Transportation headlines, Monday, May 3

Here’s a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog. Don’t forget you can also follow the Metro Library on Facebook and Twitter.

Line numbering: geek fetish or crucial messaging? (Human Transit)

Ever wonder how transit planners decide how to number bus lines? Human Transit offers an insightful description of the often messy process, which amounts to three groups – the Visionaries, the Anarchists and the Conservatives – battling over the numbering convention. Visionaries want logic, beauty and order in line numbering, Anarachists couldn’t care less and Conservatives wish for nothing to change. For the most part I find Metro’s bus numbering system to be pretty logical, but a true line numbering fetishist may have a different opinion.

Putting Parking in Its Place (Los Angeles Business Journal)

Before he became a bike shop owner, Josef Bray-Ali was a real estate developer and witnessed firsthand the cost of car parking requirements on new development projects. His real estate firm had plans to develop a small scale ($200,000) mixed-use development in Eagle Rock but parking requirements ballooned the project to the scale of $1.2 million and made profitability less certain. The project was scrapped. Bray-Ali notes that the costs and risks associated with mandated parking typically kill small projects and only leave room for larger projects that don’t necessarily meet local needs and desires.

Why America still needs Amtrak (Chicago Tribune)

It’s an old story by now – Amtrak is chronically late and slow, why not just kill it? The Chicago Tribune opines that Amtrak, despite all of its many problems, is still necessary. The article notes that historical governmental preference and funding of other modes may be part of the problem with Amtrak’s service – Amtrak subsidies are just a small sliver of federal highway spending. Why keep Amtrak? Amtrak serves people in rural areas who may be hundreds of miles away from the nearest airport and for shorter corridors (L.A. to San Diego, for example, which is one of Amtrak’s busiest routes) the service can really offer a competitive advantage over flying or driving.