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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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Now displaying: July, 2021
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.

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