Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Poor Metro & Caltrans - Nobody Believes Them

I went to the South Pasadena version of the Metro Caltrans tunnel talk last week, otherwise known as the "State Route 710 Study Alternative Concepts Open House." This outreach effort on the part of those people who are not just about the 710 Tunnel (or so they took some rather extreme pains to point out), instead wanting to offer the likes of myself the opportunity to help them explore "alternatives." Though relieving the whole bunch of them of their jobs and saving the State of California millions of dollars in salaries and benefits was unfortunately not listed among the available options.

What they were hoping for was that the hardy few who actually attended this little fiesta of planning fun would read the 20 or so massive boards they had stacked up around the library where this event took place, absorb a lot of very dry information about "process" (a word that got used about 150 times, it seems to have a magical or religious power for them), "scoping" (a term I'd previously always associated with prostate exams), "multi-modal" (still mulling that one over) and, of course, "alternatives." Alternatives to what they didn't seem too willing to say, though many of the attending civilians did seem eager to inform them that it had something to do with a 4.5 mile tunnel.

And that was the problem Metrotrans (my new shorthand combined term for these two government entities) was having. Few people attending this get-together really believed that Caltro (the other shorthand term, though I prefer Metrotrans for obscure reasons) was really interested in alternatives at all. Instead they suspected the obvious, that this exhibit really was about the 710 Tunnel. And this whole event was staged as a way of creating the illusion that alternatives were being seriously considered, but in the end the conclusion would be they have to build a tunnel under South Pas and turn the 210 into a corollary of the God awful and quite toxic 710 corridor.

All in the name of getting colorful Asian made plasticware from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to Wal*Mart's inland warehouses more efficiently. Apparently complaints from the far east have been heard in Sacramento and Washington. Holding a few trillion dollars in American debt does tend to get your concerns heard.

Here is how the Pasadena Sun described the difficulties Metrotrans was having with the likes of me (click here):

Metro officials meet with skeptical South Pasadena residents over 710 study - Metro officials said they will look at all alternatives in the early stages of an environmental study

Digging a 4.5 mile-long freeway tunnel may not be easy, but convincing South Pasadena residents that all ideas for easing congestion near the Long Beach (710) Freeway are getting a fair shake might be just as difficult.

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials met with the public at the South Pasadena Library Community Room on Wednesday, part of a series of open house meetings on the ongoing 710 environmental study.

Metro officials say they are looking at 12 options - including extending the 710 to the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena and adding light rail and bus routes.

But South Pasadenans have years of battle scars from lawsuits, federal injunctions and more than 40 city council resolutions fighting a proposed freeway extension, which they say would increase congestion, traffic and health hazards.

South Pasadena City Councilman Richard Schneider said he doesn't believe Metro is looking at all 12 alternatives equally. "That's for public consumption," he said. "I'm sure they have their preferred routes."

Metro project manager Michelle Smith acknowledged she and her colleagues have faced skepticism.

I can only wonder why.

I actually got to meet Michelle at this get-together, and after some cheerful conviviality on the absurdity of the roles we play in life, and how we really are all just one people striving together in the dream of a far better world, I asked her why there was so little about the 710 Tunnel on all of those densely lettered 8 foot high boards looming about us.

That is when she started pulling my leg about multi-modals, "the process," scoping, alternatives, and all the rest of that rhythm. When she was finally done, I asked her how exactly would you get a semi-trailer filled with imported plasticware fresh out of the Port of Long Beach onto something like a bus or a light rail car. Put it on the roof, perhaps?

Other people walked up however, interrupting our conversation. I never did get an answer. Not that I really expected one. It was probably too early in the process for that.

It almost always is.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

44 comments:

  1. Process is what they like to talk about when there're screwing you.

    See: Measure A.

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  2. Moderator - you didn't say if there were dogs and ponies present at this event. Or were they obscured by the smoke and mirrors?

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  3. Good point. To that I would add the DSP, the water rate hike, UUT increases, and cheese.

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  4. For those of you who don't understand the implications of a link from the port to the 210, just try and remember what it was like when the 210 was not linked to the 215. Few trucks and traffic tie-up then. But now, lines of semi's tie up the 210 at all hours, not just commute times.

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    Replies
    1. After the tunnel is built the traffic jams will be some of the worst in the region.

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    2. Here's my input: don't build it. Step away from the region and go somewhere else.

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  5. After the meeting was over all of the Metrotrans employees got together and, holding each others' hands, had a very bonding multi-modal yodel session. It made them feel better.

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  6. What shift is Steve working today? I get the impression he/she is not a "morning person".

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    Replies
    1. He stays in bed until his parents have left for work.

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  7. Are they really going to call it "Hell's Pass Tunnel?" Seems rather apocalyptic.

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  8. This really is by-the-book dog and pony for the EIR.
    Too bad no one will pay any attention to the results of the 'community outreach', other than to tabulate them and include them in an appendix.

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  9. Obedient Democratic Lemming saysMay 30, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Public hearings are a requirement of the law, and once over they will proceed.
    Our Democratically elected Legislature and government could stop it, and they won't because of the money they get for their votes.

    But don't forget to re-elect them at the next election cycle...

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    Replies
    1. That is what the process is. A series of phony events and public relations moves that help to move the citizens towards grudging acceptance of what was a preordained result. Democracy as Kabuki Theater.

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    2. They'd do anything to avoid putting the tunnel on the ballot.

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  10. Don't vote for Chris Holdman. He is in favor of the tunnel. He totally messed up Pasadena.

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    1. Does anybody have a list of where each of the candidates stand? This would be important enough of an issue to change my vote. I am opposed to building this tunnel.

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    2. Donna Lowe is against the 710 extension, above or below ground.

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    3. Thanks, 10:06, that's all I need to know. Go with Lowe!

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    4. I'll probably vote for her because of this issue - but the champion of conservative values statement is a little unnerving.

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  11. I agree, 10:44. I will vote for local candidates over local concerns, but don't try and make it like I've suddenly become a Mitt Head. I have not.

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  12. I think Tea Party candidates are good for sobering up the financial side of things, but ya gotta watch out for the personal liberties issues, like freedom of religion, for example.

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    Replies
    1. It is also good that there is a candidate who will vote to oppose the tunnel. Most of them will just pay you some lip service and knuckle under once they get to Sac. My expectations are so low these days I will take whatever I get.

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  13. Lowe's comment on the AOL Patch:
    "I would like to open up California. I would be in support of opening up our natural resources. We spend way too much money on foreign oil. We have our own natural resources here, coupled with innovative technology like wind mills… I am in full support of working with oil and gas companies because we do have a rich reserve here and it is a vital revenue stream, and it’s untouched.

    I’ve met with numerous oil and gas executives in Bakersfield. They are the most responsible, but the media pins them as the villains. They give back more to land, community and sustainability than any other industry out there. I think that it could be a wildly successful revenue stream."

    Yeah, what do we need the environment for, anyway?

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    Replies
    1. Sure. We should import oil from Middle Eastern countries that hate us, instead.

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    2. So that's it - destroy the ocean or import from the middle east. So few alternatives in this big world.

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    3. Maybe you'd like to try a solar powered jet. Not me.

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    4. Is Bakersfield in the ocean?

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    5. Might as well be. Except for the Buck Owens Concert Hall. That deserves to be an island.

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  14. Do you remember the truck crash in the tunnel at the 14 coming in from Castaic. Five people died in the flames as they could not avoid the burning truck.

    There was a recent big fire in a tunnel in Europe, in the Alps maybe, I forget where, where there were many deaths.

    In Boston, in the Big Dig, that went on for years to finish an underground freeway, the regulations keep motorhomes, campers, etc. that have bottled gas from using the underground. They have to detour around the city on surface routes. I don't know how this affects truckers.

    I am always on edge when I take the tunnel from the 210 eastbound where it joins the 134 when there is a big rig ahead of me. I slow down and let it get as far ahead as possible before I enter.

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  15. Folks, as you travel across town, notice more and more traffic stops?

    Warn one and all:

    Sierra Madre is a speed trap.

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    Replies
    1. Kind of like the old cliche' about one horse southern towns who stop anyone who crosses city lines.

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    2. SMPD thinks if they strictly enforce traffic laws that they'll get a better contract?

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    3. Nothing makes friends like a big fat speeding ticket given for going 6 miles over the limit.

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  16. Doesn't appear they are targeting SM residents but visitors from waaaay outside our ethnic matrix. I thought traffic ticket payments did not go directly to SM at all. So, this activity is no great resource to us but an irritation to our visitors. This would be a negative impact. Why come to that sweet little town if you are going to be hounded by the PD? Why shop here? Hastings
    Ranch to Arcadia via Orange Grove, Arcadia side of street, better deal.

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  17. Glad to see the snark is back on the Tattler. The civility was killing me.

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    Replies
    1. Civility is what you show to people that you don't respect enough to annoy.

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  18. 1:56 & Replys. If Sierra Madre is a speed trap then better traps are needed. Sierra Madre on the way ot of town is mostly downhill. Some places with no sidwalks. Walkers, Bicycles, Strollers joggers and Deer complete with cars for space. And of the pickups racing to their next job beware. Seems like the SM Police were just doing their job and you got caught. The speed limit for this mix should be 25 mph. CP's and Texters should be fined big big bucks for their distracted pleasure. Since you are so smug about speeders I would challenge you to stand on the Grandview @ Foothill, or Mountain Trail and Cannon and all the downhill runs west of there. I don't know where you hang out but for sure its not walking on Sierra Madre Streets. I am no fan of the SM Police Dept, but in the case of car speed violations I support their speed coontrol 100% even at 6 mph over limit.

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    1. The SMPD is all over downtown giving tickets right and left.
      They ARE targeting citizens! They are not friendly to residents.
      The speed trap poster is right. It is absolutely a speed trap.
      Be careful.

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    2. They're upset with the residents for voting down the UUT measures. That was supposed to be their raise and retirement money. Now they're ticketing everyone, and to me it looks like revenge.

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    3. We should all be careful driving, but what really is a problem (traffic-wise) here in SM and in a good deal of CA is the ridiculous idea among pedestrians that they have the "right of way." The knee-jerk response is "Of course they do. It's the law!" But when flesh meets steel, the laws of physics prevail.

      So, 4:47, don't walk, jog, or run out expecting a car to stop, especially when it's rolling downhill. Everyday I see people making, yes MAKING, car stops because they can't let that one last car in a long row go by before they exercise their "right of way." I see people do this with their children, and every time I caution my child to let the cars go and cross when it's safe -- meaning no cars approaching.

      Maybe it's the unremitting "exercise of the right of way" that requires and dictates what appears to be the overly zealous policing of traffic laws.

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    4. Forgive me, it's been a long day. Allow me to correct the typo(s): "cars stop."

      Fortunately, tomorrow is a new day in Amercia.

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    5. Typos are the mark of a mind that moves too fast for mere words.

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    6. Thanks M. I'm waiting for a Dragon Naturally Thinking Helmet, but fear all the idle gibberish that may spew.

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  19. Be sure and catch the whining in today's LA Times about the loss of their CRA Dollars and the law suits being filed by the City Government snivelers all over California. Seems somebody took away the "cookie jar", Boo Hoo!

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