A Critical Review of Los Angeles Metro’s 28 by 2028 Plan

Commentary By Thomas A. Rubin and James E. Moore II

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a history of over-promising, failing to deliver, and ultimately making things worse for transit users.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is the surface transportation planning and funding agency for the largest county (by population) in the United States, and is the operator of the nation’s third-largest public transit system.

Metro is considering the adoption of 28 by 2028 a plan to complete 28 major transportation construction projects prior to the beginning of the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. This proposal would accelerate eight projects for completion by 2028 in addition to the 20 specified in Measure M, the 2016 County transportation half-cent sales tax ballot measure.

Metro has a history of over-promising and then failing to deliver on such projects, ultimately making conditions worse for Los Angeles transit users. The 28 by 2028 proposal appears to repeat the pattern.

This is the first brief in a series of summaries that examines Metro’s record, and those of its predecessor organizations, over the past several decades… (more)

L.A. is hemorrhaging bus riders — worsening traffic and hurting climate goals

By Laura J. Nelson : latimes – excerpt

… “Driving here is a pain because of the traffic, but it’s still more convenient,” said Esparza, 23, who can spend five hours a day commuting. “On the bus, I just can’t get from Point A to Point B whenever I need to go. I hate it.”

Over the last decade, both Los Angeles County’s sprawling Metro system and smaller lines have hemorrhaged bus riders as passengers have fled for more convenient options — mostly, driving…

Southern Californians are capitalizing on a stronger economy by buying cars in record numbers, experts say. They also point to half a dozen other factors putting pressure on bus systems, including falling immigration rates, rising rents that have pushed low-income families to more remote areas, and a law that allows immigrants in the country illegally to apply for driver’s licenses.

Dropping ridership follows years of complaints about bus routes that are rarely as fast or reliable as driving and often require long waits, multiple transfers and delays in rush-hour traffic. More recently, a surge in the region’s homeless population has sparked concerns about safety and sanitation.

Ridership has fallen on almost all local bus systems, including routes in Santa Monica, the San Gabriel Valley, the Antelope Valley and Orange County, mirroring a national slump in bus ridership…(more)

Muni Train Door Sensors Belie a Bigger Problem: Operators Can’t See

By Roger Rudick : streetsblog – excerpt

A combination of no mirrors and inadequate video screens makes it impossible for operators to do a proper look back

Muni is now running two-car trains, with all doors operational, with its fleet of new Siemens-built light-rail vehicles. The agency announced yesterday that it has solved a door-sensor problem that contributed to three dragging incidents since November 2017. Muni had been running only single-car trains, with the rear doors locked, since April when a woman got her hand stuck in the rear door and was dragged and seriously injured at Embarcadero station…

But a safety expert and train operators who spoke with Streetsblog said a fundamental problem continues: the look-back video screens, which are supposed to allow operators to check to make sure nobody is being dragged by a train, are prone to freezing, glare issues, and have blind spots.

“When light hits the cameras, as happens every day, whether it’s artificial or natural light, the screen whites out,” said Roger Marenco, president of the Transportation Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Muni’s operators. When that happens, operators “…can’t see anything. It just goes blank.”…(more)

Operators have been complaining about this for a long time. Good story see that story of the faulty camera and screens is finally out.

Grand jury report says VTA is most expensive, least efficient in entire country

By Jesse Gary :ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) – A scathing grand jury report released this week blasts the Valley Transportation Authority as, “the most expensive and least efficient” in the country.

That evaluation comes at the end of a five day period that sees VTA leadership bracing for a possible work stoppage by members of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

At the intersection of light rail and bus lines in the South Bay, there are calls for major changes to the VTA system…(more)

Comments welcome.

SB330 Amended! Good News!

I you don’t like 330 here is some good news out of San Diego. It was amended.

TB4D logo

SB 330 Amended! Good News!

To all of you who wrote, emailed, signed our petitions opposing sb330, THANKS!

IT WORKED!

I spent Tuesday in Sacramento, with a coalition of San Diego groups who were opposed to sb330, and we visited the offices of all of the Assembly Members who were to vote on the bill the next morning, June 19. We found all to be receptive to our specific concerns with the bill, and as a result, Senator Nancy Skinner promised to amend and remove the text of the bill that would have suspended the right of the electorate (voters, through a ballot initiative or referendum) on any housing policy or decision, until the year 2025.

As many of you know, it was a voter approved ballot initiative (Proposition D) in the early 1970’s that put in place our only protection of a height limit along the coasts of San Diego, including La Jolla, Ocean Beach, and other communities.

We are now in a HOLD position on the bill until we can confirm the impact to our communities with the streamlining of project approvals that Sen. Skinner stated was the central purpose of the legislation. Streamlining equates to removal of public participation in the review process as projects are approved. Limiting CEQA protections is also of concern.

Another objection, that Sen. Skinner didn’t respond to, is that the bill allows SANDAG’s Regional Comprehensive Plan, and the San Diego City General Plan to overrule a local Community Plan’s height limits, square footage and land use designations, when a project developer submits an application. If left in the bill, we will change our position to OPPOSE and re-open the electronic petition for sb330.

SB330 will be heard again in the Local Government Committee on July 10.

For those of you new to the conversation and issues, I will be presenting the TRANSIT B4 DENSITY© model of community planning, and methods the public can use to reject the proposed addition of 5,000 housing units to the unbuilt stock of 6039 units remaining in the Clairemont Mesa Community Plan. The Plan Area encompases Bay Park, Bay Ho and the greater Clairemont Mesa area.

The meeting will be held tonight, June 20th, at 6:30pm, at the Community Church, 4811 Mt. Etna Drive, SD, 92117.

Kind regards,
James LaMattery

Spokesperson for Raise The Balloon.org
TRANSIT B4 DENSITY©
(619) 972-3051
jimlamattery

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Feds award BART part of $1.2 billion grant to ease crowding and buy 300 new trains

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Announcement came as agency was poised to hold Twitter “town hall” on need for funds

The federal government awarded BART the first portion of a $1.25 billion grant to ease train crowding, BART officials announced Thursday.

“Breaking news from Washington D.C.,” said BART General Manager Grace Crunican in a tweeted video Thursday afternoon. “I just got a call from Jane Williams, she’s the acting administrator for the Federal Transit Administration. We got the grant.”…(more)

New Richmond to SF ferry service nets ‘incredible’ ridership growth, years early

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexainer – excerpt

A ferry route launched in January from Richmond to San Francisco was expected to bring a steady stream of riders.

Instead, it brought a tide.

The new San Francisco Bay Ferry route met its ridership goals six years early, netting an average of 688 daily boardings when it launched, and upwards of 740 daily boardings in the last two months. The agency’s projected ridership was roughly 480 daily boardings…(more)

Good news for a change.

BART board approves low-income riders discount and raises fares for everyone else

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

BART approved a discount pilot program for low-income riders Thursday, while also approving future fare increases across the board.

BART approved a discount pilot program for low-income riders Thursday, while also approving future fare increases across the board.

The board also approved its $2 billion annual budget with a focus on what it called “quality of life” initiatives.

That new budget will see 19 more police officers hired as riders continue to express safety fears. BART will also spend millions toward modifying its stations to discourage fare cheats.

“This is the biggest increase in safety in this system in a generation,” said BART Board of Directors President Bevan Dufty, at the meeting…(more)

BART is offering discounts to the people Muni is raising fares on.

Salesforce Transit Center To Reopen July 1 After Repairs To Cracked Beams

By Bay City News : sfgate – excerpt

The Salesforce Transit Center and public rooftop park in San Francisco is reopening on July 1 after repairs finished on two cracked steel beams discovered at the newly opened building, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority announced Tuesday.

The $2.2 billion four-story transit center and park opened last August, but weeks later had to close after the discovery of the cracked beams on the third-level bus deck at Fremont Street.

The TJPA, which owns and operates the site, said in May that repairs had been completed, and a Metropolitan Transportation Commission panel has conducted an independent review that concluded the center may now reopen… (more)

Upcoming Muni fare hike unfair to low-income riders who pay cash, advocates say

By Sasha Perigo : hoodline – ecerpt

Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a law requiring brick-and-mortar retail businesses in San Francisco to accept cash, citing the disproportionate burden low-income people face in obtaining credit cards or bank accounts…

Beginning July 1, riders using cash to pay their Muni fares will be charged $3 per ride, up from the current $2.75. Those using Clipper cards or the Muni Mobile app, on the other hand, will continue to pay the current price of $2.50, which has been in place since 2017

But advocates for affordable transit say the penalty for using cash will have a disproportionate impact on low-income Muni riders — the population that can least afford even a slight fare increase…

“The people who are paying in cash are the people who don’t have Internet service or phones or credit cards,” said Amable, whose organization advocates for “equitable changes” to the city’s transit system, including lower Muni fares…(more)