Transportation headlines, Monday, Nov. 15

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.

S.F. proposal to cut bus stops (Transport Politic)

The S.F. Muni system is studying whether some bus stops should be cut, which would help speed up bus travel times. Yonah Freemark thinks it is a good idea needed to speed up Muni buses and use less of them, saving money for the agency. He acknowledges some people would have longer walks to stops, but believes cuts would benefit the system as a whole rather than catering to hyper-local constituencies.

How fast will the world’s ice melt? (New York Times)

New research indicates ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are collapsing quicker than previously thought and sea levels could rise three feet or more by 2100, inundating coastal areas. Excerpt:

A large majority of climate scientists argue that heat-trapping gases are almost certainly playing a role in what is happening to the world’s land ice. They add that the lack of policies to limit emissions is raising the risk that the ice will go into an irreversible decline before this century is out, a development that would eventually make a three-foot rise in the sea look trivial.

Source: Federal Transit Administration. Click above to see larger chart.

Melting ice is by no means the only sign that the earth is warming. Thermometers on land, in the sea and aboard satellites show warming. Heat waves, flash floods and other extreme weather events are increasing. Plants are blooming earlier, coral reefs are dying and many other changes are afoot that most climate scientists attribute to global warming.

Yet the rise of the sea could turn out to be the single most serious effect. While the United States is among the countries at greatest risk, neither it nor any other wealthy country has made tracking and understanding the changes in the ice a strategic national priority.

Attentive readers know that the transportation sector produces about one-third of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from carbon dioxide crested by the burning of fossil fuels. The FTA says that taking light rail, the subway or the bus creates less greenhouse gases per person per mile than driving alone; see the chart above.

The 5th and Flower fumble (Downtown News)

A good long look at Metro’s decision to drop a station at 5th and Flower in the heart of downtown L.A. from the Regional Connector project. Critics of the decision say the station was sacrificed to build a fully underground route in Little Tokyo, where residents and businesses were better organized.

Technology makes them happy (Chicago Tribune)

A survey in Chicago finds that passengers who use their transit rides to send and receive emails, listen to music are amongst the happiest passengers on the El system. The report notes they also may be amongst the more annoying passengers.