Transportation headlines, Thursday, December 18

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Opinion — California’s bullet train: we owe it to our grandchildren to get this right (L.A. Times)

Ted Rall isn’t thrilled about the idea of riding a bullet train to Burbank and then having to transfer to Metrolink to reach Union Station. That idea is being considered until someone figures out who is going to pay to electrify tracks between Union Station and Burbank.

Increased price tag puts L.A. River restoration plan in question (KCET)

The city of L.A. has been pushing for a restoration alternative that would require the acquisition of the sprawling Union Pacific train yards on the east side of the river near downtown L.A. But the UP may be balking or demanding a price the city can’t afford. How much this would jeopardize the entire project or the fed’s involvement remains to be seen.

You can see the yards in the foreground of this photo I posted the other day.

Introducing LACBC’s new Executive Director, Tamika Butler (LACBC)

The influential Los Angeles County Bike Coalition has become a major player in planning bike improvements across our region and supporting the rights for cyclists. The interesting thing about the new hire is that Tamika doesn’t come directly from the bike advocacy world but has a very well-rounded resume when it comes to the law, media and heading up community-oriented organizations.

America’s 10 best bike lanes for 2014 (People for Bikes) 

The semi-protected bike path along Rosemead Boulevard in Temple City gets a nod. It’s a nice path — and it will be interesting to see if it’s ever extended north to Huntington Drive. The path does cross the entrances to many driveways, so cyclists do need to be paying a lot of attention.

8 replies

  1. From what I have observed the Union Pacific train yard is extremely busy and if sold to the city of Los Angeles a new yard within the city would have to be constructed. It is a former Southern Pacific yard and is about twice the size of the old U. P. container yard along East Washington Bl. If U. P. was forced to return their operation to the old yard many homes north of it would have to be acquired and demolished leaving families with low incomes a never ending smaller choice of affordable homes.

    While attempting to return the river to it’s natural beauty is commendable that train yard was probably there before the government decided to destroy the Los Angeles River in the first place many years ago.

  2. Not a huge deal, but a nit-picky bikey terminology note: generally “path” refers to bike-only facilities – such as on the beach, the river. The awesome Rosemead Blvd facility is a bike “lane” still – it’s a lane on a street with cars, peds, etc – it’s a “protected bike lane.”

  3. That’s a great idea. It could tie in with the West Los Angeles to DTLA via Santa Monica/Sunset Bl. line I’m in favor of using the old P.E. Right of way down Glenoaks/ Brand/ Glendale Blvds. Light rail where we need it instead of where it’s cheapest to build.

    • Except again, the issue is funding. Nothing is an issue with money, you can do whatever you want if you have the money. If there is a NIMBY along the path who doesn’t like the idea, one can simply buy that person and their property out by throwing money at them and they’ll shut up and pack up easily. But so long as Metro is a county run government bureaucracy, money comes from politics and taxpayers. And you know how slow and inefficient governments are run. They take forever to do anything.

      The other option is to privatize and let Metro become a profit making corporation. Then they can do whatever they want with the money they make and profit on. Unfortunately, the idea of profiting from mass transit in the US is as an alien concept (despite P&E was a for-profit run company in the past), all the while Asian countries manage to do just exactly that through cheaply rated distance based fares and venturing out to developing real estate.

      • Somewhere along the way greed or some other interest intervened. The old MTA was able to run the system entirely out of the fare box plus buy out other bus operations in the Los Angeles area. Where a company refused to sell their operation to the old MTA the old MTA duplicated their operation and forced them out of business.

        Today the majority of the operating revenue comes from various tax sources. Outside of revenue generated from the fare box there is revenue from “Joint Developments” above subway stations.

        The politicians will never allow the MTA or any other revenue producing agency revert into private hands. They are elected to one body and because the way the MTA was created they get to serve on it’s board also. Back when there was two agencies, RTD and LACTC a real joke existed. The same elected officials served on both boards. As the RTD they would vote for instance to create a new line and then as LACTC members would vote to deny the funds.

  4. “The politicians will never allow the MTA or any other revenue producing agency revert into private hands.”

    MTA is not a “revenue producing agency.” It makes no revenue. Less than 30% of it is from the farebox, the other 70% has to come from taxes to keep it on life support.

    The revenue creating agencies in LA are the LADWP, LAX, and the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Those are the only ones that make money. Everything else is paid for by taxpayers.