Transportation headlines, Thursday, June 28

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.

Orange Line busway is Metro’s quiet success story (L.A. Times)

With the Orange Line Extension opening Saturday, the reporter posits that perhaps there should be more busways and less rail projects in L.A. County and cherrypicks a few stats to back up that point. I think the Orange Line is a success, but I also think the story could have pointed out that four of Metro’s rail lines have significantly higher ridership than the busway and that the fifth rail line — Expo — just opened.

Tentative deal reached on 2-year transportation bill (New York Times)

After nine extensions of the transpo funding bill approved by Congress in 2005, the current Congress looks to have an agreement on a two-year bill. Funding stays at current levels and the bill looks to more closely resemble a bipartisan version reached in the Senate rather than a highly partisan bill floated by the Republican-led House.

Battle lines drawn in high-speed rail vote (L.A. Streetsblog)

A good overview of the three main proposals on the table as the state Legislature prepares to vote on whether to release funds for construction of the first segment of the bullet train in the San Joaquin Valley.


Metro Board of Directors meeting is underway

Good morning, this is your government speaking.

The gavel just dropped on today’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors. Here is the agenda.

You can listen to the meeting over the phone at 213-922-6045.

With little else in the news today — the Ann Curry story is now two hours old, yawn — the big item at today’s meeting is a scheduled vote on whether to ask Los Angeles County voters to extend the Measure R sales tax past its 2039 sunset date.

Much more later today.


The Orange Line Extension's new bike lane

The view looking north toward the Santa Susana Mountains.

In addition to the new four miles of busway, the Orange Line Extension features four new miles of bike lane and walking path between Canoga station and the Chatsworth train station. Check out this story on Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website.

The accompanying photos were taken by Metro’s Dave Sotero, an accomplished cyclist known for using his folding bike as part of his daily work commute.

The view south.

The view south from Nordhoff station.

Bike lockers at the Nordhoff station.

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The art of transit

photo by Greg Spotts, via Twitter

Art panels being installed along the Orange Line Extension in preparation for its public debut on Saturday.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

Congress may finally have a new multi-year transportation spending bill

The story has been developing throughout the day — it seems the Senate and House have struck a deal to pass the first multi-year bill since 2005. That bill had expired in 2009 and been given a number of short-term extensions while Congress bickered over the new bill.

It’s never over until it’s over, but the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the new bill includes a key provision of the America Fast Forward plan championed by Metro and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who came up with the idea. The provision would expand the federal loan program known as TIFIA that could help Metro accelerate transit projects by borrowing against future Measure R revenues.

I’ll post more when we get a summary from Metro’s government relations team.

Potholes, what are they good for? Absolutely nothin’!

Photo by autumnlight, via Flickr creative commons

Let’s face the facts. The road conditions around much of Los Angeles County STINK.

When it comes to cycling in the region, there’s nothing worse than knowing you’ll inevitably be encountering one of the many potholes, bumps, cracks, and cratered manholes scattered throughout the area. Too often, they tend to ruin a perfectly good ride. Don’t believe me? Try speeding down Wilshire Boulevard on a bicycle, it’ll feel like you’re sitting on a massage chair … from hell.

In my opinion, potholes and cracks are a cyclist’s worst enemy. Not only do they make it dangerous to ride, but they make it stressful as well. They slow us down, force us to swerve left and right in traffic, and can lead to serious injuries and expensive bike repairs.

Imagine such a scenario: One moment you’re riding down a street with nothing but smiles, then KA-BAM! A wide enough crack on the road sucks your front wheel in and the next thing you realize, you’re flapping your arms like a distorted seagull having been launched into the air like a human cannonball. Then, impact. Ouch.

Fellow cyclist Lynn shows the injuries she received (right) after crashing from a pothole (left) on a night group ride.

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On Transportation column: June 27 edition

Measure R Extension: The big-ticket item at Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting is a scheduled vote on whether the Board wants to ask voters to extend the half-cent sales tax beyond its mid-2039 expiration date.

Metro staff is proposing to extend the tax as a way to possibly accelerate all of the Measure R transit projects as well as help advance the construction of some of the road projects. Here’s last week’s post looking at the staff proposal.

I anticipate a lot of questions from the Board, with most of them involving the following:

•How would a Measure R extension deal with funding gaps in many of the projects? Does it fill those gaps or merely supply the money needed to build projects now instead of many years from now?

•If the Measure R transit projects are successfully accelerated, when would funds be available to begin building other projects in Metro’s long-range plan and which projects would be built first?

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