Transportation headlines, Wednesday, August 27

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: An Expo Line train leaving 7th/Metro Station last week. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: An Expo Line train at 7th/Metro Station last week. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

City nears purchase of key parcel for L.A. River revitalization (Streetsblog LA)

The city of Los Angeles is moving along the purchase of a 41-acre piece of property that sits between Rio de Los Angeles State Park and the Los Angeles River, reports Joe Linton. The site of former railroad yards, the property has been in limbo for years and has some soil contamination issues. Still, it’s a key acquisition as the federal Army Corps of Engineers likely would not do river restoration work on privately-owned land. This really helpful post includes aerial views, maps and renderings.

This is really great news — this is a big chunk of land along the river and it’s great to see the city moving forward on acquiring such parcels. Although this isn’t directly a transit-related story, I can also imagine a future for the area — perhaps a couple decades off — with a partially restored river between downtown L.A. and Glendale lined with parks and perhaps some new residential units. The area could be connected to DTLA via bike paths, Metrolink (Glendale Station) and the Gold Line’s existing Chinatown and Lincoln/Cypress stations.

BART discusses ending free lifetime travel perk for Board Members (MassTransit)

Actually, the headline is a little inaccurate: the family members of Board Members get free travel for life, too! The Board is going to consider ending that perk at its meeting Thursday. Some say it’s a little over the top, others say it gives them the chance to ride the system and see how it’s performing.

Obama pursuing climate accord in lieu of treaty (New York Times)

In an effort to steer around Congressional approval of a treaty — which has proven nearly impossible — President Obama is trying to forge an “agreement” between nations to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. It’s uncertain how much an agreement would be legally binding and how much would be voluntary. In the U.S., the transportation sector is responsible for about 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming. As we’ve noted before walking, biking and taking transit instead of driving alone are good ways to lower your carbon footprint.

Eyes on the street: ‘Mad Men’ writer Tom Smuts bikes to the Emmys (StreetsblogLA)

The best part: he did it to raise awareness of the need for better bike infrastructure and to promote cycling. And he did it in a suit.

BBB benches not coming back (Santa Monica Daily Press)

The old aluminum benches won’t be returning says the bus agency — as they encourage loitering. The new bus stops that Big Blue Bus has been rolling out in Santa Monica have inspired some complaints. The agency says they’ll be refining the design.

Grizzlies gain ground (High Country News)

America has been sliced and diced by roads and development and the grizzly bear that graces California’s state flag is pretty much relegated to the areas around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. A small population is also still present in the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State and the federal government is beginning a process of deciding whether to boost populations by possibly transplanting bears from elsewhere.

Earlier this year, the group The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition asking the feds to consider that viable bear habitat remains throughout the West, including California. I can’t imagine grizzlies ever being reintroduced to populous California — grizzlies are far more aggressive than the black bears living here now. Nonetheless, this is an interesting story raising questions. As our urban areas continue to grow in the Western U.S., the question remains how much room will there be for native wildlife in the sections of the West that are owned by the federal government (National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, state parks).

I doubt the folks who regularly comment on this blog could care less, but I suspect there’s a much larger readership here that likes to mull the big picture.

 

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – Kasia Bohos finds happiness in bicycling

We are collecting nominations for the Year-Round Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a monthly Why you Ride series because for many Angelenos, Bike Week never ends!

  • Name: Kasia Bohos
  • Origin and destination: From West Hollywood to Culver City
  • Distance: Long commute (5 miles or more)
  • Type of commute: Traffic-congested commute
  • The commuter: Converted commuter (for new riders); chic commuter (riding with flair); and zealous commuter (encouraging others to try pedaling to school or work)

Thank you, Anna Martin of LA Brakeless bike shop, for nominating Kasia for the Golden Pedal Awards! Your participation is important!

Kasia seems to be having a fun time on the bike!

Kasia seems to be having a fun time on her bicycle… Go Kasia!

When Kasia entered LA Brakeless about six months ago, she admitted to being a bike novice and was shy about her lack of knowledge. The bike shop staff set her up with an entry-level bicycle and the necessary accessories. A few weeks later, Kasia bounced back in and told them that she had started biking to and from work every day and was now barely using her car. Kasia said she had never felt better and was seeing things on her way to work that she had not noticed when she was driving.

Kasia was so excited about her new-found love of biking that she sent countless co-workers to the store and prompted her employer to put up a bicycle rack for employees in the parking lot. The staff at LA Brakeless nominated Kasia for a Golden Pedal because they love to see the lives of people in their community touched by cycling in such a positive way. In their own words, “Kasia was touched by cycling and spread that love to many, many people.”

With help from our generous Bike Week LA sponsors, Kasia will receive a Bike Week LA T-shirt, bike patch kits, ankle straps, bike maps, Metro Bike Guides, and “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” bumper stickers.

Click here to read more about Kasia’s cycling experience!

Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – Steven Nancarrow, committed to transforming his life through cycling

We are collecting nominations for the Year-Round Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a monthly Why you Ride series because for many Angelenos, Bike Week never ends!

  • Name: Steven Nancarrow
  • Origin and destination: From downtown Glendale to East Pasadena.
  • Distance: Long commute – Steven rides 11 miles each way–an hour-long trip.
  • Type of commute: A combination of scenic, traffic-congested and bike paths.
  • The commuter: Converted commuter – for new riders, seasoned commuters – for old hands, and zealous commuters – for those who are encouraging others to try pedaling to school or work.

Tess Nancarrow, thanks for nominating Steven for the Gold Pedal Awards, your participation is important!

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Steven (front) and friends riding along a neighborhood street celebrating “Finish The Ride”

Tess told us that Steven has been commuting by bicycle four times a week for three years now. He now rides almost 100 miles per week and celebrated his third Bike to Work Day this year. Not too long ago, while he was still living in Eagle Rock, he used to combine cycling and transit (Metro Gold Line) to commute to work. However, since moving to Glendale he commutes to Pasadena by bike almost every day. Once Steven’s daughter is a little older, he plans to be permanently car free.

Originally, Steven started to commute by bike to lose weight and save money on gas and the gym; now he does it purely for the love of bike commuting. He is always encouraging others to use active transportation when commuting to work or going to the store. He has convinced several people at his work to start walking, biking, or taking transit to work. He continuously shows how easy and fast it is to get around Los Angeles without a car.

Continue reading

A few photos from yesterday’s CicLAvia on Wilshire Boulevard

Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

No surprise: another big crowd for CicLAvia on Sunday, with cyclists, walkers and others taking over Wilshire Boulevard between downtown Los Angeles and the Miracle Mile. Here are a few pics.

Above photo is by Andy Sternberg, via Flickr creative commons. 

 

Transportation headlines, Monday, March 3

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! 

Have bike, will ride train — if only Metro will provide bike lockers (L.A. Times) 

Good opinion piece by Nicolas Goldberg. His dilemma: he wants to bike to the Wilshire/Western Purple Line Extension and take the train from there to work sans bike, which he doesn’t need to bring all the way downtown L.A. But there are only 16 bike lockers at Wilshire/Western and there’s a waiting list to get one. And thus the headline — he argues for more bike lockers at busy stations.

Obama turns to light rail to salvage transit legacy (The Hill)

Bad headline — I’m not sure any recent President has a “transit legacy” given the relative paucity of federal dollars available to build transit across the U.S. (about $2 billion a year to be shared by many different agencies). This blog post argues that Republicans have been largely successful at blocking high-speed rail projects touted by the President in his first term. As a result, his Department of Transportation may step up efforts to help fund light rail and streetcar projects around the country.

Why does downtown Los Angeles have parking minimums? (Better Institutions) 

The writer argues, in essence, that a chronic shortage of street parking in L.A. guarantees that developers in downtown will build parking. And, thus, there’s no need for zoning laws that mandate certain amounts of parking get built — instead it would be better for the markets to decide so that those who don’t need parking don’t have to pay to build it for those who do.

Google sets roadblocks to block distracted driver legislation (Reuters) 

The internet giant, Reuters reports, is lobbying against potential laws that would prohibit driving while wearing devices such as glasses embedded with small computer screens. The article doesn’t specify Google’s exact concerns with the laws, although Google already tells customers to comply with existing distracted driving laws. Will be interesting to see who prevails on this one — I’m hoping common sense, but not betting on it.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, February 6

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! 

Where traffic lights automatically give cyclists green lights (L.A. Streetsblog)

The smallish Dutch city of Assen has reversed the natural order of things on most roadways — check out the video. Can’t see that happening here anytime soon. Transit, after all, still doesn’t get priority at many signals, particularly in the city of Los Angeles, thus the red lights for the Expo Line, Orange Line and Eastside Gold Line.

Santa Monica’s former mayor sounds off on Bergamot Transit Village (Santa Monica Lookout)

The future Expo Line-adjacent commercial and residential development was approved by the Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday night. Former mayor Michael Feinstein says the community failed to negotiate a better development and some residents are threatening a referendum to overturn the approval. Of course, the project also has considerable support from those who think Santa Monica needs to add housing and that the village is a good chance to add residences and commercial space next to a rail stop.

Metro makeovers for the abandoned stations of Paris (Messy Nessy)

A candidate for mayor of Paris is proposing reviving eight subway stations in the Paris Metro that are no longer in use — many have not been used for decades for various reasons. Among the ideas kicking around are swimming pools, museums, theaters and night clubs. Check out the renderings that are part of the post.

Monorails on the move (Transit Wire)

Mumbai in India just opened a 5.5-mile one and Sao Paulo in Brazil is getting one.

Death Dust (The New Yorker) 

Excellent feature article on the spread of Valley Fever in California. The soil dwelling fungus that causes valley fever — which can be fatal — is a native species in California and scientists believe that sprawling development is releasing more of the fungus into the air via dust storms. The Antelope Valley is discussed in the article, which mostly focuses on the Central Valley. Good read for those with long commutes.

Thursday timewaster: baby polar bear’s first encounter with snow at the Toronto Zoo:

 

Work underway to connect El Monte Transit Center to Rio Hondo bike path

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Some very good news for cyclists from Anthony Jusay with Metro’s Bike Planning staff: the Rio Hondo Bike Path will soon be connected to the El Monte Transit Center. Metro began construction on the project last week and work is scheduled to be completed within 60 days, weather permitting.

The project includes a paved access ramp and gate opening that connects to an existing access point to the Rio Hondo. There will be ADA-accessible curb ramps, shared-lane markings and wayfinding between the bike path and transit center that will also be added so that people biking, walking or rolling can easily navigate their way.

Also in the works is the El Monte Metro Bike Hub, which is anticipated to be open in spring 2014.  A Metro Bike Hub is a secure access, high-capacity bike parking facility — the El Monte Station will have the first one built by Metro.

Once these bike friendly features are complete at the El Monte Transit Center it will be a significant asset to the region as there are numerous bike planning efforts underway involving the cities of El Monte, South El Monte, Baldwin Park, San Gabriel, Temple City, Rosemead, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Covina and areas overseen by Los Angeles County.

For more information on current bike planning activities please visit the San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Master Plan website.

Recent work taking place at the El Monte Station. Photo by Metro.

Recent work taking place at the El Monte Station. Photo by Metro.