Transportation headlines, Monday, July 29

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 Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Monrovia hopes its 'Gold Town' will complement its 'Old Town' (Pasadena Star-News)

The old Santa Fe depot in Monrovia in 2010. Nothing much has changed -- yet! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

 

With the Gold Line Foothill Extension under construction, the city of Monrovia is investing millions in sprucing up an 80-acre site around the city's station — including a much-needed renovation of the old Santa Fe depot that has fallen into serious disrepair.

The large site will also be home eventually to new apartments and/or condos, as well as commercial space and parking for the line. The town's very pleasant Old Town is about one mile north and the city is hoping the development around the future station doesn't compete with Old Town but rather serves as a second hub for Monrovia.

My three cents: it will probably take some years to really make this site work, but there's a ton of potential there and new residents will have easy transit access to downtown Arcadia, Old Pasadena and downtown L.A.

Misleading freeway data can take a toll (Daily News)

Clever headline in this Los Angeles Newspaper Group editorial on the preliminary data released last week on the ExpressLanes. The main point of the editorial is that it's too early to judge the effectiveness of the ExpressLanes and that it's vitally important that the lanes are judged fairly, given they may or may not an effective tool in battling congestion in the region in the future. I couldn't agree more.

The editorial also takes particular issue with a part of my post last week on the data:

On the blog The Source (Transportation News & Views), at Metro.net, writer Steve Hymon said the accounts are “evenly distributed” among income levels. Hymon concludes: “It's pretty much a bell curve and suggests the notion that the ExpressLanes are 'Lexus Lanes' — i.e. only used by those with very high incomes — is not correct.”

Well. The trouble there is that even if ExpressLanes usage forms a bell curve, L.A. County incomes don't. The under-$35,000 income bracket is a lot bigger than the richer brackets; Metro's report is honest enough to include the relevant numbers. The proper conclusion might be that people in the lowest income range are six or seven times less likely to be using the toll lanes than better-off people.

I think it's fair of LANG to point out that the bell curve for household incomes in L.A. County is not an exact match for the bell curve of household incomes that use the ExpressLanes. I wasn't trying to say that, but I could have worded it better.

That said, LANG's assertion that the “under-$35K income bracket is a lot bigger than the richer brackets” needs some clarification. If you look up the numbers on the Census Bureau's website, the percentage of households making under $35,000 in Los Angeles County is 28.9 percent and the percentage making more than $100,000 is 28.8 percent; however, those numbers were different in the ExpressLanes report last week, with under $35K at 32 percent and over $100K at 25.7 percent. Of course, in this case it depends on how LANG defines “rich.”

La Canada-Flintridge Council sets aside funds for possible 710 fight (Pasadena Star-News)

The Council has set aside $500,000 from the city's general fund to use for either a lawsuit or to commission further environmental studies should Metro select a tunnel to fill the 710 gap between Alhambra and Pasadena. Of course, the project is still under study and the environmental review is not expected to be complete until 2015. The five alternatives under study are the no-build option, intersection and traffic signal improvements, bus rapid transit between East L.A. and Pasadena, light rail between East L.A. and Pasadena and the aforementioned tunnel.

A straphangers' campaign (New York Times)

The NYT's editorial board likes that Gotham's mayoral candidates are talkkng a lot about traffic; Christine Quinn, in fact, has promised to make every New Yorkers' commute an hour or less within 10 years. Here's the kicker:

It will take effort and political skill to turn ideas into reality, from the tiny — Ms. Quinn proposes countdown clocks outside subway stations, which would be quite nice — to the transformational. But few jobs are more important for the next mayor.Mr. Carrión, a former urban planner, is right when he says the mayor of New York should be a national leader on transportation. He promises, if elected, to build and lead a coalition of big-city mayors to demand more federal transit dollars, to challenge the imbalance of spending that favors cars and trucks over rail and buses. All of the mayoral candidates should embrace that challenge, to raise the profile of an urgent local and national issue, just as Mr. Bloomberg has done with gun violence and public health.

Hard to argue with any of that. If I was a PR whiz, I'd put a conference table in D train to host a conversation among mayors while the train rolls back and forth between the Bronx and Brooklyn.

 

2 replies

  1. The old Monrovia Santa Fe Depot would set itself to become a great example of how to use existing blighted structures to be transformed into modern light rail station.

  2. Monrovia may need to provide some kind of free shuttle or streetcar to connect the station and the old town area. It’s not really an easy walk from the station.