Transportation headlines, Monday, Feb. 4

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 Metro Rapid bus on Broadway passes by Grand Park and Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: A Metro Rapid bus on Broadway passes by Grand Park and Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Fixes on tap for TAP at Metro (ZevWeb) 

A very good summary of work underway on TAP by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky who is, of course, also a member of the Metro Board of Directors that makes the final call on issues related to TAP. Among the news, some of which we’ve reported here in drips and drabs:

•In the last 11 months of 2012, more than 65,000 tickets were issued for fare evasion on the Metro system. That, of course, doesn’t mean that there were only 65K cases of fare evasion — those just represent the people caught and cited.

•Gate latching on the Red/Purple Line will begin this summer and eventually spread to the Green Line and parts of the Blue and Gold lines.

•Metro is working on revising the on-screen instructions at ticket machines for those buying and loading fares on TAP cards. Validators will also be moved to more convenient locations.

•Paper TAP cards with electronic chips embedded in them are being tested for Metrolink passengers so they will have a way to get through the latched gates.

Will a smooth Blue Line ride finally come to Long Beach? (L.A. Streetsblog)

After all these many years, the city of Long Beach still hasn’t given signal priority to the Blue Line. Why? It’s costly and it requires a tech upgrade are two of the big issues. The Long Beach City Council recently voted to ask Metro for funding and that could be a start. But let’s be honest here: signal priority is a rarity for mass transit in the region and the city of Los Angeles — as riders of the Expo Line, Eastside Gold Line and Orange Line likely know.

Villaraigosa says he’ll stay for the rest of his term (LA Observed) 

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Member Antonio Villaraigosa released a statement late Friday saying he plans to stay on the job until his second term ends on June 30. There had been a lot of buzz and rumors in the media about him being nominated to replace the retiring Ray LaHood as the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Whether he was offered the job or not is anybody’s guess — the media hasn’t verified it one way or the other.

AEG giving seed money to Pershing Square effort (Los Angeles Downtown News) 

Very short story but AEG is providing $700,000 for an effort to re-imagine the downtown park. There’s no money yet to actually revamp the park. If so, my big idea: open it up to the surrounding streets instead of walling it off. It would also help if the parking lot on the north side of the park is finally developed, as has been proposed.

Here’s the thing: there’s already significant public spaces at the first three Red/Purple Line stations: Olvera Street and the L.A. Plaza Park across from Union Station, Grand Park at the Civic Center Station and Pershing Square at Pershing Square. But Union Station doesn’t feel very connected to the L.A. Plaza Park, nor does the subway station at 5th and Hill feel very park adjacent, thanks to the steps across the street leading up to the park.

CO2 emissions down in 2010 in California, continuing a trend (U.S. Energy Information Administration) 

New data just released shows that carbon dioxide emissions in California dropped again in 2010 — both overall and in the transportation sector. CO2 is a heat trapping gas that is primarily responsible for climate change — i.e. global warming. That’s good, but the Golden State still belches more CO2 into the air as a result of transportation than any other state.

Texas, however, is the overall CO2 emitter, thanks to being an amazing energy hog (see bottom chart). I’m guessing a more temperate climate near the California coasts help keep our usage down. In the entire United States, transportation is responsible for 33.3 percent of CO2 emissions behind the leading cause, electric power generation at 39.8 percent.

It’s really a shame that it takes more than two years to collect and process the data from the states. Some type of real-time — or close to that — data might provide a greater incentive for the public to try to reduce its footprint.

As we’ve mentioned before, a great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to take transit instead of driving alone, particularly in vehicles that aren’t very fuel efficient. The top document shows California’s yearly numbers and the bottom one is a state-by-state comparison of the 2010 numbers. Click on the red type to see larger.

6 replies

  1. Why is the TAP customer center only open 8-5 Monday to Friday? Are people with day jobs expected to try to call during their lunch break or sneak in a call at work, which may not be possible for some jobs? At the very least they need to be open the same hours the Metro customer centers are open, which include early morning, late afternoon, and Saturdays.

  2. Without signal priority, a train is a glorified bus. The entire point of building a train line is to prevent people from having to sit in traffic. Why on earth is this not taken care of in the years and years the train is being built and tested?

  3. Steve, that 69,000 number is wrong. The number was “69,839… 94% of them for fare-evasion.” or 65,648.

    BTW, this represents 0.06% (or 0.0006) of all rail riders in the same period.

    Does Metro tent its HQ to kill one fly?

    • Hi Erik;

      I’ll correct the number to 65,648.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. I love the commentary on ZevWeb that says “focus groups weren’t consulted originally as the agency hastened to accomplish the transition from paper to plastic.”

    A great example of how useless government agencies are at getting anything right. When was TAP introduced again? What year are we in now? And it took them this long to get this figured out?

    And even with all these fixes, TAP still would have other problems that have yet to be resolved.

    Everyone that was involved with the TAP project should be fired immediately for poor management. My taxes shouldn’t be used to pay for inept government employees and their poor excuses.

  5. what is the primary reason signal priority isn’t given to trains? It can’t just be about money. the article regarding the blue line says it would 1.5 million to upgrade 32 signals. i think some special interest groups are the ones behind this.