How We Roll, Nov. 9: Expo Line testing

Art of Transit 1: 

Expo Line traffic signal testing in Santa Monica on Saturday -- this is just west of Bergamot Station on the bridge over Cloverfield Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard. See the full gallery by clicking above.

Expo Line testing in Santa Monica on Saturday — this is just west of Bergamot Station on the bridge over Cloverfield Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard. See the full gallery by clicking above. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Art of Transit 2: 

 

Deep under New York (Reuters) 

esaalign

Nice photo gallery of the Eastside Access Project in Gotham. The new tunnels will finally allow the Long Island Railroad to stop at Grand Central Terminal on the east side of Manhattan. The LIRR currently only stops at Penn Station on the west side of Manhattan, meaning many commuters have to make their way back east.

This is a project with a nearly $10.2-billion overall budget, people. More here on the New York MTA website. The most startling fact: this is a project that has been talked about since the 1950s.

California high-speed rail’s should look like Germany’s (Zocalo Public Square)

A German bullet train: 180mph and plenty of restrooms, writes Zocalo. Photo: Wikimedia.

A German bullet train: 180mph and plenty of restrooms, writes Zocalo. Photo: Wikimedia.

In So Cal, it usually takes a little less than three hours to take the Amtrak between L.A. and San Diego. In Germany, Joe Mathews traveled about the same distance in 56 minutes and he really liked how the Germans have connected their bullet trains to cities and other transit. Excerpt:

High-speed rail doesn’t require saintly public officials; Cologne is famous for its corruption and political intrigue (while I was in town, a woman was elected mayor from her hospital bed after being stabbed in the neck by an anti-refugee lunatic). But high-speed rail does require smart governance, coordination and collaboration between different agencies and cities, and a comprehensive vision for transportation hubs as public spaces.

The bad news: Governance, collaboration, and public vision are hardly strengths of today’s California, and our current debate over high-speed rail focuses too much on making things cheap and unobstrusive. This is a recipe for failure.

The current budget estimate for building bullet train tracks — with many miles of tunnels of bridges — between San Francisco and L.A. is $68 billion. That figure has been the source of a lot of conversation about its size and accuracy and, to a lesser extent, where the money is going to come from.

Human costs rises as old bridges, dams and roads go unrepaired (NYT)

A photo after the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed in Minneapolis in 2007. Photo by thenip73, via Flickr creative commons.

A photo after the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed in Minneapolis in 2007. Photo by thenip73, via Flickr creative commons.

Smart story, which notes there really isn’t any kind of one-stop shopping database for infrastructure-related injuries. But there is anecdotal evidence, starting with the dams that collapsed and the deadly floods during the huge rains in South Carolina last month. Old roads may not be safe. Concrete falls from old bridges. The lack of positive train control takes a toll as the years go by.

The story is keyed to the passage last week by the House of a transportation spending bill that the NYT notes still falls short of the kind of funding and vision needed to really repair and rebuild America’s infrastructure for the future. The Metro press release about the House passage praised the House for passing it and then noted it keeps funding at current levels while the Senate version of the same bill actually amounts to a small increase in funding.

Mapping 10 years of fatal traffic accidents (Metrocosm)

fatalmap

The screen grab above is just the So Cal section of the map — hit the link above to see the entire U.S. It’s pretty depressing and interesting to see the location of all the crashes/incidents (the map shows the ones that occurred between 2004 and 2013). As for the rate of fatalities, that varies from state to state. Here’s a view from the federal government’s database:

intensity

It’s interesting to see that California’s rate of traffic deaths is lower than many states. Hard to draw any conclusions although I’d be curious to know why Utah, Washington, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts have lower fatality rates. I know Utah now has an 80 mph speed limit on rural freeways and some dicey rural weather, which doesn’t strike me as a recipe for traffic safety.

One thing I wish everyone understood about Justin Bieber’s new video (Mother Jones) 

That one thing: that some of the Icelandic landscapes featured may be altered by global warming. My three cents:

•If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, try walking, biking or taking transit instead of driving all the time.

•That Bieber song literally hurts my ears. A palate cleaner so to speak, also about big landscapes:

Recent How We Rolls: 

Nov. 6: the future of the Orange Line and lowering your carbon footprint.

Nov. 5: Exxon Mobile and climate change research, 1965’s climate change warning and a pricey Boston parking space.

Nov. 3why Supergirl should save trains or buses next, train signage issues at 7th/Metro, L.A. weighs slashing parking fines, how officials estimate ridership on future projects

Oct. 30: is The Force with mass transit?, a transit advocate — consumed by guilt — nonetheless buys a car, a commentary on the draft framework for Metro’s potential ballot measure.

Oct. 29: McDonald’s and the driving habits of Americans, to convert or not convert the Orange Line to rail and a great podcast on what keeps bridges from not falling down.

I’m also on Twitter and have a photography blog. Metro-related Questions? Email me.

 

 

8 replies

  1. “The current budget estimate for building bullet train tracks — with many miles of tunnels of bridges — between San Francisco and L.A. is $68 billion. That figure has been the source of a lot of conversation about its size and accuracy and, to a lesser extent, where the money is going to come from.”

    Get rid of CalPERs and move to a 401k just like everyone else in the private sector.
    Cut down on government waste.
    Legalize pot like Washington and Colorado and tax it.

    That should get some more funds freed up.

  2. (Hope this is not inappropriate, but I would like some insight….) Took a ride on Saturday, Culver City to Pasadena. It was a lovely trip, I love the light rail especially as I like to see the scenery – we do live in a beautiful part of the world!. The trip was fast, all connections seemed to be waiting for me as I arrived. The Gold line portion, which I have not ridden on since it opened, was delightful, but I noticed something that made me uncomfortable. The Gold line portion was absolutely, hands down, more smooth than the Expo portion. On the Expo, cars swayed side to side and wobbled a good portion of the trip. The Gold line, in comparison, seemed like it was on glass, a much better experience.

    Being primarily and Expo rider, this concerns me. The Gold line, much older than the Expo seems to me, to be much better built. And, for our taxes, a much better investment. Are we already needing to upgrade Expo 1 even before Expo 2 is done?

    • Some of it could be the cars. Expo generally uses the old Nippon Sharyo cars built in 89-91 time frame, while the Gold Line uses much newer Breda cars. Expo will be getting new cars shortly though, so we’ll have to see. The Gold Line IMHO is a much nicer line in general. Prettier, better stations, newer cars, faster with few traffic lights to negotiate, etc…

  3. Really? A leftist Mother Jones article featuring a Justin Bieber music video is worthy of transit news?

    Justin Bieber music video inspiring people in understanding global warming by showing him in underwear in melted glaciers in Iceland. Wow, these are so inspirational and so educational, it’s so much better than National Geographic, the History Channel and Animal Planet. (sarcasm)

    All the while NOTHING is mentioned about Justin Bieber’s ecological unfriendly sports car collection that he shows off like the spoiled brat he is. And to think all that money he has wasted in these cars (like he’s ever going to get full speed in LA traffic) would’ve been better spent elsewhere like actually helping the environment.

    https://youtu.be/Jn-YXVPxSHU

    Folks, let’s all help the environment! It’s the only Earth we have!! (drives around in a $2 million Bugatti that gets 8 MPG city/15 MPG highway)

    Care to bet that he likely didn’t do his part in his carbon footprint by travelling on a commercial airline but traveled in a private jet when he went to Iceland to film his music video?

    But it’s all okay because it’s Justin Bieber. Then again, his fans would support him if he urinated on the American flag or punched his own grandma so that pretty much sums up the intellect and lack of dignity of his followers.

    Move along folks, nothing to see but the usual mainstream media garbage here.

      • Actually, according to Wikipedia, Justin Bieber was born in 1994 so that would make him 21 today, so he’s not a “kid” but more of an “young adult.”

        As for the video, meh. There is a point to his hypocritical lifestyle choices and just because he puts up a music video with Icelandic nature doesn’t really make him a spokesperson or a good role model to help save the environment. What kind of life does that teach? It’s like saying “just say ‘save the environment’ because that’s the cool and hip thing today. But you don’t have to do it yourself if you’re swimming in money like me! Party on!! Wooot!! Oh yeah, and go buy my newest song on iTunes to make me more richer!!”

        If you look at it that way, Justin Bieber is no more different than Exxon Mobil – just on the opposite end:

        Justin Bieber; “Save the environment….but I honestly don’t care because I’m a super rich Hollywood celebrity. Sucks to be you if you can’t afford Ferraris and a private jet. Please keep buying my music off of iTunes.”

        Exxon Mobil: “Save the environment…but we honestly don’t care because we’re a rich corporation. Sucks to be you if you can’t afford a chauffeured Maybach and a corporate jet. Please keep buying our gasoline at your local Mobil gas station.”

        See? Nothing different. So logically, if you’re against Exxon Mobil, you should be against Justin Bieber’s hypocritical liberal lifestyle as well.

        Besides, there are far better young role models and singers with better messages like Lorde and Colbie Caillat than Justin Bieber.