Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 30

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.

Thanks to wifi in the criminal courts building jury room, here are some headlines while I wait…

Groundbreaking for bullet train faces new obstacles (L.A. Times)

The most significant issue here seems to be lack of a deal reached with BNSF, the freight railroad that controls some of the right-of-way to be shared with the high-speed rail project. Another issue: the scoring system used in evaluating bidders hoping to win the contract to construct the first 29 miles of track recommended a contractor whose price was lowest but also earned the lowest marks in the technical merit category.

Bill would open part of carpool lanes on 210, 134 to single-occupant cars (Daily News)

Single-occupant cars would be able to use the carpool lanes outside of peak periods under a one-year demonstration program. What'cha think, Source readers? Would you rather have this or a congestion pricing lane, the difference being the congestion pricing lane is managed to maintain speeds of 45 mph or up?

New bike lanes on Figueroa from Wilshire to Cesar Chavez (L.A. Streetsblog)

Bike lanes are being painted on a 1.1-mile stretch of Fig in downtown L.A., a stretch or road that resembles a mini-freeway. The lanes don't appear to be protected in any way from car traffic so it will be interesting to see how much (or how little) they are used and whether bike activists have anything to say about them.


8 replies

  1. Congestion Pricing is just Trickle Down Economics applied to Traffic. If it actually worked outside of special circumstances, then Congestion Pricing could be applied to crowded subway cars just as well. Don’t want to be crowded on the subway in NYC but still want to use the subway? Then just pay the low low price of $10,000 and get your own private one car train that will zip you express to your destination while all other trains wait. I can’t possibly see anything wrong with this, it would obviously reduce crowding on the subway by taking a handful of people out of subway cars! EVERYONE WINS!

    Los Angeles highways are crowded because it is a large system that is extremely useful and accessible to nearly everyone. NYC subways are crowded because it is a large system that is extremely useful and accessible to nearly everyone. But only on the roads do people think that if you give the rich a special benefit it will help everyone else out.

    Trickle Down Economics worked in the special conditions of the Coolidge administration. Congestion Pricing worked in the special conditions of London, neither is a model that works in the broader real world. And naturally the proponents of both always scream–when it is proven again and again that their methods don’t work–that the answer to policy failure is more of the same policy that failed.

  2. Over time I must admit I’ve become a HOT-lane convert. Now that the silly monthly “maintenance fee” has been abolished (hopefully permanently!) I’d say the the 134 and 210 should get HOT lanes instead of part-time HOV lanes. As Darrell says above, if the peak periods are correctly defined, then there should be no demand to open the HOV lanes. As Robb notes, if an accident jams traffic, the availability of one additional general-use lane will have little to no effect on travel speed. It will just jam up as well.

  3. The carpool lanes need to be turned into Fast Track Lanes. Metro needs $$$$ to build more light rails lines.

  4. Peak hours are just what Caltrans perceives to be the busiest hours. There are still traffic and backups when it’s non-peak.

    The 210 around the 605 interchange is busy basically all day long.

  5. I never understand the point of opening HOV lanes to all vehicles outside of peak periods. Outside of peak periods (properly defined) the regular lanes already move smoothly, so there’s no reason to want to use the HOV lane as a solo driver, correct?

  6. It’s about time a little more thought is put into what’s required for a “bike lane.” As noted by the writer on the Figueroa bike lane, the city is creating a new threat to the lives of bikers whose only desire is to cut down on commuting expense and to avoid LA gridlock.

  7. If traffic is stopped because of an accident, and you open up the carpool lane to solo drivers, that lane will just end up being stopped too. I don’t know why there seems to be this opinion that HOV lanes are somehow magically immune to traffic if you don’t limit them to carpools.

    It’s the difference between some people moving (HOVs) or no people moving (opening it up). I say keep it the way it is now. Or institute congestion pricing. But there’s no benefit to opening it up to solo drivers without charging a toll.

  8. ALL lanes on the freeways need to have congestion pricing, based on inverse distance at first (to disincentive short trips on freeways) and then going up with distance to some reasonable maximum ($10?).