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: Here’s a nice one to distract you from a drizzly morning, taken last week near the Expo Line’s new bridge over Cloverfield Boulevard in Santa Monica. Photo by Expo Line Fan, via submission. Click above to visit Expo Line Fan’s Flickr page of Expo Phase 2 construction photos.
A one-man sanitation engineer for the busway (L.A. Times)
Nice Steve Lopez column about a 64-year-old man whose daily 5:30 a.m. walks have turned into a mission to pick up trash along the western portion of the Orange Line. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of trash, nor is there an easy explanation for why some public trashcans along the busway are overflowing.
Traffic experts don’t like Garcetti’s traffic idea (LA Weekly)
In last week’s mayoral debate, Councilman Eric Garcetti tossed an idea out there as an example of outside-the-box thinking: what if the city raised $1 million in private funds and offered it as a reward to someone who could solve Los Angeles’ notorious traffic?
The Weekly picked up the phone and gave some well-known traffic academics around the area a jingle, asking them what they thought of Garcetti’s idea. Very little, it turns out. The academics say that there are plenty of good ideas out there — one-way streets, more congestion pricing, higher gas taxes, limits on who can drive on particular days, parking and development reforms — but the problem is that politicians don’t want to implement them because all reforms end up ticking someone off.
A missionary’s quest to remake the Motor City (N.Y. Times)
Check out the lede of this story, journalism fans:
The best way to experience all that is strange and a little otherworldly about downtown Detroit is to walk the streets around 5 p.m. on a weekday. At that hour, you’ll notice not just the peculiarity of what is around you — notably, the gorgeous, Art Deco skyscrapers alongside empty, decrepit buildings — but also what is missing. There is no traffic here. As the workday ends, cars trickle out of underground parking lots and speed off to nearby highways, but in a volume that doesn’t cause delays.
It is just one small sign of how far Detroit’s fortunes have fallen: the birthplace of the mass-produced automobile, the city that gave us the infuriating, bumper-to-bumper commute, is now so sparsely populated that it doesn’t have a rush hour.
The article is about Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, and his attempt to revive downtown Detroit, which like the rest of the city is in the doldrums these days due to a precipitous drop in population, employment and local government’s ability to pay for anything. My three cents: every time I read one of these Detroit stories, I just want to watch “RoboCop” again. The original, btw, was made in 1987 and maybe it wasn’t just a dumb, fun action flick after all! :)
What if you could decide how your tax dollars were spent? (N.Y. Times)
As the story notes, Americans fail to see their taxes as money well-spent. Excerpt:
Why the hatred? One reason is that it’s not easy for people to see how taxes provide benefits. One survey that asked Americans whether they had used any government social programs found many saying they hadn’t — when in fact, a majority had taken advantage of tax deductions for mortgage interest or child care. Fifty-three percent had taken out student loans, and 40 percent had benefited from Medicare. Clearly, the government has a marketing problem.
And the solution: The co-authors propose allowing taxpayers to choose how some of their taxes should be spent — i.e. on anit-poverty programs, the military or even transportation!
The idea is that many people actually gain satisfaction from giving – they just want to know how their gift is being used. And how is your tax money being used now? Check out this nifty tool from the White House website.
One man’s journey from Los Angeles to Real Madrid’s good luck charm (Sports Illustrated)
Nice story about how a Metro used his vacation time to haul equipment for the Real Madrid soccer club and befriending team manager Jose Mourinho.