The art of transit

Photo by Friend of Expo Line, via submission

Nice shot of an Expo Line train crossing Adams Boulevard.

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Categories: The Art of Transit

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10 replies

  1. If there are “many places in Japan” with long grade crossing waits, it is only because there are many, many rail transit lines in Japan. Statistically, it is not that high.

    It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of subway and underground commuter train lines and elevated lines, especially in the downtown areas. (These videos are not from downtown areas). Where undergound rail would be too expensive, the solution is typically underground pedestrian tunnels or bridges over the rail lines.

    Los Angeles probably should invest more in pedestrian tunnels and bridges when the time comes, but the Expo Line is not even close to Tokyo levels of service yet.

  2. We have an example of crossing time problems Fukuzawa mentioned right here. The Metrolink station in beautiful, downtown Burbank has a 45-minute window where pedestrians cannot safely cross during rush hour. They’ve talked about an overpass or underpass, then nothing happens.

    It feels like mass transit in Los Angeles is waking up from amnesia. It had a great empire, lost it to Firestone Tires, and only now is relearning how to walk. We try to be patient as they relearn on the job, which is as difficult as a rectal itch. However all of us transplants to the second largest city in a prosperous country strain not to smack someone. I will admit what some of us are thinking…

    “Put the Leimert Park station underground! Don’t make the mistake of Kenmore Square back in 1945. I mean really, it’s a busy area with restaurants and traffic, not Death Valley…”
    “It’s going to take more than five years to build two subway stops and only as far as Fairfax? Really? In an area without a frost season? Get some sponsors already.”
    “Beverly Hills won’t go along with any transit plans? Fine. Divert through West Hollywood and you’ll probably get open arms. Santa Monica Blvd would look fabulous with subway stops.”
    “You don’t know when the Expo Line will open because… ummm… Godzilla? No one knows who needs to be bribed? Culver City wants a pony?”

    Then I stop myself and remember: I’m a geek. These aren’t instant fixes. Perhaps if I’m so concerned I should go to more meetings.

  3. Y Fukuzawa’s youtube line shows the at grade train signal that doesn’t open for a full 8 minutes with some people dangerously taking the risk to go across while they’re still down. When it finally opens, it only comes back down again 16 seconds later.

    I could totally see the same woes LA Metro will have in the future with at grade crossings, which will cost us taxpayers more to fix it down the road.

  4. There are many places in Japan that has to deal with the traffic woes and wait time for the train signals due to at grade crossings:

    An at grade crossing which never opens for a full 70 min due to heavy rail traffic frequencies during the morning rush hour

    from 7AM to 9AM during the weekday rush hour, only 23 sec available where the signal is open at this at-grade crossing

  5. Three minutes frequencies does not equate to “only three minutes to get across” due to the safety cushion time needed to keep the bars down.

    Here’s an example of Japan’s woes of the “neverending train signals” at at-grade crossings:

  6. @Y Fukuzawa
    And not just that, but since there are so many open street crossings that have no signal preemption, multiple trains could start to “platoon” or even queue up from traffic light delays with those kind of frequencies.

    This is the problem with metro. It’s always about the absolute lowest cost no matter how much the quality of said transit service or area around it is hindered. In fact, an example of this is metro’s logic for having the small subway section for the east side gold line. The only reason it was even done that way was because the street was not wide enough in that area for at-grade operation. Nevermind that below-grade operation is not only much safer but also faster than non-preempted street running. No, no. Metro was simply “forced” to build it that way. This approach by metro is then combined with LADOT’s anti-transit mentality which subjects the trains and BRTs to common traffic signal cycles that add unnecessary delays and interruption of flow to our transit lines. LA is too big for so many of its arterial urban rail lines to operate in this manner. Los Angeles should be compared to cities like Chicago whose rail lines are mostly grade separated and have crossing gate preemption when at grade (in lower density suburban areas). What LA needs is a unified rapid transit system where the main rail lines are a separate mode from the street just like in large cities around the world.

  7. My concern with photos like these that show at-grade crossing is, “what will happen when ridership increases necessitating the need for more frequencies?”

    Citing “one rail car every three minutes intervals” example, are the rail signals going to keep going up and down every three minutes adding to more traffic headaches? How are pedestrians supposed to get to the other side if the train keeps coming every three minutes? That’s one side-effect that needs to be considered with at-grade crossings.