From 1987 to 2010 American cars have packed on an extra 800 pounds on average, going from roughly 3,200 to 4,000 pounds. The implications for crash safety seem clear: Heavier vehicles hold up better in a crash, but are also more likely to inflict fatal injuries on other drivers and especially on bicyclists and pedestrians. But there’s an ironic rub to all of this: Fatal car crashes reached an all-time low in 2010, in part because newer cars are packed full of safety features — roll cages, airbags, suspension systems, etc. — which tend to add more weight. Some of the numbers, of course, reflect the SUV craze of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
One of the big questions surrounding AEG’s proposed downtown football stadium is how 70,000 people are going to get there. Because if they all chose to drive, it’s not going to be pretty on the 110 freeway or other roads. AEG officials have announced that they’re working with Metrolink to devise a regional strategy that maximizes transit use. Here’s one carrot for transit riders: “The plan will consist of incentives that include bundling transit passes with event tickets and other amenities for riders coming to events.” As AEG works to obtain project approval from the city of L.A., this is a positive sign that they are hearing residents’ transportation-related concerns. L.A. Streetsblog called it “a good start.”
Metrolink deserves a ton of credit for trying out a lot of different incentives to boost ridership. There’s the all-weekend pass, the Angel Stadium trains, and new express routes to name a few. And now JetBlue passengers flying out of Burbank Airport, which has its own Metrolink stop, will get a free ride on the commuter rail system on the day of their trip. Just make sure to print out a hard copy of your boarding pass to present ticket checkers.
LADOT GM de la Vega on better data, multi-modalism and, yes, pedi-cabs (L.A. Streetsblog)
Jaime de la Vega is the incoming general manager at the city of L.A.’s Department of Transportation, so L.A. Streetsblog solicited questions from readers for a Q&A. My impression is that de la Vega understands the need for better transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure — his challenge will be to make sure those plans are given priority and implemented in a timely manner. One particularly important point to draw out: The agency is transitioning from studying projects based on how they impact “traffic” (aka cars), to studying the effects of projects on all road users, regardless of how they are traveling. This should help tilt the scale in favor of giving priority on city streets to transit riders, as is the case on the Wilshire BRT project.