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California Brings Home Four TIGER Grants, Three for Passenger Rail

Map of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project. For more information, click ##http://www.sanbag.ca.gov/projects/redlands-sb-rail/RPRPFactSheetFebruary262014FINAL_000.pdf##here.## (PDF)

Map of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project. For more information, and a larger map, click here. (PDF)

The State of California earned four federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants to improve transportation from the federal government totaling $40 million, Senator Diane Feinstein announced earlier today.

“Upgrading our transportation infrastructure is key for economic growth and improving the quality of life for Californians,” said Feinstein in a press release. “Our state is home to 40 million people and it’s critical that we invest in a wide range of transportation options. This important federal funding will allow California to do just that.”  

Three of the four grants will improve transit service with another grant funding a one-mile road widening project in the small Sutter County city of Live Oak. The four grants are:

  • $15 million to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to separate the roadway and rail tracks at the intersection of Rosecrans and Marquardt Avenues in Santa Fe Springs, which sees more than 45,000 vehicles and 130 train crossings daily.
  • $8.7 million to San Bernardino County to construct the Redlands Passenger Rail Project from Redlands through Loma Linda to San Bernardino.
  • $6.3 million to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to refurbish the 19th Street Oakland BART station, including better bicycle and pedestrian access.
  • $10 million to the City of Live Oak to redesign a one-mile stretch of State Route 99, adding a fourth lane and a two-way turn lane.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Report: Access to Car-Share and Bike-Share Is Worse in Communities of Color

Graph: Shared use Mobility Center

In many major American cities, communities of color have worse access to car-share and bike-share than majority white neighborhoods. Chart: Shared Use Mobility Center

Car-share and bike-share services are making it easier to go without owning a car in American cities, but access to “shared-use” systems remains limited in communities of color compared to majority-white neighborhoods, according to a new analysis from the Shared Use Mobility Center [PDF].

Urban areas with low car-ownership rates and strong transit are ideal for car and bike sharing. But a SUMC study found communities of color were being left out. Map: Shared Use Mobility Center

SUMC’s map of where car-share and bike-share would be most useful in Portland.

SUMC developed a method to analyze which places have the most potential for car-share and bike-share usage across 27 American metros. Areas with relatively high transit ridership, low car ownership, and small blocks (which enhance walkability) are where share-use systems can be most useful, according to SUMC.

SUMC then compared these areas of “opportunity” for car-share and bike-share to areas where the services are actually available. In many cities, SUMC observed that dense low-income neighborhoods lack access to shared-use systems even though they have the necessary characteristics for success:

While they have been often passed over by private operators, these neighborhoods have many of the key qualities — including high population density, transit access, and walkability — needed to support shared-use systems. Additionally, the opportunity to scale up shared modes in these neighborhoods is especially compelling since they stand to profit most from the benefits of shared mobility, including reduced household transportation costs and increased connectivity to jobs and opportunities outside the immediate community.

A clear racial disparity is apparent in many cities. In Chicago, for instance, 72 percent of low-income, majority-white neighborhoods have access to shared-use systems, according to SUMC’s analysis, but only 48 percent of low-income communities of color do. The disparity persists regardless of income levels. In well-off majority-white Chicago neighborhoods, 77 percent of households have access to car-share or bike-share, compared to just 49 percent in affluent majority-minority neighborhoods.

Not all cities have these disparities, but the pattern is alarmingly common.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Poll: Californians Back Climate Change Measures, Even the Costly Ones (SacBee)
  • San Diego Can Fix Issues with Deco-Bike (Voice of S.D.)
  • Property Owners Try and Ban Bikes on Their Street in Rancho Palos Verdes (PV Cycling)
  • Controversial Rail Yard Plan in Long Beach Needs Enviro. Review (LB Post)
  • Getting Rid of Red Light Cameras Is a Dangerous Idea (SacBee)
  • No, Donald Trump Is Not a Friend of California High Speed Rail (CAHSR Blog)
  • Pedestrian Killed in Anaheim by Car Jumping the Curb (OC Register)
  • At DNC, Ride-Hailing Breaks Records and Dems Get to Try Electric Buses (Philly Mag, NGT News)

More California headlines at Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF

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Central Valley Cities Apply for Active Transportation Funds: It’s Not Easy

The city of Turlock applied for an Active Transportation Program grant to improve this stretch of West Ave. South near Wakefield Elementary School. Photo: Minerva Perez/Streetsblog

The city of Turlock applied for an Active Transportation Program grant to improve this sidewalk-free stretch of West Avenue near Wakefield Elementary School. Photo: Minerva Perez/Streetsblog

The Active Transportation Program is California’s main source of funding for projects that encourage walking and biking. Caltrans just closed the third round of ATP grants on June 15, and will allocate $240 million for projects—beginning three years from now.

That may sound like a lot of money, but compared to the state’s overall transportation budget of over $10 billion, it’s a drop in the bucket. It is also taking a long time to happen. Currently more than 500 ATP projects are in the pipeline, either planned and waiting for approved funding or being built. But California needs better biking and walking facilities on the ground now if Caltrans really wants to reach its goal of tripling bike trips and doubling walking trips by 2020.

Meanwhile local planners, with limited time and funding, navigate the complex application process for the ATP grants. In June, Caltrans received 452 applications for this third round of funding. The two past cycles saw larger numbers of applications being submitted: 717 for Cycle 1 and 612 for Cycle 2.

Turlock, Modesto, and Tulare County were three of the Central Valley jurisdictions that submitted applications in this round. Turlock and Modesto made only one proposal each.

In Turlock’s case, city staff conducted a series of outreach meetings to find out what residents wanted, and that effort yielded a variety of project ideas. Staff ultimately chose to focus on a single project: pedestrian improvements near two elementary schools.

Read more…

Streetsblog LA
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LADOT Quietly Hosting Vision Zero Community Engagement Meetings

MIG staff taking community input at last night's Vision Zero meeting. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

MIG staff taking community input at last night’s Vision Zero meeting. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Streetsblog L.A. attended the city of L.A. Transportation Department (LADOT) Vision Zero meeting last night in Hollywood.

The meeting was the fourth second in a series of ten Vision Zero community engagement meetings hosted by LADOT and their consultant, MIG. The meetings resume tonight in Echo Park, and continue through August 10 in various L.A. neighborhoods in the Valley, South L.A., West L.A. and San Pedro. None appear to be scheduled for Boyle Heights or North East L.A. See full schedule after the jump. (Correction: some meetings have been rescheduled – see corrected schedule below.)

Oddly, these appear to be public meetings, but as of this morning they do not appear on the LADOT Vision Zero website, nor any mention of them on LADOT’s Vision Zero Twitter. Apparently someone did not get the memo and posted the full meeting schedule online at the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council website. 

That San Pedro post made the rounds among L.A.’s well-wired bicyclist communities yesterday afternoon, which was the first notice that Streetsblog L.A. received. Last night, LADOT Vision Zero lead Nat Gale mentioned that meeting attendees had been “nominated” to attend. It is unclear how the nominating, outreach, and engagement were supposed to work. Perhaps the best way to get a lot of bicyclists to attend a Vision Zero meeting is to not invite them, so they become suspicious and rush to attend.

Vision Zero is the international campaign to reduce traffic deaths. Vision Zero principles hold that all traffic deaths are preventable and that human life takes priority over other transportation system objectives. The city of Los Angeles Vision Zero goals include reducing traffic deaths by 20 percent by 2017 and reducing deaths to zero by 2025.

The current series of meetings are part of the community engagement process for creating the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan, which is due out in August. The plan will guide the city’s multi-departmental Vision Zero efforts, to be implemented by multiple city departments including LADOT, Public Works, LAPD, LAFD, City Planning, and others.

At last night’s meeting, Gale presented an overview of the city’s efforts on Vision Zero so, highlighting the 2015 mayoral directive, the scramble crossing at Hollywood and Highland, and a new finer-grain priority intersections corridor categorization within the city’s High Injury Network. To identify the priority areas, LADOT and MIG used data from kill and severe injury (KSI) crashes, combined with factors to prioritize equity, children, and seniors. LADOT and MIG have drilled down into 2009 through 2013 KSI data to thoroughly characterize collision profiles based on various factors, from turning behavior to hit-and-run to drunk driving.  Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Pulitzer Winner Steve Hymon Builds on Monday’s Post on CAHSR (The Source)
  • A Look at a Stack of Anti-Growth Ballot Initiatives Across CA (Voice of SD)
  • Santa Barbara Passes Bike Master Plan (NoozHawk)
  • LADOT Plans for Protected Bikeway in Temescal Canyon (Biking in LA)
  • Advocates Push for CEQA Exemption for Bikeway in SD (BikeSD)
  • Long Beach Announces November Open Streets Event (LongBeachize)
  • Sacramento Bans Bikes on Some Sidewalks (SacBee)
  • Texas Has High Speed Rail NIMBY’s Too (Texas Tribune)
  • L.A. Freeways Ranked From Mildly Soul-Sucking to Totally Unbearable – Now That’s a Headline (LA Mag)

More California headlines at Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF

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New CA Law Requires Temporary Plates for Newly Purchased Cars

DS-326Via Ted Rogers at Biking in L.A. comes news that the State of California will be joining dozens of other states in requiring all new cars to have temporary 90-day license plates. The goal of the law, A.B. 516, is to make it easier to identify drivers breaking the law, be they toll-lane scofflaws or hit-and-run murderers.

Rogers is effusive in praise of the new law:

In a big step forward in the fight against hit-and-run drivers, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring all motor vehicles sold in the state to have temporary license plates when they roll off the lot.

Currently, drivers only have to display a small bill of sale, which can’t be read at a distance to identify a driver trying to flee the scene, or report them to the police for some other reason.

Later in his piece, Rogers dismisses the concerns of consumer rights advocates who oppose the law noting that there have been few complaints about similar laws in other states. While I, and I imagine most Streetsblog and Biking in L.A. readers approve of laws such as this, we should take the concerns of the detractors into account to make sure the DMV rules are as fair as possible.

The Los Angeles Times quotes a letter by Rosemary Shahan, president of the advocacy group Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. Shahan ticks off a list of her concerns that people will get tickets for using expired temporary plates when dealers don’t submit paperwork, go out of business or sell vehicles with unpaid liens or tickets.  Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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Dem VP Tim Kaine Took a Stand For Walkability, Against Cul-de-Sacs

Even though the Democratic Party’s strongholds are in cities, we probably won’t hear much about urban transportation and development policy at the Democratic National Convention this week. City issues seldom get much play when political parties are focused on scooping up swing votes in the suburbs.

Tim Kaine. Photo via Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine

But Hillary Clinton’s VP choice, Tim Kaine, is the former mayor of Richmond, Virginia, and experience running a city is surprisingly rare for someone on a presidential ticket.

So Greater Greater Washington writers have weighed in on his urban policy track record. Here’s a look at the evidence.

Before he was mayor, Kaine made a name for himself as a lawyer fighting housing discrimination, writes Joanne Pierce:

Kaine was on the board of Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Virginia from 1986-1994 and 2011-2013, starting before he got into local politics.

He helped represent HOME against Nationwide Insurance, which had labeled minority neighborhoods as undesirable and pulled its agents from those areas. He also helped represent HOME against General Services Corp, which made apartment brochures that featured more white people and lacked equal housing logos and language. Staff members testified that company management talked to them about how to deter black people from renting in their properties.

When he served as governor of Virginia, Kaine ensured the Silver Line would be built, writes Canaan Merchant:

Read more…

Streetsblog.net
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Will More Bike-Share Systems Opt for “Smart Bikes,” Not “Smart Docks”?

When Portland launched its bike-share system last week, it became the biggest American city to go live with a “smart bike” model. The system allows users to drop off bikes anywhere within the service area, as opposed to the more prevalent “smart dock” model, where users pick up and return bikes only at fixed stations.

Portland's new bike share system moves away from docks. Photo: Bike Portland

Portland’s new bike-share system has stations, but you can lock your bike up anywhere in the service area. Photo: Bike Portland

James Sinclair at Stop and Move considers some of the advantages and disadvantages of each system:

In a smart dock system, everything is handled by the dock and an attached kiosk. On a smart bike system, the bicycle itself carries all the technology. That means you can lock your bicycle to anything. You use a pin code to remove the built in lock and when you’re done, you reattach the lock to the bicycle (and another fixed object of course). Built in GPS ensures the company knows where the bike is.

So why pick one system over another? If most cities have used smart docks, why did Portland go with smart bikes?

The biggest factor involves cost and ease of deployment. A smart bike system actually requires zero infrastructure. You can release the bicycles and let users dock wherever they want — existing racks, fences etc. Docking areas can be created virtually, and displayed with signs or stickers…

One of the major problems with a smart dock system is arriving at a station where every dock is full. That scenario can simply never happen with a smart bike system, since you can lock up to a pole or fence.

But systems like Portland’s have drawbacks too, he says:

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • Bike Share Expansion to the Beach in San Diego Proving Controversial (SD News)
  • Bicyclist Skeptical That Plan to Ban Cyclists From Street Is About Safety (PV Cycling)
  • Report: L.A. Has Worst Freeway Commute in the Country (LA Weekly)
  • Different Report: But It’s the Bay Area That’s Got the Worst Drivers (SF Gate)
  • Why Streetsblog Supporter Josef Bray-Ali Is Running For LA City Council (Strong Towns)
  • Long Beach Has New Docking Stations for Zero Emission Buses (Press-Telegram)
  • One Bicyclist Killed, Another Injured, in Rio Linda Crash (Press Tribune)

More California headlines at Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog SF