Transportation headlines, Monday, June 17

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 Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Some L.A. County bus drivers say pesticides are making them ill (L.A. Times)

At least 14 Metro bus operators are pursuing workers comp claims, according to their attorney, and three operators have lodged complaints with CAL/OSHA, alleging that a common pesticide used by Metro on buses is making them ill. CAL/OSHA declined comment to the Times because an inquiry is pending. Here’s an excerpt with Metro’s response:

Metro officials said ample precautions are taken when buses are treated to kill roaches and other insects attracted by crumbs from sandwiches, chips, candy and other food items that passengers often bring on board.

They say that safety information is provided to operators, and no more than eight driver complaints have been officially lodged in the last five years. In a recent letter, the authority told Cal/OSHA that employee exposures are insignificant because of the controlled conditions and limited amounts of pesticide applied.

“Spraying buses is common to prevent insect infestations,” said Dave Sotero, a Metro spokesman. “These are standard industry practices, and the chemicals are used for a multitude of purposes.”

The pesticides in question are pyrethrins made of a natural substance from chrysanthemums or their synthetic equivalent known as pyrethroids.

 

The story goes on to note that transit agencies commonly spray pesticides but also says that two agencies — OCTA and Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica — usually use gels that can be applied directly to problem areas in buses and that both agencies rarely spray. 

The truth about Tejon Pass (California High-Speed Rail Blog) 

A guest post makes the case that the bullet train’s route between the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles should take the tracks over/under Tejon Pass instead of Tehachapi Pass because it would cheaper to build, be more profitable and shave 12 minutes off travel times. The post also argues that the California High-Speed Rail agency should have studied a different — and cheaper — route over Tejon Pass.

Not mentioned is this: a Tejon Pass alignment would mean the bullet train would not run through the Antelope Valley. And I’m guessing some Los Angeles County politicians would have something not super nice to say about that.

County may grab millions from South Bay road projects to pay for Crenshaw/LAX Line (Daily Breeze) 

In order to accomodate the growing cost of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Metro staff are recommending moving about $95 million in funds from South Bay ramp and interchange projects and the Airport Metro Connector project to help pay for the light rail line’s two new stations, as well as increased contingency funds. South Bay officials want the road money to stay put. The article is a bit one-sided, as Metro officials declined comment.

The Board will be considering a contract to build the Crenshaw/LAX Line at its June meeting and it’s obvious they’ll have questions about the financing plan for the projects. It’s also worth noting the the vast majority of the Board voted to add the stations two weeks prior to Metro staff releasing its recommendation for a construction contract that helped detail the project’s entire cost (only Board Member Diane DuBois voted against). Two councilman in Los Angeles last week complained that some of the city’s Measure R funds would be used to help build the stations.

My three cents: before everyone has a total conniption, I hope everyone considers the big question here: in the coming decades, will spending the money on stations have/not have a greater impact than some of the other possible uses of the funds? That’s the heart of the debate here.

Electric bus charges in 15 seconds (Forbes) 

The technology, from the Swiss firm ABB, would allow buses to quickly charge and stay on schedule. It also means no overhead wires — the reason that many cities have shunned using electric-powered buses in the past. Electric buses can save on fuel costs (obviously) and are often quieter than buses powered by natural gas or diesel.

 

13 replies

  1. Totally worth it to move funds to build these stations. And who’s to say that we can re-allocate the funds taken in the future. Politicians should try to see the bigger picture.

  2. I had a feeling South Bay was going to complain. I lived there for many years, and try to travel there as little as possible. Simply because it is not connected to a proper system, and one is essentially trapped down there after 9 o’clock, while god forbid you are a pedestrian after 9, thats “suspicious”, and most likely will have you stopped by their Police. Correct me if i’m wrong, but don’t municipalities dictate how funds are allocated for their own roads thru local tax dollars? Now I do know that Measure R is a countywide measure, and Torrance / South Bay do fall within its boundaries, but c’mon, those well off folks can’t fund their own projects (especially roads they use waaaay too much), while also contributing to the greater good of the city and county? If I felt Torrance appreciated L.A. more that just coming to Kings games and not respecting WHERE I LIVE, id understand, but its time for them to connect, and get over the SOUTH BAY BUBBLE mentality that anyone who knows the area exists. Excuse me, but I am bias. South Bay needs to get with the program, they’ve always been behind on being world class when it comes to infrastructure. The suburbs are dead, and your children know it. Look at how bored they are.

  3. Find some cuts first.

    For example, look at the 2013 Metro Executive Compensation Table. It’s listed right here on metro.net at http://www.metro.net/about/board/executive-compensation/

    Do we really need FORTY-FOUR Metro Executive Officers making such high six digit incomes out of taxpayer money?

    Add all these up taxpayers have to pay a total of $8,141,700 this year to forty four executive officers working at Metro. What’s the difference between a Transit Operations Chief Operations Officer, Transit Operations General Manager, and Transit Operations Deputy Chief Operations Officer anyway?

  4. If you read the 75 page .pdf presentation that is included with the Tejon Pass article, you will see that service to Palmdale was considered. It would be cheaper and produce better ridership to build HSR via Tejon Pass AND build a high speed tilting commuter train to serve the Palmdale. Doing this would save lots of money, shorten the HSR trip to SF by 15 minutes and provide better rail service to Palmdale and other communities up there.

  5. Transit Rider,

    I think you’re being a bit too over-simplifying things.

    Torrance isn’t just a suburb, it’s also a huge job center because it has a lot of North American headquarters of Japanese multi-national corporations there. Many of our best and brightest American engineers work at Honeywell and Robinson Helicopter. The ExxonMobil oil plant there is essential to our national oil supply – oil drilled in Alaska are shipped here and refined right there. The job centers Torrance has is not something you want to push away from LA County either. We already lost Nissan Motors to Tennessee due to high taxes and the anti-business climate. Do you want to see Toyota, Honda, Honeywell, etc. move out of LA County too, impacting more of our jobs and our local economy?

    The idea of the South Bay Bubble is in your head. In reality, there is no such thing. LA County is a big city that is made up of many many cities that are equally reliant on each other. Just at there are residents of City of Torrance commuting to work in the City of LA, there are also residents of City of LA commuting to work in the City of Torrance.

    Instead of fighting “I’m a bigger city than you so you better do what I say,” like childish kids, the City of LA and the City of Torrance need to work things out as equals.

  6. Dear Ted, The South Bay bubble is real. If my opinion offend you, for that I am a slight bit apologetic about. Nissan was in Carson, and very close to th 110 freeway and the Artesia Transit Center. Did they leave because of infrastructure? I’m not sure. But what I do know, is that Torrance, Lomita, P.V. Redondo, Hermosa, El Segundo, are not key on funding projects that benefit the ENTIRE COUNTY. It was never “Our city is bigger than yours.” Its, “WE ALL LIVE IN THE SAME COUNTY SO WHAT MAKES YOU EXEMPT FROM HAVING REAL TRANIST?” So yes, Torrance/SouthBay DOES need to work things out as equals. I have enough good friends that work at Raetheyon (Spelling), and was a child of a mother that works at ARCO. Tranist is needed in more mode that one, and Torrance has managed to create and foster a very car dependednt culture. Look at the sizes of South Bay Galleria and Del Amo Malls Parking lots. Look at the width of Crenshaw and Hawthorne blvds, which are larger than Wilshire might I add. So before you think to reply to me or anyone, read and re-read. Thank you, and see you on the TRAIN!

  7. “WE ALL LIVE IN THE SAME COUNTY SO WHAT MAKES YOU EXEMPT FROM HAVING REAL TRANIST?”

    The answer is simple. What’s in it for us? We pay taxes as into this county much as everyone else, yet has LA County Metro even made the slightest of intention of extending the Green Line down towards the South Bay? No it hasn’t. Has Metro made any intention of expanding a true North-South Line along the Westside? No. Both the Green Line and Silver Line terminus are no where near any of our cities.

    Because Metro refuses to serve much of the South Bay, WE HAVE TO RUN OUR OWN TRANSIT WITH OUR OWN TAX DOLLARS. That’s why we have Torrance Transit. That’s why Gardena runs their own Gardena Municipal Bus Lines. That’s why Redondo Beach runs their own Beach Cities Transit. And you say we can’t take care of our roads? Gimme a break.

    You say it’ll benefit the entire county. We aren’t seeing it in our area. Yes, we live in the same county. But you haven’t done us a favor in the past several decades in the same fair amount of tax dollars we pay into this county. Now you have a problem in funding. Why should we help you out? Have you helped us out in the past?

    Come back to us when you start being serious about building a LA Metro rail transit (which is run including our taxes we put into this county) that’ll provide a single line ride directly to LAX, Westside, or Downtown LA. Then we’ll talk about letting you use our funds to build your station that you can’t fund yourself.

    I mean really. You guys even charge $1.50 per ride, which is $0.50 more than we do on our Torrance Transit. Don’t tell me that Metro doesn’t have funds, especially considering how many more people in City of LA use Metro. I betcha that majority of the money is being lost is in paying those 44 redundant “Metro executives” who are being paid six figure incomes. That’s our tax dollars too!

  8. Ted, I am for putting Metro in south bay, thats what I do not think you understand. There were studies to extend the green line to South Bay Galleria and even further at one point, even possibly to the Blue Line through Harbor City etc. Torrance has poor transit due to lack of demand, the lack of demand comes from people knowing the service is unreliable. So since we seem to be on the same team, I do not know what you are “blarguing.” You probably drive everyday anyway.

  9. They are taking money from the South Bay to build the Leimert Park station. The residents and businesses in the Leimert Park area should contribute to the station since Metro already has a station planned at MLK and Crenshaw Blvd.

    Also, Metro is conducting an environmental review of the South Bay Metro Green Line Extension. This study will examine options for extending rail service into the South Bay.
    . http://www.metro.net/projects/south-bay/

  10. The environmental impact report for the Green Line extension should be released sooner rather than later and then the process of public comment begins on that report.

    Metro owns the right of way in the south bay but the communities there have been fighting the Green line extension in the preparation of the EIR.

    http://www.metro.net/projects/south-bay/

  11. Some area of South Bay have been fighting Green Line extension. Maybe if they were more supportive, they would not have not this happen.
    HSR- The route HAS to go via I5 for all the reasons in the article.
    Palmdale can be served- WITH HSR- by the Vegas to Victorville HSR that is going to have a row in the new freeway over to Palmdale, at which this can be a HSR route all the way to LA.
    I don’t think Palmdale has the pool of riders for HSR, many don’t even pay full fare for Metrolink as it is.

  12. I grew up in the South Bay, and I have always supported transit, especially rail transit construction. Unfortunately, many in the area have opposed transit or been lukewarm about it.

    If you compare the South Bay with the San Gabriel Valley, it is clearly obvious that Metro has paid more attention to those areas which have fought for transit and have spoken up in favor of it.

    I don’t blame SGV for grabbing what they can. However, I do think the South Bay could stand to be a little more supportive. If the South Bay had not been dragging its feet on rail transit, it would not find itself in the situation it does now.