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Jamzilla on the 405 ends ahead of schedule (L.A. Times)
The 80-hour lane closures on the northbound 405 over the President’s Day weekend turned into 79-hour closures when the 405 reopened about 5 a.m. this morning instead of the planned 6 a.m. reopening. Enough people avoided the NB 405 to keep traffic moving for most of the weekend with Monday afternoon seeing the most time-munching delays.
Riders look for love on Valentine’s Day on the speed-dating train (L.A. Times)
The speed dating event on the Red Line subway on Friday garners both an article and video! In the latter, reporter Trishna Patel scores a nice pair of socks. I rode for a couple hours on Friday and was mildly surprised at the healthy turnout as “speed dating” sounds basically horrifying to me — unlike Ukulele Man on the train Friday, I usually need seven or eight years before summoning the courage to speak to girls.
Here are our photos and video from the speed dating event. We’ll see if the event makes a return engagement next year. In the meantime, please let us know if any of our entrants make it to The Aisle — and I don’t mean bus or train aisle.
Semi-related: the following sentence in the LAT story caught me eye:
Sometimes he’ll try and talk to people on trains, but girls act conceited, he said, adding that
he was hoping to meet someone special.
Trust me, I’m no grammarian, but I thought it’s supposed to be “try to” in writing while “try and” is accepted as common in speech. Anyone out there in busland or trainland know?
Metro’s hardest seat to get (ZevWeb)
Kudos to whoever is writing the headlines for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website. The article looks at the public safety and financial challenges of providing restrooms for transit users. As you probably guessed, the story was prompted by complaints that a public restroom is need at the Orange Line’s Pierce College station.
The agency, in its report, acknowledged the unpleasant realities that confront customers at some stations.
“Metro’s custodial staff report on-going issues with public urination and defecation at several of the rail stations as well as inside many of the station elevators,” the report said, adding that “other areas of public urination include the top side of subway station entrances such as Pershing Square, where loitering is common.”
But the agency pointed to the complexities of opening new restrooms with a cautionary tale of what happened when The W Hotel, located above the Hollywood and Vine Red Line station, agreed to provide a street-level public toilet as part of their contract with Metro.
According to Metro, the facility “became a magnet for the area’s homeless population which impacted the use by Metro’s customers. While open, the hotel developer was expending an average of $250 per day on paper products and had to replace three sinks, three mirrors and five toilet seats due to damage.” The restroom was labeled a public nuisance and was shuttered less than 4 months after its opening.
And here is the staff report for those who want to learn more about the issue. The gist of it: it’s up to the Metro Board of Directors to decide if they want to invest in public restrooms on the system.
AEG: NFL stadium still a first-string idea (Daily News)
AEG, the entertainment company, says it still wants to build a football stadium next to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The city’s approval of the plans expires in October but AEG wouldn’t commit but others say the company is likely to seek extra time to reach a deal with the National Football League. Good luck with that.
A tough wake-up call for an L.A. bike commuter (L.A. Times)
LAT data analyst Ben Poston writes a first-person account of moving to L.A. from the Midwest and his four-months of commuting to work by bike from Los Feliz. It ended badly, with Ben getting right-hooked at an intersection in Hollywood and suffering a concussion and other injuries — he was wearing a reflective vest but the lights on his bike were out.
Here’s the excerpt that has already inspired a lot of chatter on social media;
I can’t count the number of people who have told me that they used to commute by bike until they were either (A) struck by a car or (B) got in some terrible accident by encountering a giant pothole or running into an open car door.
Now that I’m among the two-thirds of commuters in the city who drive solo to work, I experience Los Angeles differently from before. I can crank up “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on KCRW, roll the windows down and let the warm breeze dry my hair. I can sip a coffee and arrive at work clean — without having to change out of sweaty bike clothes.
And while I’m in favor of more bike lanes in the city, I must confess I’m annoyed when I see traffic lanes turned over to cyclists. North Virgil Avenue in East Hollywood recently lost half its vehicle lanes, and now my evening commute is five to 10 minutes slower.
In just over a year, I’ve become the opportunistic, lane-hopping L.A. driver I once joked about. Making it through on a yellow light is expected. Speeding 50 mph on surface streets has become the norm. I despise sitting in traffic, so I take shortcuts that I think are mine alone — I call them the “Bat Cave” routes.
My official response is to tell everyone that the Red Line is an option if he doesn’t mind riding from Los Feliz to Hollywood. My unofficial response is I commend Ben for writing a brutally honest piece although I’m personally happy to see street space being handed over to bikes and transit.
NYC’s touchscreen subway maps are finally here — and they’re amazing (Gizmodo)
New touchscreen maps in the New York subway get raves from Gizmodo — and could be on the way in Los Angeles. The photo below shows a prototype that Metro web staff are testing. Staff are planning this spring to ask the Board of Directors to issue a request for proposals, the first step in identifying a contractor to supply the devices. Which, btw, are pretty cool and could be helpful for those who find the static bus and train maps at rail stations to be daunting.