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SGV Connect

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 Kris Fortin. This feed also hosts SGV Connect's predecessor podcast, #DamienTalks.
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Jun 30, 2022

This week's SGV Connect Podcasdt features an interview by Chris Greenspon with two members of the Memories of El Monte collective, Aron Montenegro and Alma Zarate. Chris visited the collective's new home on 626 Day when Memories of El Monte celebrated their new space and the local holiday.

Memories of El Monte is planning to open a soup kitchen in January and possibly expand with a cafe and even bar in the coming years. The interview covers their plans, the collective's goals, and what makes Memories' preferred coffee so special.

For a full transcript of our interview, click here. You can also check out our podcast with Memories of El Monte conducted last year, by clicking 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Jun 17, 2022

This week sees a special #SGV Connect podcast with Damien Newton interviewing Habib Balian, the executive director of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. As we publish this podcast, the Authority is holding a press conference to celebrate the 50% completion point of the current Gold Line extension out to Pomona.

For a full transcript of our interview, click here. Read the press release for today’s event, 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunes, Google Play, or Overcast.

Jun 6, 2022

Tonight, Megan Lynch will present "Acesible and Complete Streets" at tonight's meeting of the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition. To get the zoom link, click here and send a note to UC Access. Today, we feature her at SGV Connect for those that can't make tonight's meeting to hear her message.

When she's not pushing for transportation planning that includes infrastructure that is accesible to all potential users, Lynch is a graduate student at UC Davis. There, she founded UC Access Now, an advocacy group for the disabled. In the interview, she discusses how one can support their advocacy by writing to the Governor and legislature to support their efforts on UC campuses. Click here for their Link Tree page and here to take action. And if you still haven't gotten enough Megan, you can watch her in a panel at Calbike.

In our second interview, Chris interviews Supervisor Hilda Solis about the future Puente Hills Park. After literally decades of advocacy, Solis and L.A. County have secured over $100 million to convert over 140 acres of what was once the Puente Hills Landfill into one of the region's largest parks.

In the interview, Solis recounts her memories growing up near the future park and the impact that growing up near a dump had on her and her family. Getting rid of the dump is a major victory for the entire community, and replacing it with a park is a legacy project that Solis is clearly already very proud of.

For a transcript of the podcast, 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

May 16, 2022
May is Bike Month, and we're kicking off the "Chris and Damien" era at #SGVConnect with two interviews that tie-in to bicycling in the San Gabriel Valley.

First, Chris visits La Cañada Flintridge to interview Senator Anthony Portantino. Portantino famously became an avid cyclist during the Coronavirus Stay-at-Home orders and has developed his own bicycling exercise routine. He has taken his new bicycling passion with him to Sacramento where he authored legislation that would force more communities to plan for and move on bicycle and pedestrian planning.

In our second interview, Damien talks with Wes Reutimann and Danielle Zamora with Active SGV. The conversation starts with a wrap-up of the recent 626 Golden Streets a couple of weeks ago and continues with a discussion of Active Transportation planning throughout San Gabriel Valley cities.

At the end of the podcast, Damien mentions this action alert put out by Active SGV in South Pasadena. The City Council is going to vote on a new project list for Metro funding and sadly their draft list is missing many walking, bicycling and transit projects in the city's transportation plan.

And if you want to hear more podcasts featuring Chris, make sure to check out SGV Weekly. His most recent episode featured Christine Tran and a discussion of food insecurity and battling Asian American stereotypes.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Apr 28, 2022

This week, the Streetsblog team is happy to introduce you to Chris Greenspon, our new writer and podcast co-host in the San Gabriel Valley.

Many of you already know Chris from his other podcasting work as host of SGV Weekly, now in its second season. You can download or listen to past episodes at the SGV Weekly website.

As has become our tradition, we like to introduce readers and listeners to our new team members by featuring them in a podcast episode. Listen in as Damien and Chris talk about their backgrounds and their ties to the San Gabriel Valley. At one point they discuss Chris' favorite episode of SGV Weekly, "Pomona’s fading graffiti reborn as exalted poetry."

If you enjoy our discussion, or want to learn more about Chris, it just so happens his most recent podcast episode is autobiographical. Listen to it 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays and catch past episodes of SGV Connect and #DamienTalks on LibSyn,iTunesGoogle Play, or Overcast.

Mar 29, 2022
Today’s SGV Connect podcast is the last one for the duo of Damien and Kris. As we previously announced, Kris is moving on to a full-time position with Santa Ana Active Streets. We certainly weren’t going to let him go without one goodbye podcast.

Kris has written for Streetsblog on and off for over a decade first covering Boyle Heights then after a break moving to Orange County and finally covering the San Gabriel Valley where he lived and grew up.

No last podcast would be complete without a look back at some of our favorite stories’ of Kris’ throughout the years. Here are some of mine:

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Friday.

Feb 24, 2022
This week's SGV Connect podcast focuses on the Garvey Avenue road project in Monterey Park covered for Streetsblog L.A. last week by Jennifer Tang. Tang and fellow advocate Edwin Sun give an update on the project and discuss some of the challenges advocating for a better project on Garvey.

At Tang noted in a different piece for Streetsblog last year, Monterey Park is planning to increase car capacity on Garvey Avenue using funds that were allocated from Metro. These funds were originally intended for expansion of the I-710 and were to be used to 'increase mobility' and 'reduce congestion.' Like many cities along the corridor, Monterey Park was worried that if it moved forward a more progressive plan, that Metro wouldn't allocate the funds towards their city.

There is some good news. At a February 16 meeting, the City Council voted to upgrade a proposed bike lane for Garvey Avenue to a 'Class 4' (i.e. protected) bike lane and the plan to eliminate parking to increase lane capacity at rush hour was put aside. A plan to build multi-story parking garages moved forward.

In the podcast, we discuss an upcoming motion by Supervisor Hilda Solis to insure that cities such as Monterey Park can use their 710 funds for multi-modal projects. Since we recorded the podcast Tuesday night, Streetsblog went into greater depth on the Solis motion. You can read more on it 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

Feb 15, 2022

Welcome to this week's episode of the SGV Connect podcast.

Kris talked this week with Kome Ajise, executive director of Southern California Association of Governments, and Ryan Johnson, associate planner at Alta Planning + Design, about the Interstate 710 North Mobility Hubs Plan. The project is trying to find potential locations around the I-710 N stub to install mobility hubs, a designated area that has two or more travel options, which can include transit, walking, bike share and micro mobility. These options would help make it easier to get around with a personal car.

The study area includes portions of South Pasadena, Alhambra, but is made up of mostly Los Angeles eastside neighborhoods.  Feedback collection for the map and survey are currently closed during this iteration of the plan, Johnson said, but an updated version of both will be posted in the coming months. Anyone that wants project updates can sign up on the website

Dec 27, 2021

This week, Damien and Kris welcome Joe Linton and Melanie Curry back to the podcast. Joe and Melanie are the editors of Streetsblog LA and Streetsblog California respectively and offer their insights on the big stories that shaped our coverage in 2021 and predictions on what to expect in 2022.

The wide-ranging discussion covers the legislature, highway spending, new transit construction, the return of open streets and the 626 and many other issues. If you find yourself with some free time over the next couple of weeks, plug in and check it out. As a bonus, my daughter joins me for the intro and outro to show off her reading skills.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

Nov 4, 2021

This week, Kristopher talked this week with Romeo Guzman, a member of South El Monte Art Posse, about the bike ride series “A New Cartography of Greater El Monte,” that they’ll be launching this Saturday. SEMAP has spent the last decade excavating the region’s history, and uplifting the art, culture and social justice contributions of the region in order to “rethink how we tell the history of the place and dig into its radical roots,” Guzman said.

This work has resulted in a “3,000+ digital archive, the book East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte, high school curriculum (on-going), new murals, and radical new cartography through walking and bike tours.”

The first ride in the series will focus on the youth, art and popular culture of the region.

Guzman will be leading the ride with author, journalist and SEMAP founder Carribean Fragoza and SGV Weekly podcast creator Chris Greenspon. Folks who can’t attend in-person can browse the SEMAP archive online.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

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

Oct 19, 2021

In this week’s episode, we caught up with Alhambra Council Member Sasha Renée Pérez, who we spoke with in January two months after her election win.

With still less than a year in office, she’s been active in leading Alhambra on many fronts, including adopting Hero Pay for frontline workers, supporting efforts around the Active SGV pop-up demonstration on Poplar Boulevard, and passing resolutions to form a Vision Zero working group and study the viability of rent control and just cause eviction protections. In this interview, Perez touches on many of these issues, including how community engagement has evolved in the City, and lessons on how to make change in the City.

She will also be honored on Thursday evening as Active SGV's elected official of the year for 2021

Thursday is Noche de las Luminarias, the annual event by Active SGV celebrating the people, projects and policies that are making the San Gabriel Valley a better place to live, work and play. This year's event is sold out, but you can check the Active Blog for more information.

Other winners for this year include (click links for more details on winners)

The Cub House

Eco Urban Gardens

Christina Davila

The City of Glendora

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

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

Oct 15, 2021

This week's SGV Connect features an interview with Felicia Friesema with Foothill Transit.

The focus of our interview is mostly on the Foothill Transit Forward although there is a lengthy aside in the middle about the ways in which public comment has changed and improved during the pandemic and what steps agencies can take to continue to improve the general public's access to decision makers in and out of the boardroom.

Foothill Transit Forward is a study that will evaluate all aspects of the Foothill Transit system and determine where improvements can be made to create a more effective, efficient, equitable, and sustainable service.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

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

Sep 16, 2021

Welcome back to the SGV Connect podcast, this week Damien talks with Active SGV about a pop-up bike lane in Alhambra, but first Kris checks in with some of the leaders of a mutual aid organization in El Monte.

Kris speaks with Araceli Franco and Nickolas Segura of Memories of El Monte, a mutual aid community space in El Monte. The space is volunteer-run by locals and natives of El Monte and offers activities like mental health and college planning workshops, and even hosts a food distribution.

Franco and Segura talked about the roots of the space, their personal connections to the area and how they hope the space can be a transformative and revolutionary space for change. For folks who have interest in hosting activities at the space, Memories of El Monte have a form folks can fill out

Second, Damien talks with Francisco Ojeda with Active SGV about the pop up bike lane on Poplar Street in Alhambra. The 1/2 mile project was on the ground for a couple of weeks, while Active SGV and the city collected resident and road user feedback in an online survey. Read more about the project at this article Kris wrote last month.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

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

Aug 16, 2021

Today we wrap up our Streetsblog California "Meet the Board" podcast series with an interview with the Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance Executive Director and Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice Policy Coordinator Marven Norman.

Norman recounts his roots in advocacy from a bike commuter that struggled with streets designed to be unsafe for bicycle commuters, people walking or waiting for transit. Today he is one of the most recognizable faces for advocacy in the Inland Empire, if not the entire state, holding down multiple leadership positions.

This podcast holds a special place in my heart, as Marven was actually the guest on the second episode of my first podcast, #DamienTalks back in May of 2015. As a longtime follower of Marven's work, it's fun to look back and see how far he's come and how much advocacy has grown in six years. However, as Norman notes, there is still an overwhelming amount of work to be done to make the Inland Empire a safe and enjoyable place to ride a bicycle or take a walk. 

This is the seventh and last podcast in our “meet the board” series.  To check out our past podcasts with Jon WeissCarter Rubin, Kris FortinTerra Curtis, James Sinclair, or Abby Arnold, click on their names.

Aug 9, 2021

Abby Arnold has been an advocate for a clean environment, people experiencing homelessness and for other progressive causes in her beloved City of Santa Monica for a lifetime. Half a dozen years ago, when Streetsblog L.A. was launching a pilot program in Santa Monica to see if the "Streetsblog model" could work in smaller cities, Arnold was one of the first to volunteer for our steering committee and has been a fixture with our team ever since.

In today's Meet the Board interview series, we talk about politics in Santa Monica, what she would like to see us cover more in the future and how non-profits should approach grant making with both governments and foundations. I'll give you a preview: she compares the process to dating.

In addition to Streetsblog/Santa Monica Next Arnold has been a leader with a who's who of advocacy groups including Santa Monica Forward, the League of Women Voters, and CLUE. She has also served on a variety of Santa Monica Commissions including a current stint on the Pier Commission.

This is the sixth podcast in our “meet the board” series.  To check out our past podcasts with Jon WeissCarter Rubin, Kris Fortin, Terra Curtis, or James Sinclair, click on their names.

Aug 4, 2021

Regular readers of Streetsblog California will recognize James Sinclair's name as the author of the Stop and Move blog on transportation policy in and around Fresno. James was one of the first bloggers to allow us to syndicate their articles, and we've featured his work a handful of times.

James is also on the Board of Directors for the California Streets Initiative, the non-profit that publishes Streetsblog. Born and mostly-raised in Mexico, he often traveled to Fresno on holiday to visit family and developed a love for the city.  In the "about me" section of Stop and Move, he explains how Fresno became a place he is passionate about :

I have been in and out of Fresno for most of my life. While it has never been my true home, it has been the closest to having one. I have been fortunate enough to live in a dozen places, and travel to dozens of countries. As such, I have been able to see what Fresno does well, and what Fresno does badly.

James now works as a bicycle and pedestrian planner/consultant. A decade after the launch of the Stop and Move blog, he sits down with us to talk about the state of advocacy in Fresno, his hopes and fears for California High-Speed Rail and some of his favorite projects.

This is the fifth podcast in our "meet the board" series.  To check out our past podcasts with Jon WeissCarter Rubin, Kris Fortin, or Terra Curtis, click on their names.

Jul 29, 2021

This July and August, Streetsblog California is podcasting a series introducing our Board of Directors to our readership. To check out our past podcasts with Jon Weiss, Carter Rubin and Kris Fortin, just click on their names.

Today's podcast features Terra Curtis who researches emerging mobility policy for the California Public Utilities Commission. Curtis previously worked at Nelson\Nygaard and volunteered with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition working on the Better Market Street campaign years ago.

Our interview covers both her professional career and personal advocacy. Curtis appreciates the mission of N\N and the planning firm's belief in promoting entrepreneurship amongst their staff. However, she felt called to bring the expertise she had learned about the best ways to bring new technologies to the transportation sector earlier in life and her career prepared her for a role helping to direct policy statewide.

“On the oneside there’s a chance for increased mobility and reduced dependence on the single occupancy vehicle," says Curtis in the interview on the future prospects of new mobility.

"On the other side, there’s some downsides we want to avoid...I was really attracted here to help relieve that tension and help direct California transportation in a positive direction.”

Jul 26, 2021

This summer, Streetsblog California is running a podcast series interviewing and introducing its Board of Directors to our audience. These volunteers help keep the organization running even if they don't regularly get a by-line on our website.

Today's SGV Connect features an interview where one of our co-hosts (Damien) interviews the other (Kris). In addition to his work with our San Gabriel Valley coverage, Kris is a member of our board of directors.

The San Gabriel Valley beat is actually Kris' third tour of duty with Streetsblog, having previously covered Boyle Heights and the Orange County. As you might expect, this podcast is something of a walk down memory lane of some of Kris' top stories.

Way back in 2012, Kris was one of the first reporters to introduce the world to the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade. The Ovas were a female-only bicycle collective that hosted rides and opened its own community center on Cesar Chavez Avenue. The popularity of Kris' first post broke our analytics by attracting literally hundreds of thousands of readers from over three dozen countries.

Kris also wrote about the impact the closure of the Wyvernwood Garden Apartments would have had on the larger Boyle Heights community.

Before SGV Connect, Damien and Kris collaborated on a video series with Shireen Alihaji interviewing the major candidates for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013. You can catch the interview with Councilmember Garcetti, here.

After a couple of years writing for different publications, including a full-time gig at the Orange County Register, Kris returned both as a board member and as a writer covering Orange County. At a time when the Register and other Orange County publications. His work at the time included coverage of transit and OCTA but also updates on some best practices from his beloved Santa Ana.

And of course today, he's with us with SGV Connect and as a board member. You can check out all of his recent work, 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

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

Jul 19, 2021

During Melanie’s sabbatical, we will be running a podcast series to introduce readers to the Board of Directors of the California Streets Initiative, the non-profit that publishes Streetsblog California, Streetsblog Los Angeles and Streetsblog San Francisco. Our first interview, with Jon Weiss, can be found here.

Earlier today, Damien interviewed Carter Rubin, the current Chair of our Board of Directors and the Transportation Technical Strategist for the American Cities Climate Challenge at NRDC. Carter has had some affiliation with Streetsblog for over ll years, as intern, writer, board member, steering committee member and now board chair.

In that time he's also had an interesting career writing at Metro's The Source news/blog page, serving as a David Bohnett Fellow in Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa's office and transitioning to working on the Great Streets program with Mayor Garcetti. He's been with NRDC for almost four years now helping cities combat climate change through better transportation projects.

For more on Carter's work, check out Carter's author's page at Streetsblog Los Angeles, here or his NRDC writer's page here.

Jul 12, 2021

During Melanie's sabbatical, we thought it would be fun and interesting for our readers to have a chance to meet the Board of Directors of the California Streets Initiative, the non-profit that publishes Streetsblog California, Streetsblog Los Angeles and Streetsblog San Francisco.

Our first interview is with Jon Weiss (Streetsblog author's page, here.) Weiss, a longtime supporter of bringing rail transit to West Los Angeles and member of the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee joined our board in early 2015 and has served as chair and president of the board.

This interview covers Jon's early advocacy in Los Angeles fighting to preserve rail right of ways from the old trolley system that has become parts of Metro and Metrolink rail services today to his efforts to get the city to build (and perhaps one day soon) complete a bike trail that runs parallel to the "E Line" (or Expo Line) through West Los Angeles.

A long-time member of the city's bicycle advisory committee, Weiss believes that there are good elected officials that want to do the right thing by promoting active transportation and transit, but they don't have the support to do so.

"We're in a third boom of bicycling in my lifetime. The first was gas prices (in the 1970's). The second was Lance Armstrong...which was mostly roadies but did bring a lot of people to biking. With COVID, the numbers have jumped and they're really jumping with e-bikes. People that read Streetsblog know there's a new bill passed to fund people buying e-bikes," says Weiss.

"The more people that are out there biking, the more pressure there's going to be on politicians. There's a lot of politicians that want to do the right thing, but they don't have the votes for it."

Weiss ends the interview with a big idea. Weiss believes there should be legislation passed that taxes the automotive and oil industries to run an advertising campaign similar to the TRUTH ads warning people of the dangers of tobacco. In Weiss' view, the more people that understand concepts such as induced demand or the difference in collision survival rates between 15 miles per hour or 25 miles per hour would dramatically change how people talk about transportation.

Jun 15, 2021

In this week's podcast, Kris Fortin speaks with City of Alhambra Vice Mayor Jeff Maloney about "Advancing Alhambra" the city's plans for its roads after the 2017 decision to not move forward with extending the 710 Freeway.

While Alhambra had been one of the cities most vocal in support of extending the 710 up to the 210 for decades, the cancellation of the project has led to new opportunities for the city to invest in transit and safe street programs. Advancing Alhambra pinpoints three interchanges and the current 710 "stub" for improvements that could have a dramatic impact across the whole city.

A community meeting is planned for tomorrow night, on Zoom at 6 p.m. Register for the meeting, here.

Early in the pre-interview portion of the podcast, Damien and Kris discuss how long they've been collectively covering the 710 corridor project, and how long the project existed before Streetsblog was launched in 2008 in Los Angeles. Kris brings up the nuttiest "open streets"/block party event he ever went to in 2013, that doubled as a rally for extending the 710. He wrote about it in Streetsblog, and if you're interested you can read the story, 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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

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

Jun 1, 2021

In this week's SGV Connect, Damien follows up on his story from last month about the ongoing efforts to transfer ownership of properties owned by Caltrans in what was the project area for the now defunct 710 project near Pasadena. Following that, Kris gets an update on some changes coming to ExpressLanes in the I-110 area.

First, Damien interviews Timothy Ivison and Angels Flores, both members of the United Caltrans Tenants Union about the history of the ongoing dispute between Caltrans and their renters. If you're interested in learning more about this story, check out "United Caltrans Tenants Oppose State Legislation That Would Guide Home Sales, Possibly Lead to Evictions" published at Streetsblog last month.

Kris talked with Metro staff about a few projects happening with the Expresslanes on the Interstate 10, including the COVID-19 service impact and recovery, the planned toll-road extension from the I-605 to the San Bernardino County Line, and what Metro is doing about people who avoid the toll by misidentifying themselves as a carpool vehicle. 

The bulk of the conversation focused on Metro's planning next year to test increasing the HOV requirement on the toll lanes. Currently, two to three occupants per vehicle can avoid paying the toll on the Expresslanes. The pilot will require three or more occupants will have to be in vehicles while traveling during off peak hours, and only registered vanpool and transit able to use the Expresslanes during on-peak times.
 
The second phase, which could happen as early as September 2022, would only allow van pools and vehicles of more than five occupants to travel on the Expresslanes. This phase would require board approval and would last until 2024, according to a Metro staff report. 

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.

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

Apr 22, 2021

Welcome to the first SGV Connect of April. This week's episode is a solo-interview with Damien and Felicia Friesema at Foothill Transit for a regular check-in about the agencies efforts to provide access to vaccinations, the rollout of its electric double-decker bus fleet and how a transit agency can celebrate poetry month.

If you want to use Foothill Transit to help plan a trip to get your vaccine, click here. And if you're looking for a moment of reflection, click here to visit the Foothill Transit and Write Girl L.A. celebration of poetry month.

Last, if you ride Foothill Transit, or were a rider before the pandemic, please take the agency's rider survey. Regardless of the last time you rode the bus, they want to hear from you.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays

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

Mar 30, 2021

This week SGV Connect checks in on the community of Alta Dena in unincorporated Los Angeles County and on how changes at the California Transportation Commission are leading to big changes in how the state funds transportation projects.

First, Kris talks with Dorothy Wong, Altadena town council member about building partnerships and using tools like UC Berkeley’s SafeTREC Street Story to advance active transportation efforts in this unincorporated part of Los Angeles County. Street Story is free web-based community engagement tool that the public can use to “collect information about transportation collisions, near-misses, general hazards and safe locations to travel.”

In our second interview, Damien talks to Melanie Curry the editor of Streetsblog California. Curry listened in on last week's CTC meeting breaking news that the Commission is planning to ask for $2 billion to fund the Active Transportation Program in next year's budget. This would be a 1000% increase over the usual allocation that is roughly $200 million.

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays

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

Mar 16, 2021

On this week's SGV Connect, Kris interviews Dan Lafferty, Deputy Director and Paul Alva, Assistant Deputy Director at the L.A. County Department of Public Works about the Bassett High School Stormwater Capture Project.

Currently, DPW is reaching out to the community about the project and is encouraging residents and other stakeholders to complete a survey to help them best prioritize what the project will look like. 

In partnership with Bassett Unified School District (BUSD), the project will divert urban and stormwater runoff into infiltration galleries underneath Bassett High School athletic fields.  Other above ground improvements can be included such as low-impact-development features which will complement the Amigos de los Rios’ urban greening project.  In addition, a pocket park at the corner of the school athletic field is being proposed as a joint use feature with the community.

In our second interview, Damien talks with Diane Velez with Active SGV about Metro's fareless transit pilot program. In 2022, Metro will be offering fare-free transit to seniors, students and people with lesser income to test the impacts of not charging people n the LA region to use transit. The program could be expanded to cover more groups of people and more agencies.
 
Quick note: during the interview we discuss whether or not Foothill Transit is doing its own study. While they are not, Doran Barnes, the CEO of Foothill Transit is on the committee that will be reviewing and studying Metro's pilot project. 

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.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays

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

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