A First Look at 2008

I know, I’m behind on this one as well…Metro Rider has had their 2008 predictions parody up for a couple of days already. However, here are some of the stories that are going to be interesting to follow.

1) The Battle Between Locals and the City Over the Pico/Olympic Plan. Personally, I’m waiting for more details before forming my own opinion. On one hand, I’m concerned that both streets are going to become un-crossable walls for any cyclists/pedestrians. On the other hand, if you can increase a road’s capacity without increasing the footprint you should at least look into it.

2) HOT Lanes. So far Metro hasn’t even announced an official plan, and already the media and auto-commuters are up in arms over the idea of turning HOV Lanes into toll lanes.
3) Complete Streets. Can someone, anyone, tell me why building streets to move the maximum number of people (not the maximum number of cars) is so controversial? Just pass the darn bill!
4) LA’s Long-term Transportation Plan. Derided by the LA Times back in November as “a plan to make a plan,” the city is trying to do a long-term plan that looks at all modes of transportation over the next several months. What form it will take, and how strong a consideration is given to bike/ped and transit remains to be seen.

5) Fare Hikes? I’ve been unable to get an answer from any elected or Metro leader on whether or not there will be another round of fare hikes in the next year. We already know that Foothill Transit and the MTA have raised fares recently and word out of Sacramento is that Governor Greenhouse is going to show his anger at the auto industry by under funding alternative transportation.

6) UCLA’s Cooking Oil Fleet. Now you all know I’m not a big believer in the “alternative cars are going to fix all our problems” theory of transportation planning, but you got to give UCLA credit. They’re way ahead of the norm when it comes to carpooling and maintaining a clean fleet (let’s just say if football teams got extra points based on their schools environmental conscience USC would never catch up), but they also plan to convert what’s left of their diesel fleet to a fleet running on used cooking oil. What smells like fries?

7) Metro’s Huge List of New Start Projects. Will Metro keep on target with its goals to move the Subway to the Sea, Expo Line Phase II, Downtown Connector, and Eastside Plan? Will local opposition to any of these projects derail them? Ouch. I didn’t realize I made that pun on the first read.

8) The Department of City Planning’s Glassell Park Plan. Craig Weber at City Planning is leading the charge to make Glassell and other Eastside parks more pedestrian friendly and improve the planning and development on the streets that border the parks. As these plans move forward, they could become an important model for the rest of the city.

9) Santa Monica’s Efforts to Ban “Critical Mass.” I think this title sort of speaks for itself.

10) Ballot Initiatives. Proposition 91 (to close the loophole Schwarzenegger used to rob transportation to balance the budget) has gotten a lot of positive press and endorsements the last couple of days. (Don’t forget to vote on February 5th!) But there’s also a movement underway to have a funding initiative on the November ballot to increase the amount of money spent on transportation (not just make it harder for Sacramento to rob us again).

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