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.
Santa Monica bike share program snags big grant (Santa Monica Patch)
The $500,000 from the South Coast Air Quality District will allow the program — set to launch in 2013 — to expand to 350 bikes available at 35 rental stations, including five outside Santa Monica. A $1.5-million grant from Metro is also part of the funding for the project, which will include rental stations at each of Santa Monica's three Expo Line stations.
A haunting collection of five photos of bus stops on the grounds of nursing homes in Germany. Patients suffering from dementia are taken to the stops, where they spend time sitting and waiting for buses that never come.
UTA racks up travel expenses (Salt Lake Tribune)
The Utah Transit Authority, which runs buses and trains in the Salt Lake City metro area, racked up more than $600,000 in travel expenses in the past 18 months. Many of the trips were taken by a former CEO, who traveled the world on the public's dime for the sake of studying other transit systems in at least 11 countries (including two trips to Spain). The CEO of the UTA is mostly an advisory job — the general manager runs the show — and, not surprisingly, the job is no longer filled.
Amy Ephron's take on L.A. transportation (L.A. Observed)
Excerpt from her first post, which is mostly about finally getting a license plate for her car:
I realize this is LA-centric but it's not my fault I live in a city where it's not possible to walk from one place to another; public transportation is limited and sluggish; I'm too scared to ride a bicycle on a city street, let alone navigate a high-speed canyon; and constructing a subway, in my opinion, under a city that's actually on an earthquake fault (or three) and has a working oil-well dead-center (on the high-school campus of Beverly Hills) is one of the worst ideas ever, and if I was FEMA I would be fighting it.
Yikes! For those inclined to take Ephron literally, my response:
1. I think it's likely Ephron has the resources to live in a walkable community, if that's what she wants.
2. There are plenty of walkable neighborhoods in L.A. County, just as there are plenty that are not conducive to walking. It's not hard to figure out which is which before buying or renting a home/apartment.
3. According to the most recent numbers from the American Public Transportation Assn., Metro is the third largest transit agency in the country in terms of the number of passengers it carries. I don't think it's limited, although other metro areas have larger rail systems. I do think it's fair, of course, to question its effectiveness and whether things can be done to make it quicker.
4. I think Ephron is hardly alone in being scared to ride a bike on a city street and I do think in many parts of L.A. County too much has been done to help cars get around and too little done to provide cyclists with safe routes.
5. Ephron should be smart enough to know that subways have been built and sare safely operated in other metro areas where there is seismic activity, including Tokyo, Seattle and this little village up the road known as San Francisco. I also think it's kind of odd to gripe that transit here is “limited and sluggish” and then complain when a project is proposed — i.e. the Westside Subway Extension — that seeks to expand transit and speed it up in the congested Westside.