Transportation headlines, Monday, May 7

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Rail capacity project launches (Caltrans)

Caltrans, BNSF and Amtrak announced groundbreaking on a 3.8-mile section of new track last week — part of the “triple track” project to add 15 miles of new track between Commerce and Fullerton to increase rail capacity in this key chokepoint.

Expo Line: success, failure or perhaps a little too early to tell? (L.A. Streetsblog)

The Reason Foundation has already condemned the line to decades of poor ridership and money losses. Streetsblog throws a little perspective into the mix, declaring the Reason Foundation “study” to be more than a little flawed.

City of L.A. adds more bike lanes (LADOT Bike Blog)

Two bike lanes totaling three miles in South L.A. means that the city has now installed 30 miles of bike lanes in this fiscal year. The new lanes are on Vernon Avenue and Main Street. There are now about 200 mile lanes in the entire city — a lot or a little, depending on your point of view.

Heartland Institute compares belief in global warming to mass murder (The Guardian)

The conservative “think tank” uses billboards with images of criminals such as Charles Manson to briefly make its point. The Institute in a news release briefly mentioned that not all global warming alarmists have actually killed someone. Welcome to American political discourse, circa 2012.

5 replies

  1. The only way to counter-attack Reason and prevent them for making up more excuses is to start thinking like them beforehand and start fixing the flaws before they have a chance to attack them.

    Three things that will help boost Expo Line ridership and any other future projects to shut up the Reason folks:

    1. Fix the signal priority issues. There’s no point in having the rail advantage if it stops at traffic signals like cars. The common Reason babble is that rail is no faster than cars. If rail makes traffic signal stops like cars, where’s the advantage? Fix this so that there’s a real point to use mass transit: it’s actually faster than cars.

    2. Cheapen transit costs for shorter rides vis-a-vis the distance fare system. There’s no point in having the rail advantage if the cost of driving a car or a motorcycle is cheaper than rail for short distances. Basically, that’s where the oil companies and Reason Foundation folks are going attack next: the stupid flat rate system not making the distinction of travel distance, therefore making it expensive for short rides. “But you save on parking” is not a good enough excuse either as lots of places have free parking for their customers. More so true when lots of places in Downtown even offer free parking to motorcyclists because even private parking lots have the common sense not to charge motorcycles the same price as cars because they take up less space. Might as well fix this flaw before we give the Reason Foundation another lame excuse.

    3. Add more retail space to the stations. The advantage of cars is that they allow the driver to pull over to a nearby 7-Eleven if the person get thirsty, or pull over to a gas station if nature starts calling. Basically, car drivers have freedoms to do what they, want when they want, as they commute. Mass transit restricts these freedoms. The only way to compete against this is to open up transit stations to provide more retail services so that those that commute by bus or rail are provided with the same freedoms as car commuters instead of just standing there and do nothing but waiting for the bus or train. It also gives a great way to promote how much mass transit opens up new economic opportunities because commuters are essentially customers right there, instead of businesses waiting for people to drive up to their parking lot.

    Simply put: just copy how transit systems work in Asia.

  2. But do make sure you write tickets for people eating on the train just like you did the first day the Expo Line was open, because that will endear you to a lot of first time riders who will then never ever ride mass transit in Los Angeles again!

  3. “The Reason Foundation has already condemned the line to decades of poor ridership and money losses.”

    I don’t know about ridership but the line was designed with money losses in mind. It will never, ever make an accounting profit. Whether or not it makes an economic profit is up for debate. I think it might, but it relies on generous assumptions about positive externalities.

  4. Public transit in LA has forever been a public service for those who can’t afford cars. That has to change as increasing number of middle class move to public transit due to rising gas prices.

    Public transit is not a way for the poor to get around the city anymore. It’s now becoming the way for middle income earners to get around; instead of “public” transit, it’s “mass” transit. Since middle income earners supply most of the taxes, that means it’s time Metro starts looking after the needs of middle income classes for transit, not just the poor.

    If Metro needs to make more revenues and profit, then it has to do so. They need to do whatever it takes to make their transition from a public service paid-for-with-taxes bureaucracy to a for-profit company.

    They need to change their way of thinking from using our tax dollars to actually make rational decisions to ensure long term revenues go into their own agency.

  5. “Public transit in LA has forever been a public service for those who can’t afford cars. That has to change as increasing number of middle class move to public transit due to rising gas prices.”

    I agree. If we treat transit like welfare we’ll get welfare results.

    But this also means we end subsidies for driving, parking and sprawl, as well as the policies that encourage those things.