Very thoughtful and well-researched article on an oft-overlooked aspect of the old streetcar system: their ability to tie together many different communities in the L.A. area. Excerpt:
Clearly, the P.E.’s decline impacted Angelenoes unevenly. Working class and minority communities suffered. “The demise of the [Red and Yellow Car systems] … had dire consequences for communities such as Watts and Boyle Heights, which became isolated centers of racialized poverty in the subsequent age of the freeway,” concludes Avila. Banham, writing decades earlier, agreed. “And with the beginning of the sixties, and the passing away of the last P.E. connections, no place was more strategically ill-placed for anything, as the freeways with their different priorities threaded across the plains and left Watts on one side.” 24The highways that followed preyed upon these communities, as they sliced up multiracial and multiethnic Los Angeles into segregated communities, “wreaking havoc on the city’s heterosocial spaces.” 25
It wasn’t until the 1990 opening of the Long Beach or Blue Line light rail, the first rail line completed since the P.E.’s closure, that a direct public transit connection between Watts and other communities like Long Beach was reestablished. Almost 25 years later, the Blue Line stands as the most used light rail in the nation. 26
Yes, there have been and are bus lines that connected distant neighborhoods. But perhaps not quite in the way that rail did, does or will in the future. Discuss please.
Yes, the Register is still ticking even with the financial woes of its parent, the Register. The article says that Los Angeles officials will make a case to the United States Olympic Committee this week that Los Angeles could serve as a template for a 21st Century type of Olympics — although the article is vague about what the means. I think it means that L.A. doesn’t have to do a lot of building — a lot of potential facilities are already here.
The article also says that local officials will downplay the success of the 1984 Summer Olympics, apparently a source of irritation to American officials in the past who prefer a more look-forward approach. Downtown L.A. will also get played up as a place largely remade since ’84. L.A. is the running against San Francisco, Boston and Washington D.C. to win the right to compete against international cities to host the games (assuming USOC decides to bid for 2024).
One challenge for our local Olympic bid: San Francisco is also in the running to be the USOC representative. Not only must L.A. officials go to the Bay Area for their presentation, but San Francisco has never hosted the games and has a plethora of fine dining and hotels that may appeal to Olympics officials — particularly the international ones who tend to covet such things.
Funny but the article doesn’t mention transit here. One big difference between 1984 and 2024 is that there was no rail transit in ’84 and by 2024 there should be a 119-mile of subway and light rail in Los Angeles County and possibly a people mover connecting LAX to the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Not bad. Here’s one question that’s outstanding: UCLA would be one of the big venues for the Games. Is there any way humanly possible that the Purple Line Extension could reach Westwood by 2024? That remains to be seen — under the current Metro long-range plan, the subway would reach Westwood in the mid-2030s.
DePallo announced his departure on Friday. As the article notes, Metrolink has had its challenges of late with financial, mechanical and ridership issues. One recent report even recommended possibly having a local transit agency take over operations. That seems unlikely, given that Metrolink is primarily funded by the five counties where it provides most of its service (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties).
Great Streets program enters second phase (Daily News)
A brief update on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to remake sections of 15 streets across the city (one per council district). One upcoming focus is to find smaller fixes that can be done quickly — repairing potholes, lighting, awnings and that type of thing.
Air pollution down thanks to California regulation of diesel trucks (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
State law requiring filters to be installed in heavy trucks appear to be working in this study of trucks serving the Port of Oakland. Good news. Obviously smog is still a major issue in many parts of California — but the mountain views in SoCal sure seem better and clearer these days when compared to when I moved here in ’94.
A highway engineer did the math, starting with this astounding stat: more than two million people each day commute into Manhattan, with many of them on some form of transit (buses, New York Subway, three commuter railroads — Metro North, Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, ferries).
Categories: Transportation Headlines