Measure M News: There was considerable press coverage of a court ruling Tuesday that upheld the ballot language of Measure M, Metro’s sales tax ballot measure that goes to voters this fall. A coalition of seven cities had filed a lawsuit over the language. Here is Metro’s statement.
Press coverage: Streetsblog LA, LAT, KPCC, Press Telegram. Meanwhile, the SGV Tribune has a story looking at groups supporting and opposing Measure M. Measure M proposes to raise the countywide sales tax by a half-cent and to continue the Measure R half-cent sales tax after its current mid-2039 expiration date. Click here to learn more about the ballot measure.
Art of Transit:
Over the holiday weekend, I active transported myself into the Eastern Sierra. If you can name the above mountain, email me and I will use Metro’s internet channels to declare you the Greatest Government Blog Reader of All Time for Two Days. Quasi-related: In 20 years of visiting the Eastern Sierra, I had never been in a traffic jam on U.S. 395. That changed Monday night when southbound traffic backed up for two miles from Olancha — where the road narrows from four lanes to two. It feels to me that more people than ever are visiting the Sierra, perhaps because it’s so easy to research, book and promote destinations on the bad ol’ internet.
Quasi-related: it certainly felt like autumn above 9,000 feet — and there was even some sleet on Saturday and the aspens were starting to turn. A La Nina is predicted for this winter, which normally favors northern climes in the West. I say: don’t invest too heavily in what the weather-industrial complex has to say. See: the El Nino of last winter, which produced a solid snow year in the Sierra but didn’t end California’s drought.
This accident was apparently caused by a tractor trailer trying to beat a train at a street level crossing. The crash in early 2015 in Oxnard involved a truck that turned onto the tracks and into the path of an oncoming train.
Metrolink, to its credit, has aggressively pursued positive train control to prevent collisions with other trains. But the above accidents demonstrate an ongoing challenge for our region’s commuter rail and light rail: keeping trains and cars apart even when there are crossing gates. The injuries were thankfully minor on Tuesday but scary nonetheless.
What route will the West Hollywood subway take? (LA Magazine)
Neal Broverman takes a look at the Crenshaw/LAX Line Northern Extension project, which is included in the Measure M sales tax ballot measure plan. He specifically focuses on a map and three concept routes from a 2009 feasibility study by Metro, weighing the pros and cons for each.
A big caveat: the formal studies for this project have yet to begin and everything can change — these concepts that may or may not advance when the real studies begin:
As Neal notes, it’s possible to make an argument for following four different streets — San Vicente, Fairfax, La Cienega or La Brea. He makes compelling pro and con arguments for each and, to my ears/eyes, sounds most optimistic about San Vicente.
My three cents: I don’t think a big turn west before going east is a big deal because I think this is a line that could attract a lot of riders making short-range trips — i.e. WeHo to Hollywood.
I also want to emphasize the other huge benefit of this line: getting riders from the Crenshaw/LAX Line south of the 10 to a connection with the Purple Line on Wilshire Boulevard. That would make it a ton easier for riders coming out of the communities along the Crenshaw/LAX Line to get to places such as Century City and Westwood while also making it easier for many riders to take the train to the airport.
Under the Measure M expenditure plan, this project would break ground in 2041 and be completed in the 2047-49 timeframe. This project has also been identified by Metro as one of four (the others are the Artesia-to-DTLA transit project, Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor, High Desert Corridor) that would be a good candidate for possible acceleration as a public-private partnership.
Dept. of South Korean Transit-Related Zombie Movies: “Train to Busan” was released over the summer but has been picking up some press in the past couple of weeks. It looks like a healthy mix of “Snakes on a Plane” and “World War Z” — which I thought was really entertaining. In the meantime, I’m eagerly awaiting season six of “Walking Dead” to drop on Netflix. Hope it’s a little darker than season five!
From zero to $70 billion (The Economist)
A really good article about Uber and ride hailing that explains the industry’s financing and prospects for profitability. Key paragraphs that better echoes some of the things we’ve written here:
These prospects go some way to explaining a valuation higher than the market value of 87% of firms in the S&P 500 and more than a third higher than that of General Motors, which had a gargantuan $152 billion in sales last year. Unsurprisingly, a valuation of around 17 times the loss-making company’s 2016 revenues spurs a certain amount of scepticism. Such a figure can be justified only by lots of future growth, which will cost yet more money. But when Uber goes public, perhaps as soon as next year, in order to provide an exit for current investors, will its new shareholders be willing to tolerate continuing losses in the name of growth?
There are other questions, too. Are the barriers to entry in Uber’s business high enough to defend it against rivals such as Lyft in America, Ola in India and Grab in South-East Asia, and from future competition from the likes of Alphabet’s Google? Will regulation hamstring its growth? And perhaps most crucially, how will it manage the transition to driverlessness? The firm’s long-term success lies in changing the way people and goods get moved around—exactly the area that autonomous vehicles will disrupt. The company feels a pressing need to navigate this technological change before the carmakers and rival technology companies provide competitive visions of the future of transport, and of who will profit from it.
The article goes on to stress that offering cheap rides is huge to Uber’s success thus far at attracting riders — and draws parallels to Amazon’s similar strategy, as well as Facebook’s early lack of profits. I’m not sure how it will all shake out but I think the big question to be answered in the future: will ride hailing ever make a real dent in car sales and/or private car ownership?
Quasi-related: kudos to the musical tastes of the copy editor who wrote the subheds.
Mixed use project rises near Orange Line (Urbanize LA)
The 82 apartments will be a mixed-use building in NoHo at the intersection of Chandler and Tujunga. Related: Metro is working on a plan to develop four parcels surrounding the NoHo Red Line and Orange Line station. In June, the Metro Board approved a six-month negotiating period with two firms (Trammell Crowe and Greenland USA) to develop Metro-owned properties surrounding the NoHo Red Line and Orange Line stations.
Categories: Transportation Headlines