Let’s go, public transport!

Dear Gloria Molina,

Remember Measure R, the county-wide tax increase measure you tried to prevent from reaching the November 2008 ballot by refusing to support the measure with a ‘yes’ vote? If I remember correctly, you said it didn’t spread enough money to projects in your area, though East L.A. is getting the Gold Line and passing Measure R would help pay for it to be extended further east and increase mobility throughout the Metro L.A. area.

Do you remember Measure R?

It passed.

Look at that! The heaviest support came from Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Gateway Cities in your district! Bell, Maywood, Huntington Park, Bell Gardens, Cudahy all voted in support of Measure R in excess of 77%. South Gate was one percentage point away from the so-coveted deep red, and I blame the disconnected Hollydaleans.

Your district supports improved mobility for people, not so much money and projects in their districts. Most of these cities have bus lines that connect with the Blue Line. What more do we want than increased mobility once we get to the Blue Line?

Keep this in mind the next time you abstain from supporting or opposing a measure. It didn’t bid well for you here.

Peace and love,


See map in full size here.

34 thoughts on “Let’s go, public transport!

  1. im so excited bout the gold line, its right across the street from my gf’s apartment, now i can go to downtown and get drunk without having to drive =)

    the taco truck on breed and 3rd, has some killer quesadillas de chicharron.

  2. Rolo,
    Thanks for the info on the lonchera. I’ll have to check that out. Quesadillas de chicharrones sounds great. What time do they set up at that corner?

    I didn’t want to write about it because I honestly don’t know enough about gentrification. Did read it, though.

    Tofurkey made me puke when I ate it for the first and last time.

  3. My feelings on Measure R. I think it’s going to go horribly wrong. I think that the tax dollars they thought were going to come in aren’t going to come in owing to the economy. I also think that owing to Measure R that the gov’t will cut funding, leading to the same kind of scenario we had with the schools where the lottery money became the same money, because the money gotten from lottery was subtracted from the money the gov’t funded schools.

    I want to be positive, but I’m not right now. I voted for Measure just so I wouldn’t have to explain to people why they shouldn’t trust Metro. I wanted to have visual proof in three years when absolutely nothing is finished or rather everything is half finished, but I’m going to try a little harder with the whole positive thing.

  4. I don’t understand why they lumped all of us in the unincorporated areas. It would be interesting to see percentage figures for East LA and say Valinda.

    ps. Random Hero – A new taco truck decided to park 4 houses away from mine. It looks hideous and parking is a lot worse than it already is. In addition, there is the occassional paper plate and half-eaten jalapeños on the curb. Aren’t these signs of blight???

  5. Al,
    That’s the piece M_V and I referred to earlier.

    Same here. I wanted to see the differences between areas like East Los, Willowbrook, and Hacienda/Rowland Heights. As for that taco truck that moved, it needs the sweet touch of gentrification! 😛

    The economy is in a bad state now. Before Metro can go around asking for federal funding for the project, it has to raise enough money to receive federal funding and it has to go through the whole EIR process before ground even breaks. Sheesus, Metro is slow… This whole project is grandiose in the time it’s supposed to take to build these lines. nothing will get done in three years. In six years, we’ll probably see the beginning of the construction of anything.

  6. I saw that story Al. It was a good story. I have to say the construction and how the businesses were done during the construction was pretty shabby. For a time last year during the holidays you couldn’t even drive on or catch a bus on certain parts of 1st street (notice would have been nice.) The Gold Line feels to me like it’s being built for other people, not people in Boyle Heights, of course when it is built hopefully the neighborhood will benefit, but hopefully it will be the people who have been in the neighborhood, sometimes you have to thank the universe for the little things like this failing economy. The La Crisis is going to stop the gentrification that was creeping over to BH, but ten years from, who knows…I just say prepare for battle, because BH seems to be looking pretty tasty to the gentrifying class, which I may or may not be part of 🙂

    You know for a time when I was younger I thought that crime was the worse thing that could happen to a neighborhood, but then I met gentrification and realized well there are some things worse than crime, you may lose your life to crime, but you can lose your home to gentrification and in America that seems to be the more horrible of the horrible.

    If someone shot you well, at least you could make the homicide blog if you lose your house unless you go out in some insane way like setting it on fire and blowing your head off that seems to be far less interesting to people.

  7. “Sheesus, Metro is slow… This whole project is grandiose in the time it’s supposed to take to build these lines. nothing will get done in three years. In six years, we’ll probably see the beginning of the construction of anything” Soledadenmasa

    Roger Snoble actually said 20 years. I said it as a joke on my blog, but then during a press conference he said it in all seriousness which is odd, because Antonio said if Measure R didn’t go through we wouldn’t see any building for 20 years.

    Anyways my prediction nothing will happen until after we all die, but when it was advertised (Measure R) it seems from my memory that it didn’t exactly say we’re building for the future, surely not that far in the future. I feel a little bit of lie by omission went on.

    I think to save face Metro is going to go bicycle centric crazy and that way the people with the loudest voice in the alt transit movement will be happy and write good things because it doesn’t cost any money to take out some seats to make room for bicycles, take away restrictions on bicycles and build some bicycle lanes, so again the average person taking the bus will lose as always in the bs game of fairness.


  8. urbanista. I think the truck that parked there is one of the few trucks that work without permit. Those are trucks that ruin it for all the other trucks that actually abide by the laws. I know it sucks to have trash like that around your home but I think if you talk to the truck owner and tell him what’s going on, I’m sure they’ll work with you. Taco trucks are there to provide a service and if people stop going to them, they’ll leave.

  9. After reading Art’s proposed purple line extension, I got the sense that the gold line construction was accelerated at the terminus, so that if money for the project ran out, there’d be a big trench in East LA. You could then point to that and demand money.

    If they had built it in a more logical manner, from downtown out to Atlantic, a few blocks at a time, it might not get finished. Money would run out, and the project would be abandoned, maybe terminating at Ford or something.

    That would have negated one of the unspoken goals of the rail, which was to gentrify the line.

    As for Molina’s push against R, it made some sense. She never fought too hard to improve transit in the district, even as congestion on the east-west streets got worse and worse, and the more easterly suburbs (from which she hails by the way) were becoming less feasible by auto-commute.

    So, lacking projects, she’s voting against it.

    As for the voters in East LA and the gateway cities…

    The LA County Registrar has the campaign contribution forms online…


  10. “I got the sense that the gold line construction was accelerated at the terminus, so that if money for the project ran out, there’d be a big trench in East LA. You could then point to that and demand money.”alienation.

    Thanks for saying that so simply, I really hope it gets finished though there was a subway in NY that didn’t get finished, I guess they thought the blight of a hole would do something if funding got cut, well that hole stayed there for over twenty years (this was in the 70s).


  11. It will be finished, actually in mid next year. The expensive part, tunnel and contruction, is basically done. They are now grinding the rails and fixing the overhead catenary wires, train testing should begin in the next few months. I heard that the opening was postponed for a few months later (to late/mid 2009) because of not enough money to begin running it ASAP, but now with measure R it may open early to mid 2009. I cant wait, both my abeulas live within a block of a stop.

    In case anyone doesnt know, Im a big transit nerd. I initially got into urban planning thru my transit interest (lifelong RTD rider), and follow what is happening, especially on the eastside, in the transit world. I actually work now in environmental planning, as transportaiton is not a feasable field for me to get into.

    I know more about our system, new development, and our city’s history and congestion patterns than anyone at the MTA ( I dont mean to sound arrogant, but I have corrected the engineers several times about their own project and have schooled the planners working on it on the subject and community). Unfortunately, the MTA would not hire me because of a medical prescription I had, which is technically illegal but what the hell am I gonna do, I’m just a nobody who possesses more knowledge than anyone in the MTA. I realise my history, record and background are not what the public institutions that deal with transit want, despite people like me actually using PT and my knowledge on the subject. They want kids with squeaky clean records who drive jettas and kiss behind in their company, that’s part of why the MTA is so inept. Since I cant work for these folks, I have contacted them to give some advice or input on the lines and areas they run through, usually I get some kind of “well I went to UCLA/SC and know more than you” (although they never have) BS which annoys me. I spent a good amount of time contacting MTA and Washington-Kiewitt about minor practical fixes to make the esgoldline better (specifically in Little Tokyo and between Lorena and Indiana) and never got a response back. I recently spoke to some folks from CDM and he MTA about esgoldline phase 2 stuff, and got the same response.

    One person wanted to argue with me why it is better to skip the major nodes on Whittier thru ELA (Indiana, Lorena, ELA Hosp, Ford-Ariz, Atlantic, Garfield) to service whittier city and Pico rivera which made little sense to me. The problem was they took my comments (which support a whittier bl purple line extension) as supporting the esgoldline running along the 60 fwy, which was not my goal. I personally dont care about the esgoldline east of the montebello town center, and think any extension eastward from there should be prioritized behind a few other projects.

    When I noted the esgoldline should service the 60 corridor and that a HRT purple line extension is needed to service whittier, I got the “we need to put transit where people are, and they are not along the 60” talk. I noted I agree, and because “we need to put rail where the people are” is exactly why the esgoldline should go along the 60 and the Whittier corridor be served by a much more appropriate rail mode. I noted if the esgoldline was extended to hit whittier bl it would miss the most dense transit dependant points along the blvd in ELA and BHtsm (as the esgl ends at atlantic) which is why I do not support a esgoldline extension serving whittier.

  12. (continued)
    I contnued getting the “we need to put rail where people are” mantra, which made me realize they either werent listening to me or getting what I was saying. I basically said I was in agreement that Whittier blvd should be prioritized for rail service because it is the largest and most congested corridor on the eastside(which is why the esgl is ill designed) and because of this it deserves the most efficient/fast rail mode, which is a heavy rail extension of the purpleline from DTLA.

    The esgoldline being built now to Atlantic was a compromise because money for a heavy rail extension of the red/purple line from union Station fell through (because of corruption and bad construction of the original redline to hollywood in the 90s). When mayor riordan wanted to do BRT down whittier, a compromise LRT line was forged to provide rail service to the eastside while minimizing cost and manipulating budgets (local money couldnt be spent on “subway” because of Zev’s law, so the Fed contribution was on the subway tunnel and local $ went to the portion running down streets) so that something is laid down. What we go was the esgl, which is a vast transit improvement from what is on the eastside right now but not good in terms of servicing the whittier corridor.

    Because this was a comprimise line, it does not hit many major activity centers, in fact it was designed that way in order to avoid major developed corridors to minimize cost (which is why there is a 1st/soto stop rather than chavez, as well as the train running along several cmetaries and avoiding calle primera as well as whitter blvdd thru Boyle Hts and ELA). This fact is why the esgoldline should not service whitter, amongst other ones I will get into later. It misses the major activity centers on whittier, will provide a slower trip because it runs at grade for much of the alignment, does not go to southern DTLA where latinos frequent (see why the pasa goldline has sub ridership, because the raza still take the fig bus to southern DTLA rather than Union Station), and has a capacity whih wil be pushed by such a high ridership corridor.

  13. Being a non-Eastsider and a Chicagoan to boot, I will defer to the skepticism about the MTA’s ability to deliver on its promised projects.

    One thing that got me mad in re Measure R, was that on a lot of righty blogs, people blamed “wabs” for voting in a tax increase that they will never pay. What a bunch of Dumb-@$$es; sales taxes are the most effective way for said immigrants to contribute their fair share. Sales taxes cannot be dodged to the extent that income or property taxes can, unless one shops solely fayuca-style or raises their own commodities (food) or manufactures their own daily goods.

    Also, Gloria Molina joins Hilda Solis as a Latina embarrassment to sound Transportation Planning. It was Solis, then a CA-state senator, that lowered the occupancy requirements for the El Monte (I-10 HOV) Busway and jammed it up in the process. Eventually this decision was reversed, and freer flow conditions occured.

  14. I’m no expert, but Whittier Blvd. seems to me to be a lot narrower than say 3rd or Chavez streets. Traffic is tough on that stretch of Whittier Bl. anytime you go on it with just 2 lanes & no turn lanes, each way.
    I’d imagine that there was some consideration on the impact on traffic and curbside parking on Whittier between Eastern & Atlantic that affected the proposed route decisions.

  15. Al,

    If I remember correctly, Barrio Planners were in charge of the Whittier Blvd. improvement which resulted in palm trees and don’t forget, the arch. Yep, that sure improved things there.

  16. Ah Yes, Barrio Planners,….and I wonder if that Arch might have been seen as a physical interference for the train? We may have shot ourselves in the foot with those improvements, “…pero at least ‘sta bonito no? 😉 (sarcasm)

  17. Todd over at http://saveourcommunity.us is a bus geek. He’s working up at Cal State and rides the bus to work. The supe district is very large, but with this internet thing, we can start building some political networks.

  18. We’re getting all planning lexicon up in this piece, but I dig it.

    It was also Hilda Solis who recently fought off any HOT (high-occupancy toll) lane conversions on some of the FWYs in the SGV…on the basis of social justice. An admirable argument, but ass backwards as what it would ultimately mean to funding of public transit. Its ok with me to Lower the occupancy requirements on the 10 FWY, but charge them. Same thing with Hybrids, charge them too for the HOV lane, or make them increase occupancy to ride for free. Of course, the political leadership is far too scared to take on an aggressive approach to congestion, environmental pollution, and public transit operations by using a market-based approach to raise money for all transportation accessibility. So we get highly capitalized projects (e.g. the first Gold Line) that basically come as “free money” to build the friggin’ thing but little to operate…which is where the problem is at.

    NY, Chicago, etc great cities, BUT “heavy rail,” “fixed rail” is such a 20th century idea …and for a different type of urban form. For Los Angeles, with its specific urban form, there’s other approaches which are more efficient and get the most bang for the buck.. real damn bus only lanes on streets, BRT systems, using current infrastructure…but everybody wants there ‘new’ trains that take decades to build.

    The thing I was skeptical about Prop R is a different take on “urbanleftbehinds” argument that this can show immigrants can pay their share. Seriously, sales tax bonds like this are regressive. Let’s get serious, and collect revenues from those that use the FWYS, ROADs etc, Drivers never pay the true cost of maintenance, congestion, and air quality.


  19. I think you are all missing the point of public transit in LA, to keep people who don’t have cars away from the westside. That’s it. That’s the point of transit in LA. Get the people who don’t have cars just enough transit to pay taxes (through their jobs,) but not enough to fight for anything. If you look at it that way all of this will make complete sense to you.

    So when you talk to Metro and you think you are having one conversation, the sensible conversation they are actually privately among themselves having a completely different conversation with the leaders of business in the city and those people don’t want people who currently take the bus in their section of town.

    If the Gold Line is any success at all the final step will be taking away the people who have always lived there homes and turning them into condos for people who go to Sci Arc.

    (Vivid Example: See the area around the Red Line. When I was in high school in Hollywood, people used to openly sell drugs, if you were a woman walking up Sunset you were automatically thought to be a hooker, people would beat you in broad daylight and now look at it, they have a fucking mall. Those of us who grew up in LA think back to what the area around the Red Line was prior to that line and think of all of your artsy friends who lost their places and had to eventually move out to Lancaster because of it. Who lives there now, a bunch of assholes from NYU and who work in the movie industry. For those of you who just stepped off the plane in 2000 or later that was not who lived in Hollywood in the flats before.)

    I used to have sensible conversations, but then I realized something, nothing is ever about what is right or what is good or what is decent and it is almost always about what is fucked up and what has money and what has always had money.


  20. The Westside, (Bev Hills, WeHo, Century City, etc) will always need public transit going through it. Otherwise, how will all the Maids get to work each day?

  21. “I think you are all missing the point of public transit in LA, to keep people who don’t have cars away from the westside. That’s it. ”

    Everyone knows that these projects are good for the region and it is not that they don’t want the transit users in their neighborhood, it’s the actual project running through their community — NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). They are afraid of the local governments enforcing a certain part of the Fifth Amendment — Eminent Domain!!! The ones that run a higher risk are the property owners.

  22. While eminent domain is something to be worried about, there are rights of way that already exist, yet ‘hoods don’t want the trains there. For example, on the Expo Line, there is a rail line that currently goes through Cheviot Hills that was used by the PE (I could be wrong. If anything is wrong, please correct me.) and is now owned by Metro. They want to convert it to use to for the Expo Line, but some Cheviot Hills residents worry about “the noise” which I think is crap (take this from someone who lived for a year above a subway station with aging rail and old cars, whose room rumbled with every coming train). The line is between hills, with few streets intersecting it and the homes are on hills above the track (again, I could be wrong).

  23. “Everyone knows that these projects are good for the region and it is not that they don’t want the transit users in their neighborhood, it’s the actual project running through their community — NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard).” urbanista

    That’s so not true, not in LA. Yeah its good for the region, but yeah its also true they don’t want BUS transit users in their neighborhoods and this has played out over and over again for years. In New York Robert Moses made the overpasses out to the beaches of Long Island near the Hamptons a little lower JUST so that busses couldn’t get out there so inner city youth and families couldn’t get to the shore. It’s not just about the projects running through their neighborhood it is also about not wanting kids from South Central and the Eastside going to their westside neighborhoods. Why do you think that certain train has security and busses which are WAY more dangerous do not? I could never write the story or run an interview I had, because I wanted to get two sources for it, but I talked to a former transit person and he told me straight up the reason they had security on the trains, because they wanted to protect the passengers from the black people. That was said in an actual meeting at the RTD, but even without that the proof is all there.

    There are busses that run from South LA to the Westside and for some odd reason those busses change numbers for no reason as the go through downtown and the only reason I could think of is that people don’t want people from one section of town to know that a certain bus lines will go straight to the more moneyed parts of Hollywood. The busses also take some weird route and not direct and I think the reason for that is because they don’t won’t certain people knowing exactly how to get to certain neighborhoods and they want it to take a long time.

    The old red cars, why did they disappear? Of course the happy story is that car dealers made a dirty deal, but that’s a load of crap. If you look at who rode the old trains that went everywhere you never ever saw people of color on there, but as soon as their numbers in LA started to grow after WW2 all of sudden they got dismantled.

    This is how LA was able to stay so segregated for so long. The housing restrictions and the restrictions on public transit, so yeah transit has always been good for the community, but the reason why it hasn’t worked in the past is because certain people don’t want working class dark people in their neighborhoods, that is a component of it and you can pretend all you want, but the proof is pretty evident if you look in history.

    Study urban planning and this is all pretty well documented. Look up Robert Moses.


  24. But then we give people buses that go that route, like the 576, and people don’t ride them. The 576 went straight down Vernon to Pacific Palisades, specifically for the maids, and fewer and fewer of them rode it until it was ultimately cancelled.

    One of the problems, actually, is that buses are now more secure than the trains now because they all have cameras in them. The trains don’t. They have cameras in the stations, but not on the trains themselves. Plus it is easier to secure a station, which is the property of the LACMTA, than it is a bus stop which is part of the public right of way. Not that I would expect you to get that.

  25. Busses are more secure than trains, because they have cameras? Those cameras don’t work and what bus do you take on a regular basis Calwatch?

    You use the 576 as your example. You must work for Metro.

    Hey I have an example, no several the 14, the 10, the 204, the 754, the 40, 51, 53, 2, 4, 33, the 180, 181, the 20, the 720 (lots of those lines go from less monied sections of town to more monied section of town, bet you don’t know which one, because you don’t take the bus on a regular basis you just run your mouth on the issue) I can go on and on and on about the packed overstuffed busses I see. Lots of bus lines that do get shut down didn’t run that often so people probably walked down three miles the other way and got on a bus that was more frequent.

    I will give you the story of the 127, it runs once per hour and its often late. I tried to take it several times, but you know after waiting for two hours on different times I decided to take the Blue Line to the Green Line and then walk three miles to my destination instead, oddly giving the rails even more traffic, but adding lots of time to my route.

    They aren’t securing the train stations, they are just standing there and glaring at people and it would be pretty easy to have roving security on the more popular bus lines, but of course since you only write about taking the bus and don’t do it on a regular basis I wouldn’t expect you to get that.


  26. To answer your question, I ride the 485. Do you know where that goes? Of course, that’s nowhere near where you are, but is actually apropos to this blog since it’s on the Eastside.

    Buses are more secure than trains because they are controlled by the driver, who is not separated from the public, whereas your average train has one operator, in one rail car, completely walled off from the public. It’s Security 101.

    “There are busses that run from South LA to the Westside and for some odd reason those busses change numbers for no reason as the go through downtown and the only reason I could think of is that people don’t want people from one section of town to know that a certain bus lines will go straight to the more moneyed parts of Hollywood. The busses also take some weird route and not direct and I think the reason for that is because they don’t won’t certain people knowing exactly how to get to certain neighborhoods and they want it to take a long time.”

    Then you cite a bunch of bus numbers, which of course I have ridden (and by the way, only 14, 10, and 51 fit your criteria of “changing numbers for no reason” – note that the reason the buses change numbers is because of the counterclockwise bus route numbering system, not that I would expect you to get that either) and cry racism. Except it doesn’t fly. “They” are no longer running the system. “They” are your local politicians: Villaraigosa, Yvonne Burke, Gloria Molina, Bernard Parks – that sit on the Metro Board. Or they are your local politicians, like Curran Price from Inglewood, or Harry Baldwin from San Gabriel, that sit on the Governance Council boards. To make it some conspiracy that “they” “don’t won’t certain people knowing exactly how to get to certain neighborhoods and they want it to take a long time” [sic] may have been true after the Watts Riots, but is hardly true now when the interests that control LA politics are not developers, but government unions and labor in general. Why did Mark Ridley-Thomas get elected, if “they” wouldn’t want him to be elected? It’s a bizarre argument to say the least.

  27. So you ride one bus sometimes that is an express that goes from Union Station to the SGV, well you are just an expert on the bus aren’t yah.

    You don’t know anything. Your whole point in the transportation movement is to tell the people of color and the working class who take the bus that they are imagining things in regards to the shitty bus service. And I don’t cry racism I shout it. I know you work for Metro, because why would you use a fake name and no identifying info, so truly anyone who listens to you should know you are full of it.

    You could have easily stated your point without being an ass, but you chose to say what you did in this hostile manner so now you’re writing this long post about how the transport system in LA is not racist, which is what you should have posted in the first place since that’s your whole point.

    And I know you think politicians run things, but they don’t they are scapegoats. Roger Snoble and private business interests have always ran Metro and continue to run Metro and for your info I’ve lived in general your districts if you want to get all “they” on me you know Garcetti and LaBonge for virtually the majority of my time while I have been in LA, so since I have lived in the places that run LA I think I am more qualified to speak on who runs LA than you on what is going on in Parks, Molina etc districts…where do you live not there, so again there you go talking about crap you don’t know.

    I talk about what I know and I think you and people like you who take one bus line and know like two working class people of color, the person who takes care of your kid and waters your grass. People like you need to not concern themselves what is going on with our lives and mind your own business.

    That’s what I think.

    I’m sick of the internet and all of this fake editorializing by people who are on the payroll for marketing agencies.

    “note that the reason the buses change numbers is because of the counterclockwise bus route numbering system” calwatch

    The reason that all of the busses change in South Central is because of the clockwise thing, yeah that makes sense only the busses in South Central make that change…so is the clockwise thing the explanation why the busses in that section of town run like absolute crap.

    So you’ve been on the 51, when it is the 26 right…lol…

    Yeah and explain to me the 53 it does a counter clockwise thing, but never goes through any traditional white neighborhoods, so uh explain the 53 which goes clockwise, no changes there. And what about the 720 (goes east on 6th and west on 5th) so that would support my argument and debase yours.

    I’m going to say that specifically that the only time the bus makes the number change are busses that go through what used to be traditionally african-american LA neighborhoods and then go through what traditionally used to be white neighborhoods, it’s obvious and weird and since I actually have gone through every neighborhood I know.

    I believe this is some kind of left over racist thing that METRO just never bothered to change, because this city is so segregated that nobody notices.

    And you have to let us know where you got the info on the the clockwise thing (which I’m assuming that means it goes south to east or north to west instead of just east to west or north to south.)

    My info is gotten from riding the bus not from press releases from Metro.

    So where did you get your info?

  28. “surprised the blog didn’t cover the story over the weekend on the Goldline extension and ‘gentrification.” Metro Vaquero

    The reason why this blog didn’t jump on that story is because you read it. Unlike most blogs we don’t just comb the internet and restate what you already read. We do this odd thing, we get original stories from the streets, not just rehashes of press releases sent to us by our friends in pr or in the fake media.

    But we did notice it. Yeah I know this is like a way late response to that, but I think if anyone wonders and notices that this blog is different, well that is the reason for the difference.

    Not saying we never do it, but usually we (or rather I and from what I’ve seen by others here) only do it to mock not for info.


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