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.
Bringing back the boulevards (L.A. Times)
Architecture and planning critic Christopher Hawthorne begins a new series on the region’s boulevards and their potential for revival. Part one looks at Atlantic Boulevard and includes this introduction to the series:
The boulevard, in fact, is where the Los Angeles of the immediate future is taking shape. No longer a mere corridor to move cars, it is where L.A. is trying on a fully post-suburban identity for the first time, building denser residential neighborhoods and adding new amenities for cyclists and pedestrians.
In the process, the city is beginning to shed its reputation as a place where the automobile is king — or at least where its reign goes unchallenged. Cities across the U.S. followed L.A.’s car-crazy lead in the postwar era. This time around we might provide a more enlightened example: how to retrofit a massive region for a future that is less auto-centric.
Especially among younger Angelenos, including foreign-born immigrants and transplants from other American cities, there is a hunger for better-designed roadways and new ways of getting around. And L.A.’s political leadership is finally responding.
The biggest single change is the appearance of new transit lines. Flush with cash from the Measure R sales-tax increase, which is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is extending subway, light-rail and bus networks across L.A. County, including the new $930-million Expo Line.
It’s a great idea for a series and, of course, it would be a wonderful thing to see the region improve the form and function of its big streets, many of which are complete eyesores. As a former Westsider, I nominate Lincoln Boulevard between the Santa Monica Freeway and Marina del Rey as one of the boulevards most in need of severe intervention.
If the state doesn’t approve selling $2.7 billion in bonds for the first part of the high-speed rail project by mid-June, the feds could yank their commitment to $3.3 billion in matching federal funds for the project. This L.A. Times story raises questions about whether it’s even possible to get the first segment built by 2017 as promised. On a related note, the news over the weekend that California’s budget deficit for next year has ballooned to $16 billion is one more reason that lawmakers may not want to take on more debt.
Metrolink proposes fare hikes (Daily News)
A brief look at the five- to nine-percent increases proposed by Metrolink staff to cover, in part, increased fuel costs. The agency’s Board of Directors is scheduled to consider the increases at its May 30 meeting.