Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 4

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Pain from increased gas prices is mostly mental (Marketplace)

Here’s a feel-good story for those unhappy about rising gas prices. Marketplace says it’s all in your mind. The omnipresence of gasoline station signs advertising their prices make any increase something that’s unmissable and unforgettable. Marketplace did the math and figured that when gas goes up a dollar it’s “only” an extra $10 to $15 per tank. Or, as one person they interviewed put it, “two days of lunch.” Personally, I’m going to stick with riding Metro and eating lunch daily.

Bullet train study contemplates tackling Grapevine route (Bakersfield Californian)

Looking south toward the 5 freeway's ascent up the Grapevine. Photo by biofriendly, via Flickr.

The state agency charged with building high-speed rail is studying whether it may make more sense to connect the Los Angeles area and the San Joaquin Valley by running trains along the 5 freeway, including the steep Grapevine section north of Frazier Park. It’s only a study and so far there remains strong support for a route that would instead take the train through the Antelope Valley. It’s certainly hard to imagine any train handling an ascent or descent as steep as the Grapevine, but apparently it is possible. A Grapevine route would also be cheaper and cut a few minutes off the trip.

Feeding the city [with food truck parking lots] (Pattern Cities)

Can populating a city’s surface parking lots with food trucks make the urban fabric more cohesive? Pattern Cities thinks so and looks at examples in Portland and Austin. L.A. is arguably the home of the food truck, and I love it when our typically soulless downtown parking lots become markets of food truck flavors on given days. That being said, one Tweeter makes an excellent (sarcastic) point, “@rfassett yeah, food trucks must be great for the environment!”

4 replies

  1. I think this article deserves a good look if you haven’t seen it already. One thing that prevents LA Metro from really taking a leap forward is actual forward thinking. The “absolutely no-express train on any transit line” or “express buses have stops every 1/4 mile even when they are using a freeway HOV” will not cut it with a region the size of LA. I promise if you make an actual express train you will bring many more customers.

    I would even go as far as to say that Boston and London are the exceptions not the rule (especially with LA’s expansive and diverse business and residential locations).

    http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/commentary/la-vitamin-report/will-metro-ever-offer-express-light-rail-service-33079.html

    • Hi ywhynot;

      I think the blog post about express service raises some very good points. One point that I think should be considered: The A train in the New York subway — just like the lines under 3rd, 6th and 7th avenues — has four tracks. That allows for two tracks for local trains and two tracks for express. Our rail lines here have two tracks and in some cases Metrolink only has a single track to be shared by trains running in both directions. That makes it difficult to run express trains because the express trains either must get around the local trains or the schedules must be modified in such a way to give space to express trains. That could mean less service overall.

      One other thought: I actually thought the Gold Line express train worked well but I think it also cost Metro some ridership, as there were less overall stops at the stations designated as local.

      Thanks for reading and leaving this link,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. Steve,

    Thanks for the response. I realize what prevents metro from having express trains and the like, but when we have a chance to make some capital improvements (which Measure R gives metro) they should be looking to put 4 tracks in certain spots so we can have passing express trains. Heck the metro subway stations only have one entrance per station. I just want to make sure metro understands that they way they are building these transit lines does not afford future growth nor accessibility at all. It is something that should change in their capitol planning process.

    Look at Metrolink. After 20 years of service they offer their first express train and people looking for more info on it crashes their website!

    • Hey —

      I hear you loud and clear. I think if express service is something people really want, then the transit advocate community really need to push for that — because at this point the clear trend is to build more new projects rather than improve the existing ones. My own opinion — to emphasize, my OWN opinion — is that if it’s feasible on any existing project, the Orange Line would be a good place to start because building new tracks aren’t a problem.

      Thanks again for reading, writing and posting about an important topic,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source