Art of Transit:
From the Department of That’s So L.A.:
Lessons from UCLA’s TransportationCamp (Streetsblog LA)
Transit advocates, enthusiasts and scholars convened at L.A.’s first TransportationCamp event on Saturday to discuss and ideate on solutions for urban transportation at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.
In attendance was Metro’s new Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank, who held a listening session to hear suggestions from attendees for future innovations at Metro. Those suggestions can be read here.
Other topics of interest at the event included a look into bike-share’s future in L.A., a potential 2016 sales tax measure and better land-use policies to complement a growing transit network. Check out the article for Joe Linton’s takeaways and more audience suggestions.
Pando talked to Lyft’s Director of Transportation Policy, Emily Castor, after the Code for America Summit in Oakland last week. The rideshare company has publicly positioned itself as a supplement to public transportation, instead of competition. Excerpt:
Now, you can take these statements with as much salt as you like, but there is no denying that Lyft is pressing a competitive advantage by presenting itself to governments as partner and resource-deposit, in terms only government types understand (that’s not a bus ticket, it’s “fare media” or “physical collateral,” for example). By highlighting the contrast with Uber’s intransigence and heavy-handed lobbying, Lyft has set out to make itself the clear favorite of municipal governments.
Castor says that her current position — she had two others at Lyft prior — arose from governments actively seeking out help from Lyft to achieve their goals. She lists three of the most common goals: reaching climate objectives, serving under-funded areas and filling gaps in transit coverage, and data sharing.
Another interesting, but overlooked part of the article was an exchange between Castor and the city of Boston’s Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge at the Code for America Summit:
While it didn’t rise to the level of “debate,” there were authentic moments of discord and difference, an all-too-rare spectacle on tech conference stages.
Most notably, Franklin-Hodge took exception to Castor’s litany of Lyft’s public-private initiatives.
“There is a fundamental difference between public transportation and the services these companies offer,” he said.
Franklin-Hodge’s response perhaps hints at the fact not everyone has bought into the “rideshare as transit supplement” idea.
Paris made 30 percent of its streets car-free on September 27 with the aim of reducing the city’s rising smog levels. The results are in, and — surprise! — it worked.
On that Sunday, levels of nitrogen dioxide — the chemical compound that produces smog — were down 40 percent in some parts of the city. Levels dropped 30 percent at the usually traffic-choked Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Noise level in the city center also measured half the normal volume.
The car-free day was so successful the mayor of Paris hopes to expand the car-free zone and hold one every month. Je veux une baguette, une bicyclette et d’air pur! (if that makes no sense, blame Google Translate and my childhood sloth that prevented me from taking French).
As the Los Angeles housing committee today looks at legislation for mandatory retrofitting in L.A, the Times takes a look at the earthquake retrofit efforts already underway in other cities in California.
The law being considered by the L.A. City Council committee today will be most significant seismic safety law in California, resulting in the mandatory retrofitting of 13,500 vulnerable wood-frame apartments and 1,500 brittle concrete structures.
An area of contention, of course, is how to pay for the retrofits. The proposed bill in front of the Council’s Housing Committee will split costs 50-50 between tenants and landlords, with a ceiling of a $38 monthly increase for renters. Other ideas on the table to help with the costs are financial assistance programs and tax incentives.
The Times article looks at the seismic retrofit efforts underway in cities in the Bay Area. From the experience there so far, it appears most tenants are willing to pay the additional cost for their safety. In San Francisco:
Neither owners nor tenants were thrilled initially at the prospect of retrofits. After opposition, city officials made it easier for low-income residents to request an exemption from the retrofit rent hike.
Seismic retrofits are now seen as a regular cost of business. ‘As a landlord … you have a responsibility to make sure you’re housing people in a safe place,’ Otellini said.
Retrofitting a building was considered optional and too costly in the past, but now, ‘it’s almost becoming politically incorrect to talk about earthquake safety in that way,’ Otellini said.
It’s something we’re watching here as development, housing and affordable housing are often issues tied to transit.
Airbus, the French aircraft manufacturer, recently filed a patent for the seating arrangement in the figure below. Looks fun, doesn’t it?
The potential benefit for this layout appears to be that passengers can lie down, but it also means they will be sitting on top of each other. Based on the figure above, there would probably need to be passenger height restrictions to make it viable.
The Verge suggests that the satirical news website The Onion might not have been that far off when it joked airlines were looking to load passengers onto planes like cordwood. High speed rail, where are you?
The two police forces for the nation’s two biggest cities are getting in on the fun leading up to the L.A. Dodgers-N.Y. Mets National League Divisional Series match-up.
If the Dodgers win, NYPD Chief Bill Bratton will have to buy LAPD Chief Charlie Beck lunch at Katz’s Deli in New York. If the Mets win Beck will have to get lunch for Bratton at Langer’s, which is located across the street from the Westlake / MacArthur Park Red Line Station. The friendly wagering between the two started during the L.A. Kings-N.Y. Rangers Stanley Cup in 2014.
Game 1 of the series is at Dodgers Stadium on Friday night. Metro’s Dodgers Stadium Express is free to those with game tickets and provides rides from Los Angeles Union Station and Harbor Gateway Transit Center to the ballpark.
Recent How We Rolls:
Oct. 6: Gov. Brown signs bill allowing double-articulated buses, the ivory tower gives letter grades to Metro stations, thoughts on the non-war on driving, the cost of L.A.’s Olympic ambitions.
Oct. 5: reading about mobility while on transit, Long Beach gets a Flyaway bus, coal vs electric buses, traffic vs delivery trucks.
Oct. 1: all about cities — gentrification, TODs vs parking, the changing DTLA skyline, Show Me a Hero, cities and transit and diversity.
Sept. 30: Can Uber and Lyft solve our first-mile-last-mile problems?, trains and cleanliness, the blessing of the infrastructure.
Sept. 29: Richard Katz weighs in on the San Fernando Valley’s transit needs, bill signed for hit-and-run alerts on electronic freeway signs, Shell exits the arctic, the N.Y. Islanders new goal horn brought to you by the NYMTA
Categories: Transportation Headlines