Transportation headlines, Monday, May 2

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.

Despite a rough road for transit, there are positive signs (Boston Globe)

In an interview, William Millar — the chief of the American Public Transportation Assn. — says that ridership suffered in the past two years as a result of a dismal economy, high unemployment, declining revenues and service cuts. He also defends transit as something worthy of government subsidies:

The same critics don’t usually say, “Well, the local street network ought to pay for itself, the police department ought to pay for itself, the schools out to pay for themselves.’’ Public transportation is a public service. Yes, it has a direct benefit to users, and that’s part of why fares are charged, but the benefits of people using public transit accrue to the entire society whether you ever use it or not.

More headlines are after the jump.

Antonovich seeks safer, faster Metrolink Antelope Valley line (KHTS)

As we posted last week, a motion [pdf] by Metro Board Member and Supervisor Mike Antonovich directs Metro to come up with a plan for upgrading the Antelope Valley Line. Antonovich would like to see travel times of 30 minutes from Santa Clarita to downtown L.A. and 60 minutes from Lancaster to downtown (it presently takes two hours to travel from Lancaster to downtown). The 76-mile line has 63 at-grade crossings and many miles of single track, some of it very curvy. A faster train, Antonovich says, would attract more riders and reduce the number of cars on the 5 and 14 freeways.

The Spanish high-speed rail revolution (Mother Nature Network)

Once upon a time Spanish trains were a joke. No more. The high-speed rail network has seriously dented short-hop air travel between Madrid and Barcelona and revived moribund cities. The writer uses the example of Ciudad Real on the Madrid-to-Seville line:

For the first time in at least a century, people wanted to go to Ciudad Real, and stay there. Now they’ve got new commuter developments out by the AVE station, and what’s more they can attract a higher caliber of doctor and engineer and university professor at their own businesses and institutions, because those people can commute out from Madrid.

A high-speed train in Seville, Spain. Photo by Matthew Black, via Flickr.


2 replies

  1. @ James:

    Up to this point, the Antelope Valley Line has been an orphan line without a Political Advocate.

    That changed a year ago when Bart Reed took John Fenton out for a Memorial Day weekend ride on the line and after hearing comments from the riders, Fenton went to Supervisor Mike Antonovich to get some pilot funding to run service on the July 4 observed Monday.

    The service was a hit and the AV Line became the first 365-day service in the Metrolink system adding Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day and now Memorial Day.

    There has never been a vision, a budget, a comprehensive capital plan or an analysis of service appetite until this proposal from Antonovich which passed the Board this past week.

    Many had hoped that High Speed Rail would have addressed this, but reality based plans never came from the Authority.

    There has never been a budget to upgrade the AV Line, so this is the Game Changing start. In time, with the bi-partisan leadership from the Metro and Metrolink Boards, there will be funding on all levels to ultimately upgrade the AV Line.

    Caltrain runs about the same 76 miles in length and carries about 40,000 riders per day. With improvements, there is no reason why the Antelope Valley Line can’t get to the same levels.

    With local political interest, the dreams and goals expressed at the website will start to become a reality.

  2. I’d be all in favor of straightening out the curves on the Antelope Valley Line, just as I would be in favor of increasing the speeds on ALL of Metrolink.

    Of course, finding the funding to pay for this speed increase is all too frequently left out of the equation.