The Pasadena Star News is running with a story today that I think is pretty important. The City Council in Glendale has now put their City on record as opposing the 710 Tunnel. This in the face of considerable pressure from Caltrans, various Sacramento lobbyists, and the omnipresent SCAG. Here's the story:
Glendale officials vote to oppose 710 tunnel: City officials voted to oppose a proposed tunnel project that would connect the end of the 710 Freeway to the 210 Freeway at Tuesday night's meeting ... Glendale's vote puts it with La Canada Flintridge and South Pasadena as opposing the project ... In the resolution, which passed by a vote of 4-1, city officials cite increased traffic along the 210 Freeway north of the 134 Freeway as the main reason to oppose the project.
Since Sierra Madre is as much affected by traffic on the 210 Freeway as our 3 sister cities in the beautiful San Gabriel Valley, maybe we need to get this agendized during Public Comments at our next City Council meeting? Filling this already murky valley with increased airborne toxins from the huge potential increase in truck traffic coming out of the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro will do irreparable harm to both seniors and young children. Our stake is no less than any other city in the San Gabriel Valley. We need to make our voices heard.
And there is more to this Glendale story. The leading opposition voice there is a City Councilman by the name of Ara Najarian. And Najarian is also the new chairman of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the very organization that will eventually vote on the project. This is a guy who is speaking out strongly on the issue, and his leadership is making a big difference. The Glendale News Press ran a story recently about a bogus poll run by Caltrans lobbyist Nat "The Police Poet" Read and his so-called 710 Freeway Coalition in an attempt to derail growing opposition to tunnel. This is how Mr. Najarian responded to the situation:
"I think his poll and his survey is a joke," said Councilman Ara Najarian ... "And to infer that the 710 Coalition needs to do a poll to tell us what our residents are concerned about is really kind of a desperate attempt for them to sell the tunnel to Glendale" ... "If the 710 tunnel people think that South Pasadena was the fly in their soup, they are going to be dealing with the residents of Glendale and its surrounding areas," he said. "We are going to be a force to be reckoned with on this matter."
You really have to respect a guy willing to speak out like that. Maybe we can get him to stop by a week from Tuesday to add his voice to an effort to get this issue before our City Council?
Meanwhile in Santa Barbara there is quite a debate on the issue of, you got it, high-density housing in mixed-use developments. Seems to be going around these days. The specific problem there seems to be something known by the acronym MODA, which stands for Mobility Oriented Development Area. The idea being that if you house citizens in MODA units they will also work close by and therefore not require automobiles. Automobiles, of course, being the only culprit in the global warming pantheon that high-density addicted city planners seem to want to consider. And so confident are these planners that new residents will happily sit in their boxes automobile-free that MODA units will come with no parking of any kind attached. This from the Santa Barbara Independent article Can't Get There From Here:
As part of the MODA concept, City Hall would have to seriously relax - "decouple" is the term favored by city planners - its current parking requirements. By eliminating the space developers must set aside for parking - roughly 300 square feet per parking space - the cost of land would presumably be reduced. And with a decent public transit system in place, cars would become optional and not necessities. That, at least, is the theory.
Seems to be the assumption of most planners attempting to convince our fine California cities to introduce vast new lower income high-density housing into the middle of their quaint boutique neighborhoods. And that all this disfigurement of their city will be worth it because these new people won't drive cars, thus saving the world from Global Warming. Here's an example of the resulting skepticism:
Critics of the MODA approach also worry that if the new "de-coupled" units are not required to provide adequate parking as part of a strategy to bring the cost of development down, then MODA residents and their visitors will park on public streets, thus creating a whole new planning nightmare.
One man's Mobility Oriented Development Area is another man's Transit Village I suppose. My personal take is that people fortunate enough to be housed in low-cost housing will begin to experience the happy sensation that comes with having some discretionary cash to spend. And like any other red-blooded Americans the first thing they will want to do with it is get themselves a fine new automobile. Just because they live near a bus stop is no reason to assume that they're going to fall in love with the idea of taking one to work everyday. This being is the cognitive flaw at the heart of all these kinds of projects.
Take it from someone who rode New York City public transportation for 10 years, cars are much nicer. And people will not give them up that easily. If more planner advocates of high-density development actually took the public transportation that they see as being the panacea for the world's ills, they might understand that.
And then there is this:
The debate over density has roiled Santa Barbara's once solid coalition of slow-growthers and environmentalists for more than ten years now, with both sides casting aspersions on the other's motivations. Critics of high density development have been derided as racists, while affordable housing and "smart growth" advocates have been dismissed as developer stooges, whether wittingly or otherwise.
My my. Makes you wonder if the sudden resurgence of "Green issues" in our little town has more to do with a divide and conquer political strategy than anything else. Considering the two developer stooges pushing it here, I'd be inclined to say yes.
Now in the past few weeks we have discussed the greenhouse gas producing potential of both automobiles and high-density development. With both producing quite a bit of the stuff. But apparently there is something else that is also contributing to Global Warming. And I can't for the life of me figure how I missed it. This from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:
Which causes more greenhouse gas emissions, rearing cattle or driving cars? Surprise! According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent - 18 percent - than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
So there you have it. And as far as we here at The Tattler can tell, the world's worst greenhouse gas producing polluter could very well live within shouting distance of here. Yep, and we think we now know who the guy is. Because he has been spotted coming out of his condo at Monrovia Commons, getting into his 8 cylinder Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, and then heading over to T-Burger for two big all beef half pound cheeseburgers.
The veritable triple play of world ending behaviors.