How We Roll, Nov. 13; things to read whilst transiting & bike share vs bike share

Art of Transit: 

Fun and interesting things to Read Whilst Transiting:

•The New Yorker has a fine article asking “are polls ruining democracy?” by providing Americans with results that may be dead wrong or incomplete? Something to keep in mind during the current election seasons/years.

•An NPR interview with Mary Louise Parker on her new book, “Dear Mr. You” about the different men in her life and the importance of actually writing letters. HWR believes that Parker is one of those artists who improves everything she’s involved with*.

•ESPN’s statistics blog Five Thirty Eight has a great read on determining which American city has the most unpredictable weather. If you guessed that L.A. has among the most predictable weather, you are correct. Clue below about city topping the list:

Bison! Photo by Susan Hunt via Flickr creative commons.

Bison! Photo by Susan Hunt via Flickr creative commons.

From the Dept of Thank You: I’m in the market for a new book/books and asked readers/riders for ideas, saying I tended to like nonfiction of the adventure variety or anything funny. Among them: “The Corrections,” “IQ84,” “The Gone Away World,” “Bazaar of Bad Dreams,” “The Lost Continent,” “Going Clear,” “Operation Paperclip, “Area 51” and “Station Eleven.”

If you’ve read any or all, feel free to comment or email me with a mini-review before I dive into the e-book store. I’m also still looking for rider review of the Chrissie Hynde memoir. I’ve already selected “Area 51” because it involves the flying saucers that everyone knows are stashed in the Nevada desert. Proof from the Internet:


And some transpo news…

Bike-sharing program gets going in Santa Monica, Venice; more areas to follow (LAT)


Bike share rental stations in Santa Monica. Click above to visit the Breeze bike share website.

Santa Monica launched its new bike share system this week. The article looks at the system that Santa Monica chose and explains why Metro ended up choosing a different vendor for the countywide bike share system that begins next year in DTLA and is scheduled to expand next to Pasadena. Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown expresses frustration that Metro didn’t select the same vendor, whereas Metro officials explain they went with a vendor with proven technology and the agency is seeking to find a way to make the systems interoperable to degree that they can.

My three cents: given that bike share is intended to be for short term rentals and short trips, how much does it really matter to most people that DTLA and SaMo have different vendors? I understand there may be some who want a single bike share membership to cover all parts of L.A. County or So Cal, but I have a hard time getting a grip on how many people would really take advantage of that in such a large metro area.

Related: many photos of the Santa Monica bike share system at Streetsblog LA and this Streetsblog post from June provides a deeper dive on the interoperability issue.

The worst freeway interchange in California is getting fixed…until the money runs out (Pasadena Star News)

Even from a satellite, this interchange looks messed up. Photo: Google Maps.

Even from a satellite, this interchange looks messed up. Photo: Google Maps.

Fixing the 57/60 interchange will require about $260 million. Even after years of planning, only $55 million is available for the project that, as a result, will be built in phases (Metro is contributing some funding). The article mentions that Metro’s potential sales tax increase ballot measure in Nov. 2016 could be a source of funding for the project.

Related thought: the westbound 210/134 interchange in Pasadena may not be as big a mess, but it’s a mess — due to traffic merging right to exit to the 210 north mingling with traffic trying to enter and exit a slew of on/off-ramps in Pasadena. That is one reason the westbound 210 backs up for miles each morning. For some folks, the Gold Line to Azusa, opening March 5, may be an option. More info here.

California’s DOT admits that more roads equals more traffic (CityLab)

Ignore the headline. What actually happened: Caltrans linked to a study about induced demand on new roads — i.e. that any new road or road expansion will inevitably fill with new traffic or new traffic jams, thus building roads does not provide traffic relief.

The public policy question it begs: should we use the idea of “induced demand” to do nothing when it comes to road expansion or are there projects that may help traffic flower better and more safely through known choke points? My hunch is that like many things in life, it’s not always black-and-white.

Why are bike lanes such heated symbols of gentrification? (Washington Post) 


Expensive restaurants, dog parks and gyms have long been seen as symbols of gentrification — a loaded term generally understood to mean new wealth and people that flood into an area, displacing longtime residents or making new amenities unaffordable to them. But what is it about bike lanes, which are city infrastructure that’s free to use, that pack meetings?

The story ledes with an example: an established African American church is resisting a new bike lane that will remove street parking that church officials say parishioners need. The article doesn’t settle for an easy answer to the question posed in the headline — which, I think, makes it a nice piece of journalism.

If an easy answer exists, perhaps it’s this: anything that takes away something that is long established, whether it’s street parking or a general traffic lane, is going to be controversial in most American cities. That’s why we don’t have more bus lanes or protected bus lanes.

Things to Watch on Transit If You Have a Decent Internet Connection:

The Japanese version of the trailer has some footage not seen in the American version!

Programming note: if I sound about 2,100 miles removed from the L.A. area next week, it’s because I will be in Ohio working on some family stuff. I’ll still be blogging away, perhaps at unusual hours. Brace yourself for exciting photos of Cincinnati transit and cuisine. NFL-minded riders should know that my being in Cincy probably dooms the Bengals to their first loss of the season. Think about that before entering your selections in your illegal work pool today 🙂

*On the subject of artists who make everything they touch better, a coworker recently failed to sufficiently acknowledge the awesomeness of Stevie Nicks. Since it’s Friday, here she is performing one of the greatest songs ever recorded:

Recent How We Rolls: 

Nov. 12: Regional Connector cost increases and potential delays, suspect in bus slaying arrested, bike share and bike infrastructure, Missy Elliot in the subway.

Nov. 10: crime stats and Metro, the fare structure for Metro’s bike share program, a suggestion for future Metro transit projects.

Nov. 9: Expo Line traffic signal testing in SaMo, the human cost of failing infrastructure.

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.

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







3 replies

  1. “The New Yorker has a fine article asking “are polls ruining democracy?” by providing Americans with results that may be dead wrong or incomplete? Something to keep in mind during the current election seasons/years.”

    Put it another way is that it just means that opinion polls are just as becoming obsolete as mainstream media and traditional TV viewership. I take that as a positive sign that people are starting to think again and starting to formulate their own opinions on matters instead of having “opinion leaders” make the decisions for them.

    Why do we need polls anyway? So that politicians have an easier time to know which way the wind is blowing so they can say the right words to get re-elected again? Sorry, a politician’s job is to listen to their constituents and do their job as representatives of the people who elected them, not sway back and forth depending on the tide of polls.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. Poles, though they are sometimes fun, are meaningless as they just support the lazy politition who doesn’t want to set-up or attend community meetings in order to learn what matters in their district/town/city/county/state, or nationally.

    • Polls are also used by various news agencies to report which way Americans are thinking.

      Problem is that in today’s world where polls can be done more easily through advances of technology, said polls can be skewed many ways to best fit their views in a form of confirmation bias.

      For example, a poll stating that the vast majority of Americans support gun control, yet if the poll was conducted by The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence or the Democratic Party is very well likely going to be skewed towards yes on gun control, whereas a likewise poll by the NRA or the Republican Party will likely say vast majority of Americans oppose gun control.

      But I agree that polls are becoming outdated and that it’s really up to what the people feel these days rather than biased opinions and polls that have dominated the media as of recent years.

      If you look at the Democratic Presidential debate, their candidates still seem to rely on skewed polls (being overly politically correct about not using the term “radical Islam” or about Obamacare, still talking about SuperPACs and Wall Street which is so 2012), whereas at least to me, the GOP debate has shown that their candidates have grown out of relying on polls but instead directly saying what they think is wrong in American today at a level that doesn’t treat voters like idiots or saying things what the polls state that Americans like to hear.

      I may not agree with Donald Trump with his radical rhetorics towards illegal immigration without any specific or reality, but the other candidates, there are many things I agree with Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul who do use facts and logic (remember the one-liner Rand Paul said to Trump about China not being part of TPP? That got a big applaud by me) over the usual same-old-same-old boring statements and empty promises made by Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.