How We Roll, July 12: in praise of Artesia light rail and Paris trams

Things to read whilst transiting: Nice photo essay of the beach and pool scene in Gotham over the years on the New Yorker’s Photo Booth blog.

Things to read 2: I just finished “Barbarian Days: a Surfing Life” by William Finnegan. The book won a Pulitzer this past spring and is great, even if you (as I) am not a surfer. In addition to an impressive career as a journalist, Finnegan has traveled the globe in search of some very big and scary waves. If it helps get you in a surfing mood, here’s a pic I took last year from the pier in Cayucos on the Central Coast during a nice swell:

ICYMI: Our post on Expo ridership during its first full month of service and a look at overall ridership.

From the Dept of Augmented Reality: 


Two Metro lines, two LAs (LAObserved) 

Former LAT city editor Bill Boyarsky looks at two projects that would receive funding from Metro’s sales tax ballot measure — the light rail line between Artesia and DTLA and a potential Sepulveda Pass rail tunnel. Bill argues that while the Sep Pass project has more political juice, the Artesia line is less expensive and logistically easier to build.

One thing worth clarifying: under the ballot measure spending plan, the first phase of the Artesia line between Artesia and the Green Line would have a target opening between 2028-30 while the first phase of the Sep Pass project between the Orange Line and the Purple Line would have a target opening of 2033-35. The second phase of the Artesia Line between the Green Line and Union Station would have a target opening of 2041-43.

More on the ballot measure on this post.

Eyes on the Street: North Hollywood underpass nears completion (Streetsblog LA)

The tunnel under Lankershim Boulevard connecting the Red Line and Orange Line is almost complete. SBLA has pics. We’ll have more news soon about an opening date.

At least 22 die in collision between two trains in southern Italy (Guardian)

The horrific head-on crash was on a stretch of single track in southern Italy. No word yet on what went wrong.

What the Paris trams can teach U.S. cities (TransitCenter)

A Paris tram. Photo by Phil Beard, via Flickr creative commons.

A Paris tram. Photo by Phil Beard, via Flickr creative commons.

Really interesting article about the trams — basically light rail — that serve many of the less-touristy parts of Paris and have exceptionally high ridership. Some things I grabbed-and-pasted from the article:

•”the agency calculated that forcing customers to make transfers that take longer than two minutes produces a ridership drop of 10 percent.”

•”During midweek rush hour, the worst headway is six minutes.”

•”It always merits a reminder: street-level trains usually aren’t worthwhile investments if they have to compete with cars for space. Mixed-traffic streetcar lines are slower, less reliable, and represent little or no upgrade relative to a bus. Yet such designs are stubbornly prevalent in the U.S. for a simple reason: elected officials don’t want the hassle of confronting motorists.”

•”In the Paris region, on the other hand, there seems to be recognition that any significant street-level transit improvement probably has to come at the expense of cars—and the tram lines are designed accordingly.”

Do the trams stop at traffic lights? Mostly not, so says Human Transit in a separate post also worth reading.

You can now buy unlimited Ubercards for less than a MetroCard (Timeout)

In New York City, Uber is now selling passes that allow for unlimited rides during rush hours on UberPool. Example: a four-week pass costs $79 whereas a New York Subway 30-day pass costs $116.50.

I don’t see this as an effort to help supply first-mile/last-mile connections. The offer is only good on Manhattan south of 125th Street — which is basically the northern boundary of Central Park and the southern boundary….of Harlem. “This is not a shot across the bow of transit, this is a shot into the kneecap,” says my colleague John Gordon, Metro’s Director Social Media.

I concur. This isn’t about first-mile, last-mile. Who knows whether it’s a good deal for Uber and its drivers. It certainly seems to have the potential to put more cars on the road and more emissions into the greenhouse. Hmm.


1 reply

  1. New York City suffers from massive overcrowding on its subways during rush hour, and there need to be alternatives, and carpooling isn’t that environmentally unfriendly.