Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Feb. 5

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

ART OF TRANSIT: The subway at the Civic Center/Grand Park Station. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: The subway at the Civic Center/Grand Park Station. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Fare inspections are up, fare infractions are down (Buzzer blog)

The transit agency in Vancouver gave its transit security force the power to levy a $173 fine to fare evaders last fall — previously, they could only ask those who didn’t pay the fare to leave the bus or train. In between September and the end of 2012, about 11,000 tickets were issued and security officers say the pricey penalty seems to have encouraged more people to purchase bus and train fares.

Three committees reject plan to widen 710 north of Long Beach (L.A. Streetsblog)

The I-710 Corridor Project — being overseen by Metro — proposes to improve the flow of traffic between Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach and State Route 60 in East Los Angeles. Among alternatives under study is widening the freeway, an option that the Long Beach City Council I-710 Oversight Committee, Gateway Council of Governments and the Project Committee don’t back; they favor a zero or near zero emissions freight corridor. Here’s the project home page on

The federal role in transportation funding (The Transport Politic)

Wonky but excellent post from Yonah Freemark on whether the feds should remain or vacate their role in providing money for local transportation needs. A lot of that money at present comes from the federal gas tax, which is a problem as revenues are declining as Americans drive more fuel efficient vehicles (and in some cases, drive less). This has led some to suggest that it would be better if states simply made their own decisions about how to pay for transportation. But Freemark counters that some states would simply choose not to pay for it (which would devaststate transit agencies) and perhaps it’s best if the feds found a more progressive way to help localities support transportation.

Imagining a world regulated by virtual traffic lights (The Atlantic: Cities)

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University are designing a system to get rid of all traffic lights. It works like this: As we approach an intersection, our cars transmits data, such as location and speed, to other nearby cars. The virtual system processes this information for all the cars in the area and determines our individual traffic signal. Instead of seeing a red or green light hanging in the intersection, we see it on our windshield and drive or yield  accordingly. Among the advantages: Every intersection with a car now automatically has a traffic light directing it to go or stop. But yes, some of the stops will be virtual, just like they are now.

California gas prices surge (KTLA)

Not that we need the unpleasant reminder but average California gasoline prices jumped 23 cents in the last week, passing $4 a gallon in Los Angeles. The surge follows a year in which U.S. motorists spent a greater percentage of their annual income on gasoline than at any time in the last three decades, the U.S. Energy Department says. Yes, we know there are reasons for this. (There always are.) But maybe it’s time to protest by trying out Metro or any other form of public transit.

The art of transit


Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro

I caught this photo of a Metro 180 or 181 bus crossing the Arroyo Seco Bridge in Pasadena before sunset on Wednesday.

I had been wanting to shoot the bridge from this spot on Arroyo Boulevard that offers a view straight north toward the bridge and the San Gabriel Mountains. It was exceptionally clear out Wednesday after the latest storm blew through — all I had to do was set up my camera on a tripod and use Nextrip on my iPhone to see when the next bus would rumble over the bridge; the 180, 181 and 780 all cross the bridge on Colorado Boulevard. I used a telephoto lens at 200mm to help the mountains appear closer to the bridge.

Want to submit a photo to Art of Transit? Email us the photo at sourcemetro@gmail.comtweet us or post the photo to our Flickr group (in the description please give us permission to use it on The Source). Thanks shutterbugs!

Crenshaw elders talk transit in beautiful short film

Here’s the first in a series of six short films created for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor project. This piece features two local elders, Hayward Gray and Lee Enge, who reminisce about the past glory of LA’s Red Car system. Gray and Enge, who are both retired, also look forward to the return of rail to their community. For more information:

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Oct. 24

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

ART OF TRANSIT: The tail end of a Metro Gold Line train on the bridge crossing the Pasadena Freeway and the Arroyo Seco on Tuesday evening. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Climate of Doubt (Frontline PBS)

Curious why climate change has been almost completely absent from this year’s presidential race? This excellent report from Frontline looks at the groups that have spent considerable sums of money and effort to raise doubts about the science behind global warming — and to instill fear in legislators, even Republicans, who dare to believe the Earth may be warming. If you have 53 minutes, I strongly urge you to watch this program. And I’ll include my usual notation that taking transit is a good way to lower your carbon footprint.

Developer in Gold Line dispute releases letter (Monrovia Patch)

The developer has sued the city of Monrovia, alleging that land near the future Monrovia Station for the Gold Line Foothill Extension that was entitled for a large residential development project will instead be used as a parking structure for the station. I certainly don’t know the details on the dispute; I do know the area and hope that the future station has both adequate parking and needed development.

Work begins on L.A.’s tallest tower (Curbed L.A.)

Demolition of the Wilshire Grand is underway to clear the way for a 70-story office and hotel at Wilshire and Figueroa, a transit adjacent site, thank you. The new building will be the second-tallest in downtown Los Angeles — U.S. Bank Building still will hold top honors — and will include high-speed elevators to whisk visitors to a hotel lobby in the sky near the top of the building. Interesting. In related news, Curbed L.A. has the news of new renderings of the proposed office and hotel towers that would be on either side of the Capitol Records building, near the Red Line’s Hollywood/Vine station. The development is controversial but would certainly help with Hollywood’s revival — something I think is far from complete.

SFMTA combines contracts for Central Subway project (San Francisco Examiner)

After originally proposing to put four bids out — one for each of the three stations and a fourth for operations system management — the MTA decided to combine the four contracts into one. There was some speculation that perhaps this was done after Tutor-Saliba received the highest score for one of the station contracts — the contractor and the city have had legal disputes in the past — but officials say the move was done to save $20- $30-million.

Beverly Hills Council votes ‘not to take position in support of Measure J’ (Beverly Hills Courier)

The top of the story:

After almost three hours of deliberation, the Beverly Hills City Council failed to take a formal position to back the Board of Education in its opposition of Measure J, voting 4-1 to “not take a position in support of Measure J” at its study session on Tuesday afternoon.

The vote on the symbolic resolution was 4 to 1, with Councilman John Mirisch opposing and saying “Not supporting something is not the same as opposing it.” The vote was hardly surprising; the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District have sued Metro in an attempt to stop the Westside Subway Extension from tunneling part of the Beverly Hills High School campus.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story is that it lacks the usual editorial comments inserted into the news by the Courier’s editors and/or publisher about the subway and positions that politicians should take. The Courier promises more coverage of the vote on the symbolic resolution in its print edition.

Another pro sports team gets transit-friendly (New York Times)

The New York Islanders are leaving their current arena on Long Island — the one surrounded by acres of parking lots and not terribly near transit — and moving to the new Barclay Arena in Brooklyn. That means the Islanders new home will be a stone’s throw from multiple subway lines connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan and Queens, as well as a Long Island Railroad hub. Sounds like a smart plan. Ebbetts Field, former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was located near the Prospect Park subway station. Meanwhile on the Left Coast, CBS Sports reports that the NFL wants a new stadium to be in Chavez Ravine and its acres and acres and acres of parking lots. It should be noted the CBS Sports story relied only on “league sources,” none of whom were named.