Transportation headlines, Monday, February 23

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! 

Today’s Zocalo Public Square profile of a Metro rider: When I’m not talking, I’m doing my makeup, Avenue 38 to Douglas Street.

Art of Transit from Metro’s Instagram feed:

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State says Carson site ready for construction of NFL stadium (L.A. Times) 

At least from an environmental perspective, the former landfill on the southeast corner of South Main Street and Del Amo Boulevard in Carson is a go, according to state officials. The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers say they want to build a stadium there and share it.

And how is the site from a transportation point-of-view? It’s near the very busy junction of the 110 and 405 freeways, about two miles from Metro’s Harbor Gateway Transit Center and about four miles from the Blue Line’s Del Amo Station. The future Torrance Transit Center is about a 3.6-mile drive — the Green Line may one day be extended there.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Rams are pushing their proposal for a new stadium at Hollywood Park. That would be about a 1.3-mile walk from the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s future station at Florence Avenue and La Brea.

The football stadium proposed by AEG in DTLA adjacent to Staples Center would be a five-minute walk from Pico Station shared by the Blue and Expo Lines. But no team has committed to that site, nor does any team or the NFL want to play in (or try to renovate the historic) L.A. Coliseum and Pasadena residents don’t seem much interested in having the NFL in the Rose Bowl, which is about a two-mile walk from the Gold Line’s Memorial Park Station in Old Pasadena.

Of course, the NFL still may not return to our region. If they do, I supposed a Dodger Stadium Express type arrangement is possible with some of the possible stadiums — as Dodger Stadium is also in an out-of-the-way location transit-wise but the bus service has proved popular with some fans. And, yes, it will be returning for 2015.

Semi-related: If both the Chargers and Raiders move to Carson, one of the teams — likely the Chargers — would likely move to the NFL West and the St. Louis Rams to the AFC West, reports Sports Illustrated.

Quasi-related: The Los Angeles Kings won their seventh straight, downing San Jose at the 49ers light rail-adjacent football stadium in Santa Clara on Saturday night. Booya! As for football/baseball stadium hockey — I’m all for outdoor games, but wish they were in much smaller stadiums that brought fans close to the action. The next Sharks-Kings game should be in the parking lot of Squaw Valley, near Lake Tahoe.

The 6th Street Viaduct officially breaks ground; actual breaking of ground is yet to come (Streetsblog LA) 

The project to replace the 3,500-foot long bridge between DTLA and Boyle Heights spans the L.A. River and railroad tracks. A pretty neat model was rolled out for the ceremony last week. The new bridge is being touted as more pedestrian and bike friendly than the existing structure and park space under the bridge’s abutment on the DTLA end is part of the package. The project could take until 2019 to be completed but looks to be a nice addition to the neighborhood.

Media reports downplay the dangers of driving while sensationalizing everything else (Greater Greater Washington) 

The planning blog opines that the media pays disproportionate attention to cycling and pedestrian deaths while ignoring the fact that driving kills far more Americans each year than both.

Not so sure that I agree. I do think there tends to be more trend stories about cycling/pedestrian dangers whereas media stories about driving deaths — and most accidents do get some type of coverage, however brief — tend to focus on one accident at a time. I also think that if bikes and cars are going to share the same road space in increasing numbers, the media should be paying attention to what happens even if the resulting stories don’t please every constituency.

The most important urban policy story in the world is happening in India (VOX)

Interesting story about efforts to allow more taller residential buildings with more units in Mumbai, known for its sprawling slums (photo gallery here at Flickr). Matthew Yglesias argues that rules that prohibited more bigger residential buildings in effect trapped residents in those slums because there was not nearly enough quality housing to accommodate the city’s 12 million residents. Meanwhile, the city offers a lot of jobs.

The L.A. area is certainly different from Mumbai in many ways, but I think there is one parallel: there is no new housing that is affordable to a lot of residents, thereby meaning they have to stay put wherever they now live. In fact, the Metro Board of Directors are scheduled to consider this item at their meeting this Thursday. Here’s the cut-and-paste from the agenda:

40. EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED (4-0) Garcetti, Ridley-Thomas, Kuehl, Solis, Bonin and Dupont-Walker Motion that the CEO direct staff to report back to the Board with the following items:

A. amendment to MTA’s Joint Development Policy, establishing a goal that in the aggregate, affordable housing units represent 35% of all residential units developed on MTA-owned property;

B. recommended criteria under which MTA would allow proportional discounts to the fair market value of MTA owned property for the purpose of contributing towards the cost of affordable housing;

FURTHERMORE, WE MOVE that the CEO direct staff to:

C. develop a memorandum of understanding with interested local cities and the County of Los Angeles to promote co-investment along transit corridors, such as leveraging municipally-controlled affordable housing and small business dollars for MTA’s Joint Development affordable housing sites;

D. negotiate terms and conditions for the Board’s consideration that reflect MTA’s participation in the collaborative creation of a multi-partner Countywide Transit Oriented Affordable Housing loan fund, and report back to the Board on the following:

1. criteria for eligible joint development projects, including neighborhood serving businesses to be funded by the loan fund;

2. administration of the fund;

3. loan program structure;

E. report back to the Board during the FY2015-16 Budget regarding the feasibility to budget $2 million annually for 5 years, up to $10 million to establish the fund; and

F. work with the affordable housing community to establish a revenue neutral TAP purchase program that provides passes to current and future occupants of MTA joint developments.

11 replies

  1. If the Rams do build a stadium at the Hollywood Park site, it’s even more of a reason why we need to build a connector from the Expo (Air) Line to the Crenshaw Line and have through trains from Downtown LA to LAX. No one is going to want to change trains, especially in that part of Los Angeles. Also, why not look at someone (the Rams for instance) funding a spur off the Crenshaw Line to run to the Hollywood Park site. This is not much different than the spur that PE used to run into Santa Anita for race day trains.

    Even without that, SCRTD/LAMTA has had a history of running race track services from Downtown LA and Hollywood to Hollywood Park back in the heyday (Line 57). Perhaps, we can bring back the old Line 57.. but a long term rail solution would be better and it would also allow a one seat ride from Union Station to LAX, especially for the benefit of airport employees.

    • My guess is that people who don’t feel safe switching trains at expo/crenshaw (really???) won’t be riding the train anyway.

    • Hi Michelle;

      I understand your point about people not wanting to transfer but I disagree with the “that part of Los Angeles” part. The switch should be fairly easy — the portals to the underground station will be very near the exit from the Expo Line platform. Two reasons, btw, the Crenshaw/LAX Line trains can’t switch to Expo tracks there; the city of LA wanted the Crenshaw/LAX Line under that part of Crenshaw Boulevard. Also it’s possible in the future the Crenshaw/LAX Line may be extended north and that couldn’t be done by having tracks cross one another — not to mention a crossing in the middle of a busy vehicular intersection.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Steve, Several light rail lines sharing the same tracks is the norm world wide but the MTA has chosen not to do so. The only exception is the Blue Line/ Expo Line in Downtown L. A. and the Red Line / Purple Line. It’s utter stupidity. Why would someone wishing to use public transit from Downtown L. A. to LAX go thru the hassle of changing trains at Exposition and Crenshaw when the ideal situation would be to have some Expo Line trains divert to the Crenshaw Line running to the airport. Two light rail lines become three with the only cost being the turn outs.

      • You can also add another reason is that the Blue/Expo shared tracks will be at capacity once Expo Phase II opens with 5 minute headways. You can’t add more trains from the Crenshaw Line to this.

  2. You could extend the Silver Line to the future Carson Stadium on a dedicated right of way and use the stadium parking lot for a park and ride. It may be a bit more convenient for people coming from the Long Beach area to take the faster Silver Line rather than the crowded Blue Line.

  3. What is it about Farmers Field that the NFL doesn’t like? Is it the physical location and design, or is it the business relationship that AEG wants with the teams? I Know this is outsider Metro’s wheel house, just wondering if anyone has an idea. It seems like such a loss for DT and the city as a whole, if the teams do come to Carson or Inglewood.

    • domanstevens has a point. How is it that of the three proposed NFL stadiums that AEG’s Farmers Field in DTLA is the least favorable? AEG’s plan seems to be the surest plan of the three in my opinion. Is it because the NFL wants people to drive to out of the way Carson or Inglewood for the games as opposed to those taking public transportation?

      • I think the issue, as I understand it, is that NFL wants a new stadium to also be owned by the team and the DTLA stadium would be leased/rented to team.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

  4. Believe it or not but special bus service was provided to the Olympic Auditorium for wrestling and Roller Derby. L. A. Railway had tracks into the Coliseum for the Rams Games. I believe the MTA was the agency that discontinued race track service to Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Los Alamidos(sp) race tracks.

  5. Best case the Rams move back to LA and they play at Hollywood Park in 2018. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is suppose to open in 2019. Having buses to the stadium just creates more traffic, even with the dedicated lane! The bus system to Dodger Stadium is a joke! So, have the Rams build a monorail system from the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the stadium!