How We Roll, Oct. 27: melting, baking and climate change

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Art of Transit 2:

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Greenland is melting away (NYT)

Deadly heat is forecast in Persian Gulf by 2100 (NYT)

Spring plant phenology and false springs in the coterminous U.S. during the 21st century (Environmental Research Letters)

A researcher studies meltwater in Greenland this past summer. Credit: NASA.

A researcher studies meltwater in Greenland this past summer. Credit: NASA.

In each of the above stories, climate change is the culprit. The drone footage, maps and photos in the Greenland package are well worth your time, even if rising sea levels aren’t keeping you up at night. The story about the Persian Gulf raises the question of where all those people go if, in fact, heat and humidity are too much to bear in the Persian Gulf.

The last article is a fancypants way of saying spring is likely to come earlier to many parts of the U.S. That could impact wildlife that depends on plants or it could pose problems for plants if they bloom and then are damaged in a subsequent frost. If winter is your thing, they may be shorter in the future.

Attentive readers know that walking, biking and transit instead of driving alone is, generally speaking, one way to lower the greenhouse gas emissions that you are responsible for. It’s especially helpful if you are switching from a car that gets only so-so mileage to a bus or train that carries a lot of people. I’m not saying that you should stop driving. Just try to drive a little less! 🙂

Metro studies relocating El Monte Metrolink station to nearby bus station (SGV Tribune) 

The Metro Board approved a motion last week to study the feasibility of moving the Metrolink station in El Monte about a mile west so that it would be adjacent to the El Monte Station used by buses run by Metro and Foothill Transit. As the article notes, several large bureaucracies would have to be involved — never easy — although Metrolink indicates it would be open to such a move. Stay tuned.

MTA shells out $100 million more for 405 project (LA Weekly)

The Board also last week approved adding $100 million to the now $1.3-billion budget for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project to resolve a first round of arbitration between Metro and the contractor on the project, Kiewit. More money is in dispute in a second round of arbitration.

As for the project’s impact on traffic, there has not yet been a long-term study and the study cited in the article was extremely limited. A study commissioned by Metro that looked at traffic both before and after the project found that traffic was flowing better over the Pass, there were fewer accidents and the length of the worst traffic of the afternoon rush hour had shortened by two hours.

710 freeway opposition testimony dominates Metro Board meeting (Streetsblog LA)

There were many speakers on two items at last week’s Board meeting: the first on amending a contract for more study of alternatives on the 710 Corridor Study and the other about one of the alternatives studied on the SR-710 North Study.

In plain English, the 710 Corridor Study is looking at adding a freight corridor and/or widening parts of the 710 between the ports and the 60 freeway because of the heavy truck traffic. On the north 710 project, one of the alternatives studied involves building a freeway tunnel between Alhambra/El Sereno and Pasadena to close the gap in the 710.

One thing the projects have in common: Metro doesn’t have the funding yet to build many of the alternatives, including the freeway tunnel alternative on the north 710 study. The Streetsblog post nicely summarizes a lot of the public comments and concerns. Here’s our meeting roundup post that also summarizes actions taken by the Board on these two items — scroll down please.

In the era of GPS, Navy revives celestial navigation (LAT)

Very cool. How many of you can navigate your way across land or water using the stars (or even the sun)? As the article notes, you can’t hack a sextant.

Things to read while sitting/standing/waiting on transit….

The Jeannette in better days. Credit: Wikimedia.

The Jeannette in better days. Credit: Wikimedia.

On the subject of Arctic ice and sextants, I just finished a great book, “In the Kingdom of Ice,” whilst on transit yesterday. The book involves an attempt by the U.S.S. Jeannette in 1879 to reach the North Pole — an attempt that resulted in the ship getting stuck in sea ice north of the Bering Sea. A real page turner and a great adventure tale, if that’s your thing.

Related: I’m in the market for a new book to read. Email me any suggestions. If you’ve read “Purity,” I’m curious to know how you liked it.

World Series prediction: Royals in seven. Perhaps Major League Baseball is counting on climate change, scheduling Game 7 to take place on the evening of Nov. 4 in Kansas City. Brrr.

Bonus things to look at on transit: 

The Guardian explains the above.

Recent How We Rolls:

Oct. 26: Can American reinvent its infrastructure? It has before.

Oct. 23: Social media reaction to announcement of Foothill Gold Line opening, Denver’s rail line to airport set to open in April, funny things to listen to while riding transit.

Oct. 21: Back to the future edition, i.e. what Los Angeles County transit officials of the past century got right and wrong about your transportation future.

Oct. 20: CicLAvia gives the air a good scrubbing, L.A. to legalize locking bikes to parking meters, millenials versus the driving habits of Americans.

Oct. 16: the Velotopia, closing gaps in the Valley LA river greenway, rideshare and taxis competing for business travelers.

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12 replies

  1. Why are you relying on the issue of climate change from the NYT the left wing arm of the Obama Administration. Most of what they print is just propaganda that fed to them from Obama. Climate change is not happening as the temparature on this planet has not changed in twenty years and it is a known fact the polar icecaps have been increasing at a near historic rate. Before you print this you should review the facts of the all the scientists before you print falsehood and untruths.

      • OTOH, some would say that by stating a Washington Post view, you’re still citing a left wing newspaper and therefore The Source may also hold biased views skewed to the left.

        “In the mid-1970s, conservatives called the newspaper “Pravda on the Potomac” because of its perceived left-wing bias in both reporting and editorials.[45] Since then, the appellation has been used by both liberal and conservative critics of the newspaper.[46][47] In 1963, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover reportedly told President Lyndon B. Johnson, “I don’t have much influence with The Post because I frankly don’t read it. I view it like the Daily Worker.”[48][49]”

        Of course, you are free to decide which paper to read and how you interpret it, but it does question why some people take to support one part of science (stating to promote mass transit usage while capitalizing on climate change) while disregard another (the irony of Metro supporting freeway projects and building free parking stalls, relying on an outdated fare collections model, and not investing in the right technology to make things more efficient).

        • I don’t think the news pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post are left leaning. I think there is abundant science to support that climate change is happening, although I think we’re still trying to understand its impacts on our current way of life.

          As for the issue of Metro supporting freeway projects: First, I certainly think it’s fair to remind everyone that Metro is involved in funding freeway projects. That said, I do think the issue here gets a little muddy as some of the projects are intended to ease known bottlenecks or promote carpooling. Some people may argue that any freeway improvement ultimately promotes more driving. Others may argue that the freeway matters less to climate change than what is driving on it — i.e. vehicles with better fuel mileage, electric vehicles, etc. Others may argue that maintaining or improving aspects of the freeway makes sense given their high amount of use, but only makes sense if a comparable transit network is built alongside the freeway to serve as an alternative.

          And still others may say that freeway improvements are just one of the many reasons that people choose to drive along with the relative affordability of cars, affordable gasoline, abundant free parking and roads that lead within a few feet of the front door of nearly every home in America.

          Tough stuff. All that said, I stand by my original statement: if you can drive a little less and walk, bike or take transit more, that’s one way to reduce your carbon footprint.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  2. The original El Monte bus terminal opened in the mid-1970s. Metrolink service didn’t start till the early 1990s. Why wasn’t a train station built next to the bus terminal when the rail line first opened?

  3. One thing to consider is that today, thanks to the internet and Youtbe, there are many options to choose from on which media to listen/watch to and that has very much scattered the views of Americans to view that there is a media bias today where it can be perceived to range from the far right (Breitbart, Alex Jones Channel, Rush Limbaugh) to the far left (Mother Jones, Al Jazeera America, The Ed Schultz Show)

    For a person who only reads and listens to CNN, NYT and Washinton Post, that person may not consider it these to be left. Said person will also view the media that disagrees with them to be “garbage.”

    For a person who only reads and listens to Fox News, Breitbart, and Rush Limbaugh, that person may not consider these to be the right. Said person will also view the media that disagrees with them to be “garbage.”

    Then, there’s a stance from a libertarian stand point like myself, I consider both sides as garbage and hypocrites with shoddy journalism. I consider and the Cato Institute to be more of a balanced article without bias. Likewise I’m sure the left and the right both despises articles written by them as well.

    In a highly polarized America we live in today, there is no perceived consensus. One side will not listen and view or read the other side’s story and consider their preferred media as facts and everything else as garbage.

    However, according to the Pew Research Center, the NYT and Washington Post are very more toward the left, around the opposite end of Fox News and Drudge Report.

    This report by should be an interest read for those who are interested in journalism and how it plays a role in politics and issues today:

    “Political Polarization & Media Habits; From Fox News to Facebook, How Liberals and Conservatives Keep Up with Politics”

  4. Metro’s fare policies where the fare is the same going to the supermarket as opposed to going from Long Beach to Pasadena actually ends up encouraging driving rather than promote riding Metro.

    If it’s cheaper to drive shorter distances than riding Metro, more people will continue to do shorter trips on the car. Shorter trips on the car wastes more gas (worse gas mileage) and in effect contributes to worse air quality and climate change than those that drive longer (which gets better gas mileage).

    Certainly jacking up fares with a flat rate fare hike isn’t going to help either. All it does is encourage more people who do inefficient gas wasting short trips to do them with the car.

  5. If a freight corridor is built along the 710 or anywhere in the county using the transportation funds it should be built as a pay to use or toll corridor to help pay for either itself or, if funding is found, to help build or run other transit projects. Freight trucks are, in large part, why our freeways need to be surfaced so soon. I also believe that freight should be moved at night on our high speed rail corridor once its built to move products, specially produce, faster. This should also help with operation costs.

  6. I was going to rattle off a string of untruths so obvious that they would be instantly identifiable as such, and as poking fun at certain previous posters.

    I thought better of it: even if I were to declare that I am my great grandfather’s elder brother, it wouldn’t be sufficiently outrageous.

  7. Based on the reply of a self-described “Libertarian” we should rely on your lecturing since you undoubtedly have no agenda..wait a moment….you’ve described yourself as a “Libertarian”… ipso facto, you have a side and have your own bias (though you may not want to acknowledge that fact even to yourself) and that the sources you list are also politically polarized. The Reason Foundation is considered a right wing outfit, maybe not with every article that they write but is that any different than say ABC News, so please don’t confuse being a Libertarian with somehow being above the fray.

  8. My opinion:

    I hardly consider the Reason Foundation as “right wing” when it supports open borders, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and guest worker immigration policies which is more centrist than the extremities that Donald “kick everyone out and build a gigantic wall” Trump is pounding his fists on.

    And since I know whenever the topic “Reason Foundation” comes up, it’s always tied to Koch Brothers so there’s no need for anyone to let me know that I need to Google up that either. I already acknowledge that it’s backed by the Koch Brothers and I still consider Reason to be far more centrist than the other conservative news sources.