Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 18

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.

Fixing public transit in L.A. requires both a carrot and a stick (L.A. Times)

Everybody’s favorite business columnist turned public transit advocate David Lazarus is back with another collection of proposals to fix L.A.’s transit system and boost ridership. His ideas? Barring a “world-class subway system” which he says is impossible, Lazarus suggests “virtual subways” of dedicated bus lanes on major surface streets during rush hour. In my opinion, his idea of taking two lanes of traffic from cars on Olympic Boulevard during peak hours – while great in theory – is no less fanciful than hoping for a NYC style subway system. He also suggests an elevated rail loop line that follows the freeways. His last suggestion is to make driving more painful, through higher gas taxes, registration fees and higher parking fees. Although I appreciate that he’s bringing his transit ideas to the masses, I do wish Lazarus would take a look at some of the planned Measure R projects that are set to revolutionize transit infrastructure in the county.

Redesigning the Bus Stop: Teague’s Traffic 2.0 Makes Transit More Friendly (Fast Company)

I happen to think L.A. has a pretty good transit system, especially when you consider that this is L.A. – the birthplace of the drive-thru, the strip mall and car culture itself. In this regard I believe the aspirations of Teague, a Seattle based design studio, are more realistic and practical ways to boost transit ridership than those presented in the previous L.A. Times column. The designers propose that technology can be used to re-orchestrate transit systems rather than spending time and money recreating them. Ideas like interactive digital bus maps at stops that allow riders to better navigate the system can help make transit more accessible and user friendly for the “choice rider” (someone who can choose between driving and transit). Another idea is a TAP-like pass that uses RFID and digital ink to display trip routes and schedules right on the card – and is something so cool that people will want to ride transit just to have one.

You Can Do It: The No-Excuses Guide to Biking to Work (Rodale)

In celebration of Bike to Work Week, Rodale offers six typical excuses for not riding to work coupled with six reasons why those excuses are nonsense. My favorite excuse – mostly because it shows how we’ve become reliant on cars for everything – “I need my car to get groceries and run errands.” Here’s an eyeopener folks: despite what suburban America teaches us, you don’t have to buy a month’s worth of groceries every time you hit the market. A few bags of groceries, a bike basket and a backpack can work wonders.

On the market: Homes near bike paths (L.A. Times)

Another great way to make grocery shopping easy without a car? Live near a market. Well, this L.A. Time article doesn’t show how close the houses are to grocery stores, but it does have listings for homes adjacent to bike paths which I think is a pretty cool idea. Usually houses are marketed for their proximity to major streets/freeways or the number of cars that can fit in their garages – so this list is like a breath of fresh air. Hey Times, how about a list of homes on the market near rapid transit lines?