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damientalks's podcast

Damien Newton talks to the movers and shakers in the California transportation reform and Livable Streets scenes. Damien Talks will be broadcast on Streetsblog California. Feel free to syndicate.
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Now displaying: 2017
Jun 28, 2017

Welcome to the first episode of SGV Connect, Streetsblog Los Angeles' podcast covering the San Gabriel Valley. We kickoff our new podcast with a series of interviews conducted by Brian Velez on the pending report by the U.S. Department of the Interior examning whether or not previous administrations followed proper procedure in creating national monuments.

A National Monument is a place of historic, scenic, or scientific interest set aside for preservation usually by presidential proclamation. The San Gabriel Valley National Monument covers 342,177 acres of the Angeles National Forest and 4,002 acres of neighboring San Bernardino National Forest.

Velez interviews Chu and Roderick Burr, two supporters of keeping the San Gabriel Mountains Monument as it is. He also speaks with Glendora City Councilwoman Judy Nelson, who opposed the designation of the monument in 2014 and hopes the current administration can make some changes to the designation.

A final report is due in August which could decide whether or not Trump challenges the National Monument designation made by the previous administration. In the meantime, there is a lot of waiting, and a lot of unease, from supporters of the monument.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

 

Jun 2, 2017

Welcome to the first episode of SGV Connect, the podcast formerly known as #DamienTalksSGV, covering the issues, places, people and events that impact mobility in the San Gabriel Valley.

In this week's episode, Damien Newton interviews Habib Balian, the CEO of the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. Following a successful meeting earlier this week for potential contractors for construction, it seemed a good time to check back in on the next extension of the Gold Line.

The Foothill Gold Line from Glendora to Montclair will extend the Metro Gold Line 12.3 miles and add stations in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair. Ground breaking will be this October, but construction won't be complete until 2025.

SGV Connect is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

 

May 23, 2017

Duarte Mayor John Fasana has been earning a lot of positive press based on his efforts to finally end the 710 Big Dig Tunnel Project. In the meantime, the City of Duarte has been making strides to embrace a more progressive vision for transportation inside its own borders.

Today, #DamienTalks with Brian Velez, who conducted a series of interviews with people riding bicycles, residents of the city and the Duarte City Manager about the impact of recently installed bicycle lanes on Duarte Road. The lanes were installed as part of the city's effort to build out its Bike Master Plan, passed by the city in the end of 2015.

For more information on bicycling in Duarte, you can get information from the Bike SGV webpage: Information on bicycle master plan, information on the current state of bicycling in Duarte, and recent news on how the SGV Greenways plan impacts the future of bicycling in the city.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

 

May 17, 2017

Today, #DamienTalks with Jose Jimenez, the education director for Bike SGV. Late last month, Bike SGV and its partners, the City of El Monte, Day One, and the Honorable Daniel Lopez of the Los Angeles Superior Court in El Monte, launched Los Angeles County's first "traffic school program for people on bikes."

For the car-free amongst us, violators of traffic laws who are driving a car can often get the penalties reduced by going to "traffic school". The Bike SGV Website does a great job explaining the program :

For BikeSGV and Day One, launching the program in a high-need, lower-income community like El Monte was particularly important as the monetary cost of a violation on a bicycle is generally the same as when driving a motor vehicle. With court fees this means a stop sign violation can cost around $200 and a red light violation more than $400, significant sums, especially for low-income individuals and families who are most likely to rely on bicycling for everyday transportation.

We go into much greater detail in today's talk, so make sure to check it out.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

 

Apr 21, 2017

As anyone who reads Streetsblog or The Source or who follows the pace of rail expansion in Los Angeles knows, today is the "retirement party" for Harriet, the tunnel boring machine that has been drilling about a mile of tunnel for the Crenshaw Line.

Today, #DamienTalks with Anthony Crump, the Constructions Relations Manager for the Crenshaw Line Construction Project. In a wide ranging conversation, we touch on Metro's commitment to bicycle and pedestrian access to stations, upcoming plans for Crenshaw Construction and an update on whether or not the line is scheduled to open on-time in the fall/winter of 2018 (It is!)

And of course, we wish a fond farewell to Harriett. As she is the property of the construction company and not Metro, we cannot say as to her long-term fate. However, we all wish her well in "retirement."

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored podcast that Metro pitched to us and agreed to sponsor. No discussion was made as to any editorial comments made by me nor did Metro receive any questions from me ahead of time. If you would like to sponsor a podcast, email me at damien@streetsblog.org)

Apr 14, 2017

Rounding out our coverage of the Foothill Transit fare and route changes #DamienTalks #BrianTalks with three Foothill Passenger riders about how the changes would impact their lives. Spoiler : people don't like having their transit fares increased. However, most of the riders that Brian talked to, regular commuters, could actually see a decrease in their monthly pass from $70 to $50 if they choose to buy monthly instead of trip-by-trip.

Earlier this week, #DamienTalks hosted Foothill Transit's Felicia Friesema to give an overview of the changes. Yesterday, Joe Linton reported on a hearing he went to on Wednesday night.

Before we get to the three interviews, Damien has a short editorial reminding people that fare increases and service changes don't happen because transit agencies are mean, but because they don't get the support from state and federal governments that similar agencies do in other parts of the world. By all means, let Foothill Transit know what you think, but don't stop there. Let your state legislator, your Congressman, President Trump and Governor Brown know too.

To weigh-in on the changes, the easiest way is to email Foothill Transit at changes@FoothillTransit.org. Find out more about the proposed changes at Foothill Transit website or attend one of the remaining hearings, listed below.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

  • April 18, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Pomona Library, 625 S. Garey Ave, Pomona, CA 91766.
  • April 20, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., El Monte City Hall East, 11333 Valley Blvd., El Monte, CA 91731
  • April 22, 9 a.m. (official public hearing), Foothill Transit offices, 100 S. Vincent Ave., West Covina, CA 91790.
Apr 11, 2017

Today, #DamienTalks with Felicia Friesema with Foothill Transit about the changes staff has proposed for the fare structure and bus service offered by Foothill Transit. Our talk covers an overview of the changes, the response from Foothill Transit riders, and a handful of questions submitted by you, Streetsblog readers.

Late last month, Foothill Transit announced plans for its bus service to react to ridership changes caused by the opening of the first phase of the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Last week, its Board of Directors approved taking the changes to the public through a series of hearings before a Board vote later this spring.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune has broken down the largest changes, including segmenting Line 187, that currently runs from Pasadena to Montclair. The change will allow Foothill Transit to focus on more local service on the new Line 187 (Pasadena to Azusa) and Line 188 (Azusa to Montclair).

If you want a chance to weigh-in on the changes, the easiest way is to email Foothill Transit at changes@FoothillTransit.org You can read more about the changes at the website and you can meet with them at the remaining hearings, listed below the podcast.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

 

Mar 21, 2017

This week, #DamienTalks with Monica Curiel of Bike SGV about the upcoming bicyclists and pedestrian counts happening throughout the San Gabriel Valley on April 1. Bike SGV is looking for volunteers to help with the counts, and if you want to volunteer, you can get more information by visiting Bike SGV website.

In Part II, Brian Velez is back, and he interviews three past (and future?) volunteers.

Irma Bustamante is one volunteer who collects data who then turns it over to Anthony William-Contrado who enters the data into a system. Both volunteers believe that their communities deserve more than what is given when it comes to safe street design.

“I see it not so much as giving my time. This is something I’m passionate about. I grew up in El Monte, and there’s too many cars,” replied Irma.

Next up, Brian talks to Danielle Zamora in North Whittier. Danielle also believes that bike counts are an important part of improving communities, “We want to make streets in general safer for everyone so people have access to active transportation and can be healthier.”

Just a reminder, all the information you need to sign up and help can be found here, at the Bike SGV Website.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

Mar 7, 2017

You know we’ve got a great episode of #DamienTalks when a woman who is eight months pregnant and running a half-marathon is the fourth interview in the podcast.

Today, #DamienTalks looks back at last Sunday’s mammoth open streets event, the 626 in the San Gabriel Valley. #DamienTalks with Joe Linton, the first staff person for open streets super-group CicLAvia, and Brian Velez of BikeSGV. Later, we podcast five interviews Velez conducted with people enjoying the 626 in the sun and rain last Sunday.

To call the 626 a success would be an understatement. Even with the rain, the event attracted roughly 100,000 participants. They biked, jogged, walked, or rolled the seventeen miles of car-free streets along a route that was roughly parallel to the Gold Line Foothill Extension that opened last year.

For more coverage of the event, visit this open thread from Streetsblog yesterday, or check out these stories on ABC7 and in the SGV Tribune and South Pasadena Review.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

Feb 23, 2017

Listeners are going to see some major changes in the podcast in the coming weeks and months. We’re happy to announce the first of those changes today.

Today, #DamienTalks with Brian Velez. You may know Brian as a staff member at BikeSGV. Brian is going to be joining this podcast as a correspondent, helping to round out our podcast with a series of “person-on-the-street” interviews to either supplement or anchor stories that we’ve been working on.

Of course, #DamienTalks is a lousy name for a podcast that has a lot more people talking than just Damien. A change in the name and logo will be coming in the near future as well.

But for today, welcome to the team Brian! Damien and Brian talk about Brian’s history, some of the things they plan to work on together, and of course, with March 5 looming just around the corner, they talk about the 626.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

Feb 2, 2017

Today#DamienTalks with Habib Balian, the executive director of the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. Last week, the Construction Authority's Board of Directors approved a construction schedule that was characterized as both a milestone for the project and a delay from the original time schedule pending your news source.

But regardless of you point of view on the schedule, there is no denying that the extension of the Gold Line all the way to Montclair in the San Bernadino Valley is going to happen. It might take eight years, but groundbreaking is going to begin this October and over 90% of the funding for the project is already in place thanks to Measure M in Los Angeles County and Measure I in San Bernadino County.

Before we finish our talk, I give Balian a chance to respond to our most recent podcast with Wes Reutimann, the executive director of Bike SGV. Reutimann pointe out that demand for bike lockers is much higher than the lockers supplied at the recently completed Gold Line Foothill extensions. Balian offered verbal support for building more bike facilities and encouraged activists to continue the conversation on bike parking and access throughout the next several months.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

Jan 20, 2017

We made it! It's inauguration day and the world hasn't ended. But even as the we face an uncertain future at the national level, there's still a lot of work to do locally. And in the San Gabriel Valley, 2017 promises to be another exciting year with "Gold Line Extension" being on the tip of everyone's tongue.

And while everyone is encouraged by the succesful launch of the Foothill Extension last year and the passage of Measure R; there's no need to let good be the enemy of "better." Today's guest, Wes Reutimann has some ideas that could make the next Gold Line extension the best Gold Line extension. Spoiler : It's less parking for cars and more parking for bicycles.

For it's part, the Foothill Extension Construction Authority has already built more bike parking than required by Metro for its last extension. A statement from the authority states:

"The Construction Authority put in significantly more bike parking (racks and lockers) than was required by the Metro criteria in 2010 when we began the project. In fact, we have reviewed their updated criteria for the next segment (which came out last year) and we put in more parking than is required by the new criteria as well.

The Construction Authority received a federal grant to study ways to improve bike, pedestrian and bus access to each of our stations and then was able to use about $1 million to augment the plans for each station to implement the recommendations. That allowed us to put in the additional bike spaces.

As you know, we turned the line over to Metro in September 2015. We have heard that bike parking is not full; but that may be old information."

At the request of Bike SGV, Metro put together some data on bike parking at existing Gold Line Foothill stations. That data can be found on Streetsblog Los Angeles. 

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

 

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