Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 9

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.

Kids love Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus. Photo by Joel Epstein/Metro

A first look at the Orange Line extension from Canoga to Chatsworth (Los Angeles Streetsblog)

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton takes a ride on the soon-to-open Metro Orange Line Extension. Newton’s article features a nice video of the trip he took along with a group of Brazilian journalists touring and reporting on American bus rapid transit. The Metro project, ahead of schedule and under budget, is expected to open in June.

Grimy Centinela/Pico corner getting Expo-adjacent apartments (Curbed LA)

Transportation reporter Neal Broverman writes that “Metro might want to take a bow when West LA’s latest mixed-use project comes online.” The 95-unit ADC Realty Group development is being built on what is currently the home of a Rent-a-Wreck location. The $11.15-million project is only three blocks away from the planned Metro Expo Line station at Olympic Blvd and Bundy Drive in gridlocked West Los Angeles.

The economic crisis rolls on in cities like Pittsburgh (The Transport Politic)

Yonah Freemark writes about how transit service across the nation continues to decline, even as some parts of the U.S. economy seem to be improving. In Pittsburgh, one of the country’s hardest hit cities, the agency serving the metropolitan area has announced that it will have to cut service 35 percent by September. The proposed service reductions and layoffs come on the heels of a 15 percent service cut last year. Lower-than-expected tax revenues are the reason for the cuts. With Los Angeles transit also in part dependent on local tax revenues, the article is worth a careful read.

Freight train late? blame Chicago (New York Times)

Chicago is by far the nation’s biggest obstacle to the faster movement of freight by rail. Six of the country’s seven largest railroads pass through the Windy City and shippers complain that a load of freight can make its way from Los Angeles to Chicago in 48 hours, then take 30 hours to travel across the city. One recent train moved through Chicago at an average speed of 1.13 miles per hour — about a quarter of the speed of many electric wheelchairs. A $3.2 billion project now underway — called the ‘Create’ for Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program — aims to replace 25 rail intersections with overpasses and underpasses that will speed the flow of traffic for the 1,300 freight and passenger trains that pass through Chicago.

GOP senators call wine train project ‘tax dollar sinkhole’ (The Bay Citizen)

Republican senators John McCain and Tom Coburn are blasting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for not seeking competitive bids on a project to replace a rail bridge that serves the Wine Train in Napa. Employing a commonly used rail metaphor the senators said in a statement that “Taxpayers ultimately lose when contracts aren’t competitively bid. The Wine Train project is truly a gravy train of government waste.” Last week, California Watch reported that in 2008 the Corps had steered the $64-million contract to Suulutaaq, a small Alaskan construction company. Competitive bids were not required because the company was eligible for sole-source federal contracts under a program to assist Alaska Natives.


4 replies

  1. I totally agree with Jack. Metro needs to negotiate with LADOT much more aggressively regarding traffic signals for transit lines. Its a real problem that needs to be addressed soon especially as we build more lines that will (unfortunately) inevitably have street running or open crossing sections. The rapid transit potential is being severely hindered and undermined by this problem and its getting old real fast. This issue is only now being talked about more and more, which is good, but its time for metro to get serious on this. Signal priority/preemption is a no-brainier in oh so many other places. If LA wants a world class transit system, lets start with the basics, like nipping this issue in the bud. This is the first and simplest way to speed up our lines by a significant amount of time. It really needs to be fixed. Now.

  2. @Jack:

    When buses are granted sufficient signal priority, far-side platforms are the optimal configuration. The signal system, knowing both the speed and location of an approaching bus, can easily determine when the bus will arrive at the intersection and thus when to give it a green signal.

    With near-side platforms, buses make their station stops first and then queue at the intersection. Because dwell times at stations can be highly variable, the signal system cannot as easily predict when to give the bus a green signal.

  3. It looks like The Orange Line extension has the station platforms across the street from one another. That is such a pet peeve of mine. Combine that with the poor signaling (on the existing orange and expo lines) and it seriously delays the ride. You have to wait 2 minutes at the light, then stop? Can’t this be improved?

    I’m forgiving because I’m a transit rider, but honestly, most Angelenos are not going to. You can’t market BRT a “subway on wheels” when it has to stop with traffic like all the other cars. When people see that on the expo line (especially the flower street corridor), they wil ridicule the project as slow and a waste of money.