Transportation headlines, Monday, June 4

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.

 

An Expo Line train testing the tracks between La Cienega/Jefferson Station and Culver City. Photo by ExpoLineFan.

Pasadena residents weigh freeway extension efforts (Pasadena Sun)

Opinions of community members were all over the place at last week’s meeting at the Rose Bowl on the project to improve traffic in the area surrounding the gap in the 710 between Alhambra and Pasadena. Some want the gap closed, others see any kind of freeway extension as bringing more traffic to the region. Here’s the project’s homepage on metro.net.

Stalled Grand Avenue development may get a second look (L.A. Times)

The massive residential development with commercial space has been talked about for years but the developer — Related Cos. — hasn’t done anything with the recent collapse of the real estate market. Related is indicating they will adjust their plans soon. In the meantime, that part of downtown L.A., even though well connected to transit, remains the usual collection of dreary parking lots.

Young Americans aren’t the only ones driving less than their parents (The Atlantic)

New research indicates the same trend is underway in Germany, where teens and young adults are using public transit and cycling more — even among those who own cars. One factor: a rise in the cost of car ownership and parking policies in Germany that discourage driving in some places.

 

 

Bill Rosendahl: Mobility is Westside’s number one priority (The Planning Report)

Interesting interview with the Los Angeles Council member who represents the far westside of the city. Rosendahl points to Prop 13 as one reason cities such as Santa Monica, Culver City and L.A. made a push for more commercial real estate on the Westside to bring in tax revenues — and, as a result, more traffic.

 

Transportation headlines, Friday, June 1

More bike lanes coming to a downtown L.A. street near you this summer. Photo by flickr user ubrayj02.

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.

The Bikeification of L.A.’s Civic Center Hits This June (Curbed L.A.)

Downtown L.A. got the first of many bike lanes, when the Spring Street green lane debuted earlier this year. The next batch of 2.6 miles of lanes is on its way this month. Expect to see lanes on Main Street between Ninth and Cesar Chavez, an east-west link on First Street connecting Grand to San Pedro Street, as well as lanes traveling up Los Angeles Street right to Union Station’s front door. H/T also to the BIKAS blog.

Second suit against Westside Subway Extension (Beverly Hills Patch)

The city of Beverly Hills on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Metro, alleging the project’s environmental study was inadequate. The Beverly Hills Unified School District filed a similar lawsuit on Wednesday.

Downtown L.A. park to open this summer (L.A. Times)

When you’re pedaling around downtown this summer, be sure to check out the newly revamped Civic Center park, which spreads over three city blocks between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and City Hall. Or, if biking isn’t your thing, you can take the Metro Red or Purple Lines to the Civic Center Station; it’ll drop you off right smack in the middle of the park.

Bill Rosendahl: Mobility is Westside L.A.’s priority one! (The Planning Report)

This interview with Westside City Councilman Bill Rosendahl touches on a number of interesting subjects including: why traffic is particularly bad on the Westside (in part, lots of jobs) and what Measure R can do to give people additional travel options to the Westside’s jobs, health care, education and entertainment options — not to mention LAX.

Making rural transit work (D.C. Streetsblog)

This is about a week old, but I missed it the first time around and it deserves a look. Writer Angie Schmitt delves into a report from transit advocacy group Reconnecting America on the lessons we can learn from rural communities that are successfully providing public transit — and thus, a basic level of access for those in rural communities who cannot or chose not to drive. After reviewing the success stories, Schmitt distills it to this: “What all the success stories have in common is coordination — between metropolitan planning organizations, area agencies serving the elderly, healthcare providers and other stakeholders. The other thing they share is an understanding of local travel patterns.”

What's happening at other transit agencies?

Bus stop of the future, according to urban designer Marc Aurel.

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.

The bus stop of the future concept in Paris

Some bus stops are nothing more than a sign planted in the ground. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way — or always will be that way. Transit planner and writer Jarrett Walker highlights a rendering of what a full-feature bus stop could look like situated on a Parisian boulevard. Designed by Marc Aurel, the station turns over 800 square feet of sidewalk into a “a multi-purpose public space [where] you can buy a bus ticket, get information about the neighborhood, have a coffee, borrow a book, play music, recharge a phone, buy a meal to take away, rent an electric bike, stay warm while eating a sandwich, or set up a bag on a shelf to do your makeup.” Click through additional renderings.

San Francisco land-use plan calls for new growth near transit

The Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments have approved a road map for how to accommodate the region’s population growth in the coming years, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The key to finding homes for the expected 2.1 million additional residents — all without adding too much traffic and pollution — will be focusing new housing around public transportation. And this will keep the Bay Area in compliance with state law requiring regions to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

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Transportation headlines, Thursday, May 31

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.

Beverly Hills Unified School District files state lawsuit against Metro (P.R. Newswire)

As I posted earlier, it’s Metro’s policy to decline comment on litigation filed against the agency. The above news release is from the School District.

Metrolink raises fares by average of seven percent (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The increase is the largest in the agency’s history and the 11th in the past 14 years, according to agency records. The fare increase, triggered largely by soaring fuel costs, will help cover about a third of a $13-million budget deficit, with the rest of the money coming from the five counties that fund Metrolink (which includes Metro on behalf of L.A. County). One transit advocate backed the increases, as long as there were no service cuts.

Wi-Fi and Amtrak: missed connections (New York Times)

The heavily-promoted wi-fi service in the Northeast Corridor has led to a lot of jokes and angry passengers who say it’s slow and frequently non-existent. Amtrak officials say they’ve heard the complaints and are updating equipment in order to improve service by year’s end.

Expo Line landscaping lunacy (Huffington Post)

Columnist Lisa Novick opines that only California native plants should be used along phase 2 of the Expo Line in order to save water and fit in better with the local environment (or, what’s left of it).

Photo update: Expo Phase 2 construction moves forward

With Expo Phase 1 up and running to La Cienega — and soon to Culver City — you can expect The Source to turn its attention a bit more to the second phase of the Expo Line construction. Beginning in late 2015 or 2016, the 6.6-mile extension will carry riders from Culver City to a short walk from the pier and beach at 4th and Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica.

I took a photo tour of the line last year before major construction had started to document what remained of the original tracks. Until the 1950s, electric trains had run daily between the beach and downtown Los Angeles, and until the 1980s diesel freight trains made runs to lumber yards in West L.A.

So, what’s changed since we last checked in on Expo Phase 2? For starters, buildings that had operated on land leased from Metro — which has owned the right-of-way for two decades — were demolished and underground utilities have begun to be relocated. In the coming months, expect to see Expo contractor Skanska/Rados digging the foundations for the bridges that will carry trains over several streets, including Venice and Sepulveda boulevards.

In the mean-time here’s how things looked a couple of weekends ago:

The Expo right-of-way -- looking east between Military Ave. and Westwood Blvd. -- has been cleared of the old tracks and underbrush. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

A stack of old rail ties awaits its ultimate fate. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

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Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 30

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.

 

Beautiful New Jersey! Photo by Kai Schreiber, via Flickr creative commons.

TAP coming to DASH buses (L.A. Streetsblog)

The largest muni bus operator in L.A. County is finally adopting TAP — a big addition for the electronic fare cards as several other prominent bus operators still do not use the cards. If transit operators in the region truly aspire to a regional fare system, having  common fare media is a big step toward that goal.

California High-speed Rail Authority gets new CEO (L.A. Times)

Jeffrey Morales, 52, headed Caltrans under Gov. Gray Davis and has been working on the bullet train project for Parsons Brinckerhoff, the project manager for the rail authority. The Times’ story focuses on the engineering firm’s role in the project while also pointing to the fact that, unlike his predecessor, Morales has political experience that could help in what has become the most political of projects.

Traffic jam on Mt. Everest (New York Times Dot Earth blog)

It’s the summit season and climbers are increasingly standing in long lines waiting to use trails to access the Earth’s tallest peak. Check out the video.

 

 


Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 29

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.

 

Winter returned to the Yosemite high country on Friday and Saturday, but sounds like it all melted quickly. Photo by mcbridejc, via Flickr creative commons.

Buffered bike lanes coming soon to Montana Ave. in Santa Monica (L.A. Streetsblog)

The lanes include a buffer between the parking lane and the bike lane so cyclists don’t have to dodge car doors flung open without warning. More of these everywhere please!

Gold Line parking downsized? (Arcadia’s Best)

The two-level parking garage for the Arcadia Gold Line station will have about 300 spaces. Expanding the garage to 800 spaces — as city officials hoped would happen — would require another round of environmental studies. Foothill Extension officials say riders will find other ways to the station.

Now coveted — a walkable place (New York Times)

There is now some evidence that real estate prices in walkable, inner-city neighborhoods are outpacing home prices in some of the nation’s best-known ‘burbs — such as Redmond, Wash., the home of Microsoft. Proximity to transit and good bike routes in cities such as Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis seems to be helping.

The two-wheeled future of transportation? (Wired)

Check out the pics and video of this fully-enclosed motorcycle. Looks like something out of “Mad Max.”


Transportation headlines, Friday, May 25

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.

Sen. Boxer: ‘Great progress’ on highway bill negotiations; deal possible by end of June (The Hill)

It’s safe to say that I’m no longer holding my breath on this federal transpo bill. But it’s heartening to hear from Senator Boxer that the committee of Representatives and Senators of both parties that she is leading has apparently been working productively and in good faith. Boxer says they’re about 80 percent of the way to having a finished product and could wrap things up as early as June.

Designing a walking L.A.: An interview with Los Angeles Walks found Deborah Murphy (Core 77)

The work of stalwart pedestrian advocate Deborah Murphy (full disclosure: we’re on the board of a non-profit together) gets the spotlight in this interview with design magazine Core 77. While Murphy has been a champion of pedestrian safety for decades — and L.A. Walks has been around since 1998 — she says the movement has grown stronger in recent years thanks to advocacy blogs and better coordination with bicyclists. Check out the story to hear some of her ideas for how to make Los Angeles a better place to be on two feet.

Has the passion gone out of America’s fabled love affair with the automobile? (Washington Post)

It’s a story we’re hearing more and more: High gas prices and hand-held technology are respectively making Americans fall out of love with the car and taking advantage of new transportation options at their disposal. One interesting fact that the Post highlights is that it’s not just the down economy that’s depressing the amount of driving by Americans under 35 years old. Even those who are employed are driving less than past generations.

Carmageddon II date still pending (Daily News)

It will probably be late summer or later when the 405 is again shut down for demolition of the other half of the Mulholland bridge. Utility relocations has been one problem causing delays to the project that is adding a northbound carpool lane to the 405 and making other improvements.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 23

Photo by Kristin Pineda via Flickr

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.

 

How can 13 miles of the 405 cause so much trouble? (LA Observed)

Easy, if those 13 miles are between Imperial Highway and Getty Center Drive. A new study on the nation’s traffic corridors ranks that stretch of the 405 as the most congested in 2011. Ah, but it also says L.A. in general is no longer number one in traffic congestion. Want to know who is? 

 

Why should we care about the SCAG regional transportation plan? (The Planning Report)

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has adopted a Regional Transportation Plan. What’s significant about this and why should we care? Metro Board and Santa Monica City Council member Pam O’Connor explains.  

Golden photos (L.A. Times)

L.A. Times photographer Francine Orr has posted a collection of images shot from the window of the Gold Line and they’re alternately sweet, real and occasionally beautiful in the pretty sense. They’re a good reminder of how complex and compelling our incredible city is.

Eating along Expo (LA Weekly)

Dense and smoky spareribs at J N J Burger & Bar-B-Q; spicy hot links ladled with beef chili, chopped onions and strands of melted cheese at Earlez Grille and sizzling hush puppies and fish from Mel’s Fish Shack. Do we have your attention? They’re all along the Expo Line and among dishes mentioned in a dining review in the LA Weekly.

 

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 22

 

Kings fans ride the Expo Line back towards La Cienega Station on Saturday. The mood was subdued after the Kings' failed to clinch a trip to the Stanly Cup Finals. They'll have another chance tonight at 6 p.m. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

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.

Ten to 20 percent jump in Metro riders to downtown over the weekend (L.A. Daily News)

I happy to see I wasn’t the only one who took Metro downtown this weekend to avoid the sports-induced traffic snarl. This Daily News piece quotes Metro staff estimating a 10 to 20 percent boost in ridership over the weekend, with particularly high boardings at 7th Street/Metro Center and Pico stations — the two closest to Staples Center and the finish of the Amgen Tour of California.

Price Points: Music, transit and revival (Spacing Vancouver)

Former Vancouver, B.C., City Councilman Gordon Price — an instrumental figure in that city’s transit-oriented renaissance — was recently on an urban planning tour of Los Angeles. He filed this report on Mariachi Plaza, home to a a Metro Gold Line station. Price highlights the cultural significance of the plaza — and how it encourages people to gather and linger — before deeming it the “the best new public space I saw on a study tour of L.A.”

Area around Santa Monica’s first Expo Stop begins taking shape (Santa Monica Lookout)

With Expo Phase 2 only a few years away, the city of Santa Monica is taking strides to add housing and jobs around Bergamot Station, the easternmost station within the city boundaries. It’s an intriguing case for urban planners, because the station’s environs include several old industrial buildings bounded by very long blocks — not necessarily conducive to vibrant pedestrian environment you’d want around a transit station. What’s a city to do? The Santa Monica Planning Commission, notes the Lookout, is considering a suite of zoning changes for the station area to facilitate certain new developments and proposing the implementation of more bike- and pedestrian-friendly street designs.

New parking meter system goes into effect (Downtown L.A. News)

The city of L.A. is undertaking an effort to free up more curbside parking spaces by varying the price of parking according to the demand for that given location and time of day. After all, we let the market dictate the price of most scarce goods — why not parking too? The eye-grabber is that parking fees could go up to $6 per hour, but that’s the whole point: encourage those who want long-term parking to use a parking lot, so that curb parking stays available for those who need to make short trips.

Here’s a video from the city explaining the parking program: