THE END OF SUMMER - August 25th at WVRC
STEW GILMAN started us off with the Pledge and true to our ‘prediction’ of last week, there was no head table. LENNY and PP JIM took us through You’re a Grand Old Flag, followed by ‘Reverend’ ED GAULD. We were allowed to sit always a good beginning and ED then noted it has been just over a year since President Reagan passed away. One of his primary statements - The ultimate determinate in the struggle for the world, will come down to a test of wills and ideas. The outcome will depend upon our spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideas to which we are dedicated. The prayer which followed noted some unfinished business still before us - expectations not met, grievances not resolved, and wounds not healed and as usual, ED, you deserve the Reverend title.
SEAN McMILLAN introduced our Visiting Rotarian, Nancy Fraser from LA Five. She is their Director for International Service, and was one of the group who flew down to El Salvador to survey that project. She is also a nurse. LILLIAN KLIEWER brought along her pretty daughter, Cassandra, who will be entering the 6th grade at Lincoln School in Santa Monica.
President DON spoke to Pat Anderson last evening, and PDG ANDY is doing quite well now, after a couple of rough spots. No visitors yet, but cards are appreciated. And I’ll editorially remind one and all that a card to ANDY is a nice thing to do and none of us does as many nice things as we should.
SATURDAY EVENING AT THE NELSON'S
DON then, on behalf of the entire Club, thanked our Westwood Village Auxiliary for the lovely party they put on last Saturday evening at the Nelson’s home. Janice DEA was in charge, and the Committee was composed of Sharon Bradford, Margie Downie, Pauline Harris (music), Marian Tseng (favors and I LOST my pistol, sad to say), Shirley More (photography), Sharon Rhodes-Wickett (guitarist and song leader extraordinaire), the Cookie Providers Marge Viau, Judy Wessling, Joy Bennett-Wolfe, Bettye Woodworth, Sally Newman and Eleanor More, plus Janice Dea, who provided ALL the fruit. DON and ROZ were the perfect hosts, as you would expect. It was fun for all thank you, Nelson’s!
Don told about a new Credit Card, sponsored by Rotary International. If you are thinking about changing cards, or whatever, please talk to Don for details on the Rotary offer.
The Family Picnic is coming up on Sunday, September 25th, at the Siskel home. I’m sure that my challenges issued in last week’s Windmill will inspire competition in the several Skill Events, and for those not as talented, you can always fall back on the water balloon toss. Seriously, save the date, and bring the kids and grandchildren.
PEGGY BLOOMFIELD reminded all members of the Community Service Committee that there will be a meeting next Thursday at 11:30 and in case you might forget, a reminder is already in the mail! There was a vague hint of a possible fine for those who miss the meeting - and, since I know DON better than some of you, I would take this vague hint quite seriously…
JOKE OF THE WEEK
President DON then provided his weekly joke: John went to visit his 90-year old grandfather in a very secluded part of Jordan. They talked through the night, and the next morning, the grandfather provided a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. As he picked up his plate, John noticed some slightly messy spots on the plate, and asked his grandfather if the plates had been washed. The reply, “They’re clean as cold water get’s em.” At lunch, he again asked about the plates, seeing some specks of scrambled eggs on the edges. The somewhat huffy reply, “I told you before, sonny those plates are as clean as cold water can get them. I don’t want to hear another word about them”. After lunch, John decided to drive into town but as he went toward his car, the dog barred his way. He called out to his grandfather, who, without looking up from the football game he was watching on TV, spoke sternly, “Coldwater, lay down”.
TONY MARRONE introduced our Speakers. They were Ed Andraos and Marco Ruano, both of whom are with the Department of Transportation. Ed is a Project Manager, and has been with the Agency since 1991. He manages the 101/405 interchange, and graduated in 1983 from Kansas State with a degree in Architectural Engineering, later earning a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas. Marco is a Licensed Civil Engineer and has worked for Caltrans for nine years. He is the Chief of Freeway Operations for Caltrans for District Seven, which encompasses all of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. Both of them can be reached at (213) 897-3656.
Ed Andraos spoke first, illustrating his talk with a mockup of the 101/405 Interchange with which we are all familiar, I’m sure. He began by thanking us for inviting him to speak. He provided a handout on each table, outlining District Seven in the Caltrans System. District Seven employs about 2,400 people, mostly in construction and maintenace. Their annual budget is $304 million, and they expect to manage about $5.8 billion for transportation projects during the next five years. Their primary concern is to improve mobility across California, reducing congestion wherever possible.
The 101/405 interchange is the busiest in the U.S., with about 413K vehicles passing over it daily. Many of their most recent projects have been seen by us the widening of the interchange lanes from one to two, for instance. And of course, doing this work while the freeways are in use adds to both the complexity and cost of the job. The carpool lane south from the 101 to the Wilshire Blvd area saves the commuter about 20 minutes. The northbound section from Mullholland also has provided relief for the congestion which existed before it was implemented. The widening of the 405 south of Mullholand is now in progress as we know. Short term plans could cost between $500 million and 1.5 billion, and what gets done will of course depend on how much funding is available.
Marco Ruano spoke next. He began by telling us of how Rotary had helped him with a scholarship to Loyola Marymount, making possible his college education.
The LA basin is now the most congested traffic area in the entire country, due to a continuing 2% annual increase in population and the fact that our freeway system is basically complete projections are that our population will grow by six million in the next twenty years. Two examples of problems that have occurred the original Beverly Hills Freeway was to follow the route of Santa Monica Blvd from the Echo Park area to the 405 but the people of BH simply refused to let it be built. And on the Ventura Freeway north of the 405 interchange, plans were suggested to materially widen it on both sides. Once the plan became known and it would have eliminated about 1,000 homes- opposition of the residents was so strong that the entire plan had to be abandoned.
There are two types of congestion recurrent and non-recurrent. Recurrent is what you see every day on the system, the same problems all the time. Non-recurrent includes accidents, construction, special events, etc and these they are attempting to handle on a quick-response basis where possible. Ramp metering is one of their major tools, with about 1000 ramps now metered on a selective basis. And the Department is committed to HOV Carpool lanes, which move more people and less vehicles a double bonus. There are 330 closed- circuit cameras which enable them to spot trouble as it occurs. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is headquartered in the same building as Caltrans, which helps with coordination of information about traffic conditions on a timely basis. They also have 160 tow trucks which roam the freeways and thus can remove obstacles more quickly. Last year they provided 300K contacts.
LILLIAN KLIEWER asked about construction materials stacked just south of LAX what’s it for? Neither speaker knew, which of course got a laugh from the audience. I think it was HOMER NEWMAN who wanted to know why we can’t use the freeway cameras for surveillance. Because Caltrans is not a Law Enforcement Agency, and thus is prohibited by law from such use. CHP is working on this problem. MIKE YOUSEM, in the Bay Area, you can move into or out of the carpool lane anytime why don’t we allow this? Because the two systems were built at different times, and we feel such movement causes accidents. CATHY REZOS, Do you realize that this new ‘minutes to travel’ display causes everyone on the freeway to slow down to read the sign? We are just starting this process, and it may need some adjustment. The main problem Caltrans has is that they have no voice in controlling the increase in traffic government is fragmented. I went up to them afterward and asked if they are funded by all sections of government federal, state and local, and yes, those are all their sources.
DON wanted to know, “Why is it when you sit up or sit down, the result is the same?”