How We Roll, January 25: Gov. Brown’s push to do something about climate change

Art of Transit 1: 

Source: National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Art of Transit 2: 

Source: National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Art of Transit 3: 

Source: Federal Transit Administration.

 

All f the above slides/tweets, btw, were created by agencies of the United States government.

Song of the Day: 

California eyes climate leadership role but Trump’s EPA holds the keys for cars (NPR) 

California and 13 other states receive a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that allows them to set stricter emissions standards for new cars than the federal standard. The stricter emissions mean fewer emissions that lead to smog, long a bane of the Golden State — we have some of the nation’s worst air pollution that masks some of the nation’s best scenery. 😠

Will the EPA continue to allow the waiver? President Trump’s nominee to lead the agency is Scott Pruitt and he was noncommittal during his confirmation hearings. As attorney general in Oklahoma, Pruitt was known for taking positions favored by the state’s oil and gas industry — which often put him at odds with federal regulations (that’s putting it lightly).

The (George W.) Bush Administration also tried to dump the waiver but he was termed out of office before a legal challenge by California could be heard. So we’ll see. The upside: Perhaps because of our high gas prices (California requires a special blend, also to combat smog) California consumers have long shown an interest in clean cars. I don’t see that changing, although we certainly have our share of gas hogs, too.

The State of the State address (Gov. Jerry Brown website)

From Governor Brown’s speech on Monday:

Third, our state is known the world over for the actions we have taken to encourage renewable energy and combat climate change.

Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts. And these are the facts: the climate is changing, the temperatures are rising and so are the oceans. Natural habitats everywhere are under increasing stress. The world knows this.

One hundred and ninety-four countries signed the Paris Agreement to control greenhouse gases. Our own voluntary agreement to accomplish the same goal – the “Under Two M.O.U.” – has 165 signatories, representing a billion people.

We cannot fall back and give in to the climate deniers. The science is clear. The danger is real.

We can do much on our own and we can join with others – other states and provinces and even countries, to stop the dangerous rise in climate pollution. And we will.

The Governor also ended his speech by quoting Woody Guthrie:

Let me end in the immortal words of Woody Guthrie:

“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me…

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.”

California is not turning back. Not now, not ever.

Here’s a nice version from My Morning Jacket:

Metro ridership surged Saturday (LAT)

Good story that includes answers to questions many readers/riders have asked: the 592,000 boardings is an estimate based on TAP data and hand counts — and the estimate includes both paying and nonpaying customers. As reporter Laura Nelson notes, boardings are not the same as people. “Because many riders change trains or take a return trip, the number of boardings is typically higher than the total number of riders,” she notes.

Over at Curbed LA, I liked this quote from my colleague Anna Chen:

“[I]f we want to continue making improvements and building more capacity, people should definitely ride on a regular basis,” she says. “Otherwise the system would be like a parking lot: massive and empty, only to fill on certain days.”

Speaking of Anna, here she is enjoying a tasty coffee at the new Groundworks in the old train depot at North Hollywood Station — literally steps away from the Orange Line and the entrance to the Red Line:

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

L.A. city lawmakers approve Rick Caruso’s 16-story apartment tower near Beverly Center (LAT)

In order to get the approval, the developer had to agree to trim the height of the building from 20 stories to 16. Which strikes HWR as mostly a symbolic trim. Of course, said trim came after the LAT reported that Caruso had donated a total of $476,000 to 16 of the city of Los Angeles’ 17 elected officials.

The LAT also notes that the site’s zoning regulations call for a 45-foot height limit on buildings, but as we’ve been saying for years, a huge gob of developments in the city seek zoning exemptions as many of the city’s community plans are outdated and slowly being updated (and sometimes legally challenged if they allow for more — gasp — density or tall buildings).

Asking for an exemption is not necessarily a bad thing — in fact, it can be a good thing — but it does mean that ultimately the City Council has the power to decide what gets built and where. And thus political donations have the potential to enter the fray.

As for this new building, the good news is that La Cienega is a major bus corridor and the apartments will be a pleasant .7-mile stroll from the Purple Line Extension station at Wilshire and La Cienega that is scheduled to open in 2023.

End of the line for Penn Station’s departure board (NYT)

Nice tribute to yet another thing gone digital.

Dept. of RIP: 

Warning: very mild adult language. Here’s the NYT obituary for Mary Tyler Moore, who died today in Connecticut and here’s an appreciation in The New Yorker that may cause dampness around the eyes. After watching MTM on her often hilarious show in the 1970s, it was quite a shock to the system to see her playing a very different character in “Ordinary People” — a woman who had lost one son to a boating accident and almost had lost another to suicide.

 

 

 

 

4 replies

  1. Hey Steve and Co,

    Any updates on the KS railcar procurement for the Expo and Gold lines? Given that we’ve seen two consecutive months of double digit ridership growth on Expo, cars are starting to feel more crowded (especially the first train to appear after a delay-induced gap), and it would be great to start seeing some three car trains in the mix during rush hour.

  2. Report on your transit. Great for air – fine. Great for health – fine. Keep your comments about climate change and the political grand standing (aka the protest march) out of it!

    • The Federal Transit Administration and Metro — among others — are on record as saying that taking transit is one way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is Metro’s stated policy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as CO2 is the primary driver of climate change. The agency also has a climate action and adaption plan. Climate change is an issue recognized by many levels of government here in the United States, including the state of California, which has set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and put a cap-and-trade system in place. Climate change is also an issue recognized by many nations in the world, and 127 nations (including the United States) have ratified the Paris Agreement, which sets the goal at keeping the worldwide average temperature gain this century to less than two degrees Celsius. For anyone interested, there is plenty of information about climate change on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

      With all due respect, I am not going to stop writing about climate change in this space. I believe it is a valid issue and I do not believe that using the issue to encourage transit use is particularly controversial and I cannot recall anyone within the agency or outside of it requesting me to stop.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source