New study ranks L.A. metro area 3rd in U.S. in connecting people to jobs via transit

MinnesotaStudyMap

The darker the shade of orange and red, the more jobs that can be reached within 30 minutes using transit. Click above to see larger. Source: University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies.

Los Angeles

Earlier this month, the University of Minnesota released a study that found that the Los Angeles metro area ranks third behind New York and San Francisco when it comes to the number of jobs reachable by transit within an hour’s time. The study looked at 46 of the 50 largest metro areas in the United States and Metro scored better than some older cities with established transit systems — places such as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

Here’s the top 10 according to the study through January 2014:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Washington
  5. Chicago
  6. Boston
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Seattle
  9. Denver
  10. San Jose

I wasn’t surprised that the Los Angeles area was in the top 10. After all, we live in the nation’s second-largest metropolis and our region — despite is reputation for traffic — boasts a considerable amount of transit. Metro, for example, runs the nation’s second-largest bus system in terms of ridership behind only New York. That said, I was mildly surprised to see that our metro area ranked third.

I asked study co-author Andrew Owen, the director of the Accessibility Observatory for the University of Minnesota, if the results surprised him. The answer: not really. His main points were:

•The Los Angeles region has a ton of jobs — vastly more than many other metro areas in the U.S.

•Because of geography — i.e., mountains and oceans — we’re actually more densely populated across the metro area than (for example) a place such as Chicago, which
doesn’t have anything to constrain its sprawl.

•The Los Angeles region actually has a lot of transit (particularly buses) although that is often overlooked because of the region’s reputation for traffic. On that note, I’ll add this: Metro is just one of many bus providers in our region and Metro’s bus ridership alone is the second highest in the nation behind only New York City.

“Los Angeles has a lot of stuff — a lot of jobs and a lot of people,” Owen said. “Of course, it would be possible to have a city and a lot of people and none of them could get anywhere by transit. But look at downtown Los Angeles and the areas south and west. There are huge amounts of jobs that people can reach by transit because transit is run there. If transit wasn’t there or it wasn’t run frequently and didn’t connect people to jobs, this ranking would be far lower than it is.”

Owen also pointed to another interesting thing captured by the numbers: while our region ranked second in the number of jobs, it ranked third in terms of transit accessibility to them. That suggests that the L.A. area has some catching up to do in terms of reaching more jobs via transit. Still, Owen said, we’re already better off than a place such as the Atlanta region that ranked ninth in the total number of jobs and 30th in terms of accessibility.

I also asked Owen if about the map at the top of this post. It’s important to understand what it shows: the areas that are darker shades of orange and red are the ones that are closest to the most jobs via a 30-minute transit ride or less (it doesn’t matter whether it’s train or bus). That’s why the areas around downtown Los Angeles and the Westside — the number one and two jobs areas in our region — are so dark. They’re near a lot of jobs and there’s enough transit to reach those jobs.

The map also suggests that the Measure R-funded transit projects that Metro is building or plans to build are serving a real purpose — better connecting our region to jobs. Look at the “Under Construction” map after the jump.

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Transportation headlines, Oct. 8: L.A. ranks 3rd on jobs near transit, study says

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University of Minnesota ranks accessibility to jobs by transit in the U.S. (news release)

MinnesotaStudyMap

The study finds that Los Angeles ranks third behind New York and San Francisco when it comes to the number of jobs near transit, according to the study that crunched the numbers on 46 of the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. That puts the L.A. area ahead of some older and more established transit cities such as Chicago, Washington, Boston and Philly. The list:

Top 10 metro areas: job accessibility by transit (January 2014)

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Washington
  5. Chicago
  6. Boston
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Seattle
  9. Denver
  10. San Jose

 

I don’t think the above map is exactly shocking news to those who live here and know our area — but the map still makes a pretty visual argument for better connecting transit to downtown Los Angeles and the Westside. The map also suggests that the Measure R-funded transit projects that Metro is building or plans to build are serving a real purpose. The short list:

•The Purple Line Extension will directly connect downtown Los Angeles to Westwood via the Wilshire Corridor with a short detour to Century City. The project also provides a direct link between our region’s largest transit hub — Los Angeles Union Station — and the Westside.

•The Expo Line’s second phase connects Santa Monica, West L.A. and downtown L.A. via Culver City, the northern part of South L.A. and Exposition Park.

•The Regional Connector will link the Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Line in downtown L.A. and allow easier and faster access to and through downtown L.A. for riders on all three lines.

•The Gold Line Foothill Extension extends the Gold Line to the Azusa/Glendora border, making for easier and faster access to jobs in the Pasadena area, downtown L.A. and beyond (i.e. the Westside). Meanwhile, the second phase of the Eastside Gold Line is being studied and would connect either South El Monte or Whittier to downtown L.A. via this project and the Regional Connector.

•The Crenshaw/LAX Line will serve a north-south corridor starting at the Green Line’s Redondo Beach Station and extending north to the Expo Line, including the job-rich area around the airport. The Expo Line, in turn, offers east-west access to jobs. The map also suggests that extending the Crenshaw/LAX Line north — a project in Metro’s long-range plan but unfunded at this time — would connect people to more jobs to the east and west via the Purple Line. A South Bay Green Line Extension, a project also to be funded by Measure R, could extend the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line deeper into the South Bay.

•The map also suggests that connecting the San Fernando Valley to the Westside via the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor makes sense and that the area along Van Nuys Boulevard — to be served by the East San Fernando Transit Corridor — is also a wise proposition in the short-term. The Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor is a long-term project not scheduled for completion until the 2030s unless funding is found to build and accelerate it, but the project could eventually connect to the bus rapid transit or light rail built as part of the East San Fernando Valley Transit project along Van Nuys Boulevard.

•The map also shows that the Warner Center area is one of the more job rich areas in the Valley, thereby suggesting that it makes sense for Metro to pursue improvements to the Orange Line. See this recent Source post for more about that.

Here is the page about Los Angeles in the University of Minnesota study:

Los Angeles

More headlines after the jump!

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Construction Notice: Overland Avenue weekend closures between National and Pico Boulevards

 

expo notice expo notice map

Here’s the construction notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the agency building the six-mile project that will extend tracks from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica with seven new stations. Full weekend closures of Overland Avenue will be taking place for roadway improvements as part of the Expo Line project.

The project is funded mostly by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. It is currently forecast to open in early 2016.

Transportation headlines, Friday, August 8

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ART OF TRANSIT: The Orange Line crossing the L.A. River in the Sepulveda Basin earlier this week. More Orange Line stock photos free for anyone that needs them on our Flickr site. Just click above. I'll be out shooting some pics along the Eastside Gold Line later today--wave is you're riding by! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: The Orange Line crossing the L.A. River in the Sepulveda Basin earlier this week. More Orange Line stock photos free for anyone that needs them on our Flickr site. Just click above. I’ll be out shooting some pics along the Eastside Gold Line later today–wave is you’re riding by! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Eyes on the street: faulty ped detour for Expo Phase 2 construction (Streetsblog LA)

As the photos show, a pedestrian detour sign instructs walkers to cross busy Venice Boulevard at a spot also signed as a no ped crossing zone.

Give your input at upcoming high-speed rail meetings (Streetsblog LA)

The California High-Speed Rail Authority held community meetings earlier this week in Burbank and Palmdale and has four more meetings scheduled this month around the area to discuss the environmental studies underway for the segment of the bullet train to run between Palmdale and Los Angeles Union Station. For purposes of the study, the agency is doing a review of the Burbank-to-Palmdale section and then the Burbank-to-Union Station section. Both have their challenges.

Here’s a link to the meeting flyer and here’s a link to a PowerPoint on the two segments in our region under study. As I understand it, the High-Speed Rail Authority is planning to open bullet train service between L.A. and San Francisco in three phases: Merced to the San Fernando Valley, then Merced to San Jose and then both San Jose to S.F. and Burbank to Union Station. One hurdle, of course, is closing the gap between Palmdale and Bakersfield over/under the Tehachapi Mountains.

A test ride through Denver area’s light rail transit (High Country News)

Jonathan Thompson has heard good things about Denver’s big transit push in the last decade and decides to give the train a spin during a recent trip. The verdict:

Over the next couple of days I continue my test of the trains. My conclusion? If the goal of public transit is to transform the greater metro area into a walkable place where residents will want to abandon their cars, then Denver proper gets a B+, while the greater metro area is more like a C — it will take far more than a handful of light rail lines to rejigger the post-World War II, auto-centric suburbs of the West, as my morning walk to the station demonstrates. But if the idea is to give all those poor car-commuting souls non-vehicular options for getting around the greater metro area, then Denver’s system earns a B. As light rail lines out to the airport and other suburbs go on line in 2016, they may even move into A territory. After all, 82,000 daily trips on light rail are 82,000 trips people aren’t taking in their cars. And that’s a good thing.

Lfyt’s new carpooling service beginning of the end for public buses (Vox)

Dumb headline, dumb story. It’s great that Lyft is making it easier for passengers to split fares, but can Lfyt or any other car-sharing service really absorb (for example) the 1.1 million daily boardings on Metro buses? And are all bus riders — many using discounted monthly passes — really ready to pay the cost of using Lyft? Answer: no. There’s a much more realistic take on what Lyft and Uber are doing over at Streetsblog.

 

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 20

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My horrible, hopeful L.A. commute (Zocalo Public Square) 

Columnist Joe Mathews writes about his three- to four-hour daily journey that involves starting in South Pasadena, driving to Arcadia to drop the kids at pre-school and then turning around driving 30-plus miles to his office in congested Santa Monica. It’s quite terrible, Mathews writes. But there’s hope. Along the way he has been watching the progress of the Gold Line Foothill Extension (which will stop in downtown Arcadia) and the Expo Line (which will stop in downtown Santa Monica) and can foresee the day he could use those rail lines to travel between the San Gabriel Valley and the Westside. Both rail lines are forecast to open in early 2016.

He’s also a proponent of the ExpressLanes, which he uses on the 10 freeway east of downtown. They save him time, Mathews writes, and he hopes that Metro uses the toll money to make more transportation improvements in the region.

Building a better downtown Long Beach (Longbeachize) 

Among the ideas for improving Long Beach’s downtown offered here: conversion of one-way streets to two-way thoroughfare, a bike share program, selling un-used public space to the private sector, less parking and transforming part of the Terminal Freeway to park space.

The two-way street proposal is interesting — one-way streets do a better job moving traffic but some folks argue that two-way streets are safer, better for pedestrians and provide better access to businesses. Curiously, the Blue Line doesn’t get a mention even though it loops through downtown Long Beach, is Metro’s most heavily ridden light rail line and offers a direction connection to downtown Los Angeles and Metro’s growing rail system.

Candidates spar over subway route during debate (L.A. Times) 

Candidates for County Supervisor in the third district (currently occupied by Zev Yaroslavsky) discuss the route of the Purple Line Extension through Beverly Hills. Of course, it’s somewhat of a moot point. The Metro Board of Directors and the Federal Transit Administration approved the project’s environmental documents — including a route — in 2012. Earlier this year, a Superior Court judge upheld the validity of the documents, ruling for Metro in a state lawsuit brought by the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District. A federal lawsuit brought by Beverly Hills and the BHUSD is, however, pending.

Former transportation secretary to join investment firm (New York Times)

Ray LaHood is joining Meridiam, a firm that specializes in investing in public infrastructure projects. One of his new colleagues will be Jane Garvey, a former chief of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Corralitas Red Car land step closer to becoming a park (L.A. Times) 

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land is in negotiations with the landowner to buy the 10-acre strip of land in Silver Lake that once served as the right-of-way for Red Cars traveling between downtown Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank. A purchase would end decades of controversy over the land, with neighbors repeatedly turning back attempts at development.

 

Construction notice: Military Avenue closed at Exposition Boulevard for utility work May 19 to June 13

Expo notice

Here’s the latest notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the independent agency charged with building the line that is being funded by Measure R.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

Service Advisory: expect minor delays on Expo Line this weekend due to Phase 2 construction

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Crews will work to relocate tracks so they can be used for Expo Line Phase 2.

The Expo Line Construction Authority will be conducting track integration work on Expo Line Phase 2 this weekend, which will result in minor delays on the Expo Line. Trains will share one track between Expo/La Brea and Culver City stations at various times between 7 a.m. and 5.p.m this Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18.

Over the weekend, crews will be working to relocate tracks so they can be used for the Phase 2 aerial structure over Venice Boulevard.

For live service updates, follow Metro on Twitter or check the Metro home page. You can also check out the latest construction photos on Expo Line Phase 2 in this previous post.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.