South Pasadena Council adopts new stance toward 710 extension (Pasadena Star News)
The Council last week rescinded its policy to be opposed to any project that would eliminate the gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena. instead, the Council’s new policy says that any such project would have to meet federal air standards, which would likely improve the city’s negotiating position. As many of you know, Metro is just beginning to study possible projects to ease traffic in the gap area. That could be anything from an extension of the freeway to more transit in the area.
The story ran Friday, but I thought it was important to circle back to it. The gist of it is that a panel convened by the California High-Speed Rail Authority has found that earlier ridership projections by an agency contractor are likely off-target and need to be redone. Here’s my big question: If new forecasts are completed in the near future (as in before the project breaks ground, scheduled for next year) and show much lower ridership, then what? Will state lawmakers allow bonds to be sold to fund it? Will the same lawmakers still have the appetite to build an initial segment between Bakersfield and Fresno? This reads to me like someone just spooned another big heap of politics on a project already highly charged with politics. Hmm.
The Board of Sound Transit — Metro’s equivalent in the Seattle area — decided last week to open a 1.6-mile extension of an existing light rail line in 2016 instead of 2020. The reasons: construction costs are currently low and it would allow the extension from SeaTac airport to 200th Street to open about the same time as another line to the University of Washington. The Board thought it was important to get as much of the network open at the same time, which would encourage more people to ride. Interesting. And sounds familiar. That’s big selling point behind Metro’s America Fast Forward plan: build projects now because they’ll probably be cheaper to construct now than they will 10 to 25 years from now.
The L.A. City Council voted last week to kill its red light enforcement program, mostly because it couldn’t enforce payment of citations issued. Well, that wasn’t a problem for some cities such as Santa Clarita and Beverly Hills that have made revenue from the program and seen a decrease in accidents at intersections with the cameras. Other cities, however, had similar issues as L.A. My two cents: I see people blow through red lights on a fairly regular basis throughout L.A. I don’t care how traffic safety is enforced — whether machine or man. I just want to see it enforced.