Transportation headlines, Thursday, February 12

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

ART OF TRANSIT: Trying out some different compositions in DTLA. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: Trying out some different compositions in DTLA. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Today’s Zocalo Public Square Metro rider profile: When you don’t want to lose your parking spot — Wilshire Boulevard to Los Feliz Boulevard

Is it possible to meet a boy/girl on transit? (The Source) 

I don’t do much self promoting in this space…but I really liked this podcast featuring four Metro riders ruminating on transit, personal space, safety and romance. If you have 35 minutes, give it a listen. We’re planning on doing more podcasts this year and would like to include more riders — so keep your eyes peeled on this space as we may occasionally be asking for volunteers.

Oh, and in case we haven’t drilled into you yet, tomorrow is the second annual Speed Dating on the Red Line event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more info about registering and participating is here. If you’re attending, I’ll be the guy walking around on trains with the Nikon and Metro badge. Please say hello!

In the meantime, a little music for you this morning — great song about girls, boys and buses.

Los Angeles has the biggest disconnect in the U.S. between wages and rents (Curbed LA)

The report from NYU and Capitol One finds L.A. has the biggest gap between rents and wages — definitely not good in a city in which roughly 62 percent of residents are renters, according to the Census Bureau. This is certainly a transit relevant topic, as lack of affordable rentals in some parts of the city means longer commutes for workers.

Quasi-related from the Building Los Angeles blog: Jamison Services, which manages office buildings, has filed plans to convert two Wilshire office towers in Westlake and K-Town into residences. Whether affordable or not, remains to be seen — but I bet we’ll see more of this as the need for office space seems to wax and wane and, as the post notes, there is currently a big appetite for urban housing.

Linkedin employee exposed BART riders to measles (KGO-TV, San Francisco)

Health officials in the Bay Area say that someone with the measles rode a portion of a BART line six times. Officials want those who may have been on those trains — especially those must vulnerable to measles — to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Whatever road is taken on highway funds, there’s a need for speed (L.A. Times) 

Columnist George Skelton makes the case that it’s time to tax motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gas they consume. Fuel mileage in vehicles is up, meaning gas tax revenues are down — leaving the state short of funds it needs to maintain roads.

As Skelton writes, the big question will be how to impose a mileage tax as no one has come up with a great solution. One idea now bouncing around: perhaps just impose a flat fee that is more than the average driver pays in gas taxes. Everything will be a tough sell, given that it will mean most motorists paying more taxes.

Senator calls for mandatory helmets for California cyclists (Sacramento Bee) 

State Sen. Carol Liu has introduced a bill, SB 192, that would require cyclists in the state to wear helmets and to wear reflective clothing at night or face a $25 fine if caught and cited. Under current law, all cyclists under 18 must wear helmets. Interesting response from one group:

Dave Snyder, head of the California Bicycle Coalition, said his group just learned of the bill and has not talked to Liu yet, but hopes to encourage her to look for other ways to improve cycling, instead of requiring helmets.

“We think she has good intentions,” Snyder said. “We know that the most important thing to protect people who ride bikes is to get more people out there riding bikes. Forcing people to wear crash helmets when they ride is counter productive to that goal.”

Metro sometimes takes a stance on state legislation that is transportation and/or planning related, so it will be interesting to see if the agency and its Board does so on this. Whether it’s the law or not or needs to be law, I certainly encourage cyclists to wear a helmet.

MBTA general manager Beverly Scott resigning (Boston.com) 

Transit service in the Greater Boston area has been hit hard by recent snowfalls, prompting criticism from residents and even Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. Perhaps as a result — and in a move that took many by surprise — Scott resigned. In previous remarks, she defended the agency’s response to winter storms and pointed to a lack of maintenance and upgrades over the years that left trains vulnerable to the weather. The bigger picture: three of the nation’s largest transit agencies — MBTA, Washington Metro and, of course, Metro here in L.A. County — are all presently looking for their next leaders.

Breaking up with fossil fuels is hard to do (Environmental Policy Alliance)

I don’t anything about the organization that produced this, but it’s bouncing around the Internet, particularly among groups interested in the environment. If you’re curious about sources of electricity in California, here are the latest numbers:

ElectricityCA

 

Two fossil fuels — coal and natural gas — create more than half the state’s electricity. In many other states — where coal plays a bigger role — that number is higher and it’s fair for the group to point that out. And, certainly, Metro depends on fossil fuels to directly power its buses (natural gas) and trains (electricity from a variety of sources). That said, there’s a downside to so much use of fossil fuels, too (smog, global warming) and many cities and states are seeking more renewable forms of energy, even if they’re not perfect either.

The death of Detroit — how Motor City crumbled in the ’90s in pictures (The Guardian) 

Not transpo-related per se, but a good collection of photographs by Camilo Jose Vergara documenting some of the ruins in a once much, much larger and vibrant city. The lesson, perhaps: nothing is forever.

9 replies

  1. “Environmental Policy Alliance” is brought to you by, you guessed it, the Koch Brothers! Please examine sources and content of propaganda before posting it.

    • I posted it in order to respond to it. And I was clear that I didn’t know the source.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Mr. Hymon, now that it’s clear that it’s propaganda to further the Koch brother’s private holdings at expense of the truth and public health, perhaps you will decide that this is not the place for it and remove the video.

        • Hi Dayle;

          I’m not going to remove the post. It’s about a topic of interest to many who read this blog and it’s a topic that is not retreating anytime soon from the public realm — whether in this video or others. I tried to supply other contextual information that I felt the video did not include.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

    • Grow up. Koch Brothers on one side, labor unions on the other side, environmentalists on one side, and social conservatives on the other. All the same thing: they work for their own cause. In the end, it’s the common people that gets screwed either way.

      • I concur.

        People need to stop saying “oh this article/group is funded by someone I don’t like so don’t post it.” That’s not democracy. Democracy is also listening to the other side and see what they have to say and working together to come to a compromise, not “I only want to listen to what I want to hear, do what I tell you to do because I know I’m right and everybody else who disagrees with me is wrong.” People like that who get stuck into their own little world of confirmation/disconfirmation bias become like anti-vaxers who create more problems for society.

        For that, I praise Metro and The Source for posting this article. As a government and taxpayer funded board, it’s always in the best interest of taxpayers to be neutral and non-partisan, post both sides of the view instead of taking sides, and let the reader/taxpayer decide for him/herself.

      • Well said. If Metro and The Source only puts up articles that fits their views than it becomes a propaganda for them too. Well all chip in our fair share of taxes to run this board, and it’s not new that Metro builds freeway projects along with public transit. And the last thing we need is yet another nanny state telling people what they should read and what not to read.

        And no matter how you look at it, we’re not going to wake up tomorrow to see a fossil-fuel free nation. And there is no such thing either, even in highly mass transit oriented societies; Japan and Korea may have the most highly advanced mass transit systems in the world, but guess what? They also make cars too. Finding the right balance is the key, not going far to the left or far to the right.

        Besides, I think it’s hypocritical for those who proclaim that fossil fuels should be done away with when they themselves are totally reliant on it. How do you think President Obama get around? He flies on a gas-guzzling specialized Boeing 747. How do you think you get your food at the supermarket? They just don’t pop out of nowhere; they have to be transported onto big rig trucks from the farm to get to your neighborhood Ralphs. What do you think police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances run on? They run on gas just as any other vehicle out there. How do you think Amtrak trains run on? They run on diesel. Metro has their own fleet of hybrid vehicles that’s still uses gasoline as any other vehicle out there.

    • Hi DrM;

      Agreed. My best guess is that numbers from cities, counties and utilities couldn’t be completely reconciled — or that some places are purchasing electricity from the grid and can’t specify exactly how it is generated.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source