How We Roll, Friday, August 7

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.

The mothership tells me we don’t have the “if you smell something, say something” posters ready quite yet. Until then…

Laura, btw, is the L.A. Times’ transportation reporter — and someone you should follow on Twitter if transpo is your thing. I personally agree with her interpretation of the numbers from Metro’s latest customer survey. Otherwise, the numbers would suggest that many riders have chosen to go car free and have lost access to a car — and I don’t think that has happened yet, at least not in huge numbers.

One in 14 Metro riders has been groped in the past six months, survey says (L.A. Times) 

As noted above, the survey was released earlier this week and it wasn’t exactly an exercise in PR 101 — because it begs for tough headlines such as the one above. That said, the story is fair and notes that overall harassment is down a tick since last year’s survey. My colleague Paul Gonzales is quoted, saying the hope is that shining a light on this issue helps discourage it.

I do think it’s fair to say that the survey questions were broad and not very specific, leaving open the possibility that different people define and view harassment in different ways. Whether that’s significant or not is an open question, IMO.

Of course, the survey was only of Metro riders. It did not include non riders. That leaves the question of whether issues involving harassment and other quality-of-life concerns on buses and trains are turning away those who would like to take the bus and/or train.

The Militant’s epic militant CicLAvia tour! (Militant Angeleno)

An excellent guide to this Sunday’s big bike/walk event between Venice and Culver City.

L.A. has least affordable housing in the U.S., study says (KCET)

The new UCLA report says that the L.A. area has the lowest home ownership rate — 46 percent compared to the national rate of 65 percent. That’s not to be confused with most expensive homes, in which the Bay Area takes the honors. The median price in our area in L.A. County was $410,000. For many people that means scraping together at least $80K for a down payment, a very steep climb when combined with stagnant wages.

The million-dollar question: whether increasing the supply of homes in our county will bring down prices. The other-million-dollar question: how do we ensure that we’re not just increasing the supply of expensive homes?

Updating the long-range plan in L.A. County — how it works (Investing in Place) 

The post takes a look at Metro’s ongoing effort to update its long-range transportation plan and possibly take a ballot measure to voters in Nov. 2016 to raise more money for transportation projects.

Simply put….oh wait, geez…let’s try that again. Metro staff have asked cities for their input about projects and something will land before the board in the first half of 2016.

In related news, the activist group Move LA has signed onto an effort to persuade Metro not to include “greenhouse gas neutral” projects in a potential ballot measure. The public policy question this raises is whether a ballot measure can win the two-thirds support necessary to pass if it only includes dollars for transit, walking, biking and things of that ilk. My hunch is that many pollsters would say no money for roads would be lethal to a ballot measure’s chances in a sprawling county so heavily dependent still on driving.

Measure R devoted 35 percent of its funds to new transit capital projects. If Measure R raises $30- to $40-billion over its 30-year lifespan as is expected, 35 percent is not a small number. However, some critics have also pointed to the fact that the 35 percent is not enough to fully fund all 11 Measure R transit projects and that a future ballot measure could run into the same problem if it includes a long list of transit projects designed to make it politically palatable in sprawling L.A. County. Keep in mind that even a long list of projects isn’t going to reach every corner of the county.

One other thing to chew on: In 2004, Denver-area residents approved a .4-cent sales tax increase that was devoted entirely to transit as part of the FasTracks program. So it can be done and certainly there are people now at Metro who worked in Denver and have experience with the complexities of elections and transportation funding and such. I’m not endorsing any particular approach here — I just want everyone to understand what the ongoing conversation is about.

Quasi-related: exciting video of one of the FasTracks projects, a new commuter rail line to very distant Denver International Airport:

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Photo by LWYang, via Flickr creative commons.

Mmmmm. Father’s Office burger. Photo by LWYang, via Flickr creative commons.

Father’s Office in Culver City is a few pedals away from the CicLAvia route on Sunday in the Helms Bakery complex. I think they have one of the tastier burgers in town — and a burger that has spawned a long list of imitators. The Father’s Office burger is a bit on the rich side, meaning everyone else’s burgers are now on the rich side, too — too rich IMHO.

Message to other burger purveyors: do your own thing!

I’m not about the current beverage list at Father’s Office, but you can never go wrong with a Mirror Pond Twilight or a Full Sail Cascade.

Have a great CicLAvia and see you out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 replies

  1. “The new UCLA report says that the L.A. area has the lowest home ownership rate — 46 percent compared to the national rate of 65 percent. ”

    Well that certainly re-enforces the statement made by many that close to 60% of LA residents are renters, not home owners, doesn’t it?

    “The million-dollar question: whether increasing the supply of homes in our county will bring down prices.”

    We can’t build more homes here; there’s nary any land left to develop. The only solution is knock down distressed homes and start building high rise CONDOS. If developers are smart, they’ll build them as mixed use properties like the bottom floors being a shopping mall with department stores, restaurants, and grocery stores with the 30-40 floors above them being condos for sale. Value capture your customers by making the customers reside right above your store.

    “The other-million-dollar question: how do we ensure that we’re not just increasing the supply of expensive homes?”

    It’s called supply and demand economics. If supply overtakes demand, then prices start to fall. The taller and higher density the condos, the more supply it creates for LA residents. If supply outstrips demand, prices fall. This isn’t rocket science, it’s basic Econ 101 that any college student learns in their first year.

    That being said, since the renters are the majority here in LA, not the NIMBY home owners, the politicians should listen to their constituents if they want to keep their jobs.

  2. “My hunch is that many pollsters would say no money for roads would be lethal to a ballot measure’s chances in a sprawling county so heavily dependent still on driving.”

    And a different perspective is that we’re also seeing a growing discontent of people who do not want more money spent on roads, freeway widening projects and things of that nature; that money spent on transit should be for mass transit projects only. So there is a high possibility that you may not end up with 2/3 vote either if you put in a measure to add funding towards road and freeway projects as well.

    Decisions, decisions.