Wednesday September 29, 2010
(Sept. 29, 2010) Southland transit agencies handed out coveted Golden Pylon Awards Wednesday to the region’s top traffic reporters. The awards honor the true-grit reporters whose on-air traffic talk keeps the region’s traffic moving by promoting rideshare options such as carpool lanes, vanpools and public transportation.
The Golden Pylon Awards is a traditional prelude to 2010 Rideshare Week, which begins Monday, Oct. 4. Rideshare Week is a statewide campaign to encourage thousands of commuters to ‘share the ride’ to help reduce traffic and smog. Currently 73 percent of commuters in the Los Angeles region drive alone to work.
Metro took the opportunity to brief the traffic reporters on the planned construction activities of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. Reporters told K.N. Murthy, Metro’s Deputy Chief of Capital Management, that the minute-by-minute twitter feed dedicated to the I-405 widening activites provided a constant update for traffic report broadcasts.
As if illuminating the region’s huge traffic knot, gleaming Lucite trophies inscribed with a traffic cone pylon went to five reporters who report on the daily traffic grind for numerous broadcast outlets.
And, the winners are:
- Dona Dower, who began her broadcast career with Metro Traffic Control in 1982, reports traffic on KFRG, KNX 1070 and KBBY.
- Jeff Baugh, a longtime traffic reporter appreciated by countless rush hour fans, helps Southern California motorists navigate their way through the clogged freeways of L.A., Orange, and San Diego counties on KFWB
- Nick Pagliochini, popular reporter broadcasts live traffic reports on KFI, KTMS, KDB, and KTIE
- Dianna Olea, traffic reporter, currently monitors and reports on traffic conditions on KGGI, KTIE, KRLA and KJLL.
- Denise Fondo, a familiar Southland radio personality, tracks the region's freeways on KNX 1070.
- California Highway Patrol Officer Saul Gomez, who reports traffic conditions on FOX 11 Morning News, Univision 34 morning news, Primera Edicion of Univision 34, 6 p.m.,and on radio stations KWRM Radio Mexico mornings; KFRN 1280 Family Radio, La Poderosa 1550 and on the Internet Real Time Traffic internet show on Myfoxla.com for Fox network.
The Golden Pylon Awards are sponsored by five regional transit agencies: Metro in Los Angeles County, Orange County Transportation Authority, Riverside County Transportation Commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments and Ventura County Transportation Commission.
The awards underscore the Texas Transportation Institute’s Annual Urban Mobility Report, which noted in 2009 that traffic congestion continues to plague American cities of all sizes, reaching a $87.2 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.8 billion gallons of wasted fuel.
Citing 2007 statistics, the report noted public transportation saved 541 million hours in travel time in the 437 urban areas studied in 2005. Without public transportation, fuel usage would have been 340 million gallons greater and congestion costs would have been $10.2 billion more in that year.
The 2009 mobility report notes that congestion in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region, which chokes 61 percent of the freeway and major arterial system during the 8-hour peak periods and causes the average peak period traveler to spend an extra 70 hours of travel time and an additional 53 gallons of fuel per year.
Congestion also costs the solo driver an estimated $1,480 in cold, hard cash and hits the region up for $10.3 billion annually.