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.
L.A.’s first freeways (KCET So Cal Connected)
A nice look at the earliest freeways in the Los Angeles area and the thinking that went into the planning and building of them. A four-mile section of Ramona Boulevard and a 1.5-mile segment of freeway over the Cahuenga Pass were the preludes to the 6.8-mile Arroyo Seco Parkway opening in 1940. It’s still in use today as the Pasadena Freeway, although it looks nowhere near as good as does in some of the many fine photos on this post. A recent attempt to spruce things up doesn’t really work — today the road is lined by a lot of chain-link fencing, suffers too much graffiti and has a lot of trash along its edges.
There are three major areas I have focused on for reduction in spending. These are in many cases reductions which become larger and larger over time. So first there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs — the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to strand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf.
A related post on The Hill says that zeroing out Amtrak in the budget would be difficult to do, given the popularity of its Northeast Corridor routes between Washington and New York. If Amtrak shut down those routes, commuters would fly instead, which could create bottlenecks across the country as major airports are overwhelmed trying to handle commuter flights. The federal government provided about $1.5 billion to Amtrak in fiscal year 2011; the total federal budget that year was about $3.63 trillion.
Why should we stop talking about ‘bus stigma’ (The Atlantic Cities)
Transit planner and writer Jarrett Walker takes exception to those who suggest that many people avoid the bus because of the stigma attached to it — as is the bus is only for the poor or minorities. In his view, the problem with buses is that they too often don’t offer the fast and frequent service that people want. Good bus service, he believes, attracts a good number of riders across all spectrums. Excerpt:
Mass transit, even the indispensable bus, will continue on that path to greater relevance to the degree that citizens care about it and demand that it be funded. Right now, many people who don’t use transit are making a rational choice, based on its current usefulness and their alternatives; no stigma is needed to explain that behavior. As transit improves, and especially as other options become more expensive, decisions will continue to change, person by person, family by family, and ridership will grow as a result. At some point in that process, journalists will stop talking about a stigma. But the solution to the “stigma” or “class” problem, all along, was to refuse to define it that way.