Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 11

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.

America’s biggest (and least) gas-guzzling cities (Forbes)

Using data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology (a think tank based in Chicago) Forbes has come up with a picture of how America consumes gasoline. You may be surprised to find out that despite our congestion and fabled car-culture, Los Angeles ranks near the bottom of the list. It’s second to last in fact, losing only to New York. Angelenos on average consume 680 gallons of gasoline per year. Compare that to North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill where residents on average burn through 1,074 gallons per year! FYI: at $4 a gallon that means the average Angeleno spends $2,720 on gasoline alone.

Streetcar could ride farther north, south (L.A. Downtown News)

The current downtown L.A. streetcar route envisioned by non-profit L.A. Streetcar Inc. is hardly set in stone. Next week the public will be welcomed to share their own route ideas and suggestions at a scoping meeting hosted by Metro on May 17. Metro is in charge of the project’s environmental analysis – an essential step in receiving federal funding, which will be necessary to build the project. As for the route, Metro officials say that everything will be examined thoroughly — and one big factor will be where a maintenance facility can be located.

Expo rail builders listen to Santa Monica at design kick off (The Lookout)

The Lookout offers a review of the latest Expo Line Phase II meeting in Santa Monica. Typical worries about traffic and construction impacts surfaced but overall the vibe was one of excitement. One point of contention, even among long-time Expo rail boosters, is the proposed design of the 26th Street Station. Specifically, how the station interfaces with nearby Bergamot Arts Center. Despite being adjacent to the station, the Art Center’s 800,000 yearly guests would face a longer walk due to the design of the station. The construction contractor noted that any design change would cost millions.

What history tells us about high-speed rail (Gilroy Patch)

This is an interesting and controversial interview with Stanford University historian Richard White, who feels that high-speed rail investment is mirroring transcontinental railroad investment in the 19th century. White’s upcoming book is about how the transcontinental was a fiasco, so his viewpoint isn’t quite as rosy as the one shared by high-speed rail proponents. His main problem with high-speed rail in California is the lack of mass transit (or more importantly, mass transit usage) at the destinations – something he thinks will doom ridership.

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