ART OF TRANSIT: The photo is by Bob Wick, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management California employee and was taken in Wyoming. The BLM is all over social media, including great Tumblr and Instagram streams.
Jerry Brown defends funding for bullet train (Sacramento Bee)
Governor Brown defends his budget plan to spend $300 million of the state’s cap-and-trade money on the state high-speed rail project and the California Department of Transportation, saying the project could help tie the state together and reduce greenhouse gases in the future. Critics say the money is being used to prop up “expensive boondoggle.”
Brown also said the budget will increase funding for the mapping of earthquake faults, a response to an ongoing series of articles in the L.A. Times about development plans being approved based on old or nonexistent maps. The latest, as you have probably heard, is that a new map of the Hollywood Fault shows that the proposed Millennium project would be on top of the fault, although developers say they have no evidence of that. Metro ran headlong into this issue when planning the Purple Line Extension and the agency did considerable work to locate fault zones in the Century City area, resulting in the subway route being adjusted to avoid running parallel to a fault zone.
Report calls L.A. a city in decline (L.A. Times)
A report commissioned by City Council President Herb Wesson lists many familiar complaints about L.A. — mostly along the lines that it takes too long to get anything done. As the Times notes, some of the complaints involved clients of those who wrote the report.
As for transportation, the big complaint is this: The Measure R projects will do little to impact traffic except perhaps keep it from getting worse.
This is one of those issues involving language and politics. I don’t think any intelligent person presumed that Los Angeles — or any big city — can fix its traffic problems as long as automobiles remain affordable and convenient. Of course, it doesn’t help when people say that traffic can be fixed, and people certainly like to say such things.
But many of the Measure R projects will provide an alternative to traffic and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
My own three cents about Los Angeles: I think it’s a far better city today than it was in 1994, when I moved here from New York. Downtown, Venice, NoHo, Studio City, Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Highland Park — to name only a few — have shown considerable improvement since then. New transit projects are underway. The L.A. River is going to see improvements. Staples Center and L.A. Live opened. The Getty Center opened.
That said, considerable parts of the city feel old, tired and in terrible need of any kind of investment. One of the most glaring issues, to me, is the condition of the city’s commercial corridors, many of which are treated as mini-freeways and cater only to auto-oriented businesses. In many quarters, L.A. has a big decision to make: does it want to be a City of Parking Lots or a real city?
Cuiaba light rail won’t be ready for World Cup in Brazil (Sports Illustrated)
The 13-mile light rail line in the city near the Brazil/Bolivia border won’t be complete until December, five months after the soccer tournament takes place across Brazil. Officials say the transit and other projects are in the “completion phase” while also acknowledging that trains haven’t yet been laid yet. Well, okay.
U.S. streetcar boom takes off in 2014 (Greater Greater Washington)
Four new projects are expected to open this year in Washington D.C., Tucson, Atlanta and Seattle and another dozen are under construction or in the pipeline (L.A.’s project isn’t included as it’s not yet fully funded). Here’s a simulation of the Tucson line:[youtube //www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGOHmRGojaI]