Transportation headlines, Friday, February 20

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, ALMOST THE WEEKEND EDITION: A pair of cyclists climb the fire road between the Angeles National Forest ranger station on Highway 2 and Mt. Lukens. Photo by Steve Hymon.

ART OF TRANSIT, ALMOST THE WEEKEND EDITION: A pair of cyclists climb the fire road between the Angeles National Forest ranger station on Highway 2 and Mt. Lukens. Photo by Steve Hymon.

One in five riders face unwanted sexual behavior on L.A. Metro, survey says (L.A. Times)

A follow-up by Laura Nelson to the latest Metro customer survey that was released yesterday. Key excerpt:

Adding more deputies to bus or rail lines to prevent sexual harassment isn’t realistic, Gonzales said, because that would require hundreds of law enforcement personnel every day.

Instead, Metro depends on good information from passengers and drivers. When someone assaults or otherwise harasses someone, “that’s typically his regular bus,” Gonzales said. With a good police report, including a description, officers can board the same line later in the week and make an arrest, he said.

Metro is partnering with the group Peace Over Violence to create an awareness campaign about harassment. Metro also urges all passengers to contact the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department if they are being harassed by calling 888.950.SAFE (7233) — all Metro riders should save that number in their cell phones. If you don’t have a cell phone or can’t get a signal, please use emergency phones that are located at all rail stations or ask the bus or train operator to contact the Sheriff’s Department.

Please click here to see a Metro staff report about the latest customer survey and the sexual harassment question on it.

How late are Metro trains and buses? Depends on which line you’re riding (KCET)

A good data cull results in some interesting that will be interesting and perhaps not surprising for our riders. The gist of it: Metro Rail is usually on time while Metro Bus lines are late about 20 percent of the time on average. The problem: mostly traffic according to Metro. Buses get stuck in some of the same congestion as does everyone else — plus buses frequently stop and have to both load and discharge passengers.

As the story notes, Metro was able to increase on-time buses by .7 percent between 2010 and 2014. It’s a tough issue and I’m not sure how much improvement is possible without more bus lanes. I’d like to hear riders’ opinions on this — please leave a comment or email me.

Metro will be testing WiFi on its buses (LAist) 

In addition to installing equipment to provide cell phone and WiFi signals in underground rail stations, Metro is planning to test WiFi on some of its buses. As we posted recently, the plan is to test WiFi on Silver Line buses in the coming fiscal year; the Silver Line runs between El Monte Station and Harbor Gateway Transit Center. I’ll post more details as soon as they’re available!

Mayor de Blasio’s traffic law vilifies bus drivers, union says (New York Times) 

A law that went into effect last August in Gotham penalizes drivers who injure or kill pedestrians who had the right-of-way. That has led to the arrest of three New York MTA bus operators, including one last week who struck a girl who had the right-of-way in a crosswalk. Union officials say that bus operators should be exempt from the law that demands they be perfect drivers, which is an unrealistic expectation. Excerpt:

“The new failure-to-yield law is a vital tool in our efforts to protect pedestrians and make our streets safer,” a spokesman for the mayor, Wiley Norvell, said in a statement on Thursday. “We will work with our partners at the M.T.A. and push for the training and support drivers need to do their job safely, and we are looking closely at changes we can make on our streets to prevent crashes between pedestrians and buses.”

Police officials have said that collisions were evaluated case by case. Several other bus drivers who have struck pedestrians since the law went into effect have not been arrested. Union officials argue that accidents can happen despite bus operators’ best efforts. Making a left turn without a traffic signal can be difficult, city streets are chaotic, and there are blind spots in the bus equipment, John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union, said on Wednesday.

“In this case,” he said, referring to Mr. DeJesus, “there was no indicator, despite the heartache of the tragedy, that the bus operator did anything reckless.”

Good article, tough issue. As the article also notes, the New York MTA is studying using audio warnings on buses to get pedestrians’ attention. And not every bus that struck a pedestrian has resulted in an arrest as there are mitigating factors — including distracted pedestrians using cell phones.

***

•Best five movies I saw last year in alphabetical order: American Sniper, Boyhood, Chef, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, St. Vincent. My apologies to Selma, which I haven’t seen yet. I liked Grand Budapest Hotel, just not as much as the five above. Birdman didn’t do it for me — the directing was a distraction and the second reel wasn’t as good as the first.

Reminder: many movie houses in L.A. County are very near Metro Bus and Metro Rail if you want to avoid the inevitable parking hassles. Metro maps and timetables here.

The Santa Monica Pier at sunset last Sunday. Not shown: mind-altering gridlock in DT SaMo. Photo by Steve Hymon.

The Santa Monica Pier at sunset last Sunday. Not shown: mind-altering gridlock in DT SaMo. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Speaking of which, I would describe the traffic in and near downtown Santa Monica last Sunday afternoon as near apocalyptic levels — and there’s still an ArcLight theater opening in Santa Monica Place later this year. That’s great — and it’s even greater that Santa Monica-bound visitors and movie fans will have the Expo Line to take them there next year; the downtown Santa Monica Station is across the street from Santa Monica Place and a stone’s throw from the Santa Monica Pier, Palisades Park, the Third Street Promenade and Tongva Park. The train will not fix traffic but will provide a very good alternative to it, I think.

•Things to listen to on transit: On deck on my smartypants phone are a pair of Fresh Airs: an interview with Larry Wilmore of the Nightly Show — which I have really enjoyed thus far — and an interview with New Yorker editor David Remnick. The New Yorker recently turned 90 and remains, IMO, the pinnacle of American journalism.

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a good round-trip type story for your transit ride, here’s a very good story in the New Yorker about an American mercenary in Syria. The story should be behind the New Yorker paywall but isn’t. Stop giving it for free, media!!!!!

4 replies

  1. I really think the bus driver’s union in NYC is off base. First of all, shouldn’t there already be a penalty to injure or kill a pedestrian who HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY? Secondly, as professional drivers, they should be held to a higher standard (at least professionally, as far as their employment is concerned, if not legally) than a regular driver.

    I really don’t understand how anyone can argue against penalties for drivers who do not respect the legal rights of way of others.

  2. Steve, you mentioned earlier in the week that the SGVCOG would be addressing their priorities for a future ballot measure. Any update on that?

    • Hey Scott —

      I don’t have an update. I’ll check the SGV Trib later. I probably won’t see these kind of things unless the COGs around town post them or they come into Metro and Metro puts them out as part of a staff report on a possible ballot measure. But I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. The westside of LA is notorious for having perhaps the worst traffic congestion in the city, yet the average commutes times that residents in that area reported on household surveys in 2012 were some of the lowest in the entire city. This would probably be due to less distance to work when traveling by car compared to other areas that travel to work predominately by car.

    Here’s a link to maps of the 2012 Census Bureau household survey results broken down by small population tracts:

    http://www.census.gov/censusexplorer/censusexplorer-commuting.html