Transportation headlines, Friday, July 1

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.

Riders Rave About DASH Service, Survey Says (blogdowntown)

On the eve of a fare increase (to 50 cents) LADOT released results of a survey showing that 90% of DASH riders give the system high marks. Demographic data reveals that over 50% of riders are Latino, female and use the buses to get to work.

Editorial: Bullet train’s folly factor rises (Orange County Register)

A new report from the Center of Investigative Reporting released a report questions whether the California High-Speed Rail Authority has budgeted the funds to build and operate the proposed system. The Orange County Register agrees – and envisions a worst case scenario where high-speed rail can’t attract enough riders to be profitable, shuts down operation and becomes a museum to taxpayer waste.

Back to Basics in Transportation Planning (Project for Public Spaces)

They say hindsight is 20/20 and this article from reformed transportation engineer Gary Toth proves that theory. Gary spent 20 years believing in the “wider, straighter, faster” school of transportation planning, but had a change of heart after he realized that philosophy only served to hurt communities and didn’t solve transportation problems. In fact, he realized, it just caused more problems. I think this paragraph from his article sums up the problem nicely:

“Spread out development made possible by the new highway capacity was creating congestion faster than transportation agencies could widen or replace failing highways. Furthermore, mass transit could not serve the new sprawling suburbs and street design made biking and walking all but impossible. This all caused vehicle trips and vehicle miles to explode at a rate many times faster than population growth.”

4 replies

  1. There is nothing new about the Orange County Register article. Another negative transit article that completely ignores our infrastructure problems, and how capacity amongst freeways and airports across the state is being reached with no alternative offered as a solution. Just more “Government is bad” articles made to appeal to the main constituents of Orange County. It angers me that the county considers themselves to be in a bubble, as someone who frequents the county on a daily basis. OC NEEDS HSR to make up for the crowded freeways. If OC was serious about jobs they could be building lightrail through the OC, but continue to pretend there is no problem that freeways can’t solve. Sorry for the rant but it needs to be said.

  2. The “raves” for DASH are NOT surprising, just like SMMBL (Big Blue Bus) gets such great reviews: they are small scale, itty-bitty service areas in highly dense areas with very short routes (and frequent head-ways for Downtown DASH routes).

    As a long time use of DASH (back to when it was the RTD Mini-bus service), most passengers ride for MUCH less than a mile, sometimes a few blocks, and even the standee experience with such short “DASH” bus riding is always going to produce greatly positive results.

    If the SMMBL were given the entire MTA service area to provide transit, we would certainly see “The Big Blue Bus” getting “Big Black Eyes” with the same complaints hurled at our MTA. When one scales-up, the challenges and negativity mount.

    Please no more comparison with tiny cites who don’t have our challenges nor are anywhere close to our size such as Portland, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, and just about every other city except for New York and Chicago. It’s very easy to service a hamlet of about 400,000 like Portland and Seattle for whom Long Beach, CA is true peer city. I can tell you that neither Chicago nor New York are perfect transit cites, but they are the ONLY peer cities/transit agencies for LA, and we can learn most from what those two cities have done right.

  3. How about a whole series of DASH buses radiating from each subway, light rail and Metrolink station? Overlaid with logical inter connecting MTA and local city owned line service? I agree that many bus trips are short and are hurt by the length of the bus line, thus making on time performance hard to achive. Rail, I would think, generally has better on time performance as it is not fighting street traffic.

  4. @mark
    That’s an excellent idea. And also, the frequency of said buses needs to be high at every 10 to 15 minutes. Ridership would certainly increase.

    “…where high-speed rail can’t attract enough riders to be profitable, shuts down operation and becomes a museum to taxpayer waste” So I guess then according to the orange county register’s logic, we should shut down our highways and airports and turn them into museums… thats very smart. Once again nothing surprising from anti rail folks holding high speed rail to a standard that no other transit infrastructure in this country is ever held to.