Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.
Searching for CicLAvia’s slow gear (Zev’s Blog)
As someone who plans to enjoy CicLAvia on foot this year, I appreciate this call for courteous and thoughtful sharing of the road this Sunday from some of Los Angeles’ foremost bicycle and pedestrian advocates. CicLAvia organizer Joe Linton puts it well when he encourages “all participants…to bring mutual respect, common sense and a willingness to engage with each other.” If you’re cruising around on two legs — as opposed to two wheels — like me, consider bringing a copy of the official CicLAvia architecture guide (PDF) with you.
When the Crenshaw Line opens to the public later this decade, riders will be able to transfer at the northern end to the Expo Line and head toward the beach or downtown. But what about an extension of the Crenshaw Line further north to Hollywood? Such an extension is listed in Tier 1 of Metro’s long-range plan, meaning it’s currently unfunded but considered a high priority project in the future. Dan Wentzel of the blog, Ride the Pink Line, weighs in on how the Crenshaw Line might proceed from Expo/Crenshaw to Hollywood/Highland. The primary routes Wentzel considers are a combo of San Vicente Boulevard plus La Brea, Fairfax or La Cienega. Wentzel notes that there are some tradeoffs to consider here between going for the most direct route (La Brea) versus one that hits more destinations (Fairfax or La Cienega).
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has signed off on the latest of iteration of the state’s plan to connect the Bay Area to So Cal. The approval included an amendment that will bring Anaheim back into the fold after a one-seat-ride to Orange County had been previously shelved to save costs. The proposal now heads to the State Legislature for approval — where it’s likely to encounter some skeptical members — before Gov. Jerry Brown can sign off on the beginning of construction. The press release from the California High-Speed Rail Authority is posted below.
High-Speed Rail Authority Board Passes Revised 2012 Business Plan
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board today passed a 2012 revised business plan that will provide for high-speed rail service within a decade, connect the state’s major metropolitan areas, utilize existing rail infrastructure in northern and southern California and provide earlier statewide benefits to commuters in the Bay Area and Los Angeles at a cost of $68.4 billion.
“I am pleased to announce today that the High-Speed Rail Authority has taken a huge step forward toward making a coordinated statewide transportation network a viable reality,” said Authority Board Chair Dan Richard.
The business plan was adopted with an amendment committing the Authority to work with transportation agencies in Orange County to identify cost-effective ways to enable a one-seat ride to and from Anaheim. As part of the amendment, the Southern California Passenger Rail Planning Coalition will consider options for a connection that will cost less and be less intrusive than a full-build connection enabling the one-seat ride to Anaheim.
“We now stand poised to have an operational high-speed passenger rail system within ten years,” said Board Member Mike Rossi. “By working with community leaders throughout the state we will begin construction soon on a smarter, more cost-effective transportation option for all Californians that reflects the direction mandated by voters in 2008 with the passage of Proposition 1A.”
The Board unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Southern California transportation agencies and MPOs. This document outlines a shared commitment to advance the development of high-speed rail while providing funding for local early investment projects in Southern California that will improve rail service immediately. This agreement is designed to set the stage for construction to begin on needed Southern California infrastructure projects as early as next year.
In another unanimous decision, the Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Northern California transportation entities. This would electrify the popular Caltrain commuter train from San Jose to San Francisco. The MOU, which has been approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, calls for local and regional entities to provide funding for just over half the $1.5 billion agreement. The Authority would provide $706 billion from 2008 Prop 1A bond monies.
Lynn Schenk, vice chair of the Authority Board and longtime proponent of high-speed rail, lauded the voice of youth represented by pro-high-speed rail groups such as UC Merced student group “I Will Ride,” whose founder spoke during the public comment period. Schenk said, “I am most encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm of young professionals, teens and twentysomethings who have made it clear that this is a project that will benefit their generation.”
Elected officials, advocacy groups and individuals overwhelmingly spoke in favor of the business plan at the meeting.
“I hope to see, in the near future, trains pulling through all the way from Los Angeles to the Central Valley, through Silicon Valley to San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal, which we believe to be the Grand Central Station of the West,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, speaking in favor of the business plan at the meeting.
“I appreciate that High-Speed Rail embraced the proposal for a blended system that Peninsula elected officials, namely Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Sen. Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Rich Gordon called for a year ago,” said Adrienne Tissier, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Caltrain and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
The business plan adopted Thursday was shaped by public feedback drawn from nearly 300 statewide meetings with landowners, elected officials and the public, as well as 250 public comments received over a two and a half month comment period.
California’s High-Speed Train Project
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is developing a San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles and Anaheim high-speed rail system that will operate at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour. The full system will connect all of the state’s major urban centers, including Sacramento and San Diego. Initial infrastructure construction will begin in the Central Valley, the backbone of the system, in 2012. The project will generate 100,000 construction job-years of employment over the next five years and nearly one million economy-wide job-years over the life of the project. The project is being funded through voter-approved state bonds, federal funding grants, local funding, and public-private partnerships.