Transportation headlines, Thursday, August 23

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.

Here’s one way to pack a few more bikes onto train cars…

Yaroslavsky says he won’t run for mayor (Zev’s Blog)

County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky announced this morning that he will not run for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, choosing instead to focus on his final 27 months representing the county’s third district. Of course, Yaroslavsky has a long history of dealing with transportation issues as a Metro Board Member whereas the four leading candidates for mayor — Councilman Eric Garcetti, Controller Wendy Greuel, Councilwoman Jan Perry and Kevin James — have never served on the Metro Board. For those keeping score at home, Greuel is the first to seek Yaroslavsky’s endorsement by quickly issuing a statement this morning praising his service.

33 Democrats come out against CEQA reform (California High-Speed Rail blog)

A proposal by a Silicon Valley business group to reform the state law governing environmental studies in the state was poorly received by 33 Democrats in the Legislature, who ask Assembly Speaker John Perez in a letter to resist any attempts to change the law. What’s going on here? Likely two things: no one wants to anger environmental organizations that use CEQA to tie up projects that are controversial and there’s a cottage industry of people who make a living off environmental studies that drag on forever.

A bike lane in Gotham. Photo by Spencer Thomas, via Flickr creative commons.

Excerpt:

Now, six years after the Bloomberg administration began its controversial campaign to edit the city’s streetscape, adding 255 miles of bicycle lanes onto streets previously dedicated to automobiles, a hard-fought acceptance for the lanes may finally be at hand.

When asked simply whether the bike lanes were a good idea or a bad idea, 66 percent of New Yorkers said they were a good idea, according to a new poll by The New York Times. A majority in all boroughs said they thought the lanes were a good idea, with support highest in Manhattan.

Twenty-seven percent of residents called the lanes a bad idea, and 7 percent had no opinion or did not answer.

Interestingly, some people who say they support the lanes also say that they rarely, if ever, use them. And the city’s planned bike-sharing network doesn’t seem to be drawing much interest from anyone.

Assembly approves bill that would allow Measure J to go to voters of AB 1446

Measure J is the proposal to extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax for 30 years beyond its mid-2039 expiration date to try to accelerate transit and road projects.

The state bill that would allow the issue to go to Los Angeles County voters on November 6 had been approved by the Assembly earlier this summer but another vote needed to be taken on the amended version of the bill recently okayed by the state Senate.

Here is the update from Metro’s government relations staff:

Today, the California State Assembly granted final passage of AB 1446 (Feuer) by voting to concur in the bill as amended in the State Senate. As of the writing of this alert, the total votes are 52-20. The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk for signature.

 

New "Carmageddon II" public service announcement

As the latest tactic in Metro’s ongoing public outreach campaign for “Carmageddon II,” the agency has produced a new Public Service Announcement featuring Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that is now available for public use.

Available in English and Spanish, the video PSA asks for the public’s cooperation to stay off local roads and freeways to avoid congestion impacts during the second 10-mile I-405 freeway closure between the I-10 and U.S. 101 the weekend of Sept. 29-30, 2012. Continue reading

Art of transit, take-me-out-to-the-ballgame-on-transit edition

The San Francisco Muni tracks headed toward the home of the San Francisco Giants. Photo by Steven Damron, via Flickr creative commons.

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, as seen from the El’s Addison station. Photo by John Lobel, via Flickr creative commons.

Petco Park in downtown San Diego with the San Diego trolley station in the foreground. Photo by Kevin Baird, via Flickr creative commons.

A Sound Transit commuter train in front of the home of the Seattle Mariners. There’s a commuter rail and light rail station adjacent to the stadium. Photo by Richard Eriksson via Flickr creative commons.

In the morning headlines today, we linked to an L.A. Times article bemoaning the bad traffic at Dodger Stadium. With that in mind, here’s a look at four ballparks in the U.S. that are easy to reach via regional transit systems.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to sourcemetro@gmail.com or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

 

Expo Line phase 2 construction notice for work on Olympic/Cloverfield bridge

Work on the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and Santa Monica continues to ramp up. Here’s the latest construction notice for work on the bridge that will carry tracks across the busy intersection of Olympic and Cloverfield in Santa Monica:

Click above to see larger image.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, August 22

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.

 

A tilt-shift view of Dodger Stadium and its mega-parking lots. Photo by Millerm217, via Flickr creative commons.

Gridlock has Dodger Stadium in a headlock (L.A. Times)

From his perch in the pressbox on Tuesday night, Times stylist/columnist Bill Plaschke rediscovers that traffic headed to big Dodger games is a bear. He writes that it’s unacceptable and proposes a solution: reducing the capacity at the stadium. The fewer the seats, the fewer the cars, so his argument goes.

A Dodger spokesman says the team is working with local transportation officials, including Metro, to improve the traffic situation. Not mentioned is that that Metro runs the Dodger Stadium Express only because state anti-air pollution money was secured by Metro to run the free bus service between the stadium and Union Station. The team doesn’t pay for it — they only help promote it.

Not discussed in the column is whether the stadium should remain in its current location. I’m not a Dodgers fan — sorry, grew up in Cincinnati in the 1970s — and I’ll once again repeat my strong opinion on this topic. The stadium is a relic of 1950s-era planning in which planning was done for cars as much as it was done for people. Yes, some other stadiums in recent years have reduced the number of seats to decrease unused inventory and increase demand. But the city and the Dodgers in the 21st century would likely be better served with a ballpark that is part of downtown proper’s many businesses and nearer the region’s growing and popular transit network.

Irvine Flyaway to cease operations (Los Angeles World Airports)

Due to bankruptcy of the bus company and very low ridership — an average of just 48 people a day during the 2011-12 fiscal year — the bus service between the Irvine Transit Center and LAX will likely stop running in mid-September. FlyAway service from Van Nuys, Union Station and Westwood IS NOT impacted by the decision.

Business leaders propose CEQA reform (California High-Speed Rail blog)

A Silicon Valley business group yesterday offered a list of reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act, the law that dictates how studies must be done of projects that could impact the environment. The group says that law is often abused with lawsuits over all sorts of things and, furthermore, many projects that comply with existing environmental regulations and that would be good for the environment — transit, clean energy, infill development — are often stopped by CEQA lawsuits. Excerpt:

3. Focus CEQA Litigation on Compliance with Environmental and Planning Laws

* CEQA lawsuits should focus on compliance with CEQA’s procedural and substantive requirements, including adequate notice, adequate disclosure, adequate mitigation of environmental effects not regulated by other environmental or planning law, adequate consideration of alternatives to avoid unmitigated significant adverse impacts.
* CEQA lawsuits should not be used to challenge adopted environmental standards, or to endlessly re-challenge approved plans by challenging projects that comply with plans.
* Environmental and other public advocacy efforts to enact environmental protection laws should not be affected by any CEQA reform, and refocusing CEQA on how compliance with standards and plans will reduce impacts can also inform advocacy efforts to revisit standards or plans.
* Finally, “real” environmental lawsuits – seeking to enforce true environmental objectives – can still be pursued against agencies that fail to make regulatory or permitting decisions in compliance with standards and plans. However, the current system of broad brush CEQA lawsuits that can be filed by any party for any purpose to challenge any or all environmental attributes of projects that comply with standards and plans are an outdated artifact of the “anything goes” environment of 1970, which now hinders both environmental improvement and economic recovery.

Draft environmental study released for Gold Line Foothill Extension between Azusa and Montclair

It’s important to note that while this project is in Metro’s long-range plan, it is not a fully funded project at this time and does not have a planned opening date. The draft study can be viewed or downloaded on the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority’s website.

Public comments are due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 5 and can be emailed to llevybuch@foothillextension.org.

Click above to see a larger image.

Continue reading