Five things I’m thinking about transit, Nov. 23 edition

1. SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT HIGH-SPEED RAIL: I’ve searched my feelings and finally figured out exactly how I feel about high-speed rail: the same way I felt about the Westside Subway project between 2005 and 2007 when many, many public officials were talking about it but Metro obviously didn’t have the money to pay for it.

I had little doubt the subway was a good project and there were big obstacles that had to be overcome, such as the Congressional ban on funding. Still, I thought a lot of the talk about the project didn’t amount to much until there was a viable funding plan. That finally happened in 2008 when the Measure R sales tax increase to fund many road and transit projects was proposed, put on the ballot and then approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters.

And that’s the issue I have with high-speed rail. It sounds great, but the funding plan is still very sketchy. And, sadly, the issue of funding from the federal government seems split on party lines. Many Democrats like it but haven’t said much in the way of actual details when it comes to money. And many Republicans dislike it because it would require — gasp! — government funding to get built.


-The line isn’t opening until next year, but I’m curious to hear from readers about how they plan to use the new light rail line and how they see it impacting their commutes. Comment please!

-It’s no secret that some of the Expo Line stations are very close to one another — the Trousdale and Vermont stations are about one-third of a mile apart and the Farmdale and La Brea stations are separated by just one-half mile. Will having stations this close together — resulting in a slower ride — be a turn off for prospective riders? Or will it make the train a more appealing option because stations are easier to reach for commuters, residents and students in those areas?

-I don’t know when it’s opening so please don’t press me for a date or even an approximation of a date. I DON’T KNOW!!! That said, Bruce Springsteen has just announced a new tour for next year (no U.S. dates yet) and he likes to play the Sports Arena because it’s an old-school dump that puts fans close to the stage. So my little transit wish is to take the Expo Line to to see Bruce play and avoid the awful Expo Park event traffic/parking situation.

3. TAILPIPES AND WEATHER. I don’t want to confuse everyday weather for long-term climate. That said, of my 17 years living in Southern California, the last year felt as if it was the coolest — and I live in the San Gabriel Valley where it can get stinky hot. I’ve skied in deep snow the past two Memorial Days at Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra has already been walloped by some decent storms this winter. Just weird variations in the weather or a sign of how greenhouse gases and global weirding/warming may be impacting our state?

4. PROTESTING BY CAMPING: If I go to Yosemite, I have to pay for an official campsite. If I backpack into the Sierra, I have to pay to reserve a permit. But if I’m angry about something, I apparently get to camp for free in many city parks across the nation as long as I want and hold protests that delay traffic, including buses carrying riders just trying to get to and from work and make a living. Doesn’t make sense to me.

5. SAY HELLO TO BROOKLYN FOR ME, FRED: A somewhat belated goodbye and best wishes to Fred Camino, who has moved to Brooklyn and is leading a happy and car-free life there. Fred was invaluable in helping get The Source off the ground in 2009 and had an intuitive sense of the types of issues that readers most cared about — such as TAP.

We have two more posts coming from Fred — the first on how to lead a car-free life in L.A. (I’ll post it Monday) and the second on his early impressions of the transit system in the Big Apple (coming Tuesday).

Until then, have a Happy Thanksgiving and thanks to everyone for taking the time to read the blog, comment, e-mail, tweet and Facebook your transit experiences, failures and fantasies. See you Monday!