Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Feb. 22

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.

Bullet train to Vegas seeks massive federal loan (Las Vegas Sun)

The private firm that wants to build high-speed rail between Victorville and Las Vegas wants to borrow nearly $5 billion from the Federal Railroad Administration to build the 185-mile line. That would allow them to repay the loan over several decades at the same interest rate charged the government — but it’s also a much larger loan than the FRA usually provides to private railroads. The project is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $6 billion. Travel times are expected to be 85 minutes each way and the private firm is saying they plan extension west to Palmdale, where the bullet train between Anaheim and San Francisco would stop.

More rail to Coachella Valley? (

Speaking of rail plans, denizens of the Palm Springs and Indio area would like Amtrak to have daily train service to L.A. — at present the Sunset Limited train only stops three days a week in both directions and the L.A.-bound train stops at 5 a.m. Amtrak has been negotiating with Union Pacific to run more frequent trains — the UP owns most of the track — but obtaining those rights won’t be easy or cheap.

Can pedestrian activity be revived on South Lake Avenue in Pasadena? (L.A. Streetsblog)

Putting aside the location of this issue, Brigham Yen raises a question relevant to many parts of L.A. County: How does parking impact business districts? In the case of South Lake, it looks like a mini-downtown area, with all the buildings coming right up to the street. Behind the businesses, however, are massive parking lots and many customers enter stores through the rear. Brigham believes that saps the streetside of Lake of people and he proposes closing the rear entrance to get more people onto the actual sidewalk. I think it’s worth trying. It would also help if someone — anyone — built a restaurant/bar that was interesting on South Lake, which is mostly populated by chain restaurants. I bet the Caltech kiddies (the ones 21 and over, I mean) would love a nice local watering hole. I’d call it “The Slide Rule.”