Transportation headlines, Tuesday, September 3

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.

Parking, transit fail to keep pace with downtown L.A.’s Arts District (L.A. Times)

American Apparel is the centerpiece this story about lack of parking and transit in the arts and industrial districts in downtown L.A. Fair enough. Parking can certainly be tight at times on some of the old and narrow streets east of Alameda Street, which is ironic — because much of downtown L.A. has more than enough parking.

Two notes: 1) the Gold Line station at 1st and Alameda, not mentioned in the story, is convenient to the northern part of the Arts District, which includes Angel City, Wurstkuche and Sci-Arc, among others. 2) L.A. Councilman Tom LaBonge has long been an advocate for adding a ground level subway station in the subway maintenance yards adjacent to the Sci-Arc and as an alternate on the Metro Board has submitted a motion to this effect. Nothing’s imminent or in the pipeline as far as I know, but I do think the station could work if the area keeps growing and adds more residents.

Bay Bridge made to withstand major earthquake (San Francisco Chronicle)

The new 2,048-foot span opened Monday evening, replacing the old span that was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. This story written in advance of the opening takes a look at some of the bridge’s seismic safety features — namely that it was designed to handle the most powerful quake that would occur over a 1,500 year span.

Excerpt:

People often ask how big an earthquake the new span is designed to withstand. It’s not, Maroney said: “Engineers don’t use magnitude any more.”

Instead, they analyze ground forces and design for the strongest ones likely to occur over a certain period, much the way flood control experts plan. Most modern Bay Area buildings other than schools and hospitals design for a 500-year time frame, Maroney said. The Bay Bridge is built “for those motions we expect to occur once every 1,500 years,” he said.

When engineers began designing the new span’s quake protection system, Maroney instructed them to assume that damage would occur – and to decide where it should occur, not unlike crumple zones in cars that absorb the impact of collisions.

“It is naive to assume that the bridge is not going to take any damage,” he said. “You need to decide where the bridge is going to take the damage.”

Two of the span’s seismic innovations rely on that principle. The four legs of the 525-foot tower are connected with a series of shear link beams, which are designed to move independently during an earthquake, absorbing its energy and impact and becoming bent or distorted. The shock-absorbing beams can be replaced if necessary.

 

Toll authority disputes study of HOT lanes (WSBTV.com)

Using open records requests, the Southern Environmental Law Center says that HOT lanes in Atlanta (i.e. their version of ExpressLanes) are much more likely to be used by people who live in wealthier zip codes (according to the Census Bureau). State officials dispute the report and say the lanes aren’t ‘Lexus Lanes’ but are used most by motorists who live in zip codes that allow them to use the length of the HOT Lane corridors. The state has its own studies underway.

Metro’s last performance update on the ExpressLanes included data on the incomes of transponder holders based on their zip code. Metro found that users tended to be spread out across income brackets with 14.6 percent of users coming from zip codes with average household incomes above $100,000 according to the Census Bureau.

3 replies

  1. An at-grade subway station behind SciArc (and supported by the new development in front of the subway maintenance yard) could be a fairly low-cost, adequate solution to access as I find myself using a bicycle quite a bit to get around the arts district expanse.

    Maybe Metro should explore the creation of a “temporary” platform to see usage before committing funds to make something more permanent? (Nothing NYC MTA hasn’t done before.)

  2. The Arts District unfortunately just isn’t connected to the rest of downtown. I used to visit a cafe there, and the walk from LT/AD Station; albeit short, its a boring walk. It makes little sense logistically to go purple line to gold to LT/AD station, then walk; and this was a quarter mile and not to A. Apparell. The tragedy is that our subway technically does have a stop there, it’s just private, I mean metro operators and staff have to enter and exit somewhere, right? The idea of a temp platform is a good one since there’d be no more transfers in Union if I were to go to the Arts District, which I do not visit nearly as frequently as I once did because of its connectivity. Now when I do, if I do, it’s like being on an island.