Transportation headlines, Wednesday, December 17

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ART OF TRANSIT: Gold Line train over the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. (Photo: Anna Chen/Metro)

ART OF TRANSIT: Gold Line train over the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. (Photo: Anna Chen/Metro)

NoHo ped tunnel construction underway, to connect Orange and Red Lines (Streetsblog L.A.)

A good overview by Streetblog’s Joe Linton of Metro’s $22-million project to build an underground pedestrian tunnel between the Metro Orange and Red Line Stations in North Hollywood. Construction on the project is starting this month.

Currently, the North Hollywood Red Line Station has only one entrance on the east side of Lankershim Boulevard, so transferring between the two lines requires riders to use a crosswalk on the heavily trafficked street, meaning they have to wait for a green light. The underground tunnel and additional entrance will allow pedestrians to access the Red Line Station from the west (Orange Line) side of the street, making transfers between the two lines much faster and safer.

Joe likes the project but also writes that he hopes the existing crosswalk across Lankershim on Chandler North sticks around to serve cyclists and those transferring from the Orange Line and other buses. Metro’s answer is that the crosswalk will remain permanently.

Your commute may be hazardous to your health (L.A. Magazine)

Some good reasons you might want to consider public transit over driving. Whether or not all the negative impacts the article attributes to tedious commutes — like higher divorce rates for long-distance commuters — would hold up to more study, one fact does: the longer or more stressful the commute, the less happier and healthier people are. Excerpt:

Other research has linked the duress of driving to diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, reduced sleep quality, and poorer job performance—as well as to a higher risk of accidents. At the same time your lifestyle goes downhill (surprise!): Researchers at UCLA and Cal State Long Beach have found evidence that greater time in the car means less time, say, jogging around the Silver Lake Reservoir and a greater likelihood of relying on “nongrocery” foods (like those KFC meals that fit in your cup holder)—which ups your odds of becoming obese.

The article goes on to suggest mass transit as one option for those willing to change their mode of transit and to “start using that time for things like reading, catching up on work, or just spacing out.” Ultimately though, the article ends by focusing on meditation and relaxation methods as a way to make the daily drive a little more tolerable — good luck with that.

So how did the article’s author adjust to his new daily 100-mile commute? He now carpools and telecommutes.

How can getting around Los Angeles get easier? (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

More highlights from last week’s Zocalo Public Square panel on whether L.A. is mobile enough to be a global city. With ample discussion over the importance of the convenience and experience of mobility, the action for improving L.A. boiled down to making incremental changes and “tinkering” within the existing environment:

We won’t be seeing roller coasters up to the top of Bunker Hill or Metro Rail yoga cars. Instead, the answers are more simple, as in using the single-occupancy cars already on the roads and making it safer to walk from your house to the market, panelists said.

Uber backtracks after jacking up prices during Sydney hostage crisis (Washington Post)

It’s becoming a weekly trend now: I present you your weekly ride-sharing company — ahem, Uber — PR fiasco. This time it was the ride sharing’s automatic surge pricing algorithm that caused the cost for a ride to reach exorbitant prices during Monday morning’s hostage situation in downtown Sydney. The surge pricing is generally based on supply and demand and thus Uber’s initial response on Twitter to the hike was this:

Public backlash followed, and the company later offered free rides from the affected district as well as offered refunds to riders who rode during the surge period. What will be interesting to see is if Uber begins to lose ridership to other ride-sharing services or transit because of the company’s recent string of controversies. According to this article, at least one other company might be squandering its opportunity.

7 replies

  1. Why the tunnel? The Orange bus line is going to be extended to Bob Hope Burbank Airport soon with the bus crossing Lankershim for a stop at the op of the Red Line escalator. When the Orange bus line is upgraded to a LRT it also will cross Lankershim. This will eliminate any need for this tunnel. What a waste of money for something that will have such a short life.

  2. I think its important to look at other areas as well for these pedestrian tunnels. Wilshire purple line sections would benefit greatly from this in my opinion.

  3. It seems like Uber deals with a new PR fiasco every week now. The one that angered me was when they reached out to teachers (I’m a teacher), and they said basically that they felt teachers are underpaid and should become Uber drivers (because you know..teachers stop working at 3pm everyday…)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/01/uber-teacher-appreciation-blog_n_5916234.html

    But anyway, I am not against Uber for existing, I think the taxis created a barrier and it got cracked. However, I have a problem with a company advertising itself as a taxi provider, and when anything dangerous happens to a passenger or driver, Uber dodges all liability by claiming that its just an app and not a transportation provider.

  4. […] Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison!  NoHo ped tunnel construction underway, to connect Orange and Red Lines (Streetsblog L.A.) A good overview by Streetblog’s Joe Linton of Metro’s $22-million project to [continue reading] […]

  5. Uber and Lyft’s driver problems is only because there’s a human driver involved to drive those vehicles. Imagine what’ll happen when Uber and Lyft starts incorporating Google driverless car technology? Then, they’re problems go away. And the Uber and Lyft drivers will be out of a job because they don’t need live, human drivers anymore.

    I have to imagine Uber and Lyft can’t wait to the day Google releases driverless technology.

    • No way will I get in any vehicle, any mode of transit, that is controlled entirely by a computer. What if your driver-less car/train/bus gets hacked? Or simply freezes up?

      • I’m sure at the turn of the century, there were people who said they won’t trust a carriage that isn’t tied to a horse.