How We Roll, Tuesday, September 1

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Only five-and-a-half hours for Brooklyn Los Angeles to get the win! The game shouldn’t take that long tonight with Greinke on the mound for the home team and Madison Bumgarner trying to save the Giants season. The second place team in the NL West will spend most of October somewhere that is not a ballpark while the Cubs find some new and novel heartbreaking way to honk out of the wild card game.

Of course, it’s probably too early to close the book on the Giants as the Dodgers have been fattening up on my beloved Small Red Machine.

Going to tonight’s big game? The Dodger Stadium Express is free for those holding a game ticket — buses run from Union Station and Harbor Gateway. Details here.


From the Department of Imitating Train Voices:

Take a look at first three Gold Line Foothill stations (Curbed LA)

With station dedications underway for the Foothill Extension project, Curbed posts a variety of pics of the Arcadia, Irwindale and Duarte stations. Dedications will be held later this month for the Monrovia and Azusa stations. Construction of the project is slated to finish this month, too. At that point, the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority will begin the process of handing over the project to Metro. After that happens, employee training and pre-revenue testing will begin with the project scheduled to open in the first half of 2016.

Inside the Ford Factory that could become BuzzFeed’s massive new home in DTLA (Curbed LA)

The rumor is that BuzzFeed could move into the old factory space at 7th and Santa Fe in the Arts District. I’m surprised Curbed didn’t headline the article “Three Things That Will Shock You About BuzzFeed’s Potential Move to DTLA.” But they do have some cool pics of the mannequins currently stored in the space.

It would certainly be a coup for Art District restaurants and coffee shops, having a bunch of techies/journalists/humanmannequins in constant need of food, caffeine and (later in the day) liquor. More people in the Arts District could hypothetically push Metro and the city to one day build an Arts District station for the subway at the edge of the subway maintenance yards.

Things to finger-scroll through while standing/sitting/stuck on transit: the Historical Photographs Tumblr that has great pics such as this one:

Source: Historical Photographs.

Source: Historical Photographs.

Video: Four road diets

Good video from planner and writer Jeff Speck on different ways to lose car traffic lanes while gaining space for walkers, cyclists and transit — and making things safer for everyone.

Houston: welcome to your new network (Human Transit) 

Good post by Jarrett Walker about Houston Metro’s complete overhaul last month of its bus routes. The basic idea: to put an emphasis on more frequent and faster bus service while getting rid of slower routes with low ridership. Jarrett’s transportation planning firm worked on the plan.

Could that type of change happen at Metro? The agency is studying it (I’ll write more about it this fall). It’s certainly intriguing as one of the criticisms I often hear about the Metro bus system is that it’s not super intuitive and that buses run too infrequently on many routes.

Nation with crumbling roads and bridges excited to build a giant wall (New Yorker) 

Some short-form satire from Andy Borowitz if you’re looking for a quick read while sitting/standing/stuck on transit.

Yes, California can cut its petroleum use in half by 2030 (NRDC)

Fuel Efficienct Choices-thumb-500xauto-18294

The post from the conservation group Natural Resources Defense Council is a bit on the wonky side. There are a number of strategies involved in reducing our gas guzzling ways — including more transit and walkable communities. But seriously reducing petroleum use involves Californians using more fuel efficient cars. As the graphic shows, there is no shortage of them available on the market.

But will people buy them? In my neck of the woods — Pasadena — I still see plenty of SUVs and other big cars zipping around. Of course, federal law mandates that the U.S. car fleet must average 54.5 mpg by 2025. That’s ambitious considering the current average is about 24 mpg.


More stuff to read on transit: Great article in the New Yorker on the death/life of Atlantic City, the East Coast gambling hub that seems intent on going the Detroit route. As faithful readers know, this column is fascinated with articles about cities that are rising, fading and trying novel things. Some of that comes from the belief in some quarters that Los Angeles will never be anything but a traffic-ridden hub of no good, whereas I believe that Los Angeles can be anything it wants to be — if willing to make some hard choices about things such as schools, transportation, open spaces and density.

How We Roll mini-movie review for those Who Watch Movies on Their Devices While on Transit: In my occasional attempts to keep pace with pop culture, I like to watch films that young people are watching.

Which led me to watching The Maze Runner the other night — a story about a bunch of teenage boys stuck at the center of a giant maze for reasons unexplained until the last five minutes. As entertainments go, this was pretty good except for one glaring thing: in the middle of the film, a teenage girl suddenly is tossed into the maze — and the teenage boys, some of whom have been stuck in the maze for three years — barely notice that she’s a girl.

Ingredients for "Maze Runner:" "Lord of the Flies" and add maze, girl and monsters that will tear you apart limb by limb. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Ingredients for “Maze Runner:” “Lord of the Flies” and add maze, girl and monsters that will tear you apart limb by limb. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Okay, perhaps there are greater concerns for the teenage boys such as not getting eaten by the giant robot/cockroach things. But still. At least one teenage boy should have been stung by a griever while staring blankly at the girl and trying to think of something to say (“so you’re here because you like puzzles” would have been my killer sure-to-work opening line). Anyway, not a bad late night movie but the Hunger Games does the dystopia thing better.

Actually if you wanna really scare the kiddies, you don’t need tributes, President Snow or concrete mazes. Tell them this story: one day they are suddenly 30 years older and wearing uncomfortable dress shoes and sitting in cubicles all day, every day. By comparison, playing some bow-and-arrow with your district buddies and/or running through a maze sounds kind of fun, eh?

I’m also on Twitter, Instagram and have a photo blog where I share my non-transportationy stuff.  


17 replies

  1. “But will people buy them? In my neck of the woods — Pasadena — I still see plenty of SUVs and other big cars zipping around. Of course, federal law mandates that the U.S. car fleet must average 54.5 mpg by 2025. That’s ambitious considering the current average is about 24 mpg.”

    Of course it’s also should be noted that when one says California, we can’t just look at where half of the population lives in densely populated areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties. Approximately 50% of CA lives in those 3 counties, but that’s just 3 out of 58 counties in the entire State of CA. But we must not overlook that the other half of California lives in the other 55 less dense counties as well.

    In the major cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego what use is a SUV, truck, or a sports car in LA? Unless you’re involved in commerce, specific industrial trade, or have serious ego issues, you really have no need for one. You’re not going off-roading in the Santa Monica Mountains or Angeles National Forest, you’re never going to go 120 mph down Sunset Blvd.

    The smarter move would actually be a fuel efficient vehicle, bicycle, a motorcycle, a scooter, light rail, and subways because of better fuel efficiency, dedicated bike lines, lane splitting, and obviously, no such thing as traffic jams on rail (except for those idiotic at-grade designs where rail has to stop at a red light).

    But if you’re out in places like Ventura, Imperial, Kern, Siskiyou, Del Norte, etc. it’s very well likely that you need a SUV or a truck which can handle more traction in dirt or gravel roads. Perhaps the person is also likely dealing in agriculture, crops, or livestock as well.

    You can’t put an one-size fits all “everybody in California should drive fuel efficient or alternative vehicles” without considering different lifestyles of half of CA’s population (urbanites) and the other half (ruralites).

    • I think you may be confusing “ruralites” with “suburbanites”. Per Stanford University’s school of medicine, a mere 13% of California’s population lives in what is considered a rural environment. I used to live in a rural environment so I completely agree with you that some people need vehicles that run off a convenient fuel sources (e.g. gasoline), with plenty of torque, and an ability to tug/haul materials. However, many, if not most, of the people who live in the CA counties you mention could get by with a small, fuel efficient vehicle. In fact, you could make the argument that for many of these people, the motivation for driving a fuel efficient vehicle should be even higher because they have to travel such far distances. Unfortunately far too many of these people, like their urban counterparts, are driving Suburbans.

      • I would be cautious with that logic.

        City of Eureka can be called “urban” and people who live near there could be called “suburbanites” but a “suburbanite” in City of Eureka, CA (pop. 27,000) in Humboldt County (pop 134,000) is going to lead vastly different lives than a “suburbanite” in City of Los Angeles, CA (pop. 4 million) in LA County (pop. 10 million).

        The vast majority of Angelenos tend to have a problem where they blind themselves that not all of California lives like we do. A “suburbanite” in Eureka isn’t going to spend their night and weekends going to bars, medical marijuana stores, sipping lattes at the Starbucks or Coffee Bean tapping away at their laptops, chillin’ in West Hollywood or Santa Monica, going to museums, art festivals, participating in pride marches and parades, going to any number of events that maybe happening at any given day of the year, etc.

        “Suburbanite” in the vast majority of “urban” places in California do not live like San Franciscans, Angelenos or San Diegans.

        For one thing, just look at the map on how other counties in California, it’s may-issue to get conceal carry firearms permits.

        This map alone tells you that a city in Fresno or San Bernardino and the suburban residents in those “urban” areas in those counties do not lead the same lifestyle as San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego.

      • Oxnard and Bakersfield can be called “urban,” sure is not the same “urban” as LA-Long Beach-OC metropolitan cluster, I can tell you that.

        And Ojai and Wasco could be called “suburbs” of Oxnard and Bakersfield respectively, sure is not the same “suburb” as Hawaiian Gardens or Downey, I can tell you that.

      • “For one thing, just look at the map on how other counties in California, it’s may-issue to get conceal carry firearms permits.”

        Officially, 2nd amendment stances aside, California is “may-issue” but leaves the decision up to each of the county Sheriffs. That being said, local county sheriffs in Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, San Bernardino may have different set of guidelines which in their view may consider to issue conceal carry permits more liberally (“shall issue”) than sheriffs of San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Orange, or San Diego (“may-issue” or virtually “no-issue”).

        Interestingly, it does bring up constitutionality questions. If each county sheriff can decide how to interpret the Second Amendment, does that mean they are free to interpret the other amendments (i.e. Fourth Amendment, searches without a warrant) as well?

        They have one case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Peruta v. San Diego, and depending on the outcome, the SCOTUS may end up reviewing the case whether or not our “may issue but leave the discretion up to county sheriffs” law violate the Second Amendment of our Constitution.

  2. When we talk about creating more frequent service, we need to know that – absent more funding – many areas that get service, but are deemed low density or with insufficient ridership, will not get any more service. Many areas which may not seem transit conducive, like Malibu, Disneyland, or the Palos Verdes Peninsula, employ thousands of low income, largely minority employees as domestic workers, busboys, and those people behind the scenes. Many of those can’t attend public hearing at 6 pm because they are still working or trying to get home. Those people need to be considered in any service change.

    • “Many areas which may not seem transit conducive, like Malibu, Disneyland, or the Palos Verdes Peninsula, employ thousands of low income, largely minority employees as domestic workers, busboys, and those people behind the scenes.”

      Unless you offer some kind of data or study that backs up your claim that there are “thousands of low income” that need to travel far to get to their jobs in Malibu, Disneyland, or PV, your theories are at odds with this:

      Metro Board member and LA County Board of Supervisor Hilda Solis with UCLA Professor Brian Taylor in the March APTA fare review panel meeting

      “We know that nationwide and here in Los Angeles, there is a positive relationship between income and how far someone travels in transit; for a higher income rider to be quite longer than a lower income rider. If you charge a flat fare, it means that the fare paid per mile is much higher for a low income rider than a high income rider. There are economic reasons why you want to do distance based fares but there could be social equity arguments for that as well.”

      That being said, I’m more keen to believe the words of a professor at UCLA who has studied mass transit issues for years.

      Credentials of UCLA Professor Brian Taylor:

      Professor of Urban Planning; Director, Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies; Director, Institute of Transportation Studies

      PhD, Urban Planning, UCLA (1992)
      MCP, City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley (1988)
      MS, Civil Engineering, UC Berkeley (1986)
      BA, Geography, UCLA (1983)

      Whats yours?

  3. Been about a week since the new website came live.

    Has there been any responses/feedback so far from users?

    Any word on some of the ongoing improvements that will be done “soon” (i.e. auto reloads, transfer balances, the meaningless “Device ID” issues on trip history) and so forth?

    • I’ll provide feedback. I logged into the website last week after seeing the review on this blog. I was impressed with the ease of use of most of the features. I was able to register all of my cards and easily find the remaining balance and expiration dates, which is the most important info for me. I was also able to add value pretty quickly, but I need to re-enter my credit card info each time, so that’s a pain. I also liked being able to review my past usage, though it would be nice to identify the actual location of each tap, and not just an ID number. I’ll give the site a “B” for now.

    • Just found a Major deficiency on the new site – your account is LOCKED TO ONE E-MAIL ADDRESS THAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE. Stupid, Stupid, Stoopid! In Metro IT’s pin brain, no one ever changes their email address. QA fail!

      Not only that, if you create a help ticket the CSR’s response does Not include the actual Case Number in TAP. Instead, the message subject includes some bizarre garbage like 00Dj01rrYm._500j05rPU6.
      More Stupid! Another QA fail!

  4. Steve, thanks for the quick response. I opened a case with them last week but I’m stuck in the ‘level one non-sensical response’ loop, and I’ve asked them to escalate. We’ll see …..

  5. The DTLA Arts District is within walking distance of the Gold line’s Little Tokyo station. It’s a bit farther from the Red/Purple line stop at Pershing Square, but walkable if you don’t mind a nice leisurely stroll through Skid Row. At least they have bus stops.

  6. University professors studying transit from their campus office or some other place other than on a bus or train. The RTD/MTA have created lines that run for instance westbound only to Pacific Palisades in the morning and eastbound only in the PM to transport home workers each day from South Central Los Angeles.

    We see a proposal to eliminate service on some lines in order to increase service on busy lines. The reasonable answer would be to increase the number of buses in the fleet and hire more bus operators. But there are two reasons this can not work currently. When the MTA buys 500 buses for instance because of Federal regulations they must dispose of 500 buses. Apparently federal funds can not be used to increase the fleet. In addition the MTA and the former LACTC are not interested in truely improveing service. If service is increased it means less money for their pet projects like bike paths and art work at the stations.

    It’s time for the Federal Government to change their funding regulations and allow/ encourage transit providers to improve service. And it’s time for the MTA to focus on public transit not on pet projects that cater to a small minority.

    • “University professors studying transit from their campus office or some other place other than on a bus or train.”

      OTOH, it’s also true that a plant employee or a plant manager working at a single Coca-Cola factory cannot run the entire worldwide operations of the Coca-Cola Company either, and neither can a plant employee come up with a new formula or taste for Coca-Cola products as well. The ones who do are in management or in R&D, have advanced business and food science degrees and can see the bigger picture of how to run the scope of operations on a wider, macro scale.

      And that applies to any industry and should apply to mass transit operations as well. Those with advanced college degrees that can see the bigger picture hold higher value and credibility than those without one.

      You can deny that and cling onto belief that 40-50 years of experience counts and continue to berate that “young 20-30 year old punks telling me what to do!? BLASPHEMY!!” but the world has changed.

      If anything, those “young college punks” were the ones that built and founded Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Oracle, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Facebook that you yourself might be reliant upon.

      One “young college kid punk” who later on became the richest man in the world:

      And without those “University professors studying from their campus office” you wouldn’t be using the internet to post here.

  7. I think it’s time for the Dodgers to stop claiming Brooklyn pedigree. The Dodgers left my father and millions of other fans in the lurch when they decided to move to Chavez Ravine. The Brooklyn Cyclones are in the Short Season A Classification New York-Penn League and are affiliated with my own beloved New York Mets!

  8. Can we please get off the Brooklyn bandwagon/guiltwagon. If you are from New York originally, okay, welcome to Los Angeles. This always bringing up New York is rather tiring and old, especially for SoCal natives.

    This team now in Los Angeles and has won more championships when when back East.

    Matthew Hetz >