Transportation headlines, Thursday, Sept. 23

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

$9 Billion Subway-to-Sea Rip-off (L.A. Weekly)

L.A. Weekly is the latest local newspaper to report on the finding revealed in the environmental report for the Westside Subway that the project won’t do much to solve Westside traffic congestion. The article wheels out transportation experts and subway critics James Moore and Wendell Cox who both agree with the report that the subway will do little to relieve traffic congestion. According to our recent poll, most Source readers agree as well, but still think the project is worth building.

The Great American Streetcar Myth (Market Urbanism)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit taught us that the car and oil companies were responsible for the demise of L.A.’s fabled streetcars. Market Urbanism presents a contrarian history. The article states that a combination of government policies, not the least of which included subsidizing highways for cars, led to the eventual death of the streetcar.

Today’s musical interlude. Here’s a little nostalgia from The Kinks, “Last of the Steam-Powered Trains”.

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If you know of a song prominently mentioning a train or bus or transit, drop us an email at and we’ll add it to our list.

More Oil Spills Grim Reminders of Needed Energy Revolution (The New Republic)

The Gulf oil spill has been plugged, but it’s probably safe to say it’s by no means the last time our favorite energy source will ooze into the environment. In late July, an oil pipeline in Michigan broke and released 800,000 gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River. The article makes the case for the birthplace of the oil guzzling automobile to become the birthplace of a new, clean energy future.

Urban Light Rail Fail (Forbes)

Forbes sneers at the idea that Phoenix’s venture into urban light rail has been the success many have touted it as. The article does a little conceptual math and decides that the subsidy for light rail is so high that the city could buy each rider a Prius and 10,000 miles worth of gasoline and still have money left over. It’s worth noting that while the author took into account capital construction costs of the light rail system when doing the math, he did not take into account capital construction costs of roads and highways for the Prius.

Construction begins on $45M El Monte bus station (SGV Tribune)

A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday for the new $45-million El Monte Transit Center, which is being designed to serve nearly twice the daily passengers the old station handled. Funding for the project comes from the federal government as part of grant to create high-cccupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the 10 and 110 freeways. In addition to being twice the size of the old one, the new transit center will feature better security, bike storage, a convenience store and better displays with transit information.

2 replies

  1. Extremely disappointing how the LA Weekly is trying to spin things into a boondoggle. The subway is URGENTLY needed — the bottom line is that it would drastically cut the time in which people could get downtown from the Westside (and vice versa) — by taking the subway as opposed to driving.

    In NYC, it’s still horrible to drive around even though they have the subway. But try telling all the subway riders you shouldn’t have the subways there. They’re separate options, and it’s VERY important to have the option to ride the subway — an option many, many, many people choose to take.

  2. The LA Weekly is misinformed and does not understand all aspects. As I’ve said before, the studies only look at existing traffic but do not take into consideration people who do not currently ad to the traffic because they currently decide to “stay home” rather than battle traffic when considering to go places such as Santa Monica’s 3rd Street. With a subway, these people would then possibly change their mind since they have an alternative and do not have to deal with traffic.