Transportation headlines, Friday, July 8

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.

Angeleno apocalypse: Carmageddon (Time)

The weekly magazine muses about the impact of next weekend’s 405 shutdown on our collective psyches and trots out all the old stereotypes and cliches about life in So Cal. Excerpt:

The anxiety this is causing around L.A. is a reflection of the intimate, love-hate relationship that we have with our freeways. People love their cars in this spread-out metropolis. Public transportation, carpooling and walking are often shunned, which makes the freeways a central part of our lives. Ginger Chan, traffic reporter for local television station KTLA, says she even flirted with someone in bumper-to-bumper traffic once. “I have had that happen to me where some guy is trying to get my attention and we’re both smiling at each other,” she says.

Okay, fine. As per usual in such stories, we don’t hear much from the many people who won’t be impacted or couldn’t care less about the closure. I also couldn’t help but notice a link to another fine piece of journalism from Time in the sidebar: the 10 best bikinis of all time.

Delays for Culver City’s Expo Line station? (L.A. Streetsblog)

Good piece from yesterday about a dispute between the Expo Line Construction Authority — the independent agency building the line — and Culver City. The gist of it: Culver City wants the station built one way with many amenities to the surrounding area, the Construction Authority wants to build it another way. In the meantime, Culver City is withholding money it was supposed to contribute to the aerial station. The Construction Authority has said in the past that the train will open to Culver City in 2012.

Transit organization criticizes House transpo bill (APTA)

The American Public Transportation Assn., which represents hundreds of transit agencies in the U.S. (including Metro), gives a poor review to the six-year federal spending bill proposal released yesterday by House Republicans. As we posted yesterday, the proposal does include elements of the America Fast Forward program needed to speed up construction of Measure R projects that Metro is building. APTA is pleased about that, but not about this:

This proposal would severely underfund critical elements of the federal transit program. The funding will not permit public transit agencies to address the costs of getting the existing systems to a state of good repair, which the U.S. DOT has estimated as a one-time cost of $78 billion, let alone meet the growing demand for public transportation services in the United States. It will severely curtail the purchase of new buses and trains, reduce critical maintenance and safety programs, and could cut operating funds for transit systems in small communities and rural areas.

While we commend Chairman Mica’s efforts to leverage federal dollars through the various financing projects, there is no substitute for actual investment.

Google introduces new trick for Google Maps (Google blog)

When using Google Transit to help get around town, this new version of the software will actually alert you when your stop is coming up or it’s time to transfer. That, Google says, could be helpful if you’re in a foreign country and don’t understand announcements or the maps. The update, however, is only for Android-supported phones. With Android use growing, it will be interesting to see if Google products are also updated for us iPhoners.

5 replies

  1. If you ran the trains longer than midnight and had a line running parallel to the 405 corridor, “carmageddon” would be a non-issue. Stop being a crybaby about LA car culture if you’re not going to run adequate service.

  2. @ Y Fukuzawa

    Again I point to Del Mar and Memorial Park even the Mission station because those stations have housing and restaurants around their stations not 7-11s. They may not be ideal but it is a step in the right direction of what an at-grade rail can accomplish.

    Using “around” is perfectly good measurement for a light rail station amenities as there is a not building like infrastructure to house these mini vendors. A subway station typically has multiple floors and an airport or train hub(like Union Station) has a building to house these establishments. Our light rail stations on the other hand are merely platform and occasionally some extra land that more often than not is dedicated to parking. Any mix use development around a light rail station with ground floor retail is just as effective as indoor vendor. One you make or may not have to cross the street to get to the other may just involved going up a floor or two. As retail is usually not allowed on the platforms with one exception being the Korean video market.

    I do agree that our more work can be done to make more of our light rail stations to be like Memorial Park, Del Mar, and Mission Staions and less like 103rd St station. Same can be said for our Subway stations more retail like what is coming to 7th and metro and Union Station and less emptiness like the North Hollywood station.

  3. @Ronny

    I didn’t say “around,” I said “in.” I’m not talking about 7-11s next door to the train station, I’m talking about mini Famimas inside the train station.

    It’s just like the airport, you don’t see Pinky’s or BestBuy vending machines next to the airport, you see them inside the terminals so people can eat and do something while they wait for the plane to depart.

    For what its worth, our train stations only one handle task on a huge empty space; it’s a train station and it’s just that. It’s waste of perfectly good land space that could be used to put a mini Starbucks as well as serving its purpose as a train station.

  4. @ Y Fukuzawa

    I respectfully disagree.

    The Developement around the Del Mar and Memorial Park Gold Line Stations is not what I would consider bland empty concrete space.

    Also The Culver City Expo Station has plenty of new development projects lined up around the land surrounding the station.

    I believe the lack of development around our light rail stations has to do with several factors. 1) The Green Line and 3 stations of the Gold are in freeways deterring development. 2) The Blue line parallels a fairly active freight corridor deterring development their as well. 3) The city of Los Angeles has not be very proactive in encouraging growth around the stations within its city limits. Culver City, Long Beach, and Pasadena have been doing a better job in that regard.

  5. The Culver City story is just what I feared was going to happen; more clashes between what the neighborhood wants versus what funding the city and state has.

    I’ve said it previously: we need more train stations that handles more stuff than just a train station. A train station is a perfect place where lots of business can happen right then and there, we need to start looking at train stations as the neighborhood hub for all sorts of activities instead of a building that does one thing.

    Look at Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The train stations there have businesses, retailers, convenience stores, etc all of which further promote their Suicas, T-Money, Octopus and EasyCards as payments for merchandise.

    What do we have at our light rail stations? Nothing but bland empty concrete space. Oh wait, but we have tax-payer funded art that doesn’t bring an extra cent of revenue. SNORE.