TRANSPO POLITICS--While the verdict is hardly in, we're absolutely making progress in creating a countywide and modern transportation system.
First, although most Angelenos don't know (and maybe don't care), the Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa is opening March 5th. The San Gabriel Valley is hardly "urban", megaliberal, or hating of their cars...but they're moving forward on a plan for a rail connection between the Inland Empire and Ontario Airport to the rest of the county, and have fought indifferent politicians and forces along the way. They deserve a lot of credit, and some day they'll connect the eastern suburbs and reaches of the LA Basin with each other and provide new mobility and economic alternatives.
And the Expo Line will be opening May 20th. Finally, the citizens of LA and the Westside will also have their transit connection, both to each other and the rest of the county (LINK: /). More likely than not, any concerns about transit ridership will be addressed as new rail and connecting bus service to both the western and eastern reaches of the county establish a comprehensive transit system we've not known in decades.
Of course, any of you reading this are always welcome to continue using the I-10 and I-210 freeways (although it's realized that not all of us have a choice).
Mayor Garcetti came up with a new slogan ("Grand to the Sand") for the Expo Line, which the LATimes found wanting, so here's a couple of my own:
1) The Beach is Finally Within Reach
This isn't just referencing how obnoxious it is for local Westsiders to travel the last few miles to the beach, but in particular those Mid-City and other residents who've virtually never accessed the beach (which, in and of itself, is really a social and moral ill of our times).
2) Get to Downtown Without the Frown
Anyone who's had the pleasure of commuting to Downtown from the Westside or Mid-City regions in the morning knows exactly what this phrase references.
Aaaaaand, here's a cutie that's more global in its appeal:
3) Enjoy Your Life and Avoid the Strife with Metro
So how will Metro and the city and county transportation systems complete their rail and bus network, to say nothing of road and other transportation improvements?
Say hello to the new November 2016 countywide sales tax initiative!!!
Is it aggressive? Yes.
Is it expensive? Yes.
Is it based from a lot of citizen feedback? Also yes.
Because the Westside and San Gabriel Valley aren't the only regions who want "in" to the LA countywide rail network.
West Hollywood wants the north/south Crenshaw/LAX Line to proceed and extend northwards to the Purple and Red Lines, and such an extension would allow everyone from the San Fernando Valley to the Wilshire District a more direct shot to LAX and back.
The South Bay from Redondo Beach to Torrance also wants in. Ditto for Norwalk and the Southeast Cities.
What shall be the name of this November's initiative? My hope is that it's simply called "Measure R-2".
But while some of those reading this will want nothing of this initiative, others will really care about its name...
...and others altogether will proclaim: "Who cares what the name is? Just pass it already!"
(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at Alpern@MarVista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)