Meeting Date: 03/15/05 06:00 PM

Meeting Type: Regular

Location: Will and Ariel Durant Branch, Los Angeles Public Library 7140 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90046

Details: Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council
Traffic, Public Transportation and Parking Committee

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6-8pm

Will & Ariel Durant Branch Library
7140 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
323 876 2741


Reports will be made by the chair on recent meetings and discussions with MTA Board, LAPD Traffic Committee, Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos and staff, and MTA employees. A presentation by the chair may be made regarding observed violations of the Brown Act by the MTA Board.
The meeting will be conducted in an informal manner, and attendees are encouraged to participate in the discussion and formation of Motions to be forwarded to the Board Directors:
1. Statement of support for the Red Line and other rail installations, and the need for these facilities to be more fully utilized.
2. Street Closure Issues are to be referred to the Street Closure Committee.
3. Status of local traffic mobility improvements and mitigation of parking shortages.

The Durant Branch Library is fully handicapped accessible, and is served by both rail and bus service.

Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council
Traffic, Public Transportation and Parking Committee

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6-8pm

Will & Ariel Durant Branch Library
7140 Sunset Blvd.Los Angeles, CA
323 876 2741

Present at the meeting was committee chair Jon Hartmann, HHWNC environment chair Vince Vitale, HHWNC area 7 chair Anthony Dechoff, HHWNC area 3 stakeholder Rena Dheming, and Laura Fox, area 5.
A quorum was not reached until 7:10. Prior to that time individual committee members were engaged in informal, off-the-record conversation about local and national issues related to transportation, the environment, and the status of the HHWNC.
When quorum was reached, the chair made a brief presentation on the politics of transit planning. Copies of documents distributed, available free from chair, indicated a concerted, continuous effort by auto-related industries, to eradicate competition in the field of
transportation. United States v. National City Lines Inc.- et al, 186Fed2d 562, finds the oil and auto company defendants guilty of “criminal conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce and ground transportation”. The cover pages of the failed appeal were distributed to participants. The chair made the accusation that groups such as the Bus Riders Union were the modern counterpart of the type of organizations that were fronts for anti-rail interests in the past, and presented a copy of a legal brief, also available on request, showing Richard Riordon’s law firm defending the MTA against the Bus Riders Union. The suit against the MTA was a civil-rights action in which the Bus Riders claimed that the Red Line was serving affluent, white suburban riders, and that poor minorities were forced to rely on inadequate bus service. Rather than fight the suit, and argue that all citizens, regardless of race or wealth, can benefit from the speed of the Red Line, the MTA settled and agreed to no more rail development and the purchase of hundreds of buses. Richard Riordon was at the helm of the MTA when it lost or wasted half the money that was to go to rail, and had made many statements that he did not like rail. The chair suggested that discussions on transit, the environment and mobility cannot be attempted without the recognition of the influence of the oil and auto lobby. The chair made the claim that the MTA Board repeatedly violates the Brown Act by screening speakers to improve the odds to benefit their positions. The chair states the an Asian woman named “Helen”, a secretary to the Board of Supervisors, advised him during a 1991 county hearing on the valley transit plan that Supervisor Antonovich was shuffling and stacking the speaker request cards to further his position on his monorail proposal. A copy of a speaker request card is also available from the chair.

After the presentation, Laura Fox suggested that alternatives to the high priced Red Line could be undertaken, such as a route in a freeway median. Chair stated that Transit in freeway medians cannot be done as an afterthought. Discussion continued regarding the utilization of kiss-and-ride facilities at the Red Line stops, and the need for parking at a station versus the encouragement of full non-auto trips, such as bus to rail destination, or bicycle/bus/rail. Comparison of Los Angeles to Paris, Moscow, London, New York and other cities reflects a local mindset that favors buses and autos, nearly ignoring rail. The chair pointed out that there have been published comparison of races between autos and the Green Line and Gold Line, and because those are “light rail”, the autos have usually won. The chair wonders what would the race be like between the auto and the Red Line. Discussion continued concerning the terms “light” and “heavy” rail. Anthony Dechoff and the chair pointed out that the only significant difference was of right-of-way, that grade separation was the issue, and that the vehicles are of identical weight. The chair’s position was that the speed and safety of full grade separation makes it a better financial investment than buses or light rail.

All present at the meeting were in agreement that the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Highland Avenue, now transferred to local control, is in need of improvement, though no motions were prepared. Vince Vitale presented copies of motions from the Environment Committee, available at that site, and discussed conditions at the 170 termination during street closures.
Rena Dheming commented on the procedural practices of neighborhood councils, particularly the HHWNC, stating the necessity of also making attempts to encourage and promote harmonious community relations, not just motions and votes, in resolving neighborhood or community concerns. Dheming also related instances, in which zoning permit and CUP
applications can, sometimes, lead to misrepresentation, and subsequently lead to neighborhood traffic, late-night noise disturbances and crime issues-and briefly discussed the need to resolve these issues by creating viable solutions.

. The proposed “Hollywood Trolley” was briefly discussed, and the chair assured Dheming that the proposal was for a facility-sponsored free bus service for patrons, not a revival of any rail line. Participants discussed the possibilities of mitigation of congested traffic flow at the entrance to the Cahuenga Pass. The quadrant of Hollywood Boulevard, Cahuenga Boulevard, La Brea Avenue and Franklin Avenue is congested beyond rush hours, and is intolerable during street closure. Suggestions were made by participants regarding the placement of signage and utilization of traffic officers to improve flow. Chair points out that without a reduction in the rate of development, traffic flow cannot reasonably be expected to improve without a major investment in heavy rail.

Next meeting announced as Tuesday, April 19, 2005, 6-8 Durant Branch Library, Los Angeles.

Adjournment at 7:25