Can traffic be solved, Amazon’s next hub, Rams!, guess that lake: HWR, Sept. 11

Dept. of Remembrance: On the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, I recommend spending some time on the 9/11 Memorial & Museum website.

Dept. of I’m Back: I was offline for the past week while in the Sierra Nevada and it was peachy nice to be Internet/Cell Free. First reader to successfully guess the name of this lake will be declared the most Geographically Minded Source Reader of September 2017 in a future HWR. Hint: you can’t drive or bike there and it’s at least 20 miles from the nearest bus stop.

Photo courtesy Steve Hymon.

Dept. of Pro Football: The Rams badly beat a very bad Colts team. Not exactly a huge crowd at the Coliseum — perhaps under 50,000 — but at least some of them took the Expo Line. As for tonight’s game, I like Carson over Denver.

Dept. of Dodgers Stadium Express: It was just a few weeks ago that I declared the Dodgers invincible and a mortal lock for the World Series. Sitting at the Jolly Cone (highly recommend) in Bridgeport over the weekend, I turned on the cell phone and was surprised to see the Dodgers have spent the last week not winning. It’s almost like someone jinxed them.

That said, they’re still almost a certainty to reach the post-season and the Dodger Stadium Express (the freebie bus to the ballpark from Union Station and Harbor Gateway) looks forward to serving the Wild Card or Division Series!

Art of Transit: I’m not sure I could lift one of the Metro bikes over my head. They ride real nice but they’re not exactly feather weight.

 

Art of Transit 2: Work last month on installing tracks for the Crenshaw/LAX Line near the airport. And, yes, unfortunate placement of the bottle of gatorade!

Crenshaw/LAX September

Art of Transit 3: 

Courtesy of our friends at Metro Art, the LA Opera last month presented excerpts from “Carmen” in the historic ticketing hall at Union Station. It was pretty great. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

We can solve America’s traffic nightmare (Medium/NRDC)

Hmmmmmm.

First question: is traffic really a nightmare across the U.S.? Sure, in some places and at some times. Otherwise, you can generally get where you’re going.

Second question: is congestion pricing really going to “solve” traffic? What does that even mean? Free flowing traffic at all times in all places? Or just something meant to sound good?  (If you know of a city where traffic has been solved, please let me know).

This paper supports the “100 hours” campaign that has been started locally — see above. I actually like the idea of congestion pricing as a tool to improve traffic flow and raise money for local transportation needs. But promising everyone a 100 hour reduction in driving time feels like an overreach.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong! Here’s a report from the World Resources Institute that looks at some of the changes in traffic in places (Singapore, Stockholm and London) where congestion pricing has been implemented.

710 Freeway expansion: What $12 billion will pay for … maybe some day (SGV Tribune)

Good article about the project that aims to widen the 710 between the ports and the 60 freeway and put a lot more low- or zero-emission trucks on the freeway.

At this time, there is about $1.3 billion in funding for a project expected to cost at least $6 billion. That said, given the importance of freight movement from the ports and traffic problems on the 710, this one seems ripe for other sources of funding — if Caltrans, Metro and residents along the 710 corridor can agree on a project.

Here’s a recent blog post about it.

BART can’t afford its millions of dollars in free rides, director says (S.F. Chronicle)

One member of the board that oversees BART in the Bay Area doesn’t like the rail system giving away free rides to employees, their families and law enforcement officers. Her beef: the agency can’t afford to lose the money in fares each year.

The agency’s response: the rides don’t cost the agency anything since the trains are already running.

Not mentioned by the reporters but important context: providing free rides is a common employee benefit at many transit agencies in the U.S. — in the same way many employers in the private sector provide free parking. It’s obviously a nice perk and also helpful in ensuring that employees walk the walk.

Metro, btw, does provide free rides to its employees but employees must pay to park at Union Station, although the monthly rate is discounted.

Dear Amazon, we picked your new headquarters for you (NYT)

Indianapolis Skyline

Could Amazon be coming to Indy? Or somewhere else? Photo by MCC_Indianapolis via Flickr creative commons. 

Amazon wants to build a second headquarters to supplement its current base in Seattle. It has sent cities across the U.S. a list of desirable factors, ranging from housing that is affordable to a supply of tech-savvy workers to a good local transit system.

The NYT crunches the numbers and determines the Denver area will be the likely winner. The NYT eliminated the L.A. region due to what they called sluggish job and economic growth, which I thought was somewhat surprising.

As the Gray Digital Lady notes, the competition will likely boil down to whichever city/region is willing to surrender the most in tax breaks and other incentives to Amazon. My hunch is that Denver, in fact, will be a major player but the winner will be a Midwestern city where housing costs are still somewhat realistic. My money is on Minneapolis, Indy, Columbus, Cincy or Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

 

17 replies

  1. Steve,

    regarding the Dodgers losing . . . they were on the cover of Sports Illustrated and many know of the S.I. Curse . . . once on the cover, careers have changed and usually not for the better. S.I. asked the question: “Baseball’s greatest team?” D’oh! Once on the cover, they went on their 11-game losing streak.

    • Hi Roger —

      Very aware of the SI curse — I worked there in the early 1990s. I believe they just had Patriots on cover predicting they would repeat as SB champs. And then they went out and got honked up pretty good by KC 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

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