Transportation headlines, Friday, June 15

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.

Exploring the Expo Line and its surroundings (KCET)

A station-by-station look at the first phase of the Expo Line minus the Culver City and Farmdale stations, both which open at noon on Wednesday, June 20.

A tail of two rails: XPress sails, CASHR stuck (L.A. Streetsblog)

While the California bullet train project is facing more than its share of adversity — reduced public support, environmental concerns, funding, etc. — the proposed Desert XPress bulllet train between Las Vegas and Victorville is drumming up bipartisan support. Bottom line as I see it: neither project has yet to secure all the funds they will need to get built.

Just back: Los Angeles (New York Post)

A travel writer returns from Los Angeles and reports there’s a cultural shift underway here — more people on transit, more people walking. Apparently the Expo Line’s La Cienega/Jeffersion elevated station caught his attention on the drive up La Cienega from LAX.

Transportation headlines, Thursday/Stanley Cup Parade Day, June 14

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.

If you somehow need help getting jacked for the Kings parade at noon today, here is some awesome video of the last minute of Game 6 on Monday night and the Kings celebrating their Stanley Cup win. Hat tip: LAObserved.com

CTA strikes deal with Groupon (CTA news release)

The Chicago Transit Authority will begin offering discounted three-day passes through the popular Groupon website/coupon service. Groupon members will be able to buy a $14 pass for $9 and the CTA says it will make about $1.8 million in revenue by selling 250,000 passes to Groupon. Clever!

Apple drops transit directions from mobile devices (L.A. Streetsblog)

New software for the iPhone is debuting this fall with a big change: the maps app that comes with the phone will no longer rely on data from Google. Instead, Apple is producing its own map app and it will apparently — unlike the Google maps — provide transit directions. This has a lot of folks bent out of shape as they consider transit directions something that will help promote the use of transit. Probably so. But there are other apps that provide transit directions (such as the Go Metro app) and it’s easy enough to visit Google Transit on your phone’s web browser. From a practical standpoint, I always found that getting transit directions on my iPhone 3GS to be an interminable process when not on a wi-fi network. Am I missing something here? Explain, readers.

The heat is on: U.S. temperature trends (New York Times)

The group Climate Central has produced an interactive map that shows the rate of the average temperature increase in each of the 50 state for the past 40 years. California is the 41st fastest warming state with an increase of .314 degrees Fahrenheit per decade during that span. The Great Lakes region, New England and parts of the Southwest seem to be heating up quicker than the rest of the country. As many of you know, greenhouse gases from many sources — including transportation — are the culprit behind global warming. Generally speaking, transit produces fewer greenhouse gases per mile than people driving alone — although transit needs healthy ridership to do that.

 

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 13

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.

Metro considering expanding night service on Gold Line (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

No details yet — Metro is working on a plan. But the recently-passed budget includes money to add service to the Gold, Blue and Expo Lines, as well as increase some bus service. The big question to be answered is whether trains run more frequently during their scheduled night-time hours or whether they run later. We’ll see.

Bicycle accommodations at the new Grand Park (LADOT Bike Blog)

The new 12-acre park in the heart of the Civic Center in downtown L.A. will have 12 bike racks that can handle three bikes apiece for a total of 36 bike parking spots, reports Bike Blog. The park will also be very easy to reach via the city of Los Angeles’ growing network of downtown bike lanes — see this CurbedLA post on the new Los Angeles Street bike lanes from Union Station — as well as the Red/Purple Line Civic Center station.

A rendering of the park, courtesy RCH Studios via LADOT Bike Blog.

Want to increase biking? Sharrows won’t cut it (Streetsblog)

A new L.A. County Bike Coalition study finds that sharrows are not a persuasive way of getting people to bike. Why? Because, well, they don’t do anything to relieve the stress of riding in traffic. Or, as I like to say, sharrows are usually a great way to make it look like a city is doing something when they’re doing nothing. More bike lanes, please.

Missing persons found with help of Metro bus operator

Two children and a mentally disabled adult who went missing from Long Beach on Saturday night were discovered Monday morning at the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station with the help of Metro bus operator George Vazquez.

Vazquez was operating Line 230 when he noticed the trio at the Sylmar Metrolink Station terminal and felt they matched the description of the missing persons from the bulletin put out by the Long Beach Police Department. He notified Mark Solomon and Gerardo Zavaleta at Metro bus control, who in turn notified the San Fernando Police Department, LAPD and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The authorities responded to the location and verified that it was the missing woman and children, who were found none the worse for wear.

Thanks to Vazquez’s keen eye, the woman and children were safely escorted by authorities back to Long Beach.

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, June 12 edition

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, our roundup of the latest Metro related tweets. To get our attention, add the #MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on Metro.net.

If having problems viewing this post on your browser, please see part one and part two on the Storify website.


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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, June 12

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.

Wilshire Boulevard moments after President Obama's motorcade passed and it was reopened to the public. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.


Kings parade and rally to be held Thursday in downtown L.A. (The Daily News)

In case you missed the news: The L.A. Kings are the 2012 Stanley Cup Champs. As per tradition, there will be a celebratory parade held on Thursday at 12 noon. The Kings have announced that the parade will travel from 5th Street and Figueroa down Figueroa to Staples Center. It’s safe to say some bus service will be impacted, so stay tuned for more info on that. If you’re planning to attend, Metro Rail and Metrolink are great options for avoiding traffic en route to downtown.

Price Points: L.A. transformation (Spacing Vancouver)

Former Vancouver city counselor Gordon Price shares with is readers the story of Measure R and what he anticipates it will mean for the region. Price calls it a chance for L.A. to become a “Post-Motordom” city, one where transit is a viable option for most Angelenos. Price also highlights where Measure R fits in the region’s rich history of supporting public infrastructure:

[As] political science professor and historian Steve Erie points out, this is in fact the norm for the people of the Southland.  From 1873, when they gave a huge whack of dough to the Southern Pacific Railway to get them into town, to the creation of a harbour at San Pedro, to the famous water and power projects associated with the name Mulholland (and dark conspiracies), to the airport and highways, “the foundational base of LA is public support for infrastructure .”

 

Want to increase cycling? Sharrows won’t cut it (Streetsblog.net)

Streetsblog’s Angie Schmitt highlights frustrations in San Diego that the city has put too much emphasis on installing sharrows — those roadway markings that instruct drivers to share the lane — and not enough of on bike lanes, protected lanes and paths. Studies suggest that those latter interventions are what actually make potential riders feels safe enough to take to the street on two wheels.

Transportation headlines, Monday, June 11

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.

Expo Line: making South L.A. more accessible (Intersections South LA)

Photos show the current state of the present four westernmost stations on the line, with the post indicating that change around the stations is likely. We’ll see. Some rail stations in L.A. County have seen quite a bit transit-oriented development while others have not. At this point, Crenshaw seems the best candidate, with some developments in the works as well as the future Crenshaw/LAX Line.

Environmental objections in the path of bullet train (L.A. Times)

The state bullet train project certainly demands scrutiny because of its size and expense, not to mention some of the promises made by officials. The article takes a look at some of the possible impacts of construction and ponders whether those impacts would result in a net gain or loss for the environment, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley. Excerpt:

The California bullet train is promoted as an important environmental investment for the future, but over the next decade the heavy construction project would potentially harm air quality, aquatic life and endangered species across the Central Valley.

Eleven endangered species, including the San Joaquin kit fox, would be affected, according to federal biologists. Massive emissions from diesel-powered heavy equipment could foul the already filthy air. Dozens of rivers, canals and wetlands fed from the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada would be crossed, creating other knotty issues.

Fair enough, if somewhat over the top when it comes to the fear-mongering. Many impacts, of course, can be mitigated. If you are interested in the issue of greenhouse gases and construction of public transit projects, I highly recommend reading this FTA study. The gist of it: even when greenhouse gases created by construction are factored in, public transit still usually results in less overall greenhouse gases being created than if nothing was done and everyone drove everywhere.

Can our smart phones get us to walk more? (The Atlantic Cities)

There’s data showing Americans tend to walk a lot less than those in other countries, but what to do about it? Some people suggest that smart phone apps that provide directions to places such as transit will help, while others (read: me) think that lazy people will be lazy people with or without a smartypants phone.

Transportation headlines, Friday, June 8

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.

Transit that serves all requires some sacrifice (L.A. Times)

To provide some perspective on the Beverly Hills versus Westside Subway Extension controversy, columnist Hector Tobar visits the Blue Line in Compton, where trains run at street level, access to stations is not always easy, public art is lacking and many residents say they’re utterly dependent on the train. Tobar takes a dim view of Beverly Hills’ arguments against the proposed subway tunnel under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus, writing:

“Public good requires public sacrifice. Compton, Boyle Heights, and many other communities have sacrificed a lot in the building of the rail lines and freeways that link us together. I don’t think it’s asking too much to expect Beverly Hills to do its share.”

 

Can ditching your car make you more free? (GOOD)

Nice article looking at a few local folks who have bid adieu to their cars and instead rely on transit, walking and cycling to get around. The pros: money is saved and an intense connection with the city around them. The cons: you can’t get everywhere you want to go.

Desert XPress looks toward Palmdale (VegasInc.)

Officials with the proposed Desert Xpress bullet train and County Supervisor Mike Antonovich — the incoming Metro Board Chair — signed papers agreeing to pursue a common strategy for extending the Xpress train from Victorville to Palmdale. The Xpress, as originally proposed, would link Las Vegas and Victorville. Antonovich wants to see the train continue along the proposed High Desert Corridor freeway to Palmdale, where there would be connecting service to Los Angeles Union Station via Metrolink and possibly the California state bullet train project. One note: the Xpress still needs major funding from the federal government in order to make it to Victorville.

What's happening at other transit agencies?

This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.

DC Metro to add more rush hour trains, with updated map

Washington D.C. Metro has produced this handy video that describes its new service plan for rush hour, called Rush+ (aka “Rush Plus”). The Transportation Nation blog highlights some of the new features: namely, more trains at rush hour on certain lines to reduce crowding and a couple of different service plans for lines that currently share tracks. Check out the video for all the details.

Streetcar headed to downtown St. Louis?

The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, an organization promoting investment in the city’s core, has issued a request for qualifications to have transportation firms conduct a feasibility study for a downtown streetcar. The early concept for the line has it connecting St. Louis’ beautiful and historic Forest Park to downtown via Midtown, the Central West End, and Skinker-DeBaliviere — some of the city’s more walkable, retail-oriented neighborhoods. The line would also potentially link up with the regions light rail system, Metrolink. STL’s Citizens for Modern Transit blog adds: “The feasibility study will include the process of planning, funding and design of the St. Louis Streetcar.”

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Transportation headlines, Thursday, June 7

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.

 

A rendering of a 1961 Lockheed proposal for a monorail in L.A. Credit: Metro Transportation Library & Archive's Flickr photostream.

Ray Bradbury — and the free L.A. monorail system that never was (KPCC)

Going back to the early 1960s, the author was a big-time supporter of criss-crossing the L.A. region with monorails. His enthusiasm started with a proposal from a firm in the early 1960s to spend $105 million building a monorail system in L.A. in exchange for the rights to collect fares from it — a proposal shunned by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

For more background on monorails, transit writer Jarrett Walker has a good discussion of some of their limitations from a transit operations and urban design standpoint.

Rollin’ on the river — the L.A. River! (ZevWeb)

Good article on the history of the L.A. River bike ride, which takes place this Sunday. There’s also more bike paths coming to the river — the 1.5-mile West Valley Bike Path is scheduled to open later this year and four miles of bike path along the new Orange Line Extension parallels the river course.

Foothill Transit expected to drop fares for Silver Streak bus (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Foothill Transit is expected on Friday to cut 30 cents from the Silver Streak’s fare — from $2.75 to $2.45 — to complete with Metro’s Silver Line. The Silver Streak runs between Montclair and downtown L.A. and competes with Metro’s Silver Line for passengers between El Monte and downtown. Problem is, the Silver Streak has been losing passengers to the Silver Line, which already has a $2.45 fare. In addition, there’s this good news: Foothill Transit is expected to begin accepting Metro passes on the Silver Streak and vice versa, Metro will accept Foothill Transit passes on the Silver Line.