How We Roll, May 9: Expo, Expo and more Expo

The Expo Line opening to Almost The Pacific Ocean is now less than two weeks away. The LAT’s Laura Nelson had a good stream of thoughtful tweets whilst transiting this morning on the Expo media ride to Santa Monica and back:

That’s a great point about getting to and from the train. Anna and I are putting the finishing touches on a blog post we’ll have up this week about bus and bike connections to the Expo extension. The Big Blue Bus, which is based in SaMo, really reworked its system to ensure that every station is served by one or more of its buses.

Things to read whilst transiting: Just finished Bill Bryson’s “The Road to Little Dribbling.” I wouldn’t call it his best (“A Walk in the Woods” takes home that honor) but it’s a fun read about Bryson driving around the UK while observing that many things are not as good as they used to be. I just started “Turn Right at Machu Piccu” by Mark Adams and thus far it’s very entertaining.

Hey look, the new Radiohead video is transpo-related! Oh, and maybe about not going-with-the-flow….

Editorial: Fixing the Gold Line’s parking garage problem (SGV Tribune)

The opinion part of the op-ed is delivered in the final paragraph:

A better plan would include the ability for commuters to buy, at an affordable rate, parking permits themselves. More places in the garage set aside for Foothill Transit bus takers, not as popular an option, should be put under Metro control. Yes, as Azusa officials note, there are more spaces in Metro garages farther to the west, including at the huge garage at the Sierra Madre Villa station in east Pasadena that formerly was the end of the line. But for commuters from the eastern San Gabriel Valley, the whole point is to get out of the car as soon as possible, not to join the clogged lanes of the 210 in the daily slog. And it must be remembered that many other Metro stations around the county don’t have garages at all, and that there is the option of having a spouse or roommate drop riders off at the station. All aboard!

It’s probably worth noting that some of the spaces sitting empty in the downtown Azusa garage are controlled by the city of Azusa.

Pedestrian deaths on the rise in the San Fernando Valley (Daily News)

Long Beach pedestrian deaths rising (Long Beach Telegram)

Both stories (the newspapers are owned by the same company) take the same approach: reporting that deaths are up and that cities are hoping to better educate walkers and install better infrastructure to make pedestrians more visible to motorists.

If you’re hoping to read that police are going to crack down on speeding and motorists encroaching on crosswalks, you will be sorely disappointed. Either those questions were not asked or were not answered.

How should the city of L.A. spend $4 billion in potential new transportation funds (Investing in Place)

A wonky debate here but one that is important. As part of its potential ballot measure to raise the countywide sales tax by a half cent, Metro has proposed returning 16 percent of revenues to cities and unincorporated land on a per capita basis. That amounts to many millions of dollars for larger cities in these so-called “local return” funds.

As noted in this blog post, members of the Los Angeles City Council have already introduced two motions with an eye toward getting that type of funding.

One motion, by Bob Blumenfeld, asks for a breakdown of funds by Council district, with the motion saying it’s important that the San Fernando Valley gets its fair share.

The other motion, by Joe Buscaino and Mitchell Englander, calls for spending L.A.’s local return on fixing potholes and streets, echoing what Buscaino wrote in an op-ed last week. Two things worth noting: 1) the city of Los Angeles is receiving about $173 million in local return funds this year from Metro’s existing sales taxes that could be used for road repair; 2) Englander is running for county supervisor and candidates and potholes tend to attract one another.

The public policy question here is how best to use funds from a sales tax increase. Is it best to keep the funds very local? Or is better to build the big, expensive transportation projects that cities otherwise could not afford on their own?

Art of Transit

For those who just endured the last 10 paragraphs without a single mention that the Expo Line is opening to Santa Monica on May 20…

A westbound test train crossing Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica on Friday. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

A westbound test train crossing Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica on Friday. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.



14 replies

  1. Unfortunately the fare interface between Metro and municipal operators like Foothill Transit and the Big Blue Bus is still difficult for people to master. The change to the interagency transfer policy was approved almost a year ago – – and was expected to be implemented around now, but Metro staff still has not provided a timetable. Until then, passengers have to make an extra stop at the ticket vending machine LEAVING the rail station to purchase a Metro to Muni transfer, and when boarding Big Blue Bus, have to make a separate payment, IN CASH (!!!), to get one of the polka dot TAP transfers. Otherwise they will be overpaying 75 cents to $1.25 on every trip. This is a total kludge which needs to be rectified as soon as possible.

    • Agree very much and with the Gold Line now in Foothill country and Expo in BBB territory this is a glaring problem.

    • TAP cards should just be programmed to charge you the correct fare when you transfer between agencies. Let the programmers worry about the esoteric fare structure, not the customers. It’s a pain in the ass to worry about transfers.

    • Steve, is there any chance that you could get some information on where things stand with implementation of the new transfer policy? It’s true that, for those of us who live within BBB range of a new Expo station, the need to use exact change in cash for a bus-to-train transfer is pretty anachronistic and may well have a dissuasive effect. The quicker that that gets fixed, the better.

      • Hi Allon;

        I checked with BBB yesterday. You will need cash to transfer. I don’t have a date when that will change.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

  2. If it’s $120 billion that is expected from sales tax revenue for a upcoming sales tax measure, with 16% going to local return, and if the city of Los Angeles is 40% of the county population, then the city of Los Angeles should receive about $8 billion from that $120 billion, not $4 billion. Eight billion dollars is far more than the estimated current cost of fixing the sidewalks and streets in the city of Los Angeles.

    Local returns of revenue on Proposition A and C are mainly restricted to transit. The city of Los Angeles is using a large proportion of these taxes on operating Commuter Express and Dash buses. A large proportion of the local Measure R revenue is used to pave streets in the city of Los Angeles.

    What I don’t see or hear being mentioned is that if this potential upcoming sales tax measure does not pass, then the county of LA will lose tens of billions of dollars in state and federal money. The federal government is paying up to 50% of transit construction costs. If there is no transit constructed, then there is no money coming from the federal government for those non existent transit projects. The money will go to other jurisdictions that do have transit projects.

  3. I read both of the articles about pedestrian deaths in the valley and Long Beach and it was embarrassing how both articles went out of their way to blame the victims for being run over by cars, and pitying the poor drivers who actually have to pay attention while navigating their two-ton projectiles through the city. Shameful.

  4. You mentioned that a lot of parking spaces which cannot be utilized by Gold Line commuters are controlled by the city of Azusa. The citizens who live east of Azusa have paid county, state, and federal taxes to construct the Gold Line, and the connecting subway line, Perhaps the county, state, and federal governments should either provide them with connecting bus service, or with parking spaces, so that they can use the Gold Line. And, by the way, not everyone has a spouse or roommate who can drop you off at the Gold Line.

    • Foothill Transit has to step up and revise its Line 187’s schedule to complement the new Gold Line. Shorter headways and fewer stops–from Montclair to Azusa.

      • That won’t work. Route 187 is a local route, so it has to provide local service, i.e. lots of stops. Foothill should truncate Route 690, which currently parallels the Gold Line with service from Montclair to Pasadena. They should have Route 690 provide direct service between the Montclair Transit Center and the Gold Line, and eliminate the service to Pasadena, since it’s slower than the Gold Line. Route 690 is also inefficient because it only provides one-way service.

  5. “More places in the garage set aside for Foothill Transit bus takers…” Really? What will the bus takers actually do with the spaces?