Art of Transit:
Anticipation of Transit:
Let’s file this one under “duh!” But for any remaining doubters on the environmental impact of reducing the number of cars on the road — this assumes you didn’t believe the reports of improved air quality and reduced noise on Paris’ car-free day last month. — the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has research showing a similar, smaller-scale effect in L.A.
The study looked at the air quality along the route of the October 2014 CicLAvia car-free event, which took place in downtown L.A. and surrounding neighborhoods. When compared to the Sunday before and after the event, there was a noticeable difference. Excerpt:
In the air along streets that were closed to car traffic for the event, there was a 21 percent drop in ultrafine particles (associated with an increased risk for respiratory and cardiovascular disease) and a 49 percent drop in particulate matter, which has also been linked to respiratory and heart disease, as well as lung cancer and premature death.
Streets that weren’t closed to cars but near the route also saw a 12 percent drop in ultrafine particles, the study said.
Anecdotally, I can say there was something different about how downtown Los Angeles felt on Sunday morning as I walked along 7th Street.
Naturally there was a very noticeable noise reduction, but also missing were the occasional whiffs of exhaust from the vehicles that would normally be idling at red lights along the street.
The little known (and little enforced) L.A. law that makes locking a bike to a city parking meter illegal might be getting a makeover, according to KPCC. I can speak from experience that locking your bike to a meter is usually an option of last resort when there are no other places to secure a bike nearby.
The practice was made illegal because of its potential to block meter fare collection and cause an “unsightly and chaotic setup.” However, the city’s transportation department last week passed a motion that will install 150 circular hitches on parking meters in Westwood to make securing bikes easier and legal. If all goes well, the hitches could be added to parking meters in other areas in L.A.
What’s not clear in the story are the specifics of the overhaul on the current law that makes parking bikes at meters illegal, like whether it will be completely wiped from the books or only modified to specify hitched-meters as legal bike parking space.
America’s car obsession will not be diminished by millennials alone (Transport Politic)
Chicago transit blogger Yonah Freemark gets real in the wake of recent data showing the average vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. has increased after years of remaining flat. The plateau period has been mostly attributed to a generational shift caused by millennials’ penchant for walkable, transit accessible living.
Freemark makes compelling and thought-provoking points throughout the article. He argues that while there is indeed a generational shift taking place, it alone is not enough to shift the majority of the country’s reliance on cars. Excerpt:
The basic facts of life on the ground in America—that our country is an automobile-oriented society—remain the case. Marginal changes in the way a new generation behaves, or even major changes in the way a new generation thinks, cannot overcome the realities of a country where more than three-fourths of jobs are located more than three miles from downtowns and where only one-fourth of homes are in places that their residents refer to as urban.
One factor that might be clouding the perception and reality of increased transit use is that the major media and cultural centers are the top 10 U.S. transit cities, which account for approximately 47 percent of the nation’s transit users but only 7 percent of the workforce. But outside of the major cities, as the workforce has grown so has car use. But why?
The growth in driving, again, should not be a huge surprise. Peoples’ lives are built around the environment in which they live, and that landscape changes slowly. Neighborhoods where it was hard to get around by anything but driving 20 years ago likely have remained that way and will continue to work as such for the next 20 years.
And then there’s this graph, showing that despite a decline in younger people driving solo, it’s still the way the vast majority in all age groups get around.
Freemark suggests that the only way to make a difference in how the majority of Americans get around — instead of just those in cities — requires developing a political argument that is backed by politicians and citizens, that is followed up with actual investment that change the way we fundamentally build our communities. It’s a solution easier said than done, of course.
Warning: because it’s Gawker, there’s NSFW language. Though the subject of the article is disturbing — a blogger for SFist was verbally assaulted and threatened by an irate Uber driver — what I found most interesting is the comments section where readers have detailed similar experiences. Some say they’ve gone back to taking taxis because they feel safer or felt like the drivers were more competent. Others found the same trouble with taxis.
As for Uber, the rideshare company apologized to the blogger and said they have since parted ways with the driver.
Things to watch on transit:
The latest trailer for the new Star Wars opening was released yesterday and even if you’re not a huge Star Wars fan like myself, you have to appreciate the way it’s bringing the hype.
Apparently after the trailer was released, tickets for opening night (December 18) have been selling out fast.
So while you’re searching desperately to get opening night tickets (like a certain transit blog editor probably is), don’t forget there are at least a dozen transit accessible theaters in L.A., including Arclight Cinemas Hollywood and Culver City, Highland Theater, Laemmle NoHo 7, LA Live Regal and CGV in Koreatown, among others.
Recent How We Rolls:
Oct. 16: the Velotopia, closing gaps in the Valley LA river greenway, rideshare and taxis competing for business travelers
Oct. 15: L.A. as a city of dreams, thoughts on fare structure, USC’s transit subsidy cut and potential effects on employee commuting behavior, more affordable housing and possible reasons for transit ridership decline.
Oct. 14: update on new platform for Silver Line at Union Station, where does the money go that is left on TAP cards that expire?, post mortem on the techie luxury bus in San Francisco that went belly up.
Oct. 12: transit stations and gentrification, the residential rise in DTLA, cool map showing where the jobs are in our region, the impact of Metro fare increases on ridership on the different rail lines.
Oct. 9: shade versus bus shelters in our region, pics of the community replaced by L.A. Union Station, a greenie looks at the issue of whether should we love or hate self-driving cars.
Categories: Transportation Headlines