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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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Aug 20, 2015

Today, #DamienTalks with Asssemblymember Richard Bloom who represents western Los Angeles County in the State Assembly. Bloom is on the Finance Special Session Committee in the State Assembly, meaning that for the next two and a half weeks, the Assemblymember will have a chance to weigh in on any transportation bills before they come to the full Assembly for a vote.

Richard Bloom, via his 2014 re-election campaign website
Richard Bloom, via his 2014 re-election campaign website

Our discussion ends up being pretty far ranging, covering Bloom's proposed diesel fees, to the state funding crisis, to the need for more sub-regional transportation options to Santa Monica's nascent bike share program, to tying all transportation investments to the state's greenhouse gas reduction goals.. This isn't the first time I've had the chance to interview Bloom, although it's the first time for this podcast, and it will doubtless not be the last.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Aug 13, 2015

Today, #DamienTalks with Jennifer D'Onofrio and Bryan Michaelson of the City of Davis about the new protected bike intersection in Davis, California. The newly-redesigned intersection is the first-of-its-kind in America, and receiving warm reviews from both cars and bicyclists in Davis and advocates around the country.

As you'll see in the middle of the episode, it gets a little complicated trying to explain how the intersection works. D'Onofrio and Michaelson assure me that it's pretty simple when you're actually riding in the street...an opinion shared by my colleague Michael Anderson who wrote of the intersection, "hard to explain, simple to use."

If you have trouble following it, check out Anderson's post, and pictures, at Streetsblog USA.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Aug 4, 2015

Today #DamienTalks with Yvonne Burke, former LA County Supervisor and current commissioner for the California Transportation Commission, about transportation funding issues in California. With the legislature due to come back soon to discuss the ongoing transportation funding crisis gripping the state, Burke lays out the case that California needs to find a way to raise more funds for transportation.

Yvonne_burkeIt’s hardly a secret that California has been retreating from meeting its transportation needs, leaving cities and counties struggling to raise funds to fill the void. The question: is how does understanding that translate to building public support for a funding increase, be it a new tax, a fee, or some other unexplored funding mechanism?

On a personal note, it’s pretty amazing to have a Civil Rights figure such as Burke on our podcast. For anyone that doesn’t know, in addition to being a local political leader, Burke was the first African-American woman to represent the West Coast in Congress.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jul 30, 2015

Today, #DamienTalks with Brian Addison, the former editor of the Long Beach Post and LongBeachize. Addison was recently named the "Best Online Journalist" by the Southern California Press Club for, in Addison's own words, "writing about the city I love."

Addison DTalks imagePlaced between the shadow of the Los Angeles Megalopolis and the Orange Curtain, Long Beach is often overlooked, despite having a population of nearly half a million people and being the 7th largest city by population in the state...larger than Oakland. Long Beach has made great strides towards becoming a more livable city with better bicycle infrastructure and a rising Downtown. The city even bills itself as the "most bike friendly city in America."

Addison and I talk about how the city is doing under its new progressive mayor and how Long Beach is trying to expand its most-bike-friendly infrastructure from high-visibility areas into residential areas.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or onFacebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jul 27, 2015

Today, Damien Talks with Graham Wheat our new Central Valley writer for Streetsblog California. Topics include:his life, transportation habits, journalism experiences and future-favorite-writing-projects. The Bakersfield native and resident has a lot of interesting views, including his big hopes for California High Speed Rail and what it can be for Bakersfield and the rest of the world.

Check it out, I can think of no better way to meet someone than to listen to a conversation between that person and me using my "NPR Voice."

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or onFacebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jul 22, 2015

This week, DamienTalks with Dave Snyder, the executive director of CalBike about the current legislative session and generally about how things are going in Sacramento. Spoiler: so far, pretty well.

But the biggest fish is still in the sea. The legislature will come back for a special session in August to try and deal with the state's transportation infrastructure crisis...specifically the lack of funds to deal with such a crisis. Snyder and others are pushing for both a complete streets policy for any "fix-it" project, so that with any new asphalt comes improvements to the bicycle and pedestrian grid and increased funding for other Livable Streets projects.

As you'll hear...Snyder is more of an optimist than I am.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or onFacebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jul 1, 2015

Today #DamienTalks with Ethan Elkind, about the efforts to reform how the state measures transportation impacts of a proposed project. Currently, the state measures how a project impacts car travel time, but a change to state law will turn that rule on its head so that we’re encouraging projects that don’t produce more car trips instead of just mitigating the ones that do.

Not surprisingly, there is pushback. Surprisingly, it’s coming from a group that should gain from the change from “LOS” to “VMT.”

Ethan Elkind is the Associate Director of the Climate Change and Business Program, with a joint appointment at UC Berkeley School of Law and UCLA School of Law. In this capacity, he serves as the lead author of UCLA-UC Berkeley’s grant-funded series of policy reports on business solutions to combat climate change.  He also researches and writes on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), climate change law, environmental justice, and other environmental and energy law topics.  

His book Railtown: The Fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the Future of the City was published by University of California Press in January 2014. 

And we really like Ethan. Jason Islas conducted an interview with him earlier this year for Santa Monica Next: Part 1, Part 2.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or onFacebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jun 26, 2015

Good Data, it’s the Holy Grail of transportation reform advocates.

Today, #DamienTalks with Richard McKinnon, the head of Safe Streets Santa Monica and a member of the local planning commission, about his organization’s efforts to bring data to an often emotional debate over street safety. Santa Monica is one of the more progressive cities when it comes to transportation planning, yet there is a common belief among many residents that bicyclists are somehow a menace on the streets.

Using TIMS data, collected by the local police and compiled by statisticians at University of California at Berkeley, Safe Streets Santa Monica mapped 9,600 crashes that occurred over the last ten years.

Less than fifty of these crashes were caused by cyclists. McKinnon is sharing this data with his fellow planning commissioners, city staff and the City Council to inform the discussion when issues of traffic safety are brought up.

Want to repeat Safe Streets’s success? Head over to the TIMS website and get cracking.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or onFacebook at StreetsblogCA.

 

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jun 24, 2015

Today, #DamienTalks with Jim Stone, the executive director of Circulate San Diego, about the recent announcement that the city will pursue a Vision Zero strategy for its transportation planning. Stone discusses the research and politics that happened behind the scene before this week’s announcement and what steps San Diego is taking to create a safe and livable city.

On Monday, the Mayor of San Diego, leaders of the City Council and the SDPD joined Stone to announce the city will create a Vision Zero plan for San Diego. Stone also presented a report by Circulate that details both the need for and some ideas to implement Vision Zero. I covered this story for Streetsblog California, earlier this week. For that story, click here. To read Circulate’s report, click here.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

 

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jun 10, 2015

Today, DamienTalks with Meea Kang, the founder of the Council of Infill Builders. Meea and I talk about A.B. 744, legislation that has cleared the Assembly that would remove minimum parking requirements for affordable housing near major transit hubs.

This is an interesting interview because Kang has an impressive array of stats and figures about how excessive parking damages neighborhoods and how, as we all know from reading Donald Shoup, the market does a better job determining parking needs of a community than heavy-handed zoning laws.

Also, for our dedicated fans, you can see why I spend more time listening than talking in these as I try to talk about similar legislation I covered a couple of years ago only to discover it is actually the same legislation.

If you’re just reading this introduction, and haven’t listened to the podcast, but want to help get this legislation passed or have some ideas about the legislation contact Lisa Engel (LISA.ENGEL@ASM.CA.GOV) at Assemblymember Ed Chau’s office.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

 

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

Jun 2, 2015

This week, #DamienTalks to South Pasadena Councilwoman Marina Khubesrian. Khubesrian, who happens to be a medical doctor for her day job, is also one of the leaders of the Beyond the 710 movement. Worn down by Caltrans and Metro (Los Angeles County MTA) pushing a freeway widening and tunnel project for over three decades, a group of San Gabriel County communities banded together with local activists and national nonprofits to create a new vision for the corridor.

We've written a lot about the attempts to dig a big highway tunnel in L.A. County's San Gabriel Valley at Streetsblog L.A. If you're interested, read more here.

Beyond the 710 is an innovative effort by progressive transportation reformers to reframe the debate. Instead of being "opposed to highway expansion" they are “for a series of smart fixes and great streets” that would both address the congestion hot spots and “for improving transportation options for all.”

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Libsyn.

May 27, 2015

This week Damien Talks to Jim Brown, executive director of Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, known locally as SABA. 

SABA has an out-sized role as they not only have to advocate for safe and attractive bicycle conditions in Sacramento; but are also the most visible advocates to many a Caltrans staffer, Assemblymember or Sentator or even executive staff with the Governor’s office. In fact, our call last week occurred moments after the end of a bike ride with the head of Caltrans.

Also, Jim is like an encyclopedia on bike policy, so this broadcast is extra-fun.

 

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

May 21, 2015

Welcome to a special episode of Damien Talks. Today, Damien Talks with Colby Tibbet, the new Fresno writer for Streetsblog California. You may have seen a freelance piece Colby wrote for us earlier about Fresno's blight ordinance. We look forward to seeing what Colby has in store for us going forward.

Colby headshotWe talk about Colby’s career to date, some of the favorite stories he's written and the bicycle and transit scenes in Fresno. My favorite part of this interview is Colby’s description of the underground bike network in some of the more suburban parts of the city. And by underground, we literally mean subterranean.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

May 20, 2015

Welcome to the third episode of Damien Talks, our podcast about the people and politics behind the Livable Streets Movement throughout California. Our first month coincides with Bike Month, so we’ve been working up the coast, talking to bike advocates throughout the state. 

This week, Damien Talks with Chris Kidd, a board member with CalBike, Walk/Bike Oakland, and Bike East Bay. When he’s not being one of the state’s leading advocates, he has a day job with Planning super group Alta Planning and Design. Longtime readers of Streetsblog Los Angeles may also remember Chris as the first editor of the LADOT Bike Blog.

This week’s Damien Types is taking part in a special week devoted to looking at how a new Department of Transportation could change things in Oakland.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

May 13, 2015

Welcome to the second episode of #DamienTalks. This week, Damien talks with Marven Norman with the Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance andInlandfiets. Marven has been fighting the good fight in a part of California where commutes are long and many people have to bike between cities to get where they need to go.

Norman makes a strong case for separated bike lanes and the need for both better education and better infrastructure to make the streets safer for people who bike and every other road user.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me atdamien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the Damien Talks homepage on Linksyn. We’ll have iTunes subscriptions set up by our next broadcast. Promise

May 6, 2015

Welcome to the first episode of Damien Talks, a podcast series for Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog California, LongBeachize and Santa Monica Next. In each episode, I’ll be talking to someone from the transportation scene from somewhere in California.

 

I’ll try to provide minimal commentary so that the interviews speak for themselves.

 

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

 

For our first episode, I talk over the phone with San Diego’s Sam Ollinger, the executive director of Bike SD. Bike SD started as a news blog about five years ago and became an official advocacy group just a couple of years ago. Last year, they were honored for excellence in advocacy by the League of American Bicyclists. You can catchup on Bike SD at BikeSD.org and follow Sam at Twitter @ollingers.

 

 

Thanks for listening, and without further adieu’…

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