Art of Transit
Photos courtesy Mickey Labrador
Two good views of the future Expo/Crenshaw Station on the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The pics showcase a decked Crenshaw Boulevard and some of the surrounding development sites.
Metro’s proposed joint development site is on the right side of the bottom pic, just below the Shell Station. The big empty lot on the left side of the bottom pic is the location of District Square, a planned multi-level housing development with commercial space.
Dept. of Earth Day
— Metro (@metrolosangeles) April 14, 2018
— Metro (@metrolosangeles) April 14, 2018
People mover renderings by Los Angeles World Airport
In the big local transpo news of last week, the City Council approved building the LAX people mover as a $4.9-billion public-private partnership. Opening date is targeted at March 2023.
The people mover is obviously a big part of the effort to get rail into LAX. The other part is the new transit station that Metro will build at Aviation and 96th Street along the new Crenshaw/LAX Line tracks. That station will be the transfer point from the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line to the people mover and will also serve buses, bikes and drop-offs.
From Los Angeles World Airports:
The APM will have nine trains, each with four cars. Each car will carry up to 50 passengers and their luggage, with a total of 200 per train. Train speed will top out at 47 mph. Trains will be available at each station every two minutes with a total of 10 minutes travel time end-to-end. For easy access, the APM trains will have large, wide doors and each car will have 12 seats designated for travelers in need. The APM will be FREE for all users and operate at all times. Anticipated use will be 30 million passengers per year.
For those wondering about travel times to LAX from DTLA, transit observer Scott Frazier offered some thoughts on Twitter — click below to see the entire thread.
Also, the best way to improve trip times to the airport would be to speed up Expo.
— Scott Frazier (@safrazie) April 13, 2018
At Uber, a new CEO shifts gears (New Yorker)
Key graph that frames the challenges for ride sharing:
One former Uber employee told me that people in the San Francisco office were concerned—but not for the reasons the headlines implied. “The elephant in the room was whether the business model even works,” he said. Uber was spending billions of dollars to subsidize rides in order to keep rates low and passengers coming back. Its competitors were doing the same thing. The only way Uber could become profitable was to both increase the volume of rides and raise the price of each one. But as long as Lyft or another rival was offering discounts, increasing fares was impossible, because consumers would simply switch to the cheaper app. And as long as venture capital continued to flow into ride-hailing, Uber’s rivals would continue to offer discounted rides. “How do they reduce the subsidies for the rides and not lose volume is the big math puzzle,” the former employee told me. In 2017, Uber grew substantially, but it also reported $4.47 billion in losses.
This is one reason Uber has pursued self-driving cars: to cut labor costs. I’m skeptical that will work. I think it’s going to take a tremendous workforce to oversee and maintain fleets of robot cars — should that even come to pass.
Another thought: there’s little doubt that Uber and Lyft have cut into transit ridership in the U.S. with Uber/Lyft offering door-to-door service that transit can’t mimic. But one thing overlooked is that both Uber/Lyft and transit are subsidized. Uber/Lyft by venture capitalists and transit by the public, respectively. Whether in a Uber/Lyft or on the Red Line, your fare is not covering the entire operating cost.
Transit, of course, is a public service and is not expected to turn a profit (not that profits are a bad thing). Uber/Lyft are for-profit companies and it seems to reasonable to think a day of reckoning will come when their fares will go up. The service they offer may be so essential that consumers overlook fare hikes, but it’s hard to read the New Yorker article and think the status quo will remain the status quo.
The mayor of Los Angeles and Metro Board Chair hasn’t formally declared that he’s running for president in 2020. But he’s obviously mulling it — as his visit this weekend to the home state of Radar O’Reilly made clear.
I note it here because Garcetti was (and continues to be) so heavily involved with Measure M, Metro’s most recent sales tax measure. If he runs, it will be interesting to see how much (or how little) transportation and urbanism become part of a national campaign.
A motion by L.A. City Council Member Paul Koretz would grant The Boring Co. a categorical exemption from CEQA to build a 2.7-mile ‘proof-of-concept’ tunnel between West L.A. and Culver City.
In English: if the Council goes for it, the Boring Company wouldn’t have to do a big, lengthy environmental study for their tunnel. What exactly the tunnels would be used for is hard to say. From L.A.’s Bureau of Engineering:
The proposed tunnel would provide proof of concept for a zero-emissions, high speed, underground, alternative means of transit for personal vehicles and/or single-rider use.
I don’t know who dropped the watermelon on that sentence but geez Louise.
Attentive Source readers know that Metro is also working on its own transit network in the L.A. area. That includes the subway tunnel under construction for the Purple Line Extension, the partly-underground and aerial Crenshaw/LAX Line, the underground Regional Connector, an extension of the Gold Line to Claremont and Montclair and the future Sepulveda Transit Corridor between the Orange Line and LAX.
All these projects have been, or will be, the subject of extensive and detailed environmental reviews so that you, the taxpaying public, can have a say in what gets built and how. Stay tuned…
— Metro (@metrolosangeles) April 13, 2018
The LAT will continue to have a DTLA presence although the bulk of the operations will move to a new campus that sounds pretty nice. On the other hand, staffers who continue to live east or north of downtown should prepare for some very tough commutes. For those who take transit, the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the existing Green Line will probably be a faster alternative than the Silver Line for the southern leg of the journey. (The Crenshaw/LAX Line is scheduled to open in fall 2019).
How will this impact the paper’s coverage of our region? Hard to say. The good reporters will continue to be good reporters and find good stories — and the LAT continues to publish some stellar work.
If there is an impact it’s that over time the paper’s managers and editing staff — the folks who decide what gets published — will likely end up living on the far Westside and that will be the world they encounter and know about on a daily basis. That could mean more coverage for South Bay cities, Inglewood and parts of South L.A., just as it may mean less exposure to the northern and eastern parts of our region. (Some LAT staff reactions are here).
Quasi-related, Metro staff had the chance to sit and chat with a bunch of high schoolers on Friday and I think the greater challenge for Metro and the LAT isn’t overcoming geography — rather, it’s getting the young folks to realize we exist and consume our products.
Categories: Transportation Headlines