Transportation headlines, Friday, Sept. 28

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.

Rubble on the 405 during Carmageddon I. Photo by Gary Leonard/Metro.

Don't tempt Carmageddon (L.A. Times)

The editorial hits the nail on the head: things went well last year because people took seriously warnings to stay off the road. Of course, that was on a lazy July weeked. Now it's early autumn, schools are back in session, events are taking place — and we'll soon see how saavy Southland motorists are. Or are not.

Dramatic improvements in air quality during first Carmageddon (UCLA Newsroom)

A new study found that within minutes of the first 405 closure in July 2011, air quality in the nearby improved up to 83 percent! From the study: “Because traffic dipped all over Southern California that weekend, air quality also improved 75 percent in parts of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica and an average of 25 percent regionally — from Ventura to Yucaipa, and Long Beach to Santa Clarita.:

Chicago's new fare cards (Chicago Transit Authority)

The contact-less cards will be similar to TAP cards used by Metro but there's a twist to the new system that's coming next year: users will also be able to use their personal credit or debit cards to board buses and trains in the Chicago area. Nice.

Metro needs to get its rail plan right (Daily News)

In this opinion piece, a pair of transit activists argue that it's imperitive that the West Santa Ana Branch transit project be compatible with the subway so that passengers don't have to transfer from one to the other. The project — which will receive funding by Measure R — is in the alternatives analysis stage. Among the options being studied are bus rapid transit, light rail, streetcar and low-speed magnetic levitation. The Southern Califronia Assn. of Governments is the lead agency on the planning of the project; here's the project homepage.


6 replies

  1. Steve,
    Have Metro engineers looked at “dual mode” trains like the Boston Blue Line that Roger Rudick points out in the Daily News piece?(see comments) If Boston was able to work out the basic engineering it would seem to be a good idea for the Santa Ana and I405/valley corridors and further linking the system to entire metro area

  2. Regarding the Daily News piece. It really is a shame that the Red/Purple lines, LA’s major “backbone” line, stops in DTLA. I’ve wondered about the possibility of extending it on the West Santa Ana Branch as an elevated line. Of course, there are insufficient funds currently to do this, even if it is a good idea. But I think Metro should, as part of its long range plan, look for some way of extending the heavy rail line past Union Station. Other than replacing the Silver Line, or extending the heavy rail to Glendale/Burbank, West Santa Ana is the only option I can think of. Measure R, Metro’s long-range plans, and America Fast Forward are all great, and will be a huge step forward for LA transit. But I hope that in the coming decade or so we can raise our sights even higher with regards the sort of systematic planning advocated by the authors. For example, wouldn’t be great if the Vermont Station had been build to accommodate an extension south on Vermont? We are about to repeat this situation on Wilshire since there will be no way to add the so called Pink Line onto the Purple in the future.

  3. Making the West Santa Ana Branch corridor an extension of the Red/Purple lines makes the most sense to me. The subway was always set to be extended anyway, and yeah, having an unnecessary transfer will discourage ridership. Besides, there are plenty of overground heavy rail lines i.e. overground “subways” in other large metropolitan cities (I know they’ve done it in London and New York), if that is the primary concern.

    • Hi MetroFan;

      No decision has been has been made about opening an Arts District Station. That was an assumption on the part of the writers of the Daily News opinion piece.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. Regarding Chicago’s new Ventra,

    Unfortunately majority of American credit and debit cards lack the NFC feature they describe. The only major card issuer that issues debit cards with such capability is Chase.

    BofA, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and other credit unions don’t even have such a feature so it is still a useless feature.

    Also Ventra is still a tap-in (pay-once for flat rate fare) only system. Hence, Ventra cannot be used on Metra which is a distance based fare system which requires a tap-out process. Again, a useless system if the system as a whole cannot be integrated so that one card can be used for all transit needs.