Transportation headlines, Friday, May 31

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.

Bike to death (Voice of OC)

The lede of this article is buried, but a review of data shows accidents involving bikes is up significantly in both Orange and Los Angeles counties over the last decade. According to Bike in LA, there has been 30 cycling deaths in Southern California so far in 2013 — at this juncture in 2012, there had been 20 deaths. These are all scary numbers and I’m not sure what’s going on exactly — and I’m not sure the data exists to draw conclusions. I do think we can all agree that we live in a climate and area very favorable to cycling, a lot of people are on bikes and bike infrastructure — although expanding — remains sorely lacking in many areas.

Rep. Schiff asks Metrolink to assess yard’s health risks (L.A. Times)

The Congressman wants Metrolink to formally study any health risks from its rail yard along the Los Angeles River just north of downtown. Nearby residents in Elysian Valley and Cypress Park have concerns about the impact about diesel emissions.

By the way, this new study finds that while deaths from driving dropped across the planet in 2012, safety for pedestrians is not increasing at a rate as fast.

Lawsuits once again challenge LAX runway and construction work (L.A. Times) 

Four local governments, a labor union and a resident’s group have filed a legal challenge to LAX’s specific amendment study that proposed moving the north runway further north, building a people mover and a consolidated rental car facility, among others. The runway seems to be the issue that sparked the suits, which are seen as the latest obstacle in modernizing the entire airport. The people mover and potential locations for light rail stations close to the airport are, of course, critical to Metro’s Airport Connector project, which seeks to link the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the LAX terminals via either light rail, people mover or bus rapid transit or some combination of those.

Can New York’s Penn Station ever be great again? (The Atlantic Cities) 

Everyone is re-imagining their train stations these days! Planning is underway to improve the extremely busy Amtrak and commuter rail station that is buried under Madison Square Garden, home to the Knicks, Rangers and many concerts. There’s no guarantee anything will come of it — and it will be hard to accomplish much of anything as long as the station remains buried under a sports arena. But there’s hope, albeit limited, that perhaps the arena and the train station can get a divorce, with perhaps one moving across the street to the site of a current postal complex. The original Pennsylvania Station — considered by many as an architectural gem — was torn down in the 1960s to make way for Madison Square Garden and the new underground train depot.

Microbes hitch a ride on the subway (NYT) 

A study of the air in the New York subway finds a lot of bacteria and other tiny life forms — and nothing that riders should worry about. About five percent of microbial species found probably come from human skin and are zapped through the air courtesy of the air pressure created by millions of feet striking pavement and pushing air around each day. One more reason to take care of your feet, people!

7 replies

  1. Some of the deaths from bicycle accidents attribute to the poor and dumb decisions made by the bicyclists themselves.

    Just the other day, I saw a bicyclist (without even wearing a helmet!) run a red light in heavy traffic. He almost got run over by a car trying to make a right turn. And all he did was bang on the hood of the car and flipped the bird at the car driver as if it were the car driver’s fault, not his.

    Umm hello? You don’t run through a red light! Shaving off a few minutes by running a red light is not worth your life. It’s common sense as a pedestrian, car driver, and for bicycles!

    Some bicyclists need to learn that just because they are on a bicycle, does not mean they can start breaking laws. Everyone has to wait at a red light and everyone has to obey the law. Being on a bicycle doesn’t give them a free pass. Don’t they teach that at school anymore?

    Looking at the bad behaviors by some bicyclists, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pre-requisite to riding a bicycle will one day come to a mandatory class in bicycle safety and some bike licensing scheme. Bad bicycling behavior only ends up hurting the rest of law-abiding bicyclists. So I say to bad bicyclists: stop making bad decisions!

  2. J Grant, are you telling us motorists always adhere to the CVC fully when they operate their minimum two-ton machines?

  3. Grant, you’re absolutely right.

    Bicyclists need to stop making bad decisions. Then again, so do motor vehicle operators, bankers and governments.

    Take the two I saw run stop signs without even slowing down yesterday. No, not bicycles, cars. If the operators had been on bicycles, I wouldn’t have been so worried about my own safety when they ran the stops right in front of me.

    After all, if I get hit by another cyclist at 15 or 20 mph, it’s going to hurt. A lot. But if I get hit by a car blowing through the same stop sign at 30 or 40 mph, chances are, I may not feel a thing. Ever.

    But hey, nice of you to blame the victims who suffer +/- 700 fatalities a year, rather than the ones who kill around 30,000 or more.

    We all need to obey the law and use the roads safely, whether on foot or bikes or in cars or trucks. But let’s not forget that even the most reckless cyclist is a danger primarily to him or herself, while a careless, reckless, drunk or distracted driver is a danger to everyone.

  4. J Grant: I also have seen many bicyclists regularly flaunting their ‘right’ to the road by endangering themselves. This only hurts considerate bike riders. Jerks abound.

  5. Well since we no longer teach people to drive in schools, my guess is we don’t teach people to bicycle either. The subway or train looks better and better everyday rather than the chaos on the roads !

  6. Cars and bicycles don’t mix. Way too much risk. Opening car doors on bicyclists is a disaster. Narrow streets with bikes is a death waiting in the wings. Just putting down lines on a busy street doesn’t constitute “Bike Friendly Policy” for a county or city. Too often city officials want to declare “friendliness” and the word is just empty. Wake up! Look at cities like St. George, Utah. Almost all bike paths are “built” and off the street. Most of Expo bike path in LA is well designed and safe.

  7. I have to agree with J Grant here.

    Much like most car drivers are law-abiding and good drivers, it’s usually the bad drivers that set a bad example for everyone. Much like most motorcyclists are law-abiding and safe motorcyclists, it’s the Hell’s Angel type biker gangs that set a bad example for every other motorcyclist.

    It’s the same with some bicyclists too. Majority of bicyclists are safe riders and law abiding. But it’s the idiots that ruin it for everyone.

    You all know who they are, don’t tell me you don’t know them. Those idiots who runs the red light thinking they’re okay. The show-offs in their thousand dollar titanium frame bicycles going down the street at 20+ miles per hour without wearing a helmet or protective gear. The inconsiderate bicyclists who shouts at pedestrians to get out of the way like they own the sidewalk. The annoying bicyclist who choose to park their bicycles blocking the doorway. Then you have those lowlifes who snatch people’s purses and whisk away on their bikes and those bike thieves who steal other people’s bikes. As more people take up bicycling, it just means there are also an increasing number of idiots who ride bicycles too.

    Some people shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Some people shouldn’t be on a bike handle either.

    Unless rude and inconsiderate bicyclists start changing their behavior, it’s going to end up hurting all bicyclists. We’re already required by law to wear bicycle helmets. Most bicyclists don’t even bother to follow that rule. Push comes to shove, sooner or later bicycles might go down the road of annual bicycle registration (protection against bicycle theft), mandatory safety classes, licensing, and tougher enforcement against bicyclists who think it’s alright to break laws.