Transportation headlines, Thursday, Feb. 16

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Boxer says no path forward for Senate transportation bill (The Hill)

Sen. Barbara Boxer says her bill is getting weighed down with unrelated amendments from the GOP. Meanwhile, the very unpopular House Republican bill was split in three in a last-ditch effort to save it. Stay tuned.

How green was my bike lane (KCET)

That green-painted bike lane on Spring Street in downtown L.A. has caught the attention of Hollywood and not in a good way. Spring Street is a popular film location because it can be made to look like old cities — but it’s not possible to erase a bright green lane digitally in post-production. So a new bike lane on Main Street will be toned down in color.

Leak offers glimpse of campaign against climate science (New York Times)

Documents from the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based group which promotes “free market solutions,” lay out some details of an upcoming campaign to discredit climate science in public schools. Excerpt:

Heartland’s latest idea, the documents say, is a plan to create a curriculum for public schools intended to cast doubt on mainstream climate science and budgeted at $200,000 this year. The curriculum would claim, for instance, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”

It is in fact not a scientific controversy. The vast majority of climate scientists say that emissions generated by humans are changing the climate and putting the planet at long-term risk, although they are uncertain about the exact magnitude of that risk. Whether and how to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases has become a major political controversy in the United States, however.

No major problems from the President’s visit Wednesday night (L.A. Times)

As has become his custom, the President took a helicopter from LAX to a Westside park and transferred to a SUV for the trip to his hotel and campaign events. Traffic was stinky as usual on the Westside but motorists were mixed on whether it was any more heartbreaking than usual. Of course, the President can follow my rules for visiting the Westside and only travel there between 11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on weekdays.

The Pyongyang subway. Photo by John Pavelka, via Flickr creative commons.

10 coolest subway systems (Coolist)

Most lists are yawn-worthy but Coolist tosses a couple of surprises on its list, including subways in Pyongyang (yes, they have a subway, albeit a short one) and in the country of Kazakhstan. The only American entrants are the Washington D.C. Metro and the abandoned New York City Hall station. Nice pics.


11 replies

  1. “And cheaper than driving!”

    How is getting from 7 blocks from my home to my bank “cheap?” It takes me two buses to get there and at $1.50 per boarding, the round trip cost is $6.00, or $5.00 if I buy a day pass. Let alone I have to wait who knows how long for the bus to arrive as well. For shorter distances, I’m better off driving as I average $0.12 per mile even at today’s gas prices. And no I can’t walk or bike long distances. Try living with a bullet in your leg.

  2. The Pyongyang Metro:

    Wastes money on stuff like art which doesn’t add to any revenue and only drains maintenance and upkeep costs

    Uses antiquated rail cars that break down a lot and need to rely on foreign railcar companies because they can’t build new cars on their own

    No free enterprise allowed at their train stations

    Cheap flat rate fare anywhere on the route

    Wait, that sounds exactly like the LA Metro!

    • Hi Frank;

      I couldn’t disagree more about the Metro Art program. The budget for art for transit projects is very limited — well under one percent of the budget costs. Transit stations are public spaces and I think like parts, plazas, city halls, libraries, courthouses, etc., transit stops should have an aesthetic appeal and remind people of the greater good they serve.

      As for your assertion that our fares are cheap, I’d rather have someone accuse of that than the opposite. Yes, riding Metro is affordable! And cheaper than driving! And you can travel far on one ticket!

      Our rail cars are not antiquated. Many are very new, some date back to the 1990s. The vast, vast majority of our trains get where they’re going on schedule. Can you say the same thing about driving or flying?

      Of course, you probably haven’t been to North Korea lately. But that obviously doesn’t stop you from comparing Pyongyang to Los Angeles. I haven’t been to North Korea either — you may know that getting a visa to travel there isn’t super easy.

      And that’s all I have to say about that, Source Readers!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. As a person who traveled to many cities around the world both Communist, post-Communist, and the capitalist free world, the point should be made that there are two approaches to mass transit.

    While the Pyongyang Metro looks grandiose, but one would also have to imagine how much money were sucked away from the basic needs for the average North Koreans to fund such things like chandeliers, marble flooring and propaganda art in their subways. How much money were used to put on this facade when they could have bought newer trains or feed their own starving citizens?

    The other approach is to follow a more private-partnership model which is prevalent in the free world. Take for example, the subways of the Taipei. They may not have the visual grandeur of Pyongyang Metro, but what they have is free enterprise operating within the confines of their subway stations. Instead of funding their metro stations with over-the-top chandeliers and marble flooring which only cost money to maintain for their visual upkeep, they have convenience stores and restaurants which bring in extra revenue to fund the metro system.

  4. I think the point of the article showing the Pyongyang was that the design and extravagance of the stations is shown off as well as the known fact that like the Moscow Subway, it was designed to act like a shelter in times of War. I would say the Moscow Subway is “Cool” though from my research the Pyongyang one has much electrical problems and visitors can’t even visit all of the stations.. Certainly some examples are controversial in terms of the type of political situations these subways are involved in, but the Subways of the United States are in no way “Capitalist” rather that other “ism” that begins with an S, shhhh don’t tell anyone, which is how we get these huge projects built. I doubt the Source was in anyway saying we should model the Westside Subway after Pyongyang’s. However it is interesting looking in at a country like it and how they approached mass transit in a pseudo way that seems to

  5. In other words, Y Fukuzawa, you’re saying that even if a post-communist country has some good ideas, or even if a currently communist country does, we should not pay any attention whatsoever to them and thus learn nothing from them, because we don’t like them? That makes no sense, sorry. You sound like a fanatic.

  6. Why is The Source recently citing Communist or post-Communist corrupt nations as great examples of subway systems?

    The Pyongyang Metro? Sure it costs less than 3 cents to go anywhere in the city, but running on 50 year old Czechoslovakian trains that break down a lot with grandeurs of party propaganda everywhere and everyone living in poor conditions with an authoritarian nepotistic dynasty? And Kazakhstan, really? A country that ranks near the bottom in the political corruption scale with a president that has been in power questionably unopposed for 21 years?

    Note to The Source: the US is a democracy and has its roots founded upon capitalism. It does not make any sense to share examples of cities and countries that have a way different political structure as us.

    If you want to quote great examples of how mass transit can run, why not quote cities and countries that share the same ideals of democracy and capitalism as the US? Why does Metro stray away from citing examples as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, and Germany? Why not provide example of how LA’s own sister cities like Nagoya, Taipei, Busan, Mexico City, Mumbai, Bordeaux, and Berlin run their transit systems?

    • We’re simply referencing someone else’s blog post. Perhaps taking the hyper-critical approach to every word that appears on this blog as soon as it appears on this blog is not a healthy one?

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. Actually, that Coolist article references the Washington Metro before any other. That’s certainly in America.

    For my opinion, though I think the Washington Metro is rather boring because the design inside every station is very similar if not exactly the same. (not that this has any bearing on the effectiveness of the transit)