CalTrans and Their Plans - October 5th at WVRC
RAY ZICKFELD led the Pledge, followed by the duo of LENNY FRIEDMAN and JACK HARRIS taking us through God Bless America. CLARK McQUAY gave the Invocation, entitled, Have you planted your garden? Plant 5 rows of P’s Preparedness, Progress, Preparation, Politeness and Prayer. Next, 3 rows of squash squash gossip, criticism and indifference. Then, 5 rows of lettuce let us be faithful, trustful, unselfish, loyal, and love one another. Now comes turnips turn up for work, with new ideas, with a smile, real determination and enthusiasm. And last but not least turn up on Thursday for Rotary! Good Job, CLARK.
We had one Visiting Rotarian, Brad Robinson, President of Beverly Hills Rotary. SEEMA PATEL, new President of our Rotaract Club, introduced her Community Service Chair, Amanda York. SALLY BRANT introduced Debra Harris, Executive Assistant to our Speaker, Raja Mitwasi. We were reminded several times that next week, the 12th, we will meet at the LUXE, not at Bel Air. Looking ahead, we are planning a joint meeting with Santa Monica, when our Bel Air will also not be available. Prexy MIKE was asked if he had any Special Prizes for us next Thursday, but the thunderous applause drowned out what I’m sure would have been a favorable reply
PP STEVE DAY came forward with a really high-powered list, which kept everyone in suspense until PP RON LYSTER spilled the beans these are those who have signed up so far for the Paul Harris Celebration on November 4th at the Raleigh Studios: CHRIS BRADFORD, PP STEVE DAY, SHERRY DEWANE, PP JIM DOWNIE, ED GAULD, Prexy MIKE GINTZ, PP RON LYSTER, PP PETER MORE, PP DON NELSON, PP’s NEWMAN & NEWMAN, PP BOB WESSLING and YOE. that’s 27 bodies so far, so please confirm to PP STEVE that you will be joining us, OK? STEVE also reminded us that they do need Silent Auction items he has the registration forms, of course. These can include use of a condo, special services, game or theatre tickets the list of attractive offers goes on and on, and WVRC always comes through with some good ones.
And Speaking of Announcements
PP DON NELSON showed a copy of a recent International Herald Tribune, in which Rotary had taken out a full-page ad, pointing out the major effect Rotary has had in the coming eradication of Polio, plus our many other wonderful gifts in support of worthwhile causes. As PP BOB WESSLING would, I’m sure, say, “It’s About Time”!
Christmas Shopping December 7th, with MIKE YOUSEM mark it down, please.
And, a RARE mistake by YOE! Yes, even though I was present, I failed to note the major contribution of SHARON BRADFORD to the Seventy Years of Service program last Sunday at Lawry’s. SHARON was deeply involved, and I apologize for not recognizing her earlier.
Our Visting Rotarian, Brad Robinson from BH, gave a short program describing the District 5280 Rotaplast Mission. This program specifically treats and repairs cleft lip and palate anomaly. This visit will take place from January 29th until February 11th, in Oaxaca, Mexico. While the doctors and nurses donate their time, costs of transportation, medicines, operating rooms, etc, need to be covered, of course. Rotary’s share is $25,000, and BH has stepped forward with $10K. We are being asked to contribute, and this will be decided at our forthcoming Board Meeting, Tuesday the 10th. Members who wish to join the team must pay their own transportation, but will be housed by local Rotarians in Oaxaca. For more information, you can reach Brad at (310) 728-6302. It certainly is a worthwhile cause.
According to Prexy MIKE, there were two men waiting at the Pearly Gates, hopefully to be admitted. One said to the other, “How did you die” and the reply was, “I froze to death”. That’s awful how does it feel to freeze to death?” “Very uncomfortable at first, your toes and fingers tingle, but essentially it’s a lot like falling to sleep. How about you how did you die?” “I had a heart attack. I knew my wife was cheating on me, so one day I showed up at home unexpectedly and I found her alone, knitting. I ran down to the basement, but no one was hiding there. I ran up to the second floor, but no one was hiding there either. I ran up to the attic, and just as I got there I had a massive heart attack and died.” The other man said, “That’s so ironic. If you had just looked in the freezer first”…
KEVIN BADKOUBEHI, our newest member, introduced the Speaker, Raja Mitwasi. Raja had been with Caltrans for the past 18 years. He has a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona, and has served in many areas of increasing responsibility over that period of time. Specific assignments included Planning and Transportation, Project Manager, Traffic Area Manager, Design and Resident Engineer. His title is Chief Deputy District Director of District 7, which includes all of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. He assumed this responsibility in 2003.
One of the main reasons why our Freeway System is not functioning more effectively is that we only constructed half of what was planned in 1956. Funding suddenly disappeared, but we went ahead with part of the program anyway. 1850 miles of freeways were projected, but so far only 920 have been built. The second problem is the age of the System itself it is sixty years old, and maintenance has not been carried out on a consistent basis. As we look ahead, we expect another seven million people to arrive in Southern California in the next twenty years
The major construction projects along the 405 in the Valley should all be completed by the end of 2007, However, additional work, costing a total of 750 million is part of the Bond issue on which we’ll be voting next month. The average daily traffic at the interchange of the 405 and the 101 is 500,000 vehicles, making it the busiest interchange in the world!
Caltrans is planning a new approach to future construction. In the past, they submit a design, construction firms bid, and then the work begins. Now, apparently, they will first choose a construction firm, who will design the system in smaller stretches, and complete one before starting the next. A continuing concern is how to increase the capacity of existing freeways, over which about 2,000 vehicles pass every hour. A new building is being constructed which will ‘quarerback’ the present system, and it is expected that will be a major help in reducing and in some cases eliminating present overcrowded sectors.
On the ballot next month is Proposition 1A which is designed to protect Proposition 22, which is already in effect but needs adjustment. 1A will ensure that tax money that is supposed to go towards transportation will indeed go that way. Proposition 1B is to insure better air quality the total of these two Propositions is almost 20 billion dollars! Thus the size of the projects severely limits the number of construction firms that can take on such massive work. Finally, note that the solution to many of our transportation problems is to utilize ALL means that is cars, trains, and busses.
Q&A PP DON NELSON, Why don’t we use reverse lanes, as they do elsewhere? We have not found them to be cost competitive. KACY ROZELLE, Is PCH part of your area? Yes, and we spent 1/3rd of our entire budget on that road only - it is one of 385 projects under that budget. RAY ZICKFELD, How is your cooperation with other agencies? We meet monthly, and concentrate on two plans Smart Streets and Smart Corridors. SUSAN ALLEN, Has there been any change in use because of the higher price of gasoline? Not really if it goes over $4 we think that will have an effect.
PP RON LYSTER Is the HOV line working (Ed I think that means carpool lanes)
Yes, we have 425 miles of HOV at present. PP STEVE SCHERER, Have you tried Smart Cars? Yes, I drove in one and was scared to death. They are technically very expensive. PP STEVE DAY Are the 10 and 405 the worst for overcrowding? Yes. And then of course, PP ERIC LOBERG interjected that he would bet $25.00 on UCLA against Arizona this weekend.- would Raja take the bet?
Remember next week we meet at the LUXE, OK?.