Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 24

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.

Of broomsticks and bikes (ZevWeb) 

As part of the county’s approval of the expansion of the Universal Studios theme park and back lot, NBCUniversal has agreed to spend $13.5 million to extend the Los Angeles River bike path from Studio City to Griffith Park. With some future linkages in downtown L.A., it could be possible to take the bike path one day from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.

Goodbye Blockbuster, Hello subway stop (Buzzfeed)

The last hours of the Blockbuster at Wilshire and La Brea are chronicled; the store closed Sunday to make way for construction of the Purple Line Extension station there. Copies of “24” were going for 99 cents and the reporter counted 27 copies of “Greenberg,” the ultra-terrible Ben Stiller flick.

Central subway tunnel machines expected to arrive in S.F. this week (San Francisco Examiner)

The massive boring machines will be used to dig the north-south Central Subway project, which will extend light rail into the congested North Beach area. Digging is expected to begin in June. Meanwhile, the low bidder to build three stations for the project came in at $840 million, higher than Muni’s projections. Tunnel boring machines will also be used to dig tunnels for three Metro projects: the Regional Connector, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the aforementioned Purple Line Extension.

Why aren’t young Americans driving anymore? (Washington Post)

The headline is a little misleading, given the Post cites data showing that between 2001 and 2009, driving by motorists age 16 to 34 declined by 23 percent; 2009 was four years ago, right? That said, the post cites stats showing that driving by all Americans has dropped by more than eight percent since 2005, which is the biggest decline in recent times.

What’s going on? For one, the baby boomers are driving less as they get older, which makes sense — many are presumably retired or hopefully doing something more fun than getting up early each day and putting on uncomfortable clothes (i.e. anything that’s not shorts, t-shirt and sandals) in order to sit in a tiny cubicle in some anonymous big building and answer/send needless email all day while fighting off the urge to drop into a permanent slumber.

As for the younger folk, here are the list of reasons the Post says they’re not pushing pedal to metal with the zeal of, say, my semi-fossilized generation: the recent recession, it’s harder to get a license, the cost of driving has gone up (gas, insurance, the car itself), more young people live near transit and are willing to use it and technology such as Facebook may have replaced some commute trips (yes, girls online have somehow become more interesting than girls in person; triple yikes!). In tech’s defense, some apps may make it easier to commute or give the kiddies something to do while on transit that’s more fun than sitting in rush hour traffic.

On that note, if anyone knows how to get three stars on this level, please leave a comment.

Finally, here’s a mighty interesting paper written by a team of researchers at UCLA that informed the federal research in turn used by the Washington Post.

Bullet train: the insanity escalates (San Diego Union-Tribune)

This harsh editorial takes the California High-Speed Rail Authority to task for changing the bidding rules for construction of the first 29-mile section of track between Madera and Fresno. In particular, the UT says that bidding rules shouldn’t have been altered without public notification in order to rank low cost ahead of technical merit. The low bidder for the project also ranked last in technical merit. The editorial was based on this article that appeared in the L.A. Times last week.

8 replies

  1. Joaquin,

    You’re paying $75 a month for 7.4 miles of transit each way. You’re not really saving any money. At that distance, a much cheaper alternative would be to go scooter.

  2. @Just a person

    I take the 534 express bus every day from Venice/Cadillac to Downtown Santa Monica and back on the 10 freeway. Gets me there in 20 minutes every day. I stopped driving when I realized that there was a much cheaper alternative that sat in the same traffic. Also the R10 Big Blue Bus line goes from Santa Monica to Downtown LA on the 10.

  3. But in many ways, public transit isn’t cheap either depending on how far (close?) you live to your workplace.

  4. @Sam Huddy & @Metro

    If Metro were to build a ‘Freeway Flyer’ Bus network, then maybe there would be less of a need for a car. Right now, even though I like walking distance from a Metro station, an express line, a LADOT Commuter Express line, and a Metro Rapid; I can not take public transit to get to work on time. If Metro ran a bus network along the freeways with stops spaced out and interconnects at junctions, maybe I could.

    When I have had to be downtown, for training or Jury Duty, I took transit. I used to be a bus rider in college. It is a shame that although I live and work in reasonably well serviced areas, there is no reasonable connection between the two, thus I must drive.

  5. I’d like to believe that is true, but among a subset of people who have never used transit, a car (and a manly car) is still something that is still seen as traditionally necessary.

  6. Hey Steve. Have you tried playing Subway Surfers? pretty neat train game. they’re doing a ‘World Tour’. Every month since the beginning of the year they update the game with a different city. NYC, Rio, Rome and currently Sydney. Hoping they do LA at some point!