Transportation headlines, Friday, October 14

LADOT shows off triple bike racks on its new Commuter Express buses.

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.

Better buy a ticket to ride (ZevWeb)

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who is also a Metro Board member, dropped by a subway station in L.A. on Wednesday to see how the gate-locking experiment is going. This post does a nice job of summing up the issues and challenges involved — clearly there were still a lot of people without TAP cards and, in some cases, more than a few people trying to cop a free ride.

Ray LaHood says he’s out after four years (Washington Post)

The 2012 presidential election is still a full year away, but U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced yesterday that he will be stepping down after four years on the job. It’s a little premature to start reminiscing, especially with America Fast Forward still waiting in the wings. That said, LaHood’s leadership in the areas of sustainable transportation, road safety and livable communities has been a welcome feature of Obama’s cabinet. Plus, his staff — more than many others — really grasped the potential of social media for creating a dialogue with citizens. Robert Cruickshank of the California HSR Blog reflects on what LaHood did for passenger rail and floats some suggestions for his successor.

Where’s the rock? (Zev’s Blog)

L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s blog takes a look at the path a 340-ton rock will take from a quarry in Riverside County to LACMA, where it will be part of an art instillation. Beyond the engineering challenge of moving such a hefty load, there are a logistical challenges too. According to Zev’s Blog, “The Rock can only travel slowly and at night. The trip will require eight daylong stops in eight jurisdictions.” Check out the story to see a map of planned route which somehow involves a stop in Long Beach. I know I’m not alone in hoping this turns into #rockVSbike.

Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan – Draft EIR meeting (Councilman Ed Reyes)

Here’s an intriguing note from the office of L.A. City Councilman Ed Reyes. His office is helping get the word about the creation of a planning blueprint for the stretch of largely industrial land that straddles the L.A. River from Chinatown to Lincoln Heights. Lots of potential for transit oriented development along the Gold Line there and redevelopment in the area — which could be really neat if the L.A. River is restored, as the city proposes to do. The rest of the press release is after the jump.

Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan calls for transforming about 650 acres into housing, jobs and open space

Councilmember Reyes invites the public to weigh in on the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan(CASP) at a meeting this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 from 10 a.m.-Noon at Goodwill Job Center, 342 North San Fernando Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90031.
CASP is an environmentally ambitious project to transform 650+ acres into a mix of uses that encourage housing, job creation, bicycle use and pedestrian access.

The largely industrial land, bisected by the Los Angeles River, covers the area roughly from the Chinatown Gold Line station to the Lincoln Heights Gold Line Station and includes Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and Cypress Park. CASP is a project of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development(LEED) for Neighborhood Development.

CASP will guide the City in creating a series of mixed-use zoning districts that allow the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to combine retail, residential, commercial, civic, and industrial uses.

The CASP Draft Environmental Impact Report(EIR) is posted on the City’s Planning Department website at this link. Copies of the Draft EIR are also available at the following library branches:

Central Library: 630 W. 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Chinatown Library: 639 N. Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Lincoln Heights Library: 5230 Workman St, Los Angeles, CA 90031

The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has a copy available for review at 200 N. Spring St, Room 667, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

If you wish to submit comments following review of the Draft EIR, please submit them in writing by November 21, 2011 to: Claire Bowin, City Planner, Los Angeles Department of City Planning, 200 North Spring Street, Room 667, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 978-1477 (fax),

3 replies

  1. Without repeating too much of what Frank M. has already said, I would add that:

    The single biggest advantage of any “smart card” (over paying cash) should be the ability to do things online. That ought to include: purchasing monthly, weekly and even daily passes; and “autoload” of cash from a bank account or credit card when the TAP card balance drops too low.

    Just about anything that you can do on a ticket machine or at a customer service center, you should be able to do ahead of time from any computer or mobile device.

  2. Supervisor Zev,,

    Metro should learn Marketing 101 on why people aren’t using TAP – there’s no real incentive for Metro riders to do so.

    The thing costs $2 and it has an expiration date so one has to buy another TAP card for $2 when it expires, and there’s no real clarity on what to do when you have $10 remaining on the card when it expires.

    Trying to get the remaining balance transferred to a new card is a bureaucratic nightmare in itself. Have you talked to actual TAP users regarding this? It’s a buzz among TAP card users that this is yet another scheme by Metro to suck away money from us in form of “fake expiration dates.”

    No other transit card places a software coded expiration date onto the card, the card is manufactured by Cubic, the same card that is used in San Francisco and London, and they do NOT have expiration dates.

    Next, the TAP website is an absolute joke and it’s awfully confusing. It was only this year that TAP card users could actually top up cash value onto their cards online. I mean hello, we’re living in the year 2011, not 2001. The pace that TAP trugs along on its IT infrastructure is utterly disappointing.

    Furthermore, there’s no real incentive for TAP riders to switch to TAP over paying cash. Boston’s CharlieCard offers cheaper fares for using CharlieCard over cash.

    I’m sure Metro gets to save a bundle in issuing cost of paper monthly passes every month by moving to TAP, but where’s our end of the deal? If you get to save in costs, TAP users would also like our end of the deal by having fares reduced to $1.25 or so.

    Lastly, it’s not like the TAP can be used to buy goods and merchandise like the Suica/PASMO cards like in Tokyo or the T-Money Card in Seoul. So what real incentive is there for riders to switch to TAP?

    Supervisor Zev, Metro needs to go back to the drawing board and hire an actual Marketing personnel (hopefully from outside of the agency) to re-introduce TAP. The one we have now is nothing but a bad joke.

  3. I love the comment how a Metro board member finally admits “Los Angeles’ subway was designed to operate on the honor system” when all this time they’ve been using the euphemism of “proof-of-payment” which is virtually the same thing if there’s no enforcement.

    Seriously, this is our tax dollars at work folks!

    Why is it taking so long to lock up the gates and moving toward a distance model just boggles my mind.