How We Roll, Sept. 27: hey let’s fire millions of people and throw some 80,000 pound self-driving big rigs on the road! Wait…let’s not!

Things to read whilst transiting: No, not a debate article! Rather a series of letters from NYT readers about the “stakes in the election.” Yes, some readers express a preference for a particular candidate and you may not agree. Beyond that, there’s a lot of interestingness with readers expressing views on the media and democracy that I think makes this worth a read.

Art of Transit: 

Robots could replace 1.7 million American truckers in the next decade (LAT)

Do a ‘command F’ on this article and search for the word ‘Teamsters.’ Prediction: you will not find it. The article looks at some of the self-driving technology in the works but skepticism is in short supply.

Can Tesla’s autopilot be trusted? Not entirely (NYT)

Bottom line:

Autopilot clearly helps in stop-and-go traffic, significantly reducing driver fatigue. And maybe, as Tesla contends, Autopilot can help a responsible driver avoid accidents.

But in normal, full-speed traffic conditions, if the driver must be ready to retake control at any time, Autopilot would not seem to have much utility, especially on shorter drives when fatigue or boredom are less likely.

Autopilot is an awe-inspiring demonstration technology, pointing the way to a full autonomous driving future. But drivers who think they now own a self-driving vehicle are sadly, and perhaps dangerously, mistaken.

Mapping the Art District’s never-ending parade of development (Curbed LA)

Nineteen projects (including the new 6th Street Viaduct) that are in the works for the Arts District. It’s hard to say how many of these will definitely come to pass — but if they do, sure seems like it will increase calls for an Arts District Red/Purple Line station.

New map shows Metro’s 20,000-plus parking spaces, most of them free (Streetsblog LA)

It’s a good map! Check it out. Of course, the ‘free’ part will appeal to some who say the parking makes it easy for them to take transit and not so much to others who don’t like taxpayers subsidizing parking for the minority of riders who drive to stations.

Art Leahy on Metrolink (The Planning Report)

The Metrolink CEO — and former Metro CEO — talks about overhauling the agency’s executive staff, projects that need to be done and challenges ahead for the commuter railroad serving five counties.

Can taxis compete with Uber? Overhaul of D.C. cabs on the way (WAMU/NPR)

Cheap taxis (otherwise known as Uber and Lyft) have taken a huge bite out of the taxi business in D.C. And now the taxis are trying to claw their way back via standardized payment systems (including via smartypants phones), discounted fires and other ways to save money on taxi equipment (i.e. a cheaper dome light on the car’s roof).

I don’t envy the taxi industry. They’re competing against a very well financed cheap taxi industry that doesn’t seem to mind losing money but has been very smart about technology.

I-5 South (Caltrans)

This is a new video from Caltrans on a project that Metro is helping fund via Measure R: the $1.9-billion widening of the 5 freeway between the 605 and the Orange County Line. The freeway will be going from three lanes in both directions to four general lanes and one HOV lane.

This stretch of the freeway has long been chastised by motorists and officials as a choke point/bottleneck with wider sections of road to both the north and south — and I personally think this project will help smooth the traffic flow. But, as we’ve written in recent times, freeway widening efforts are not always popular. A more skeptical view can be found at Streetsblog LA. If you want to check out freeway traffic volumes for the 5 or other freeways, click here. If I’m reading it correctly, the numbers show that fewer cars on average are on this stretch of the 5 each day compared to parts of the freeway both north and south.

3 replies

  1. Hey Steve,
    I’ve been trying to find this info on Metro’s website, but the number of free parking doesn’t include how many of those spaces are reserved paid parking (5-10 am). I am looking to move out to the foothills, and wanted to know how many truly free spaces (non-reserved) there are vs paid reserved at the new Gold Line extension lots.
    Thanks for any help you can provide.