Art of Transit:
If you’re headed to the new museum, the Red Line’s Civic Center/Grand Park Station is located at 1st and Hill (exit the 1st Street side). From there, it’s a three block walk to the new Broad Museum, which opened to the public on Sunday. Several bus lines stop at Grand and 3rd, one block from the museum, including the Silver Line, 770 Rapid, 14, 70, 71, 76, 78/79/378, 96 and 442. Please see http://www.metro.net/riding/maps/ for schedules and maps.
From the Department of Twitter:
The L.A. City Council recently approved the plan that emphasizes adding pedestrian amenities, adding bus lanes bike lanes and reducing car traffic lanes. One group has already filed suit, alleging the plan will increase traffic and that the city’s environmental study for the plan was flawed.
But LAT architecture and planning critic Christopher Hawthorne sees things differently, saying the plan could finally lay the groundwork that greatly improves the quality of life for many Angelenos. The plan could certainly impact Metro, which operates many bus and rail lines in the city of L.A. The key graph:
In Los Angeles we have come to view things differently. We’ve convinced ourselves that we are the only big city in the country where we can have all the great things that come with urbanization and, remarkably, none of the eternal and endless traffic congestion. We want the cultural amenities and economic clout of a major metropolis but the traffic patterns of a garden-variety suburb.
This is a kind of magical thinking.
To be fair, we’ve had perfectly good reasons for looking at the city this way. In fact it would have been very surprising if we hadn’t learned to look at the city this way.
For nearly a century, the elected officials and the transportation planners responsible for shaping L.A. streets, buoyed by a range of subsidies from Washington connected to homeownership and road building, have made it clear that the priorities of drivers and private car traffic should be protected at all costs.
This is a very smart article and I encourage everyone to read it. I personally like a lot of the element of the mobility plan in L.A. As I have written, I remain somewhat skeptical that the entire plan will be implemented due to politics, funding and the fact that it will take a long time to implement.
Christopher makes another point I wanted to highlight: the fact that every development project in our region is judged based on traffic impacts means that many projects perhaps worth building have not been built. Or have been delayed by endless studies. That includes housing — which many people believe is in short supply — and even transit projects.
Things to listen to white sitting/standing/stuck on transit: An excellent special by National Public Radio on the history of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power (hint: the U.S. was involved) and the pending deal designed to slow Iran’s ability to create/acquire nuclear weapons. Many good interviews with great pacing — and many different viewpoints expressed.
Amusing and informative article by Hillel Aron on a two-day attempt to bike the 51 miles of the river from the western SFV to Long Beach. As he discovered (and already knew), there are no bike paths on significant chunks of the river and that made for some interesting detours. He concludes nicely:
I learned how disjointed the river feels, how haphazard and catch-as-catch-can some of the revitalization efforts have been. I learned that L.A. County is way better at building bike paths than the city of L.A. I learned that there are miles and miles of the river that are still inaccessible.
And I learned that the river is really, really unnatural, really strange, constantly in flux, widening, narrowing, changing colors, collecting birds and weeds and shrubs and shopping carts and weird smells and kayakers, cyclists in Atwater, walkers in Compton, homeless people all over.
But I was convinced, by the end of it, that it can connect the city, if the city wants connecting. All it will take is a ton of money.
Related: as the above article notes, one of the inaccessible stretches of bike path is through downtown Los Angeles. And as my colleague Joe Lemon recently noted in his post about using bikeshare in Chicago, one of the things that makes the Windy City so appealing is a bike path that runs along the shores of Lake Michigan that is easy to access from DTCHI. Metro and the city of L.A. are bringing bikeshare to DTLA in 2016.
When pondering what Metro/L.A. can learn from Chicago, Joe wrote:
• Keep building and supporting an expanding bike network. To drive the point home again: bicyclists need to feel safe. Downtown Chicago was home to plenty of protected and buffered bike lanes as well as bike paths in parks and along Lake Michigan. If this wasn’t the case, I — and I think it’s safe to say my inexperienced biking partner — would’ve been much less inclined to bike.
• Find a natural draw for casual riders. This one applies mostly for leisurely riders and tourists. The natural draw in Chicago was the Lakefront Trail. In other cities where bikeshare sees success, it’s usually a river or lakefront path that provides visitors a safe and enjoyable area to use the bikeshare system to start.
More on the river: the LAT editorial board likes Frank Gehry’s involvement with drawing up plans for a revitalized river, especially if he can find a way to recapture storm water for reuse. Much of the stormwater currently flows to the Pacific, for better and worse.
For Those Who Went Metro to USC football!: Thanks for riding. And perhaps USC football learned a lesson. If you import a couple of cupcakes for easy wins in the early season, it’s not surprising the team falters when faced with real competition, i.e. Stanford.
Quasi-related: HWR prefers pro football, where the players are highly compensated for having their brains battered/rearranged. Also worth noting is that our Super Bowl picks, the Pats and Packers, are thus far a combined 4-0.
Quasi-quasi-related: HWR’s second-favorite team, the Cincinnati Bengals, have already beaten both of Los Angeles’ teams this season — the Raiders and Chargers. The Bengals get a crack at the L.A. Rams on Nov. 29 to complete the sweep. HWR’s new favorite team (on a trial basis), the Bills, stumbled badly behind their big-mouth coach.
Volkswagen officials told the EPA that technical issues were the reason why their diesel vehicles polluted more when on the road than during smog tests. After nearly a year, VW officials changed their story, admitting they boosted the performance of 482,000 cars sold in the U.S. by programming smog control equipment to shut off — except during smog tests. As a result, the vehicles, made between 2009 and 2015, may have emitted 40 times the pollution allowed. Yikes. Quintuple Yikes.
The vehicles sold will have to be recalled by VW. The big looming question is the amount of the fine that will be levied against VW by the U.S. government. In an earlier article, the NYT reported:
Under the terms of the Clean Air Act, the Justice Department could impose fines of as much as $37,500 for each recalled vehicle, for a possible total penalty of as much as $18 billion.
I’m not the king, but if I was…it would sure be nice to see that money spent on public amenities such as infrastructure or transit that is designed to lower the amount of smog and greenhouse gases in the air.
Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Twitter stream is unsurprisingly quiet about the whole thing and instead goes the by-the-book route: pictures of models and cars.
Quasi-related: Meanwhile, Nissan has burped forth a commercial using Edwin Starr’s “War” in a way that sadly trivializes what that song is about: the terribleness of war. Lyrical excerpt:
Oh war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers’ eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives
I said, war, huh, good god, y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again
In case you were wondering, the song was written in 1969 by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong as a protest song about the Vietnam War, so says Wikipedia. The song was a No. 1 hit in 1970 and then got a second life when Bruce Springsteen began playing it during his “Born in the USA” tour — with an intro warning young people in the audience to be appropriately skeptical about what the American government was telling them before volunteering for battle.
Given the tens of thousands of number of lives lost in Vietnam, perhaps this one isn’t the most appropriate to sell cars. Some songs are just pop songs. Other songs are much more than that and should be off limits to the advertising sharks. Period. Not to mention the fact that the Nissan commercial also promotes street racing and driving dangerously around construction workers. #epicfail
Take it away, Edwin Starr, circa the 1969 Datsun-free music video:
Other recent How We Rolls that may interest you:
Sept. 18: My so long to long-time Metro flack Marc Littman, will it take China’s dollars to finally build a train between L.A. and Vegas and a horse rides light rail in Ireland.
Sept. 17: Development finally coming to Washington Boulevard along the Blue Line, can Apple’s and Google’s self-driving cars defeat traffic and pro football vs California.
Sept. 16: A road diet in Silver Lake, Ventura County finally considers a transportation sales tax and a look at L.A. and the four other cities vying for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Sept. 15: Trying to find a route for a light rail line between Union Station and Artesia, parking at Bakersfield’s bullet train station to-be and a rider revolt against the Washington Metro.
Sept. 14: the U.S. EPA comments on the SR-710 North Study, New York opens its first subway station since 1989 and taking transit to save the Antarctic ice sheet.
Categories: Transportation Headlines