Transportation headlines, Friday, Feb. 15; art of transit, speed bumps — should they stay or go?, solar trees for big parking lots

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: Nice photo of a streetcar taken in Toronto last week. Photo by Chung Ho Leung, via Flickr creative commons.

ART OF TRANSIT: Nice photo of a streetcar taken in Toronto last week. Photo by Chung Ho Leung, via Flickr creative commons.

Blast from the past? Report from new LADOT looks at benefits of removing speed bumps (L.A. Streetsblog)

Editor Damien Newton takes strong exception to the new report that sees speed bumps — intended as traffic calming measures — as an impediment to emergency service vehicles. One bike advocate quoted takes exception, saying the 24-7 safety improvements on the bumps far outweighs the few seconds in delays that they may occasionally cause. Damien suggests that the city suggests that before the City Council acts to either ban future humps (the program is currently in limbo due to budget issues), the city should first investigate traffic calming measures that slows cars but allows emergency vehicles to proceed at full speed.

In the meantime, the city of L.A. is adding another 20 miles of sharrows to help cyclists from getting clocked by car doors swinging open and to help them find their way on better cycling routes. With all due respect, I’m not a sharrows fan: I feel like they’re a poor substitute for real bike improvements. Speed bumps at least slow competing car traffic down.

Your thoughts on speed bumps? As an occasional cyclist, I like that they certainly keep traffic of some streets I frequently use in Pasadena and adjacent San Marino. On the other hand, the bumps tend to traverse the entire street, meaning I usually have to slow down, too.

City of Beverly Hills spends less on case against Metro than school district in final quarter of 2012 (page 4 of current issue) (Beverly Hills Weekly)

The city paid $13,526 in the fourth quarter of 2012 to two firms to handle its lawsuit against Metro alleging that the environmental studies for the Westside Subway Extension were flawed — the city and the Beverly Hills Unified School District is trying to prevent tunnels from going under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus. By comparison, the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which has launched both state and federal lawsuits against Metro and the Federal Transit Administration, spent $439,000 in same period. The District says that much of that money was spent on geotechnical work at the school, but the Weekly points out the District still spent about fives times as much on lawyers as the city.

Meanwhile, the rival Beverly Hills Courier is trying to encourage — to put it politely — the city and Mayor Willie Brien to also file a federal lawsuit against the FTA in the subway matter. The Courier is using the subway fight as one of its criteria in choosing who to endorse in the March 4 Council elections. Brien is running for reelection to the Council and has made it clear that he supports the subway project while opposing the route under the school.

When L.A. was empty — wide open SoCal landscapes (KCET)

Another fine blog post from Nathan Masters on development and growth in Southern California, with some great photos. Excerpt:

Los Angeles kept growing. It did so in part by expanding outward from its historic core, rolling west toward the sea, but it also sprouted offshoots. First along the steam railroads, then the interurban lines of the Pacific Electric and finally the freeways, suburbs sprang up amid the countryside. Many of the most dramatic photos of an emptier Los Angeles show new settlements like Hollywood or Beverly Hills — now familiar to much of the world through popular culture — as rustic country towns. Eventually, the surrounding countryside disappeared as the suburbs and city merged into one metropolitan agglomeration.

The process reached a fevered pitch in the years immediately following World War II. From 1945 through 1957, subdividers carved 462,593 separate lots out of agricultural land in Los Angeles County. By the end of those thirteen years, nearly all of the San Fernando Valley had become urbanized, and the master-planned city of Lakewood had risen from the bean fields north of Long Beach — an event D. J. Waldie chronicled in his classic memoir, “Holy Land.”

Growing a solar forest in a South Carolina parking lot (GOOD) 

Check out the photo of this solar tree soon to be planted in South Carolina; the San Diego firm Envision Solar created it. It provides shade for vehicles parked under it, creates electricity and can be rotated to follow the path of the sun. Perhaps some big box stores and their accompanying parking lots can go this route.

Photo: Envision Solar.

Photo: Envision Solar.

2 replies

  1. These sharrows are such a godsend. Most bike lanes are a disaster waiting to happen. The only people who use bike lanes are people too inexperienced on the road to realize that the probability he or she gets doored and ends up in the hospital is significantly higher than the probability a cyclist gets rear ended (and that this is extremely rare). Just look at the bike lanes on Sepulveda Blvd, these are a major disaster waiting to happen. Adjacent 40 mph traffic with cars parked all along the right of the bike lane. Only a moron would use such a bike lane.

  2. I hate the way sharrows are implemented here in LA. If cars and bicycles are supposed to regularly share a sharrow lane, then the speed limit should be down around 25 mph max. To put sharrows on a 35mph street is madness.