Five things I'm thinking about transportation: bus lanes, football stadiums, bullet trains, big cities and burgers

In this relatively new feature for The Source, I express actual opinions while working for government. Members of the media: please take any of these ideas and run with them — we could use the coverage!

1. It’s kind of a mixed message to say you’re against a bus lane in your neighborhood but you’re for mass transit.

1b. I’m weary of hearing the “but it will cause traffic” argument being used against every conceivable project in L.A., including the building of mass transit. Yawn.

2. I wish the conversation about a downtown L.A. football stadium near transit was a conversation about a downtown L.A. baseball stadium near transit.

2a. Anyone saying that a downtown stadium would be a traffic killer has never driven — a verb I use with irony — to a football game at the Coliseum or a Bruce Springsteen concert at the Sports Arena.

2b. When the Regional Connector is built, there will be frequent trains to Long Beach, Santa Monica, East Los Angeles, Azusa  and Union Station stopping just a couple blocks from L.A. Live, Staples Center and the Convention Center.

President Obama’s bullet train plan and the Umami burger after the jump…

The Umami burger, as captured in low light by my iPhone.

3. The $53 billion that President Obama wants to invest in high-speed rail lines in the U.S. in the next six years sounds like a lot of money until you consider the cost of some of the projects — just connecting Anaheim to San Francisco is currently estimated at $43 billion. The announcement seems designed to do two things:

•Encourage private firms to invest in high-speed rail projects to close the funding gaps that otherwise can’t be filled.

•Continue the planning process on most of the lines in order to prevent them from stalling and dying.

Those aren’t necessarily bad goals — but it’s not the same as having lines up and running in the next six years. Then again, the interstate highway system wasn’t built overnight either.

4. I think if there’s one stat that Congress thinks long and hard about when writing the next – federal transportation spending bill, it’s the one that Sirinya put in her post yesterday about federal funding: 56 percent of all Americans are living in the nation’s top 50 metro areas. I hope that’s where 56 percent of transpo money goes.

5. On the Metro Dining Map front, I finally had my first Umami burger — the one on Cahuenga and a short walk from the Hollywood/Highland Red Line stop. I know there are lot of people who have said it’s the best burger in town — and it was quite tasty — but I still rate Father’s Office (Santa Monica and Culver City), Comme Ca (WeHo) and the Pugburger at Hungry Cat (Hollywood, Santa Barbara) as better.

5b. If you’re in the Bay Area, don’t miss the burger at the Farley Bar at the Cavallo Point lodge in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It’s on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge — the easiest way to get there is to drive, unfortunately — but it’s worth it and the views from outside of the city are stunning, too.

16 replies

  1. @Connor:

    The full name of the station is Pico/Chick Hearn, not that LA Metro has altered all signs or announcements to reflect this.

    Not only for the points you have made, but also for the flow of pedestrians to/from the many parking “facilities” that lie on the other side of the Blue Line from Staples will the station need a total rebuild.

    (Fitted with unlockable turnstiles, natch!)


  2. I’m also going to chime in and say that Metro needs to seriously start thinking about Pico/Chick Hearn Station improvements being added to the Regional Connector project. I have seen that platform for Laker’s Games and it is just an accident waiting to happen. My dream would be to create a fully grade separated station (either above or below) which will probably not happen but something is going to have to be done, and even may have to add doors to the station to ensure passengers don’t fall on the tracks if metro is going to do the improvements on the cheap and keep the current “skinny” platform.


  3. @ironica

    Worst idea ever:

    “Let’s build an Americana in Downtown, instead!”

    So you want to build some fake pedestrian area with tons of parking when you have very good pedestrian areas already in DTLA close to transit?