Transportation headlines, Monday, June 8

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Blossom Plaza takes form in Chinatown (urbanize LA)

01-Blossom

Nice post with renderings and construction pics of the long awaited and long delayed 237-unit residential-and-retail complex adjacent to the Gold Line’s Chinatown Station. It’s scheduled to be done next spring. And get this: there have now been plans filed for another development near the station that would have twin towers and 685 residential units. This is a pretty low-slung section of downtown and, I think, a good place to densify.

One issue that is of concern: a lot of people get around Chinatown by walking but Hill Street and Broadway are both very, very busy with traffic. Hill is a tough one because the street is basically an extended on- and off-ramp of the 110 freeway.

Metro piloting fast, convenient all-door boarding on Wilshire Boulevard (Streetsblog LA)

All-door Muni boarding means quicker buses, less fare evasion (Streetsblog SF) 

Joe Linton checks out the ongoing pilot program at two stops for the 720 Rapid on Wilshire Boulevard and pretty much likes what he saw thus far. As for fare evasion, he didn’t see much. As for context, Joe offers this:

All-door boarding comes standard in many civilized nations. New York City does all-door boarding on its Select Bus Service lines. Since July 2012, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) has all-door boarding all throughout its bus system.

The second link above is from this past December and includes a report thus far on Muni’s all-door boarding program. They’ve found bus trips have speeded up and fare evasion has gone down, perhaps due to greater enforcement. ICYMI, here’s our video comparing single door boarding to all-door boarding.

I have been sitting on manspreaders for the past month and I have never felt so free (xojane)

Key excerpt, edited to remove non-governmenty-type language:

“Excuse me,” I said, using my … to crush his thigh. Outside of a horror movie, I have never seen anyone react so quickly to get away from another human being. There was terror, then disgust, then anger. I took out my book and turned to him. “Thank you,” I said, and then smiled like Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom. It would have been rude otherwise.

Fun and well-written post — more interesting than most things about transportation. But I’d recommend thinking long and hard before sitting on a stranger. 🙂

Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? (L.A. Times) 

Columnist Steve Lopez says a slice of the federal defense budget would go a long way to fixing the country’s infrastructure woes.

Seattle’s smart plan to remake its streets (Grist) 

Downtown Seattle vs cars. Photo by Oran Viriyincy via Flickr creative commons.

Downtown Seattle vs cars. Photo by Oran Viriyincy via Flickr creative commons.

Long post that takes its time getting to the gist of it: like many other cities, Seattle doesn’t plan to build much new car infrastructure as part of its future transportation plans but instead will focus on walking, biking and transit improvements.

As for traffic in Seattle — it’s horrible, horrible, horrible.

Oakland is home to championship teams, all of them looking to leave (New York Times) 

The Warriors, A’s and Raiders play at the same sports complex served by the regional rail system. And all three teams are pursuing deals to leave for facilities in which transit may not be part of the deal. The Raiders want to move to Carson, the A’s are looking elsewhere in Oakland and the Warriors may move to an arena not far from the Giants’ awesome, awesome light rail and bus friendly ballpark.

6 replies

  1. The LAT article mainly refers to why we spend so much money on defense while instead on crumbling schools. Yes, I tend to agree that we shouldn’t be fighting wars.

    OTOH, the other perspective is that CA Lottery gave away over $28 billion to CA public schools, $348 million alone in the 2nd quarter of 2014, yet our schools rank 42 out of 50 states

    http://static.www.calottery.com/~/media/Publications/Marketing/Ca%20Lottery%20Educ%20Alloc%20-%202014-2015%202nd%20Qtr%20FINAL.pdf
    http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2015/01/08/17773/report-gives-california-poor-grade-low-ranking-for/

    So where did the $28 billion from the CA Lottery go? Funding union pension benefits for public school teachers?

    With that in mind, I doubt cutting defense spending means our schools or our infrastructure will become magically better. Looking at how much CA lottery sales gave away $28 billion over the past 30 years and nothing much has changed still, the money doesn’t seem like it’s going to the places where it’s needed. Too much bureaucracy, too much greed, too many people sticking their fingers into the cookie jar, very little oversight, and very little is left to where the money really needs to go.

    • There is a huge confounding variable you are missing here, and it is that the poor are much more likely to be frequent lottery players than other demographics. Money problems in the household can have dramatic effects on a child’s well-being and ability to succeed in school. It is money that is essentially thrown away by a low-income household that could have otherwise been spent on housing in a better school district, health insurance, healthier food, etc. Not to mention the fact that it could very well lead to hostility and arguments between parents, furthering distracting a child from focusing on his/her education.

      The idea that the CA lottery “gave away over $28 billion” is hardly objective. They obtained that money from somewhere, and a lot of it came from people who would have been much better off just investing that money in their child’s well-being.

      On the other hand, cutting billions of dollars of military spending that in no way increases American’s safety (and in some cases, makes us dramatically less safe), does not hurt America’s poorest. I am not by any means saying that there isn’t government waste/incompetence that exists, because their absolutely is. But it is much less frequent/rampant than your post would imply.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/lottery-is-a-tax-on-the-poor-2012-4

      http://stoppredatorygambling.org/blog/category/research-center/lotteries-who-really-plays/

      http://www.npr.org/2014/07/16/332015825/lotteries-take-in-billions-often-attract-the-poor

      • “the poor are much more likely to be frequent lottery players than other demographics”

        Stereotypes aside, not all poor people play the lotto. Lotto is supposed to be something fun, something you spend within a certain budget like only $20 a month, not something you waste $200 a month with the meager earning one makes with false hopes that someday you hit the jackpot to get out of poverty. It was never meant to be a “way out” yet so many people play it with that intent that it’s so ridiculously stupid and it disgusts me.

        I personally despise it because I grew up with gambling addict parents and I’m glad I have nothing to do with them today.

        I’m still not well off, I earn a little over minimum wage, still rely on Metro, but I’m proud of it making my way through life by myself and I absolutely refuse play the lottery, not even for fun. I see the lotto as a stupid tax after looking at my parents’ gambling habits.

        I grew up watching them waste money on it and me and my brother grew up not to become gambling addicts like them. They would go through $200 or more per month, get all excited that they won free tickets or occasionally $20, when in the end, the net is negative. All those money spent on lottery tickets could’ve gone to something better like paying for our summer camps, music lessons, community college courses during the summer, trips to museums, etc. etc. something of educational value.

        If people waste their money playing the lottery, they having nothing but blame themselves on how they’re not contributing anything and have all but themselves to blame in making themselves poorer.

        Lottos are the modern form of the opium trade with ad lines like “you don’t play, you don’t win.” Yeah, I’ll never play so I’ll never win, but in the long run, I’m not wasting $200 per month which adds up to $2400 a year which can go towards a community college education.

  2. Seattle’s traffic may be horrible (4th worst in the nation), but we still have the ungrateful honor being the worst in the nation.

    What sets apart Seattle and LA is however, Seattle has an aggressive stance in encouraging motorcycles over cars by dedicating many former car parking areas to motorcycle only spaces.

    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parking/motorcycleparking.htm

    LA should start doing the same IMO.

  3. It’s not just manspreading, it’s everyone spreading or putting stuff down, blocking the aisle seat when the bus is full, etc. When someone is sitting in an aisle seat blocking it I stare straight in the eye, say “excuse me”, and move through after a three count if they don’t move their legs or accommodate me. More people, men and women, should do the same.

  4. Concerning all door boarding. It’s not a new concept in Los Angeles, we had it at almost every stop in downtown during rush hours. Bus operators were deployed at major stops and were classified as traffic loaders. They would activate the rear doors on buses and collect fares, issue transfers and zone checks. This service was stopped with the creation of the MTA. Anything these uninformed college grads didn’t understand were discontinued. The LACTC and the MTA were always anti efficient transit instead in favor of non transit agenda like bike paths and other non public transit projects.