Transportation headlines, Thursday, Jan. 3

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.

For the record: gasoline was most expensive in 2012 (Wall Street Journal) 

The national average of $3.60 a gallon was the highest ever in the United States, besting the $3.51 average of 2011. The average in California was $4.03 a gallon in 2012. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the Prius has become the top-selling car in the state.

Connecting the Rio Hondo Bikeway to El Monte Station (Pasadena Star-News) 

Staff writer Steve Scauzillo says that it makes no sense for the Rio Hondo Bikeway — a major artery for cyclists — to pass so close to the new El Monte Station but without a connection to it. In fact, there’s a fence between. Scauzillo has a couple suggestions on fixing it and says he’s joining the advocacy group Bike SGV in fighting for a connection.

A view of the Rio Hondo Bikeway and the old El Monte station from Google Maps.

A view of the Rio Hondo Bikeway and the old El Monte station from Google Maps.

A monorail on the Sunset Strip and other visions of L.A.’s future (Curbed LA)

Fun post with some whimsical views of a future L.A. I’m not so sure about the monorails, but I like the rewilding of the Venice Canals!

Bus here yet? Check the monitor! (Portland Tribune)

A streetcar-adjacent pub in Portland has added a nice feature: a wall-mounted computer monitor showing when the next streetcar will arrive at a stop outside the bar. The owner of the bar added the monitor after observing that many customers were leaving about the same time that streetcars were arriving.

25 years later, San Jose light rail among the worst (Oroville Mercury Register) 

The light rail serving San Jose and surrounding area was built assuming a lot of development would occur along the tracks. It didn’t entirely happen, the reason that ridership has continued to suffer. Transit officials argue that without the light rail system congestion on area freeways would jump by six percent — and traffic is already pretty bad because of San Jose’s sprawling nature. Interesting read.

How Avis will ruin Zipcar (Washington Post)

Badly, according to the Washington Post, which foresees the hip culture of Zipcar being consumed by the broader corporate culture of Avis. They also think there are some antitrust issues.

Pinnacles National Monument set to become a National Park (L.A. Times)

We talk a lot about cities on The Source, so here’s a breather — the Senate approved elevating Pinnacles National Monument in Northern California to a National Park. That would be the ninth national park in California. The Times fails to note this interesting fact: The Golden State and Alaska currently have the most parks, with eight apiece, although there’s more acreage in the vast Alaska parks than here. Park photos via Google.

Still, it’s nice to see we’ll be tops if President Obama signs the Pinnacles bill. Think about it. The nation’s most populous state will still have 6.28 million acres in national parks, not to mention the millions of acres of land owned by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and California State Parks.

2 replies

  1. The gate to the Rio Hondo bikepath was open before the remodel, and I used it many times. It’s disappointing if they now have it locked.

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  2. I find the Portland story amusing, especially since I publicly demonstrated something similar for two other transit agencies several months ago. Anyone can build something like this, using only free software, for a fraction of the cost.

    Here’s how it works: information on transit departure times is made available free of charge through NextBus. They publish a document called “Public XML Feed” that explains all the technical details. Basically, all you need is a web page that makes an asynchronous XMLHttpRequest, then uses XSLT to format it for presentation. Set it to auto-refresh periodically.

    A full, working example requires fewer than 200 lines / 7KB of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and XSL, and runs in the Firefox web browser (with no additional software required).

    For example, let’s suppose I wanted to create a similar display for a quick service restaurant located at Beverly and Rampart. I see that it’s served by two Metro lines, the 14 (at Beverly/Benton) and the 603 (at Rampart/Beverly). I can plug those numbers, along with their stop IDs, into a NextBus multiple prediction request:

    http://webservices.nextbus.com/service/publicXMLFeed?command=predictionsForMultiStops&a=lametro&useShortTitles=true&stops=14|415&stops=14|8994&stops=603|17117&stops=603|17131

    This returns the raw information in a format that’s really easy to deal with.

    For the hardware, I used a Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized single-board computer that retails for $35 in single quantities. It has no moving parts, is completely silent, and consumes about as much power as a typical night light. The operating system is just the basic Raspbian distribution, which includes secure remote management capability as a standard feature.

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