Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Nov. 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.

ART OF TRANSIT: A Greybound bus crossing the desert. Photo by Downtowngal, via submission.

Thousands hit with toll lane violations (ZevWeb)

More than 12,000 citations have been mailed to motorists who used the ExpressLanes on the 110 without the required FasTrak transponders since the lanes opened on Nov. 10. At this point, motorists are just being asked to pay the tolls they owed; after Dec. 10, they’ll be hit with a fine. Metro is also including information with the citations on how motorists can order a transponder. In other news, the ExpressLanes are giving motorists a bang for their buck. In peak hours, average speeds are 58 mph in the southbound lanes and 63 mph in the northbound lanes.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, car companies are seeing the light (Grist)

Good story looking at some of the early work being done by American car manufacturers, who must double the fuel efficiency of their fleets by 2025. One big focus: using lighter materials to shave weight of vehicles, including the poundage of some serious pickup trucks. The improved emissions, more mass transit and a reduction in short trips because more people are walking and/or cycling in well-planned communities has the potential to seriously improve air quality in So Cal.

Villaraigosa to department heads: it’s time to work together on TOD planning (L.A. Streetsblog)

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last week issued an executive directive to create a new TOD cabinet to get city departments working together on creating more transit-oriented develops. Streetsblog Editor Damien Newton says the cabinet has the potential to be a turning point in the city’s planning history. Maybe. I think the biggest obstacle is finding developers interested in building TODs. Many rail stations — including some busy ones — have failed to attract developments that actually happen. I’m talking to you, Vermont/Beverly, Highland Park and the Blue Line!

Sharrows are not a bike plan (Systemic Failure)

This post — which I completely agree with — argues that putting sharrows on streets really doesn’t do much for cyclists. It does, however, make it look like something is being done for cyclists. Big difference.

Top Twitter feeds for 2012 (Planetizen)

Like many other top lists for 2012 now being published, this one ignores the fact that there are 12 months in the year and still two days remaining in month No. 11. Whatever. The list gives shout outs to feeds concentrating on urban issues, including transportation. And a local is included: Gary Kavanaugh, who frequently posts at L.A. Streetsblog.





6 replies

  1. I’m one of those that fit into the category that ExpressLanes misses out on.

    I rarely use the 110 or the 10. The only time I use it is to drop off friends and family over to LAX and that happens only twice a year: Memorial Day weekend and Christmas.

    Why should I pay $36 a year for the privilege of using the ExpressLanes to carpool friends and family to and from LAX which only happens twice a year?

  2. I still think Sharrows can be a workable idea, but, not how they’re implemented currently. Sharrows should only be on streets that have a (car) speed limit of 15 or 20 mph. Putting sharrows on a 35mph street is just silly, because, of course a driver is going to feel like the presence of a bicycle in the same lane is slowing him or her down. It just leads to aggression by car drivers.

  3. For some of the people that drive the lanes infrequently, like picking up and dropping family at LAX, getting a transponder for a trip or so a month does not make sense.

    In my case, for work, my employer will not pay for transponders, or the accounts.

  4. I wonder how many of those 12,000 drivers had someone in the car with them.

    You continue to tout the speed in the car-pool lanes. –That is misleading statistic.– The lanes are _less_ occupied than normal, because many drivers are not in the lanes. The real figure that should be examined is average trip time by vehicles in all lanes or the total average speed of all vehicles in all lanes. The program is designed to improve the speed in -all- lanes by selling excess capacity in the car-pool lanes. What has in fact happened, is that there is less usage of the car-pool lanes because of the restrictions. Therefore those drivers have been displaced to the standard lanes, thus slowing them down. Metro needs to acknowledge that this is happening.

    • Hi Just a person;

      I agree that it would be helpful to have more data about what’s happening in the general lanes so that can be monitored over the next few months.

      But I don’t think it’s misleading to tout the speeds in the ExpressLanes. After all, these are the lanes that people are now paying to use and it’s good to show they’re getting something for their money.

      I suspect what you write is true: a lot of people who used the carpool lanes have moved back to the general lanes either because they don’t want to get a transponder, didn’t know about the program or maybe just want to take a wait-and-see approach. In my view, hopefully some of them will see the benefits of the lanes and move back over.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source