How We Roll, June 9: Olympics, Blue Line upgrades, Expo ridership, reading whilst transiting

Lots to cover but hey — HWRs on Fridays need to sate your un-ending appetite for transportation news for 6o hours or more!

Olympic leaders recommend both Los Angeles and Paris be awarded Summer Games (LAT)

Hey look — the Seine is lined by concrete too! Photo by Filip42, via Flickr creative commons.

Mountains, anyone? Photo courtesy Steve Hymon.

News? Well news-like.

This has been widely reported for months but now it appears to be official: an International Olympics Committee would like to see both cities host the Olympics, one in 2024 and the other in 2028. Sounds like who-gets-which year is still TBD, with the mediasphere leaning toward Paris going first.

As I’ve written before, that would still be a pretty good outcome for our region, considering we’ve hosted two Summer Olympics (1932 and 1984) since the last Paris Games in 1924. It also gives our region a little more wiggle room to make a raft of civic improvements, including transit expansion and getting the Purple Line to Westwood, with UCLA tabbed to be home to the athletes village and several competitions.

Interested to see what’s going down transpo-wise between now and then? Check out the Measure M spending plan, which includes dates for sodbusting and completion.

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Track work between High Street and Centinela. Photo by Metro.

ICYMI: Fresh pics of Crenshaw/LAX Line construction. The actual tracks continue to be installed along some sections — above is a stretch of track along Florence Avenue.

Headed to Pride or the Resist March?: here’s the skinny on using the Red Line plus the city of WeHo shuttles to reach the event and march. The march begins at Hollywood/Highland and is very subway convenient.

Headed to LA Food Fest at the Coliseum on Saturday? It’s Expo Line adjacent.

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Metro is building 700 new bikes for its share program (LA Weekly)

Nice photo essay by Shane Lopes with a bunch of images from the DTLA facility where Metro’s contractor is assembly bikes and getting them ready to hit the streets. As you may have heard, Metro Bike Share launches in Pasadena on July 14 and in the Port of Los Angeles on July 31; more here about that.

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Dept. of Ridership: the ridership estimates for May were posted today on metro.net and show the Expo Line hitting another all-time high, although it should be noted that the monthly estimates for Metro Rail lines actually reflects counts done over the previous six months. (that methodology has the stamp of approval by the Federal Transit Administration).

Scott Frazier of Urbanize LA observed things using his own PR-Free Methodology:

About the Blue Line…

It’s worth noting that considerable work remains underway to improve the Blue Line, which is Metro’s oldest, dating to July 1990. New rail cars are being added and old ones retired, an $81-million track and signal upgrade/replacement contract will be considered by the Metro Board this month, more security is being added (the LBPD and LAPD will begin patrolling the line July 1) and the city of Long Beach is finishing up a traffic signal project that will give Blue Line trains more green lights in the stretch of track between DTLB and Willow Station.

The Metro Board also approved a motion in February calling for Metro to study possible street separations for the Blue Line. That would be pricey, of course, and a Big Pile of Money would need to be found to do those sort of things. But it’s a Toe in the Water and the ol’ Wet Toe in these parts is usually an early symptom of progress.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia on a tour of the Blue Line in late May. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Also this: A couple of my colleagues in PR joined Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia recently for a tour (the first of several he plans this spring and summer) with Metro and city of Long Beach staff  to look at a host of issues on the Blue Line, including aesthetic, signage, security and operational issues.

As Garcia told the group, he hears all the time that people want to ride but find reasons not to. He wants to improve the line to the point no one has to think twice about taking it and he wants those improvements to coincide with ongoing changes and development in downtown Long Beach.

It’s also worth noting this: Long Beach would host several venues as part of a Summer Olympics and the Blue Line would be the vital link between the DTLB and DTLA venues.

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Proposal for congestion charge on New York City motorists (WSJ)

No American city has yet imposed a “congestion” charge to discourage motorists from entering traffic-riden parts of town. Gotham as toyed with the idea and an advocacy group has a new proposal that would charge $2.75 to all vehicles entering Manhattan south of 60th Street.

The fee, the group says, would not require approval of the New York Legislature, which has been a bugaboo in the past. I’m mildly — emphasis on ‘mildly’ — surprised that no one has ever proposed such a congestion fee out here to reduce the number of cars at key freeway bottlenecks.

I don’t think such a fee would stand a snowball’s chance of being implemented and I would have reservations about such a proposal. But lowering traffic volumes is perhaps the only practical way of fixing some known bottlenecks, such as…warning, selfish gripe forthcoming…the ridiculous stretch of the WB 210 through Pasadena that suffers from too many exits and entrances before the road splits into the 134 and 210. It’s madness, utter madness!

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Dept. of Transit-Accessible Stadia: 

The new 22,000-seat stadium for the Los Angeles Football Club sits on the site of demolished Sports Arena — meaning it’s a less than 10-minute stroll to the Expo Line. The soccer stadium is going to be small+intimate, close to DTLA and will likely sell out frequently if ticket prices are remotely reasonable.

I know this will torch some Dodger fans, but I think in another 10 or 20 years it’s going to become increasingly apparent that Dodger Stadium should have been moved into DTLA Proper while there was still a chance (i.e. before the recent real estate boom). I know the ballpark is beloved by many, but it’s surrounded by parking lots and I’ve long thought a ballpark in the heart of the city would have more long-term benefit both the team and the city.

I am partisan on the matter. I did not grow up here. I grew up in Cincinnati at a time when the Reds and Dodgers were trading blows like Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed.

Go ahead. Tell me I’m a fool. At least I’m not a fool walking 27 minutes and 21 seconds up a hill to reach a ballpark! 🙂

And some Friday foolery:

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Fun reads whilst transiting: the New York Times presents its list of the 25 best films of the 21st Century thus far. Sure, it’s clickbait. But it’s fun. Although film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott make some major omissions and errors.

While “There Will Be Blood” is an exceedingly well-crafted film, I found myself admiring the craft more than the story or characters. It is not top 25 material. “Munich” was good but I can’t remember how it ended (a good litmus test for any film). If you’re looking at Spielberg in the 21st Century, his masterpiece was the extremely entertaining and suspenseful “Bridge of Spies.”

As for films that should be on the list, I’d go with “Spotlight” (about how reporters can both ignore and uncover an

Life in an airport in “Up in the Air.”

important story), “Up in the Air” (a thoroughly entertaining film about modern disconnectedness and the ongoing corporate takeover of America), “Rush” (a fun story two rival Formula One drivers), “Zodiac” (about the fear and fascination inspired by a predator on the loose in the damp, fog and sunshine of the Bay Area), “Juno” (a warm and funny tale about a teenager deciding to keep the baby) and “Gran Torino” (another Clint Eastwood masterpiece, this one about an unlikely friendship between an aging Vietnam vet and a Vietnamese immigrant family who has moved next door in Detroit, a city being turned on its head).

I’ll be quiet now. Feel free to tell me how crazy correct I am. Some fun commentary from NYT readers on their FB page. And, no, “The Dark Knight” is not top 25 material; third act problems!

As mentioned earlier, downloading movies onto your preferred Smart Device and watching — with headphones — is an outstanding way to turn a tedious ride into something tolerable.

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Paying a price for eight days of flying in America (NYT)

Speaking of “Up in the Air,” an NYT reporter endeavors to travel by air for eight straight days, with much of that time in steerage (read: economy class). Speaking for me and only me: I’ll take pretty much any walking, biking, car or transit trip over flying anywhere these days. Even thinking about visiting an airport turns me into a Jolly Good Rage Monster.

 

7 replies

  1. Quite a surprise to hear from you that the Expo Park Sports Arena has been demolished. That was where JFK was nominated at the Democratic Nat Conv, July 1960. Doesnt that make it a national shrine, of sorts, even if it hasnt been so declared by the Govt?

  2. Hi Steve,

    With the continued popularity of the Expo Line, what is the plan when the Crenshaw/LAX line opens and a lot of additional traffic is funneled to the Expo-Line mid-route? Crenshaw/LAX opening is sneaking up on us and I hope someone has a plan because I don’t think Expo can handle an all-of-a-sudden 25% (pulling a number out of my hat) increase in ridership.

    Also, Bridge of Spies and Up in the Air are, without exaggeration, the two worst movies I have ever seen. They are literally the movies I bring up when someone asks for an example of a terrible movie. On the other hand, There Will Be Blood? A classic. Guess we just have polar opposite movie interests (I like good ones :)).

    • Hi Andrew;

      Yes, operations staff is aware that Crenshaw/LAX is on its way but I don’t have any information at this time on what, if any, changes there will be made to current Expo service. I’m not sure what the bump will be in the number of people using the Expo Line’s Expo/Crenshaw Station and it’s hard to predict what direction northbound Crenshaw/LAX Line riders will be headed. I’m guessing most toward downtown, but also some continuing north on a bus and others west on Expo.

      As for movies, I’m sure that we can both agree that “We’re the Millers” is a strong candidate for top 25 of the century due to its unrelenting hilarity and, now that I think of it, I’d probably add “The Devil Wears Prada,” due to its ability to entertain even after repeated cable viewings. If “Bridge of Spies” and “Up in the Air” are literally the two worst movies that you have ever seen, then you must have never seen modern classics such as “Jurassic World,” “Spiderman 3,” “Batman vs Superman,” “Daredevil” and many other films. Lucky you! 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. I wrote back in a January 30, 2017 post [http://thesource.metro.net/2017/01/30/how-we-roll-january-30-when-airports-suddenly-become-popular-destinations/] hoping that the rumors of the International Olympic Committee awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics to Paris and Los Angeles were true: “It would (a) give both worthy cities the Olympics, (b) give the IOC some positive press which the organization sorely needs and (c) from LA’s point of view, an extra four years for Metro to have the expanded transit system not only ready, but work out any possible kinks that may occur beforehand as well as having possibly one or two more transit projects that may not have been ready in 2024 to have a real chance to be part of the 2028 Games.” I also didn’t believe the IOC would actually award TWO Olympics at the same time, “but stranger things have happened.”

    Today, those rumors became reality. Next month, the IOC will vote to, indeed, award the Games of the XXXIII (2024) and XXXIV (2028) Olympiads. It is no longer a question of if Los Angele will be awarded the Olympics, but when. And another reason why LA would benefit from hosting the 2028 Games is because of what was written in The Los Angeles Times by David Wharton. Here’s the link:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-la2024-statement-20170607-story.html

    And here’s the link to the Editorial in support of LA getting the 2028 Games:

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-olympic-games-opportunity-2028-story.html

  4. I grew up in Los Angeles and remember vividly the outrageous events that took place in Chavez Ravine so the Dodgers could build their ball park there. Those victims who owned their homes and refused to sell were arrested and their homes razed while still containing their family heirlooms. Some of those houses had oil wells as well which was common at the time all around downtown L.A. The excuse was Imminent Domain, which is only supposed to be used for the public need not private enterprise. It would be interesting how many oil wells still exist within the hallows of the stadium. I’m sure no one was going to go into Belair or Brentwood and attempt the same illegal tactics.

    Other than watching a portion of the games free while working for the RTD as a bus operator and later a Supervisor at the stadium I have only attended a couple of games since the Dodgers have been here. Both times were while on leave and my former bosses had season tickets they gave me.