Transportation headlines, Monday, Oct. 13

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 past, present and future of Metro Rail (KPCC AirTalk)

Host Larry Mantle has a segment that includes Metro CEO Art Leahy and Ethan Elkind, the UC professor whose new book is “Railtown: The Fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the Future of the City.” Good conversation includes the topic of how rail corridors are selected in our region. Larry’s first question for Art: is rail worth the expense? Listen for the answer! Listeners also get to throw some questions at the guests — including the “is it safe to ride” question. Another listener gives taptogo.net a Darth Vader-type hug (read: the kind of hug you don’t want).

Transit project’s cover was a bit of a trip (L.A. Times)

Reporter Laura Nelson gets to the bottom of the original, colorful and now-replaced cover page of the High Desert Corridor’s draft environmental document. She also reveals Brad the Tortoise’s true identity and scores this gem of a quote: “I feel like I know the tortoise intimately.” You don’t hear that everyday in transportation journalism.

In Texas, traffic deaths climb amid fracking boom (Houston Public Media & Houston Chronicle)

Excerpt:

The Texas Department of Transportation says that between 2009 and 2013, the state’s traffic fatalities rose by eight percent, even as those in most other states continued to fall. And deaths linked to commercial vehicle crashes, like trucks, soared by more than 50 percent over the same period.

The boom has triggered a huge demand for both tractor-trailers and drivers.

“People who’ve never been in the seat of a truck before go to school for two weeks, and they graduate, and now they’re a truck driver, you know,” says Larry Busby, the long-time sheriff of Live Oak County in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas. “Well, they’re not a truck driver yet. They’ve just passed the school.”

The Texas Trucking Association, an industry trade group, says the rising death toll has more to do with drivers sharing the road with trucks than with the truckers themselves.

Smart series of article that expounds on a public safety issue that is probably not obvious to many people. This is probably a Pulitzer candidate.

Meet the man who has met ‘about 500′ women on the subway (New York Post) 

In a story that perhaps is better suited to April 1 or the Stone Ages, the Post interviews a “railway Romeo” who claims to have dated 500 or so women he has met on the New York Subway in the past 15 years. He says he’s written a book about it, thus triggering the Post’s interest. The article’s kicker is my favorite part in which we get this stale/creep advice: once a phone number is secured, never call for at least 60 hours. Reminds me of “Swingers.” Perhaps Gawker’s take on the Post article is more accurate (warning: adult language).

I include the article here as a teachable moment. Look, we’re all for people being friendly when they take mass transit and, yes, we even held a speed dating event on Valentine’s Day when willing riders could meet other willing riders. Outside of such events, we encourage riders to respect other riders’ privacy and private space and remember ‘no’ means ‘no’ — not ‘mabye’ or ‘I’m thinking about it.’ Bottom line: please do not stare, leer or pester folks who want to be left alone.

New Park Avenue Tower: the tallest, if not the fairest, of them all (New York Times)

A pretty ordinary looking kitchen at 432 Park Avenue if you ask me. Photo: 432 Park Avenue website.

A pretty ordinary looking kitchen at 432 Park Avenue if you ask me. Photo: 432 Park Avenue website.

Talk about densifying….construction is underway on a 1,396-foot skyscraper that will be the tallest skyscraper in New York (excluding the spire of the One World Trade Center). Here’s what is amazing: it’s a condo building, not an office building and there will be 104 residential units spread out on its 96 floors with the penthouse listed at $95 million and the cheapest unit costing $7 million. If there are any of the ‘have nots’ left in Manhattan, please raise your hand!

Closing tweet:

Metro Presents: upcoming events at Union Station

Get ready for music and dancing at Union Station and put these upcoming Metro Presents events on your calendar:

  • Friday, October 24 – Neptune Winds of the Colburn Conservatory of Music will perform classical, contemporary and popular music in the Union Station Waiting Room at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 29 – Invisible Cities will perform an acoustic concert performance in the Union Station Historic Ticketing Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. and seating is first come, first served. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 5 – Dancing Classrooms Los Angeles will present the Fall 2014 Colors of the Rainbow team match competition in the Union Station Historic Ticketing Hall. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and seating is first come, first served. The performance begins at 5 p.m.

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner for routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Find out about Metro job opportunities at these upcoming veterans’ job fairs

Since Metro’s Veterans Hiring Initiative started in 2012, Metro has hired 166 veterans and is engaged in several outreach efforts in order to encourage military veterans and their spouses to apply for jobs at Metro.  The transportation industry has opportunities in many varied career paths from bus and rail operator, mechanical and technical positions to typical office environment-type jobs such as IT, Accounting/Finance, contract management, facilities management and many others.

Metro will be participating in the following job fairs for veterans. If you are a veteran, active duty military member, guard/reserve member or military spouse, drop by our table and say hi! Please check the linked sites for more information.

For more general information on Metro employment opportunities, visit metro.net/jobs.

 

Your Friday send-off: Guster – Amsterdam

Guster’s coming out with a new album, which makes me feel old, so here’s one of their older tracks from my salad days. The last time I was in Amsterdam, I bought strippenkaart to get around…which means I should really go back and get the OV-chipcard. (I’m a nerd who likes to collect transit pass/cards. I think my current TAP card count is at six.)

If enjoying music on bus or train, please remember to use your headphones. And if you have transit playlist song recs, leave them in the comments or tweet them at us @metrolosangeles! Awesome tracks (as deemed by yours truly) will be shared in future posts.

Why You Share the Ride: tweets and pics from Rideshare Week

Rideshare Week ends today, but that doesn’t mean you should go back to driving solo. Join these folks and pledge to share the ride at least once a week…and you’ll be entered to win prizes (such as iPad minis, Macy’s gift cards and more)!

By the way, last chance to receive a Get Out of Traffic license this week is today at El Monte Station. We’ll be out there from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., come by and say hi!

 

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Ride Share Week. #onelesscar #bikela #gometro #rideshareweek #danajeans100happydays #100happydays #expoline

View on Instagram

 

 

 

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Thank you to all our Walk to the Rideshare Fair participants! Hope you enjoy your shirts! #UCLArideshare14 #rideshareweek View on Instagram

A Better Blue Line: we’re in the home stretch, folks

Work on the four downtown Long Beach Blue Line stations and the tracks along 1st Street is nearing completion. Below are some photos from the work done during week 3 of the closure. The Long Beach Loop is scheduled to be reopened with the start of service on Monday, October 20.

Related Posts

Service Advisory: 30-day closure of four Blue Line stations
30-day Closure of Four Blue Line Stations
A Better Blue Line
Test Demonstration of Track Work

Transportation headlines, Friday, October 9

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: Latvian bike activists show how much space a bike takes versus that of a car. Clever. Click above for more photos. Photo by Artūrs Pavlovs.

Art of Transit: Latvian bike activists show how much space a bike takes versus that of a car. Clever. Click above for more photos. Photo by Artūrs Pavlovs.

405 speeds little changed (ZevWeb)

The traffic data firm Inrix sampled traffic on the northbound 405 for a couple of weeks last month between the 10 and 101. The finding: it basically takes the same average amount of time to travel between the 10 and 101 in 2014 as it did in 2013 before the NB 405 HOV lane was fully opened.

There are a couple of caveats: Inrix says that the number of cars crossing the pass has increased because of a regional surge in traffic (likely tied to the economy) and that travel times in the last hour of peak travel times is faster than it was before the HOV lane opened.

Excerpt:

The finding that speeds appear to have remained level despite the increase in traffic is a sign of the project’s success, Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said. Caltrans, Metro’s partner on the 405 Project, estimates that the carpool lane handles 1,600 cars per hour during peak travel times. “If you didn’t have that extra lane, all those cars would be competing for five lanes instead of six,” Sotero said.

What’s more, the 405 Project’s benefits go beyond traffic speeds, Sotero said. The project enhanced safety by rebuilding three bridges to better withstand earthquakes and by creating additional shoulder space on the freeway, he said, while reconfigured on- and off-ramps have increased capacity and improved traffic flow. Sotero said the project never was expected to be a panacea for rush hour traffic.

“You can’t escape the fact that carpool lanes are going to fill up during peak periods,” Sotero said. “What carpool lanes do is reduce the duration and severity of traffic.”

Two other points worth chewing on: the new Valley-Westside Express Bus will debut Dec. 15 and use the NB HOV lane on the 405 (click here for more info). Also, the Inrix sampling doesn’t consider how many people are in cars crossing the pass. HOV lanes typically carry more people than regular lanes (because those cars are mostly carpooling!) — i.e. meaning a lot more people are probably getting across the Sepulveda Pass in the same amount of time as previous.

Expo construction at 70 percent (Santa Monica Daily Press) 

Canopies on the Westwood Station. Photo courtesy Ron Miller, via Expo Line Fan's construction gallery. Click above to visit the gallery.

Canopies on the Westwood Station. Photo courtesy Ron Miller, via Expo Line Fan’s construction gallery. Click above to visit the gallery.

Expo Line Construction Authority officials say that all bridges are done and construction should be finished by next summer when the process of handing the project over to Metro could begin. That’s not a short or trivial process btw. Metro must inspect the line to make sure that the Authority, an independent agency set up by the state, was built to the agency’s specifications.

Thoughts at a workshop on replacing CA’s gas tax with a mileage fee (Streetsblog LA)

Joe Linton attends a half-day gathering to mull the possibility of taxing motorists by the mile instead of the current scheme which involves a tax applied per gallon; California will soon launch a pilot program to test distance-based taxes. The post does a good job of capturing the nuances of the two taxation systems and concludes that distance-based taxes may work but there are a lot of variables involved. One interesting one: Americans overall are driving less, a trend that seems likely to continue.

Metro fare jumpers explain how they evade fares (LA Weekly)

Although the fare evasion rate remains elusive, L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies issued 35.5 percent more citations (89,535) for fare evasion in 2013 than 2012, according to data from a public records request submitted by LA Weekly. The data also indicates — perhaps not surprisingly — that 19- to 29-year-olds are frequently cited, males are cited three times more often than females and the Red and Blue Lines are where most citations are issued (they are Metro’s two most heavily ridden lines, btw).

The Weekly also made a video showing how turnstiles may be vulnerable to fare evasion although it should be noted: 1) Metro is hardly the only transit system with turnstiles and fare evaders; 2) If you get caught, you’ll be cited at least $75, and; 3) Metro’s bus and rail system is big and expensive to run and fares help pay for it. Not paying hurts our transit system and fellow riders.

Garcetti: NFL team ‘highly likely’ to return to L.A. in next year (L.A. Times)

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti says interest in L.A. by the NFL remains high. It appears three franchises — the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers — are the three most viable candidates and there are two potential locations, a new stadium next to Staples Center or a new stadium near Hollywood Park. From a transit perspective, it’s hard to beat the Staples Center location while Hollywood Park would require a shuttle from the Crenshaw/LAX Line when it’s completed, currently forecast for 2019.

From an aesthetic/competitive point of view, the Raiders are hopeless and belong in Oakland while the Chargers could go deep in the playoffs this season but belong in San Diego. The Rams, however, should have never left L.A., play in an extremely ugly dome in St. Louis and being in L.A. would be a better locale to play their division rivals, the Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals. So if the deed must be done, Go Rams!