Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 15

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.

Brown’s budget sends cap and trade funds to the black hole of the general fund (LA Streetsblog)

Excerpt:

When California passed it’s land-mark Greenhouse Gas reduction laws in 2006, residents and businesses were assured that funds raised through the controversial “cap and trade” program would be invested in programs and projects that would further reduce emissions. That promise is turning out to be a lot of hot air.

Some transportation advocates had hoped the money would be invested in mass transit, which is generally more efficient than vehicles carrying a single passenger.

Why we should never fine cyclists (The Atlantic Cities) 

As more bike infrastructure is added to many major cities, motorists are also pressuring police to enforce traffic laws equally to cyclists and vehicles. This greatly annoys the Atlantic Cities, which points out that most roads are still designed to benefit cars over bikes . Especially irksome, they say, are fines for cycling through empty intersections. I agree. Don’t get me started on bike routes through residential areas inflicted with four-way stop signs when, in fact, they should be two-way stop signs with the bike route not having to stop.

Atlanta Streetcar is cool but is it useful (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) 

ASC-Splash-Vision

Rendering: Atlanta Streetcar.

Transit planner Jarrett Walker has a good piece looking at Atlanta’s new 1.3-mile streetcar, one of many similar projects around the U.S. — all following in the footsteps of the infamous Portland Streetcar. Excerpt:

The Atlanta Streetcar line will be only 1.3 miles long from end to end, and a streetcar will come every 15 minutes if everything’s on time. So if you just missed one, should you really wait? Or should you just start walking?

It depends on your walking speed, but for most people, when going such a short distance, service every 15 minutes is just not worth waiting for. Start walking! You will often get to your destination before the streetcar comes.

As you walk, maybe the streetcar will overtake you and you can hop on. That’s nice, but notice what you’ve just proven. If you’re going to use the streetcar to get somewhere on time – a job, a meeting, a day care pickup – you have to allow enough time to walk the whole way. In that case, what has the streetcar accomplished?

3 replies

  1. RE: Why we should never fine cyclists.
    “Horse hockey!” to quote Colonel Potter on M*A*S*H. Bicyclists who ignore laws and common sense are a menace to themselves and everyone else. I can’t count the number of cyclists that (a) I’ve seen sailing through intersections going against the traffic, (b) flying off of sidewalks into crosswalks, often against red lights or red “hands” or (c) ignoring stop signs and red lights. There are so many things about this article that I find offensive but this one may be the topper: “I don’t glide through stoplights to declare my independence from society; it’s simply a central pleasure of riding a bike.” Sorry, but when you’re riding on a public thoroughfare, you’re not there for pleasure; you’re there to travel. I enjoy driving my car at a high rate of speed but I can’t drive 75 in a residential zone and I have to stop at signals and stop lights. By the way, when you a cyclists blithely ignores the law and runs into a pedestrian, both are likely to get hurt — it’s not a case of “no harm, no foul” — and when a cyclist sails through a stop sign or red light and runs into a vehicle, the cyclist is far more likely to be hurt than the vehicle. Of course, the reality may match the headline; despite what the article says, I’ve never seen a cyclist get a ticket.

  2. @bobtatfore

    Well said.

    Last week I saw cyclist, at night, with no light or reflectors on said bike, riding in the middle of the #1 lane of Lankershim Blvd. As the group of cars I was in approached, the cyclist went into the middle 2-way turning lane. After passing the cyclist, a quarter mile or so further on, I stopped for the red light in the left turn lane. A few moments later the cyclist passed me to the right in the left turn lane and proceeded to make his left turn without stopping for the red light or even apparently slowing very much. After making my left turn and a couple of blocks or so from the intersection, I saw the cyclist make a right turn from the middle of the street and…..he almost hit another cyclist who was traveling against traffic and approaching the intersection from the opposing traffic lane. They were within feet of each other. This other cyclist also didn’t have a light.

    A couple years ago on Pico, after visiting the Apple Pan, I saw a huge bike gang take over the street on their way to Venice or Santa Monica or whatever and they were yelling at drivers, hitting cars with hands and feet as they passed by, etc. A great way to make friends.

  3. Hog wash. This is like saying pedestrians shall not be fined for crossing the road when the “do not walk” sign is on or that jaywalking is defacto legal. No one is immune from the law. Bicyclists must adhere to traffic laws as any other pedestrian, motorcyclist or car driver.