Index
Sunday
Jul282013

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: 10 and 110 Freeway Express Lanes, commentary, "preliminary data": Editorial, "Misreading L.A. County freeway data can take a toll"....

***Following up on most recent earlier report noted here (10 and 110 Freeway, motorists' choices, "tale of two commuters")....

* Daily News (Los Angeles Newspaper Group editorial):  "Misreading L.A. County freeway data can take a toll" - From the DN:

People feel very strongly both ways about the rise of freeway toll lanes in Southern California -- or, actually, three ways. They love it, they hate it -- or they feel passionately that it's too soon to decide.

The passionate wait-and-see crowd, of which this editorial board is a charter member, was roused to howls of laughter if not outright protest a week ago when the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority released a set of early data on the use of the new ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways. To its credit, Metro did emphasize that the data is "preliminary," and that more comprehensive, independent evaluations will come in the months ahead.

But that didn't stop Metro's house blogger from jumping to a few hasty conclusions about the effectiveness of the pay-as-you-go experiment. Rosy conclusions, if you hadn't guessed. And that didn't stop some readers of the statistics from pointing to signs of "success," including a transportation consultant -- a former Metro executive -- whose quotes were featured by our reporter.

Such exuberance wouldn't be a problem if there weren't so many questions still to be answered, such broad implications for the region's way of life, and so much potential for the perception of success or failure in L.A. County to influence decisions in other counties like San Bernardino to plan toll lanes of their own.

There are practical questions: . . . . . . . .

And there are mega-questions: . . . . . . . .

Answers to some of these questions will come eventually. Let's not rush to judgment..................

Saturday
Jul272013

L.A. CITY HALL: Council District 6, special election, certified election results, final tally....

***Final tally from Los Angeles City Clerk, certified election results for Council District 6 runoff...

* Number of registered voters:  89,118

* Total ballots cast:  10,129 = 11.38%

* Total at-poll ballots:  4,534 = 44.76%

* Total vote-by mail ballots:  5,595 = 55.23%

* NURY MARTINEZ:  5,485 = 54.84%

* CINDY MONTANEZ:  4,516 = 45.15%

Saturday
Jul272013

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Bay Area): Update, status of decision, opening of new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge: "Bay Bridge: Decision on opening date could come in August".... 

* Contra Costa Times:  "Bay Bridge: Decision on opening date could come in August" - From the CCT:

OAKLAND -- Federal and independent experts will officially weigh in by mid-August on whether installing temporary steel shims on the new Bay Bridge could allow the state to open the crossing before contractors finish repairs to broken bolts. The outside opinions are considered key to reversing the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee's decision to postpone for months the planned Sept. 3 opening.

Either way, the preferred Labor Day opening is a long shot, although no one is suggesting an alternative date just yet. In order for contractors to physically tie Interstate 80 to the new span, the existing bridge must be shut down for three to four days.

Closing one of the busiest bridges in the nation requires advance notice to commuters, truckers and everyone else who relies on the crossing. Detours, signage and traffic control must be provided. Contractors also need time to mobilize crews and equipment, but, on the other hand, pushing the schedule into the winter months could lead to weather-related delays.

Just how much notice is "being discussed," said bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon. "Once the oversight committee has received the federal and peer review reports on the shims, they will distill the information and decide what steps, if any, to take."

   ****

In all the preparations, one aspect of the bridge opening -- the $5 million opening celebration once planned for the three-day holiday weekend -- has quietly been dropped. Gone are the plans for bike and foot races, fireworks and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on the new span before it opens to traffic. In its place will likely be a modest ribbon-cutting ceremony although that won't be discussed until an opening date has been set..............

Saturday
Jul272013

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: 10 and 110 Freeway Express Lanes, new report, motorists' choices, use of pay lanes or regular free lanes: "10 and 110 freeway pay lanes: A tale of two commuters"....

* San Gabriel Valley Tribune:  "10 and 110 freeway pay lanes: A tale of two commuters" - "Motorists who pay the fees travel much faster than those who stick with general purpose lanes" - From the SGVT:

During the typical weekday morning rush hour, the 10 and 110 freeways depict a tale of two commuters. The one willing to fork over $11 travels round-trip on a pay lane at near maximum speed. The other pays nothing, except for the time spent sitting in traffic. "This is a new order," said Bart Reed, executive director of The Transit Coalition, a Southern California nonprofit transit advocacy group. "People are making personal choices on how they view life, how they spend money."

A new report on the 110 and 10 Express Lanes backs up that kind of libertarian philosophy that places a dollar value on everyday choices -- now including driving to work. Reed said the pay lanes experiment on the two Southland freeways is a logical extension of the principal of value choices, just like when a diner chooses a fine restaurant over fast food, or a customer buys a luxury car over a compact.

Since Nov. 10 on the 110 Freeway and Feb. 23 on the 10 Freeway, motorists can sign up to ride the car-pool-turned-express lanes by going to metro.net and opening a $40 account for pay lane rides and a transponder. Once attached to the car, drivers can switch it from 1, 2, or 3 to indicate a car-pool or a solo driver. Car-pools of two are free all the time on the 110 but must pay during peak hours on the 10 Freeway, where a free ride requires three persons. Two-person car-pools ride free on the 10 during off-peak weekday hours and weekends. All motorists must buy a Metro transponder in order to ride the Express Lanes.

A new report from Metro calculated ridership on the 110 Freeway pay lanes at 57,256 trips per day, higher than the 50,000 trips before the conversion. On the 10 Freeway Express Lanes, between the 605 Freeway and Alameda Street, ridership is about 24,613 or 88 percent of the total before the Feb. 23 conversion. In general, about 60 percent of the pay lane trips are car-poolers and 40 percent are solo drivers.

During peak times, those paying about $11 round trip are traveling 64-65 mph, while those who ride general purpose lanes and don't pay are traveling 12 to 17 mph slower, the report summarized. Average speeds on the westbound 10 Freeway general purpose lanes from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays equal 50-51 mph. During the height of rush hour from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., speeds are lower, around 43.8 mph, meaning pay lane users are traveling 21 mph faster.

   ****

Transponder accounts within the county come from motorists in the following cities, listed highest to lowest: Los Angeles (25,326), Torrance (6,873), Redondo Beach (4,331), Long Beach (4,071), Pasadena (3,741), Manhattan Beach (3,668), West Covina (3,152), Glendale (2,774), Gardena (2,278), Rancho Palos Verdes (2,501), San Pedro (2,364), Carson (2,074), Hawthorne (1,934), Covina (1,890), and Hermosa Beach (1,637)................

Saturday
Jul272013

MISCELLANEOUS: State Bar of California, new president, Los Angeles area resident Luis J. Rodriguez, first Latino: "Los Angeles resident to become first Latino to head State Bar of California"....

* Daily News:  "Los Angeles resident to become first Latino to head State Bar of California" - From the DN:

Luis J. Rodriguez will never forget as a boy seeing the El Paso police officer make fun of his father's broken English while they were visiting the U.S. from Mexico. Or how authorities in Southland cities would stop him and his friends, tell them to sit on a curb and search their cars for a minor traffic violation -- or simply to check their license and registration.

Now, the 46-year-old married father of two girls is the first Latino and the first active public defender elected to be president of the State Bar of California, which regulates more than 237,000 attorneys in the state. Rodriguez will be sworn in as the 89th president at the State Bar's annual meeting in October in San Jose.

   ****

Rodriguez was born in Los Angeles but moved with his family to Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua when he was a toddler. They lived in his parents' native Mexico for about 10 years until they moved to the San Gabriel Valley and he entered the fifth grade. While in Mexico, his peers did not consider him Mexican because he was born in the United States. Similarly, American kids did not consider him to be one of them and he initially struggled with the English language.

   ****

The Los Angeles attorney, who was the first in his family to attend college, came to believe the best way to help his family and give the disadvantaged a voice was by getting a formal education and becoming an advocate of the legal system. Rodriguez attended Alhambra High School and went on to attend Santa Clara University, where he graduated with honors, and then Santa Clara Law School.

   ****

Rodriguez has worked as an attorney with the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office since 1994 defending impoverished adults as well as children charged with crimes................