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:

 

Transportation headlines, Friday, May 18

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're in the Big Bear or Antelope Valley today, check out the Amgen Tour of California. Tomorrow's stage runs from Ontario to Mt. Baldy before the Beverly Hills to downtown L.A. final stage on Sunday.

Beverly Hills threatens legal action over Westside Subway Extension (L.A. Times)

The library’s blog has the long list of coverage of Thursday’s hearing requested by Beverly Hills on the route the subway will take in Beverly Hills and Century City. This story does a good job of covering the basics of the dispute for those without advanced degrees in geology.

There is also good coverage of a few particular exchanges during the hearing at Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky’s blog. There is also a good roundup of different views at L.A. Streetsblog.

El Sereno residents review 710 gap closure concepts (EGP News)

Coverage of the recent community meeting in El Sereno to review concepts being discussed to improve traffic in the area near the gap in the 710 between Pasadena and Alhambra. Among the options are extending the freeway or light rail. We’ll be putting the presentation online soon.

Members of Congress urge Metro to fund Gold Line to Claremont with Measure R extension (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

The letter was written by Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena). As we posted yesterday, Metro CEO Art Leahy said that the original Measure R was ambiguous about whether the Foothill Extension project was defined as going to Azusa — the segment now being built — or all the way to Claremont, as is being planned by the Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Leahy said a decision about the funding of the Claremont segment by a Measure R extension (if that even occurs) will ultimately be made by the Board of Directors.

A new choice in personal mobility? The seated scooter (Grist)

How do you steer it? With your rear end, apparently. Grist has some fun with this device from Honda, suggesting it’s for those too lazy to ride a Segway.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 16

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.

California bullet train chief seeks environmental exemptions (Los Angeles Times)

California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard is hoping to obtain exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other state environmental laws that could further delay the project’s construction. Some Central Valley growers are among those gearing up for a legal battle against the Authority. In the past, the Chairman has said the Authority would not seek an outright exemption from state or federal environmental laws.

All aboard for NoHo Depot restoration (Los Angeles Daily News)

The Daily News reports on the progress of Metro’s work restoring the century-old Lankershim train station in North Hollywood. With 100-plus years of lead-based paint and asbestos shingles that need to be removed, Metro is working to preserve as much of the original structure as possible. The environmental cleanup phase is expected to be completed by the end of May.

An electrifying freight solution on the 710? Siemens working on it (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles is considering a new electric freight trucking system that uses overhead electrical wires to power the vehicles. The system known as eHighway operates like modern-day streetcars and some electric buses. With freight trucks a leading source of vehicle emissions, the technology might help Los Angeles reduce emissions on its major trucking routes. Siemens is working to implement a pilot project along the 710, a major route for moving freight between the ports of Long Beach and L.A. and inland destinations.

 


Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 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.

Disney’s transportation system of tomorrow (Primary Resource)

The Metro Library has a great post on a 15-minute Disney television program from 1958 that previewed the transportation world of the future. Much of it has never happened even if elements have shown up in research and movies. Check out the video and pics.

L.A. City Council asks Legislature to release high-speed rail bonds (California High-Speed Rail Blog)

The Council last week approved a resolution asking Sacramento to release state money to sell bonds to fund the first segment of the project and to help secure federal matching funds. The Blog also criticizes the media for ignoring the second-largest city in the country supporting the project while focusing on the bullet train’s many critics.

Getting urban sports development right in D.C. (Streetsblog)

Using public funds to build or support sports stadiums for privately-held sports teams is often criticized as a poor investment. But data from Washington D.C. indicates that the Nationals new ballpark has encouraged development in the southeastern part of town and has given the area the lift it needed.

 

Transportation headlines, Monday, May 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.

 

Lincoln Boulevard: looks pretty good when you can't see it! Photo by sevensixfive, via Flickr creative commons.

Bringing back the boulevards (L.A. Times)

Architecture and planning critic Christopher Hawthorne begins a new series on the region’s boulevards and their potential for revival. Part one looks at Atlantic Boulevard and includes this introduction to the series:

The boulevard, in fact, is where the Los Angeles of the immediate future is taking shape. No longer a mere corridor to move cars, it is where L.A. is trying on a fully post-suburban identity for the first time, building denser residential neighborhoods and adding new amenities for cyclists and pedestrians.

In the process, the city is beginning to shed its reputation as a place where the automobile is king — or at least where its reign goes unchallenged. Cities across the U.S. followed L.A.’s car-crazy lead in the postwar era. This time around we might provide a more enlightened example: how to retrofit a massive region for a future that is less auto-centric.

Especially among younger Angelenos, including foreign-born immigrants and transplants from other American cities, there is a hunger for better-designed roadways and new ways of getting around. And L.A.’s political leadership is finally responding.

The biggest single change is the appearance of new transit lines. Flush with cash from the Measure R sales-tax increase, which is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is extending subway, light-rail and bus networks across L.A. County, including the new $930-million Expo Line.

 

It’s a great idea for a series and, of course, it would be a wonderful thing to see the region improve the form and function of its big streets, many of which are complete eyesores. As a former Westsider, I nominate Lincoln Boulevard between the Santa Monica Freeway and Marina del Rey as one of the boulevards most in need of severe intervention.

U.S. DOT to California: use high-speed rail money or lose it! (Politico)

If the state doesn’t approve selling $2.7 billion in bonds for the first part of the high-speed rail project by mid-June, the feds could yank their commitment to $3.3 billion in matching federal funds for the project. This L.A. Times story raises questions about whether it’s even possible to get the first segment built by 2017 as promised. On a related note, the news over the weekend that California’s budget deficit for next year has ballooned to $16 billion is one more reason that lawmakers may not want to take on more debt.

Metrolink proposes fare hikes (Daily News)

A brief look at the five- to nine-percent increases proposed by Metrolink staff to cover, in part, increased fuel costs. The agency’s Board of Directors is scheduled to consider the increases at its May 30 meeting.

Transportation headlines, Friday, May 11

The L.A. Subway Terminal Building as it looks today. 65,000 Angelenos used to board here every day. Photo by Alissa Walker.

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.

Design East of La Brea tours L.A.’s original subway (Gelatobaby)

Alissa Walker of the Galatobaby blog and host of the urban design group, de LaB, has this excellent recap of yesterday’s tour of Los Angeles’ original subway terminal. Yes, back before Metro Rail tunneled under downtown’s streets, the Los Angeles urban rail network carried thousands of Angelenos underground between Hill Street and where Beverly Boulevard crosses over 2nd Street. Check out the story for more present-day photos — like the one above — juxtaposed with historic photos from the Metro Transportation Library.

Mica: Highway bill negotiations ‘moving along'; will meet with Boxer next week (The Hill)

Time for a quick check-in on the federal transportation funding bill that’s three years overdue. The Hill reports that a working group of members from the House of Representatives and the Senate is meeting to hammer out the details of a multi-year bill that funds many of the nation’s highway, transit and bike-ped projects. A key sticking point seems to be that Republicans in the House want to insert into the bill Congressional approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project.

Add a green buffered bike lane and number of cyclists explode (L.A. Streetsblog)
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition recently completed an on-the-ground survey of bicycling rates in Los Angeles and found that biking is increasing citywide. Some particularly good news: the installation of the green bike lane on Spring Street has coincided with a dramatic increasing in cycling on that street, especially among women — a heartening sign given that women presently make up only about one-fifth of cyclists in L.A.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, May 10

Photo by Rob J. Young 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.

Advocacy group says public supports federal funding for bikes and pedestrians (Washington Post)

With Bike Week next week — and free rides on Metro for bicyclists 5/17 (!) — all thoughts that aren’t on George Clooney’s party tonight, have turned to bicycles. The Washington Post reports that a nationwide telephone poll found that 83 percent of those surveyed support federal funding for sidewalks and bike lanes, and that 91 percent of those under the age of 30 back the spending. Are you listening Washington?

Will it be ‘Starmageddon’ tonight in Studio City? (LA Times)

And speaking of George Clooney’s social life, the LA Times is calling the Presidential  fund-raising event at the star’s Studio City home tonight “Starmageddon,” for the effect it will likely have on SF Valley traffic. Not that anyone needs a reminder but, as with Carmageddon, leave early, be patient and avoid the Fryman Canyon area, if possible.

How high-tech carpooling saves gas, money and time in LA and elsewhere (Mashable)

With gas prices way above what they were a year ago, along with car maintenance costs and environmental concerns, the concept of carpooling to work and around town is growing in popularity not just in L.A., but around the world.

Got any brilliant ideas for a great car-free day in LA? (GOOD magazine)

What would you say is your ideal car-free day in LA? Submit a creative itinerary for a great day without a car and maybe receive $500 from LA/2B and GOOD to implement the idea.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 9

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.

Kids love Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus. Photo by Joel Epstein/Metro

A first look at the Orange Line extension from Canoga to Chatsworth (Los Angeles Streetsblog)

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton takes a ride on the soon-to-open Metro Orange Line Extension. Newton’s article features a nice video of the trip he took along with a group of Brazilian journalists touring and reporting on American bus rapid transit. The Metro project, ahead of schedule and under budget, is expected to open in June.

Grimy Centinela/Pico corner getting Expo-adjacent apartments (Curbed LA)

Transportation reporter Neal Broverman writes that “Metro might want to take a bow when West LA’s latest mixed-use project comes online.” The 95-unit ADC Realty Group development is being built on what is currently the home of a Rent-a-Wreck location. The $11.15-million project is only three blocks away from the planned Metro Expo Line station at Olympic Blvd and Bundy Drive in gridlocked West Los Angeles.

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