Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Jan. 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.

Temperature anomalies in 2012. Source: NOAA.

Temperature anomalies in 2012. Source: NOAA.

Not even close: 2012 was the hottest ever recorded in the U.S. (New York Times) 

Temperature records go back to 1895 in many parts of the country and the data speaks for itself: the average temperature of 55.3 in the lower 48 states was a full degree higher than the previous record set in 1998. Scientists say natural variability was certainly one cause for the record warmth, but also say that global warming likely contributed — most of the warmest years on record have come in the past two decades:

118-year record (1895-2012)
Ten warmest years
1st Calendar Year 2012 +3.3°F
2nd Calendar Year 1998 +2.3°F
3rd Calendar Year 2006 +2.2°F
4th Calendar Year 1934 +2.1°F
5th Calendar Year 1999 +1.9°F
6th Calendar Year 1921 +1.7°F
7th Calendar Year 2005 +1.6°F
Calendar Year 2001 +1.6°F
Calendar Year 2007 +1.6°F
10th Calendar Year 1931 +1.5°F
Calendar Year 1990 +1.5°F

Every state in the lower 48 was warmer than average although much of the West Coast was a little cooler than normal, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The average temperature for Los Angeles was 63.4 degrees, making it the 19th warmest year on record since 1945 (list of cities here). It was also very dry around the country — California had its third driest year on record and the Sierra snowpack suffered.

Why am I going on and on about this? Because there is widespread scientific consensus that global warming is driven by releases in greenhouse gases — i.e. carbon dioxide — that come largely from burning fossil fuels. Transportation is a big contributor in the U.S. and the federal government has said that taking mass transit is one good way to reduce your carbon footprint because transit tends to use fuel more efficiently than motor vehicles — especially cars with just a single passenger.

From the Federal Transit Administration:

What Individuals Can Do To Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

Switching to riding public transportation is one of
the most efective actions individuals can take to re­
duce their carbon footprint.
Car transportation alone accounts for 47% of the car­
bon footprint of a typical American family with two
cars—by far the largest source of household emis­
sions and, as such, the largest target for potential
reductions. The average passenger car in the U.S.
produces just under 1 pound of carbon dioxide per
mile traveled.
If just one driver per household switched to tak­
ing public transportation for a daily commute of
10 miles each way, this would save 4,627 pounds of
carbon dioxide per household per year—equivalent
to an 8.1% reduction in the annual carbon footprint
of a typical American household. This beneit has
a greater impact than other actions, such as replac­
ing light bulbs with compact luorescents (a 1.6% re­
duction based on 20 out of 25 light bulbs changed)
or adding R-40 insulation to a home attic (a 1.2%


Six ideas for L.A.’s next great transit project (The Atlantic Cities)

A review of the six options released in November for the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project that seeks to connect the Westside to the San Fernando Valley. Among the alternatives: bus rapid transit, managed highway lanes plus BRT, a highway toll tunnel, a rail tunnel and various combinations of those options.

Broad Museum to open in 2014 in downtown L.A. (blogdowntown)

The contemporary art museum at 2nd and Grand Avenue is progressing well and, of course, will be transit-friendly. The Red/Purple Line Civic Center station is a two-block walk away and, of course, the Regional Connector’s future 2nd/Hope station will be one block away.


Yosemite overhaul may hit troubles (San Francisco Chronicle) 

The latest draft plan for managing the Yosemite Valley would expand parking spaces by 11 percent — to 2,448 spaces — while removing the ice skating rink and relocating or removing bike rentals. Hmmm. The plan doesn’t tackle the thorny issues of limiting the number of vehicles or people that could visit the Valley at any given time, but says that congestion would be reduced by changes to traffic circulation patterns.

As an aside, the Chronicle has the decency to include a link to Yosemite National Park’s planning documents while the L.A. Times story — as usual — does not, perhaps out of fear of ever sending readers away from their own website. Perhaps they should re-think the “external link” strategy as it just sent me to the Chronicle’s website! 🙂

1 reply

  1. Interesting to note: in the Atlantic Cities article on the Sepulveda pass, the picture is of the 110 southbound and not the 405.