Transportation headlines, Thursday, April 23

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Jon Siren. Photo: Zocalo Public Square.

Jon Siren. Photo: Zocalo Public Square.

Today’s profile of a Metro rider by Zocalo Public Square: L.A.’s not as shallow and square as it’s made out to be, Spring Street to Century Boulevard.

The 710 and Measure R2: can Los Angeles built transit and beat its addiction to asphalt? (Streetsblog L.A.)

The blog post covers an issue that has received scant coverage the past seven years: the fact that the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008 dedicated 20 percent of revenues to highway projects. That has been controversial in some quarters, especially among those who believe it would be better if such ballot measures devoted their revenues mostly or entirely to transit and/or active transportation projects.

Of course, there’s another side of the coin: many Measure R supporters say that ballot measures that need two-thirds approval in order to pass must include something for drivers in sprawling L.A. County — especially since driving is still the most popular way of getting around in most parts of the county.

As Streetsblogger Roger Rudick points out, Denver’s FasTracks sales tax hike in 2004 was entirely devoted to transit. That’s interesting for two reasons: the Denver area, like L.A., is a pretty sprawling and car-centric place (although much smaller overall) and the current RTD chief, Phil Washington, starts as Metro’s next CEO in May.

Putting aside the issue of the SR-710 North Study, this is a provocative piece and covers an important aspect of public policy that will be up for discussion if Metro indeed goes forward with a ballot measure in Nov. 2016.

Related: L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair discussed the potential ballot measure at the MoveLA forum yesterday.

Malibu’s first bike lane — on PCH! (Streetsblog L.A.)

Talk about something a long time coming. The bike lane is on the eastbound/southbound side of PCH between Zuma Beach and Leo Carillo. Metro helped provide some of the funding. The lane is part of a longer project. Streetsblog has video, too.

Carson City Council gives unanimous approval to NFL stadium (L.A. Times) 

This one would hypothetically be home to the Chargers and Raiders. The stadium approved by Inglewood would be home to the Rams. Worthy of note here: if either stadium gets built, neither will be along Metro Rail or Metrolink lines.

Politicians accept challenge to ride Muni for 22 straight days (

Advocates challenged pols to actually abide by a 1993 law (22 years ago = 22 days, get it?) requiring pols in charge of transit to ride twice weekly. Several have accepted the challenge, including one who issued this Tweet:

I suspect any pols who tried to ride the Gold Line from Pasadena this morning would not have been happy Twitterers.

Is climate change making animals smaller? (New Yorker) 

Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Kolbert looks at new research that suggests one survival strategy for species to deal with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be to shrink. Excerpt:

The group’s findings, Hall-Spencer told me, tie in well with the fossil record. Paleontologists have noted that creatures that survived mass-extinction events tended to be diminutive, a phenomenon that has become known as the Lilliput effect. But the findings are also relevant to today. COemissions from tailpipes, factories, and power plants are making all of the world’s oceans more acidic.

As the scientists put it in their paper, the environmental conditions at the seeps “forewarn of changes we can expect in marine ecosystems as CO2 emissions continue to rise unchecked.” Some of those changes are already being observed. Over the past few decades, for instance, as the North Sea has warmed, the maximum size of haddock and whiting has declined. “The increase in temperature of the North Sea is actually quite subtle—approximately two degrees Celsius—yet this appears to be having a detectable impact on growth rates of fish,” Alan Baudron, a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen, said in a press release.

Kolbert’s book “The Sixth Extinction” won a Pulitzer on Monday. If you’re looking for something related and meaty to read on transit, I also recommend David Quammen’s “Song of the Dodo” about the science of biogeography — i.e. how and why species live where they do.


Transportation related in the inter-galactic sense…

"Star Wars" Fan Builds This Awesome Imperial… by Randomkittenbox