Transportation headlines, Friday, Dec. 2

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.

Before we get started, a couple of quick notes: we’re having some issues involving the servers that host the Source. That’s why the blog has crashed a few times recently or may be slow. Please bear with us.

On another note, I’ve been through some Santa Anas while out in the desert, but the winds that swept through my Pasadena neighborhood between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday were pretty unreal. I have no idea how many tons of wood came down across the Southland yesterday, but it sure seemed like my neighorhood was a little brighter today with a little less shade, owing to so many branches and tree tops toppling. (Here’s a few photos I posted to Flickr after a bike ride through parts of Pasadena yesterday).

And for you Sierra-philes out there (I’m one), here’s a little something plucked from the National Weather Service website yesterday:

SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS ALONG THE SIERRA CREST WILL DIMINISH BY LATE MORNING OR EARLY AFTERNOON AS DRIER AIR MOVES INTO MONO COUNTY. MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN WIND SENSOR AT 11000 FEET REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 140-150 MPH, BUT APPEARS GUST SENSOR CAN`T REPORTS WINDS OVER 150 MPH. ESTIMATING PEAK GUSTS OVER THE TOP OF MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN OF 170-180 MPH USING A 15-20 PERCENT INCREASE OVER THE SUSTAINED WINDS. ASIDE FROM THE TOP OF MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, PEAK GUSTS OF 70-90 MPH WERE REPORTED ALONG THE CREST AND BELOW 10000 FEET.

How Americans react to high gas prices (The Atlantic)

They react this way: with every 10 percent increase in gas prices, four percent more people shift to bus ridership and eight percent to taking trains, according to a new study in the Journal of Transport Geography. The study looked at a couple dozen or so American cities, including Los Angeles. Excerpt from the Atlantic’s interview with the study’s author, Bradley Lane, of the University of Texas at El Paso:

 

“Despite this being one of the most driving-oriented societies in the world, despite the fact that we have a lower national priority for transit than just about every developed society in the world, despite the fact driving is essentially free in our minds compared to any other mode, in some cities you still see some pretty large responses to gasoline prices,” says Lane. “So despite the game being tilted totally in favor of auto use, gasoline price fluctuation in the past 7 or 8 years actually appears to have a pretty significant, consistent effect on limiting how much people drive.”

[snip]

The upshot of this analysis is a recognition that automobile use does not occur in isolation. It’s strongly tied to both gasoline prices and the quality of the public transit system. Increase the first and improve the second, says Lane, and you may well find that America’s love for the road is founded less on hard concrete than on an artificially soft market.

Check out the maps with this post showing the relationship between gas prices and transit use in cities across the U.S. The Los Angeles region looks like it’s middle-of-the-pack in terms of people switching to transit when gas prices go up. Interesting.

Re-thinking streets in Northeast Los Angeles (L.A. Streetsblog)

Good post about James Rojas leading Occidental students in a simple exercise: asking them what streets such as York Boulevard in Highland Park and Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock would look like in 50 years. Talk about two streets with so much potential and so much gap between the reality and the potential. Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, in particular, over the decades has been transformed into a six-lane road that resembles a mini-highway (before the 210 freeway came along, that’s how it was used) that moves voluminous auto traffic through a business district that has seen a revival of sorts. Excerpt:

They also seemed to create streets that were destinations where you could patronize local businesses, take advantage of a community garden or places to hang out with friends to sit, rest, or linger. Moving quickly through the streets was not a goal of the students, which would be for a transportation planner.  The student’s ideas expressed a longing for a sense of community.

Well said, James.

DASH and Commuter Express now on Google Maps (KCET)

The city of Los Angeles’ bus service went live on Google Maps on Thursday. As Zach Behrens writes, the city’s website had good information about its buses. “…The power of this integration helps commuters best choose routes across a region where numerous transit agencies operate,” writes Zach Behrens. “Without a central data hub, planning a trip from, let’s say, a far flung area of Orange County to downtown L.A. could mean visiting a number of transit websites to check schedules. With Google, a lot of that work is already done.”

4 replies

  1. Quick correction: The Streetsblog post on NELA was by James Rojas, interactive planner extraordinaire and former Metro employee.

  2. Steve, regarding Colorado through Eagle Rock. I’ve heard it second-hand that Caltrans requires the street to have enough capacity to be a detour in case of 210 closure.

    It seems to me that, if true, this would moot any attempt do do a road diet, pedestrian improvements, or even light rail in dedicated ROW. It has the potential to be a beautiful pedestrian-oriented district on par with Pasadena, but it’s being held hostage to freeway requirements.