Metro needs to better report its spending on attorneys working on behalf of the agency, according to a new audit by the agency’s inspector general. In particular, the audit said that the County Counsel’s office — which handles legal issues for Metro — had frequently spent more than $200,000 on private attorneys for individual cases without seeking the permission of the Metro Board of Directors. County Supervisor Don Knabe, chairman of the Board of Directors, is quoted saying the audit includes some recommendations that the Board has been advocating for some time and that while improvements have been made, others are still needed.
Los Angeles School Buses Getting Greener (School Transportation News)
In keeping with a regional effort to phase out older and dirtier diesel buses, the LA Unified School District has secured an order of school buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), bringing its fleet of lower emissions buses to 403 out of a total of 1300 buses. The latest order of CNG buses was funded through a grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the state agency charged with monitoring and regulating air pollution. According to Enrique Boull’t, LAUSD’s transportation branch chief, the school district had been energetically pursuing the grant for over three years. The green benefits are two-fold: LAUSD can now phase out some of its 20-30 year-old diesel buses, while saving money on their operations, as CNG fuel costs the school district about $.50 per gallon.
Scooters Proliferate in Downtown LA (blogdowntown)
With more and more Angelenos moving into the walkable confines of Downtown, residents of the city center are starting to embrace electric and gas scooters for those trips around town that fall somewhere between walking distance and car/transit distance. An electric model will typically have a range of 30-50 miles on a single charge and can be legally parked on the sidewalk as long as it doesn’t obstruct pedestrian traffic. Under the California Vehicle Code, electric scooters fall broadly under the same umbrella as bicycles. However, as scooters and the electric/pedal-power “e-bikes” gain in popularity, it may be necessary to clarify the distinctions among the vehicles for legal and safety reasons. For instance, should “e-bikes” be allowed in bicycle lanes? Or, to ride on sidewalks, as bikes are allowed to do in the city of Los Angeles?