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: A Big Blue Bus on Main Street in Santa Monica alongside the public gardens. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.
Westside development fuels debate over growth — smart or otherwise (L.A. Times)
A good look at the proposed 638-unit building at the corner of Sepulveda and Pico boulevards that will also include a station for the second phase of the Expo Line. The Casden West project would also include a supermarket, other businesses and possibly a Target, leaving many critics to contend that it will attract far too many cars for something others call transit-oriented development. Politicians are mixed on the project (L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa supports it, 5th District Councilman Paul Koretz wants it down-sized) but many nearby residents are fighting it, saying the intersection — adjacent to the 405 freeway — is already clogged. However, the article also quotes one community resident saying she’s looking forward to walking, not driving, to the market. The L.A. City Council is scheduled to consider approval of the project this week, although the vote may not happen until later in the month.
Metro recommends contractor (and $160 million more) for Crenshaw/LAX Line (L.A. Times)
Of the four proposals received by firms to build the 8.5-mile light rail line, Walsh/Shea was the lowest in terms of dollars and highest in terms of technical score. Metro staff have also recommended adding more contingency money to the project’s budget, bringing it north of $2 billion. That will require some money to be moved from other projects. Here’s our post about the contract and the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The Metro Board is scheduled to consider the contract recommendation by Metro staff this month. If approved, major construction would begin next year.
For Regional Connector, Metro wants things to go bump in the night (Downtown News)
The story provides a good overview of Metro’s request to have construction permits in downtown that essentially allow the agency to perform some work during rush hour or at night. The agency says it needs the flexibility to maintain the construction schedule on the 1.9-mile underground light rail line while residents and businesses fear noise that could keep them awake or scare away customers. The permits will be considered and issued by the city of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles air pollution is declining, losing its sting (NOAA)
An interesting pair of photos featured in the new study.
It’s hardly news that smog has been reduced in recent decades even as the area’s population and the number of vehicles on the road has grown tremendously. But the chemical make-up of the smog has changed, too, meaning it stings the eyes a lot less. That’s good news, the result of tighter emissions standards adopted by the state in years past.
But let’s not get too giddy. From the South Coast Air Quality Management District website:
California and its individual air districts have made remarkable progress in cleaning the air during the past three decades in spite of dramatic increases in population and driving. From 1980 to 2010, the state’s population increased by 65 percent and daily miles driven by all vehicles increased by 137 percent. But thanks to a comprehensive air pollution control strategy, smog-forming pollutants were cut by 55 percent during the same period. California’s largest industrial plants also cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent between 2008 and 2011.
These improvements have occurred in spite of the fact that neither the state nor local air districts have the authority to regulate federally controlled sources of air pollution including ships, locomotives and aircraft.
And yet daunting challenges remain to reach current air quality standards, especially for the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California’s South Coast Air Basin, the two most severely polluted regions in the nation. Recent studies show that pollutants are harmful to our health at lower levels than previously thought. As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has revised key air quality standards to be more stringent and health-protective. This means that local air districts and the state have to develop clean air plans requiring significant further emission reductions from all sources including cars, trucks, businesses and consumer products.