Make urban buses fare-free. Only then will urban planning make any sense.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Students, Parents to Rally for Free Public Transit

NBC 7 San Diego: "Hundreds of high school students will take to the streets Downtown Wednesday to rally for the continuation of a free transit pass program that they say is endangered."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Car-dependency puts San Diego out of reach for students wallets

The Daily Aztec : Public transportation lags behind for commuters: "The county of San Diego is not a small piece of land that’s easily accessible via public transportation. Without a car, commuting to and from San Diego State can be burdensome and even costly. San Diego’s inefficient and limited public transportation system only makes matters more difficult for students. Students who commute should have accessibility to inexpensive and efficient transportation around San Diego.
If students aren’t stressing about traffic and rush hour in parking structures, they are depending on the trolley or the bus to get around — but the price paid by students doesn’t just come from their wallets."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

More roads means more traffic

Saturday, October 4, 2014

California sprawl is unsustainable, tipping points being reached now

NASA images show California's drought deepening: "All of California is in a historic drought, and images taken from a NASA satellite show the dramatic decrease in the state's water storage since 2002."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The oceans are acidifying at the fastest rate in 300 million years. How bad could it get?

Vox: ""The current rate of ocean acidification appears unprecedented at least over the last 300 million years," noted a report this week from the World Meteorological Organization."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Global shift to mass transit could save more than $100 trillion and 1,700 megatons of CO2

UC Davis News & Information: "Currently the world leader in urban passenger transportation CO2 emissions, the U.S. is projected to lower these emissions from 670 megatons annually to 560 megatons by 2050 because of slowing travel growth combined with sharp improvements in fuel efficiencies. But a high shift to more sustainable transportation options, along with fewer and shorter car trips related to communication technologies substituting for transportation, could further drop those emissions to about 280 megatons.  "

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Seniors have poor access to public transportation, report finds

Press Enterprise: "Most Inland-area seniors have poor access to public transportation, and it’s not going to get any better soon, according to a recently released report from Rep. Mark Takano’s office.
The report from Takano, D-Riverside, also found that working families in Riverside and Moreno Valley spend almost 60 percent of their incomes on transportation and housing."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Western drought causes Earth's surface to rise as water levels drop

LA Times: "The loss of groundwater, as well as surface water such as reservoirs, has been so extreme that it lifted the West an average of one-sixth of an inch since 2013, according to researchers from UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Top Of Withering Drought, California Smashes Heat Records

ThinkProgress: "Caught in a withering drought, California is also shattering a 120-year-old record for heat.
For the first half of 2014, the state has been an average of 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, and 1 degree warmer than the previous record set in 1934, according to the National Climatic Data Center."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

History of "urban planning" in San Diego

How Governmental Agencies Destroy Public Trust: A History of San Diego Regional Transportation Plans | BikeSD: "Reading the list of projects in the 1976 document is like reading a list of broken promises. For the biking element, the 1976 RTP called for the creation of three hundred and five (305) regional “bicycle route improvements”. It goes on to state that “these improvements are primarily bike paths and lanes separated from automobile traffic.”  "
The solution to "failed" planning is not more planning. Make buses fare-free. People will vote with their seat.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

76% of Americans are open to using #publictransit over driving

dailynews - letters : "While not all of us are ready to ditch our cars immediately, many are becoming more interested in the convenience and cost-effectiveness of available public transportation options. A 2013 America THINKS survey from HNTB Corp. revealed that 76 percent of Americans are open to taking public transportation over driving — up 7 percent from when HNTB last asked that question in 2010."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jammed: L.A., San Francisco tops in traffic misery

usatoday: "Los Angeles congestion increased 2% in 2013, rising to the highest levels in five years, the report said. Drivers with a 30-minute daily commute were delayed an average of 90 hours while behind the wheel in 2013."

(Photo: Reed Saxon, AP)

Monday, May 19, 2014

#Freetransit too expensive? $433,000.00 for one Crosswalk

Great Streets San Diego: "Some would say that this new crosswalk, with flashing lights and signs is a good thing because it helps pedestrians. To that I say, a Stop Sign would have achieved the same result, would have cost a lot less, and would have been better for the neighborhood in general."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

California fire season now 365 days long

Los Angeles Times: "“Already this year, Cal Fire has responded to an over 100% increase in the number of wildfires than average,” Berlant said.

The fires were more proof that California’s drought conditions have created a year-round fire season.

“It starts with the drought,” Berlant said. “The grass, the brush and the trees -- not only in San Diego County, really across California -- are really dry.”"

photo Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cars have eaten up our public spaces

Walter Scott Chambers III: "This used be a public plaza ... Open space for people. It's been destroyed to create more car parking. How Could Hillcrest allow this to happen?!"

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Climate change increasing massive wildfires in West

usatoday: "Overall, the number of large wildfires increased by a rate of seven fires a year from 1984 to 2011, while the total area damaged by fire increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres per year, according to the study, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

The study comes against the backdrop of what could to be a disastrous year for fires in the West, especially drought-plagued California, which even saw fires in the normally quiet month of January."

Friday, April 18, 2014

$433,000 for one crosswalk. This is a car cost, not a pedestrian cost.

Major upgrade for Hillcrest crosswalk | San Diego Reader: "The contractor for the project — “Park Boulevard and Cypress Avenue pop-outs and lighted crosswalk” — is Atlas Development of Solana Beach. Their winning bid was $230,869. Completion is slated for July, with a total project cost of $433,000, according to the city's capital-improvements program web page."
Much of what people call pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is actually necessary only because of the dominance of the private auto. Why do the autos own the streets, and everyone else forced to work around that? Most of the money spent on pedestrian overpasses and bike lanes could be saved if we could reduce or eliminate cars from cities. Your town would be better off investing in free buses instead of bike/walk infrastructure.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The drought hitting 40 percent of the entire country, in 5 maps

washington post: "With a hot summer and wildfire season right around the corner, huge chunks of the western United States are experiencing record droughts. Parts of California, Nevada and Arizona are drier than they have been in 1,200 years, putting at risk millions of acres of farm and forest lands."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cars choking Orange County

Voice of OC : "“The roads are just going to become at some point … unpassable at rush hour,” said OCTA Director Jeff Lalloway, who is also an Irvine city councilman."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

For better health, we need better #publictransit

Taking Cycling And Public Transit Mainstream With Maria Sipin | Neon Tommy: "“People used to bring their bikes into the clinics,” Sipin says, which was a hassle for everybody. Her patients inspired her to advocate for more accessible and reliable public transportation, as well as bike safety and awareness in Los Angeles.

“I see people coming in and out of the hospital every day, some of whom are trying to stay off drugs, but have a hard time even getting to their doctor appointments on time because L.A. has such a complicated public transit system,” Sipin says.

It may not seem obvious, she says, “but public health and public transportation are very much intertwined.”"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Nightmare in San Diego: The I-805 Project

BikeSD: "One of the projects listed in the 2050 RTP is the I-805 project and we’re going to take a good look at the northern section of this project: all 11 miles of it that is expected to cost $587 million. That is a cost of $53.36 million dollars per mile. This cost includes design and construction of the project (but not maintenance).
But what is the project going to deliver?"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CSUN needs to improve public transportation options

Daily Sundial: "With tens of thousands of commuters traveling to CSUN, it is hard to believe that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) does not have direct service from LA to campus."

The National Transit Coalition : CSUN Tiger Team: "Named for our passion for transit, the California State University Northridge student-intern chapter of the Transit Coalition tackles pressing mass-transit and mobility issues in the San Fernando Valley with never before seen ferocity. Utilizing community integration, technological prowess, and tiger-like strength  - the team is currently undertaking an ambitious study of Sylmar Metrolink,  Metro Lines 230 and 236 and its connectivity to surrounding regional centers for the people of Los Angeles. By May, a report detailing our recommendations  will be published for all future students, community leaders, advocacy groups, and the online community.  It is our belief that this report will spark an active, on-going discussion, ultimately leading to well-planned action."

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fares are for rationing, not revenue

Transit riders assail proposed Metro fare hike at public hearing - "During a packed and sometimes tense four-hour public hearing Saturday, Los Angeles County transportation officials heard a litany of complaints from transit riders who said a proposed Metro fare hike would strain the budgets of students and working-class families."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yes, Manmade Global Warming Is Worsening California's Epic Drought

ThinkProgress: "California’s epic drought got even worse last week. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that the area of California under moderate drought (or worse) rose from 94.6 percent of the state to a stunning 99.8 percent. The area under extreme or exceptional drought rose from 65.9 to 71.8 percent, encompassing the entire agriculture-rich Central Valley"

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Californians walking, cycling and using public transportation doubles

Paso Robles Daily News: "Results from the California Household Travel Survey – the largest and most complex review of its kind – show that the percentage of California residents walking, biking, or using public transportation on a typical day has more than doubled since 2000."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bus riders protest proposed transit system fare hikes "The demonstration at the Western Avenue subway station, organized by the Bus Riders' Union, was a response to a proposal to boost bus and rail fares as much as 117% over the next eight years. Passenger advocates said the increases would be too great a burden on the system's most economically vulnerable riders, including seniors and the disabled.

"Public transit riders have already paid for the system before even getting on the bus," said Barbara Lott-Holland, co-chair of the riders' union. She was referring in part to more than $2 billion a year in Los Angeles County sales tax collections earmarked for construction and operation of the bus and rail system."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bicyclists and pedestrians better than parking spaces for town center

Uptown Might Be Warming to Bike Infrastructure | Voice of San Diego: "But at the group’s Thursday meeting, business owners who supported the project outnumbered those who didn’t.

Jeff Motch, co-owner of Tiger! Tiger! in North Park, said pedestrian traffic  is more valuable to his operation than a few parking spots at his storefront.

“If there’s capacity for 300 people inside, why would I care about the three parking spots that are gone?” Motch said."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Autosprawl wastes energy. Takes from cornfields, and now from water supply.

An aerial photograph shows a large field of fracking sites in a north-western Colorado valley. It can take millions of gallons of fresh water to frack a single well. Photograph: Susan Heller/Getty images
Fracking is depleting water supplies in America's driest areas, report shows | Environment | "America's oil and gas rush is depleting water supplies in the driest and most drought-prone areas of the country, from Texas to California, new research has found.

Of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled since 2011, three-quarters were located in areas where water is scarce, and 55% were in areas experiencing drought, the report by the Ceres investor network found.

Fracking those wells used 97bn gallons of water, raising new concerns about unforeseen costs of America's energy rush."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mathematician calculates #freetransit would save 298,000,000 barrels of oil per year in Southern California

Georgia Straight: "John Bachar is a former mathematics professor at California State University in Long Beach and an advocate of what he calls a “fareless urban mass-transportation system”.

“This antiquated method of letting everybody buy all this car insurance and pay for the maintenance of their car and drive in congestion and spend hundreds of millions of hours wasted away from your personal life because you’re spending so much time travelling in gridlock, it’s insane,” Bachar told the Straight in a phone interview from Los Angeles.

In a paper, the mathematician cited benefits of free transit. For the Southern California region (Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties), the state of California, and the U.S., the potential annual fuel savings in barrels of petroleum are 298 million, 545 million, and 3.69 billion, respectively.

Bachar also noted in his study that an all-bus transportation system would cost less than a tenth as much as an all-automobile system. It would generate 90 percent less pollution, his paper added.

Meanwhile, a 2011 study by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute indicated that there were $2.55 in costs to society for every dollar spent on a motor vehicle’s operating expenses."

Urban planning is hamstrung by designing to accomodate cars

Density Isn’t a Dirty Word | Voice of San Diego: "However, even a new way of thinking about density won’t solve San Diego’s planning woes, because, in general, our planning is not based on people. It’s based on cars.

You might think I’m exaggerating when I tell you that nearly every urban planning and design decision made today is based on how many seconds you have to sit in your car at an intersection, and where you will park the car once you’ve arrived at your destination. Success is spending fewer seconds at an intersection, and having the option to park your car for free wherever you go.

When you look at city planning from this auto-centric point of view, which most of us have been taught to do, higher density doesn’t make a lot of sense. There is obviously a huge disconnect between what people intuitively want in a great community, and what San Diego’s policies and laws dictate. The two don’t match up."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Poll: 9 of 10 Latinos want government action on #climate change "Other polling has shown that Latinos by wide margins back action to curb pollution, climate change and other environmental problems. The latest poll found even more intense support for policies to counter global warming."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stop the foot-dragging on climate change "The world has very little time — perhaps 15 years — to make serious inroads on climate change, according to a leaked report from a United Nations panel. Current efforts, even among the most committed nations, fall short, and at the current rate of carbon emissions, the problem might grow too large to overcome with existing technology."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Drought threatens California, with no relief in sight

Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States - "Faced with the shortage, federal authorities this year will for the first time decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, from Lake Powell 180 miles upstream. That will reduce even more the level of Lake Mead, a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and for millions of acres of farmland."

'via Blog this'

Friday, January 3, 2014

Expo Line reduces carbon emissions. What would free buses do?

Expo Line proves a point: If you build it, people will ride - "The study tracked roughly 200 households before and after the opening of the Expo Line’s first phase, from downtown to Culver City, in 2012. Researchers found that people living within half a mile of the Expo Line tripled their use of rail after the opening. They also drove about 10 miles less per day after the transit line opened, compared with households in similar neighborhoods farther from the line. And because the Expo-adjacent residents drove less, they generated about 30% less carbon emissions.

These are compelling numbers showing that the Expo Line helped people change their habits, leading to fewer cars on the road and less air pollution."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Better Institutions: Pro-car populism is about protecting cars, not people

Better Institutions: Pro-car populism is about protecting cars, not people: "The problem with the pro-car populist's position is that it doesn't contain a solution. You just keep pouring money into services and infrastructure that keep driving costs as low as possible for the poor, but driving is always going to be problematically, if not prohibitively expensive for some people. And it's only going to get worse. "