Transportation headlines, Tuesday, January 28

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Rest in Peace, Pete Seeger….

Rail alone can’t reinvent L.A. (L.A. Times)

Ethan N. Elkind is pleased to see that three rail transit projects are simultaneously under construction in Los Angeles County. But…and it’s a big ‘but’…here’s the excerpt:

But these billions risk being wasted if city leaders do not promote, and residents do not allow, new growth around rail stations and corridors. Why? Rail is expensive to build, operate and maintain compared with other forms of transit. It only becomes cost-effective with high ridership. And the best way to boost ridership is to locate new jobs, housing and retail near stations.

Focusing development around rail provides multiple benefits. It allows the region to accommodate new residents and natural population growth without building endless subdivisions on open space and worsening traffic and air pollution. It can reduce the high cost of housing by boosting in-town supply, making it easier for businesses to attract and retain talented employees. Finally, rail-accessible development can create convenient, walkable neighborhoods that meet the growing demand among millennials, childless professionals and empty nesters to move “back to the city” — as many recent urban success stories attest.

Couldn’t agree more. Which leads to the next story…

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-elkind-los-angeles-rail-transit-20140127,0,6436265.story#ixzz2riZNuJjl

We’ll be fine (Santa Monica Next)

Gary Kavanaugh takes a look at the Bergamot Transit Village proposal that goes before the Santa Monica City Council tonight for approval. I included an op-ed against the project in yesterday’s headlines (traffic was the big gripe) and Gary’s piece largely finds the project favorable. Excerpt:

My own stance on urbanism and environmentalism that has evolved in recent years . Conserving nature requires a certain amount of letting cities be cities, keeping what development we do inward, and kept away from pushing out edges expanding the total footprint of industrial civilization upon the landscape. Lowering our dependency upon voracious rates of oil consumption and high transportation CO2 emissions requires planning new housing and workplaces around our most energy efficient transportation investments, such as the developing light rail system.

As the data emerging from the truncated Expo Line Phase I has shown, rates of driving do in fact drop off quite significantly for many with car access, but the effect is strongest in that immediate walking radius of the stations.

Also informing my view is an expectation that the completed Expo Line to Santa Monica will exceed expectations. Phase 1 has already hit its 2020 ridership projection. Traffic studies, such as the ones on the impact of the Hines development, are often loaded with assumptions that are already eroding, and that I believe will erode further as we progress through the 21st century.

The long-standing criticism against development in Santa Monica is that it will cause traffic to get worse. But here’s the thing: Santa Monica’s population has barely budged since 1960 — from a little more than 83,000 to about 92,000 in 2012, according to the Census Bureau. I think it’s fair to ask if keeping population growth in Santa Monica artificially down (the rest of the region has grown at a much larger rate) has also ensured bad traffic because of all the people drive into and out of Santa Monica who work or visit there frequently.

One semi-related thought: I think ridership on Expo should be healthy with a caveat: people boarding on the far western side of the line and riding to downtown L.A. will get frustrated if the run times are not more consistent between Crenshaw and downtown L.A.

Broadway traffic lanes to be slashed (Downtown News) 

As part of the Bringing Back Broadway effort, a city proposal seeks to reduce traffic lanes from six to three while widening one of the sidewalks and adding pedestrian seating and bump outs. If the streetcar gets built, it would share a lane with traffic.

Councilman proposes DASH trolleys to make transit more fun (Curbed LA)

L.A. Councilman Tom LaBonge wants a couple of DASH buses to look like open-air streetcars to encourage more ridership. Not a bad idea. Maybe start with a route on weekend nights running between the Art District and Little Tokyo to LA Live via the revived Spring Street corridor?

Time-based transfers are key to transit’s success (Global Toronto)

The Toronto area is considering allowing those who purchase fares on buses and trains to ride an unlimited amount in a 90-minute time period — instead of allowing a transfer only in one direction. Proponents say that’s good for folks who want to run round-trip errands for a single fare — and that will increase ridership. Metro is proposing the same thing here — a higher base fare but unlimited transfers for 90 minutes, including round-trip rides.

4 replies

  1. Greater Toronto Area
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Toronto_Area

    6 million people in a 2750.65 sq. mi. area

    Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_metropolitan_area
    12.8 million people in a 4,850.3 sq. mi. area

    We have double the people in almost double the area size of Toronto. And Metro’s official name is Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority, meaning Metro has to serve all of LA County.

    You guys really think you can keep running the same way as the Greater Toronto Area, in which we have surpassed their population long ago and have nearly double the area size?

  2. The DASH trolleys sounds like a good idea. Might want to consider for the Grove, LACMA and the Beverly Center area too.

  3. DayWalker,

    1. LA County’s size is bigger than the Greater Toronto Area.

    2. Metro covers all of LA County. That’s why it’s called LACMTA (the “C” is County)

    3. We’re going to a system that resembles Toronto’s, which is a city that is smaller than LA.

    4. It’s going to cost $2.25 with free transfers. That means, it’s going to cost $2.25 whether you ride it from your apartment complex to work less than 5-10 miles away which is what majority of the people do everyday.

    5. As well as costing $2.25 it’s going to cost $2.25 to go from Sylmar to San Pedro which is something most people do not do everyday.

    6. You can’t say “$2.25 with free transfers no matter how far you go” is a great deal when people do not have a need to travel that far often. It’s like saying the price of milk will be $2.25, whether you only buy 1 quart of milk or 10 gallons of milk. People don’t buy or have a need to buy 10 gallons of milk all the time, majority of the people are fine with 1 quart of milk. In the end, people get screwed with high prices because they pay $2.25 more often and frequently for 1 quart of milk, rather than buying 10 gallons of milk.