Transportation headlines, Thursday, June 5

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Congress detours from common sense on the Highway Trust Fund (Washington Post) 

The editorial takes a dim view of lack of efforts to keep the Fund funded. Excerpt:

BOTH PARTIES want to do nothing but squabble before this year’s election. Not much will stop them — except, perhaps, this dose of reality: If political point-scoring is all they accomplish over the next several weeks, work on the nation’s roads, bridges and rails will come to a halt.

The federal Highway Trust Fund is set to run out of money this summer. Without a fix, federally backed transportation projects all over the country — not just highways — would be in danger of severe disruption or cancellation. That translates into high costs now to stop and restart projects once funding comes through, higher costs in the future as contractors build the risk of funding holdups into their prices, downward pressure on construction jobs and unnecessary delay for anyone who uses the infrastructure. Failing to shore up the fund in time would be plain legislative malfeasance.

The Post thinks two obvious funding sources would be a higher federal gas tax or a vehicle mileage fee. The current federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1993.

America’s invisible trolley system (Newsweek) 

A look at some of the many light rail projects that have been proposed across the U.S. but never built for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most interesting paragraph in the article:

Compared with Europeans, Ross says, ”Americans have much greater interest in sorting out different people of different incomes into different neighborhoods.” When it comes to mass transit, he says, “the classic argument is that it’s gonna bring crime. The fashionable one right now is that it will gentrify our neighborhood and make poor people suffer. I’ve seen people make both of these arguments in the same paragraph.”

San Francisco transit workers call in sick for a third day (San Francisco Chronicle) 

About 70 percent of the San Francisco Muni’s bus and rail service was running Wednesday — an improvement over the previous two days. Union workers rejected a new contract last Friday that they said would result in a pay cut. At this time, the union isn’t allowed to strike but members are allowed to call in sick.


6 replies

  1. A purple line station at Crenshaw would’ve made since considering how the crenshaw line would’ve made it had it gone all the way north. Wilshire and Western to LAX in 45 minutes could be the norm if that were to ever happen. Personally, the idea of having a subway station in a “low density” neighborhood is actually pretty cool. I’d love to buy a home in Miracle Mile in the future, go to a ball game at Staples in the Thick of it, and then make it home to my backyard and toss a ball around with my dog (Staples to my backyard in 30mins?). What a concept.

  2. Mike, the 210 already offers a connection to the Purple Line at the Wilshire/Western Station, a much more bustling area with tall buildings and the residents and jobs to support a rail station. All future plans for the Crenshaw Line extension are based on the line connecting north via La Brea, Fairfax or San Vicente/La Cienega, NOT Crenshaw Blvd. Transportation planners know that these routes will attract much more riders than an extension north along Crenshaw through a low density neighborhood of large single family homes (with residents that are very unlikely to not use their automobiles for most, if not all, trips). It doesn’t make sense to connect two major rail lines at an intersection like Wilshire/Crenshaw, where all development is permanently stymied and/or limited by the Park Mile Specific Plan (in that entire corridor, stretching all the way to near Highland Avenue). Also, an extra station does not just add 30 seconds – that just covers the time the train is actually in the station – it does not include the extra time needed to decelerate into the station, and accelerate leaving the station. In total, an extra station can add around 2 minutes of extra travel time, which may not seem like much, but is actually a very big influence in ridership – every second counts, especially when you’re trying to compete with the private automobile. The idea is to connect the most number of people possible with the most number of jobs possible in the least amount of time possible. Adding an extra $200 million station and time delay for the majority of residents and commuters doesn’t make sense for such a sprawling, low density neighborhood like Windsor Square/Hancock Park, filled with very wealthy residents that are unlikely to use the train every day, let alone once a week.

  3. Mike Dunn, the density in that area (Hancock Park/Windsor Square) is much too low to support a rail station. Especially given the fact that the area along Wilshire is forever destined to be low density because of the Park Mile Specific Plan. Plus, a stop at Crenshaw would just increase travel times for EVERYONE else riding the train, the vast majority of which would not use this station at all. It doesn’t make sense to build a rail station only serves a few people a day when you can connect major job and population centers via faster transit (lower travel times) instead.

      The station would only add approx. 30 seconds to the travel time. What you fail to recognize is passengers from Line 210 , a line that has a heavy passenger load, will be able to transfer to the Purple Line without first transferring to Line 20 or 720 bus. In addition the Crenshaw Light Rail Line would be without a connection if it reaches Wilshire Bl. Let’s be real. Waxman was influenced by those living in Hancock Park. The excuse he feared methane gas was nothing but a joke. Methane gas is everywhere in Los Angeles and subway construction was not stopped anywhere else. Old money doesn’t want the stop plain and simple.

  4. We just had a primary election, doubt any of the people even voted with such a low turnout, but the Governor’s race in November is now between pro-HSR and incumbent Democract Jerry Brown vs. anti-HSR Republican Neel Kashkari.

    Shouldn’t The Source report on this as it relates to transit?

    Let’s face it though; the GOP has no chance in winning in this state. They’re too behind the times. The anti-rail stance that Neel Kashkari is going to take is going to lead to his demise.

  5. Concerning the Invisible trolley system and the wealthy not wanting light rail near their homes it’s all to apparent this is the case with the deletion of the Crenshaw Purple Line station. This station would be in the middle of the old money wealthy Hancock Park area in Los Angeles. I’m sure this was the real reason Congressman Henry Waxman put a stop to the construction of the Purple Line many years ago. With his approval now, and the deletion of the station we can only assume this was part of the deal prior to his long over due retirement. The idea that Crenshaw is to near both Western and La Brea does not hold water. The station at Normandie is far closer to Vermont and to Western. In addition the Line 206 has a longer headway and smaller passenger load than both Lines 210 and 710.