Transportation headlines, Monday, Sept. 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.

Crenshaw Boulevard comes to a crossroads (L.A. Times)

The latest in architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne's series on some of the region's most famous streets focuses on Crenshaw, which runs 23 miles from the edge of Hancock Park south to the top of the Rancho Palos Verdes peninsula. Hawthorne is particularly interested in the Crenshaw District and Leimert Park, the traditional heart of the African American community in South L.A. Exerpt:

Even in tough times, the Crenshaw district has maintained its status as a power base for black Los Angeles. Particularly in the residential neighborhoods in Baldwin Hills west of Crenshaw Boulevard — upscale streets with wide views of the L.A. Basin that journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson once called “the best advertisement for black achievement that you can find in America” — you get a strong sense that this is the part of Southern California where black culture and the American Dream have come most comfortably together.

But it doesn't take much to stir up old insecurities and resentments. These days there is no subject that does so more reliably than the planned Crenshaw Line, which will run partially above ground and partially below from Exposition Boulevard south to Florence Avenue before bending west toward LAX.

Many residents and merchants are encouraged that rail service will return to the boulevard for the first time since the streetcar line was torn out in the 1950s. And the Metro board, chaired by Mayor Villaraigosa, hasn't ruled out a station in Leimert Park, calling it “optional.”

But unless construction bids for the project come in lower than expected — or Metro can find outside funding for the station — the agency will build the Crenshaw Line without it.

Hawthorne quotes Metro officials saying that ridership projections for a Leimert Park station are low and that there will be a station about a half-mile from Leimert Park at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard — which will offer key bus connections. But Hawthorne also believes that transit has the power to be transformative and that a station at Leimert Park would ultimately help the community over the long haul. The problem is the expense of it. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is a $1.7-billion project that is almost half underground or aerial. That's made money tight for other things, such as additional stations.

L.A.'s transit revolution (Slate)

Well-written story with lots of good context. Excerpt:

In 1940, there were 1.5 million people in the city. Twenty years later, it was almost 2.5 million. By 1990 it was close to 3.5 million. Today it’s 3.8 million and still climbing. The larger metropolitan area has ballooned to 13 million residents, leaving Chicago in the dust as America’s second city. And even though the area is built in a sprawling sunbelt format, the geography of surrounding mountains, ocean, and national forests physically constrains L.A.’s growth. Because of that, the average population density throughout the urban area is actually the highest in America even though the core is much less dense than an Eastern city like New York or Boston. The result was legendary traffic jams, combined with a practical inability to widen the arterial freeways that form the backbone of the city’s transportation infrastructure.

The usual response to too much traffic in the United States is to strangle growth. New development would mean more cars would mean more traffic, so cities adopt rules to block new development.

That’s how San Mateo County between San Francisco and Silicon Valley managed to muster a measly 1.6 percent population growth in the past decade despite enviable access to two of the highest-wage labor markets in America. Over the past 20 years, however, L.A. has chosen the bolder path of investing in the kind of infrastructure that can support continued population growth, and shifting land use to encourage more housing and more people.

The article sees a lot more to be positive about: future transit projects funded by Measure R, a plan to make Figueroa between downtown and USC more pedestrian, bike and transit friendly, the new Hollywood community plan to encourage more housing near transit, etc.

After 10-hour meeting, Planning Commission moves Farmers Field to City Council (Curbed LA)

A good rundown of last week's marathon meeting in which the commission approved the final environmental study for the proposed football stadium next to Staples Center. (If it took the commission 10 hours, someone better order multiple rounds of meals for the Council, which doesn't tend to be short-winded). Below is a video from AEG chief Tim Leiweke, touting the benefits of building the football stadium in the midst of the city instead of surrounded by acres and acres of parking lots.

 

13 replies

  1. The optional Leimert Park station can be a test bed for private-public partnerships to build rail stations.

    Has Metro considered talking with businesses within the community if they will be willing to put up some of the cost of building a station in exchange for retail space directly at the station? We need more of that than the usual empty stations. Work with CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens so we can have pharmacies directly in the stations. Work with 7-Eleven or AMPM to build convenience stores directly in the stations.

    The private-public concept works all over the world. If Hong Kong can build a subway station through private-public partnerships like this:

    http://softgrungevintage.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/dsc03196.jpg

    Why can’t it work over here?

  2. Crenshaw and King is a bad idea. To say there are bus connections is a horrible defense as well. I can already see Walmart’s team of suits championing to have a station at this location and this is the result. This is a slap in the face to the community in which the line shall pass, and furthermore passes up a place in Los Angeles with huge cultural and historic value. This station will not fully service the people, but Walmart and Macy’s. People from outside of the area may not patronize the local businesses and instead can visit their larger more recognizable super stores. I really hope more people stand up and fight for a station in Leimert Park. This is a much more significant battle than a Farmdale Station or bridges near highschools. I am also looking at USC’s 3 stations under the mask of “Expostion Park Service”. I dont usually get upset at Metro, but this is bad Tony V. Walmart is not a friend of the Citizens of Los Angeles.

  3. @Melinda K Have you ever been to Leimert Park? That is the original reason people did not want the station, which is a bit contradictory to my above statement. But I discussed this with a co worker and it sound like some in Leimert opposed a station there for fear of over development. Interesting how things are playing out now. I’d love see Magic Johnson paying for a station in Leimert, it be great publicity. hint* hint*

  4. If Walmart and Macys are willing to pony up more than half the cost of building a station at Crenshaw and King, let them. We’re in a tight budget, we need to find ways to reduce taxpayer burden.

    “People from outside of the area may not patronize the local businesses and instead can visit their larger more recognizable super stores.”

    Does anyone really care about this these days? Macy’s, Kohl’s, K-Mart, Wal-mart, Target, Amazon.com or local businesses, they’re all the same stuff, they sell stuff imported and Made in China. And it’s not like local businesses provides any better service than bigger name stores either.

    I mean, name me something that you can only find in a local business these days that you can’t find at Wal-mart or on online for a better deal? Are there anything physical that these stores sell that is 100% Made in Los Angeles? No.

  5. Private-public partnerships and a property tax on businesses or a business tax in the area of the station would be something the MTA should consider.

  6. Warren,

    “property tax on businesses or a business tax in the area of the station would be something the MTA should consider.”

    Absolutely NO. That will only further drive businesses away. We’re already having businesses flee LA to elsewhere and we cannot afford that in this economy. We need to stop making LA business unfriendly with more taxes. More taxes is NOT the answer especially in a tough economy.

  7. @Steven P, yes we do, and if you knew the history of Leimert, you’d understand as well. When corporations underpay workers and ship jobs overseas, I will never agree to cater to them and will BOYCOTT them. When a community has businesses owned by the people that actually live there, and customers that actually live there, I feel that it is wrong for a station to be built near, of all places, A WALMART. Anyone that knows anything about Los Angeles will understand how and why this is backwards, but again, if the people of Leimert did not want a station for fear of over development, this has backfired in the truest sense. I for one would love a Leimert Park Station. Why? Business owners in that community deserve my money not Target, Walmart, 7-11, etc. Believe it or not, I can go listen to good Jazz in Leimert and go to a resuarant where the actual owners will thank me for enjoying their food that they have cooked. What a concept, a concept that used to be common I hear, but in my 29 years of living, ive usually gotten service from large corporations and security cameras; so when i have opportunities to do something down to earth I do! Thats why I like the Gold Line so much, Mariachi Plaza is awesome, Old Town is awesome. I want people to have that same effect when they visit Middle West side of town.

  8. Transit Rider,

    “When corporations underpay workers and ship jobs overseas, I will never agree to cater to them and will BOYCOTT them.”

    So where’s did you buy your computer that you used to post here on The Source? Where’s your computer, your keyboard and mouse to type and click made in? You iPhone? iPad?

    Surely if you’re boycotting them as you say you are, you didn’t buy your computer at BestBuy, and you made the computer all by yourself from scratch from parts that you built yourself? Surely you built the DVD drive, the USB port, the CPU and LAN all by yourself instead of purchasing them through Made in China parts from Newegg.com?

  9. The whole TAP thing is a total mess. It’s like Metro is trying to keep the old 20th century ways of transit with 21st century technology. The Delhi Metro’s fare system was easier to figure out than Metro’s. Yes, that’s Delhi, India!

    Why can’t Metro just make things easier with simply doing away with all these confusions and simply go straight to load up cash value, tap-in & tap-out, let the turnstile automatically deduct the money based on distance? That’s the fare structure that is the norm all over the world, but the US just likes to do thing differently, like how they’re still using Fahrenheit, gallons, quarts, yards, feet and miles. And what does the US get? Mass confusion and chaos, and they start blaming everybody else that they’re right and everybody else is wrong.

    Just do this:
    Starting January 1, 2013, we’re abandoning the flat rate and unlimited ride system and moving to cash value, tap-in & tap-out distance fares. Seniors, students, and the disabled get 50% off the distance fare rate.

    Simple as that. I don’t know why it’s taking so long to do something so easy and logical as this.

    If a poor country like India can figure this out and do it in less than a month, why can’t a rich country like the US do this?

  10. @Steven P, If I could buy a phone or computer from a mom and pop I would, but thats just not possible now is it. I wonder why? (that question drips in sarcasm)

  11. Transit Rider,

    You can make your own T-shirt, handbags, skirt, scarf, etc. using some sew, thread, needles, and garment from the Garment District. You can hire locals, mass produce them and sell it as a purely Made in Los Angeles T-shirt.

    You don’t do that. I wonder why? (sarcasm)

  12. @Steven P, you wonder because YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO I AM. So whether you are being sarcastic or not is irrellivant. You do not know me, or my habits, and that is none of YOUR business to discuss on The Source how (you think) I LIVE. So for fear of going further off topic, I will leave it at that and, respectfuly ask you to no longer address me. Cheers.

  13. Transit Rider,

    I don’t know why you just blew off right there. If you really do what Steven P said, then you should be proud of it. You’re helping the local economy by creating jobs here in LA and actually making things Made in the USA in a world full of Made in China.