Transportation headlines, Thursday, September 5

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. Have a transportation-related article you want included in headlines? Drop me an email

ART OF TRANSIT: Big clouds over the San Gabriel Mountains on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro via Metro’s new Instagram account.

Transit workers prevail — for now — over pension reform (L.A. Times) 

Opinion section writer Jon Healey has an excellent explanation of the issues involved in the ongoing dispute between the U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Gov. Jerry Brown over California’s pension reform efforts. A temporary solution was announced Thursday in the dispute, which puts $3.6 billion in federal grants to Metro in jeopardy. Excerpt:

It’s one thing for Perez to stand up for the collective bargaining rights of transit workers. But as The Times’ editorial board argued last month, last year’s state law “doesn’t eliminate current workers’ right to bargain over wages, terms of employment or provisions of their existing pensions.” The main issue is future pensions, and lawmakers have the responsibility — and need the ability — to adjust those benefits as needed to preserve the solvency of public employee pension funds.

Why traffic will get worse even though we’re driving less (Jalopnik) 

The car enthusiasts at Jalopnik can’t argue with the facts: Americans are driving fewer miles. But they also fret that there will be more Americans driving and that will inevitably lead to key corridors — the 5 between L.A. and San Diego in our region — becoming increasingly clogged. They also want to see the U.S. build more public transportation. More transit = more space on the road for them, so the thinking goes.

Let’s make old pay phones into electric car chargers (New York Times)

The lead:

Consider New York’s public pay telephones. They may be outdated in the digital age, but they have telephone wiring and are often supplied with electricity. More important, they already occupy precious city real estate — and already have the permits necessary to stay there. Is it possible to imagine some of them seamlessly replaced with electric vehicle charging stations, with vital dedicated parking spaces?

New York City still has about 8,000 active public telephone kiosks, and their slow fade has led to discussions about repurposing the space they occupy for another public use. The franchise contracts that the city awarded for the operation of public phones will expire in October 2014, and looking for inspiration, the city sponsored a design contest that in the words of one winning team “was an opportunity to reimagine a piece of outdated city infrastructure in the age of mobile.”

There would be some hurdles — mostly made of red tape — to be overcome but bottom line is it’s possible with each pay phone having two or three parking spaces in front. Of course, there’s another factor involved: how many electric vehicles will really be hitting the streets of Gotham?

2 replies

  1. A consideration about using old telephone kiosks for EV charging is what is the capacity of their current electric power circuits. One standard 120 V circuit doesn’t do Level 2 (240 V) or DC fast charging that public chargers need.

  2. 1) The typical POTS (plain old telephone system) lines are only using 12 volts and low current across thin wire. They aren’t already wired: at best they already have a potential conduit for rerunning heavy-gauge power lines.
    2) Many phone booths are not close enough to parking spaces. They were meant for pedestrians.