Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Jan. 5

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.

Businesses fear hikes at L.A. parking garages (Los Angeles Business Journal)

A plan to lease city-owned parking garages to private enterprise has local businesses up in arms, fearing a significant loss in business due to increased parking rates. The plan to lease the lots is the city’s attempt to plug the budget hole – and stave off cutting city services and staff. Private companies in charge of the lots would be allowed to triple the costs of parking in certain areas (Hollywood and Westwood) and local business owners feel these inflated rates will spell doom for their patronage. Is this another case of “the high cost of cheap parking” or an example of public space being sold wholesale to private enterprise without thought of the consequences?

Pedestrian-Only Shopping Streets Make Communities More Livable (Planetizen)

Planetizen offers a look at Pedestrian-Only Shopping Streets, or POSS, across the globe. These car-free streets are typically adjacent to public transport, offer plentiful bicycle facilities and are flanked with auto parking on the nearby mixed-mode streets. Livability is hard to define, but Planetizen concludes that POSS make communities more livable than traditional shopping streets due the the increased safety and social interaction that stems from removing the car from the equation.

Keep myki [smart fare card in Victoria, Australia] and fix the problems (Herald Sun)

This is an interesting story (hat tip to The Transit Wire) for L.A. taxpayers frustrated with the implementation of the TAP card. In Victoria, Australia, the transit agency has been trying to implement their own version of the TAP card – the myki card – but the $1.35 billion system (about half has been spent so far) is being called a boondoggle and there are questions of the whole thing should be scrapped. Aside from the costs, the system has been plagued with technical problems and doesn’t work as promised, although transit riders still experience benefits – when it works. There’s lessons to be learned here, the most obvious being that implementing smartcard systems is never as easy as it would seem.