1)Traffic Congestion •Transportation & Parking
Greg discusses Traffic Congestion, Transportation & Parking!
The average commuter spends almost ½ hour per day stuck in traffic congestion while driving in metropolitan L.A. (Source: WSJ 2019.) This is close to a whopping 120 hours a year stuck in traffic, almost as long as 40 baseball games!
We need smart traffic mitigation strategies so that our residents don’t feel the pressures of traffic and a lack of parking in our corridors, especially in downtown Glendale and Montrose. Input from stakeholders (merchants and residents alike) is of utmost importance in the success of the following suggested solutions.
Improvements in the following four (4) categories should be considered:
1) Capacity enhancements at key locations, which will provide immediate congestion relief. Examples are as follows:
- Widening of Central Ave. Off-ramp @SR 134. Necessary dedications to pursue the implementation of this measure. This will create a right-turn Southbound lane into Central Ave, reduce backed-up traffic to Pacific Ave. Off-ramp, reduce delay and improve the traffic flow.
- Widening of Sanchez Ave. from 3 traffic lanes to 4 (requires obtaining easements.)
- Widening of SR 2 ramps @ Mountain Ave.
- Re-striping of Goode Ave. will create the 4th traffic lane.
- Re-configure bike lanes between the sidewalk and parked cars where possible
2) Increasing operational efficiency. Examples are as follows:
- Improve ramp metering for Brand and Pacific ’s ramps @ SR 134 from 1 car per green to 2 or 3 cars per green (requires collaboration with Caltrans)
- Signalizing Pennsylvania ramps @ SR 210.
3) Increasing ridership in Public Transportation, which at best, maybe challenging.
When it comes to public transportation, we, as a city, can learn from a 2017 study by UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies (MEASURE M AND THE POTENTIAL TRANSFORMATION OF MOBILITY IN LOS ANGELES)
- “The typical Measure M supporter has few of the hallmarks of a transit rider: he or she owns vehicles and has access to parking at home or work.”
- “From 1970 to 2014, per capita transit service (measured in vehicle revenue miles) rose 46 percent, but per capita ridership fell 6 percent."
- “Per capita transit ridership in November 2016 was 20 percent below what it had been in1980. Angelinos have consistently voted to fund transit, but consistently declined to ride it.”
- “Voters just seem to want transit for reasons other than riding it.”
Here in Glendale, the City Hall is studying the possibility of introducing a fixed rail streetcar system in downtown. If the goal of public transit is to reduce congestion and pollution, we must realize that is only possible thru travel behavior change. Unfortunately, the evidence does not support this premise. According to the above report, Los Angeles has been expanding its transit system for almost 30 years, and during that time its ridership has fallen.
- City Hall must produce proof of concept. Beeline route 1 and 2 in downtown are the best test subjects. What can be done to increase ridership from 1000 (roughly) per day to a number that later on may justify investment in the streetcar concept?
- How do we change travel behavior? Increasing frequency of service? Sprucing up the interiors of beeline buses? Making it safer to ride? Incentives? How about all of the above?
- Do we need a third traffic lane on Brand Blvd? Are we willing to lose 30% of the street parking by changing to parallel parking? How would that affect our merchants?
4) Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety efforts should get a larger allocation of funds so the following 3 E’s could become far more effective than the present time.
2) Public Safety
Let’s face it; we are not getting any younger. Majority of calls (80%) to Glendale Fire department are medical in nature. For obvious reasons as we age, the need for a stronger Fire Paramedics and Police department increases. (Source: ACS. Median age in Glendale is 41.2 vs. LA county’s 36, and almost 45% of our population is 45-65 years and older.)
We support the Community centric approach of Glendale Fire (GFD) and Police (GPD) departments. Greg believes that a strong Fire and Police force are quality of life issues for our community. GFD is 1 of only 50 Fire Departments nationwide with a class 1 rating and 1 of seven 7 in California.
Glendale has consistently been ranked amongst top 10 safest cities in the nation, while maintaining a smaller number of Police and Fire Officers (per capita) than Burbank and Pasadena (1.2/1000 vs. 1.6/1000.) All the while, Glendale has had a much larger population than Burbank or Pasadena.
Environmental Security, not at the price of economic insecurity
Glendale has faced a few important environmental issues in its recent history: First; repowering of Grayson power plant (2018-2019.) Second; saving more than 8 million square feet of hillside properties from over development and subsequently designating them green space in perpetuity (2004-2006.)
Greg had a significant role, in collaboration with Chevy Chase Homeowners Association, and V.O.I.C.E, in saving and designating 8 million square feet of Hillside into green open space.
Greg was also invited to participate in the IRP focus group meetings. Greg spoke in favor of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP,) ultimately leading to adoption of Portfolio E.
On IRP and Grayson: Greg publicly supported the adoption of Portfolio E. Here is the summary of the reasons why:
- Transmission line constraints: Glendale is over-subscribed and or at capacity in the two lines that the transmit energy to the city.
- Renewable Portfolio: Close to ½ of Glendale’s existing electrical energy is already being produced from renewable sources. This puts us on target to meet SB 100 mandates.
- The gas-powered internal combustion engines (ICE) will, at time of need, supply 93 MW of power approximately (25%) of the power generated. Note: These engines are operational for only 4 hours a day during the 4 months of the summer (On cumulative basis this amounts to less than 30 days a year) when the need to meet pick demand is at highest. The rest of the time they are shut-off and nogreenhouse gases (GHG), or carbon monoxide (CO₂) is generated.
- Portfolio E’s renewable energy and distributed energy resource (DER) makes up approximately the bulk (75%) of the energy produced. This portfolio will have a load reduction component estimated at 28.1 MW and a battery storage component that could store close to 75 MW of energy.
Reasonable and principled moderation is what Greg has advocated in reaching Glendale’s Environmental goals, while meeting SB 100 mandates. Glendale residents want environmental justice and security, but not at the price of economic insecurity.
4) Affordable Housing
Seniors, Millennials, Disabled, Veterans.
Affordable housing is by most measures the most critical issue today facing California. Statewide shortage in housing is estimated at 3.5 million units. No wonder why rents keep rising beyond affordable levels! There is no consensus amongst California voters as to how to tackle this crisis.
A recent poll - conducted by UC Berkley Institute of Governmental Studies- states that when Californians were asked if the State Government should exert more control over local development decisions (think SB 50) there was an almost 50/50 split amongst those surveyed. Those for the State’s intervention were generally younger, renters, and ethnic voters. Those against, were older, homeowners, and non-Hispanic white. The same poll states that ⅓ thinks tax credits and subsidies to low- and moderate-income renters is the way to go. Only 17% agreed that rent control is the solution. ¼wanted transit-oriented housing. Close to ¼believed nothing will work!
Here in Glendale, according to a City report dated November 2018, upwards of 60% of our residents are rent burdened. No one single approach may provide the solution, but the following 3 approaches should be given due consideration:
1) Before it was fashionable, Greg was an advocate of using a small portion of measure S funds to subsidize the seniors, Veterans, and disabled renters amongst us. After all, what better way to use public money than to provide badly needed public benefit? This proposal could help over 5000 Veterans, seniors and disabled. To see how click on the following links:
2) In order to build affordable housing units, one approach that the city is employing is to buy available land and build from ground-up. This could be very costly. This will require a cost per unit of $450,000- $500,000 when the average per unit price sold in the City currently is around $317,000! Furthermore, this approach will at best provide 10’s of units (still needed) as opposed to potentially hundreds, or thousands.
3) Affordable Multifamily (Accessory Dwelling Unit): Allow 2 to 4-unit property owners to build an ADU – as we did with single family homes- provided the property owner commits to the following:
- The ADU must be rented to low income renters for 10 years after completion. A covenant will run with the land stating as such.
- To accelerate building low income ADU’s, provide low interest loans.
-The result: Potentially up to thousands of affordable ADU’s. All built by the private sector, with no tax payer money. Between solution 1 and solution 3 a large number of rent burdened renters could get much needed relief.
California makes up 12% of U.S. population. Yet it has 50% share of country’s unsheltered homeless population. 130,000 people are homeless in our State. According to LA Times, In LA county and LA city the homeless population has increased by 16%, despite of spending $600 Million dollars to chip away at the problem.
Here in Glendale our homeless population is in hundreds, as opposed to thousands. This is precisely the time to attack the problem, because it is relatively small, manageable, and has not reached crisis level as in LA, or LA County.
Homelessness has created public health risks due mainly to:
- Public defecation, Rodent infestation, and even diseases like Typhus are on the rise.
“Of concern to us are the public health risks that can arise from the persistence of trash (waste) illegally dumped in public spaces, rodent infestations, and lack of adequate facilities for personal hygiene and sanitation for homeless encampments in the, area”
-County health official Dr. Mantu.
The main causes of homelessness are: Mental illness, drug addiction, wage stagnation and poverty. Job loss and unmanageable rent escalations contribute to 34% of Glendale homelessness; physical disability, 31%; mental health, 14%; substance abuse, 14%.
Glendale has to think short, intermediate and long-term solutions. In the short term we must be vigilant about public health and wellbeing of the entire population of Glendale, and not just the homeless. We must provide Mobile toilets, and showers at encampments. In the intermediate term we must think about temporary shelters, more clinicians and case workers to help transition the population and create work opportunities like the “Growing Works” in Ventura County. Why not employ those that are physically capable to help tend the 2 community gardens in Glendale under the parks department supervision?