How We Roll, Dec. 12: safety & security, more TODs for DTLA, a transit musical

Metro Red Line bomb threat highlights vulnerabilities of rail system to attack (SGV Tribune) 

How vulnerable are transit systems in the U.S. to a terrorist attack? And is a multi-agency police force — as has been proposed by Metro staff — the best way to safeguard our local system?

Those are the two questions interweaved in this long article and there are a variety of answers from experts and police. As noted, terrorism has struck Europe (including transit) more often than the U.S. although certainly nothing on the scale of what America suffered on 9/11.

As for the policing question, Sheriff Jim McDonnell argues again: “Public safety by committee is not the way to do it. You need somebody in charge in a coordinated system.” In a recent op-ed he went so far as to suggest that splitting the policing work would put the public at risk — a view refuted by others in this article. Of course, a reduced role for the LASD also means a reduced contract amount in terms of dollars, a factor that can’t be ignored.

Back to the article’s original issue: terrorism. I think Metro, like other transit agencies, does take steps to reduce our vulnerability and, as do other transit agencies, we urge our patrons to say something if they see something (the sheriff’s hotline is 888.950.SAFE (7233). It’s just a fact of the modern world.

Developer details high-rise residential, retail plans for historic L.A. Times property (LAT)

The LAT mothership as seen from the 1st and Spring intersection. Photo by Steve Hymon.

The LAT mothership as seen from the 1st and Spring intersection. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Two towers — one 37 stories and the other 53 — with more than 1,200 apartments are being proposed. Much of the Times building is no longer being used for journalism anyway, the lovely Grand Park is nearby and there will be a new underground light rail station at 2nd/Broadway

There are also plans by another developer to build a 30-story tower on top of the train station. IMHO, the Times building is a bit monolithic anyway and having some new residents in this end of downtown could inject some life into the Civic Center area area and help reinforce what’s happening in nearby Little Tokyo and the Arts District.

It’s time to set Broadway free (NYT)

In this op-ed, Elisabeth Rosenthal argues that just closing Times Square to traffic isn’t enough. She suggests Gotham should go all-in and close all of Broadway — which slices across Manhattan — to cars and open it to pedestrians and bikers.

And how would traffic cope? Rosenthal argues just fine, just as traffic in many European cities coped after major roads have been closed in cities such as Paris Hamburg, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Zurich.

Which raises a fun question: if you were the Queen or King, which L.A. road would you permanently ban traffic from?

Pop Culture Rumination That Has Nothing to Do With Transportation: “Carl, pass me the rolls…please.” No matter how good the spaghetti sauce, I can’t imagine that was a fun meal.

Broadway Review: a cappella musical “In Transit” (Variety)

Broadway / Times Square in New York

The musical, playing at Circle in the Square in New York, takes place on a subway platform. From the Variety review:

The players are all multi-taskers, not only providing bright, polished performances but all having a continual vocal presence, playing exquisite back-up to each other’s numbers. It’s a surprisingly moving experience that make you feel that though you’re watching separate lives of these strangers on a train, you’re hearing the heart of one connected urban village.

This is a revival of a show that debuted earlier in the century. Perhaps it’s not surprising that someone thought a subway trip would make for a good Broadway show given that many poor scribes likely have spent some time waiting for trains and buses. Luckily, I’m not too much into Broadway musicals although I’d spring for a “Hamilton” ticket if I won the lottery.

If I was to write a showstopper, I think I’d call it “Dude, your bike is blocking the doors.”

Uber says it protects you from spying; security sources say otherwise (Reveal)

Excerpt:

Internal Uber employees helped ex-boyfriends stalk their ex-girlfriends and searched for the trip information of celebrities such as Beyoncé, the company’s former forensic investigator said.

It got said in a court document. The allegation doesn’t sound ideal if true, then again most of us probably don’t want bad eggs snooping around the private info we give many different companies.

Go Metro to see your Los Angeles Rams! Uh-oh, really bad loss at home and sportswriters across the country are ready to go full Negan on the coach. Here’s the LAT’s Bill Plaschke calling for a head-in-a-basket ASAP and expressing fears that no one will show up for the Rams last two home games against the 49ers and Cardinals (if you are going, Go Metro!).

Three months ago, Plaschke wrote: “This might be a new team for the town, but it’s an old franchise of the heart. These are old-school Rams fans, and they’re not going home any time soon.” I interpret that to mean Rams fans are not going home until they do. Or something like that. 

I’m not sure why anyone who follows the NFL expected the Rams to be good or compete for the Lombardi Trophy this season; they’ve struggled in recent years with a lot of instability at QB, the most important position on the field. Obviously Plaschke isn’t the only guy calling for Fisher to be cast aside. Just remember that changing the coach in the NFL often doesn’t guarantee positive results. In fact, it can quite the opposite as fans of the Browns and ‘Niners can tell you.

Things to read whilst transiting: Monkeys could talk but they don’t have the brains for it” in the NYT. The structure of their vocal chords suggests they could utter a wide variety of sounds and words, but there’s something that has yet — YET– to happen in the development of their brains that would lead to speech.

And if they could talk and we had to share the Earth with monkeys and apes? How would that go? I post this only as a fanboy, but maybe something like this…

Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Credit: 20th Century Fox.

 

 

 

2 replies

  1. Hollywood Boulevard would be the street I would want to see turned into a pedestrian and transit-only street. Maybe the bad element that has been attracted by more nightclubs, including drive-by shootings, could be curbed, and maybe it will attract more families alongside the tourists.

  2. I’d say 7th Street in DTLA. They should make it a long corridor for shops, restaurants, and what not…. all pedestrians zone.