Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 13

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.

Fast lane to gridlock (L.A. Times)

Smart column by architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne on Carmageddon. In his view, the impact of the 405 closure this weekend is getting a lot of hype because even in 2011, transit is woefully lacking and for many there’s no alternative to driving or freeway travel to get around. Excerpt:

There is certainly something to be said in this diffuse, diverse and distractible city for collectivity of any kind. And anything that forces us to imagine a Los Angeles without cars — or less dependent on cars, at any rate — has some civic value.

It’s striking, though, that amid all this handwringing we’ve barely paused to ask the most basic questions about what the widening project means for the city and how we navigate it or how we think about the relationship between architecture and mobility in a city planned for more than half a century around the primacy of the car.

Read the entire column. I think among the local media, Hawthorne has time and again in recent years shown that he has a good grip on many of the urban planning challenges facing our region.

The Mica bill: good for America Fast Forward, bad for everyone else (L.A. Streetsblog)

Local Streetsblog editor Damien Newton digs into the multiyear transportation bill proposed by Rep. John Mica (R-Florida) last week and finds that it has components of the America Fast Forward plan that could accelerate the building of local Measure R projects. But other components of America Fast Forward are AWOL in the House version of the bill, which includes some devastating cuts to other transportation programs — such as funding for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. This could be a dilemma for local officials who need the pathbreaking AFF program made into law but also may need other federal funds. Of course, some of the cuts to transpo funding could be restored in the Senate’s version of the bill.

Crime lurks outside airports, train stations (USA Today)

Wow. If the intent of this article was to frighten or inform me, I’m not sure it worked. The newspaper commissioned a study showing that crime rates are frequently higher than the national average in neighborhoods outside of big airports or central train stations in the U.S. Is this really news? And are travelers really being impacted or wandering into these neighborhoods and being victimized? Hard to say from this article, although it does mention there’s been some increasing instances of prostitution at motels near Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. You’ve been warned, travelers!

3 replies

  1. I was listening to “The John and Ken Show” the other day, who are known to be fervently anti-public transit because they believe that only illegal immigrants ride it. They argue that everyones just going to drive.

    The problem with that argument, is that it shows how Angelenos are so unimodal in their transit choices. Its not about switching from car to rail, or bus to car when you get money. Its about being able to take advantage of all forms.

    I live in Los Feliz right by the Vermont/Sunset Station. I have a car. I only use it if I have to go to the South Bay, or San Gabriel Valley past pasadena. I learned the bus system. I love the rapid routes (780 especially) and I bike.

    My aunt and uncle live in Long Island, my uncle drives to new york city everyday through gridlock. my aunt sometimes takes the Long Island Rail Road in. Do cars dominate New York, yes. Is there traffic, yes. But I was there during the MTA transit strike, and people got by. Carmageddon is all hype to me.

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  2. re: Crime lurks outside airports, train stations.

    There’s two reasons for this that aren’t really addressed by the article:

    1. There’s more crime in low income areas.. but low income neighborhoods also are likely to have more transit riders, and you have to build rail, etc into low income neighborhoods because that’s your rider base.

    2. LA County Sheriff needs to patrol, check stations, check tickets more.. Right now they check 5% of the time. I’d prefer to see this at at least 50% of the time.

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  3. Crime at train stations, lack of funding for transportation projects, etc. all can be solved if we actually start bringing more revenue into the system and making the system more efficient.

    While cuts to funding does hurt, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. All it means is to find alternative sources to bring in money. Just hire anyone who’d worked in the real business world and you could transform Metro to a success that could be a model for other transit agencies in the US.

    Stop spending and wasting thousands of dollars in tax payer money on “art” and make train stations to have vending machines, at-the-spot merchants and retailers, ads, etc. Crime happens from the broken glass syndrome; you bring in illegal vendors to trains, sooner or later you have taggers, drug dealers, and gang-bangers into the system. Eradicate them by bringing in real competition to the system. There’s a reason why you don’t see crime in shopping malls and department stores; having so much bright activity going around adds more eyes to the area which keeps illegal activity away. End this unitasker mindset that train stations can only be used for trains.

    Make up lost revenue from other sources and use those to fund constant improvements to rail, pedestrian and bike paths. Bring in ad space revenue, renting out empty space to merchants and retailers which add more “eyes” into the station without hiring more officers and eradicating illegal activity, ending this flat rate nonsense and move to a distance based model so that it falls more in line with operational costs, locking up the fare gates to stop fare evasion, remove the no eating and no drinking policy to spur growth of the merchants and retailers, all add to more revenue stream.

    Making the system more efficient reduces overhead costs that plagues Metro which in turn can bring in substantial cost savings. Said savings can also be used to fund more projects. Make TAP work as it was intended to. It’s still a half-baked system that doesn’t work as intended. Provide benefits for using TAP so people will start using TAP over paying the fare with hundred fifty pennies. A person wasting 30 seconds in paying his/her fare with cash over just less than one second on a tap’n go adds up to lots of wasted time and energy. Stop wasting time to tie the TAP system with other municipal agencies. Metro is the largest of them all; Metro should take the initiative on its own to implement all these policies independently. Once Metro build a base, sooner or later other agencies will have to follow whether they like it or not.

    Metro should really add a businessperson to its board of directors. Metro needs a wake up call that public transit is not for the lower income demographic anymore, it has to broaden its view that public transit has to adapt to changing times where the middle class are taking public transit, and that it needs to start serving its purpose as a real “mass transit” system.

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