Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 1

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.

Claremont OKs new track layout for Gold Line trains (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The City Council approved a plan that would have Gold Line passengers boarding light rail trains in front of the historic downtown depot while Metrolink passengers would access trains east of College Avenue. One reason for the change is to reduce delays to traffic at the track crossing on Indian Hill Boulevard. Here’s the report from city staff.

This media story, however, needs some clarification and perhaps some skepticism. Because of Measure R sales tax funding, the Gold Line is being extended from Pasadena to Azusa. A second extension from Azusa to Claremont is not currently funded but is in Metro’s long-range plan and is being studied by the Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent government agency set up to plan and build the line. The Authority is not part of Metro. Metro’s role is to take over ownership and operation of the line if built.

The Grapevine back in play for bullet train route (Bakersfield Californian)

Now that a less expensive route along the 5 freeway between Bakersfield and Los Angeles is back in play for the state’s high-speed rail project, the Californian takes a good look at earlier studies and concerns about the Grapevine corridor. Namely, officials found a variety of seismic issues along the 5, as well as fears in Bakersfield that the town would become a bedroom community of L.A. if linked by a train that could travel between the two in less than an hour.

Of course, the route that seemed to be the favorite — which would take the bullet train from Bakersfield across the Tejon Pass, through the Antelope Valley and along the 14 freeway into L.A. — is plagued with its own series of challenges. Those include getting the train past homes, the California Aqueduct, an existing rail corridor and more pesky earthquake faults. But the Antelope Valley has a lot more potential passengers. Whichever route ultimately chosen should lead to more massive politic fights, I fearlessly predict. 🙂

Visiting some great bike facilities in San Francisco (L.A. Eco-Village blog)

This is a great write-up by Joe Linton of bike lanes and other infrastructure encountered on a recent trip to San Francisco. There are also lots of good photos to help explain how some of the clever tricks employed by S.F. officials help cyclists get around town. Among those: actual bike lanes in downtown, a cross-town route known as the “Wiggle” that helps cyclists avoid the city’s hills and markings on streets to help reduce conflicts between bikes and cars. Bottom line: San Francisco is significantly smaller than L.A. in terms of population but significantly ahead of L.A. in terms of bike infrastructure.