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LOS ANGELES Saturday, July 4th 2015 1:25

 OUR 4TH OF JULY DIFFERENCES

The Declaration of Independence Meant Something Different to America’s Not So Independent Slaves

Amy Goodman
WHO WE ARE-“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” asked Frederick Douglass (photo above) of the crowd gathered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, NY, on July 5, 1852. “I answer,” he continued, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which lie is the constant victim. To him,…

Trumping Trump: Shun the Donald, Boycott His Palos Verdes Golf Course

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-I believe that it's really Donald Trump's hair. I seem to be unique in this belief. It's nice to be unique in some way, but what bothers me is that I have also been nearly unique, until now, in arguing that Trump should be shunned and boycotted. But times change. It's been a traumatic week both for Donald Trump and for the…

LA’s Sidewalks: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is expected to spend $1.4 billion over the next 30 years to repair our sidewalks pursuant to a Settlement Agreement involving the Willits class action lawsuit that alleged that the City was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the yet to be disclosed Settlement Agreement appears to…

Is It Really a Golden State or Is It Just One of Those Hollywood Illusions?

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-Is Los Angeles really part of a Golden State or is it a place to remember as you move to greener pastures? I pose this question following my recent visit to Chicago and other cities east of the Rockies. My travels to the east coast were part of my reserve LAPD duty. I was part of the group of LAPD Reserve Officers escorting the…

Want to Save The Bullet Train, Governor … Get Better Bullet Points!

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-George W. Bush had Iraq. Barack Obama has ObamaCare. And Jerry Brown has HIS bullet train. Not OUR bullet train, mind you, but HIS bullet train. And like Iraq, and like ObamaCare, the bullet train that was meant to help all of us, and which was promoted with great fanfare and wonderful intentions, has to survive the test of…

LA: Hit-and-Run Capital of the World May Be Getting an Alert System

Damien Newton
LA’S STREETS - After last week’s warning that CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s legislation to create a “Yellow Alert” system was imperiled by Senate Transportation and Housing Committee staff and the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) objections, there was a feeling of a looming showdown before today’s committee hearing. Assembly Bill 8 would create…

LA’s Citywide Sign Ordinance: By, For and Of Special Interests

Barbara Broide
IRATE PRIVATE CITIZEN’S OPEN LETTER-I write this letter not as a representative of my local homeowners association or neighborhood council, both of which have come out in support of the sign ordinance that limits new signage to sign districts in specified commercially zoned areas and who seek enforcement of and the issuance of citations to signs…

Now Is the Time For True Courage

Abby Zimet
FURTHER-Britanny 'Bree' Newsome - the filmmaker, organizer, activist and aspiring Super-Woman who memorably, determinedly climbed the flagpole at South Carolina's capitol to remove the Confederate flag - has spoken out for the first time about her feat, which she views "both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power…

When Did the American Civil War Really End and … Did Shenandoah Really Save the Whales?

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE - When did the American Civil War end? Could it really have been late June or early November of 1865? April 9, 1865 is the date widely accepted, and for good reason: it marked the surrender of General Lee’s army at Appomattox, Virginia. It was a foregone conclusion that other field commands would quickly follow suit. In fact, they did,…

 

  • Costco: Free Range Liars!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS POLITICS-Eight years ago grocery retailer Costco (COST) pledged to transition out of using eggs from chickens in small cages to cage free…
  • 10 Things Over-Thinkers Are Tired Of Over-Thinking

    Lindsay Holmes
    WELLNESS-While writing this intro, I deleted the first paragraph approximately six times. My thoughts ranged from "Just get to the point already" to…
  • Can Procrastination Give You a Heart Attack?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically…



Sun Jul 05, 2015 @ 5:00PM - 09:00PM
Twilight in the Garden: Little Tokyo Concert Series
Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth


Fail! Fail! Americans don’t know why we celebrate the 4th of July

Awwww! Tornado separates dog and owner … dog waits!

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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