This is a new feature for The Source in which I express actual opinions while working for government. Members of the media: please take any of these ideas and run with them — we could use the coverage!
1. As I’ve said before, bus lanes certainly sound good – until motorists grasp the fact they may lose a traffic or parking lane. So it’s going to be fascinating to watch the planning unfold for transit improvements along Van Nuys Boulevard and how such efforts are received by the public. A bus lane is among the possibilities for a project on a corridor that boasts very heavy ridership and offers connections to both
2. I’ve seen little discussion of a topic I find interesting: how high-speed rail could positively impact national parks in California. If the bullet train gets built as planned, there would be stations in Visalia and Fresno – gateways, respectively, for Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Yosemite national parks. At present, the only way to reach the parks is to drive there or take a charter bus or to drive to one of the mountain towns outside the park and take a shuttle (which are few and far between).
The bullet train, on the other hand, could allow people to reach Hanford (which is near Visalia) or Fresno in speedy fashion and then – if someone puts this in place – catch a shuttle to the parks. Both Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Yosemite have had problems grappling with the volume of private cars driving through the parks and good shuttles from the bullet train – it seems to me – could reduce the need for everyone to drive to the parks.
3. I’m getting a Clipper Card before my next visit to the Bay Area – one card can be used to pay fares on the Muni, BART, Caltrain and ferries. No more fumbling with fareboxes and ticket vending machines.
4. I know there’s been a lot of talk in some neighborhoods about at-grade light rail crossings impacting traffic. And it’s hard to deny that when the gates are down, traffic doesn’t move as well as it when the gates are up. That said, can someone show me a light rail crossing in the L.A. area or anywhere else that has impacted traffic beyond repair? If such a crossing exists, I’m not aware of it.
5. A century ago, California had 2,377,549 residents. Today it has 37,253,956. That’s one of the many fascinating facts courtesy of the Census Bureau’s release of state population numbers from the 2010 count. Here’s another one: the five most populous states (California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois) have a combined population of 113,409,561 – which is 36.7 percent of the nation’s total population. All five of those states boast some of the United States’ largest urban areas and this suggests to me that’s where the nation should be investing a lot of its infrastructure dollars. Arguments anyone?