he fears what the addition of a light-rail line would mean for the street. "I think Whittier Boulevard has enough traffic problems," said Downey, who endorsed a Washington Boulevard approach.
Robert Ruiz, president of the Whittier Uptown Association, said a light-rail line could attract more urban professionals to Whittier. "By bringing more people with disposable incomes, it helps businesses," Ruiz said. Santa Fe Springs officials say they are willing to consider a light-rail line along Washington Boulevard. "It's something we'd have to look at," said Councilman Joe Serrano. "(But) we'd have to make sure it makes sense."

Officials from other cities are also concerned about the impacts of a rail line.
Montebello Mayor Bill Molinari said he would be opposed to any line going down Beverly, Washington or Whittier boulevards through his city. "Our preference would be the 60 Freeway corridor," Molinari said. "It would be less disruptive for the business infrastructure, a more practical route and would bring people past the (Montebello) regional shopping center."

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will conduct four public meetings to update communities on the agency's study of a light-rail line.
The study area includes the cities of Bell, Commerce, Downey, El Monte, Industry, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pico Rivera, Rosemead, South El Monte, South San Gabriel, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
For information, visit metro.net/eastsidephase2 (http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/metro.net/eastsidephase2) or call (213) 922-3012.
Meetings will be held in:

Whittier: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Uptown Senior Center, 13225 Walnut St.
South El Monte: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the South El Monte Senior Center, 1556 Central Ave.
Montebello: 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 14 at the Senior Center at City Park, 115 S. Taylor Ave.
Pico Rivera: 6:30 to 8:30p.m. April 17 at North Park Middle School cafeteria, 4450 Durfee Ave.- Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

mike.sprague@sgvn.com (mike.sprague@sgvn.com) (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022

dragonsky
Apr 6, 2008, 10:33 PM
O.C. officials aren't moved by recent transit ideas
Authorities are paying cities for ideas to link population centers to Metrolink stations. But much of what they've seen is short on innovation.
By David Reyes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 6, 2008

As Orange County transportation planners look to the future, they want cities to help find innovative ways to encourage motorists to forsake their beloved cars and embrace mass transit.

Cities were given $100,000 each for ideas to shuttle riders from Metrolink stations to residential areas, major employers, resort areas and shopping malls.

To the planners' chagrin, however, most cities wanted trolleys, shuttles or "fun buses" that rely on rubber-tire technology. Santa Ana wants to introduce modern streetcars modeled after Portland's popular circulator. Only Anaheim -- home to Disneyland's monorail -- has entertained the idea of constructing elevated people movers.

Why push Metrolink?

Two-thirds of the jobs and population in the county are within two to four miles of a Metrolink station, Orange County Transportation Authority officials say. .

In two years, residents will see a Metrolink train running every half-hour between Fullerton and Mission Viejo. A new bus system that stops once each mile will link the county's major east-west and north-south corridors, enhancing transit options, the OCTA said.

Commuter rail is successful in the eastern U.S. because suburbs are linked to large urban centers. Exporting that concept here is a challenge -- if not impossible -- because Orange County sprawls over nearly 800 square miles.

If transportation planners cannot move stations closer to employers and homes, they at least can explore moving riders more easily to and from stations, letting planners at the city level help create the system, OCTA officials said.

The agency is dangling $25 million to cities under its Go Local program to elicit further designs, along with the opportunity to tap into a potential bonanza of more than $1 billion for developing and building systems that link up with rail stations.

The idea is for a "seamless" system from the curb in front of homes to Angel Stadium, Mission San Juan Capistrano or Disney Hall in Los Angeles, said Paul Taylor, OCTA deputy chief executive officer.

But some of the concepts, such as streetcars and trolleys, are hardly cutting edge, say transportation consultants.

"These ideas are not innovative enough," said Roy Reynolds, a consultant for Personal Rapid Transit, an elevated people mover that runs on electricity.

He and other consultants challenged OCTA's approach, saying private developers should weigh in early rather than just government entities. They say public officials who design big transportation systems do not always focus on the fare box, instead relying on government subsidies to back-fill the system's costs.

Reynolds and others said small elevated systems could be built on street medians, rivers and the existing Pacific Electric right-of-way. The concept for personal rapid transit is a two- or four-seat pod traveling on its own elevated track.

One idea under consideration by Santa Ana and Garden Grove is to have a streetcar or bus use the Pacific Electric's right-of-way to run between Garden Grove and Santa Ana's train station.

Irvine Mayor Beth Krom said inviting cities to brainstorm has been a good exercise, albeit a late one: "The good news is there's a consensus that we need better transit; but the bad news is we're 20 years too late."

Irvine is proposing a shuttle from its Metrolink station to the Irvine Business Complex and a modern streetcar to travel within the city's planned 1,347-acre Great Park. Irvine considered an elevated system such as the Las Vegas monorail but there were too many land-use issues, city transportation officials said.

Typically, elevated monorails cost twice as much and are not as effective as other systems, experts said. Innovation for its own sake is not always good, said Jim Moore, chairman of USC's Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

"New technologies are always risky," he said. "And politicians don't like that. Using proven or even stodgy technology improves the chances that you've got a steady source of spare parts."

Irvine is already a step ahead. Last week, the city launched the i shuttle, a small bus, to transport passengers to the city's business center. It plans to expand that service in June to include the Metrolink station, John Wayne Airport and UCI shuttles. The shuttle is free through August.

In Anaheim, transportation officials view the more than 20 million annual visitors and anticipated density of the Platinum Triangle as plum targets for mass-transit riders.

The triangle includes 807 acres east of Disneyland wedged between the Santa Ana Freeway and the Santa Ana River, encompassing Angel Stadium and Honda Center. City officials envision a residential and entertainment center with 9,000 homes and 7 million square feet of offices and stores, including 11 high rises.

"We are one of the few cities looking at a fixed guideway system," said Natalie Meeks, Anaheim public works director, describing an elevated system that may one day take passengers to ballgames at the stadium or into the city's resort area.

Meeks said it's premature to discuss which system they may eventually select. Officials want to look at available technologies and possible alignments. The next step is to fund the design under the OCTA's program. The city also plans to build the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center near Honda Center, which would become the county's largest transportation hub. The ARTIC facility would include Metrolink, Amtrak, buses, Bus Rapid Transit and possibly high-speed rail, city officials said.

As always, however, the rub is creating a system that's as convenient as the family car.

"If more people would understand the relaxation and the less stress and [the] productivity you get while on mass transit like a Metrolink train, they would give it a try," said Jay Laessi, executive director of Auto-Free Orange County. "If public transit is cheap, convenient, safe, clean and even luxurious, it would attract riders."

dragonsky
Apr 6, 2008, 10:41 PM
Friday, April 4, 2008
Cost of 22 Freeway work jumps by $40 million
The OCTA agrees to the additional payment to avoid a lawsuit by its main contractor on the widening project.
By DOUG IRVING
The Orange County Register

ORANGE The Orange County Transportation Authority has agreed to pay nearly $40 million to avoid a lawsuit threatened by the contractor that oversaw a massive project to widen the 22 Freeway, it was announced today.

The money settles a claim by Granite Myers-Rados, whose crews had to remove tons of wet soil they discovered under the freeway.

That soil, too weak to support the weight of the widened freeway, added tens of millions of dollars in unexpected costs to the project, according to the contractor.

The settlement payment brings the total cost of the widening project to more than $606 million, with most of that going to the main contractor, Granite Myers-Rados. The rest will pay for project management and other related contracts.

At one point, the entire freeway project was to cost $495 million.

The OCTA expected to pay Granite Myers-Rados a little more than $390 million when it began the project in 2004. The agency later added $58.8 million to the contract to cover the cost of seismic upgrades and bridge work.

But the contractor also claimed the inadequate soil under the freeway had cost it an additional $93 million. The OCTA argued that Granite Myers-Rados should have done more to find out about the condition of the soil before it bid on the contract.

The agency agreed in mediation to pay $39.3 million of the claim to avoid a lawsuit. Officials from both the OCTA and Granite Myers-Rados announced the settlement this morning.

edluva
Apr 8, 2008, 4:32 AM
...Irvine is already a step ahead. Last week, the city launched the i shuttle, a small bus, to transport passengers to the city's business center...

Irvine has a "business center"? That's news to me. It's great that people are circulating these pie-in-sky ideas, but the fact remains that in greater LA, there are no "centers" which people congregate towards during their daily commutes. That's the whole thing behind the political failure of public transit. The vast majority of suburbanites - angeleno suburbanites in particular, drive to random destinations in other suburbs which in no way resemble these fabled "business centers".
Where do most suburbanites commute to on a daily basis? to office parks in neighboring suburbs, which are themselves located amidst tract housing, and whose denizens themselves commute to yet other suburbs resembling their own. LA doesn't have "employment centers" in the grand scheme of its gargantuan 18 million populace - and that's not hyperbole either.

Southern California transit planning is almost always mired in fantasy because everyone is selling the idea that there are actually destinations to serve instead of selling the reality that they will never serve the demands of the majority of commuters they are selling to in their lifetimes, and that transit will always be an investment in mobility for the next generation of angelenos. But reality never sells... and this is especially true in LA.

BrighamYen
Apr 8, 2008, 7:17 AM
^ Even though there aren't bona fide business centers, there are areas that have higher densities of employment. Downtown LA (31 million square feet) + Wilshire Center (7 million) + Century City (12 million) + Westwood/UCLA (10 million) + et. al. along Wilshire Blvd. (5 million+) + Hollywood/Silver Lake/Los Feliz/Universal City (5 million+) = possibly up to 70-80 million square feet accessible by transit. "The Wilshire Blvd Sphere of Influence" would be considered the single most important "center" if you included all the areas it goes through as a single entity connected by an extended Purple Line.

If all this can be connected by subway then MTA transit planners would essentially only have to figure out how to funnel people into Union Station across the region through Metrolink and other rail routes, which would be able to take people to all these "centers" along Wilshire Blvd/Hollywood through Union Station as the transit hub. Flyaway from LAX is also one of the easiest ways to get from LAX to Downtown LA. If there was a subway down Wilshire Blvd., anyone (including visitors) could just take FlyAway to Union Station and be connected to much of what LA has to offer along Wilshire Blvd. (LACMA, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood/UCLA, Brentwood, Santa Monica)

It may not cover all 300 million square feet in the region (including Orange County) but that's a good 25% of the the pie. Better than nothing.

LongBeachUrbanist
Apr 8, 2008, 3:27 PM
Wilshire Boulevard is unquestionably the highest priority. In my mind, no other corridor even comes close. The density of jobs, destinations, and residents along that route is huge.

The state bill, to lower the tax threshold to 55%, will be critical, IMO. With that, we may be able to pass a local transit fee and finally get the Central Subway funded.

As for FlyAway, it's a great program, from what I hear. It would be even better if we had the subway, since we could then have FlyAway buses going between LAX and Union Station West (near Westwood/405).

JDRCRASH
Apr 8, 2008, 4:54 PM
It's great that people are circulating these pie-in-sky ideas, but the fact remains that in greater LA, there are no "centers" which people congregate towards during their daily commutes.

:sly:

Wright Concept
Apr 8, 2008, 5:40 PM
As for FlyAway, it's a great program, from what I hear. It would be even better if we had the subway, since we could then have FlyAway buses going between LAX and Union Station West (near Westwood/405).

There's already a Flyaway bus to Westwood.

LongBeachUrbanist
Apr 8, 2008, 7:05 PM
^ Oh yeah, you're right! Well, imagine how much better it would be if the subway served that western location. :)

BrighamYen
Apr 8, 2008, 9:07 PM
^ The FlyAway is already very good. It's incredibly fast getting from Union Station to LAX in about half an hour. We don't need a subway from LAX to Union Station as a top priority. I agree with you that the Purple Line extended down Wilshire Blvd. (maybe a slight detour up to Beverly Center) is the most important line.

Wright Concept
Apr 9, 2008, 5:31 AM
A detour at Beverly/Cedars and Century City.

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BrighamYen
Apr 9, 2008, 10:25 PM
^ I think it is definitely the best choice to go with the Purple Line and the Expo Line terminating at the same station in Santa Monica. If not the same station, at least a concourse that connects the two for easier transfer that doesn't involve going up to the Promenade and having to deal with throngs of crowds (from everyone exiting the subways in addition to those who already drive there) worse than Times Square.

dragonsky
Apr 11, 2008, 2:35 AM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
$408 million coming to help solve congestion
Seven over- and underpasses to be constructed in O.C. to overcome road-rail conflicts.
By ERIC NEFF
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SACRAMENTO – The state and county are tackling traffic congestion along the Orangethorpe rail corridor head on.

The California Transportation Commission voted Thursday to build seven under- and overpasses at various crossings in Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia.

The projects will cost $408 million in all, with the bill being divided between the state and the county. All of the funding is now ensured.

"It's important to the community, because of the backup that causes congestion," Commissioner Marian Bergeson said. "It's a huge problem within the community, but it's also a strong economic incentive because of mobility."

Also approved was $35 million to widen the westbound 91 Freeway by one lane, between the 57 and I-5 freeways. That construction, which will cost $73 million in all, is slated to begin in 2012.

Congestion is a growing problem at the rail-and-road intersections, traffic officials say. Rail traffic along that corridor is projected to increase from 75 trains a day to 130 by 2030.

"All you have to do is look at a 2-mile-long train going by and an emergency vehicle waiting to see the benefits of grade separations," said Don Hoppe, Fullerton's engineering director.

On Thursday, the state commission in all allocated $3 billion to agencies statewide through the Transportation Corridor Improvement Fund. The funds will come from Prop. 1B – a bond initiative approved by voters in 2006.

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Wright Concept
Apr 11, 2008, 11:06 PM
WHITTIER DAILY NEWS

Light-rail plans scaled back
Three routes would come to Whittier
By Mike Sprague, Staff Writer

Article Launched: 04/10/2008 10:02:22 PM PDT

• PDF: Proposed light rail routes (http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site205/2008/0410/20080410_073759_TRANSIT.pdf)


WHITTIER - Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have pared a list of 17 alternative light-rail routes on the eastern area of Los Angeles County to five, including three that would come to Whittier.

All would start in East Los Angeles and three would come to Whittier along Beverly, Washington or Whittier boulevards. A fourth would go along the Pomona (60) Freeway to the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway. A fifth wouldn't be a light-rail line, but instead a busway along the Pomona Freeway.
However, MTA planners eliminated a proposed route along Garvey Avenue through Rosemead leading to El Monte.

"It's very important what the team has accomplished in going from 17 to five," said Diego Cardoso, executive officer of the MTA Planning Department on Thursday following a public meeting held the night before at the Whittier Historic Depot that drew about 60 people. "Now we can discuss it in a little more detail," Cardoso said. "The next step is to come up with one or two plans and take it to the MTA board in July, where members would either get permission to begin doing environmental analysis or told to stop the process," Cardoso said. "Criteria to narrow the alternatives even further will include travel time, safety, cost effectiveness, financial feasibility and support of land-use objectives," said Tham Nguyen, deputy project manager for MTA.

Wednesday's meeting was the second held in the last six months in Whittier to discuss light-rail transit to extend the Gold Line from East Los Angeles.
And again, residents and officials told the MTA they want a line to come to Whittier.

"It's all about the future," Councilman Joe Vinatieri said of a light-rail line. "It fits in well with the Uptown Specific Plan. It fits in with the Nelles development. This is very strategic for us." Vinatieri said a line down the Pomona Freeway would not help the city at all.
Jodi Chen of Whittier said a light-rail line could help her reach downtown Los Angeles where most of the jobs are.
"Traffic is my pet peeve," Chen said. "It takes me two to four hours if I go by (bus)," she said. "If I go by car, it takes two hours. It's very difficult because a lot of the jobs are in Los Angeles or Pasadena."

While some have complained a light-rail line would cause disruptions, Chris Schaefer of Whittier said he's not as concerned.
"The short-term impacts are overshadowed by the long-term impacts," Schaefer said. "This is a good thing. This project has to happen."

The proposed light-rail lines would either be on the street level - sometimes mixed in the traffic - or above ground.
All three routes to Whittier would start along the Pomona Freeway and head to Garfield and then south to various streets.
The Beverly Boulevard route would enter Whittier via the Greenway Trail.
It is possible there is room for a light-rail lane and the pedestrian/bicycle trail that is nearly finished, said Brent Ogden, vice president of DMJM Harris, a consultant for MTA.
"Extensive landscaping and a refit would be needed," Ogden said.


The MTA will hold three more meetings in surrounding areas:

South El Monte: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the South El Monte Senior Center, 1556 Central Ave.
Montebello: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Senior Center at City Park, 115 S. Taylor Ave.
Pico Rivera: 6:30 to 8:30p.m. April 17 at North Park Middle School cafeteria, 4450 Durfee Ave.
mike.sprague@sgvn.com (mike.sprague@sgvn.com)
(562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022

Quixote
Apr 17, 2008, 7:02 PM
MTA-LAX Link Gets First OK

TRANSIT: Oropeza's plan to connect Green Line with airport wins approval from state Senate committee.

By Gene Maddaus, Staff Writer
April 17, 2008

A proposal to extend the Green Line to LAX overcame its first hurdle in Sacramento this week, when it passed through the Senate Transportation Committee.

The bill, by Sen. Jenny Oropeza, still faces significant obstacles: most notably, the likely opposition of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Oropeza's bill, SB 1722, would create a separate construction authority with an independent mandate to build a two-mile link to Los Angeles International Airport.

The MTA has opposed such efforts in the past - most recently when Assemblyman Ted Lieu proposed the same idea last year - because a new entity would compete with the MTA for funding and control of the county's transit agenda. Lieu's bill died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last summer.

This year, supporters think they stand a better chance. The bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee late Tuesday night on an 8-3 vote.

"The day will come when the political will will have reached the point where it will happen," said Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a sponsor of the legislation. "I think we're in a better position this year than we were last year."

The Green Line comes closest to the airport at Imperial Highway and Aviation Boulevard. For years, rail advocates have dreamed about connecting the line to the airport, but have been stymied by engineering challenges, a lack of funding, and the difficulty of coordinating between Los Angeles World Airports and the MTA.

A construction authority could help clear any political hurdles by bringing the MTA, LAWA, the county and the city of Los Angeles together on a governing board with a common purpose.

"Having a construction authority is not a new concept," Oropeza said. "It has been a very effective tool in bringing all the interested parties together to come up with a strategy for financing."

Rosendahl has argued that the line could be financed through fees on rental cars, parking, and development around the airport. He is in Washington, D.C., this week, and is lobbying for an amendment that would allow LAX to spend its own revenues on a Green Line extension.

"I don't want to, in any way, slow down anybody else's project," Rosendahl said. "The MTA has a very small pie, and people fight over the crumbs of the MTA. What we really need to do is grow the pie."

The MTA is currently planning to build a light-rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard that would link up with the Green Line at Aviation. The airport is also preparing a modernization plan that could include a rail link either to the Green Line or the Crenshaw Line.

Rosendahl's staff has argued that the Green Line extension could be built much more quickly than the Crenshaw Line - which is not currently expected to open until 2025. Ultimately, Rosendahl would like to see the Green Line extended past the airport up Lincoln Boulevard.

Jose Ubaldo, an MTA spokesman, said that the authority staff would recommend today that an MTA subcommittee take a position opposing Oropeza's bill.

"We don't have enough money to build all the projects," Ubaldo said.

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Source: Daily Breeze (http://www.dailybreeze.com//ci_8953479?IADID=Search-www.dailybreeze.com-www.dailybreeze.com)

LongBeachUrbanist
Apr 17, 2008, 8:19 PM
WHITTIER DAILY NEWS

Light-rail plans scaled back
Three routes would come to Whittier
By Mike Sprague, Staff Writer

The headline doesn't match the story.

The story is that the 17 alternatives have been reduced to five, three of which route to Whittier.

The headline says that the project's mandate has been reduced. The second line implies that three train routes will be built to Whittier.

Does the Whittier Daily News have a copy editor?

dragonsky
Apr 19, 2008, 4:27 AM
Officials mark the expansion of California 23
The section of highway between Thousand Oaks and Moorpark gets a third lane in each direction. Project is completed more than a year ahead of time.
By Francisco Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 18, 2008

After years of planning and funding delays, Ventura County transportation officials Thursday formally marked the opening of traffic lanes that expand the frequently congested California 23 from four to six lanes.

Although the lanes have been in use for a month, the unveiling symbolically marked the final stretch of the $65-million highway improvement project for the 7 1/2 -mile leg that extends from Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks north to the bridge near New Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark.

California 23 now has an additional lane in each direction in the median, wider bridges, and new sound walls expected to significantly reduce vehicle noise in adjacent neighborhoods, officials said. Cables have been installed underneath the pavement to provide real-time traffic data to the California Department of Transportation.

Traffic on California 23, which connects the Ventura and Ronald Reagan freeways, has grown from an average of 87,000 daily vehicle trips in 1995 to more than 99,000 today, according to Caltrans. The freeway's expansion will help handle a projected 35% increase in traffic over the next 25 years, officials said.

Construction started in June 2006 and is expected to be completed by June, nearly 14 months ahead of the scheduled opening in fall 2009.

"Basically, what allowed the quick finish was that the sound walls, which normally would have been built at night, were able to be built in the daytime," said Judy Gish, a Caltrans spokeswoman.

"So we were able to keep the lanes open, and that allowed the work to proceed as traffic went by."

Finishing touches that remain to be done include the installation of an electronic message board on the southbound lanes near the Olsen Road onramp, officials said. The board will include incident information, weather advisories and "Amber alerts."

Also, landscaping the freeway expansion with oak trees will begin in a few weeks, Gish said.

Transportation planners first noticed an increase in California 23 traffic 17 years ago and began designing an expansion in 1996, officials said. But state budget woes prompted legislators to divert gas tax money to other transportation programs, stalling plans.

The project, paid for with a combination of state and federal transportation money, finally got the green light in August 2005 when the state Transportation Commission approved $48.3 million for construction.

dragonsky
Apr 19, 2008, 4:32 AM
Orange County toll road foes apply pressure
A California congressional delegation urges Commerce secretary to uphold a state panel's veto of the proposal for Orange County.
By David Reyes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

More than two dozen members of California's congressional delegation have sent a letter urging the secretary of Commerce to uphold the state Coastal Commission's veto of a controversial toll road proposal in southern Orange County.

The letter, sent this week from Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and signed by other members of Congress, also urged Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez to hold a hearing in California to assess public opinion on the appeal by the Irvine-based Transportation Corridor Agencies.

The signers cited the Coastal Commission's staff report that stated, "It would be difficult to imagine a more environmentally damaging alternative location for the proposed toll road."

At an estimated cost of $875 million, the proposed Foothill South would be the final link in Orange County's network of toll roads. It would run 16 miles from Oso Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita to Interstate 5 at Basilone Road, south of San Clemente.

Although opponents say it would destroy a popular state park and famed surfing site, proponents say the road is needed to help alleviate congestion on the I-5 and other thoroughfares in southern Orange County.

Those who signed the letter include Sen. Barbara Boxer and congressional leaders Maxine Waters, Xavier Becerra, Henry Waxman, Howard Berman and Jane Harman. Most are Democrats from Los Angeles and other counties; none were from Orange County.

"We did not ask California Republicans [to sign the letter] because we assumed they would not be interested, especially if they tried to help the TCA," said Aaron Hunter, Davis' spokesman.

Jennifer Seaton, a TCA spokeswoman, said the letter's contents didn't surprise her after she was told it was sent from Davis' office.

In January, Davis succeeded with an amendment to the military authorization bill that weakened the TCA's effort because it would require the agency to follow potentially restrictive state environmental laws. Davis' amendment took away the TCA's ability to legally argue that state law would not apply on federal property. The proposed road cuts through Camp Pendleton land.

"It's significant that not one legislator in the immediate project area signed that letter because we do have strong support among local legislators," Seaton said.

Meanwhile, the TCA asked the Army Corps of Engineers to correct a letter the corps sent to Gutierrez accusing the TCA of making false and misleading statements in its appeal.

The letter contained "serious misstatements" concerning the TCA's environmental process, said Thomas Margro, TCA's chief executive. Margro sent the letter to the corps Tuesday.

Col. Thomas H. Magness IV, the corps' district director in Los Angeles, had not yet received the letter.

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JDRCRASH
Apr 24, 2008, 5:19 PM
Inland Valley the missing link

OUR VIEW: Funding for extending light rail to the Inland Valley must be made a priority

Article Created: 04/23/2008 04:42:59 PM PDT


It's now or never - well, at least now or maybe-not-for-a-long-time - for the Gold Line Foothill Extension.
Friday is the last day the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority will accept public comment on its draft Long Range Transportation Plan, which will be finalized by June. The MTA board left the Gold Line extension off its list of priority projects in the draft plan, so it's incumbent upon Inland Valley residents to let the board know they want the light-rail line built east to L.A./Ontario International Airport.

If you can make it to today's public hearing, do so by all means. It starts at 9:30 a.m. at MTA headquarters, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles.

If not, you can make your voice heard by sending an e-mail to metroplan@metro.net today - or Friday at the latest. Or send a letter postmarked by Friday to Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Countywide Planning and Development, Attn: Robert Calix, One Gateway Plaza, Mail Stop 99-32-3, Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952.

What should you tell the MTA board?

You could say you're sick of sitting in traffic on the 10 or 210 Freeway, and don't want to be stalled in even worse traffic 12 or 15 years from now. It's time to get serious about public transportation that serves the fast-growing Inland Valley.

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, whose chairman is La Verne Mayor Jon Blickenstaff, requested $80 million for the extension. That amount could leverage up to $320 million in federal funds to build the line's next phase, east to the Azusa-Glendora city line. That would be a great return on investment for Southern Californians.

More than $2 billion in public and private investment has been committed to transit-oriented developments along the Foothill Extension corridor. The construction authority estimates that there could be $43.5 billion in economic benefit from development along the line by 2030.

Montclair, for example, is basing its planned "downtown" on the Gold Line's extension to the transit station north of Montclair Plaza.

Of course, we think the extension should continue east past Montclair to L.A./ONT. It just makes so much sense to connect passenger rail lines with airports - as the Metro board failed to do with its Green Line that stops short of LAX.

In the wake of Earth Day, we're compelled to mention that the use of public transportation instead of a car by a single commuter can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 20 pounds a day, or about 2<MD+,%30,%55,%70>1/<MD-,%0,%55,%70>2 tons a year.

For many reasons, the MTA board needs to put the Foothill Extension on its priority-funding list. Let MTA know how you feel about it

dragonsky
Apr 25, 2008, 2:51 AM
U.S. offers L.A. $213 million for toll lane plan
MTA will weigh project to convert carpool lanes to congestion pricing, beginning with parts of the 10 and 210 freeways, but many obstacles remain.
By Steve Hymon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 24, 2008

The federal government has offered Los Angeles County $213 million to convert carpool lanes to special, congestion-pricing toll lanes on three freeways, according to county government documents.

The freeways involved first would be short stretches of Interstates 10 and 210 in the San Gabriel Valley, and then, if any money remained, part of the 110 south of downtown Los Angeles.

The federal funding, however, would come to L.A. County only if local and state transportation officials agreed to the changes, which are highly controversial in the region, where most motorists expect "free" freeways.

Board members of the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority today will consider adopting a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Also, the California Transportation Commission and the state Legislature would probably have a say before the special toll lanes were created, sources said.

The idea of the special lanes is to impose costly tolls during rush hours to unclog congestion by discouraging people from driving during busy times -- so-called "congestion" pricing.

Tolls would vary by time of day, with the highest fees during the busiest times. Cars with single occupants would probably be allowed to use the lanes -- if they pay a price.

In the proposed deal, the federal money would go toward the purchase of about 60 high-volume buses that would use the new toll lanes. That would free up MTA funds for creating the toll lanes.

L.A. Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who chairs the council's Transportation Committee, said she's cautiously optimistic that the MTA board would adopt the plan today.

She said that although she understands that fees are unpopular, it was time to try something new.

"The most important aspect of this is the breadth of the money," Greuel said. "We're in the 21st century and that means we have to look at solutions we never have before."

A spokesman for L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday night that the mayor is supportive of the plan and feels it deserves "a test ride."

MTA spokesman Marc Littman declined to comment on the funding offer. Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation did not return calls.

Transportation officials hope enough people use the buses and the tolls clear enough space in the carpool lanes for traffic flow to remain at 45 mph or more at all times.

Many carpool lanes are near capacity and frequently suffer the same stop-start traffic that grips regular lanes.

Only short stretches of freeway fall under the proposal.

On the I-210, the tolls would be in effect between junctions with the 710 and 605 -- an 11-mile stretch that includes some of its heaviest volumes of traffic, according to Caltrans.

On the I-10, the tolls would affect the El Monte Busway, a distance of about 10 miles. The first parts of the project could be implemented in 2010.

The federal offer has come to Los Angeles County after New York City failed to approve a congestion pricing program.

"We feel it's important for the public to feel this and taste it," Tyler Duvall, acting undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, said earlier this month. "L.A. is a national interest area, and it's important in our view to get [congestion pricing] on the ground and demonstrated to everyone."

JDRCRASH
Apr 25, 2008, 4:09 PM
^
Thank god. We need it.

LongBeachUrbanist
Apr 25, 2008, 5:53 PM
Interesting...I'd probably support that. I'd be interested in seeing what the MTA would do with the offered 1/4 billion...hopefully a lot of that would be funneled into transit, not just highway projects.

I guess this would only work where the toll lanes are barriered or otherwise physically separated from the regular lanes. Otherwise, you'd be able to jump into the the toll lanes without paying.

dragonsky
Apr 26, 2008, 5:06 AM
MTA votes for tolls on some carpool lanes by 2010
The plan to ease congestion in Los Angeles County would start by 2010 with the 10 and 210 freeways.
By Steve Hymon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 25, 2008

Declaring that it's time to try something new in the war on traffic, Los Angeles County transportation officials unanimously voted Thursday to make some motorists pay tolls to use carpool lanes on two local freeways.

If all goes as planned, tolls for those lanes would take effect on the 10 and 210 freeways in the San Gabriel Valley by the end of 2010.

On the 210, it is expected that tolls will be implemented between Pasadena and the 605 Freeway. On the 10 Freeway, tolls probably would be charged on the stretch between downtown Los Angeles and the 605.

Carpool lanes on the 110 Freeway south of downtown also may become toll lanes -- if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has money left over.

"This is a great opportunity to think outside the box and to try something that has been tested around the world and has worked," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a member of the MTA board. "Part of the reason that Los Angeles has not been able to grapple with gridlock is because we've been unable to make the tough decisions."

Events moved quickly this week after the MTA learned that the U.S. Department of Transportation was prepared to offer local transit officials more than $200 million to buy about 60 high-capacity buses and upgrade Metrolink train service in the San Gabriel Valley. In exchange, the MTA board had to agree to try on its freeways some so-called congestion pricing, a toll scheme in which the charge varies by time of day.

The idea has become increasingly popular around the world over the last decade; in the United States, the 91 Freeway express lanes connecting Riverside and Orange counties was the pioneer. Officials hope the tolls discourage some drivers from using the road during rush hours, so they can guarantee that remaining toll lane traffic goes at least 45 mph.

Exactly how the lanes would work, officials said, remains to be sorted out -- namely, the price of the tolls. On the 91 express lanes, tolls range from $1.20 to $10. Toll lanes on the 15 Freeway in San Diego County charge fees that go from 50 cents to $4.

Motorists would be charged as they passed under toll lane sensors. A transponder on a vehicle's dashboard would communicate with the sensor, which would then bill an account set up by the motorist. The tolls would go partly toward better mass transit

A few details have begun to emerge about the plan in Los Angeles County, although all are subject to change:

* Single-occupant cars probably would be allowed in the carpool lanes but would have to pay a toll, as would cars with two people in them.

* Hybrids now allowed in carpool lanes with only a single occupant also would have to pay to use toll lanes.

* Vehicles with three or more passengers may get to use the toll lanes for free. That item will have to be negotiated with federal officials.

Several MTA board members -- led by Villaraigosa and one of his appointees, Richard Katz -- say they don't want to punish carpoolers who are already doing a good thing.

Over the last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been prodding cities and states to install more toll lanes, providing federal money to metropolitan areas willing to give it a try.

In a nationwide competition for the money last year, Los Angeles County was eliminated in the first round after it committed only to study congestion pricing because tolls were controversial in a state that takes pride in having "freeways."

So local officials reapplied in December and struck gold after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan was sunk by the New York state Legislature. That freed up money for Los Angeles County, which federal officials have described as one of the nation's preeminent laboratories for traffic.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters will hold a news conference in Los Angeles todayto announce the deal, first reported in The Times on Thursday.

The hope among local officials is that the tolls and new express bus service would reduce the number of solo drivers and help everyone else on the freeway go much faster. And some area residents said they're eager to see it.

"All the voluntary measures they've tried to get people to drive less aren't working," said Colin Bogart, 39, of Hollywood.

Others aren't so sure. Eric Sandberg, 28, who commutes from Phelan to his job with the Arcadia School District each day -- with a stop to drop off his carpooling partner in Pomona -- said the plan would either overwhelm the carpool lanes with willing buyers or force existing carpoolers into the already congested regular lanes.

Still, would he pay to ease his commute?

"It would have to be fairly cheap," he said. "It costs me enough to get to work as it is with gas prices."

dragonsky
Apr 26, 2008, 2:41 PM
Friday, April 25, 2008
South County traffic solutions sought
Traffic volume on I-5 is expected to average 212,000 cars a day by 2030.
By VIK JOLLY and ERIKA I. RITCHIE
The Orange County Register

The growth of South Orange County's population to 1.15 million by 2030 – up from 809,600 in 2000 – is expected to be matched by another boom: traffic.

Volume on I-5 near the San Diego County line, now averaging 150,000 cars a day Monday through Thursday, could become 212,000 cars on weekdays by 2030.

A $1.2 million, more than two-year long Orange County Transportation Authority study expected to be completed by fall examines six alternatives to prevent gridlock.

The study targets improved travel from the San Diego County border to the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway and from the foothills to the coast. The agency has held several open houses with the public to get feedback on proposed solutions.

The alternatives range from widening sections of the I-5 and the 405 to adding more rail and bus options and closing major gaps on the regional major thoroughfares/streets in the study area.

Steve Christman, 70, a retired commercial artist in San Clemente, says he notices more cars around him when he's on the freeway.

Some developments have added more cars in town with bottlenecks where everyone tries to get on to the I-5. "Southern California has just grown too fast," he said.

He finds that traffic moves just as fast on the I-5 as it did a couple of decades ago, until you get to the El Toro Y. "I don't see it being any slower, you just notice that where there used to be five cars around you now there are 10."

Currently, South County traffic on the I-5 near the San Diego County line swells to more than 175,000 cars a day on the weekends.

Here are some key South County areas of traffic concern:

ORTEGA HIGHWAY

Efforts date back at least a decade to ease traffic buildup on Ortega Highway in San Juan Capistrano, including plans to widen different parts of Ortega and last month an environmental document outlined options to ease congestion at what some consider the worst freeway interchange chokepoint in Orange County at Ortega and the I-5.

And, one year after construction work began on a perilous stretch of the highway, transportation officials say that work is still on schedule despite months of night closures and traffic delays on a key link between Orange and Riverside Counties. The $40 million project on a 3.3 mile stretch from the San Juan Creek Bridge to the Riverside County line is approximately 60 percent completed, project manager Karl Lindquist said.

Also, Caltrans has agreed to a full environmental review of the Ortega widening from two to four lanes in a 1.9 mile portion of San Juan and county land.

241 EXTENSION

Beginning Monday, the public will have 30 days to tell the federal government whether it should overrule the state Coastal Commission and allow the long proposed Foothill South toll road to be built.

The appeal to the Commerce Department is the last chance toll road supporters have to resurrect the project that the Commission rejected in February.

CROWN VALLEY PARKWAY

A major South County thoroughfare – linking inland communities like Ladera Ranch and Mission Viejo to the Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point – Crown Valley Parkway now carries about 70,000 cars a day. In 2025, it's projected to move as much as 90,000.

The 26-month, $17.5 million road widening project adds dual left-turn lanes at Marguerite Parkway and on westbound Crown Valley into the entrances of Mission Hospital and the Shops at Mission Viejo.

A fourth through-lane in each direction is being added between the mall entrance and the east city limits. Dual left-turn and designated right turn lanes in each direction are being added at the intersection of Crown Valley and Marguerite Parkway.

Roadway widening on the south side of Crown Valley is complete. A new lane has opened east of Bellogente and three lanes now run the entire length. A traffic signal timing sequence helps the traffic flow.

Construction continues on the north side of Crown Valley to add another westbound lane expected to be completed by the end of June. Median and landscape improvements should be completed by August.

"As development continues to east, 10 -15 years from now Crown Valley would essentially be gridlocked," said Mark Chagnon, project manager. "These improvements are to prevent us reaching failure in the future and to provide smooth traffic flow at today's traffic volume.

ALTON PARKWAY

The Alton Parkway Extension project got Board of Supervisors approval earlier this month when they approved a $2.2 million, two-year contract for the final design from Irvine Boulevard to Commercentre.

The remaining segment from Commercentre to the 241 toll road still needs to be designed and constructed.

Once completed, the two-mile, six-lane roadway will take motorists from Irvine Boulevard in Irvine to Towne Centre Drive in Lake Forest. It will also connect the 241 toll road with the I-5.

Construction on the county's project could start as early as next spring and be completed by the end of 2010. The timeline on the remaining portion is currently unknown.

The county's cost will be about $28 million. A portion will come from the Foothill Circulation Phasing Plan and other sources.

"The arterial system in Lake Forest has four major components – El Toro, Lake Forest, Bake and Alton," said Lake Forest Mayor pro tem Peter Herzog. "This completes the system and will dramatically improve congestion on the other streets like Bake which is now well over capacity."

Register Washington bureau chief Dena Bunis contributed to this report

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