Friday, November 30, 2007
Here's the list:
1) Take note, with a tape recorder make a to do list
2) Book It, with a book on tape
3) Learn a Language
4) Carpool, because the car is a good place to trap co-workers into in-depth conversations
5) Laughter is the Best Medicine, listen to a comedy station or CD
6) Get Aware, listen to NPR
7) Drive Safely
Now far be it from me to criticise a list of ways to improve a commute that is only for drivers, but is it really a good idea to pay less attention to the road in rush hour? With more cars on the road, and thousands of people inconvenienced by even a minor fender-bender, shouldn't we be encouraging people to pay more attention to what's going on outside of their cars?
By cutting speakers off in mid-sentence, chiding translators for going over the two minute limit given to foreign speakers, and generally seeming more concerned about holding everyone to a time limit than hearing their point; Chairwoman O'Connor does Metro and the public a disservice.
How to fix it? Simple. Kill the giant overhead clock which often started before speakers began to speak (only Damien Goodmon called them on it, standing there repeating, "I haven't started speaking yet as the clocked ticked away until it was reset), and have a small buzzer go off. Let the speaker finish his sentence without rushing through a sentence asquicklyasthespeakercan.
Generally, our elected aristocracy should at least have the decorum to treat us like adults. Metro is a government organization, and since this is a Democracy the views of the peasants have to count for something.
LA City Council
Transportation Committee Meeting - SPECIAL MEETING - REVISED AGENDA
Tuesday, December 4
CITY OF LOS ANGELES BICYCLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
DWP Board Room, 111 N. Hope Street
TheLos Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) advises the Los Angeles DOT, the Planning Department, and the Department of Recreation and Parks on issues relevant to bicycling for transportation, recreational bicycling, and the implementation of the City's Bicycle Plan. The full BAC meets the first Tuesday of every even month; Subcommittees (Advocacy, Bikeway Engineering, Education and Promotion, and Planning) meet in the odd months.To view all available BAC Minutes and Agendas, visit www.bicyclela.org/AdvisoryBoard.htm.
7 - 10pm San Fernando Valley Critical Mass
Victory Blvd. & Woodley Ave. Van Nuys(southwest corner) by the bike racks and lockersoff the Orange Line Bike Path. Orange Line Woodley stop.
Here it is folks! We have all talked, dreamed and preyed for it. Its on..........................
The San Fernando Valley Critical Mass!!!!!!!!!!!
Not to conflict with other critical mass rides in the Los Angeles area, we have decided on the first Tuesday of the Month.
Thursday, December 6
6:30 P.M. TO 9:00 PM
Please join the City of Santa Monica Planning & Community Development Department at a citywide workshop that will explore transportation strategies to determine better ways for people to move around and park in the city over the next 20 years. MORE DETAILS: Please see the attached flyer or check the project website: http://www.shapethefuture2025.net/ Refreshments, snacks will be provided.Please RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: 1855 Main Street, east wing
LA Green Drinks - Culver City
Duke's Hideaway at the Culver Hotel9400 Culver Blvd.Culver City, CA 90232
Remember-If anyone wants to bring literature to promote their green issueplease do so-we will have an area for brochures, business cards, etc.We will also take back any extra literature back and bring them to the next Green Drinks.The main thing is just to relax and have a good time.
Friday, December 7
6:30 - 9:30 Santa Monica Critical Mass
Santa Monica Pier orUCLA and Venice Beach at 5:30pm (merges with main ride)
Celebrate this month with Critical Mass!
Saturday, December 8
10 A.M. TO 3 P.M.
Urban Biking for Beginners
634 S. Spring St, Mezzanine Level
Designed for those who are new to cycling and/or city riding, this 10-hour course gives you a full understanding of vehicular cycling and the confidence you need to ride safely and legally on the road. Learn basic bike maintenance and skills for safe and legal roadway riding. Fees are $25 for LACBC members and $35 for non-members.To sign up, write email@example.com or call 213-629-2412
Southern California Transit Advocates monthly meeting
Angelus Plaza, 255 S. Hill Street, in downtown Los Angeles. Call (213) 388-2364 for more information.
Connecting transit service: Metro Red Line and a short walk from every bus line serving downtown Los Angeles; Foothill Transit Line 480; Montebello Bus Lines 40 (east and west) and 50; and Torrance Transit Line 2.
•It will provide public transit to one of LA County's largest recreation centers, Whittier Narrows (1.5 thousand acres) located in a low income region and a rail connection to the Cornfields state park near downtown LA.
•It will decrease congestion on the 60 Freeway
•It will have the least amount of construction impacts on the built environment
•It has the most TOD developments along the right-of-way
For more information on LUF, click here. For more on the Gold Line Extension, click here.
Here Come the Turnstiles (LA Times)
Here Come the HOT Lanes (Daily News, Whittier Daily News)
Five Deck Parking Lot Due for Metrolink Station (Press Enterprise)
Give Us Our Freight Money! (Metro Statement, Inland Daily Bulletin)
North/South Superhighway a Myth (LA Times)
Streetsblog Responds to CBS Congestion Pricing/Cloned License Plates Story (Streetsblog)
Thursday, November 29, 2007
1) A new $145 Million for the Expo Line
Because of increases in the cost of steal, cement and other construction supplies, it is now estimated that the construction of Expo Phase 1 will cost $808.3 million, $145 million more than what was budgeted.
Officials from Beverley, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Culver City began the public testimony by praising Expo Authority, MTA and anyone associated with the project.
That didn't sit well with members of the Bus Rider's Union (pictured) who were incensed that months after raising fares to cover a less than $35 million operating short fall that Metro could find the Capital funds to finish Phase I of Metro. BRU members didn't pull their punches, accusing Metro of being "liars," "thieves" and "Indian Givers."
Also testifying was Damien Goodmon of Fix Expo who wondered why Metro can find money to finish Phase 1 but can't find a lot less money to put in a grade separation at Dorsey High School.
Editorial: All Communities Need to Pitch In for Gold Line (Pasadena Star News)
Rosendahl Wants Slow Growth in District (Palisades Post)
One Way to "Beat" Congestion Pricing: Fake Plates (WCBS, New York)
City Watch Calls Managed Parking a Plan to Get the Poor Out of Their Cars (City Watch)
Taking Traffic Calming Into Your Own Hands (Streetsblog)
Arizona Follows CA's Lead on Greenhouse Gas (Range News, Green Valley News and Sun)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The only place Metro really lost points was in their announcements. I could barely hear the conductor on the train at all. I'm not sure I heard any announcements in the stations, which could be somewhat problematic because there are stations where trains on different lines share the same track. An out-of-towner might end up taking a Purple Line train instead of a Red Line train just because the train was painted red and that's how it works where I once li...I mean, where that out of towner once lived.
And, while I gave them an "A" for station signage on my trip, apparently great signage isn't universal on the Red Line.
In the interest of full disclosure, I stole both the idea and the graphic for this series of posts from my friends at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. I don't know where they went to school, but I never got a report card that had the grades all in a row like that...
Earlier this morning, the Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee met to help begin the process of creating a long-range transportation plan for the City. The meeting was held bright and early at 8:30 A.M., giving the council members a chance to hold a press conference outside city hall in time to make the noon news.
The official motion, put forward by Chairwoman Wendy Gruel and Councilman Jack Weiss, notes that, "Contributing factors include a large and growing population, the disperse geography of the region,high automobile dependence, low levels of transit usage and a mature highway and roadway system with limited options for expansion." The motion, passed unanimously, goes on to say that the long-range plan (not due to be completed for over a year) will be based on the models provided by New York City, Portland, and Baltimore.
During the meeting, the committee members told DOT and other officials what they wanted to see in the plan, including funding plans, a new government relations plan, as well as long- and short-term transit and road improvements designed to reduce congestion. Sorry cyclists, not a lot of bike-talk here.
The first chance the public will have to get involved with this plan will be to comment on the plan's mission statement. Since I pride myself on getting ahead of the news, here's a sneak peak at the what that statement is...
EDIT: A press release from Councilwoman Greuel's office has a preliminary website to begin to provide feedback. It can be found here.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The one complaint I do have is that driver's responsibility to watch out for cyclists and pedestrians is relegated to one video that lasts just over one minute. Maybe we should be spending more resources on reducing bike/ped deaths since the trend of declining bike/ped deaths ended four years ago.
Cyclists Need to Be Activists (GRIST)
Asm. Levine and Councilman Rosendahl Challenge Constituents to Go Green (earthtimes)
L.A. offers free tours of transit art (Mercury News)
More on Pico/Olympic Plan (Times, City Watch)
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday Night:STAPLES CENTER For Clippers v Denver
Did anyone ever hear of developing around your major attractions? I couldn't find anything except more parking lots between me and Staples.
Well, at least the crosswalks are well marked, wide and have working signals...
Saturday: THE GROVE
Well, this is kind of cool. The Grove beefs up security so that the pedestrians are kept safe from even the minor danger posed by the one traffic lane that cuts it in half. Maybe this isn't a bad place to bring the kids.
Then we see two people get in a fight over a parking spot, they had to be separated by security....
Then the children's band sets up at a place completely inappropriate for kids...ok, maybe we can cross the grove off the list of places to take kids.
SUNDAY: THE PROMENADE in Santa Monica
Its Grove-esque, only bigger and with street performers and vendors not wholly owned by some corporation. You're not going to run into Jerry Rubin handing out flyers in front of a Banana Republic.
An empty holder of Metro and Santa Monica transit schedules. I suppose that's either a really good sign or a really bad one.
Unlike Vegas, Santa Monica seems to care whether or not pedestrians get hurt outside of the developed area. Note the crosswalk in the center of the street.
With several of his news conferences dominated by questions about the affair, the mayor kept a relatively low profile for two months, staying out of the spotlight as the state Legislature raided $336 million in transportation funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Regalado said.
Memo to state legislators: Just because the Mayor was too embarrassed to stick up for the city's funding needs doesn't mean his residents deserve to get shafted. Why I can think of a lot of great ways to spend $336 million:
1) Roll back last summer's fare hike.
2) Fully fund all of the city's Safe Streets To School's Program
3) Bike racks at every transit stop
4) And with any money left over, how about a down payment on Phase II of the Expo Project?
If anyone has other suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments section.
Councilman Weiss Wants Public/Private Partnership for Westside Subways (Times)
Gridlock Expert: Better Planning Must Be Part of Congestion Reduction (CA Planning and Development Report)
LA Follows Barcelona's Model on Re-imagining Broadway (Downtown News)
Monrovia Planning for Smart Growth (Pasadena Independent)
Mom and Daughter Pedal to Art Class (Press-Telegram)
Metro Rider Takes a Poke at LAX (Metro Rider)
Friday, November 23, 2007
Metro is actively seeking ways that we can better price the use of the transportation infrastructure to make it operate more efficiently. In addition, revenues generated by pricing options would be applied to more public transit and road projects. One method is through congestion pricing which also reduces congestion by giving commuters and others an economic incentive to share a ride. Look for some pilot projects to be implemented within about two years. It is a different approach, but our traffic congestion and mobility needs for the new century are going to require new thinking….thinking about “new mobility.”
Did she just say Metro is looking at some "congestion pricing" type pilot programs? That would certainly be a different approach, and one that would be very welcome from where I sit.
Secondly, in response to a question about a parking structure near NBC Studios, she added:
(Though, frankly, I personally think that parking needs to be priced; right now people are not paying the real price of driving alone. However, I’m not speaking for the Metro Board here.)
Congestion pricing and parking pricing. Sounds like there's a lot of interesting ideas floating around Metro besides new light rail projects.
But all that being said, there's two questions I'd like answered:
1) Word is slowly leaking out that Metro will no longer subsidize transfers between their buses and LADOT buses starting in the new year. Given that this is a de-facto fare hike for thousands of commuters to the downtown, commuters choosing transit over the most congested part of the road network; shouldn't Metro be doing what it can to support these commuters and continue subsidizing this transfer? Metro officials said that ending the subsidy was part of the TAP card roll out plan, but so far there isn't a firm date on when the new card will be available nor when LADOT vehicles will accept TAP cards.
2) Recently, New York Governor Elliot Spitzer stepped in to greatly reduce a planned fare hike for New York City's MTA. Given the silence of state officials when Foothill Transit went through its recent fare increase hearing process, do you believe that Governor Schwarzenegger will act to spare Metro riders from any fare increase over the next couple of years?
Bike Oven, 6-10 pm, 3706 North Figueroa St.Highland Park. Just 1/3 of a mile from the Heritage Square Gold Line station.
Bitchen'- Ladies Night at the Bike Kitchen- 6:30-9 P.M., 706 Heliotrope Ave (crosses Melrose)
Tueday, November 27
Transit Coalition Monthly Meeting, 6:30 P.M., Philippe The Original near Union Station. To rsvp, call Bart Reed at (818) 367-1661
GOGA - A Bike Ride for the Ladies of Los Angeles, 8:30-10:30 P.M., For more information, gogabikeride.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, November 28
LA Bike Advisory Committee, 10 A.M., DWP Board Room, 111 N. Hope Street, Los Angeles, 90012.
Los Angeles County Bike Coalition Board Meeting, 6:45pm - 9pm, 634 S. Spring St, Mezzanine level, Los Angeles, 90014
Thursday, November 29
Department of Recreation and Parks Public Input Meeting, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m, Ramona Hall Community Center4580 N Figueroa StLos Angeles, CA 90042 - A chance to provide feedback on LA's need for more and better green spaces.
Friday, November 30
"Moving Forward," A conference on the health, goods movement, and hte environment at the Carson Community Center. For more information, goto www.TheImpactProject.org.
The Reincarnation of Costa Mesa Critical Mass, 6-8 pm, Memphis Cafe2920 Bristol AvenueCosta Mesa, CA
Los Angeles Central Critical Mass, 6-11 pm, Western & Wilshire at the Metro Stop
Saturday, December 1
"Moving Forward," A conference on the health, goods movement, and hte environment at the Carson Community Center. For more information, goto www.TheImpactProject.org.
LACBC "Beginner's Road Course", 1 & 8, 10am - 3pm, For More Information go to: labike.org/safety/road_1_bicycle_safety_course.html
C.I.C.L.E.'s Holiday Toys & Mittens Ride :: Benefits Hathaway Child and Family Services, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, REI Arcadia214 N. Santa Anita Ave. For More Information, http://www.cicle.org/cicle_content/pivot/entry.php?id=549.
CORBA Mountain Bike Skills Clinic, 12 pm-1pm, Malibu Creek State Park
Sac Bee Editorial: Don't Fund Rail/Road Projects if They're Bad for Air Quality (Sacramento Bee)
House Speaker Says Port Funding Unfair to SoCal (Press Telegram)
Riding Shotgun with Google Street View's Revolutionary Camera (Popular Mechanics)
GPS Data Doesn't Help California Teen Beat Speeding Ticket (Mercury News)
Politics of Climate Change (TIME)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We had no idea, however, that only 3 months later, Bush and his cronies in
Congress would actually VETO the money needed to rebuild this critical
bridge that, before its collapse, spanned the Mississippi River into
Minneapolis. Incredibly enough, our banner proved prescient in foreseeing
the clash of priorities when, just last week, 137 of Bush's best Republican
rubberstamps, including Minnesota's own two right-wing Representatives John
Kline and (Bush-smooching) Michele Bachmann, voted to sustain Bush's veto of the Transportation Bill over their own constituents' interest in rebuilding the 35 W Bridge.
With House Transportation Committee Chair James Oberstar (D-MN) in the hospital because of an old cycling injury (no joke), its probably going to be until at least the new year until Congress can pass a transportation bill more suitable for the President.
MetroRider looks at Green Line Extension to LAX (MetroRider)
Enviros Concerned About Topanga Canyon Blvd. (LA Times)
Ventura City Council Fails to Pass Building Size Limit (County Star)
Looking for Bike/Ped Havens? Try Colleges and Military Bases (Streetsblog)
Ventura's Simi Valley 'Going Green' (Ventura County Star)
DMV Goes to You Tube (Daily News)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Proof that wide sidewalks and streetscaping alone are not enough to get pedestrians to use a sidewalk.
Never let anyone tell you that nobody takes transit. In this picture, a crowd squeezes through the tube to start their trip home after work.
Is there a bigger waste of land resources than at street parking? Literally acres of downtown are eaten up with what could be accomplished with a few large parking garages. Thing of what this view of the downtown skyline could be from a park.
What a beautiful side of a wall this is! I would say the majority of the walk was next to walls.
New York Secures Funding for Subway Line That Will Move More Passengers Than All Metro Rail (Press Release)
Auto Sales Slumping (Reuters)
Daily News Praises CALTRANS Route 5 Fix (Daily News)
Another Editorial Praising State's Emissions Efforts (LA Times)
Monday, November 19, 2007
Honestly, it was much cooler to do a lot of the work myself, although it probably would have been impossible without Mike's help. The bike was in good shape to start with, so I just got to do things like attach the pedals, handlebar, wheels, quick releases, seat and such. The tricky stuff was already taken care of...and I learned a few new things.
Mike guided me through stuff and didn't get annoyed when I forgot instructions he gave me 10 seconds earlier, which happened twice. Ok, three times.
While helping me, Mike was able to handle two other people AND answer a couple of phone calls. Once the bike was put together I just headed out the door and biked down the street. The $7 "suggested donation" per hour for use of their stuff and advice was more than worth it. Honestly, I would have paid a lot more for help and advice that good (not to mention the tool and rack rental.)
Sunday, November 18, 2007
FYI, Its going to be awhile before I get my second post in today, but I promise its going to be one of my best ones to date.
Metro's Downtown Connector Study Praised (Downtown News)
We Need a Sales Tax to Widen Freeway 23! (Simi Valley Acorn)
LTE: Cops Wrong to Target Critical Mass (Santa Monica Lookout)
A bunch of stories on the climate change forum (news.google, google blog search)
Horrible SUV Disaster (LA Times)
Saturday, November 17, 2007
All of the major candidates from each party were invited to the forum, and three took the time to attend. They were Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John Edwards, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich. No Obama, which is ironic since I gave him the highest marks for recognizing the connection between the number of cars and the amount of Greenhouse Gas, and no Republicans.
I'll specifically be looking at two related issues when analyzing the speeches. The first is do they talk about transportation at all besides more efficient cars and do they recognize that Americans need to change the way we live our own lives.
The format of the forum was that each candidate gave a ten minute speech, than there was a 20 minute Q and A with a panel that consisted of three environmentalists.
First up, was Kucinich. The Congressman was clearly in his element as his talk was interrupted several times by spontaneous applause. Kucinich stressed that he walks the walk on climate change driving a fuel-efficient Ford Focus, living in a reasonably sized house and eating vegan foods. He also stressed that he's recognized worldwide as a leader on greenhouse gas issues and relentlessly attacked the Bush Administration and Special Interests.
Kucinich the populist argued that we needed a new American purpose to be more green. Committing to being green would "give Americans something to be patriotic about besides war."
Disappointingly, he didn't spend a lot of time on transportation. By my count, he spent about 10 times as many sentences about why we shouldn't bomb Iran as he did why we should expand transit. Kucinich did promise to redirect spending to make transit the top transportation priority and to provide every American with a transit option.
Next up was Senator Clinton, who received the largest applause but also the most boos. To be fair, the cheers far, far, outnumbered the few people booing. Once interrupted by an anti-war heckler, Clinton managed to stick to the script even if it was easily the least inspiring of the three. Like Kucinich, she also got stopped for applause several times, but received a near-unanimous standing ovation at the end.
Clinton spent more time focused on the need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil than she did on transportation as an independent issue. Her transportation promises were limited to raising fuel economy standards to 40 mpg by 2020 and 55mph by 2035.
During the Q and A she earned some credit for promising that America would produce less greenhouse gas emissions as the end of her term than the beginning. However, she bobbed and weaved when asked if she would vote for Lieberman-Warner, the compromise Greenhouse Gas bill before the Senate Environment Committee.
She also lost some points with the crowd by stating (probably truthfully based on my personal conversations with red-staters) that most of middle-America isn't excited by Global Warming and by calling for incrementalism to solve the Climate Change Crisis gradually. She claimed that she learned from her efforts to reform the healthcare system that, "Everyone is for change in general, but when it becomes personal they start peeling off." Truer words probably couldn't be spoken to a crowd that is all for reducing emissions but all (full disclosure, including me) drove to the forum. (Organizers claim that the event was carbon neutral, including everyone's driving but did provide transit.)
Last up was John Edwards, who probably had the hardest time sticking to the script, but also gave what I thought was the best of the three speeches. Unlike the other two candidates, Edwards spent as much time on encouraging Americans to sacrifice to save the planet as he did on what government could do. Like Clinton, he pledged to increase mpg standards for all cars, and like Kucinich he promised to end all subsidies to oil companies.
Without naming names, Edwards sought to contrast his own "Bold, Big Ideas" with Clinton's "incrementalism." Perhaps unintentionally, he also contrasted his view of Americans energy habits with Clinton's. While Clinton praised Californians for holding the line on total emissions for thirty years, Edwards chastised America's leadership on Climate Change as "an example for the bad."
Edwards earned most of his points with me for calling for a shared sacrifice to change the way we use energy. Again and again he repeated that all Americans are going to have to sacrifice. He also conceded that his policies would lead to higher fuel and energy costs, which was surprisingly honest. One panelist noted its easy to talk the talk in a room where just mentioning Al Gore's name garnered applause, but Edwards promised that Climate Change would be a central part of his campaign. We'll keep an eye on that.
While disappointed that candidates didn't talk at all about alternative transportation. No mention of bikes, AMTRAK, VMT, or car-depency (foreign oil dependency was a big issue), all three of the candidates deserve some credit for standing out front on this issue and giving up prime fund-raising time to talk greenhouse gases.
Friday, November 16, 2007
San Gabriel Valley Service Sector Governance Council's Regular Meeting, 5 P.M.
Bike Oven, 6-10 pm, 3706 North Figueroa St.Highland Park. Just 1/3 of a mile from the Heritage Square Gold Line station.
MANHATTAN BEACH CITY COUNCIL - BIKE PATH ISSUE, City Hall, 1400 Highland Ave, Council Chambers. For more information, go to the LA Bike Coalition Website, here.
LONG BEACH BICYCLE CONNECTIONS WORKSHOP, 7 P.M., Long Beach City Hall, Council Chambers333 W. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach 90802
Bike Oven XX :: Women's Bike Space, 1 - 4pm, 3706 North Figueroa St.Highland Park
Cruz with Us - 9pm - Sunday, November 25, 2007, 1am, meet at corner of North Hollywood Park (5211 Tujunga Ave./ Magnolia Blvd.)
I did get out and about this week, and here are some photos and thoughts on Sin City's Transportation Network.
Vegas' famous "The Strip" is known for having thousands of places to spend money. Walking down the strip isn't just fun (and potentially expensive) its also safe. The sidewalks are wide, the crosswalks are well marked and often feature countdown signals, and in areas where the road is wide there are pedestrian bridges that are safe, well lighted, and have other attractions to entertain and draw people.
Not to say Vegas is some sort of pedestrian haven. Just off The Strip, the sidewalks are narrow and broken, the signals are mis-timed, the crosswalks are faded. Basically, except for strip, Vegas is a pedestrian disaster.
I don't really have a lot to say about the sign on the left, I just thought it was hilarious.
I found Vegas' famous monorail to be convenient yet somewhat annoying. The $5 fare makes it comparably priced to taking a cab if you have more than one person traveling and aren't traveling the entire length of the trip (which I was since we stayed at MGM and her conference was in The Riviera). Frequent "pro-monorail" announcements on the trip are actually advertisements for the attractions at various casinos. The most annoying was an ad for David Copperfield that bragged about his fast hands...an odd promo for a guy who just canceled seven weeks of shows because of accusations of sexual assault.
Also, my stop forced me into the casino at the Hilton and its cul-de-sac before allowing me street access. Probably added at least 5 minutes to my trip every time I headed to the convention center.
Lastly, it should be noted that ridership was sparse, and I was usually commuting at rush hour. My bell hop actually tried to talk us out of musing the monorail claiming the "mono" meant it ran "once a year." In truth, I never waited more than five minutes for a train, and outside of the price and the goofy announcements the trip was easy and enjoyable.
Don't ever let anyone tell you nobody in Vegas took transit. The buses were packed every time they rumbled past me while I was out for a stroll.
But taxi is still king for tourists in Sin City. That little black line at the end of the picture marks the beginning of the taxi line at the Hilton during rush hour. The guy in the gray suit marks the end.
Sierra Club Calls Hybrid SUV "Green Car of the Year" (Times)
Governor Defends Emissions Lawsuit, Talks Hybrids at Car Show... (CNN)
As State Pushes Forward with EPA Lawsuit on Emissions (Daily News, Press Telegram)
Foothill Transit Makes Hike Official (Bottlenecks Blog)
Big Rigs Back on Route 5 (Daily News, San Gabriel Tribune)
Government Halting Transit Projects by Not Spending Bonds (San Diego Union Tribune)
LA's Green Building Plan (Times)
Thursday, November 15, 2007
First off, it should be noted that my wife and I selected the house we're renting because its a pedestrian friendly locale and because it was close to both Melrose Avenue and the Farmer's Market. I'm a dedicated pedestrian and a pretty good cook in the kitchen. The thought of being able to walk to the Farmer's Market whenever I wanted fresh produce, with most of the walk being through a park, was enough that we only looked at places within a mile or so of the market.
Unsurprisingly, this upper-middle-class enclave has some fantastic facilities. Plenty of crosswalks, walk/don't walk signals with countdown timers, and wide sidewalks are common. I've never had to choose between safety and convenience and the walk itself is an enjoyable one. Besides the pedestrian conditions, there is also a lot of street-level development, meaning there are interesting shops and stores along the way to the Farmer's Market.
The only drawback is that if you don't want to cut through The Grove, you end up with a walk that has more blank walls reducing the visual pleasantness of the walk.
Some of Those Cuts Already On Paper (Capitol Weekly)
Midwestern States Join LA in Fighting Emissions/Climate Change (Imperial Valley News)
I-5 Tunnel Reopened (Daily News, Times)
Thousands of Articles on LA Auto Show (Google)
CA's Congressional Delegation May Kill High Speed Rail from Bay to LA (Planetizen)
Federal Transportation Funding Bill In Limbo (AP)
The Subway Formerly Known as the Purple Line (MetroRider)
Two LTE's Supporting Expo Line (Times)
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Foothill Transit Fare Hike: We know that not many, if any, readers of this blog take Foothill Transit into the city. However, since our Governor believes that the way to a greener future is better cars and less congestion (not less cars and more transit options), we can bet that similar fare hikes are coming across the board.
There was some "good" news from Foothill Transit's executive board. The somewhat draconian increases scheduled for seniors and the disabled taking monthly passes was reduced by 20%. Apparently the record amount of complaints, first reported here, helped trim the increase. The Foothill Transit Governing Board will vote on these plans this week.
Hey kids, I generally don’t do this and I am obviously a bit biased here, working for a solar company, but in the interests of appearing productive when they have not been while still making sure they get their full 3-4 month vacation, Congress is poised to make sure they pass an energy bill that really does nothing about the energy problems in this country. The vote is scheduled for Friday.
It continues lavish subsidies for the very rich industries of coal, oil and natural gas, additional support for biofuels (many of which are not really very eco-friendly), but no support for renewable forms of electricity such as solar, wind, and geothermal.
Given how low an opinion many have of the political system, I know you might think this is a waste of time, but as this is most likely an area where they will not cave to whatever President Bush wants (who does support renewable energy to an extent), public opinion will matter.
So if you believe non-polluting forms of energy makes sense for a variety if reasons (keeps money away from oil-producing dictators and sponsors of terrorism, don’t want climate change, cleaner air to breathe, keeping the US in a new tech and manufacturing sector, etc), take 5 minutes to call your local Senator or Congressman to tell them to continue to support renewable energy production tax credits.
It’s easy to find through the following link (they give a simple script if you want as well). http://capwiz.com/re-action/callalert/index.tt?alertid=10534241&type=CO
Feel free to pass it along and thanks for listening.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving,
Locals Contend City Wants to Speed Up Traffic on Residential Street (Daily News, West Hills Safety Blog)
Dodgers Stadium Shuttle Coming Soon? (Daily News)
Green Cars on Display at Car Show (Times, Press Release)
Zipcar and Flexcar Take a Bite Out of Car Ownership (Times)
TV News on LA Life Without a Car (ABC 7)
Emerald City Blog Looks at E-MetroLink (Times)
NYTimes Writer Lauds Patriotism of Gas Tax (New York Times)
Another NYT op/ed Mocks American Ignorance on Climate Change (New York Times)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The other posts in this series will all have graphics. Sadly, I can't take pictures while I drive, unlike some people.
To mock LA as being the car culture capital of North America is almost a cliche at this point. But what I've seen so far makes me believe that you can't say enough bad things about Angeleno's car commuting habits. A drive from my house (just north of Beverly Blvd. a mile west of the Grove)to the Foothill Transit fare hike meetings takes over two hours and twenty minutes at rush hour. A drive from the ventral library to home takes 40 minutes (using the 101 to Melrose) while the same trip using surface streets takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. Lets not even talk about my trips to Woodland Hills to see my brother.
But maybe its a good thing that I couldn't drive faster than a couple of miles an hour. The highways (and surface streets) are in terrible condition. Even zipping along at 20 miles per hour, the car was shaking like I was back in high school driving my Isuzu I-Mark.The question I really have, and this is for the people that commute by car on a daily basis, are you people nuts? What advantage is there to living in one of the greatest cities in the world, with beautiful weather 350+ days a year if you're going to spend months of that year sitting in traffic? If you don't have access to transit or a safe bike route, may I suggest living closer to where you work or to a transit line?
Los Angeles is the national leader in percentage of commuters who commute by car. Sadly, my initial investigation into how the state/city/country spend their transportation dollars (much more on that after Thanksgiving) it looks like car will remain king in the area unless there's a major shift in funding priorities. Given the statements of out leading presidential candidates, and that our governor is doing nothing to stop fares from increasing, it seems that I shouldn't be holding my breath.
For more on the"apology", you can see the rest of the story at streetsblog.