How We Roll, Oct. 4: which way do the ballot measure winds blow?

Art of Transit:

Installation of a pile for the Purple Line Extension's Wilshire/Fairfax Station. The subway is working its way down Wilshire Boulevard, people! Photo: Metro.

Installation of a pile for the Purple Line Extension’s Wilshire/Fairfax Station. The subway is working its way down Wilshire Boulevard, people! Click above to see the latest community presentation on the subway project. Photo: Metro.

From the Department of It Was Really Great to Go to Work Meetings Yesterday Instead of Go to the Grove on the Purple Line and 720 Rapid and Do Something Useful Like This:  

 

Voters defeated Metro’s ambitious plan to raise money in 2012 and they might do it again (LAT)

Another difference between days of yore and the present: long online headlines versus the shorter headlines that had to fit in the print version of the paper!

Of course, this cuts both ways. The Measure R half-cent sales tax increase won with 67.9 percent of the vote in 2008 and then Measure J — a proposed extension of Measure R — lost with 66.1 percent of the vote in 2012, about a half-point shy of the 66.7 percent needed. Turnout was somewhat higher in ’08, if that was a factor.

How will it go for Measure M and the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, Metro’s new ballot measure that would raise the countywide sales tax by a half cent and extend Measure R? Hard to say — other than the two previous elections are probably good indicators that it will be very close.

Transpo reporter Laura Nelson does a deft job of handling a lot of different viewpoints on the current measure, ranging from the campaign to the supporter who doesn’t use transit but thinks more of it will help traffic to a doubter in the South Bay. Yet another expert says the ballot measure could also turn out to be a referendum on Metro’s current service: “That could cut either way, he said: commuters pleased with new rail options, or riders frustrated by service problems.”

Absentee ballots are due to be mailed to voters next week, meaning voting is just days away. Of course, we probably won’t know the results until early on Nov. 9 — if the county manages to efficiently count the votes.

Here’s the Measure M page on metro.net. I highly recommend looking at the project and program list and timeline (scroll down) before deciding how to vote.

Metro is also holding two telephone town halls next week. More info:

Telephone Town Hall Meetings, October 12 and October 19, 2016

Metro will host two telephone town hall meetings on Wednesday, October 12 and Wednesday, October 19, 2016 to educate the citizens of Los Angeles County on Measure M. Using innovative telephone technology, the senior staff will speak directly with members of the community providing information and answering questions on Measure M and other issues facing the agency. The town halls are scheduled as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 12 6:30 – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 19 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Thirty thousand registered voters will be called each evening, at random, through an automated system and invited to participate in the telephone forum. Those who choose to participate can hear about Measure M, Metro’s long range transportation plan, local bus and rail service, and other projects underway.

How to participate in the Telephone Town Hall

  1. In addition to automatic calls, you can also  RSVP to receive an email reminder.
  2. On the day of the meeting, call the toll-free call-in number
    • English: 888-400- 1932
    • Spanish: 888-400- 9342
  3. Listen online to the Live Webcast from your browser
  4. ADA Language Accommodation
    If you require an interpreter or other accommodations, please contact Metro at least 72 hours prior to the telephone town hall meeting date at 323-466- 3876 or California Relay Service at 711.Bundled parking and vehicle ownership (Journal of Transport and Land Use)

MyFigueroa is beginning construction in October (LADOT)

78c2686e-25a7-4193-a744-db1ea6f1173f

Attentive Source readers and urban denizens know that Figueroa Street in DTLA is not so much a street as a seven- to eight-land freeway that the city allowed to be carved through town once upon a time.

As mentioned above, winds are capable of changing direction and control of Fig has been wrested from the traffic engineers, old school planners and their political protectors. The project between Exposition Park and South Park will reduce the road to only five lanes and add protected bike lanes to each side of the street as well as new nice new transit stations for bus riders.

Sounds great. Hopefully the oft-interminable waits for pedestrians to cross Figueroa will also be reduced.

Quasi-related: under-rated Jefferson Starship song:

Bundled parking and vehicle ownership (Journal of Transport and Land Use)

This is just the abstract and it’s dense, but final sentence says it well: “Overall, the results suggest that when cities require parking with residential development, they increase vehicle ownership and use.”

Developers often don’t like having to include so much parking as it’s expensive to build, although I’m guessing some developers probably feel it helps sell units. Seems to me there’s an opening here for perhaps waiving some parking requirements and instead having a developer pay for transit improvements (something I’m sure is being done somewhere). Seems like something that could work in newer neighborhoods attracting a ton of development, i.e. the DTLA Arts District.

Editorial: Ushing in a safe driverless future (NYT)

California opens pathway for cars without a steering wheel (LAT)

From the LAT: the “most advanced self-driving cars would no longer be required to have a licensed driver if federal officials deem them safe enough.”

From the NYT: “Strong standards will actually help the industry by reassuring people that companies are not using them as crash test dummies and that government has put in place strong safety regulations.”

At present, count me in “NOT REASSURED” category.

 

6 replies

  1. It is not just the LA Times article that is of interest, but also the many negative comments that Metro needs disparately to address, particular to the apparent short-shrift being given to the Gateway City region.

    I know this is sounding like a broken record, by Metro needs to expand items such as in http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metro-tax-geopolitics-20161002-snap-story.html to show ONLY those projects in a particular region along with a Regional Map and not the entire list as was the case here as well as for the other regions. As there are only a few weeks left, it is my opinion that Metro has much to do to ensure victory at the polls.

    More to the point, the description of EACH project in a given region must be fleshed out with more on the Why?, What?, and When? With respect to the Gateway Region, some projects should be accelerated, especially the West Santa Ana Branch which should be fully operational before 2030 or earlier and NOT in the 2040s.

    We had the Pacific Electric Santa Ana Line until 1950, and it is good fortune that OCTA owns the portion of the right-of-way in Orange County, complete with a bridge over the Santa Ana River and humps in the streets where there used to be grade crossings.

    Another area that should be addressed is LAX Access in http://thesource.metro.net/2016/09/15/measure-m-projects-and-programs-for-the-south-bay-cities/. This service is desperately needed ASAP, but some of the reviewers seem to be unaware of Metro’s progress with the Crenshaw and Green Lines and particularly the 96th Street Station. Although I see flaws in the LAWA current design for its Automated People Mover (APM), at least there should be some details as to how the APM ties into the Metro system and, more important, when.

    Finally – far to much attention has been given to the Gold Line extension to Montclair. ALL on the various proposed Metro LRT lines should get the same treatment, even if sketchy.

    By way of background, I am a retired Aerospace Engineer who lives in Huntington Beach and thus cannot vote for your Measure M but did vote for Orange County’s own Measure M. However, I up until 1982 I lived essentially all my life in the San Fernando Valley and adjacent cities, and graduated from North Hollywood High. I own an extensive collection of publications on the history of the Pacific Electric, and thus have extensive knowledge of what we once had and have since thoughtlessly thrown away. I also rode the Pacific Electric Red Car Valley Line on numerous occasions over the route of the Orange Line and used to watch the SP steam-powered local freight switch cars on what is now Metro property for the Red Line and Orange Line North Hollywood Stations.

    • “It is not just the LA Times article that is of interest, but also the many negative comments that Metro needs disparately to address, particular to the apparent short-shrift being given to the Gateway City region.

      I know this is sounding like a broken record, by Metro needs to expand items such as in http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metro-tax-geopolitics-20161002-snap-story.html to show ONLY those projects in a particular region along with a Regional Map and not the entire list as was the case here as well as for the other regions. As there are only a few weeks left, it is my opinion that Metro has much to do to ensure victory at the polls.”

      You mean like this http://theplan.metro.net/sectors/gatewaycities/ and http://thesource.metro.net/2016/09/15/measure-m-projects-and-programs-for-the-gateway-cities/

      Each region picked their priorities and submitted them to Metro to make the list. The gateway cities apparently prioritized highway projects in addition to transit ones, which is why they are getting lots of road widening in addition the west santa ana branch. They aren’t getting shortchanged, they are getting what they asked for.

      “More to the point, the description of EACH project in a given region must be fleshed out with more on the Why?, What?, and When? With respect to the Gateway Region, some projects should be accelerated, especially the West Santa Ana Branch which should be fully operational before 2030 or earlier and NOT in the 2040s.”

      The full detail of the line takes large engineering studies which cost millions of dollars. You have to go down deep into the details figuring out where utility lines are, exactly how wide a street is, what the soil composition is, etc before you can get an exact route, station location and cost. Then you have to get community involvement to make choices among alternatives.

      It seems that the highway projects in the gateway cities are taking priority over the west santa ana branch line. Certainly if it were up to me I would rather have the rail line, before the highway expansions. Hell I would prefer the highway enhancements coming never but I dont live in the gateway cities and didn’t make those priorities.

      “We had the Pacific Electric Santa Ana Line until 1950, and it is good fortune that OCTA owns the portion of the right-of-way in Orange County, complete with a bridge over the Santa Ana River and humps in the streets where there used to be grade crossings.”

      Right, and it operated every 30-60 minutes, not ever 3-6 minutes. It branched off of the current blue line, not having it’s own ROW direct to Union Station. Metro’s project to serve the gateway cities is orders of magnitude more complicated than what use to exist and also a little more complicated what they have done in the past in terms of light rail. There is no ready made rail bed ROW ready for construction right now.

      “Another area that should be addressed is LAX Access in http://thesource.metro.net/2016/09/15/measure-m-projects-and-programs-for-the-south-bay-cities/. This service is desperately needed ASAP, but some of the reviewers seem to be unaware of Metro’s progress with the Crenshaw and Green Lines and particularly the 96th Street Station. Although I see flaws in the LAWA current design for its Automated People Mover (APM), at least there should be some details as to how the APM ties into the Metro system and, more important, when.”

      Doesnt make any sense to build the Metro component of this project without the APM which is LAX’s responsibility and project.

      “Finally – far to much attention has been given to the Gold Line extension to Montclair. ALL on the various proposed Metro LRT lines should get the same treatment, even if sketchy.”

      The Gold Line extension has gone through the engineering phase and so is shovel ready. It has gone through all the community meetings and a final alignment has been chosen. It would cost tens of millions of dollars to get all of the light rail lines to this level of completion.

      • Thank you so very much for your well informed response to my initial comments.
        First off, I used a powerful PDF Converter Program from Nuance to covert the Long Range Transportation Plan – Draft Potential Ballot Measure Expenditure Plan dated March 24, 2016, first to a Word 2016 file and then copied the last three tables under the heading: “DRAFT Proposed One-Half Cent Sales Tax for Transportation: Expenditure Plan 40 Years, Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 – 2057” in Attachment A to an Excel 2016 file. Finally, I sorted these tables in several ways by sub-region and start date to see which sub-region was getting what and, particularly, when.
        Under the sub-heading Sub-Fund Highway Projects, I saw three major freeway projects, in chronological order by ground breaking date: I-710 South Corridor Project, Phase 1, 2026-2034; I-710 South Corridor Project, Phase 2, 2032-2043, and I-5 Corridor Improvements, I-605 to I-710, 2041-2049, and a 40-year program for I-605 Corridor “Hot Spot” Interchange Improvements project starting in 2018.
        Under the sub-heading Sub-Fund Transit Projects, I saw four LRT projects, in chronological order by ground breaking date: West Santa Ana Transit Corridor LRT Phase 1, 2023-2031; Gold Line Eastside Extension (One Alignment), 2029-2037; West Santa Ana Transit Corridor LRT Phase 2, 2038-2049; and the Green Line Eastern Extension to Norwalk, 2051-2059.
        It is not clear what the breakdown is between Phases 1 and 2 of the West Santa Ana Transit Corridor LRT, but it appears that Phase 2 is the inner portion of the line in the Central City Area and which won’t be completed until 2049.
        From the Excel spreadsheets I prepared, it appears that the Gateway Cities may be getting at least the outer segment of the West Santa Ana Branch relatively early in the proposed program, before the start of Phase 1 of the I-719 upgrade program.
        This in not detailed anywhere, but it appears that as these two phases are presently planned, there will have to be an elevated junction with the Blue Line either at Slauson Junction (old PE junction with the Whittier Line) or at ground level at Watts (just like in PE days), at least until the inner portion to LAUPT is completed. It is my contention that this project should be built as a single project, starting in downtown LA and working south from there, especially since the Blue Line is already maxed out and this can only get worse.
        As to your specific comments,
        My original Comment: “It is not just the LA Times article that is of interest, but also the many negative comments that Metro needs disparately to address, particular to the apparent short-shrift being given to the Gateway City region.
        “I know this is sounding like a broken record, by Metro needs to expand items such as in http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metro-tax-geopolitics-20161002-snap-story.html to show ONLY those projects in a particular sub region along with a Sub Regional Map and not the entire list as was the case here as well as for the other regions. As there are only a few weeks left, it is my opinion that Metro has much to do to ensure victory at the polls.”
        You asked if I meant something like this http://theplan.metro.net/sectors/gatewaycities/ and http://thesource.metro.net/2016/09/15/measure-m-projects-and-programs-for-the-gateway-cities/
        My comment – Yes. Only those projects specifically for each sub region should be listed, along with a sub-regional map cross-referenced with the list
        You state that each sub region picked their priorities and submitted them to Metro to make the list. The Gateway Cities apparently prioritized highway projects in addition to transit ones, which is why they are getting lots of road widening in addition to the West Santa Ana Branch. They aren’t getting shortchanged; they are getting what they asked for.
        My comment – I assume that this is the order shown in Attachment D to the aforementioned Long Range Transportation Plan – Draft, entitled “Sub-Regional Stakeholder Draft Project Priorities.” If this is the case, it is in total disagreement with what I found in Attachment A as discussed above.
        Again, this further proves my point, that the description of EACH project in a given region must be fleshed out with more on the Why? What? and, especially, When? With respect to the Gateway Region, some projects should be accelerated, especially Phase 2 of the West Santa Ana Branch which should be fully operational coincident with Phase 1 in 2031 or earlier and NOT in 2049 as currently envisioned.
        You state that the full detail of the line takes large engineering studies which cost millions of dollars. You have to go down deep into the details figuring out where utility lines are, exactly how wide a street is, what the soil composition is, etc. before you can get an exact route, station location and cost. Then you have to get community involvement to make choices among alternatives.
        My Comment – There must have been some such studies to arrive at ROM or even SWAG estimates of the extent, cost, and time frame of ALL proposed projects. As for the West Santa Ana Branch, there is an item on the Metro Website at http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/30-10_highway/images/report_wsabtc_refinementstudy_2015-07.pdf which provides summary of summarizing where we are today and is what I feel is needed to flesh out this item. In addition, for those wanting more information, a link should be provided to Eco-Rapid which has an Alternative Analysis at http://eco-rapid.org/Project/studies_reports/PEROW-UD_Report_Final_Revised_120316-opt.pdf. which shows that the line would extend through La Palma near the Orange County Line, where the Metro Line should terminate and not Atresia, and then all the way to downtown Santa Ana.
        As for the other proposals, a simple sketch showing what is proposed and where and, more important, the projected time span.
        You state that it seems that the highway projects in the Gateway Cities are taking priority over the West Santa Ana Branch Line. Certainly if it were up to me I would rather have the rail line, before the highway expansions. Hell I would prefer the highway enhancements coming never but I don’t live in the gateway cities and didn’t make those priorities.
        My Comment – For the Gateway Cities in Attachment D, it would appear that the Gold Line Eastside Extension Phase II – Washington Blvd. Alignment Alternative and the Green Line Eastern Extension to the Norwalk Metrolink Station should have priority over any highway projects although both projects have later time frames than do several the highway projects. But this is in total disagreement with Attachment A as discussed above.
        My original comment: “We had the Pacific Electric Santa Ana Line until 1950, and it is good fortune that OCTA owns the portion of the right-of-way in Orange County, complete with a bridge over the Santa Ana River and humps in the streets where there used to be grade crossings.”
        You state that the PE Santa Ana Line operated every 30-60 minutes, not ever 3-6 minutes. It branched off of the current Blue Line, not having its own ROW direct to Union Station. Metro’s project to serve the Gateway Cities is orders of magnitude more complicated than what use to exist and also a little more complicated what they have done in the past in terms of light rail. There is no readymade rail bed ROW ready for construction right now.
        My Comment – You are correct to a point. However, remember, at its peak the PE Santa Ana Line had to share trackage with five other interurban lines (Long Beach, Whittier, Newport Beach-Balboa, and two to San Pedro (via Dominguez and Gardena). On East 9th Street, all these lines had to share trackage with the Watts Local Line. Thus with street running and no block signals on the Four Tracks-South, train frequencies on all Southern District lines were restricted.
        The OCTA-owned ROW in Orange County should be wide enough roe a rail line, as was the case with the Expo Line and the former SP-PE ROW.
        Mo original comment: “Another area that should be addressed is LAX Access in http://thesource.metro.net/2016/09/15/measure-m-projects-and-programs-for-the-south-bay-cities/. This service is desperately needed ASAP, but some of the reviewers seem to be unaware of Metro’s progress with the Crenshaw and Green Lines and particularly the 96th Street Station. Although I see flaws in the LAWA current design for its Automated People Mover (APM), at least there should be some details as to how the APM ties into the Metro system and, more important, when.”
        You state that it doesn’t make any sense to build the Metro component of this project without the APM which is LAX’s responsibility and project.
        MY Comment – LAWA anticipates that there APM will be operational in 2023 and thus Metro needs to address how the Crenshaw and Green Lines will service LAX at the 96th Street Station. From Attachment A, the 96th Street Crenshaw/Green Lines Station will be completed by 2026. I feel it should open coincident with the LAX APM.
        My original comment: “Finally – far too much attention has been given to the Gold Line extension to Montclair. ALL on the various proposed Metro LRT lines should get the same treatment, even if sketchy.”
        You stated that the Gold Line extension has gone through the engineering phase and so is shovel ready. It has gone through all the community meetings and a final alignment has been chosen. It would cost tens of millions of dollars to get all of the light rail lines to this level of completion.
        My Comment – This makes it appear that this extension is the only LRT project planned. It should be covered in separate Source item
        Again, Metro should have already performed studies for each proposed project to know roughly what each project entails to make ROM or even SWAG cost and time frame estimates and to develop an order of battle.”

      • In reality, according to Attachment A Agenda Number:4.1 of the REGULAR BOARD MEETING, of MARCH 24, 2016, Phase 2 (the outer portion) of the West Santa Ana Branch LRT will be built between in the 2023-2031 time frame period.

        I still strongly feel that it should be built to La Palma near the Orange County Line so the Orange County residents can see it but still have to drive long distances to use the line and may push to have OCTA build it out to Santa Ana or Irvine with a branch along the Union Pacific to the Huntington Beach Transit Center

        For all major stations]s in Orange County there should then be bus and perhaps BRT connections throughout all of Orange County,

  2. “We had the Pacific Electric Santa Ana Line until 1950, and it is good fortune that OCTA owns the portion of the right-of-way in Orange County, complete with a bridge over the Santa Ana River and humps in the streets where there used to be grade crossings.”

    Well, don’t hold your breath waiting for OCTA to start light rail.

  3. All the more reason to extend the West Santa Ana Branch LRT to the Orange County Line and to do so before 2030 or earlier and not 2043 as is currently envisioned. By accelerating the project, Metro could then have the support of the Gateway cities who are currently cool towards Measure M because of their concerns about being almost “last in line” when it comes to getting new rail service.

    By extending the line to the Orange County Line this could also apply pressure to OCTA and Orange County in general to work with Metro to extend the line to downtown Santa Ana and perhaps to Irvine with a branch along the Union Pacific to Huntington Beach.

    I suspect that Metro’s plans envision operating on a “pay as you go” basis with little or no borrowing against future sales tax receipts. Can Metro legally issue bonds against future sales tax receipts? If not, can legislation be passed to allow Metro (and other transit agencies) to do this?

    I recall in 1950 when several political leaders were urging the then Division of Highways (now Caltrans) to borrow against future gas tax revenues to build the LA freeways faster, but apparently this did not go anywhere for reasons that now escape me.