Things to listen to whilst transiting: The Judge John Hodgman has an all-car related docket in a new episode that just posted — and one case involves vanity plates in the 415 apparently. It will probably be funny, albeit not as much of a bellybuster as the JJHo case involving yours truly. Another recent case involves a 16-year-old who wants his parents to sell his KIA and get him a motorcycle and a vape pen. You can guess the verdict.
Art of Transit:
The former book section editor of a certain local newspaper is driving down Venice Boulevard and gets disoriented — he’s not use to seeing that new Expo Line bridge soaring over the street. And that prompts this meditation of sorts on what it means for our region now that the Expo extension to Santa Monica is about to open.
Certainly, Los Angeles will always be a city of the car. But it may also become, is becoming, a city of the walker, of the rider, in which the streets are not only a terrain we pass through, but also one we actively share. Regardless of what the Expo Line ultimately does or doesn’t do for traffic, this is, I think, the essence of what it offers: the notion of Los Angeles as a space we occupy together, collective and evolving, where in the act of getting lost, as I discovered on Venice Boulevard, we may also unexpectedly be found.
This is a really good article and I encourage you to read it. The Expo Line on its route from DTLA to SaMo passes through a lot of terrain. As for roads being shared by something not a car, I’d say that SaMo is the most vivid example of that. But I think it’s worth considering, too, that Expo does something else I think is important and good: it connects neighborhoods south of the 10 freeway — the Great Wall of L.A., IMHO — with neighborhoods north of the freeway.
L.A. urged to give priority to trains over cars (LA Weekly)
Speaking of Expo…A follow-up by Gene Maddaus to his original article about traffic signal pre-emption (or lack thereof) for trains along the Expo alignment.
The investigative piece focuses on a contract between the city of Los Angeles and CBS Decaux, which was originally signed in 2001. The agreement called upon the firm to install 1,000-plus bus shelters over two decades in exchange for the right to place advertising on them.
What happened? Well, it’s not really crystal clear — the gist of it seems to be the city was slow in permitting many of the new bus shelters out of concerns for visual blight and too much outdoor advertising. Hint: the graphic is best viewed in a new window. It shows the percentage of shelters that were permitted that actually got built. The numbers are mixed: some low-income transit dependent neighborhoods saw a majority of shelters built, whereas other similar areas certainly did not.
Whatever the reason, this is certainly a complaint we hear a lot, especially in the past few years when temperatures have often soared outside of summer. It’s a tough issue as the way things stand now, Metro provides the bus service and the cities most often control the bus stops.
One other thought: I think the comfort of riders trumps concerns about advertising-oriented blight. That said, there’s some context here: the city of L.A. has historically been a lot more concerned with the needs of the outdoor advertising industry — that’s why billboards are so prolific in LaLaLand. Readers of a Certain Age will remember A) the time when reporters found that many billboards in the city lacked permits, and; B) a former city attorney who had wee interest in doing anything about it.
A good hard look at ridership through the lens of two academic studies. From one of them:
Manville pointed out that, despite overall U.S. transit service nearly tripling between 1970 and 2013, overall ridership has remained flat. In 1970, Americans took 0.68 trips per person per week. That number remains level over the following decades: 1980/0.72; 1990/0.68; 2000/0.64; 2004/0.64; and in 2013/0.65.
Per Manville, from 2004 through 2013, 77 urban areas experienced a decline in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). In those areas, only 36 saw a rise in transit usage. Further decoupling transit increases from driving declines, transit use rose by a greater amount in 13 other urban areas where driving did not decline. Manville cautions that overall transit ridership is very concentrated in a small number of areas. Greater New York City accounts for a third of U.S. transit ridership. Sixty percent of transit ridership is concentrated in just five urban areas: NYC, L.A., Chicago, Washington D.C., and S.F.
The takeaways? 1) As Joe Linton suggests, it’s doubtful that investments in transit have come anywhere near the investments in driving across the U.S. 2) Transit in areas where home and job density is high work best (hardly a surprise). 3) Driving will remain popular as long as it’s affordable.
Metro posts is monthly ridership estimates here.
So what if it never reopens? You can still hike it and there’s no compelling reason it should be reopened. Nonetheless, an interesting read about the old Ridge Route, the old two lane highway between Santa Clarita and the San Joaquin Valley that spanned the Tejon Pass area. The video neatly sums up the story for those who are word averse.
Where your cash fare goes at [Twin Cities] Metro Transit (Metro Transit)
First posted online in late 2015 but this is the first time I’ve seen it and the sound of coins dropping is weirdly soothing.
Categories: Transportation Headlines