Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Oct. 15

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

The many reasons millennials are shunning driving (Washington Post)

New research from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group dives deeper into a phenomenon that has been well-documented to date: the generation known as millennials are driving much less than any generation since World War II. Among some of the reasons why:

•Millennials are marrying later and starting families later, meaning they’re also waiting longer before moving to homes and the ‘burbs (if they do).

•Gas prices are high and millennials don’t know the concept of cheap gas.

•Technology has made car sharing, bike sharing and ride sharing far easier — and the advent of the internet and smart phones and tablets makes taking transit more appealing.

•Millennials don’t see cars as valuable as previous generations — they would rather spend money on technology or experiences.

Interesting stuff. None earth-shaking news perhaps. However, the Post doesn’t get into another reason that I think is worth mentioning: a lot of metro areas across the U.S., including our area, have made considerable investments in new transit in the past 25 years. While the new transit may have come along too late to get 40somethings and later out of their cars, millennials are a generation that is growing up with transit.

What remains to be seen is whether millennials flex their political muscles when it comes time for ballot measures and other elections around the country that determine how transportation gets spent. Thoughts, readers?

The Molina Station naming mess (Downtown News)

The DN’s editorial board takes the Metro Board of Directors to task for their vote earlier this month to name the East Los Angeles Civic Center Station after Board Member Gloria Molina and the NoHo Red Line Station after Zev Yaroslavsky. Their main issue: Supervisor Molina has announced her intent to run for the Los Angeles City Council and a station with new signage is not appropriate during an election, the Downtown News argues.

Why Minneapolis’ bike freeways are totally the best (Grist) 

Great post on the new network of bike and pedestrian paths around the Twin Cities. Explanation:

How did this happen? Minneapolis is unusual, as cities go, because it has a funny-shaped park system called the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway that encircles most of the city like a ring road. The Grand Rounds had a network of entirely separate paths for cars and pedestrians that dated back to the WPA era, but in the mid ’90s, Minneapolis began to lay down new paths for cyclists, too. These paths were mostly recreational until, in the last decade, Minneapolis began to draw lines between different points on that circle by converting old railroad infrastructure, like the Midtown Greenway, for pedestrians and cyclists, and connecting them to the city itself.

Cities like New York and San Francisco have added bike routes to the grid of regular street traffic, but if you look at the map of what Minneapolis is doing, it becomes clear that something entirely different is happening: Minneapolis is building a freeway system for bikes. But a nice one — a freeway where you can bike past flocks of geese rising off the lake in the morning and never have to breathe truck exhaust.

 

Of course, there is that little thing called “the weather” that Twin Cities denizens must contend with. Then again, when not icicling, they can listen to one of our favorite radio stations, The Current, whose great music is available online. WNKU in Northern Kentucky is also great if you’re out and about on transit and want to try a new station. Of course, our own KCRW’s music programming gets major hugs, too :)

How not to measure traffic congestion (Planetizen)

Todd Littman performs a well-reasoned takedown of data and conclusions from a new report by the firm Inrix that predicts a significant rise in congestion and related costs in the next 20 years. Excerpt from Todd’s blog post:

Such very large numbers are virtually meaningless. For economic analysis it is usually best to convert impacts into annual costs per capita – let’s see what that means for these congestion impacts. According to the graph on study’s page 40,average annual hours of delay for an average automobile commuter are projected to increase from a current 22.0 up to 23.4 in 2030, a gain of 1.4 hours per year or 42 seconds per day for 200 commute days. Since adults devote about 90 daily minutes to travel, current 22 annual hours of congestion delays add about 4% to total travel time, and the projected increases this to 4.5%. These impacts are tiny overall.

The INRIX report makes several other basic errors. It describes traffic congestion as “gridlock,” a greatly abused term. Gridlock refers to a specific situation in which vehicles in a network are totally stuck due to clogged intersections. It almost never occurs. In fact, congestion tends to maintain equilibrium: it increases to the point that some potential peak-period automobile trips shift to other times, modes or routes, so threats of “gridlock” based on extrapolating past trends are almost always exaggerations.

 

Smart piece. I’m not wild about apocalyptic predictions of future traffic, although I do think trying to understand its impacts has some merit (smog, cultural, etc.). I tend to think the whole subject can be easily summed up in one sentence: “If we don’t do anything, traffic may get worse and there won’t be enough alternatives to sitting in it.”

And today’s closing photo…looks like I transferred to the wrong bus….

Rail is a thing of the past in Cincinnati, where transit means "Go Metro." Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Rail is a thing of the past in Cincinnati, where transit means “Go Metro” on the bus. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

 

 

New Metro video: just click and go, says Galactic Flo

One of our enduring pet peeves at The Source is the misbegotten idea that government should be boring, dry, complicated, bureaucratic, technical and always play it ultra-safe when communicating with the public.

In that spirit, Metro’s marketing team recently put their collective heads together to produce a trio of new videos that certainly aren’t boring and/or bureaucratic. Rather, the videos are intended as a fun way to help folks learn to ride the system and remind everyone that taking transit can be fun and interesting.

The first of the new videos features hip hop duo Galactic Flo planning a transit trip and is posted above. We’ll post the other two in the next few days. Please feel free to share/comment/review on social media using the hashtag #metrorocks. Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

One other note: the musicians who appear in the videos (and the firm that made them) are entirely local. If you’re a musician and would like to share your song about local transit, you can email us here.

The Metro Trip Planner is on the metro.net homepage. If you prefer, Google Maps can also be used to plan transit trips.

Here’s a taste of the Taste of Soul this Saturday

Grab your TAP card and your appetite and head over to the Taste of Soul festival this Saturday. You’ll be joining more than 300,000 others so go early and eat often. And for a truly enjoyable experience you absolutely must take Metro. (Think about the traffic 300,000 diners will generate.)

For a taste of the Taste of Soul, check out the video above that drops by three participating restaurants: delicious Harold and Belle’s, Mel’s (melt in your mouth!) Fish Shack and lovely Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food. And hear how the Taste of Soul began, from founder Danny Bakewell Sr.

So hop on the Expo Line to the Expo/Crenshaw Station and walk and eat your way south. You’ll be happy for the exercise.

Video: installing the tracks for the Gold Line Foothill Extension!

Nice video above showing the work needed to install the tracks for the Gold Line Foothill Extension, which will take the Gold Line from eastern Pasadena for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border. The Measure R funded project will include six new stations serving Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, downtown Azusa and Citrus College and the surrounding neighborhoods.

The project is being built by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent agency. When completed, the rail line will be handed over to Metro, which will operate rail service.

The final trackwork will be completed this Saturday  at an event held by the Construction Authority at 10 a.m. the site of the downtown Azusa Station (795 N. Dalton Avenue).

Information on the event and the news release from the Construction Authority are after the jump!

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Give walking — or bicycling — to school a try this Walktober

Councilmember Price walking with students

Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price joins John Adams Middle School students at their Walk to School event.

Being stuck in traffic while trying to get to school is no fun for parent or child. So instead of driving, how about walking — like kids did for generations? Walking — or bicycling — is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and being able to start the day with a little physical activity benefits children in more ways than one.

Walktober, a month-long celebration of walking, is a great time to look into walking to school. If you’re interested in encouraging safe walking and biking to your school, there are resources available to help you learn about safety and organize Safe Routes to Schools activities.

Metro’s Safe Routes to School pilot program helps organize Walk to School and Bike to School events for 10 pilot schools and works to create a safer experience for students who already walk to school. The events provide opportunities for kids to learn about pedestrian, bicycle and public transit safety. Online resources for schools or parents to start their own Safe Routes to School programs are also available.

Schools located in the city of Los Angeles can find resources for holding their own Walk to School event at Walk to School Day LA, and all schools in Los Angeles County can find resources and information at Walk Bike to School.

Ultimately, these programs hope to create an environment where children can get active while getting to school safely. In addition, encouraging kids to walk or bike to school can help reduce congestion related to school travel, which will also benefit traffic and air quality in local neighborhoods.

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Oct. 14

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

Art of Transit, sort of: Fall colors earlier this month along U.S. 395 near Conway Summit. Photo by Fred Moore, via Flickr creative commons.

Art of Transit, sort of: Fall colors earlier this month along U.S. 395 near Conway Summit. Photo by Fred Moore, via Flickr creative commons.

Metro bus driver quarantined after passenger yells ‘I have Ebola’ (L.A. Times)

Non-hysterical and straight-up coverage of yesterday’s very unusual incident in which a bus passenger wearing a mask said he had ebola and then exited the bus. “Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials don’t believe the rider has Ebola and believe the incident was a hoax, spokeswoman Sarah Kissell Garrett said,” reports the Times.

The only verified cases of Ebola virus in the U.S. have involved either healthcare workers who had been in Western Africa and were brought back to the United States for treatment and the patient who died in Dallas last week and one of his nurses. From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.

The CDC has plenty of information on Ebola on its website. Obviously it is not a disease to be taken lightly but it’s also important to understand the facts.

What would L.A. look like if 100-year-old transit plans come true? (KPCC CityCast)

A brief article and podcast covers some well-trod but interesting ground: the many transit plans that burped forth in our region over the year, some of which were permanently shelved and some of which eventually were built and are busy today — i.e, the Red Line, Blue Line and Orange Line. My three cents: when you hear about a transit project, a good first question usually is: “and how will you pay for it?” If there isn’t a solid answer, be leery.

Hopes rise again for abandoned Philly rail line (Next City)

Interesting story about possible plans for a rail tunnel abandoned in the early 1990s that runs under Broad Street in downtown Philadelphia. Several bus rapid transit alternatives are under study.

Seattle bike share kicks off (Post-Intelligencer) 

Bike sharing kicks off with about 50 stations across the Emerald City. “The Seattle program is the first in the U.S. that includes helmet use as part of the rental. Annual memberships for the bike share program range from $85 to $125. The first half hour of usage is free and there is a charge beyond that for use of the bike,” reports the PI.

I’ve been in Cincy for the past 10 days or so (helping the parents) and was pleasantly surprised to see bike share has also landed in the Queen City with some colorful Red bikes. Of course, Metro is working on a bike share program for Los Angeles County and is currently trying to finalize station locations for phase 1 of the program in downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica. See this recent Source post.

The startingly artful world of Soviet bus stops (Architizer)

Christopher Herwig used a Kickstarter campaign to fund a photography book on these unlikely bus stops. He traveled thousands of kilometers and spent 12 years assembling this impressive collection of photos.

 

 

 

Free Day of the Dead Metro Art tour leads to celebration in Boyle Heights Nov. 2

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Celebrate the Day of the Dead and honor the lives of those who have passed on a special Día de los Muertos themed art tour on Sunday, Nov. 2. The free, one-night-only tour will explore artworks along the Metro Gold Line through the lens of artist Consuelo Flores.

The tour will depart at 4:30 p.m. from the Metro Gold Line East LA Civic Center Station and end at 6 p.m. at Self Help Graphics’ 41st Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration in Boyle Heights near Pico/Aliso Station. TAP card holders will be able to save 10% on artwork at the event. [NOTE: Sunday is the end of Daylight Saving Time, which means clocks will be "falling" back one hour at midnight. Make sure all your clocks are updated...wouldn't want to show up for the tour an hour early!]

The tour is approximately 90% walking. There are elevators and escalators in all of the stations, and only Mariachi Station is underground.

Consuelo Flores is an established poet, writer, mixed media, installation and performance artist. She is respected for her understanding and promotion of the true celebration of the Day of the Dead (DOD). She is a lecturer, narrative writer and visual artist of DOD-themed work including, academic presentations, prose, poetry, fashions and site-specific Ofrendas/Altares. Her dedicated work contributes to the cultural awareness of the Day of the Dead as well as a personal means to commemorate her dead in a meaningful and joyous celebration of life.