Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 8

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.

What’s your opinion of the Wilshire bus lane (CurbedLA)

Hat tip to Curbed LA for picking up the Brentwood Community Council’s new page on Facebook to discuss the planned peak hour bus lanes on about 9.5 miles of Wilshire Boulevard in the city of L.A. So far the discussion is mostly one-sided, with most posters saying the lanes won’t work — or at least won’t work for them. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so difficult to do anything to improve transit on the Westside, I suggest giving the Facebook discussion a read. As a side note — and I’ve said this publicly many times before — I remain very skeptical at the notion that traffic can be improved in L.A. or anywhere. Not as long as people can afford to drive cars. That said, I do think we can drastically improve the alternatives to driving.

Charlotte does light rail right (Grist)

How did a city and region that has been all about sprawl come to embrace its new light rail line? Writer Mary Newsom opines it’s because area leaders realized that Charlotte likes growth and they sold the line as an economic development tool, not as something green. The result has been hundreds of new housing units near the line and more restaurants. I do think transit is a great economic development tool — and I think there are large swaths of L.A. County that look like they badly need economic development. But that’s precisely the kind of thing transit opponents often seize upon, arguing that transit will change the “character” of their neighborhoods even if said character is difficult to identify, nonexistent or dysfunctional.

The national biking and walking study (Federal Highway Administration)

More people are walking and biking these days — and more money is being spent on trying to get people to walk and bike. And while the numbers of people walking or biking has doubled in the past 20 years, that increase may be more attributable to population growth than any particular walking or cycling program.