Transportation headlines, Monday, March 18; With Expo Line coming soon, plan to transform Bergamot Station area takes step forward

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.

Council moves Bergamot area plan forward (Santa Monica Patch)

Great news, me thinks. The plan will guide development on 140 acres around the future Expo Line station at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, with the Council voting last week to begin the formal environmental review process. As one city official puts it, the plan will help create a “city within a city” with new apartments, public plazas, 10 new streets and 15 new bike and pedestrian corridors. Critics fear traffic and the cars that will come from new residents but let’s face it — Santa Monica needs the housing to go with its many jobs and the area is being designed in such a way it should cut down on car trips by new and existing residents alike.

Here’s a slide from a city of Santa Monica power point released last year on the goals of the Bergamot area plan (on the map, left is north, top is east, etc.):

Designing the Districts PPT

One-way car flow on Colorado is better for traffic (Santa Monica Patch) 

Speaking of Santa Monica, city studies found that making Colorado a one-way street between Ocean Avenue and Fourth Street would not make traffic any worse. The Expo Line’s final Santa Monica station will be at Fourth and Colorado and the city is converting the street between the station and the Santa Monica Pier into an esplanade that will greatly curtail car traffic — and widen sidewalks to 55 feet on one side of the street. Gasp! Good news: so far the Earth has not ended because of such talk.

The bigger point about this item and the one above: the city of Santa Monica seems intent not just on having a new rail line, but using it to transform some public spaces badly in need of a change in direction.

Glendale infrastructure upgrades to benefit bike riders (Glendale News-Press)

City officials say they will increase the number of in-street traffic signal sensors that can detect cyclists in addition to vehicles. The city also says it’s planning miles of new bike lanes and a bike sharing program. You know what would be great? If officials from Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank and Los Angeles County got together and figured out some good bike routes between those cities. By “good” I mean “good” — not passable, not piecemeal, not bike lanes that are poorly maintained, unsafe or used for parking.

One other media note: who really knows what will happen with the proposed football stadium at L.A. Live — I don’t get any clear sense from the abundant media coverage of AEG’s announcement last week that it is no longer for sale. On the plus side, a football stadium would be near the Blue and Expo lines’ Pico station — which would get an additional platform under the stadium proposal. As for my personal opinion, I have no beef with a football stadium but I’d be more excited to hear about a baseball stadium in downtown proper — something that seems to work in many other cities around the world.

Transportation headlines, Friday, March 15; Bundy bike lanes opposed in Brentwood, transit use isn’t up everywhere

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: Today's photo celebrates extremely rural transportation options. This is Benton Crossing Road looking east toward the White Mountains in Mono County, Calif. Photo by Steve Hymon

ART OF TRANSIT: Today’s photo celebrates extremely rural transportation options. This is Benton Crossing Road looking east toward the White Mountains in Mono County, Calif. Photo by Steve Hymon

On L.A.’s crowded streets, it’s a smoother kind of slow (L.A. Times)

Nice story by one of my former podmates — Gale Holland — on the city of Los Angeles’ 30-year effort to get all 4,000-plus traffic signals on the same synchronization system. City traffic engineers say speeds and travel times on some key corridors are down, but Gale didn’t have a hard time finding some motorists who aren’t seeing the improvement. My three cents: there’s still room for improvement when it comes to moving trains and buses along streets in L.A. and elsewhere.

Brentwood groups oppose bike lanes on Bundy (Brentwood Patch) 

The two groups say the city of Los Angeles plan to add the lanes and remove car lanes on Bundy between San Vicente and the Culver City border will make Westside traffic worse. Sort of related issue: I’m more interested in knowing how cyclists will be able to reach the VA Hospital station for the Westside Subway Extension — the station is a long walk from the retail center of Brentwood.

Mass transit use isn’t up everywhere (The Atlantic Cities) 

Atlanta, Memphis and Tacoma — ridership is down, despite the recent news that overall transit ridership was the second-most since 1957 according to the American Public Transportation Assn. The Atlantic Cities also believes there’s an interesting relationship — the aforementioned cities also recently rejected tax increases to fund transit.

Which major cities are leaders in reducing greenhouse gases (Smithsonian)

The headline is a little misleading because hard numbers do not exist in terms of how much greenhouse gases come from a city. However, things to reduce greenhouse gases can be measured and by that count these five seem to be faring well: New York City, London, Addis Ababa, Sao Paulo and Copenhagen.


Transportation headlines, Thursday, March 14; ridership gains and reasons to be optimistic about region’s transportation future

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 reasons to salute Los Angeles’ transportation future (L.A. Times)

This slideshow on the Times’ Opinion blog touts the ExpressLanes, new transit projects, mobile apps and the new 6th Street Viaduct as reasons to be optimistic. Of course, some of the projects — such as the Westside Subway — are still a few years down the road.

Transit ridership falls since 2008 (Cato Institute) 

The folks at Cato take issue with the American Public Transportation Association’s news release headlined “Record 10.5 Billion Trips Taken On U.S. Public Transportation In 2012.” And the folks at Cato have a point, albeit a very small one: as the news release goes on to say, the record was actually set in 2008; 2010 was a good year and might have been better if Hurricane Sandy hadn’t temporarily shelved service in parts of the Northeast. The bottom line is 10.5 billion rides were taken on transit in the U.S. last year and I suspect we’re better off than if all those people who rode buses or trains were in their own cars.

Which transit agencies gained riders and lost riders last year? (Governing)

Using APTA’s ridership stats, Governing points out that Metro saw an 18 percent increase in the number of light rail passengers in 2012, a fact largely attributable to the opening of the Expo Line. Light rail also performed well in Dallas and Salt Lake City, two regions that have recently expanded their systems.

 

Before he was Pope Francis I, he rode the bus to work in Argentina

A bus in Buenos Aires, photographed in 2009. Photo by ag2078, via Flickr creative commons.

A bus in Buenos Aires, photographed in 2009. Photo by ag2078, via Flickr creative commons.

I’m pretty sure this is the first time The Source has excerpted the National Catholic Reporter, but here’s an interesting graph from their profile today of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who is now Pope Francis I:

Bergoglio’s reputation for personal simplicity also exercised an undeniable appeal – a Prince of the Church who chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.

The riding the bus factoid is being widely reported by the media. I did a quick perusal of Google but haven’t found a photo. If you know of one, please leave a comment with a link and I’ll add it to this post. UPDATE: Here’s a photo posted on Facebook that appears to be the real thing.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, March 13; will D.C. politicians respond to the rise in transit ridership?

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.

Public transit celebrates near record year but is D.C. listening? (Politico)

Last year was a good one for transit — ridership in the U.S. was the second highest since 1957 even with Hurricane Sandy sidelining service on the East Coast for a time. The question Politico poses: while cities and states continue to pursue transit, will politicians in D.C. come along for the ride?

New trends could mean fewer international flights to LAX (Daily News)

LAX is a busy airport and likely to remain busy for years to come with flights to many international airports. But this is also true: with little investment in its infrastructure for two decades until recently, LAX is facing competition from many smaller airports that now can handle overseas flights thanks to new, more efficient airplanes.

Closer look at DTLA’s streetcar-adjacent Olympic/Hill development (Curbed LA)

The new mixed-use development will help fill in a stretch of South Park that’s riddled with parking lots — supplying far more parking to the area than is actually needed. Curbed points out the building will be on downtown’s streetcar route, which they see as a near certainty. Perhaps — but it will require the feds ponying up $60-million-plus at a time when D.C. and Congress is struggling to achieve much on the transportation front.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, March 12: More of us on transit, Big Blue Bus marathon detours, road gender matters

 

 

ExpressLanes near Union Station, downtown L.A. Photo by Josh Southwick/Metro

ExpressLanes near Union Station, downtown L.A. Photo by Josh Southwick/Metro

More people on public transit, Metro system leading the way (L.A. Daily News)
Record numbers of Americans ditched their cars and took public transporation in 2012 and some of the largest increases occurred right here. We love this story and not just for the reasons you think. What this tells us is that L.A. — once the car capitol of the world — has considered options to driving and is taking them. It’s a sea change but one that bodes well for a city hugged by freeways. Can Beijing be far behind?

Big Blue Bus says there will be marathon detours. Metro, too. (Santa Monica Mirror)

Are you ready for this Sunday’s marathon detours? Probably not. As we’ve previously posted, there will be detours of buses, as well as of cars. Also worth re-mentioning, Metro will run FREE shuttles from the Expo Line Culver City station to Olympic Boulevard/11th Street in Santa Monica during the marathon as an alternative option for those traveling from downtown to the beach. Here’s the list from Big Blue Bus.  

Najarian reconfirmed on Metro Board (Glendale News-Press)

Glendale City Council Member Ara Najarian has been reconfirmed to the Metro Board of Directors.

Gender matters on American roads (Transportation Nation)

More women are driving. So what? Women drive differently than men and have changed driving trends as a whole. Crash patterns are different. But also, women are much more likely to drive compact, fuel-efficient cars. And that’s a good thing for our air quality, not to mention the small issue of climate change.


Transportation headlines, Thursday, March 7: art of transit, downtown streetcar secures operating funds, new housing in Santa Monica

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.

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ART OF TRANSIT: A Metrolink train at Union Station with Metro HQ in the background. Photo by Rayala, via Twitter.

Los Angeles City Council approves operating funds for downtown streetcar (City of L.A. website, Item 18) 

The Council voted on Wednesday to use $352.4 million of Measure R local return funds — the 15 percent of  Measure R that goes back to cities on a per capita basis — to pay for operating a downtown Los Angeles streetcar from the years 2017 to 2046. That assumes, of course, the project is built. Downtown residents last November voted to tax themselves to fund half the cost of the project with the remainder of the money being sought from a federal government grant. The cost of the project is expected to be $125 million.

Long isolated behind a freeway, Santa Monica’s Civic Center rejoins its city (New York Times) 

A good look at two big projects to help remake the Civic Center with a new public park and a large residential development that includes market-rate condos and income-restricted apartments. The developer, Related, has joined with the nonprofit Community Corporation of Santa Monica to build the apartments, which will be available by a lottery that gives preference to those who work or live in Santa Monica. The building is not a small one — but it is a very short to the future Expo Line station at 4th/Colorado and perhaps it’s a model for building other needed housing in the area.

Los Angeles intends to bid for 2024 Summer Olympics (ESPN)

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter this week to the United States Olympic Committee saying that L.A. intends to compete to host its third summer games, having had the honors in 1932 and 1984. From a transit standpoint, the second phase of the Expo Line, the Gold Line Foothill Extension, the Regional Connector, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the first phase of the Westside Subway Extension are scheduled to be open by then. But there’s this: some type of transit to LAX is currently on a schedule to be completed in 2028 and I imagine that’s something the USOC would consider with so many people coming to town. Here’s a recent Metro staff report on possible ways to accelerate the project.

Glendora Council approves new mixed-use development near potential future Gold Line station (San Gabriel Valley Tribune) 

The plan is for the development to have 256 new apartments and 4,000 feet of commercial real estate space at the intersection of Glendora Avenue and Route 66. That would put the station close to the planned Glendora station at Vermont Avenue on the second and thus far unfunded phase of the Gold Line Foothill Extension. The first phase is under construction and will run for 11.5 miles from eastern Pasadena to a station just north of Citrus College on the Azusa/Glendora border.