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the skunks of los feliz
The proposed Red Line extension received a boost from an independent peer review board's finding this week that tunneling below the methane fields along Wilshire Corridor could be safely accomplished with the use of newly developed technology.

Next stop? Getting Rep. Henry Waxman on board.

In other transit notes:

- The MTA and the city take a mulligan on Orange Line safety, and start "experimenting" with new safety measures, including adding strobe lights to the MetroLiner busses, lowering warning signs, and tweaking traffic lights at busway-surface street intersections. No crossing gates, though.

- Click here to see an interview with the Foothill Extension Gold Line Construction Authority Board Chairman John Blickenstaff. It provides an excellent overview of where the Foothill Extension stands, as well as the many challenges it faces.

Photo courtesy of Metro.
Waxman so far has indeed paid lip service to the idea of repealing the law he put into effect in 1985 (this guy's been in congress for over 20 years? Gee, can't somebody else get a shot?), if he could talk to the panel who made the recommendation and they could "convince him." In other words, he's still twisting in the wind politically, and waiting for the NIMBYs to start yelling, giving him cover to back out. (I hope I'm wrong about that, really). But it seems that NIMBYs on the westside are becoming harder to find: the people on the westside are screaming for public mass transit (better than buses), and some of them may have actually taken the Red Line and seen how useful and important it is. The Beverly Hills city council even passed a resolution supporting the Red Line going down Wilshire (though truthfully, actual building there is at least 20 years away, if it ever gets done). The fact is, the subway could have always been built safely, but now that 20 years have gone by, Waxman has cover to say that "technological advancements" have now made it "safe". Never mind that digging has been done in the area for building foundations and sewer lines continuously since the law has been in effect. Fingers crossed that Waxman keeps his promise and changes the law.
Hooray! Jon Blickenstaff is my "boss." A very good man. I wonder if my fellow planners have seen this interview.
Wait a minute, Scott... are you implying that Rep. Waxman was using the methane issue as a front for the NIMBYism of wealthy Westsiders???

Shocked! Shocked, I am!

Seriously, I think the guy doesn't have a choice anymore. Even a deeply entrenched beneficiary of California-style gerrymandering like himself has to answer to his constituents eventually, and I think those constituents have had enough of spending half their lives stuck on the 405.

And, his anti-subway sentiment aside, I have to say I kinda like the guy, especially when he's stickin' it to the Bushies.
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