Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Sept. 25

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.

Art of Transit: Nice panorama of the 405 freeway during Carmageddon I, as seen from Mountain Gate. Photo by Asim Bharwandi, via Flickr creative commons.

Gearing up for a big vote on downtown Streetcar project (Blogdowntown)

This is it: property owners near the proposed four-mile streetcar line in downtown Los Angeles will be voting by mail in late November whether to tax themselves to raise $62.5 million for the project. L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar says that without the money, there will be no project — the local funds are needed to secure federal matching funds that are necessary to pay for the $125-million streetcar. Here’s the planned route.

Busy roadways and childhood asthma (Science Blog)

A study by USC and others published in Environmental Perspectives concludes that at least eight percent of 300,000 childhood asthma cases in Los Angeles County can be attributed to living within about 250 feet of a busy roadway. The relationship between asthma and proximity to freeways has, of course, been studied previously. This research attempts to better quantify the issue. I’m not sure these results are hugely surprising. I also think these numbers suggest there’s a bigger issue: air quality in our region is improved but often still lousy — perhaps the reason that so many kids have asthma who don’t live immediately adjacent to a busy roadway.

Would funds for high-speed rail be better spent on intercity rail improvements? (Wall Street Journal)

A good debate between two experts on a key piece of Obama Administration policy: the heavy investment in high-speed rail. On the one hand, bullet trains could be a game-changing move that transforms the way people travel between cities. On the other hand, those funds could be used to fund many useful fixes in today’s rail system. I hope this issue comes up in the presidential debates: it would be a chance for President Obama to defend his policies and it would provide Mitt Romney the opportunity to say if he favors any kind of government role in passenger rail travel in the U.S.

A history of BART (BART)

Nicely done video from the agency that runs regional heavy rail in the Bay Area.