Transportation headlines, Friday, October 21

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.

Quantum levitation: Probably not the secret to hover-trains, but still amazing (Grist)

The headline says it all.

Railroads sued over diesel soot at California rail yards (L.A. Times)

As this Scientific American article from last week noted, diesel pollution takes a profound toll on the health of those living near shipyards, rail yards and freeways in Southern California. A coalition of environmental groups has filed a complaint in federal court demanding that Union Pacific and BNSF railroads make upgrades to their aging, polluting locomotive fleets. One of the coalition’s main legal tactics will be to argue that diesel exhaust is a hazardous waste that should be regulated by the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

City considers making homeowners responsible for sidewalk repairs and legally liable for mishaps (L.A. Daily News)

The humble sidewalk: The workhorse of the transportation system has seen better days in Los Angeles. The city took over maintenance in the 1970s  — it had been the responsibility of private property owners — after receiving a grant from the federal government. But those funds have long since run out. Now the city is trying to shift maintenance responsibility back to property owners, because it simply doesn’t have the money to address the huge repair backlog. The Daily News reports that the City Council is considering a number of different policies, including: “creating sidewalk assessment districts, in which homeowners vote to pay the city to maintain the concrete; a bond issuance; or requiring sidewalks to be certified as safe when they are sold, utilities are connected or a building permit is issued.”

Hard work of de-grunging Westwood Village has begun (Cubed L.A.)

As we noted last week, the process of returning Westwood Village to its former glory — or something approaching it — is getting under way. Curbed reports that the recently formed business improvement district has begun power washing-sidewalks and circulating public safety ambassadors on Segways. True enough, walking down Westwood Boulevard yesterday, I noticed that the red sidewalk tiles did seem to pop a little more brightly. So hop on one of the eleventy-five buses that go the village and check it out.