Transportation Headlines, Tuesday, Nov. 17

The Metro Library (become a fan on Facebook) has compiled another extensive list of transportation headlines today. Since Gold Line coverage has been so heavy, I’m going to try and focus on some non-Eastside Extension related stories for my picks today.

The Los Angeles Daily News proposes that Metrolink hold a sale. Like all transit agencies, the commuter rail service is struggling financially and planning on another fare increase – the second in six months. The Daily News notes that Metrolink is already expensive and one of the reasons Metrolink is facing financial problems is because ridership is down by 15%. Making Metrolink a bargain, they hypothesize, could increase ridership and make up for those losses. Personally, I think the Daily News has a point, one of the main reasons people choose to take transit is because it offers them a cost savings versus driving. If that savings dries up, combined with the fact that transit is traditionally slower the driving, all that’s offered is stress relief – and in this economy, that might just be a luxury people aren’t willing to pay for.

Another article on transit fares, this time from the New York Times Freakanomics blog, looks at the equality issues of fare policy. The author notes that two classes of people generally use transit: the wealthier “choice riders” who can afford driving if needed; and the poorer “captive riders” who have no other choice but transit. He then goes on to show how choice riders – because they travel further, are more likely to ride expensive rail transit, and typically commute during peak hours – are a greater financial burden on the system than captive riders. However, both choice and captive riders pay the same flat fare. The Freakanomics blog thinks this is unfair, and proposes that off-peak discounts are the great equalizers in the transit fare battleground.

Streetsblog LA reports that the Federal Transit Agency is proposing regulations to improve pedestrian and bicyclist access around transit stations. Current regulations require a 1,500 ft. (less than a quarter mile) “structural envelope” around transit stations, but the new rules would extend this to half a mile for pedestrian amenities and three miles for bicycle projects. I think that this is a great initiative since, so often, once outside a transit station the streets quickly become unfriendly and this makes people less likely to take transit.

The rest of today’s headlines are after the jump.

15 Cities For People Who Hate Driving And Long Commutes: Where To Go If You Don’t Want To Spend A Lot Of Time Behind The Wheel
U.S. News & World Report

CATS Names New Transit Director From L.A. County: Carolyn Flowers Is Chief Operating Officer Of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Charlotte Observer

Counties Diverge On Plan To Widen The 405 Freeway: Officials In L.A. County Prefer To Have Focus Transit Dollars On Rail Projects. In Orange County, Freeway And Surface Street Improvements Get Top Priority
Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Metrolink Should Consider Lowering Fares To Bring In New Business
Los Angeles Daily News

El Monte Taking Transit Village Into Its Own Hands
LA Curbed

Expo And Crenshaw Lines: Under Whose Authority?

Fare’s Fair? (When Does Transit Fare Policy Treat People Equally? When It Treats Them Exactly The Same)
New York Times

Feds Propose To Expand Opportunities For Biking And Walking To Transit
LA StreetsBlog

The Future Of American High Speed Rail: Regional And Slow

Gold Line Extension Artwork
Los Angeles Times

The Gold Line Is Rolling, Now What About A Bike Network To Support It?
LA StreetsBlog

Los Angeles: Reader Feedback On The Gold Line
Human Transit

Low Ridership Tarnishes Gold Line Luster: Only 13,000 Riders Daily Are Expected To Use The New Extension, Which Began Its Normal Operations Monday, By The End Of Its First Year
Los Angeles Times

Obama Administration’s Transit Safety Rules To Eventually Apply To Buses
DC StreetsBlog

Remember The Red Cars?: Join Pacific Electric Railroad Expert, Brian Marcroft To Find Out More (Altadena Historical Society & Altadena Library Talk, November 23)

Software Upgrade Should Speed Gold Line’s Freeway Crossing
Blog Downtown

Shuttle From Irvine To LAX Begins Today
Orange County Register

Stricter Transit Standards To Be Sought
New York Times

Tide May Be Changing At Port Of L.A.: Exports In October Rise, And Glimmers Of Hope Are Seen Up And Down The West Coast
Los Angeles Times

A Tour Of L.A. Rich Rail History: A New Exhibit, “Hollywood — Trains, Streetcars And The Movies,” Provides A Starting Point For Presentations And A Bus Tour
Los Angeles Times

Truth Getting Lost In The Measure R Feeding Frenzy

Urban Freeway Farming For LA?
Urban Insights

Why Portland’s Mass Transit Rocks

Workday Commuters Ride Gold Line Extension For First Time
Los Angeles Times

Categories: Transportation News

Tagged as: