Transportation headlines, Friday, December 6

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ART OF TRANSIT: From our Instagram feed.

Metro hopes to stop public urination near the Orange Line (L.A. Times) 

Well that’s certainly a no-nonsense headline! The article is about the motion approved by the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday to study ways to stem complaints about public urination near the Pierce College station. That includes possibly building restrooms at Pierce College and other Metro stations. Excerpt:

The Orange Line opened in 2005; urinating in public has been illegal in Los Angeles since 2003. But a patchwork of jurisdictions has made enforcing the law near the Orange Line more difficult, Lewis said. Metro owns the busway, which is patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. But the surrounding area, including the alleys, is the purview of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“If you gotta go, you gotta go,” Lewis said. “But it sure would be nice if you could plan ahead a little better and go a few hundred yards to the south.”

Even if a portable toilet is installed, Lewis said, education will be another issue. If riders don’t know where to look for a bathroom, the solution will be ineffective.

I didn’t realize public urination was legal in L.A. until 2003 — or to put it another way, legal urination in L.A. actually made it into the 21st century. Here’s the story on that.

Gold Line basket bridge over 210 freeway gets record fifth award (San Gabriel Valley Tribune) 

The bridge over the eastbound 210 in Arcadia that was built for the Foothill Extension project has picked up another award, this time from Engineering News-Record, a trade journal. The bridge’s design and construction was overseen by the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency that is building the project.

I think the bridge looks great — and will look even better once there are trains upon it. At this point, Metro is forecasting an early 2016 opening for the extension that will bring the Gold Line to Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, Azusa and within a few feet of Glendora.

San Antonio can’t decide if it’s building light rail or a streetcar (The Atlantic Cities)

The top of the story:

In 2004, San Antonio residents overwhelmingly approved a quarter-cent sales tax to pay for local transportation projects. The money could be used for any number of purposes — from road upgrades to “advanced transit services” — with the exception of light rail. Voters shot down a light rail project several years earlier, and VIA Metropolitan Transit, the agency in charge of the funds, promised not to pursue another one.

Fast-forward a decade. That decision is at the heart of a bewildering debate over whether “streetcars” and “light rail” are the same thing. VIA has planned a 5-mile streetcar system for downtown San Antonio that’s scheduled to open by 2017. Opponents contend that none of the sales tax funds (known as Advanced Transportation District funds) should help pay for it under the original “light rail” stipulation.

Surprise, surprise: the issue has landed in court, preventing the local transit agency from selling bonds to fund the streetcar project.

There’s probably a good, larger story here about the newfound popularity of streetcar projects and how controversial they are in many quarters. Los Angeles, of course, is trying to figure out how much a streetcar would cost here while Cincinnati just halted construction because of money concerns. I bet there are other similar tales out there as American cities try anything to continue reviving their urban cores.

4 replies

  1. Funny: in San Francisco, they don’t seem to have any difficulty understanding that a streetcar system, by definition, is a type of “light rail.” And in San Diego, they’re not even afraid of the word, “Trolley” (and unlike a number of places where it’s improperly applied to diesel buses with quaint, fanciful coachwork, they actually use the term for what it means: an electric bus or light-rail vehicle powered from an overhead wire.)

  2. Actually, it’s not surprising that we didn’t have public urination laws until the 21st century. LA is so far behind the rest of the world in everything like how we STILL don’t have a direct link to LAX, how we still rely on the honor system because all the stations can’t be locjed up, how it’s taking forever to fix the confusing structure of the taptogo.net websiter, how we can’t even get auto reloads and auto daily caps….

  3. We do have a direct link to LAX. It’s a bus called “Flyaway,” and I’m firmly convinced that SOMEBODY must have a lot of money riding on its continued monopoly as the only single-seat Union-Station-to-LAX link in town, and has been digging in heels to keep it that way.

    The San Diego Trolley, so far as I can recall, is still on the honor system. As are all of Sacramento’s RT Metro trolley lines.

    And since San Francisco has onboard fare payment on all MUNI routes except when running in the Market Street Subway, and more “low-platform” or “no-platform” stops than high-platform stops, the Market Street Subway is the only place where they CAN gate the stops.

    As to LA being behind the rest of the world, all I can say is that (1) in public transportation, it was our own fault for ditching the Pacific Electric in favor of freeways, and (2) culturally, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, first under Salonen, and now under Dudamel, has gone from being a minor regional orchestra (that couldn’t hang on to Previn when they had him) to being right up there with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the London Symphony.