Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Regional Transportation Workshop Scheduled

On February 2, 2012, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will host a workshop and public hearing on the Draft 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), at its main office, 818 W. 7th Street, 12th Floor, in downtown Los Angeles.

Organized for elected officials in each county, the workshop provides an overview of the Draft Plan, which seeks to invest more than $500 billion over the next 23 years to reshape the region’s transportation network and improve health and quality of life in Southern California.

The workshop is open to the public and staff will take public comments during the hearing.
The Draft 2012-2035 RTP/SCS document and technical appendices can be viewed on SCAG's interactive website at www.scagrtp.net. Visitors may comment on the Plan directly on the interactive website. The formal 55-day public review and comment period for the Draft 2012-2035 RTP/SCS concludes at 11:59 p.m., February 14, 2012. For additional details about SCAG and the RTP/SCS, please visit http://rtpscs.scag.ca.gov/

RTP/SCS Workshop and Public Hearing
Los Angeles County
Workshop: February 2, 2012 / 1 p.m.
Public Hearing* following workshop / 3 p.m.
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
818 W. 7th Street, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017

*Videoconferencing for the Los Angeles workshop and public hearing will be available at SCAG’s regional offices in Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, and at videoconferencing sites in Coachella, Palmdale, and Hesperia. For more information, please visit: http://rtpscs.scag.ca.gov/

Southbound I-5 Closures in the San Fernando Valley

For those of you who drive I-5 in the San Fernando Valley, a friendly reminder about the freeway closures now underway. Tonight is the last night of the northbound closures. Southbound closures start tomorrow night. Details:

Dates: Feb. 1-2, 5, 12-16
Time: 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m.

For each closure date, the closure begins on the date listed and ends the following morning. For example, on Feb. 1, the closure will begin at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 1 and end at 6 a.m. on Feb. 2.

The closures are part of a project that's building a new connector between I-5 and SR-170 and new carpool lanes on I-5 between SR-170 and SR-118. Crews will be working on the new connector during the closures. As always, the closures are subject to change, and detours will be signed. (See map above.)

If you have questions, visit the I-5 website or call the toll-free hotline at (855) 454-6335.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Closure: Molette Street at Carmenita Road

For the most part, the Carmenita Road Interchange Project has been pretty light on construction closures thus far, but there is a permanent closure beginning today in the Norwalk area that we’d like you to know about. This closure will affect, primarily, a small light industrial area south of I-5 and west of Carmenita Road. Details:

Where: Molette Street at Carmenita Road. The east end of Molette Street will be blocked off.

When: The closure begins January 30, 2012, and is permanent.

Why: The closure is necessary so that Caltrans can build a new Carmenita Road bridge over Molette Street. Molette Street will be realigned.

The closure is part of a project that is widening I-5 to create one new carpool lane and one new general purpose lane in each direction, reconstructing the Carmenita Road bridge as a 10-lane concrete structure with new ramps, and realigning and upgrading frontage roads.

Questions? Call the I-5 toll-free hotline at (855) 454-6335 or check out the I-5 website.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Update: The Missing Palms are Back! (Almost)

As we announced yesterday, the Canary Island date palms taken from Caltrans right of way off I-10 near Mid-City Los Angeles last summer are being replaced this afternoon. If all goes well, all five palms will be back in place by the end of the day. If not, the crew will return tomorrow to finish the job. See the brief slideshow below for a look at the work now underway.

Several of our staff members were in the neighborhood yesterday to talk to residents about the replanting operation and to answer questions. We were very pleased to meet some of you (and your dogs!) in person. Feel free to call us at (213) 897-3656 if you have questions or concerns. We're here to help.

UPDATE: Planting was completed Thursday afternoon.

I-5 Freeway Closures

If you drive I-5 in the San Fernando Valley, there are some upcoming closures we want you to know about. These will be full freeway closures at night when most of us are fast asleep, so they won’t affect motorists with daytime work hours. But if you travel at night, you could be impacted. Only one direction will be closed each night. Here are the details:

Northbound I-5

Dates: Jan. 29 to Feb. 1
Times: 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Southbound I-5

Dates: Feb. 1-2, 5, 12-16
Times: 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m.

For each closure date, the closure begins on the date listed and ends the following morning. For example, on Feb. 1, the closure will begin at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 1 and end at 6 a.m. on Feb. 2.

The closures are part of a project that’s building a new connector between I-5 and SR-170 and carpool lanes on I-5 between SR-170 and SR-118. Crews will be working on the new connector during the closures. As always, the closures are subject to change, and detours will be signed. (See map at left.)

If you have questions, visit the I-5 website or call the toll-free hotline at (855) 454-6335.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Replacement of Missing Palms Begins Today!

Residents of a neighborhood in Mid-City Los Angeles were understandably surprised and troubled last summer when five Canary Island Date Palms disappeared from Caltrans right of way along I-10 near Apple Street. An investigation by Caltrans revealed the palms were removed by a company that (presumably) planned to sell them. A mature Canary Island Date Palm is worth about $20,000.

Now the good news: Caltrans has reached a settlement with the company in question requiring them to replace the palms. The planting operation, which begins today, should take about three days. Parking restrictions will be in effect during the tree replacement, so if you live in the neighborhood, please check the signs. We’ll post photos of the trees once they’re in the ground, so keep an eye on the blog for an update.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Caltrans Helps with Rescue of Mother, 2 Kids

In case you missed this news story last week, it’s worth checking out for two reasons: one, it’s a pretty incredible story of a daring rescue, and two, it’s a good illustration of how Caltrans workers serve as first responders.

In a nutshell, a sedan traveling on US 101 was hit from behind by a big rig on an overpass north of Santa Barbara. The big rig plummeted into the ravine below, where the driver died. The car, meanwhile, hung precariously on the concrete guardrail, with a mother, a 10-year-old girl and a baby trapped inside. Emergency responders were having difficulty freeing the family from the wreckage because the car was dangling on the edge, dangerously close to falling into the ravine. If you don’t know how the story ends, the video is worth a look.

The Caltrans District 5 Maintenance team were among the first responders on scene and worked to contain leaking fuel, control traffic, establish detours, and remove debris. We’re very proud of their excellent work!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Traffic Deaths in California Fall Dramatically

Traffic fatalities are significantly lower in California and Caltrans' safety measures are among the major contributing factors.

In 2010, there were 2,715 fatalities, the lowest level since 1944. Over the past several years, Caltrans has averaged nearly 100 safety projects totaling nearly $190 million annually. In addition, as a lead agency in the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Caltrans has implemented a broad range of safety improvements, such as installing left-turn lanes and increasing traffic signal timing to make intersections safer for pedestrians; realigning roads with sharp curves; and installing safety guardrails to prevent out-of-control vehicles from crossing from one side of a highway to another.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Drive Smart to Stay Safe

Getting a driver’s license has long been a rite of passage for teens ... and a source of considerable worry for parents. Caltrans’ partner agency, the California Highway Patrol, is making this important milestone easier and safer for teens (and less stressful for parents) with its Start Smart driver safety education classes.

The classes are held monthly, and explain the responsibilities associated with driving and how bad choices behind the wheel can have dire consequences. The goal is to reduce fatalities and injuries due to collisions and to help shape sound driving habits that will stick with teens for the rest of their lives.

For more information or to sign up for a Start Smart class, visit the CHP website or call (916) 657-8810.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Corridor Management Plan for the Arroyo Seco Parkway

As part of the preparation of the Corridor Management Plan for the Arroyo Seco Parkway, Caltrans is conducting an origin-destination survey to learn how people travel within the corridor. You may access the survey through one of the links below.

The survey is provided in English, Spanish and Chinese language formats.Survey is available online until February 15, 2012.

First Freeway in the West

Its seems as though every time we think we’ve seen and heard about everything there is to know about the Arroyo Seco Parkway (SR-110), we find something new. A little while ago while we were searching to through our archives in District 7 and found a picture of Amerigo Bozzani, the state highway commissioner and members of the Kawie tribe (the Spanish called them Cahuillas) that inhabited the area of what is now the Arroyo Seco Parkway. In this picture taken on November 12, 1940, the tribal members were on hand to ceremonially transfer the land title to the “white man.”

Obviously the way we open new freeways and begin new construction projects has changed, we definitely don’t smoke peace pipes.

High Desert Corridor Community Meetings

Caltrans Environmental Planning Division working in coordination with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will hold community meetings to update the public on the status (or future) of the High Desert Corridor. The meeting times are as follows:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 6-8pm
Twin Lakes Community Church
17213 Lake Los Angeles Ave.
Palmdale, CA 93591

Thursday, January 26, 2012, 6-8pm
Larry Chimbole Center
38350 Sierra Highway
Palmdale, CA 93550

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 6-8pm*
Victorville City Hall Conference Room D
14343 Civic Drive
Victorville, CA 92392

Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 6-8pm
Stater Brothers Stadium,
Mavericks Conference Room
12000 Stadium Way
Adelanto, CA 92301

*You can also join the Victorville meeting live at:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Introducing … Caltrans QuickMap!

If you drive -- or you ride with someone who does -- we have a new bookmark-worthy site for you! It’s called QuickMap, a new online service that provides traffic and travel information, brought to you by Caltrans. QuickMap puts traffic info for the entire state at your fingertips. Click on the icons on the QuickMap state map and you can access almost 1,000 freeway cameras and more than 700 electronic message signs on highways statewide … in real time. You can also zoom in to regional areas for a quick overview of traffic, and monitor congestion, incidents, lane closures, travel times and Amber Alerts. You’ll also get chain-control info and color-coded traffic speeds on freeways and local roads statewide.

So, the next time you’re getting ready to take a drive -- whether you’re headed out for your morning commute or on a long road trip to parts unknown -- check out Caltrans QuickMap first. You’ll be glad you did.

Friday, January 13, 2012


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), is holding a Grant Application Workshop to help potentially interested applicants, such as, MPO’s, RTPA’s, cities, counties,
transit agencies, university/colleges, special interest groups, and the public, to apply for Transportation Planning Grants for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

DATE: Thursday, January 19, 2012
TIME: 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
LOCATION: SCAG 818 W 7th Street 12th floor Board Room, Los Angeles, Ca 90012

For additional information about the workshop and/or the grants, please contact: Wilford Melton, Senior Transporation Planner, Community Based Transporation Planning Branch, (213) 897-1344 or Melissa Joshi, Senior Transportation Planner, Regional Planning
(213) 897-1347.

Bidding is open to entities in Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside,
Imperial and Orange counties.

The Grant Workshop and presentation will discuss the following grant programs: Community-Based Transportation Planning ($3 million); Environmental Justice – Context Sensitive Planning ($3 million); Partnership Planning ($1.2 million); Transit Planning (FTA Section 5304), Statewide or Urban Transit Planning Studies ($1.5 million); Rural or Small Urban Transit Planning Studies ($1 million); and Student Internship Development ($300,000).

Funding for these grant programs is available on a statewide, competitive basis. Application deadline (to Caltrans) for CBTP/EJ grants is Monday, April 2 at 5 p.m. Deadline (to SCAG) for FHWA/FTA 5304 grants is Feb. 17 at 4 p.m.

Transportation Planning Grants are intended to promote strong and healthy communities, economic growth, and environmental protection. They support closer placement of jobs and housing, efficient movement of goods, community involvement in planning, safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle mobility and access, smart or strategic land use, and commute alternatives. The final results of these grants should lead to the adoption, initiation, and programming of transportation improvement projects that improve mobility, access, and economic vitality.

For more information on these grants, please refer to the Transportation Planning webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp go under Quick Links and select Grants.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I-5 Open House Tonight in Glendale!

Have questions about the carpool lane project on I-5 between SR-134 and Magnolia Boulevard? Then join us tonight in Glendale for an open house. Details:

When: Jan. 11, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Glendale Emergency Management Center, 780 Flower Street, Glendale 91201

Caltrans staff from Construction, Environmental Planning, Design, Project Management and Landscape Design will be on hand to talk with you one-on-one and answer all of your questions.

If you can’t make the meeting, you can call the toll-free I-5 Hotline (855.454.6335) anytime to get your questions answered. You can also send us an email through the I-5 website. Just click on ‘Contact Us’.

Hope to see you at the meeting!

Angeles Crest Highway Opens

Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2012
8 - Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
Terri Kasinga
(909) 383-1910 (work) (951) 232-4268 (cell)

Angeles Crest Highway (SR-2) Winter Closure Section Reopens Today

San Bernardino County – Caltrans District 8 is reopening the closed section of the Angeles Crest Highway (SR-2) between Vincents Gap and Islip Saddle today at 1:30 p.m. The route was closed for winter on December 12, 2011. This is the first time that maintenance employees can remember the route ever opening this early during winter. The stretch of mountain highway, located west of Wrightwood leading to Los Angeles County, typically closes every winter due to heavy snow, avalanche activity, and concern for motorist safety and does not reopen until Memorial Day.

Due to a low level of snow fall to date this winter, Maintenance crews were able to clear the route of debris, clean the drainage facilities, and prepare the roadway for opening to the traveling public and sightseeing enthusiasts.

Motorists are advised that the route is subject to closure in the event of heavy snow fall, storms, or other unforeseen events.

For more roadwork information please visit IE511.org.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Caltrans: The Year in Review

Hot off the presses, the 2011-2012 Annual Report issue of the Caltrans Transportation Journal is here! This online publication highlights the Department's efforts in the following areas: safety, mobility, delivery, stewardship and service, along with financial/fiscal info. Here’s an excerpt from Acting Director Malcolm Dougherty’s intro:

The annual report tells Caltrans’ story over the past fiscal year. It’s been an inspiring 12 months. Caltrans overcame obstacles, worked as a good steward of the taxpayers’ money, functioned as the premier state transportation department in the nation, and served as an engine of growth for California’s economy.

There’s also a great feature story on winter storms. Even if you don’t read the entire report, at the very least, click on the cover page. You won’t be sorry.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Filling in the Gaps: Erasing potholes

Ever see the large cracks in the freeway pavement? Ever run over them? Sure, many of us have.

As District 7 freeways and highways age, there will be occasional blemishes that aren’t so pleasing to encounter on your daily trip. Fortunately, Caltrans maintenance crews have a quick, effective, and safe way to improve the road – concrete welder.

The video below helps explain how the concrete welder works.

This fix can harden and be traffic ready in one hour, reduces the need for long term lane closures, and reduces maintenance crews exposure to traffic dangers.

Obviously, the best fix for our aging freeways and highways is to continue to find ways to improve them. We have several projects in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties that will add carpool lanes, add more lanes, improve connections, and improve the flow of traffic.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year Resolution: Try Public Transportation

Happy New Year! With every new year, many of us choose to do something to change our behavior like eat more vegetables, save more money, or take public transportation instead of driving.

All Aboard! Caltrans District 12 (Orange County) and Metrolink are now providing train travel times from the OC to Los Angeles Union Station via electronic highway signs to show commuters that trains are a viable alternative to freeway travel. Both train and freeway travel times are now displayed on electronic highway Changeable Message Signs (CMS) near the Fullerton and Anaheim Metrolink stations during weekdays on northbound Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) and westbound State Route 91.

Caltrans District 7 (Los Angeles) and Metrolink are planning to offer similar messaging to benefit Orange County and Los Angeles County commuters who may be impacted by the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects from the Orange County line to I-605. (www.I-5info.com)

The pilot project has many benefits: 1) give commuters real-time information to help them get to their destination quicker; 2) highlight the time a commuter could save by taking a Metrolink train; 3) save money; 4) enjoy a stress-free commute; 5) have a positive impact on the environment; 6) encourage Southern Californians to get familiar with public transportation options.