Transportation headlines, Friday, August 17

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.

East L.A. sounds off at 710 meeting (EGPNews.com)

The proposed project that could widen the southern end of the 710 to handle more freight traffic from the ports didn’t get a great reception at a recent community meeting. Commerce residents and business owners feared losing properties and others said that widening the freeway would worsen air quality instead of improving it by helping traffic move better. The 710 south battle, in my view, is going to come down to this simple question: is the status quo acceptable?

XPressWest train likely to fail (Reason Foundation)

The Libertarian thinktank has kicked the steel wheels of the proposed bullet train between Victorville and Las Vegas and responds — surprise! — negatively. The big problem is that the project is seeking a $5.5-billion federal loan that the Reason Foundation believes is a risky proposition because of questionable ridership. In other words, how many people are willing to drive to Victorville and then board a train for the rest of the journey?

What’s the fastest way to travel along Wilshire Boulevard? (L.A. Streetsblog)

Four competitors decided to have a race on a section of Wilshire between roughly Bundy Drive and Beverly Glen. There was a cyclist, a guy driving his truck, a pedestrian and a passenger on the Metro Rapid bus. To see who won the gold, read the post — although I guessed the order of finish before I read it.

11 replies

  1. “What’s the fastest way to travel along Wilshire Boulevard? There was a cyclist, a guy driving his truck, a pedestrian and a passenger on the Metro Rapid bus.”

    They should’ve brought in the scooter as well.

  2. For once, I agree with the Reason Foundation. No one from LA is going to drive all the way to Victorville just to take a train to Las Vegas. People aren’t even going to drive to Palmdale or Lancaster.

  3. I have to agree with the Reason Foundation here too.

    The only way it can work is if the train has a very high frequency (are they double-tracking it?) and doesn’t require a reservation. Otherwise, you would have to leave the LA Basin so early to catch your train that you might as well just drive whole way to Vegas in the same amount of time.

  4. Frank M: A scooter’s not going to be any faster than a car… maybe if you slide between some cars at a red light, but cars routinely pass scooters in between. It may have been faster to find a parking spot than it would have for a large truck, but even then, it can’t legally share a metered space, so it still needs to find an open one if they are metered.

    Joaquin: I totally agree on the drive to Victorville… at that point I’d keep driving. But if it was extended to Palmdale I be more inclined to take a Metrolink train up there for the high speed ride the rest of the way.

  5. A few experiences of the Sunday night backup on I-15 and people will vow to take the train in the future. They definitely need trains every 30 minutes or more frequent during the peak Thursday and Friday periods, but with that it shouldn’t be that big an issue.

  6. Steve White,

    You’ve obviously haven’t rode on a scooter. While everyone is stuck in traffic, which Wilshire Blvd is notorious of, scooters just pass by in between cars, much like bicycles just whiz on by. Cars can’t catch up because they’re still stuck in gridlock traffic. Haven’t you noticed scooters just whizzing by while everybody else is stuck in traffic? When you drive on surface streets, have you noticed how a scooterist just whizzes by and for some reason you can’t catch up because you have no room to move as you’re still stuck in traffic? And a scooter is much cheaper than both cars and public transit.

    Why don’t you actually ride a scooter and compare before you make judgments?

  7. I own a scooter myself and I drive down Wilshire Blvd. all the time. I can say from my own personal experience that it is the fastest way to get around town. Cars and buses are just too big to maneuver around other cars that they just trod along the same lane. Bicycles are healthy, but it’s too slow to keep up with the motorized power of a scooter.

    So think of it this way: What causes gridlock? A car in front of you is trying to make a right turn on a big street, but your can’t maneuver around because there are other cars to the side of you. You end up waiting and waiting, and by the time the person makes a right turn, the light is red already.

    There’s none of that on a scooter. The scooter is small and agile enough that if there’s a car trying to make a right turn in a heavily gridlocked intersection, all I need to do is swerve around while staying in the same lane. I don’t need to cross over to another lane because the scooter is just small enough to inch its way through and get going without getting stuck like cars.

    And furthermore, I usually end up going ahead of the line of all the cars at traffic lights by whitelining between the cars as they wait for the traffic signal. A car and a scooter starts at the same place. When a car hits a sea of cars waiting for a traffic signal, it has to get in line. A scooter however, can just whiteline and go straight to the head of the pack, leaving the car I started off with way back in line. When the light turns green, I go. The other car, still waiting in line. By the time I reach the next traffic light, the car that started out the same as me is two or three traffic lights behind, still waiting in line with the other cars.

    Here’s a fact: It only takes me 15-20 minutes to get from Wilshire & Westwood to Wilshire & Western on the heaviest of traffic on a scooter because of the agility it provides. Wilshire & Santa Monica, jump ahead to the first in line. Light turns green, I throttle away and I put all the swarm of cars and buses behind as they still trod along with the pack with no way to maneuver around other cars. Wilshire & La Cienega, jump ahead to the first in line. Speed away and I put all the swarm of cars and buses to dust as they still trod along with no way to maneuver around other cars. Same thing at Wilshire and Fairfax, Wilshire and La Brea.

    And mind you, I don’t even have a uber fast souped up scooter. It’s a simple 125 cc scooter that gets 50 MPH tops and it gets great gas mileage, upwards of of 70 MPGs or more.

    If you don’t believe me, you can e-mail me and we can do a test. Let’s start at the beach at Wilshire & Ocean and we’ll go down Wilshire Blvd. all the way to the terminus Wilshire & Grand.
    Let’s see who’s the fastest. A bicycle, a simple 125 cc scooter, a car, or public transit. Then we can see who the real winner is.

  8. There are existing rail tracks between Los Angeles, Fullerton, Riverside and San Bernadino and on to Las Vegas. Why not make some simple track upgrades for much less than the cost of a new line. Tilting train technology could be used to speed up the service, not to Bullet train rates but perhaps 100mph. Then, people will not have to drive to Victorville. The larger customer base from the LA basin would probably make the train pay for oyself.

  9. Totally agree, unless the Victorville- LV line is connected straight through to LA, its doomed to fail. I think it should be connected over Cajon to tie into the CHSR line heading south to San Diego, either connecting at Ontario or Riverside. Trains could either run LV>LA & LV>SD.
    At the bare minimum, they need to get the Victorville terminus moved to Palmdale.