Transportation headlines, Wednesday, March 27

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.

Metro Transportation Library and Archive a ‘mover and shaker!’ (Library Journal) 

A very nice nod to Metro librarian Kenn Bicknell for his work in developing the Metro library. Excerpt:

He has made the Metro Transportation Library a leader in deploying online tools and technology to bring library resources to users, says Matthew Barrett, Archives and Records Management administrator for the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Bicknell’s work at Metro has raised the library’s national profile and serves as a model for other small libraries and other cultural institutions in the Los Angeles region, Barrett says. [snip]

Use of the library’s online resources has exploded, in part because voters in 2008 approved a $40 billion upgrade to L.A. transit systems. Online access of the library’s collection grew exponentially, from 140,400 page views in FY07 to 4.3 million in FY11 (the latest available figures). “The numbers are so fast and so big, we know we’re doing something right,” Bicknell says.

The number of subscribers to Bicknell’s five-day-a-week blog digest with links to news on transportation and urban planning issues has grown more than 50 percent from 93,171 in FY09 to 140,993 in FY11. “It’s rewarding to feel like you’re driving the water cooler conversation,” Bicknell says.

Well said. My three cents: it’s pretty difficult to plan a future without some understanding of  the past. Many of the transit and road projects pursued by Metro have a long, rich history and the library has done an outstanding job of preserving it.

Los Angeles loses in first round of ‘Parking Madness’ tournament (D.C. Streetsblog)

In a stunning upset, downtown Los Angeles was ousted by downtown Dallas in the first round of the Streetsblog tournament to determine which American city has the most sprawling parking lots. The tournament began with 16 cities and so far Tulsa and Milwaukee have also advanced to the Elite Eight. Louisville holds a comfortable lead over San Diego in yesterday’s park-off and Cleveland versus Spokane was just posted. Go Cleveland!

How the Highland Park Transit Village will look from the street (Patch) 

The developers of an 80-unit building to be constructed on three city of Los Angeles parking lots in Highland Park brought some video renderings to a neighborhood council to persuade members that their project won’t be unsightly or overwhelm downtown Highland Park. I think it will be good for the area — businesses need residents to survive and thrive and it makes a lot of sense to build near transit. The parking lots are a stone’s throw from the Gold Line’s Highland Park station; it’s a 15-minute ride from there to Union Station.

High-speed rail’s strongest backers now express reservations (L.A. Times)

First, headline is a little misleading: as the story makes clear, there are other ‘strong’ backers of the project who don’t have reservations. Nonetheless, some project proponents have taken issue with the so-called ‘blended’ approach that would allow bullet trains to share tracks with commuter trains in Northern California. The concern is that will prevent trains from traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the state-mandated two hours, 40 minutes and that slower trains will need to be subsidized because they can’t compete with airlines.

Of course, there are probably many motorists and people who take planes who would be more than happy to take a train between the Bay Area and Los Angeles in five hours or so — instead of the 10- to 12-hour journey now required on Amtrak (when trains are on schedule). But the state Legislature chose to pursue the fast, most expensive option for high-speed rail, leading to the kind of controversies described in the preceding paragraph.

3 replies

  1. The Metro Library was almost shuttered with plans to donate the collection to some local academic institution during the Julian Burke era (May 28, 1998 Los Angeles Times article “MTA Library May Be Casualty of Cutbacks…”). Thankfully stakeholders and the feds helped avert this. I was in the thick of the battle and I know the late Dorothy Payton Grey for whom the Library is now named was grateful for the efforts of we who helped save it. “I is quietly proud.”

  2. The whole High Speed Rail plan has been a money eating blunder from day one. Due to so many hands in the cookie jar and poor management, it will be very difficult to trust whomever is put in charge.