Connecting transit to jobs and workers in America

The Brookings Institution last week released its latest study of transit’s ability in the U.S. to get people to their jobs. The good news is that the Los Angeles metro area ranked first in the number of jobs near transit.

The region, on the other hand, ranked 42nd in the country in terms of workers’ ability to reach their jobs via transit in 90 minutes. The numbers suggest the challenge in the L.A. region is that many people’s residences are either far from frequent transit or from their jobs, or both. No surprise there.

From the study summary:

The typical job is accessible to only about 27 percent of its metropolitan workforce by transit in 90 minutes or less. Labor access varies considerably from a high of 64 percent in metropolitan Salt Lake City to a low of 6 percent in metropolitan Palm Bay, reflecting differences in both transit provision, job concentration, and land use patterns. City jobs are consistently accessible to larger shares of metropolitan labor pools than suburban jobs, reinforcing cities’ geographic advantage relative to transit routing.

Again, I’m not sure that’s a shocking conclusion. The hope is that it resonates with both those who make land-use policy and, equally important, the firms that have the freedom to choose where they locate. Yes, there may be cheap land and real estate in the distant ‘burbs, but the Brookings study suggests that comes with a price — lack of access to a good chunk of the workforce.

Safer pedestrian crossings for the Expo Line

“Tiger stripes” at Expo/USC crossing. Photo by Anna Chen/Metro

Some of you may have noticed the neat new stripes at the crossings of 23rd Street Station and Expo/USC Station.

It’s all part of making Expo Line’s pedestrian crossings that much safer. Not only do the stripes designate proper crossing areas, they remind everyone to be a little bit more aware of the train tracks. Even if you’ve got your head down and eyes glued to your phone, the glittery stripes are hard to miss.

The tiger stripes will be installed at all non-gated pedestrian crossings along the Expo Line over the next few months and eventually cover crossings at the Blue and Gold Lines as well.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 17

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.

A tool to disrupt loud talkers on transit? (Atlantic Cities)

A Japanese invention records called the “SpeechJammer” records loud talkers and then plays their talking back to them a millisecond later, thereby disrupting their loud talking. Atlantic Cities says this could be a useful tool on the subway. I can see their point, but I’m not sure law enforcement officials will appreciate riders pointing these things at other passengers.

Ride review: the Orange Line Extension bike path (L.A. Streetsblog)

Editor Damien Newton gives the new four-mile bike path a B+. It’s smooth and safe, he writes, but the waits for green lights to cross signalized intersections can be excruciating. In fact, it took Damien 27 minutes to go four miles because of those waits — and he’s not a slow cyclist.

High-speed rail funds to speed improvements for local transit (KPCC)

Among items that will be paid for by high-speed rail funds are projects that improve access to Union Station in Los Angeles station — such as the Regional Connector and fly-through tracks to remedy the current set-up in which all trains have to enter and leave Union Station going the same way. Other upgrades will include some grade separations on Metrolink tracks throughout Southern California, including some on sections of track to be shared by the bullet train.

210 soundwall project completed (Pasadena Star News)

About two miles of soundwalls along the 210 freeway between Santa Anita Avenue and California Avenue in Arcadia and Monrovia were officially greeted by Metro and city officials on Monday. The project was paid for with Measure R sales tax funds. Some Arcadia residents say the soundwall needs to be extended further west, a project that the Metro Board of Directors may accelerate.

Blue Line delays this afternoon

An overhead wire issue between the Wardlow and Willow stations this afternoon is likely to cause 25 minute delays through the afternoon rush hour. Trains are single-tracking around the area where repairs are underway.

This is a separate issue from the one that caused delays this morning.

The best way to get service alerts is to subscribe to Metro’s Twitter feed, check the homepage or install the Metro app on your smartphone.


Metro statement on letter from state PUC regarding track at Expo Line-Blue Line junction

Metro CEO Art Leahy and Expo Line Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe issued a joint statement Monday regarding a letter recently received from the California Public Utilities Commission requesting a replacement to a piece of track work at the Metro Expo/Blue Line junction.

Both Leahy and Thorpe also talked with the media regarding the next steps that will include better defining exactly what the CPUC wants and how both agencies can work together to develop a plan of action and implementation. Below is the joint statement issued today:

Metro and the Expo Construction Authority have received from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) a directive to replace a piece of track work at the Metro Expo and Blue Line junction and finish the implementation of the automatic train protection. Our two agencies will work closely to develop and implement a plan that satisfies the concerns of the CPUC.

Our first step is to correct a defect in a small portion of the track commonly called the “frog” as it relates to the junction where the new Expo Line meets the Metro Blue Line at Washington and Flower near downtown Los Angeles. This was completed last Friday.

Separately, we will focus on ensuring the automatic train protection system is operating consistent with the requirements of the CPUC.

We want to assure the public that Metro and the Expo Construction Authority have been monitoring these issues for some time, and at no time was safety ever compromised. Trains have made over 100,000 trips through this junction area traveling less than 10 miles per hour. Daily inspections will continue while we resolve this issue with the CPUC.

Metro and the Expo Construction Authority will ensure the work is performed to the highest standard and will accept nothing less.


Blue Line delays this morning

Just a reminder: if you were late to work or school because of the power outage on the Blue Line this morning between the Anaheim and Del Amo stations, you can contact Metro customer relations to receive a verification of the delay by calling 213.922.6235 or faxing 213.922.6988.