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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Top Ten Lessons Learned From the Expo Line

MOVING LA - After long years of planning, talking and even fighting, the Expo Line appears on its way to becoming a reality, with operation of the first phase to Culver City a matter of months away, and with the groundbreaking of the second phase to Santa Monica now behind us. (Link)

Yes, Virginia, the Expo Line will actually make it to USC, the Mid-City, Culver City West LA, Santa Monica and the beach, and the long effort by the grassroots Friends4Expo Transit to create a light rail that parallels (and effectively offers an alternative/addition to the capacity of) the I-10 freeway, as illustrated by the map on its website. (Link)

There are lessons learned, however, and by no means should they be forgotten, because they WILL come up both for this project (with operations and construction that are anything but completed), and for other rail projects in the county.  Here are a few biggies.

1) This was a project saved and fought for by the little guy, not the political aristocracy, which is a reality that is all too forgotten by the elected who think the world revolves around them.  This was a project that was held to high standards against the former opposition by two Westside county supervisors and a former mayor of Los Angeles.

2) Volunteer and middle-class efforts created this and related rail projects, often over the opposition of the rich and well-connected, a phenomenon we saw and still do see by those special interests who were used to getting their way prior to the Internet, with former and current opposition to the Pasadena/Foothill Gold Line, Orange Line, Expo Line and Wilshire Subway being overwhelmed by the power of the majority who wanted this and other lines.

3) When volunteers and taxpayers demand more, they must be listened to, with both opportunities and blowback not to be dismissed.  Just as the taxpaying commuters of Los Angeles were left seething when the Green Line didn’t make it to LAX, they demanded a light rail line paralleling and offering a perfect alternative to the I-10 freeway become not merely a Busway but a speedy, modern light rail line—and with Measure R, they were willing to tax themselves.

4) Just as the Expo Line paved the way for other transit projects, the grassroots input to create it can be capitalized to enhance the planning and construction of other major rail projects.  There are still many who just can’t believe that Friends4Expo Transit volunteers were just that—volunteers—and the sad, sorry top-down approach of some of the Expo Authority Board (they know who they are) will leave rail stations and other features with problems that could have been avoided.  Metro staff worked with Friends4Expo Transit volunteers to make the Expo Line, Wilshire Subway and Green Line to LAX projects a funded work in progress—and the elected pols need to listen to their staff.


5) Most of the problems that Westsiders had and will have with the Expo Line lie in the failure of L.A. and Santa Monica City Planning, and absolutely NOT with the Expo Authority.  Whether it’s the Casden project at Expo/Sepulveda, the Bundy Village project at Olympic/Bundy, or the Bergamot Village project in Santa Monica, no one but no one wants the Expo Line to be an excuse for over-development that worsens car traffic, overall mobility and quality of life in the Westside.  The City Councils of L.A. and Santa Monica need to get over their bad selves and be realistic about what should and should not be built next to what will be very attractive commercial property near Expo Line stations.

6) Grade separation is a nice betterment, but usually it will involve rail bridges, and not rail tunnels.  Anyone familiar with the Expo Line rail trench near USC and the future Crenshaw/Green Line rail trench near LAX is aware of the financial, environmental and engineering nightmares they pose compared to the expensive but eminently simpler rail bridges at La Cienega and La Brea.  Westside grade separation at Sepulveda, Sawtelle and Centinela, for example, is elevated—and the fight for a tunnel-or-nothing at other major intersections led to at-grade crossings that the Westside might rue for years to come.

7) There is no Westside Metrolink service, so the Expo Line needs to have features of commuter as well as light rail transit—in other words, PARKING IS CRITICAL. It’s amazing how this line was meant to be a regional alternative to the I-10 freeway but yet bean-counters and environmental green zealots disrespect the need for parking.  Of course it’s expensive, and of course it’s not needed for every station, but not everyone in the Westside, Valley and South Bay who use this line will bicycle or take a bus to it.  Do whatever is needed to attract both public and private funding for parking, particularly at freeway-adjacent stations.  File this one under “Duh”.

8) A Westside Regional Transportation Center accommodating rail, bus, bicycle, car and all other transportation options, belongs at or adjacent to the Sepulveda station (pursuant to the above point)

9) There are inevitable lessons to be learned from funding and constructing this project, and they should be applied to other Measure R projects. It’s to be remembered that the successful passage, planning and now construction of the Expo Line left the Westside and LA County clamoring for more—and Measure R defined critical regional rail projects that either are or will be strictly budgeted.  We learned a lot of painful lessons with the first phase of the Expo Line (LINK), so let’s take taxpayer money seriously and not have to relearn these lessons.

10) Nail down police/traffic/safety issues now, and not wait for “incidents” to occur—While it’s good to know that Metro, the Sheriff’s Department and the LAPD are enhancing their enforcement of illegal activities of motorists and pedestrians on MetroRail Lines, the Westside and Mid-City (as with all regions) deserve to have this enforcement consistently applied.  Equally important is the need to have sheriff’s deputies routinely assigned to Expo Line stations and to trains so that everyone can feel safe and secure on MetroRail.

We deserve to give ourselves a good pat on the back, but there is so much to figure out and plan that this is no time to rest on our laurels.  Our mission to enhance the economy, environment and mobility of LA County is anything but accomplished.  Let’s get moving, LA!

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Vice Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Alpern@MarVista.org . The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) –cw

Tags: Expo Line, Culver City, Santa Monica, Ken Alpern, lessons, Westside




CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 74
Pub: Sept 16, 2011

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