Transportation headlines, Friday, March 30

A Pacific Electric Red Car passes over Motor Avenue. Photo by Alan Weeks courtesy of the Metro Transportation Library.

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.

Rail returns to the Westside: The Expo Line’s historical precursors (KCET)

With modern light rail a month from opening along Exposition Boulevard, KCET’s Nathan Masters takes a trip back through time to review all the past iterations of rail service along this corridor. It all started in 1875 with steam trains plying between downtown L.A. and the infant city of Santa Monica. It’s a great read — replete with historic photos like the one above — if you want to get a sense of how Los Angeles is rediscovering its transit roots and to get excited about the latest iteration. When you’re done boning up on Expo history, you can stake out some good places to eat and other places worth visiting along the Expo Line thanks to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website.

Expo takes trees, gives back double (Santa Monica Daily Press)

Looking ahead to Expo Phase 2: A little over a hundred trees in Santa Monica will have to be relocated or permanently removed to make way for the line. But worry not shade-lovers, the Exposition Authority will replace all those trees and even add additional trees to create a buffer along the line.

Editorial: Don’t let the South Figueroa Corridor Project get lost in the CRA shuffle (L.A. Streetsblog)

With the dissolution of redevelopment agencies statewide, a lot of great projects were left in the lurch. Streetsblog calls on local policy-makers to make sure that the South Figueroa Corridor isn’t kicked to the curb. That’s the project that would transform Figueroa Boulevard between USC and LA Live from an auto thoroughfare into a complete street with wider sidewalks, more trees and dedicated space to bicycles and transit. To this blogger it seems like a key project for better tying the LA Live campus into the South Park neighborhood and increasing the safety and comfort of those not traveling by car.

Google Maps now includes real-time traffic data (Mashable)

Remember how Google Maps driving directions used to have info on how long your trip might take if you hit traffic? But then Google pulled the feature to tweak it? Well it’s now back, and instead of providing a worst-case-scenario estimate based on historic trends, the prediction it now gives is based on real-time traffic conditions. This should be a welcome feature for those who want to know if, say, taking the Metro Red Line or driving the 101 Freeway into downtown is faster — the answer to that question can vary dramatically depending on the time of day. The next feature I’d like to see from Google is one that does a cost comparison between driving, taking transit, biking and walking for a given trip.