Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bruins for Traffic Relief LA County Fair Transit-Oriented Adventure

LA County Fair Transit-Oriented Adventure
Want to go to the LA County Fair? So do Sirinya and Juan, and they're inviting you along. Join them for a flexible transit oriented adventure this Saturday, September 26th. All the details and the RSVP are on Facebook.

Low Fares to the Fair
A Metrolink ticket gets you $2 off regular admission, so it's $15 per person instead of $17.
Fourpacks of Metrolink tickets are $29, that saves you $15 per 4 people. More info

Many Travel Options
Trains Leave Union Station at 7:00a, 9:00a, 10:40a, 11:50a, 1:20p, 3:25p, 4:45p, 6:15p, 9:00p, 11:30p
Trains Return to Union Station from the fairplex at 11:43a, 1:13p, 2:18p, 3:28p, 4:48p, 7:48p, 9:58p
You can go whenever you want, stay as long as you want, and leave whenever you want. Juan and Sirinya will be on the trains in bold. If you want to travel with us, please be at the station 15 minutes in advance of the scheduled departure.

Don't know how to get to Union Station? Use Google Transit! Best of all, it's only $1.25 on Metro, and $1.75 on BBB 10 (from Santa Monica).

What's There at the Fair?
Entertainment, horse racing, shopping, exhibits. Fried everything. See for yourself at
Fair is Open 10am to Midnight on Saturday

Follow @BTRUCLA on twitter for updates in advance of the event and on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wilshire Bus Only Lanes: The Above-Ground Subway to the Sea

The LA City Council voted to move ahead with the EIR for the LA City Wilshire Bus Only Lanes (Streetsblog Reports). This project would improve transit travel times in the Wilshire Corridor. You could think of it as the low cost peak-hour above-ground subway (that runs in mixed traffic through Beverly Hills and Santa Monica).

Paul Koretz from CD 5 has taken a page from David Vahedi's playbook and bowed to Westwood Wilshire Corridor Condo interests (some of which fear change and the realization that they don't live on a two-lane back country road) in expressing skepticism over the project. Paul is a 25-year member of the Sierra Club and surely is aware of the positive environmental implications of improving transit service using natural-gas fueled buses. While localized environmental concerns should be studied in any project, I suspect the Corridor Condo interests will seek to use the CEQA/NEPA process to derail any attempt to change the pastoral nature of their homestead, even if it provides a street buffer that only professionally-trained drivers will have access to. The regional environmental implications of improving transit service will be favorable.

Schedule permitting, Sirinya and I will be at the Westwood meeting.

Here's the latest from Metro:
Metro, the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County are considering the feasibility of implementing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project on Wilshire Boulevard. This joint effort will be evaluated through the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA).

The EIR/EA, which will be prepared in compliance with State and Federal environmental requirements, will examine the potential for dedicated curbside bus lanes during the morning and evening rush hours along Wilshire Boulevard, from just west of the I-110 freeway to the Santa Monica city line, excluding the City of Beverly Hills.

These same three agencies began evaluating the proposed Wilshire BRT Project in November 2008 as part of preparing an Initial Study/Environmental Assessment (IS/EA). An EIR/EA is now being prepared as a consequence of input received at several community meetings held along the corridor at that time, additional public input, and technical analyses that have been conducted.

Please join us at any of the four (4) scoping meetings to learn more about the Proposed Project and Project Alternatives. These meetings will provide the public the opportunity to comment on the project and any potential effects of the project that should be considered in the Draft EIR/EA. The content presented at these four meetings will be identical, so please make sure to attend at the time and location most convenient for you.

Monday, October 5, 6:00 – 8 pm
Felicia Mahood Senior Center
11338 Santa Monica Bl
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Wednesday, October 7, 6:00 – 8 pm
Wilshire United Methodist Church
4350 Wilshire Bl
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Thursday, October 8, 6:00 – 8 pm
Westwood Presbyterian Church
10822 Wilshire Bl
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tuesday, October 13, 6:00 – 8 pm
Good Samaritan Hospital, Moseley-Salvatori Conference Center
637 Lucas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017

All meeting locations are accessible by public transit. Please go to to plan your trip. Parking is also available. Garage parking at Good Samaritan is not validated and costs $8.

For additional information or questions, please visit the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit EIR/EA website at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LA Streetsblog's editor going on paternity leave; check out guest editors!

Mark your calendars: Guest editors will begin covering for Damien Newton, the primary editor of LA Streetsblog, a great transportation & land use blog, when he goes on paternity leave later this month.
Yours truly works 40 hours (or more), so I couldn't fill in. But mark your calendars for October 5 & 6th: my friend Angela Serratore, a fellow Smithie, will be the guest editor for those two days.

Why should you read?
1)For starters, Angela is wicked funny. (You can see on her own tongue-in-cheek blog, Overpaid and Underworked.)

2) Angela walks the talk: car-free in the Valley (she lives with her dad, but has not touched the steering wheel of her dad's Prius since moving back three months ago); devoted to Google Transit, buses, Metrolink Trains, DASH buses, and walking.

3) Angela has a multi-faceted understanding of the connections between transportation and land use through her coursework and professional experience in urban design and historical preservation. And she's read up on parking after she sat in on a Shoup-dogg lecture with me a few years ago.

3a) Maybe there will be interviews with cool UCLA transportation geeks too...

Yet Angela herself is not a transportation geek - far from it. For her, living without a car is simply a fact of life. Her willingness to do things that are accessible without a car also makes it so much easier for me to hang out with her too. (See this link for a blog entry by Car Free With Kids that talks about the complexity of socializing with friends in the suburbs.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

UCLA Speaker Series to discuss how local transportation policy can affect climate change

The UCLA Program on Local Government Climate Action Policies and Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies proudly present the fall speaker series: Perspectives on Local Climate Planning. In this series leading academics, policymakers, and practitioners discuss how cities, counties, and regions can meet the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change.While much attention is focused on the federal American Clean Energy and Security Act and the international UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen, we will examine what can be done at the local level to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.

Mondays at 2pm in the UCLA School of Public Affairs Room 1246. (directions: driving, bus)

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP.

Monday, October 5 - Katherine Trisolini, Professor, Loyola Law School, and local government climate change response legal scholar will discuss the legal and political context for local climate action

Monday, October 12 – J.R. DeShazo, Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, will discuss his recent study of California Climate Action Policies.

Monday, October 19 - Richard Katz, Member, CARB SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee, Metro Board Member, and 16-year California Assembly veteran, will talk about SB 375 regional targets.

Monday, October 26 - Michael Woo, Member, CARB SB 375 Regional Targets Advisory Committee and Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner will talk about the future of development.

Monday, November 2nd - Tim Kohut, AIA and LEED AP, Vice President and Director of Architecture of Abode Communities speaks about challenges to building green affordable housing.

Monday, November 9th – Juan Matute, Director of the UCLA Program on Local Government Climate Action Policies will speak about measuring greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

Monday, November 16th - Kathryn Phillips, Environmental Defense Fund Director, will talk about "10 Ways Local governments Can and Have Reduced their Transportation GHG Footprint"

Monday, November 23rd - Matthew Kahn, UCLA Professor and author of Green Cities will share his research on residential energy use.

feel free to distribute widely, we have secured a large capacity room for the speaker series

See the Program on Local Government Climate Action Policies Web site for more information.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Suuper excited about progressive parking plan adopted by City of Santa Monica

I didn't realize I was listening to the equivalent of a revolution in parking pricing when I tuned into KCRW on Monday night.

On Tuesday night, the city council for the City of Santa Monica voted 6 to 1 to approve what amounts to a Shoupistic approach to parking pricing in its downtown parking garages. The biggest change: Free parking in the garages will be available for just one hour, not to penalize visitors but rather to deter downtown employees from moving their cars every two hours to get "free" parking.

At the bus stop in downtown Santa Monica yesterday, a Valley-based filmmaker named Juan Fernando (his real first two names) confirmed that this really happens. Furthermore, he also added that the employee shuffle creates congestion and is a huge hassle because it takes more time than necessary to enter and exit the garage.

Fair enough.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

RIP La Asadero Victoria in Van Nuys

I know this is supposed to be a subway-oriented blog. But I needed to take a moment to mourn the loss of one of my neighborhood's community assets. It was a hole-in-the-wall named La Asadero Victoria.

La Asadero Victoria was adjacent to a store that sold used Levis and another store that sold gaudy tchotkes for little girls imported from China. The best thing about La Asadero Victoria was the spit they pulled out into the parking lot every Friday and Saturday night, which they used to slowly cook and marinate carne asada and pastor for tacos and burritos. They were delicious.

Over the past six months, Juan and I introduced many friends and our families to the amazing food they served there and had many great evenings there. The people who ran the restaurant were kind and attentive. La Asadero Victoria was exactly the kind of place that Juan and I tried hard to patronize because it was locally owned and near our homes.

Restaurants have a high fail rate (fewer than 50% that open each year survive into year 2). But I still feel a little bummed that La Asadero Victoria is no longer. I'm sure there are many more places to sample in Valley Glen & Van Nuys, but so far La Asadero Victoria was one of the best, really, in all of LA.

Hello and Goodbye (RIP) to small busineses in Westwood

Westwood Village is near and dear to my heart. After all, Juan and I still work at UCLA and he and I both lived in UCLA's Weyburn Terrace for two years. Depending on our schedules, Wednesday or Thursday night is date night for us, and we often try to patronize businesses inside Westwood Village. Most recently, he and I went to Noodle Planet and Yogurtland. We also like to walk around and see what is going on inside the Village.

Some of what we saw last week:

COMING SOON: There has been a sign posted for Fat Dogs for quite awhile, by the southeast corner of Weyburn & Broxton. Fat Dogs is located inside Stan's Donuts and it replaces an establishment named Sweet Pepper Grill. Fat Dogs isn't open yet, but I'm sure Juan and I will eat there when it does.

WELCOME, albeit temporarily: The old Rite-Aid at Westwood & Kinross will now be selling Halloween costumes. (Could it be open already?) There is now competition for Aahs across the street.

SOME CHANGES: Thank You Mart on Westwood Boulevard has changed its pricing structure. Previously, everything inside the store was $3.99. Now, the first two items are $5.99; but if you buy three items, they will cost you $3.99, or about $12 total + tax.

RIP: Good Choice Gift on Westwood Boulevard. A fine place to buy random tchotkes, like hair accessories and Sanrio bags.

Note: EAZY Wireless is also no longer with us in the Village.