Transportation headlines, Friday, Nov. 18

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.


A 1930s-era painting of the 6th Street Viaduct by the artist Emil Kosa, Jr. Credit: George Stern Fine Arts gallery.

After five years of study, 6th Street viaduct’s fate goes to Los Angeles City Council (Blog Downtown)

The decision is in the City Council’s hands this morning: Vote to demolish and replace the historic 1933 6th Street viaduct over the Los Angeles River, or not. The Council’s hand appears to be forced by the fact that the bridge has “concrete cancer,” which “causes the concrete to crumble from the inside, steadily reducing the chances that the structure would survive a major earthquake,” writes Eric Richardson. Some outstanding concerns about the bridge’s replacement include if a new bridge should pay homage to the original bridge and how construction would impact adjacent businesses.

Thinking outside the bus (New York Times)

Writer Lisa Margonelli provides a great overview of communities that are tackling the issue of mobility in some unconventional ways. I’m particularly intrigued by ITNAmerica (Independent Transportation Network), a non-profit that connects people, especially the elderly, who need rides around town with those who have rides to give. But instead of operating on cash or good will, those who provide rides earn transferable credits to take a ride. Founder Katherine Freund puts it this way: “So I could give elders rides in California and transfer the credits I’ve ‘banked’ to my mother in New England.” If I have one critique of the story, it’s that Margonelli seems unnecessarily dismissive of the yeoman’s work of municipal transit agencies in favor of a more “organic” conception of mobility.

Through the looking glass — L.A.-area communities suddenly become bike friendlier (Biking in L.A.)

The opening of Santa Monica’s bike center has stalwart bike writer and advocate Ted Rogers reflecting on the success of several So. Cal. communities in becoming more bike friendly. SaMo and Long Beach are leading the way, but Burbank, Glendale, South Pasadena and West Hollywood are making some noise as well. Challenges remain, Rogers says, but I’d agree that bicycling improvements seem to be happening remarkably fast, given how slowly regions typically change. This article from 2005 about biking in Los Angeles — I just stumbled upon it — seems practically quaint in hindsight.

Hybrids safer for drivers, less so for pedestrians, study finds (L.A. Times)

That ultra-quiet hybrid cars would be more dangerous to pedestrians makes immediate sense. But I didn’t expect that hybrids would necessarily be safer for drivers than comparable non-hybrids. It turns out, however, that hybrids tend to be heavier than similar models because of their extra batteries, so they fair better in collisions — at the expense of everyone else I’d imagine. Physics!