Transportation headlines, Monday, Oct. 15

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.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour on Crenshaw Boulevard, just north of 54th Street on Saturday afternoon. I wish the shuttle parade would never end — it was that cool. Great day on Crenshaw on Saturday! Photo by Steve Hymon.

Yes on Measure J (L.A. Times)

The Times’ editorial board endorses the proposal by Metro to extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax for 30 years until 2069 in order to accelerate transit and road projects. The Times notes that not every project may be sped up — it depends on the amount of federally-backed loans that Metro could secure. But the newspaper lists a number of benefits that Measure J could allow: cheaper borrowing, lesser construction costs, the availability of transit projects to the riding public years or decades earlier and more jobs. The editorial board also argues that most parts of Los Angeles County will benefit because traffic is a burden to the regional economy and prevents people from getting to their jobs.

Yes on Measure J: it’s traffic relief in L.A. cheaper, faster (Daily News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

This editorial argues that congested freeways throughout Los Angeles County are one reason to support Measure J, which could speed up transit and highway projects. As for critics of the measure, the editorial board says there are sufficient protections in place to protect funds for a variety of projects.

Editorial: taxing the future for transit today (Orange County Register)

The editorial agrees with a public official from Beverly Hills that Measure J is a cautionary tale for Orange County, where voters in 2006 agreed to extend the Measure M sales tax for transportation projects until 2041. The Register also argues that “Asking now to extend the tax until 2069 is unsupportable given that officials cannot anticipate the technologies and population patterns nearly six decades into the future. The city and school district in Beverly Hills have sued Metro, alleging that the environmental studies for the Westside Subway Extension — which proposes to tunnel under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus — were inadequate.

Auckland: how a network redesign can transform a city’s possibilities (Human Transit)

Transit planner Jarrett Walker’s latest post is fascinating — and highly relevant to any big metro area. He was asked to help overhaul Auckland’s transit system. The result: a new system that includes more frequent service on more routes at more times. The catch? Excerpt:

Only the geometrically inevitable one: more people will have to make connections from one service to another, and the fare system will need to encourage rather than penalise that.Whenever someone tells you that it’s too expensive or hard to encourage people to make connections, ask them how expensive it is to run the only the first network above while spending enough money to run the second. Networks that are designed to prevent transferring must run massive volumes of half-empty and quarter-empty buses and still have trouble delivering frequencies that make the service worth waiting for. The waste involved can be colossal, as you can see from the amount of service we were able to redeploy in more useful ways with this redesign.

As you know, Metro doesn’t include transfers in the cost of its base fares. And as our friends in the media like to say, that raises the question: is that lack of transfer really paying off in terms of revenue and ridership? If you have wise-ness to share, comment please.


2 replies

  1. I’m in total agreement with Eric B. I live in MacArthur Park, and to get to a game happening over at the Staples Center, it costs everyone in my group $6 roundtrip or $5 if we decide to get a day pass. This is for like 2 miles of transit! We’re better off just vanpooling and splitting the cost of parking among us.

    Compared to that, look at Long Beach residents. They can get all the way to Staples Center for $1.50 because they’re lucky to have one train that gets there. How is this fair?

    We really need everyone, not just Metro, but every transit agency in LA to come into full agreement in fare reform. There is no excuse that we should be running this model today when a more fair-for-all price structure can be done with TAP.

  2. I’ll bite: Metro’s transfer policy is not in line with its system design. The bus system is amazingly efficient, at least in the parts of the city with a good street grid. You can get anywhere on the grid with no more than one transfer, usually with both legs of the trip on a Rapid line. But the fare structure penalizes this behavior and leads to bizarre outcomes, such as a 3-mile journey that requires a transfer costing $3.00 while my 10-mile commute without a transfer is only $1.50.

    Now that we’re using a “smart” card to calculate fares, there really is no excuse for sticking with this outdated fare structure.