Honoring Southern California's Road Warriors

Golden Pylon Award 2010 winners are Jeff Baugh (KFWB), Nick Pagliochini (KFI), Dianna Olea (KGGI), Denise Fondo (KNX 1070), CHP Officer Saul Gomez (Fox 11) and Dona Dower (KNX 1070).

As I carpooled with Sandy Boyle, an administrator of the rideshare program at the Orange County Transportation Authority, to the Grove in Los Angeles, I was amazed at the web of freeway connectors and the sheer traffic we experienced.

Going to the 14th annual Golden Pylon Awards to honor the Southland's dedicated traffic reporters required us to navigate some of the region's notoriously traffic-choked freeways: 5, 91, 110 and then the 10.

The commute illustrated the importance of National Rideshare Week, which begins the week of Oct. 4 where people are urged to try carpooling, taking transit, biking or telecommuting -- instead of driving solo.

Luckily, we were ridesharing to the event, and it was past the morning commute crush, but it gave me a deeper appreciation of the intensity of Southern California's transportation system that links our everyday lives.

It also gave me a tremendous appreciation of the working professionals who provide us with up-to-the-minute traffic information so we may know before we go or take their advice and use alternative routes.

I was excited to see familiar TV faces and meet the faces behind the radio voices of the Southland's top transportation journalists.

I conducted this audioBoo interview with two of the winners along these videos -- all captured on my iPhone.

Please join me in saluting this year's recipients of the prestigious awards recognizing the men and women who help us navigate the freeways, roadways, busways and railways of Southern California.

  • 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

  • Saul Gomez, California Highway Patrol officer, 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

OCTA is proud to sponsor the Golden Pylon Awards other regional transit agencies: Metro in Los Angeles County, Riverside County Transportation Commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments and Ventura County Transportation Commission.

And although I couldn't offer a personal "thank you" to every single award winner, I wanted to thank them here on this blog for sharing my tweets and Facebook updates on our freeway construction projects and status of our Metrolink trains and OCTA buses.

Please join me in giving them a well-deserved shout-out for keeping Southern Californians moving.

Tell me who is your favorite traffic reporter. How do they make your commute better?

Near Complete: Rail Safety Devices in Orange, Calif.

Sarah Swensson or @RailSafeSarah on Twitter from OCTA's public communications team shares a preview of rail safety enhancements that will be complete in October.

OCTA is leading the nation in implementing a comprehensive countywide rail safety enhancement program that will make safety enhancements to 50 rail crossings throughout Orange County, home to more than 3 million people.

Using an iPhone, Swensson shares a preview of the first safety devices at Palm Avenue next to Chapman University and the Metrolink train station in Orange, Calif. This crossing is among the first nine that will be completed in October and complements OCTA's rail safety awareness program.