BRU Joins National Effort to Raise Federal Funds for Transit Operations

7_22_09_BRU.jpgFor more images from today’s efforts by the BRU, visit the LA Streetsblog Flickr Page

The Bus Rider’s Union gathered signatures outside of the Wilshire-Western Subway stop this morning, joining advocates around the country in building support for Federal Legislation H.R. 2746, which would allow transit agencies to spend more of their federal funds on day-to-day operations. Nationally, efforts were organized by Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT) a national coalition focused on bringing "environmental justice and civil rights priorities to the upcoming federal surface transportation act."

Transit agencies are still reeling from declining tax revenues brought on by the recession, with fare hikes and service cuts on tap in dozens of cities. The stimulus bill has provided little help. An amendment to fund transit operations was shot down back in January.

In the Bay Area, advocates staged a mock funeral for bus service because there is a 15-30% service cut proposal being discussed by local bus carriers. In Chicago advocates held a rally and press conference in front of a local Congressional leader’s office while West Harlem Environmental Action in New York sponsored a call drive to Congressmen throughout the Big Apple.

While the BRU and other groups are rallying in support of H.R. 2746, there’s little chance the legislation will become law on its own. Instead, the bill is a "marker" that could eventually be incorporated into the House transportation bill currently being pushed by a bi-partisan coalition in the House Transportation Committee.

For more coverage of today’s efforts across the country, check out this post by NYC Streetsblogs’ Ben Fried. For more on the BRU’s efforts, their press release is available after the jump.

$500 Billion Transit Bill Must Include Funds to Operate Transit Systems in Crisis

Transit Advocates Urge Congressional Leaders in a National Day of Action

On Wednesday, July 22, the Bus Riders Union will be part of a national day of action by the Transit Riders for Public Transportation national campaign to call on Congress to restore federal funding for transit operations that includes transit advocates, civil rights and environmental justice organizations throughout the country. Advocates including Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Portland will be calling on their congressional representatives.

The BRU will be at the northeast corner of Wilshire and Western leading a mass education drive highlighting the connection between the need for transit operation funding is related to the service cuts threatening millions of transit riders across the country including bus riders in Los Angeles. With giant banners, call booths and petitions the BRU will be encouraging scores of residents and bus riders to call the Southern California Congressmembers and President Obama to support a greater share for operations funding . The goal of the nationwide coordinated events is to influence the debate over the authorization of the $500 billion Federal Surface Transportation Authorization Act (FSTAA) slated to dedicate roughly 80% of the funding to highways, freeways and roads, while providing only 20% to mass transit. Advocates and transit riders will hold press conferences, rallies, phone-banking drives, and street theater encouraging thousands to call on their congressional representatives to dedicate at least 50 percent of all transit funds in the bill to operate transit systems in response to the crisis across the country.

Nationwide Transit Crisis

Across the United States, major cities and regions are facing massive cuts in transit services, raising fares and implementing regressive measures to make up for declining tax revenues and government support. These cuts hit the most vulnerable communities, predominately low-income and people of color, escalating already-existing economic burdens. The numbers are stark. New York Metro raised fares early this year, while Oakland’s bus operator, AC Transit, announced proposed cuts in service ranging from 15-30% despite a fare increase that went into affect earlier this month. Los Angeles MTA has proposed fare increases for the next 30 years along with the elimination of 120,000 hours of bus service. Portland’s TriMet implemented service cuts in May that eliminated weeknight transit service.

Supporting H.R. 2746 as First Immediate Action

As a major first step towards restoring federal support for transit operations, advocates will urge constituents and bus riders in various congressional districts to call on their Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the H.R. 2746 (Rep. Carnahan – MO). The marker bill would allow transit agencies in urbanized areas of over 1 million to use up to 30% of their federal transit capital funds for operations, and grant even more flexibility for smaller urbanized areas. In contrast, the FSTA currently allows only 5% of federal transit capital funds to be used for operation in large urbanized areas.

New Opportunities to Improve the Environment

The U.S. must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% over the next twenty years if it is to meet the goal of achieving a 90% cut in emissions by 2050. Congress has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create first class transit systems and dramatically curb emissions with the passage the FSTAA. As a first step, the bill must preserve the integrity of our current transit systems and provide the funding to operate them at full capacity.

The TRPT campaign calls on the Obama Administration and Congress to break with the last two decades of favoring toxic highway expansion by making massive investments in a clean-fuel, world-class transportation systems that meet both the needs of transit riders and international emissions-reduction targets.

  • Did these anti-rail advocates hypocritically take the Purple Line to Wilshire/Western?

    Or, maybe they took the bus. Did they take the 720? Oh, that’s right, the BRU opposed the Rapid Bus program too.

    The BRU has no credibility left so when they occasionally advocate for a worthy goal like transit operations funding no one cares what they have to say.

    Thank God for Measure R or we’d be facing a real armageddon with buses. Oh that’s right, the BRU actively opposed Measure R too.

    I hope they tell those frustrated Purple Line subway riders who come up to the surface at Wilshire/Western in order to catch the 720 that they opposed both extending the subway westward and the Rapid Bus program. But since I actually care about transit operations funding, perhaps they should keep that embarassing bit of information to themselves.

    No doubt they will still get a full 10 minute slot at the Metro meeting to drone on and repeat themselves while other organizations are lucky to get even one minute.

  • mariela gomez

    Wow, I’m very impressed! We need to go to D.C. more, and transit riders need to D.C. to listen to what the local riders have to say and are experiencing. From what I’ve been reading this highway bill might get an 18 month extension like many of the past ones did so there is plenty more time and lot more to say to try and get it to way in the side of transit.

    Good job BRU, let’s take it all the way to washington!

  • DJB

    Although I find BRU’s advocacy too narrowly focused as well, I do appreciate the fact that they are advocating for transit in some way. Bus overcrowding is a serious problem on many lines, and buses are still the backbone of LA’s transit system.

    Getting more cooperation between BRU and other transit advocates is really important. We’ll have to learn to see the grains of truth in each others’ perspectives I guess . . .

    In the end we want something similar: affordable, fast, comfortable transit. At least we are arguing about means, not ends.

  • Make your calls to congress reps in the house urging them to co-sponsor the Carnahan bill. If there is to be any traction on this bill more co-sponsors the better. and please organize other folks to call as well.

  • Erik G.

    Where did Eric Mann park his BMW today?

  • I have a serious question for the BRU detractors that are sure to make this a spirited thread. In your opinion, is the BRU so far gone that it’s impossible for them to do anything right?

    Incidentally, SF Streetsblog posted on the “funeral” that local advocates cooked up in the Bay Area.

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/07/22/advocates-mourn-death-of-transit-in-oakland-as-part-of-national-campaign/

  • DJB

    BRU perspective on Measure R: “As the struggle for an unrealistic set of rail and highway projects becomes the center of debate amongst the MTA Board of Directors – working class bus riders of color will get hit with another sales tax, reductions in bus service an no concrete plan to improve the bus system.”

    Although I disagree with the characterization of the rail spending as “unrealistic”, I do share that sentiment with respect to the highway funding in Measure R (which actually almost caused me to vote against it).

    The point about regressive taxation is important too. Ideally, transit would be funded in a more progressive way than sales taxes.

  • Wow, irony alert. BRU gathering signature at Wilshire/Western… lol.

  • Winston

    Hate to be nitpicky, but BART doesn’t operate any bus service in the Bay Area. The big bus operators in the Bay Area are Muni (in San Francisco) AC Transit (The East Bay and transbay bus service), VTA (San Jose) and Samtrans (on the peninsula).

  • Wad

    Bzcat wrote:

    Wow, irony alert. BRU gathering signature at Wilshire/Western… lol.

    The BRU/LCSC is based in the Wiltern Theatre office building, and has been since its founding. It’s not ironic.

  • Spokker

    “The BRU/LCSC is based in the Wiltern Theatre office building, and has been since its founding. It’s not ironic.”

    That place sure is easy to get to by… subway.

  • Wad

    Spokker wrote:

    That place sure is easy to get to by… subway.

    The BRU/LCSC came before the subway, which opened in 1996. And the choice was intentional.

    When the subway was being built, there was pretty much nothing on Wilshire because the construction had destroyed most of the commerce. Some office buildings had vacancies of 35-40%. It was brutal.

    It also allowed the BRU an in.

  • Paul

    I remember one time riding the redline to hollywood and this BRU guy telling me how racist the rail projects were and how we should be spending all our money on bus and the like. Then I told him to look around and see how many affluent neighborhoods the rail lines actually go through and who is riding it. Then I pointed out the fact that he was on it and that rail actually made it easier for a person like him to take public transit (he was in a wheel chair). I also brought to his attention how many times BRU protesters take the rail lines to rallies and when I asked what he had to say about that. He just looked at me blankly and said nothing. I so wanted to laugh, but I had arrived at my stop. Oh that BRU is good for a laugh.

  • I was just sent a copy of the BRU’s letter to Chairman Najarian regarding Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan and it’s a real piece of crap:

    Here’s a little sample.

    —————-

    “Given that approximately 86% of bus riders are Black, Latino and Asian, reducing subsidies for bus riders will create significant racial and civil rights harms. We urge the Board to include in the 2009 Draft LRTP a provision that would commit the MTA to protecting the gains of the Consent Decree and guaranteeing the protection of Black, Latino, and Asian bus riders’ civil rights.”

    —————-

    Same old BRU. Same old race baiting.

    While it is true that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, I wish I could be there at the Metro meeting today to speak up for those transit dependent bus riders who no longer want the BRU to get away with claiming to speak for me.

  • James Fujita

    My first reaction was, wow, I guess the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Then I thought about it. If white supremacist skinheads were lobbying in favor of mass transit, they’d still be white supremacist skinheads. So…. no. I still wouldn’t want them as my friends.

    The BRU is still a bunch of jerks for fighting against more efficient forms of transportation and for essentially race-baiting their way into politics. The MTA is a bunch of fools if they give them a privileged position above other more worthy pro-transit groups.

  • Paul,

    Just for reference, because I’m assuming you didn’t actually live in Hollywood when the Red Line was being built, but it used to be very different around the Red line. There used to be artists and writers and a more eclectic mix of people. In the Los Feliz area we had the Onyx Cafe (it’s where Figaro is now) were a bunch of misfits would sit and argue about politics, have art shows and poetry readings. People used to get robbed at gun point Hollywood and Vermont. Around the Hollywood and Highland area lots of musicians who dreamed of being the next Guns and Roses hung out. It was also filled with “working girls” and drug dealers. People would offer to sell you any drug you wanted as you walked up the street at 11am. Around Santa Monica and Vermont there lots of punk clubs, you could go in an see all of the people who were never going to get signed, there was no dress code. People applauded you looking like you just popped out of a trashcan. The area around the Red Line was not anywhere near the affluent area you see right now. It was multi-ethnic, multi-generation and filled with creativity (creative all of the time not just on the weekends when they were done with their corporate job,) no one worked at the studios, no one worked at big corporate music labels, no one worked in academia, the most educated had maybe an AA from local jC, everyone was doing their own DIY thing. You could move to LA when you were 18 without financing from your parents and be part of a real scene. You can’t do that now. You can’t move to LA and do anything without credentials now.

    The area around the Red Line wasn’t affluent before. It wasn’t as safe as it is now, but it was alot more fun.

    The Red Line is good in lots of ways, but the Red Line for me that was my neighborhood, those were my friends, those were people that I hung out with they were Latino, white, black and Asian and those people are all gone now. They can’t afford to live there. They got pushed out by people with more money. And it’s not just the Red Line’s fault, but what it brought to the area was a different kind of thinking, it brought people from outside those communities who didn’t care about the people in it, but cared about the money that could be made owing to it’s proximity to people who did have money and were affluent.

    That’s the problem with the alt transit movement, which I hope we can fix. It pushes out people who don’t have as many choices. All of the most walkable neighborhoods all across the country even in Portland are expensive neighborhoods now. You can’t move to a walkable neighborhood that has coffeeshops, diners, grocery stores and is safe if you don’t make more money than the average person.

    Artists don’t make alot of money.
    Writers don’t make alot of money.
    There are alot of people who don’t make alot of money.
    Only 25% of Americans make at least 16 dollars per hour with benefits, that’s not that many people who can afford to live in a walkable NY. In NY the most walkable neighborhood is Tribeca.

    The average rent in Tribeca is 7400 dollars a month.

    So the lucky 25% of us that makes at least 16 bucks an hour are still about 5000 dollars short of being able to live in the most walkable neighborhood.

    The creative types that made these neighborhoods attractive to more sensible middle class people can no longer afford to live in the places that they made cool for everyone else.

    Look at downtown, the artist moved in first (actually third, but that would be a whole other history lesson on LA) and now they want to throw them out. Three of the members of gallery row are being evicted from their spaces now, so while the rails aren’t the direct reason for this and its not as simple as the rails are bad, its something to look at there are some valid point to certain arguments that the BRU makes.

    Though with the economy falling a part I do have hope. Mainstream types are usually scared of crime. Hopefully they will rediscover the wonders of the Valley and the balance will be restored when they drive back to the suburbs which is where they want to be anyway. Then we’ll have gotten this very cool rail system out it, too bad all of the people who made it possible won’t be able to enjoy it and I mean that for both sides. One side of me will be sad to see all of these new people go, some of you had some good energy.

    I’m not saying all of this to say it was all bad it wasn’t. Things change. All chance is bad. I do occasionally sneak a cup of coffee at Figaro, but I think we should truly look at what happened and who was impacted by it and who benefited from it so that next time the money is flowing, we’ll think about how we implement these changes and maybe next time we can do it in a more equitable way.

    Browne

  • David Galvan

    I dunno Browne. You’re doing a lot of hand-waving there. How did having the red line built force all these creative types to move away? The short answer is: it increased the value of the land the redline ran under, and therefore that real estate became more valuable and more expensive. The creative types you’re talking about apparently could no longer afford to live in the area as the rents went up. I understand that, but I’m having trouble seeing it as a bad thing. The red line improved mobility and affluence of a neighborhood that previously had much less of both. Now there is less crime and higher quality of life in that area. That’s good.

    There will always be worse parts of town. If you like that kind of thing, you are welcome to seek them out and hang out there. I for one am glad that rail transit tends to improve the walkability and quality of life in places where it is implemented.

  • David I said the Red Line wasn’t the only reason. I said it was part of many factors.

    The problem is that affluent neighborhoods only have affluent people in them. It increased the mobility for the people with more money who moved to the neighborhood. It descreased the mobility to people who could no longer afford to live in those neigborhoods and had to move to Lancaster.

    It’s not so safe in Lancaster, so actually the people who had to move out owing to no longer being able to afford the rent are still in just as much danger as they were before Hollywood was gentrified.

    When people move out of Hollywood because they can no longer afford it, they usually don’t go to Pasadena they usually if they were born and raised in LA and don’t have the “call mom and dad” on the phone option and don’t have the kind of job that allows for a first and last month plus deposit end up shacking up with five people in much unsafer neighborhood on the edge of their former neighborhood OR they end up moving way, way out in the middle of nowhere, where it’s very hot.

    They often end up in Van Nuys and other parts of the valley that aren’t that safe or they end up in Antelope Valley or San Bernardino or Arizona or Nevada…

    No it’s not one thing you can point to, but the rail is one of the things that in some ways speeds up gentrification and pushes poor people out. And the example of the Red Line is a good example, especially since it’s multi ethnic and I know how some of you get all upset and worried and distracted by the mention of race, so the Red Line had white people, but a class of white people that had less money.

    The white people who were in that area got replaced by white people with degrees from fancy schools from the East Coast who buy sleeve tattoos in one sitting, that area got replaced with a bunch of poseur artist types who look like the people who were there before, but are nothing like those people.

    I have no issue with a neighborhood getting safer, more walkable more mobile but I do have an issue with the people who were there getting pushed out and they always do. These walkable neighborhoods become playgrounds for yuppies. There is no thought to the diversity of the neighborhood generation wise or class wise, people in the walkable city movement are all part of the uppermiddle class set and don’t see or care about anyone outside of that circle.

    There seems like there should be a way to make a neighborhood safe and mobile when there are people there who don’t have as much money (because most people don’t have that much money,) because to me making a neighborhood mobile and then the rent going up to insane unattainable prices isn’t eco or sustainable or environmental, it’s a way to under the guise of the environment to throw people who don’t have cash out so you can put people in who have more cash, so you can make more money.

    Browne

  • Spokker

    Being robbed at gunpoint. That’s a scene I want to be a part of.

  • David Galvan

    Well, Browne, I think I see what you are saying: you’d like mobility of a neighborhood to increase without changing the character or increasing the cost of living in that area. Unfortunately, I don’t really see how we could divorce the economics from the social aspect of mobility. I mean, the red line is probably one of the cheapest subways (in terms of fare cost) in the U.S.. Not sure what else you could do to make it more accessible to those of lesser means. As you say it is many more causes linked to the subway’s construction, not the subway itself, which changes the character of the local community. I’m more interested in making sure the mobility of people in L.A. improves. The social eddy currents that spin off of that improvement are a secondary concern, and I’m not really convinced they can be avoided.

  • I’m not saying that it was ok or perfect it wasn’t, but for us to sit here and act as if the Red Line or the increase mobility of that area benefitted the people who lived there in the 90s is us not being honest with ourselves.

    The walkable cities of San Fran, NY, LA and even Portland are very expensive. A walkable neighborhood for a person on the average teacher salary who is a single parent with just one kid is not something that is doable, so that says something big about this movement.

    Why is that? And I understand that it’s worth more, but if you’re part of a sustainable movement wouldn’t you view that your neighbors being thrown out because you can pay a little more problemantic? Yeah people aren’t as special as dogs or turtles or chickens, but they are humans and they do matter, even the ones with less money.

    Don’t think I wasn’t happy to see the drugs and gunplay leave that area I was, but it was like a broom it didn’t think well these are the good people and these are the bad people it just was a big broom that swept everyone out of the neighborhood. The landlords thought finally I can start charging more for rent, I can throw this person out for having five cats, it just started getting insane. People who had stores for years rents got jacked up to the point that they had to shut down.

    We have Pinkberry on Vermont now, that’s just wrong. I like Pinkberry, but it’s supposed to be in Culver City or Sherman Oaks or something.

    It’s kind of in my head why do you always have to have money and access to have something nice?

    Browne

  • Because we live in a capitalist society where basic supply and demand govern. People like nicer stuff, and they are willing to pay for it. There is a scarcity of nice stuff. That makes it such that not-so-nice stuff are in less demand, until people realize how much of a value it is and make it nice, which starts the cycle all over again. Walkable communities are currently in demand among a certain subset of the population, more so than “non-walkable communities” (although regular suburbia is just as much in demand IMHO, it just has to be in a desirable area – note how auto-oriented South Orange County is doing well, while the Inland Empire is in foreclosure hell).

    If you want everyone to suffer (except for a smaller elite, as they never go away), then Soviet Russia or an Eastern Bloc country might have been a good option. Fortunately, that system has failed. As Reagan noted, “Freedom and democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history.” I do have concerns about teachers not understanding capitalism and trying to teach kids that they “deserve” a higher level of things simply for breathing. They don’t.

  • Spokker

    Stay in school, kids.

  • “If you want everyone to suffer,” Calwatch.

    I want everyone to suffer? I thought I quoted that a fact in my above statement that said only 25% of the US population makes at least 16 dollars per hour with benefits. If this is a walkable and safe street movement it seems a bit closed. It seems actually very closed.

    You all seem very accepting of the fact that most people who make normal salaries get pushed out of places when they become “sustainable.” How is that sustainable?

    It seems like to me that sustainability isn’t for 75% of the population. Because 75% of the population won’t be able to participate, because the don’t make enough money.

    So it’s you who wants everyone to suffer, because the only people who can afford to participate in this movement adds up to only 10% of the population. You want to bring up cold war Russia how about I bring present day Brazil. Is that where you want this country to turn into? A place where the rich (and you won’t be part of them) will have everything and everyone else gets to live in a slum hoping that the rich will throw them a part of a bone after they have finished eating?

    Now if this was just about aesthetics then I would be fine. But I look on the side of this blog and what do we have:

    Green LA Girl
    Homegrown Evolution
    Urban Hippie
    Sustainable this, Sustainable that…

    So what this points to in my opinion is that this is supposed to be about the environment, sustainability, saving the earth and all that crap. If this was just about aesthetics I could just go to LA Curbed, because they are pretty much talking about the same thing, but without the concern for the implications on the environment.

    Now if I looked on the side of this blog and it had:

    Fancy architecture
    New Style Living for the Urban Professional
    The new upper middle class

    Then I would understand us having this discussion with little concern of the consequences of 75% or more of the population.

    If we don’t address the majority of Americans in regards to smart growth, walkable cities, then this is just a trendy fad that some people who make houses, do consulting with urban planning and people who give out LEED certifications will make alot of money on, because if this is just about people who can afford to be sustainable then this movement is a complete waste of time. If that is the scope of this movement that we’re going to make it so only those who can afford (and not even have a real conversation on the inequities of price) to get to live where they can take public transit and bike if we’re actually going to turn this into Paris where the rich live in the city while the barely middle class, working class and poor live in the suburbs then this has nothing to do with sustainability.

    We’re all just giving a few people who have more than enough money fuel to make more money off of projects and ideas that none of us will benefit from.

    Is this is about just 10% of the population that can afford to be “sustainable”? Are we simply here to give free advertising and PR to people who make money off of being “green”?

    Browne

  • DJB

    Sustainability done right benefits everybody and saves money.

    Take a solar panel. It’s really expensive up front and really good for the environment, and it pays for itself in the long run.

    Take transportation. Driving is the most expensive and least sustainable form of transportation available (except for air travel). If we build cities where more people can walk, bike, and use transit, we are allowing them to save a ton of money by making their cars unnecessary, all while reducing pollution.

    There are some walkable areas that are expensive, but there are many more un-walkable areas that are expensive: what about places like Bel Air and Newport beach? Not walkable, very expensive. What about Koreatown? Extremely walkable, and affordable for LA.

    Building low-density suburbia on expensive land guarantees that poor people will be shut out of housing opportunities, and is bad for the environment.

    Last time I checked, poor people breathe in smog too, and it’s a certainty that they’ll have the hardest time adapting to climate change.

  • Even though this is a sunny Saturday, I’ll go through this point by point.

    “I thought I quoted that a fact in my above statement that said only 25% of the US population makes at least 16 dollars per hour with benefits.”
    Thanks for conflating the United States with Los Angeles County. It is irrelevant if someone in Jackson or Kansas City makes less than $16 an hour. We’re talking specifically about Los Angeles (hence the name), and according to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (http://www.bea.gov/regional/reis/drill.cfm), the average wage per job in Los Angeles County in 2007 was $50,441. That’s $25 an hour for the math challenged, NOT $16 an hour. (In the United States, the average wage per job was $43,441, or roughly $20 an hour – again, NOT $16 an hour. Even when you consider health insurance, a decent PPO insurance policy runs roughly $3,000 a year, meaning that one should deduct $1.50 per hour from those wages if they don’t get health insurance from their employer.)

    “You all seem very accepting of the fact that most people who make normal salaries get pushed out of places when they become “sustainable.” How is that sustainable?

    It seems like to me that sustainability isn’t for 75% of the population. Because 75% of the population won’t be able to participate, because the don’t make enough money.”

    First off, if they bought into the neighborhood, they wouldn’t be pushed out, as Proposition 13 protects homeowners from an increase in property taxes caused by the neighborhood becoming more desirable (or for any reason that property values increase). In condo complexes, homeowner associations must vote on increases in association fees. Most renters sign a lease a year at a time, and some buildings are still rent controlled.

    Since the majority of people in Los Angeles County own, the fact is that, in this state, they aren’t getting pushed out. They might choose to capture the gains and sell but that’s their decision. Some renters are through increases in rent, but I am not going to begrudge the apartment owner from trying to make some money.

    “So it’s you who wants everyone to suffer, because the only people who can afford to participate in this movement adds up to only 10% of the population. You want to bring up cold war Russia how about I bring present day Brazil. Is that where you want this country to turn into? A place where the rich (and you won’t be part of them) will have everything and everyone else gets to live in a slum hoping that the rich will throw them a part of a bone after they have finished eating?”

    As I stated above, the average wage in this county is $25 an hour. So people can participate in the movement. Again, it takes some prioritization. If you compared the amount of space Americans use up per family to places like Taiwan, South Korea, France, etc., it’s much more than those countries. There are reasonable apartments in some of these “smart grotwh” communities like Covina, Alhambra, North Hollywood, etc. for $1000 or less a month. You can rent a room in Hollywood for $700 or less a month.

    “So what this points to in my opinion is that this is supposed to be about the environment, sustainability, saving the earth and all that crap. If this was just about aesthetics I could just go to LA Curbed, because they are pretty much talking about the same thing, but without the concern for the implications on the environment.”

    The average person can be sustainable in many different ways: by growing a garden or raising chickens in their backyard, driving less or driving a more fuel efficient car, walking more, eating less meat, etc. Incidentally all of the above do save money. I agree with you that environmental awareness is being used for marketing, but marketers use any fad possible to try to sell product. That’s just what they do.

    “If we don’t address the majority of Americans in regards to smart growth, walkable cities, then this is just a trendy fad that some people who make houses, do consulting with urban planning and people who give out LEED certifications will make alot of money on, because if this is just about people who can afford to be sustainable then this movement is a complete waste of time. If that is the scope of this movement that we’re going to make it so only those who can afford (and not even have a real conversation on the inequities of price) to get to live where they can take public transit and bike if we’re actually going to turn this into Paris where the rich live in the city while the barely middle class, working class and poor live in the suburbs then this has nothing to do with sustainability.”

    In order to be sustainable, most Americans need to downsize. They need to accept that their kids aren’t going to get their own room. There is no “real conversation on the inequities of price” because this is a capitalist system. Cities do try to throw in affordable housing requirements for new projects, which address some of your complaints. And, there are inexpensive places, close to public transit – you can buy a single family house a 15 minute walk away from rail transit for under $100,000. The location? Watts.

    “We’re all just giving a few people who have more than enough money fuel to make more money off of projects and ideas that none of us will benefit from.

    Is this is about just 10% of the population that can afford to be “sustainable”? Are we simply here to give free advertising and PR to people who make money off of being “green”?”

    If Americans wanted to prioritize sustainability, they could be more sustainable. But persoanlly I think that a lot of this “sutainability” is hooey, but for completely different reasons than you.

  • So a few of their volunteers spent a few hours standing at Wilshire/Western with one of their street theater backdrops collecting signatures? All fine and good but no big deal considering the vast claims their propoganda often makes about their organizational prowess.

    By the way, TRPT is orgamized by the BRU parent organization LCSC–it is an outgrowth of that conference they had a few years ago that promised to create some sort of national movement along the lines outlined. And at least they have enlisted a few allies from around the country to make it look somewhat credible, of course all far-left types.

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T4A Rally: Don’t “X-Out” Public Transit

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Media Advisory Los Angeles Transit Supporters Tell Congress: Don’t X Out Public Transportation with Local Rally National rally day set for September 20, 2011 Public transit riders, advocates and employees are joining together in 25 cities across the country forDon’t X Out Public Transportation Day on September 20, 2011 to call on Congress to support public transit […]
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Funding Mass Transit Security After Bin Laden

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The demise of Osama Bin Laden has transit officials across the country preparing their agencies for possible retaliatory attacks. In Washington, Mayor Vincent Gray informed constituents via Twitter that “users will see an increase in # of officers throughout [Metro] system (trains & buses).” In New York, a spokesperson announced MTA had “increased security at […]

A Federal Funding Primer from Transportation for America

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(Ryan Wiggins is Transportation for America’s an on the ground in Southern California.  Last week he presented a primer on transportation funding at “Expanding Our Public Transit Options: Resources to Keep LA Moving Forward?” a Salon put on by Breathe L.A.  He was nice enough to share his notes with us in a two-part series.  […]