Transportation headlines, Wednesday, December 10

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First train car pulled along Gold Line tracks in Arcadia, Monrovia (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Good coverage of the clearance testing that began Monday for the Gold Line Foothill Extension project between Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border.

With 2024 transit connections, LAX hedges bets, expects travelers will park (Streetsblog LA)

In addition to planning on the future Automated People Mover project, LAX officials are also apparently planning on several new parking lots and/or structures. Joe Linton writes that the number of new spaces could total 8,000, a figure that airport officials would not confirm while not providing an actual number.

The concern, Joe writes, is that building that number of spaces could cost many millions of dollars while also reinforcing the notion that the only way to get to and from LAX is by car. Of course, traffic on the Westside and in the LAX area will likely remain a challenge, perhaps one reason future airport visitors and employees will use the Crenshaw/LAX Line to reach the people mover or continue to take the FlyAway bus or other shuttles/buses to get to the airport.

Read the entire Streetsblog article — there’s quite a bit of detail in there on the airport’s plans.

Officials present route options for high-speed rail (Burbank Leader) 

California High-Speed Rail Authority officials presented several route options for the bullet train between Palmdale and Burbank, including a tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains. The idea is to put the line underground so that it’s less disruptive to properties on the surface but some residents are already concerned a tunnel would carry its own impacts to the water table and other resources. The article says that construction could begin in 2018, but funding would still need to be found and the project still must settle on a route (and also find funding) for the segment between Palmdale and Bakersfield.

Related: the Silicon Valley Business Journal has a round-up of issues facing the bullet train in 2015.

Why Congress won’t pass a gas tax increase (The Atlantic) 

Short answer: because gas prices have plunged — below $3 in many parts of the U.S. (and even parts of So Cal) — and low gas prices are popular. Meanwhile, Congress still must find a way to put money back into the Highway Trust Fund, which the latest funding scheme due to expire in the spring.

Light rail enters the West’s most sprawling metropolis (High Country News) 

Nope, not a story about L.A. — rather, about Phoenix. Besides this excerpt, the remainder of the article is behind HCN’s pay wall along with a lot of other great content on environmental issues in the Western U.S.

Paris aims to end its pollution misery by cutting out cars (CityLab)

A photo of Paris traffic circa 2005 -- apparently things haven't improved much. Photo by Nelson Minar, via Flickr creative commons.

A photo of Paris traffic circa 2005 — apparently things haven’t improved much. Photo by Nelson Minar, via Flickr creative commons.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says it’s time to stop screwing around solving the metro area’s traffic-and-smog problem. She wants to ban cars from traveling through some arrondissements (residents could still use streets) while restricting other major streets to only electric cars and hybrids. Diesel buses are also being targeted (Metro got rid of the last of its diesel buses in 2011, btw) as are wood fires — a big source of smog.

Night proof your bike by turning it into a giant reflector (Grist) 

Lights are a great idea, of course, but this is intriguing — although costly at about $500.

 

 

10 replies

  1. What a brilliant idea. Let’s add more parking spaces at LAX. I’m sure when we get the Olympics in 2024, everyone from all over the world who come here for the games will know how to drive a car and will all rent cars to get around Olympic venues all over LA. We’ll show the world how LA does the Olympics with clogged roads, bad traffic jams, and frustrating parking spaces, making ourselves the laughing stock of the entire world after everyone saw how Tokyo did the Olympics in 2020.

    • We put on the 1984 Olympics very sucessfully and cost effectively. The roads were not clogged and the RTD leased buses from through out Calif. so as to free up regular RTD buses for Special Olympic service to the different venues.

      And how do you know Tokyo will do a great job in 2020? I’m sure many people though out the world would love to see your crystal ball. While Japan is very efficient in many ways I think I read they are still having problems cleaning up a nuclear accident site.

      • And in 1984, LA had a population 7 million. Today we have a population of 10 million. That’s 3 million more people in the last 30 years. More people means more traffic, more cars, and more density than 1984. A lot has changed in LA since 1984. In 1984, there was a Thrifty’s Pharmacy (remember them?) at the corner of Wilshire and Western. Now there’s a high rise condo and a Metro Station there.

        • Why not divert it to Santa Monica or better yet El Segundo if a politician complains? It’s High Speed Rail and should use the most direct and economical route. Metro Link can funnel those who wish to ride HSR to Union Station. I’m sure every community between San Francisco and Los Angeles would like to have a stop but that can’t happen, it’s HSR.

  2. Diverting the High Speed Rail Line route via Palmdale then back on route in Burbank is the most ass backwards idea I have ever heard. It makes as much sense as having flights from San Francisco to Los Angles to make a stop over at Palmdale Airport. This is High Speed Rail, not a commuter train, they have Metro Link for that.

    • Who says that the high speed train needs to make a stop at Burbank or Palmdale everytime? High speed rail is very capable of running different types of services if they are built with multiple tracks. In Korea, we have HSR called KTX between Seoul and Busan. There are many stops along the way, but that doesn’t mean every KTX makes a stop at each station. Depending on services, like limited and express trains will just pass those stops along the way.

  3. I was on vacation in Paris a couple years ago, and the traffic was just as thick – as was the pollution when I walked down certain busy streets. Many of the buildings lining the streets are the exact same height, which, I would imagine, means that wind blowing over the buildings might create a mini inversion layer for car exhaust escaping upward. Someone correct me if I’m wrong on this one.

    Fortunately, they have one of the best subway systems in the world, with stations within walking distance of pretty much everywhere. Asking more people to switch from cars to public transit for travel within the city would be quite realistic.

  4. K Town
    It’s not a matter of just stops, it’s a matter of diverting the trains from the most direct route in order to serve a small community. The initial plan, pushed thru to satisfy a politician in Sacramento was to run the train from a town that lost it’s post office in the late 1800’s to Crescent City whose biggest employer is Pelican Bay State Prison. There is nothing else there, let me tell you. I was stuck there for over a week broken down.

    Oh yes, let me correct myself. Planes can’t fly to Palmdale, they closed down the Airport many years ago because no one wanted to go there.

    • How else do you think politicians in those areas are going to agree to this project? They’re not going to support something unless they get something. If Governor Jerry Brown wants high speed rail, he needs to appeal to all the state legislators because they control the funding. In order to obtain the funding, Governor Brown has to make a deal: let’s get the high speed rail built but in return, we’ll have the rail line pass through your town/city.

      Don’t tell me you don’t know how politics works. Everything is politics. Of course it’s BS – politics are at play!