How We Roll, Jan. 11: Go Metro to Lucas Museum, ranking cities by jobs near transit, the next U.S. Transpo Secretary

The Art of Transit today is a no-brainer, given the winter storm that has descended on the Sierra Nevada the past few days. To wit:

The Pacific Northwest is also getting pummeled — and Amtrak service between Portland and Seattle remains suspended. I’m not sure what’s happening with the California Zephyr train over Donner Pass. If any enlightened Source readers know, send me a link or a pic at hymons@metro.net.

ICYMI: A new hotline has been announced to help victims of sexual harassment on the Metro system. Looks like the comment board on the post is starting to heat up.

Los Angeles will be home to George Lucas’ $1-billion museum (LAT)

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art website

Credit: Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Credit: Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

A sampling of the kind of images that will be on display at the museum. This is concept art for Phantom Menace. Credit: Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Great news. The new museum will be privately funded and occupy the site of a couple of parking lots in Exposition Park along Vermont Avenue, a very busy Metro bus corridor. Of course, the Expo Line also has two stations very nearby — at Expo/Vermont and Expo Park/USC. The museum will also have 1,800 underground parking spaces.

Take a gander at the museum’s website and you’ll get an idea of the type of exhibits that will be on display. It’s probably safe to say that the museum will be wildly popular with locals and tourists alike given that Lucas has helped often shape modern day pop culture, most notably through the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and the many artists both of those helped influence.

Sure, I’d love an exhibit that apologizes to passerby for the Star Wars prequels and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, all of which fell short of their potential. But still. This is a great announcement for our city and will make help improve Exposition Park and its campus of museums (California Science Center, Natural History Museum and the California African American Museum) by getting rid of a couple of parking lots that are eyesores.

On the other side of the park, the Los Angeles Football Club is also building a new soccer stadium, so the whole thing is starting to come together. If L.A. gets the 2024 Summer Olympics and the Coliseum gets a much-needed makeover, then even better. The LAT story also notes that the Arts District is also blooming with new galleries and museums and that area, too, is easy to reach via the Gold Line, Metro Bike Share and sidewalk 🙂

Access across America: Transit 2015 (University of Minnesota)

The gist of the study: it shows the number of jobs accessible by transit and walking in the region. Los Angeles — despite its reputation as a car town — fairs well in the rankings, as it has in previous versions of this study and others like it.

Still, I think what this is saying overall is that about 12 percent of jobs in Los Angeles are reachable via a transit trip of an hour or less. By comparison, 34 percent of New York City jobs are reachable via transit within an hour. Does that sound about right, people?

City commissioner wants to cancel Santa Monica’s popular twilight concert series (Curbed LA)

The issue: they’re getting too popular and there have been concerns about more traffic and crowding.

Just an idea: more frequent Expo Line service on the nights of the concert to help drain the crowds.

Elaine Chao gets cozy reception at confirmation hearing (NYT)

The former Labor Secretary has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be the next Transportation Secretary, replacing Anthony Foxx. Chao comes from a family that made its money in the shipping business and she’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

From the NYT on Chao’s Senate confirmation hearing:

She offered few other funding solutions, though she did propose turning to more public-private partnerships, referencing the potential capital available from “equity firms, pension funds and endowments.”

That seemed to spark the concerns of Mr. Nelson, who cautioned against the privatization of government services, alluding to a possible point of friction between Democrats and the incoming Trump administration.

‘Possible’ is probably the key word there. Metro — with support from the Board (a majority of whom are Democrats) — has been studying and soliciting possible public-private partnerships via the agency’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation. It’s still early in the game and none have yet come to fruition, but eight proposals have been received by the OEI. So we’ll see.

The NYT story does not mention transit but Angie Schmitt of Streetsblog tweeted:

The indications are that President-elect Trump will release his infrastructure plan after taking office a week from Friday. At this point, details remain few and, as with any new Administration, it remains to be seen how transit will fare.

 

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