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.
Balancing safety, security and saturation on the Blue Line (L.A. Streetsblog)
Writer Sara Sulaiman offers an in-depth look at safety issues along Metro’s busiest light rail line and tackles the big question: why are there more pedestrian fatalities along the Blue Line than other similar light rail lines?
Some of those are suicides, but others are not. Sulamain’s take:
After spending a day riding my bike alongside the Blue Line and hanging out at crossings, it seemed to me that, at least at present, the current problem is not racism, non-Mexicans who are not used to trains, the Blue Line itself, or (for the most part) current Metro safety measures.
In Watts, Union Pacific tracks are more easily accesible than the Blue Line tracks, which are fenced off.
The problem, from my casual observation, is that only one side of an intersection benefits from Metro’s safety infrastructure throughout much of South L.A.
One or two sets of Union Pacific rail tracks run alongside the Blue Line tracks for much of its trajectory. Because Union Pacific manages thousands and thousands of miles of tracks, they have been reluctant to supply their South L.A. crossings with anything more than the most basic of safety measures.
What this means is that, at present, pedestrian traffic is only partially adequately halted through the use of infrastructure like ped barrier arms (see photo below). People entering the intersection from the Union Pacific side encounter no such barriers and are consistently more likely to move across the tracks, even while the lights are flashing and trains are approaching.
As Sulaiman explains, while there have been a number of safety improvements over the years, more are on the way. Metro plans to install some pedestrian gates along the U.P. side of the tracks and has partnered with the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center to post signs along the tracks to encourage people to seek help instead of do harm to themselves.
Please read the Streetsblog post. It’s better than anything I’ve seen the media write about the Blue Line in a long, long time.
Glendale’s “Space 134 Park” concept to be presented to the City Council (Tropico Station)
There has been talk in recent years of capping the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood and the 10 freeway in Santa Monica and now here’s another concept: putting a lid on the 134 freeway that passes through downtown Glendale. It’s just talk at this point, but the concept plan calls for a phased approach that would slowly increase green space near the freeway and Verdugo Wash until the freeway is finally capped.
New efforts to make a California highway less perilous (New York Times)
Perched on the edge of cliffs overlooking the Pacific, Highway 1 has always been landslide prone — especially in the aptly named Devil’s Slide away north of Half Moon Bay. In an effort to keep landslides from closing the road, Caltrans has built a new 4,200-foot-long tunnel and a new 1,000-foot long bridge leading to the south portal of the tunnel. It’s one of several efforts being undertaken along Highway 1 to keep it from tumbling into the sea.
End of the road for toll collectors on the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco Chronicle)
In an effort to speed up traffic, toll collection is going fully automatic on the venerable bridge. Motorists can continue to pay via their FasTrak accounts (if you have a FasTrak transponder for the ExpressLanes it will work in San Francisco and elsewhere in California) and there are now other options, including internet payments. Motorists that make no effort to pay will get a bill in the mail — yes, they’re taking pics of your license plate. Here’s the news release explaining the payments.
Categories: Transportation Headlines