Transportation headlines, Friday, Jan. 18

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.

Photo by Radamantis Torres, via Flickr creative commons.

Photo by Radamantis Torres, via Flickr creative commons.

London Tube turns 150 (Flickr)

To celebrate the venerable Tube’s big birthday, Flickr has a pair of blog posts with some excellent and creative photos. First post and second post.

The U.S. has only five true BRT systems — and none of them rate as gold (Greater Greater Washington)

This post points to a report (pdf) by the Institute for Transportation and Policy released in 2011 that says relatively few BRT projects are actually BRT — that is, they mimic rail service but do so less expensively. The 14.2-mile Orange Line is one of the quintent that the Institute says does qualify as true BRT, but only at the bronze level. Excerpt:

The second problem was that, once operational, several high-profile crashes during the early stages of implementation led to LACMTA setting a reduced speed limit of 10 mph through intersections for Orange Line vehicles. Officials also chose to give signal priority to cross traffic instead of the busway. Together, this has led to

a reduction in overall system speed from what would have been 25–30 mph, to an average of 18 mph in the peak period.

It’s worth pointing out that traffic signals along the Orange Line — as well as parts of the Expo Line, Gold Line and Blue Line — are controlled by the city of Los Angeles. It currently takes the Orange Line about 42 minutes to run between NoHo and Warner Center and about 52 minutes between NoHo and Chatsworth on direct runs.

Transit backers renew push for federal bond program (Congressional Quarterly)

The article is behind a pay wall, but looks at Metro’s push to have Congress this year to adopt the other half of America Fast Forward. Excerpt:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is renewing a push for legislation that would authorize a new program to sell bonds that fund regional transportation and infrastructure projects.

A similar idea was advanced last year in the Senate as part of a surface transportation authorization (PL 112-141), but it was dropped in conference. The proposal would have authorized $2 billion annually to be leveraged with private investment to provide $50 billion in lending power every year. [snip]

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, a Wall Street research firm, wrote in a recent analysis that “nearly any infrastructure project seriously being considered today will return more than the 2 percent the U.S. Treasury is paying on 10-year bonds. As with any business that borrows to invest in machine tools or computers, or a household that borrows to purchase a home or car, it makes sense for government to borrow to invest in an infrastructure asset that will provide returns for years.”

Detroit area’s M-1 streetcar gets a green light (Welcome to the Fast Lane blog)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the $25-million federal investment will help spur mobility and the economy in Detroit. The 3.3-mile, $137-million line will include a station at Comerica Park, home to the Detroit Tigers. As DTLAers know, the Los Angeles streetcar project will also need federal help to be built.

This tiny New York apartment packs eight rooms into 420 square feet (Gizmodo)

Here’s a post that shows how to get the most out of small urban apartments. No, it’s not directly transit-related but if you want to see a lot more density around transit, perhaps this is something to chew on.

GIZMODO – The Tiny Transforming Apartment That Packs Eight Rooms into 350 Square Feet from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

A mysterious patch of light in the darkness of North Dakota (NPR)

Illustration by NPR/NASA.

Illustration by NPR/NASA.

The arrow is pointing to lights that weren’t there six years ago. What are they? Lights from rigs drilling for natural gas that, as the photo shows, make it look like a new metropolis has landed in the northern prairie. Hmm.

6 thoughts on “Transportation headlines, Friday, Jan. 18

  1. “It’s worth pointing out that traffic signals along the Orange Line — as well as parts of the Expo Line, Gold Line and Blue Line — are controlled by the city of Los Angeles. It currently takes the Orange Line about 42 minutes to run between NoHo and Warner Center and about 52 minutes between NoHo and Chatsworth on direct runs.”

    The Orange Line has been in operation for over 7 years now. It’s stunning to me that, after 7 years, Metro and the City of LA haven’t been able to find a way to resolve what is a relatively straightforward issue that would generate significant benefits for both entities. If you want to know why many in the general public are disenchanted with transit or govt entities more broadly, here is Exhibit A. And now we are likely staring in the face of similar one-hour commutes down Van Nuys Blvd when BRT is implemented on that route. Yay!

  2. Its worth pointing out that Metro and the City of LA have a terrible track record of working together. Orange line is slow, Expo is slow, the Rapid bus “next bus” signs don’t work.

    We need some serious grade separation or someone at LADOT work with someone at Metro to make these billion dollar “rapid transit” projects more rapid.

  3. I had the opportunity to speak with a rural transit provider in that area of North Dakota at conference last year. They had some interesting things to say about the impact of the natural gas industry on the local economy, social services and public transportation. An instant metropolis on the prairie brings about a very unique set of public service issues.

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