It’s obvious from the commentaries that one reason this story has legs is that it’s a divisive topic that is tangled up with all sorts of other contentious issues. Gentrification, taxation, central planning vs. market forces and generational differences are all mixed up making a cocktail that you either love or hate.
Good points are brought up on both sides of the issue. Urban planning professor Robert Bruegmann notes that while Europe’s dense central cities may be implementing anti-car policies, more Europeans are actually moving to the suburbs and living in American style sprawl.
One of the most interesting takes on the issue comes from Laurie Volk and Todd Zimmerman – two researchers who look at housing market trends and demographics. They think that while most Americans currently flinch at the thought of curbing the car, a cultural change is coming with the Millennial generation.
Millennials, now the largest generation in the nation’s history, are the first generation raised in the auto utopia of the ’70s and ’80s. Many millennials have vowed to spare their offspring a similar auto-oriented childhood. We predict that millennials in much larger percentages than predecessor generations will remain in urban neighborhoods when they become parents, fighting for school excellence and robust transportation alternatives to the private automobile.
Los Angeles’ transit history often reveals something brand new: a map we never knew existed, an angle to a story that helps us connect the dots, or new information from the past that informs planning our future.
A closer look at competing transportation studies in 1948 turned up this hidden gem worthy of a double-take: the feeder routes for proposed rail lines running down freeway medians were referred to as “bus rapid transit.”
While the first bus rapid transit system was launched in Curitiba, Brazil in the early 1970s, plans for a local BRT were actually laid out a quarter century earlier…and more than 50 years before we launched Metro Rapid or the Orange Line.
The 1948 Rail Rapid Transit Now! campaign’s plan for building a comprehensive rail system in conjunction with freeway construction never materialized, but it set in motion other events in Los Angeles mobility for decades to come.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s blog has a nice write-up on the roughly 47,000-mile highway system that was signed into law by President Eisenhower 55 years ago yesterday. LaHood points out how much traffic the system carries — about 24 percent of the nation’s highway total — and how it did what it intended to do, which is link cities of 50,000 or more. Of course, much has also been written about some of the unintended consequences that the highway system introduced into urban areas. Top of the list would be paving the way to sprawling suburbs and building literal barriers between urban neighborhoods.
Interesting article on Rep. John Mica’s support for a commuter rail project in Orlando that ranks at the bottom of the list for cost-effectiveness on the Federal Transit Administration’s list of projects in the final design phase. Low projected ridership is the problem due to the train not stopping at Disneyworld or the Orlando Airport, two big traffic generators.
But Mica defends this project, saying it’s $1.2-billion cost is cheaper than building a new freeway lane of similar length. Other critics point to the fact that the freight carrier CSX would enjoy numerous benefits on the public dime and that the railroad has long been a donor to Mica’s campaigns. It’s also worth noting that Mica, a Republican, chairs the House’s transportation committee and he has been very receptive to elements of the America Fast Forward plan to accelerate the construction of transit projects around the U.S.
This op-ed piece by two officials from the Safe Climate Campaign argues that California should impose stricter emission standards on vehicles for the years 2017 to 2025. The Obama Administration is set to announce those standards soon and the auto industry is trying to keep them very modest. The Safe Climate Campaign believes that California could influence that debate with stricter standards — or sit back and suffer lesser air quality under a weaker national standard. Smart piece. Wonky but important topic.
Due to track maintenance between 9:15am and 2:00pm, Eastbound trains to Norwalk will leave 10 minutes later than regular schedule.
Eastbound trains to Norwalk will depart Redondo Beach at 9:21am, 9:40am, 9:59am, 10:14am, 10:29am, 10:44am and every 15 minutes through 1:59pm, then 2:09pm and resume regular schedule.
Westbound trains to Redondo Beach will depart Norwalk on regular schedule.
During this time, trains in both directions will share ONE track at Hawthorne Station. Please check train destination signs and station announcements before boarding.
Dates: today only.
After 8:15pm, Blue Line trains run every 30 minutes due to construction work for the future Expo Line. Please see schedule here.
Dates: today only.
Due to track maintenance work after 8:30pm, trains from North Hollywood will depart 5 minutes later than regular schedule. Inbound trains to Union Station will depart North Hollywood at 8:59pm, 9:19pm, 9:39pm, and every 20 minutes until 12:39am, and then 12:54am. Times are approximate and subject to minor work related delays.
During this time, trains in both directions will share ONE track at Hollywood/Highland & Hollywood/Vine Stations. Please check train destination signs and announcements before boarding.
Dates: today only.
Due to street paving the listed line will be on detour between between San Vicente Blvd. & La Cienega Blvd.
Northbound: Regular route to La Cienega Blvd. and Beverly Blvd., then continue via La Cienega Blvd., to (L) Melrose Ave., (R) San Vicente Blvd., (R) Division 7 and regular route.
Southbound: Depart the layover Five (5) minutes after scheduled departure time via (L) San Vicente Blvd. (L) Melrose Ave. (R) La Cienega Blvd. and regular route.
Dates: 8am-5pm, today only.
Due to vehicle testing after 9pm, southbound trains to East LA or Union Station may depart Sierra Madre Villa 2 minutes later than normal.
Southbound trains may depart Sierra Madre Villa at 9:22pm, 9:42pm, 10:02pm, 10:22pm and every 20 minutes until last train at 12:40am. Times are approximate and subject to minor work related delays.
Southbound trips continuing to East LA Atlantic will depart on regular schedule from Union Station.
During this time, trains in both directions will share ONE track at Allen Station. Please check train destination signs and announcements before boarding.
The actor Erik Estrada, aka Officer Frank Poncharello from “CHiPs,” was cool enough to help tape a public service announcement this morning advising motorists of the upcoming 405-Sepulveda Pass closure the weekend of July 16-17.
I’m sure the fine Officer will be reminding motorists to plan ahead for the closure, avoid area roads and/or stay home.