Transportation headlines, Wednesday, November 27

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ART OF TRANSIT: Again, from our Instagram feed

Tracking holiday travel misery (FlightAware)

MiseryMap

That’s a screen grab from 8:55 a.m. Looks like a good day to avoid Atlanta. Then again, it’s always a good day to avoid Atlanta, right? 🙂

LAX and Metro call for minor changes to future light rail station (Daily Breeze)

Forgot to post this one earlier in the week. Airport and Metro officials are working to make some minor changes to the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Aviation/Century station that would make it easier in the future to connect the platform to future airport facilities at Manchester Square and to extend 98th Street across Aviation Boulevard. The Metro Board will consider an MOU with the airport at its meeting on Dec. 5.

Denver’s East Corridor rail line to leave Crenshaw to near LAX project in its prairie dust (L.A. Streetsblog)

A look at the 22-mile commuter rail line under construction that will link downtown Denver to Denver International Airport. The writer Roger Rudick compares the new line to the Crenshaw/LAX Line, pointing out that Denver is building a one-seat ride to its airport from downtown, whereas the trip from downtown L.A. to LAX will require more time and more transfers. He would have rather seen a project built from downtown to LAX using the old Harbor Subdivision rail right-of-way.

One quick note: Denver’s FasTraks program, funded by a sales tax increase in 2004, is a great transit program — but it has suffered cost over-runs and delays. And one quick thought: the Crenshaw/LAX Line will probably also serve a lot of people not going to the airport.

And one addendum: Denver’s airport line is using a public-private partnership to help fund part of the project. I’ve read various things about it — both good and bad — but something must be working because the project is aiming for completion in 2016.

Campus tracks cycling with first digital bike counter at a university (UCLA) 

The digital bike counter — working from sensors embedded in the roadway — allows everyone to see how many bikes are using the Strathmore Place bike lane. Very cool. The counter is apparently the first of its kind in Southern California. Might be fun to put one of these on one of the region’s new bike lanes to see how they’re doing! 🙂

Brisbane rail tunnel all show and no substance, says rail expert (Brisbane Times) 

Transportation officials want to build a massive tunnel under the Brisbane River that includes a rail line and roadway for buses. This article finds a skeptic to rail extensively against that plan. On our side of the Pacific, it’s interesting because one of the early options that has been explored for the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project is a tunnel that would have both a rail line and tolled lanes. That project is still in its initial planning stages with public-private financing being looked at to supplement seed money from Measure R.

9 replies

  1. This never ending alterations to the 405 freeway has got to stop. They are almost finished with this latest construction and now people are calling for more. It wasn’t that long ago that the 405 was widened. The cement was barely dry and the new shrubs just taking hold when the current project was started. Unless this new tunnel fallows the elevations of the land it will be far to deep to serve both Skirball Ctr. and the Getty Museum. It’s time to end the pipe dreams and concentrate on the needs of the entire region.

    Does anyone think it may be time to complete the Two freeway from its odd Glendale Bl. terminus to at least the 405 in order to relieve traffic congestion in this corridor? A light rail down the middle connecting with the Expo Line would do wonders for the east – west commuter traffic. When the Hollywood Freeway was built way back in the late 1940’s a interchange was provided for at Vermont Ave. That’s why there is that huge gap between the N.B. & S.B. lanes. Jerry Brown killed it when he was governor before. The property had been purchased and it was ready to go. Let’s complete the envisioned Freeway system in Los Angeles to help all of the people not just the chosen few on the Westside going to and from the valley.

  2. We could still have a single-seat all-rail downtown-to-LAX link, and even a single-seat all-rail Union Station to LAX link, AND serve lots of non-LAX, non-Union-Station traffic. All it would need would be extensions to both ends of the Crenshaw line, or a LAX extension to the Purple Line, and one other thing: a willingness to admit that the Flyaway Bus is not, and should not be considered, a viable permanent solution.

  3. Remember, Denver International Airport was built from scratch in the 1990’s part of a plan to move aviation environmental impacts out of the Denver Metro area. And Denver has one airport. LAX has evolved since its creation as Mines Field in the early 1920’s, and is one of five airports in the region. While it is truly unfortunate that the future ability to run (FRA class one) trains beyond LAUS to LAX appears to have been sacrificed to allow Electric Light Rail to serve the airport, it will be a start, and may finally open up the eyes of local car-addicted politicians to what is possible, given especially the examples provided by forward-thinking cities like Denver and San Francisco.

  4. A very easy fix to the Downtown to LAX rail need is build a connector from the Blue Line to the Green Line at Imperial Station. Then every other or every third train would divert on this connector to LAX. The Green Line could easily go into the airport underground. That way there would be no interference with airport plane traffic. These complicated transferring ideas being proposed are really not workable nor convenient. L. A. will be known as the City with a Mickey Mouse Transit system into the airport.

  5. Building rail in Los Angeles has become a cash cow for the two or three construction companies that always get the contracts. In the 21st century it takes longer to build a line than it took in the early 1900’s. A case in point is the Blue Line. Henry Huntington used his rail experience and constructed the Long Beach line in six months. It took the L.A.C.T.C. three years over almost the same right a way.

    BNSF just improved their Cajon Pass route third phase in less than two years at a cost of 90 million dollars. It is sixteen miles long and involves moving double trackage in places and installation of a third track. This included eliminating two tunnels, retaining walls and movement of millions of cubic yards of dirt.

    The Gold Lines extension currently under construction is eleven miles long at a cost of eight hundred ten million which is seven hundred twenty million more that BNSF’s project and is five miles shorter.

    Phase one of the Expo Line is 8.6 miles long and cost nine hundred and eleven million dollars after extensive over runs. It is 7.4 shorter than BNSF project and cost eight hundred and twenty one million dollars more to build.

    Phase two of the Expo Line is 6.6 miles long and the estimated cost is unknown.

    While the BNSF project had delays, came in under budget and took less than two years. The Gold Line extension has been underway for three or four years already and the Expo Line phase one took six years and phase two is projected to take three years.

  6. The Cajon Pass project and Henry Huntington didn’t have to deal with building rail right smack in the middle of a metropolis without impeding all the problems that keep daily life moving for millions of Angelenos either.

    The problem with you old timers is that you think you all still think we live in the 1950s where it should be easy to get things done. Well it ain’t easy because we have all these buildings, homes and people living where rail should be placed and everyone doesn’t want to work together to get mass transit done right!

    Everyone wants a rail line from LAX to Downtown LA. We all agree that it should’ve been done ages ago instead of today. But the thing is it can’t be done thanks to all the homes and businesses along the way.

    Have you guys ever pulled up Google Maps and look at what lies between LAX and Downtown LA? What are you going to do with all those homes and businesses that lie between Westchester and Downtown LA? Tell all of them to move away because rail is coming? Or dig underneath as a subway? Yeah like that’s going to be really cheap, fast and easy to do.

  7. The three light rail lines I made reference to all run down old P. E. or Santa Fe right of ways. There are no homes or businesses that have to be vacated. The BNSF project did involve numerous railroad crossings in addition to removing two tunnels, building concrete walls and all of this in areas with limited roads to bring in supplies and machinery. The only subway I proposed was under the airport terminals. They could just as easily be above ground over the parking structures. Instead we have proposals to run the Green Line and the Crenshaw line to a terminal outside the airport then force passengers to carry their bags for a distance before boarding another type of transit. No where in the current proposals are there a one seat ride from downtown to the airport. Instead the MTA believes travelers will board the Blue Line, alight at Imperial Station( not the safest stop in the system), tack a elevator to the Green line, alight at some terminal outside the airport, again drag their bags for a distance to board a third mode to get to their terminal. A taxi or Super Shuttle sounds a lot safer, more comfortable and quicker

    And remember, the Line Rail enthusiasm was born in San Diego. They built the first line for under budget, in record time. There are no flashy stations or other add on’s, just basic efficient light rail transportation.