Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Nov. 9

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.

New Congress to scrutinize Obama transportation spending (Reuters)

Rep. John Mica, who is expected to be the next chairman of the House’s transportation committee, said in an interview that he wants to review the U.S. Department of Transportation’s grants to transpo projects around the country that are made by the agency without review by Congress. He is also concerned about federal money going toward high-speed rail projects, which some Republicans have indicated is a waste. Mica indicated that he wants the next transportation bill to include provisions to lure more private dollars for public projects.

City of L.A. planning department’s plan to do more with less (City of L.A. Planning Department)

The new plan proposes to reorganize the department with more emphasis on better communication with the public. My two cents: overhaul the department web site, start a department blog (your friends at LADOT can help you) and provide a lot more information about particular parcels on Zimas, the agency’s online mapping tool (seen at right).

A fast lane for pedestrians? (Marketplace)

Oxford Street in London is jammed with people. Some are shoppers, some are just passing through. As a result, there is a proposal to divide the sidewalk into fast and slow lanes for pedestrians traveling in both directions. That has raised the obvious questions about how to enforce such rules while others have said the problem isn’t dawdlers on the sidewalk — rather, it’s that pedestrians would have more room if vehicles were banned from Oxford Street.

Looking for patterns on commuter rail suicides (Mineta Transportation Institute)

Between 1992 and 2009, there were 123 suicides along the Caltrain commuter line between San Jose and San Francisco. But patterns to those suicides were difficult to detect. They tended to happen more when there were more trains running and nearer to roads that people could use to access the tracks. Suicide prevention signs with a hotline number were recently posted along the tracks.