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damientalks's podcast

SGV Connect is Streetsblog Los Angeles' podcast that explores the people, places, projects and events that make up the changing face of transportation in the San Gabriel Valley. SGV Connect is hosted by Damien Newton and includes interviews by Brian Velez. This feed also hosts SGV Connect's predecessor podcast, #DamienTalks.
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Mar 24, 2020

This week, SGV Connect continues our coverage of the Coronavirus and our regional response.

First, Kris speaks with Laura Raymond of ACT-LA and Jessica Meaney of Investing in Place about transit agencies' (especially Metro) response to the Coronavirus. Like many groups and organizations, transit agencies find themselves learning as they go along and trying their hardest to react to and learn from what other agencies are doing. The role of advocates, to point out some things the agencies may be missing can help save lives.

In the interview, they discuss a letter sent by ACT-LA and Investing in Place for things agencies should be doing to protect riders and drivers. That letter can be read, here.

In our second interview, Damien talks with Eli Kaufman, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition about how people can stay healthy and safe while bicycling during the "Safe at Home." The conversation swerves into a discussion of the River Ride (get up to date information, here) and what we, as a society, can learn from our time sheltering in place.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Mar 14, 2020

Following Damien's interview with Foothill Transit earlier today, Kris speaks with Rick Jager at L.A. Metro about the region's flagship transit agency's response to the Coronavirus.

As we heard with Foothill Transit, Metro is working to transit clean and service running on time. There has been no talk of discontinuing or modifying service, although things remain fluid.

Metro holds dozens of public meetings every month, but those are on hold for now as well. Cancellations include meetings for the NextGen bus reorganization, although you can still provide feedback online. Metro has also cancelled all events at Union Station for 30 days.

To keep up to date on any changes, be sure to follow Metro on Twitter or check their newsblog The Source.

Mar 13, 2020

Earlier today, I spoke with Felicia Friesema, a spokesperson with Foothill Transit about the agencies response to the Corona Virus. As you will hear, the agency has been proactive and plans to continue service to those who need it while maintaining as clean an atmosphere as possible to slow the spread.

She also stresses that things are extremely fluid, and that passengers should double check that there has not been a change in service during this crisis. Riders can get more details at the Foothill Transit website, a special "Footnotes" page setup for Corona Virus update, or join one of their battery of social media outlets that can be found on their webpage. A special link to sign-up for email updates can be found at the bottom left corner of the webpage.

Kris Fortin is completing an interview with Metro later today similar to the one above. When it is posted, we will update this post with more information.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Feb 28, 2020

This week, SGV Connect checks in with two old friends about two of our favorite projects in the pipeline: The Gold Line Foothill Extension's next phase and the Puente Greenway Project.

First, Damien speaks with Albert Ho, a spokesperson for the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority. In advance of outreach meetings in Glendora, La Verne, Pomona and San Dimas in the next couple of weeks. The outreach meetings will include information on the stations that will be built in each city, the construction schedule and a chance to meet the artists who will be customizing each of the stations.

For more information, visit the meeting announcement, here.

Second Kris speaks with David Diaz, the executive director of Active SGV about progress made on the Puente Greenway Project. Diaz gives us an update on where the project is in the pipeline and what progress has been made since we last checked in last July

Also, a quick note...Ho and I joke about how he has "caught back up" to David Diaz for "most appearances on the show." When we recorded this interview, we didn't know that our other interview was going to be with Diaz.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Feb 7, 2020

Metro is conducting outreach on two programs that could dramatically change the way people move about the San Gabriel Valley and all of L.A. County: the Metro Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 and the Next Gen Bus Plan.

The last of the outreach meetings for the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 is tomorrow, Saturday the 8th, from 10 to noon at the Ark Montebello (details). To get you all the details about the ways the Gold Line might grow, Kris interviews four members of the outreach team: David Mieger, Jenny Cristales-Cevallos, Lauren Cencic and Lillian De Loza.

If you can't make the meeting, but want to learn more about the project and options being considered, visit the official website, here.

Metro is also holding meetings for its Next Gen Bus Study that will revamp the way the agency schedules and manages its gigantic bus fleet. After their initial outreach last year, Metro is holding meetings on proposed changes throughout the entire county, including a meeting at the El Monte Bus Station Monday night. Damien gets the rundown with Stephen Yu, the Director of Service Planning at Metro.

For a full list of meetings, click here. For more on the Next Gen Plan, click here.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.
Jan 21, 2020

After a holiday break and a look-ahead episode, SGV Connect returns to its regularly scheduled programming: looking at the issues and programs that impact the present and future of the San Gabriel Valley.

First, Kris Fortin talks to Kome Ajise, the executive director of the Silicon Valley Association of Governments. The two discuss the Multimodal Regional Corridor Plan for Arrow Highway and how people can get involved in the plan to make a car-centric freeway more appealing to road users who aren't traveling by car.

To leave comments for the project, visit their official website. Comments are due by the end of the month.

The two also discuss "Connect SoCal" the long range plan SCAG is developing that will guide planning for housing, transportation, planning and public health within the counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.

For more information, or to submit comments on the plan, visit SCAG's website

Later, Damien speaks with Joe Linton, the editor of Streetsblog Los Angeles about a discussion happening in Pasadena around transportation planning. In 2014, the city changed how it reviews transportation projects from the car-centric Level of Service to a more people-centered metric called "Vehicle Miles Traveled." When the city council asked for a report on how the change is impacting the city, local media reacted by implying that the city might be backing away from the metric. 

Linton explains that changing back to LOS is no longer possible under state law, however Pasadena can tinker with its goals and projections, something that some Council members seem keen on doing.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.
Jan 14, 2020

Welcome to the first episode of SGV Connect in 2020! This week's episode features Francisco Ojeda of Active SGV and Melanie Curry of Streetsblog California discussing the big stories of 2019 and what we can look forward to in 2020.

First, Kris Fortin interviews Ojeda with Active SGV. The two discuss a wide range of issues that Active SGV is engaged with, including its roots in bike advocacy but also a wider discussion of climate change and social justice.

After that, Damien Newton and Curry discuss some of the big stories of 2019 and how they will bridge into the issues of 2020. Of course, there's a long discussion of how we measure transportation impacts in the state, but also super-commutes and S.B. 50. (Note: the conversation between Newton and Curry happened before Senator Weiner reintroduced S.B. 50).

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.
Dec 13, 2019

Welcome to SGV Connect 54, which begins our transition from 2019 to 2020. This week we have two different types of interviews, one which looks forward to 2020 and the other that looks back on...2003?

Kris talks with Brian Wallace, executive director of the Pasadena Playhouse District, about a plan to bring new open space to the Pasadena with a new park that could break ground as early as next year. The interview is both a celebration of the coming park and to remember all the work that was done over a decade public process to get to this point.

Then Damien interviews professor emeritus Robert Gottlieb from Occidental College and one of the creators of the first Arroyo Fest. Earlier this year, Active SGV announced that in 2020 they will open a section of the 110 Freeway to cars and bicycles and other road users by closing it to car traffic, similar to its predecessor in 2003. Damien and Robert talk both about the experience of the original Arroyo Fest, and how much advocacy and policy have changed in the past seventeen years.

We have one more episode to the year, but in case you're traveling when we post, we would like to take a second to thank you for listening in 2019. Onward to 2020!

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Nov 13, 2019

With Kris still away on his travels, this week Damien interviews Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis about her leadership with the county and on the L.A. Metro Board of Directors. Our conversation touches on transit planning, vision zero, and congestion pricing.

Solis' interview was arranged as part of our support for Active SGV's Noche de las Luminarias, a once a year party celebrating the best in advocacy, government and volunteerism in the San Gabriel Valley. The event is tomorrow night, Thursday, November 14, 2019 (6-9pm). The event be held at the San Gabriel Mission Grapevine Arbor (324 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776).

Get your tickets now by clicking here.

Event proceeds will support ActiveSGV's work, including the Bicycle Education Center and our Sustainable SGV Summer Internship program.

Joining Solis as an award winner are:

Outstanding Volunteers | Brian Velez Memorial Award - Luis and Nohora Velez
SGV Business - Pablo Tamashiro, Cyber Yogurt
Community Supporting Foundation - Water Foundation
SGV City - City of Baldwin Park

Kris will be back for our next podcast. We look forward to talking with you then.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Nov 6, 2019

This week's SGV Connect focuses on a trio of upcoming meetings at the local and regional level that will have an impact on how the SGV grows.

Tonight in South Pasadena, the City Council considers funding a $200,000 plan to bring more bike parking throughout the city, especially along its commercial corridors and job centers. The bike parking is grant funded (back in 2012!), so the money exists. All we need is a little political will and the bike parking situation will quickly improve in SoPas.

Active SGV has setup an action alert for anyone interested in attending tonight's meeting or emailing the City Council. The details can be found here. The meeting is tonight, at 7:30, in the South Pasadena City Hall.

Tomorrow night and next Tuesday, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments will host a pair of community meetings about the COG's Regional Housing Trust Fund. 

The Trust will create a way for the San Gabriel Valley to receive both public and private money. The Trust will be able to distribute this money throughout the region to construct affordable housing and reduce the number of residents that are rent-burdened.

The funding and programs will be controlled locally, by a Board made up of elected representatives in the San Gabriel Valley. Thanks to recently signed legislation, the Trust will be open in early 2020.

The upcoming meetings will help guide what types of projects the Trust funds and explores various funding opportunities. The meeting details are below :

Thursday, Nov. 7, 6-7:30 p.m.
El Monte Aquatic Center
11001 Mildred Ave, El Monte, CA
 
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 6-7:30 p.m.
Glendora Public Library
140 Glendora Ave, Glendora, CA

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Oct 22, 2019

Last week, Kris Fortin attended the CalBike conference in Los Angeles. This once-every-two-years conference brings together leaders from the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy communities throughout California including Active SGV, CalBike, California Walks, and People for Mobility Justice.

At the conference, Fortin interviewed a handful of leaders about Governor Gavin Newsom's disappointing veto of SB 127 (the Complete Streets Bill) and any good news that came out of the recent legislative session.

Reactions were varied, with some hopeful that the coalition that got SB127 through both houses in the legislature would be able to accomplish even greater things in coming sessions to frustrated and annoyed. "What the hell, Gavin?" asked Anaheim resident and local activist Edgar Arellano.

In addition to Arellano, this podcast also includes interviews with:

  • Linda Khamoushian, Senior Policy Advocate, California Bicycle Coalition
  • Arelis Reynolds, Costa Mesa council member
  • Esther Rivera, Deputy Director, California Walks

Following the interview, Kris and Damien discuss the legislative agenda for Active SGV and how many of their bills were passed. Despite the disappointment with the SB127, there were some victories. Damien created this Google Doc to show what parts of Active SGV's agenda became law.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Oct 8, 2019

This week, SGV Connect will be a little different than normal, both because of the format of our interview and the topic discussed. Damien and Kris both sit down with Shawn Morrissey of Union Station (Union Station) Homeless Services and Teresa Eilers, a coordinator with the Everyone In! campaign in the San Gabriel Valley.

The two discuss the state of the homeless crisis in the San Gabriel Valley based on recent surveys and initiatives to reduce homelessness. If someone wants to get involved in their community, they can click here and a representative from Everyone In will get in touch with you. If you’re looking for other options, Curbed has their own list of how you can help.

Everyone In and Union Station Housing both push the “housing first” philosophy of attacking the homelessness crisis. That is, that providing housing options that get and keep people off the street doesn’t just alleviate homelessness, but also help with the problems related to homelessness: addiction, joblessness, and personal and public health.

“We need more supportive housing, it is the tool that ends homelessness. Everyone agrees that homelessness is a problem, but not everyone agrees on the solutions. Permanent affordable housing has a tremendous success rate. Over 90% of the people that enter permanent supportive housing stay housed,” explains Eilers.

Before “housing first” gained wide-spread support in America, most government programs supported emergency shelters and finding people jobs. Then if people were capable of keeping that job and paying the going rate for housing they would leave the shelter. Hopefully, everything would work out. And sometimes it did.

“It took us fifty years to realize that the solution to homelessness was to give people a home,” Morrissey half-jokes. “Previous to that, we have been mired in this emergency shelter system.“

“For the few for whom that model worked, and who could jump through those hoops, they found housing.For many others with more complex needs and challenges, they languished in homelessness for decades,” Morrissey continues.

One of the ways that Everyone In! trains advocates is by conducting bus tours of previously built permanently subsidized housing programs. It was on an early September bus tour in Pasadena and Eagle Rock that I met Morrisey and Eilers who were leading the tour. The tour included two-dozen advocates already well versed in the issue, the mayor and a staff person from Arcadia, and others who were looking to learn more, but may not have been sympathetic to the cause of needing to support more housing as part of a larger solution.

Morrissey weaves his personal story into his advocacy. Morrisey is in his second job with Union Station where he previously helped manage their support services. However, he joined their staff after being one of their clients seventeen years ago.

He tells the story of being connected to services by a Union Station outreach team a few weeks before Christmas in 2002, who recognized his substance abuse and got him into a detox and then rehab program. From there, he entered the services system. Today, he is one of the most effective advocates for homeless housing, a walking success story of what can happen when people are given a chance and take advantage.

He introduced his story early in the tour, during the first part of the first stop to be exact. By stating his history upfront, and acknowledging that encounters with people experiencing homelessness can be scary, he steered the conversation for the rest of the day away from dehumanizing the homeless and towards how we can create more success stories.

Success stories such as the affable and passionate man who was leading the tour and pleading with everyone to join him in creating more opportunities for more people.

“There’s good and decent people that are homeless. When you look at a homeless person, the presentation can be scary. Someone who might not have slept, might not have bathed, might not have eaten; we tend to “other” these people instead of wrapping around them. We shun them. We need to recognize these are our brothers and sisters. These are human beings,” Morrissey said.

And like any good tag-team, Morrissey’s opponent brings a different tact to the debate. Eilers comes from a markedly different background, college educated with a previous job at the locally powerful Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR), which dictates housing (and electoral) policy in the Westside city, worked to help get homeless residents of South L.A. or foster kids jobs at the Staples Center, and on the Measure M campaign.

Lacking Morrissey’s backstory, Eilers plays the organizer bringing as many people to City Council hearings, such as the one in Alhambra in September, and formal Everyone In events such as the bus tour, and Frontline Stories. (https://twitter.com/Storiesfront).

“Everyday is different, which is difficult but also a challenge,” says Eilers of her job. “My job is basically to make connections and build coalitions to bring about systemic changes.”

Eilers contends that many people recognize that increased housing and shelter options must be part of the solution, but political leaders are unwilling to make decisions to build that would be unpopular with housed, likely voting, residents. This leads to a “carrot and stick” approach to meetings and lobbying of city councils.

“We have been reaching out to elected officials and letting them know we’re there to help. That’s the carrot,” she explains. “Gavin Newsom has made it known he’ll come after you. He’ll sue your city (if they aren’t attempting to reach housing targets)”

That’s the stick.

Eilers also expresses frustration that some communities are welcoming to homeless housing for certain types of people experiencing homelessness (veterans, families with children), but not others. There are not homeless people that are more deserving of help than others.

“We need to stop homelessness in all demographics.” she concludes.

For more on and from Eilers and Morrissey, take the time to listen to SGV Connect Episode 50:

Sep 20, 2019

This week, #SGVConnect does our annual check-in with Foothill Transit on changes occurring at the San Gabriel Valley's transit agency. Damien speaks with Felicia Friesema, the director of marketing and communications for Foothill Transit, about an upcoming fare increase coming at the end of this month and changes to their rapid bus service starting next year.

You can read more about both the fare changes and the new rapid bus line, at the Foothill Transit Website.

Second, Kris interviews Kyle Tsukahira, interim director of Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement. APIFM has been analyzing the air quality of Alhambra and Monterey Park.

They’ve been doing this in two ways, by giving out air sensors to households and by installing sensors at Mark Keppel High School. They’ve also been working with Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College on a yearlong study to see the air quality around Mark Keppel High School.

If you missed the news, earlier this week Curbed announced that Arroyo Fest will return in 2020. The granddaddy of Open Streets events in Southern California, Arroyo Fest opens the Arroyo Seco Parkway to all uses between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena. We're excited. Get the details at Curbed.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Sep 6, 2019

This week we return to our traditional two-interview format for a special edition featuring an interview with a sitting United States Member of Congress.

Kris Fortin interviews Representative Judy Chu about the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (HR 2215). Chu's legislation would add over fifty one thousand acres of protected forest land to the federally protected land surrounding the San Gabriel Mountains.

In our second interview, Damien talks with Melanie Curry, the editor of Streetsblog California, about four pieces of legislation that need to be voted on in the next week in Sacramento before moving to the governor's desk. That list includes legislation that would finally put an end to any hope that the 710 freeway could be extended north and that would require Caltrans to add more complete streets elements when repaving or working on state highways inside of cities.

To get in touch with your legislator about any of these bills in Sacramento, visit CalBike or Active SGV.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Aug 27, 2019

We're trying something new this week, both by hosting two podcasts in the same week and by conducting our first interview. This episode both Damien Newton and Kris Fortin interview David Diaz, the director of the Streetsie Award-Winning Supergroup, Active SGV.

We cover a lot of ground in this one, so if you're looking for more information, check out these links to both past episodes of SGV Connect and links to Active SGV's website:

A quick programming note, we promised an update on Foothill Transit in our "next episode" earlier this week. That interview is still coming, but since we spoke so much about tonight's meeting, we wanted to get this one live as quickly as possible. Look for that interview and much more in September.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Aug 23, 2019

This week's SGV Connect features big updates on the Gold Line Foothill Extension for the Glendora to to Montclair extension. With new funding in-hand and a contract signed with a construction firm, the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority estimates the line could be open in 2026. Damien talks with Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian about the Authority's big month and where they go from here.

Earlier this month, the Alhambra City Council approved a new general plan for the city after a five-year outreach process. Kris talks with planning commissioner Andrea Lofthouse Quesada about the process to create the plan and some of the highlights.

We'll be back in September with a special podcast focused on Foothill Transit. Talk to you then.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Aug 21, 2019

This week, SGV Connect looks at two issues impacting rideshare in the San Gabriel Valley. 

First, Kris Fortin interviews Mike Long, spokesperson for Mobile Workers Alliance, the umbrella group started by SEIU 721 to organize rideshare workers. Stories of Uber and Lyft drivers striking and demanding better wages have been a hot story locally and nationally. Fortin and Long dive into local efforts to improve the salaries and lives for rideshare workers.

Next, Damien Newton speaks with Maria Sullivan, the point person for Metro's contract with Via, a private rideshare partner. This Spring, Metro launched a pilot program where Via would operate around three areas including 13 bus and rail stations. To further its efforts to reach riders, the subsidized program is now completely free to transit riders who either begin or end their trip at one of the transit stations. More information on the program and the thirteen stations served, can be found here.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Jul 31, 2019

One of the hottest transportation debates in the West San Gabriel Valley is the debate over the route for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system between North Hollywood and Pasadena.

If you are not familiar with the project or controversy, our podcast begins with an interview with Joe Linton, the editor of Streetsblog Los Angeles who gives an overview of the project and the recent controversies.

Next, Kris Fortin interviews Eagle Rock resident Michael McDonald. McDonald, best known for his advocacy as one of the leaders of Bike the Vote, attended one of the meetings and was shocked by the tone of the comments and out-of control nature of the public process. The meetings were so out-of-hand that Metro has vowed a different process for public input going forward.

Metro will host one additional NoHo-Pasadena BRT scoping meeting from 5:30-8 p.m. at Occidental College’s Samuelson Pavilion, in Eagle Rock. For details see Equitable Eagle Rock or Metro project page.

"Metro is keenly aware of the issues that arose at the prior meeting in Eagle Rock and will be using a different, open-house-style format at the upcoming Aug.7 meeting at Samuelson Pavilion at Occidental College that will still allow the public to provide comments in writing or verbally to a court reporter for the scoping process," writes Brian Haas, a spokesperson for Metro.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Jul 18, 2019

Welcome to this week's SGV Connect. It's a long one, so grab a cup of iced tea, sit back and relax.

First, Damien talks with Dr. Philip Fine with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). While we have discussed different efforts to improve air quality through regulating the freight industry, a recent story in the Press-Enterprise caught Damien's eye, "AQMD to tackle pollution from warehouses, rail yards, ports and airports, not everyone is happy."

The article discusses efforts to regulate "indirect sources" of air pollutants, i.e. the warehouses and ports instead of just the trucks. AQMD is holding hearings on the plan we discuss and that is outlined in the story. To learn about upcoming public meetings, head to the AQMD website and search for "indirect sources." Streetsblog will also post meeting information in our events preview as news becomes available.

 In our second interview, Kris Fortin interviews Carolina Hernandez, Principal Engineer with LA County Public Works about the Puente Creek Bikeway and Greenway Project. The county held a public outreach meeting last week about the project, and Fortin tells us the county is planning more greenways throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

 

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.”

 

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Jun 21, 2019

Welcome back to #SGV Connect. This week, I talk to Councilmember Muir Davis of La Verne about bicycle projects moving from the drawing board to contract. In a few short months, bike projects that have been on the books since I talked to La Verne advocate Doug Strange for #SGVConnect10 are close to becoming reality.

But first, Kris interviews  Katie Lemmon, Senior Transportation Manager at Metro and  Jacob Libe, Senior Director of First/Last Mile Planning at Metro. The team is working hard to have projects on the ground to allow people to access the future Gold Line Foothill Stations as they open in future years.

During my interview with Councilmember Davis, he mentions that people interested in getting involved with bike planning visit the La Verne Bicycle Coalition homepage for meeting updates and advocacy opportunities. At the time of broadcasting this podcast, that page is full of information about the first/last mile planning for a future La Verne Station.

As a special bonus to listeners, if you make it all the way to the end of the second interview you can hear me repeat the same story about running into Jose Huizar the days before the Gold Line Eastside Extension opened that I tell in the start of the podcast.

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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

May 16, 2019

Even if you're one of our listeners from outside of the San Gabriel Valley, you doubtless know that this Sunday is the 626. The mammoth car-free party will feature 8 cities, two missions, one Sasquatch and over 20,000 participants. Read more about the 626 at the official website.

And who better to help us preview the event than Wes Reutimann, the special projects director for Active SGV? Wes talks to Kris Fortin about the plans for this Sunday and the history of San Gabriel Valley's world famous open streets party.

Because of our recording schedule, we decided to split our podcast in two so we could get this interview online as fast as possible. We'll be back tomorrow with a special edition of SGV Connect highlighting one of the special projects that we'll be able to experience at the 626.

#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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

May 7, 2019

Before we get in to this week's episode, let me remind you that this Thursday is Streetsblog L.A.'s annual awards dinner. We'll be honoring Active SGV, Asm. Laura Friedman and some others. To get tickets or for more information, click here.

Leading off the podcast, Kris speaks with Blair Miller with the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition to get an update on the proposed protected bike lane for Union Street in Pasadena. Unlike the road diet that was scrapped for Orange Grove earlier this year, there has not been nearly the level of opposition for this project. Conversely, Miller and Fortin report that more advocates for safe streets were galvanized by the NIMBY Bikelash last year.

Second, Damien talks with Androush Danielians, Executive Officer of Project Engineering at L.A. Metro about the I-210 Barrier Project. For those new to this discussion, ever since the opening of the Gold Line Foothill Extension, people have been crashing their cars into the train tracks where it runs parallel to the I-210. At the April Metro Board Meeting, the Board voted to move forward with a project to create barriers between the freeway and Metro property. For more coverage of this issue from Streetsblog, click here.

#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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Apr 11, 2019

Tonight is the big Spring Fundraiser for Active SGV! "Everyday is Earth Day" party will be tonight at the Grace T. Black Auditorium, 3130 Tyler Avenue in El Monte. In addition to the usual revelry, Active SGV will be unveiling their new logo. To buy tickets, or get more information about the event, click here.

With their event tonight, and the Streetsblog Los Angeles fundraiser under a month away, it seemed like the perfect time to check in with David Diaz, the executive director of Active SGV. We talk about more than just events, as he gives us a rundown of what Active SGV is working on and what are some of the major things happening throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

Speaking of events, our annual fundraiser is on May 9th, and will honor Active SGV for all that they've done over the last several years. The event will be at the El Paseo Inn, across the street from Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

10 days later will be the next SGV Golden Streets event. "Mission-to-Mission" will span South Pasadena, Alhambra and San Gabriel with another large open streets event. For more information on that event, visit the official website here.

#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.”

Catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn, iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

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