Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 22

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Reward to be offered in fatal beating at Blue Line station (L.A. Times)


The Board of Supervisors has approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of two women who assaulted artist John Whitmore at the Blue Line’s Willowbrook station early in the afternoon of Friday, June 13. Whitmore, 65, died one week later of his injuries. Anyone with information regarding the slaying is asked to call detectives at (323) 890-5500.

Funding feud means end of the line for four Metrolink trains between L.A. and San Bernardino (Mass Transit) 

After the San Bernardino Assn. of Governments refused to provide the full funding request from Metrolink, the commuter rail agency has cut four trains between Union Station and San Bernardino. They’re all off-peak hours and include the 11 p.m. train from L.A. Metrolink says they targeted low-ridership trains. Each of the five counties served by Metrolink — Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura — contribute funds to the agency each year.

Metro Committee OKs dismal walk/bike plan now, funding report later (StreetsblogLA)

I missed this post last week, when it was first published. The Metro Board’s Planning Committee moved a draft of the agency’s short-range transportation plan (which covers the next decade) to the full Board for its consideration on Thursday. Advocates for active transportation — i.e. walking and biking — partially filled the Board room and protested that the short-range plan lacks a dedicated funding stream specifically for active transportation.

Members of the committee were sympathetic and Mike Bonin introduced a motion calling for Metro to develop an active transportation funding strategy by Jan. 2015. The issue here is that Metro does supply funding for pedestrian and bike projects — but this is mostly done on a discretionary basis. For example, 15 percent of Measure R receipts are returned to local cities for use on transportation-related projects, which may include active transportation. It’s obviously an important issue, given that Metro recently released a first-mile/last-mile strategy that places emphasis on better connecting transit stations to surrounding neighborhoods.

Uber takes credit for drop in drunk driving, but police are skeptical (KPCC)

Interesting story. The ride-sharing service cherrypicks some statistics — including the number of times patrons vomited in their cars — to argue that drunk driving has been cut as Uber has grown more popular. The police say that’s a very hard thing to prove and some of the drops in DUIs in places such as Seattle may be attributed more to concerted crackdowns by law enforcement. Excerpt:

In Los Angeles, KPCC found DUI citations over the last five years issued by the California Highway Patrol peaked the year before Uber arrived and have fallen both years the company has been on the roads here. (Uber started operating in Los Angeles in April 2012. The low-cost UberX expanded here a year after that, along with competitor Lyft.)

Interesting, but anecdotal. The drop roughly coincides with Metro also offering more light night rail service on weekends — but I don’t think you can draw any firm conclusions from that. I suspect some of this also involves the fact that young people are driving less, according to numerous studies and statistics.

Perhaps what matters most is that there are viable options — taxis, ride-sharing and transit — for those who are too tipsy to drive. Metro Rail and the Orange Line operates until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights; timetables are here.


10 replies

  1. Concerning Metro Link to Oceanside only. Perhaps the San Diego lack of funding is made up by the use of the Coaster rail yard for over night storage which may include re-fueling

  2. Phantom Commuter,

    Common sense IS rocket science when it comes to Metro.

  3. Amtrak and Metrolink need to operate late night service so people can ride trains to events and get back home. It helps fill the earlier and reverse commute trains. Common practice everywhere but here. Not rocket science.

  4. Oh my question was just whether San Diego county paid at all for the limited service they receive. I take it from your answer that they do not.

    • I don’t believe they do — or it’s a very small amount compared to the other counties. The Metrolink budget — likely available on — probably has the breakdown of contributions from counties.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. Yes, and neither Metrolink/Coaster, nor the Surfliner, will get one back from San Diego on a summer Monday night, after the concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, with the result that I have little choice but to drive, if there’s something interesting on the summer Monday evening series.

  6. This is why it makes no sense to have officers roaming around the lines randomly and would be better off having the police stationary at all times at a dedicated police box right at the station. If the police were right there at the station, this wouldn’t have happened.

    Don’t people working for Metro have any clue how the police system works in transit oriented cities all over the world? Stop trying to reinvent the wheel. I know it’s hard but admit that you guys are complete novices when it comes to mass transit planning and just learn and copy what every other city in the world does!

    • Hi Scott;

      Metrolink does, as you know, provide service in Oceanside, but it’s the only San Diego County service — and SD County has their own Coaster service that they fund. The vast majority of Metrolink’s service is on the five counties that fund it.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. Of course the police are going to be skeptical about how Uber ends up cutting drunk driving. If there weren’t as many drunk drivers at the wheel, they wouldn’t need as much funding to do random DUI checkpoints.

    Everything is money related.