In this opinion piece, Matthew Fleischer says that it makes sense to upgrade the Orange Line to rail — as an increasing number of people say is necessary. But it would be expensive, he notes, and that it may make more sense to simply run express buses similar to the express subway trains in New York (and elsewhere).
Buses, unlike trains, have the maneuverability to pass one another easily. To hop on at Chatsworth and take the bus all the way to North Hollywood means making 16 time-consuming stops. An express route could potentially save huge amounts of time for riders at the tail end of every route. An express bus from North Hollywood, for instance, could potentially skip right to Reseda, while another local bus leaving at the same time could service the stations it passed over. If the express bus catches a local bus in front of it, it can simply pass by and continue on its direct route — unlike a train.
Los Angeles is in the midst of a public transportation revolution. Rail projects like the Expo Line and the “subway to the sea” may one day reinvent the way Angelenos interact with their city. The San Fernando Valley absolutely deserves to be part of this revolution.
The Metro Board this summer approved a motion asking Metro staff to explore a number of improvements, including a potential rail conversion. Metro staff responded with this preliminary report outlining some short- and long-term fixes that should be studied further. Not on the list: express buses.
The short-term fixes, not surprisingly, largely involve trying to get more green lights for the Orange Line, which often finds itself having to stop at station platforms and most cross north-south cross streets. If you’re interested in this issue, see the staff report at the above link. Pretty interesting discussion and it will be intriguing to see if the issue of express buses is raised by others.
Sepulveda Pass and LAX transit (Let’s Go LA)
Intriguing post about a potential transit tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass and the many possible future transit and/or light rail lines that it may serve. A lot of what is shown on the map are project that aren’t in Metro’s long-range plan — meaning there’s no funding or planning in the works — but it’s still fun to contemplate. The blog post certainly hits the nail on the head by saying that a Sepulveda Pass transit tunnel would only get chance to get it right, meaning it really needs to be able to accommodate whatever the future holds, transit wise.
As many of you know, the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor is a project set to receive about $1 billion from Measure R. But it’s also a project not scheduled to be completed until the late 2030s and vastly more funding would be needed to build a tunnel, if that option is pursued. Metro has done some preliminary studies of possible concepts and is looking at a public-private partnership to fund the project, although nothing is for certain at this point.
Obama gives good speech on climate change, and Congress shrugs (Washington Post)
Good coverage of President Obama’s speech Tuesday at the United Nations in which the President said climate change is undeniably happening, that it’s the most consequential issue of the 21st Century and that we’re dangerously close to saddling the next generation with the irreparable problems of global warming.
Excerpt from the speech:
“Today, I am here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter, to say we have begun to do something about it….but let me be honest, none of this is without controversy. In each of our countries, there will be interests that will be resistant to action. And in each country, there is a suspicion that if we act and other countries don’t, that we will be at an economic disadvantage. But we have to lead…
“Yes, this is hard. But there should be no question that the United States of America is stepping up to the plate. We recognize our role in creating this problem. We embrace our responsibility to combat it. We will do our part. And we will help developing nations do theirs. But we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation, developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass.”
Of course, one big problem involving the U.S. entering into any kind of climate treat is…that the U.S. Senate requires two-thirds approval of such treaties. That seems unlikely to happen, with neither political party above to get two-thirds of the Senate’s seats (putting aside the partisan divide on the issue).
As we’ve noted before, transit is a good way to try to reduce your own carbon footprint. While transit is also often powered by fossil fuels (compressed natural gas on buses and coal to create electricity that powers trains, for example), transit generally uses those fuels more efficiently than people driving alone in your average car. In other words, don’t wait for the politicians to solve this problem — take the first small steps yourself. In fact, thousands of people just did that by taking to the streets in a number of cities, including Los Angeles and New York, in last weekend’s climate marches.
Take it away, John Lennon…
Or another way of saying it…
Please see the White House website for good charts and some proposed solutions to reducing greenhouse gases in the U.S.
The busiest railroad bridge in the western hemisphere is the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey. Completed in 1910, it is near the end of its useful life and the cause of many transit delays (the bridge swings open to allow boats to pass). Rebuilding or replacing it is an expensive proposition to the tune of $900 million and like so many transit needs in America, no one knows where the dollars will come from.
White House officials, New York City’s mayor and New York’s governor all said there is no credible information about an impending attack on the New York subway system. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi had earlier told reporters at the United Nations that ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria were behind the threats.
I think the main point is this: in the world we live in these days, it’s always best to say something if you see something. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department can be reached at 1.888.950.SAFE (7233) — it’s a good number you should save in your cell phone. If underground and you can’t get a cell signal, please use emergency phones that are located on station platforms or press the emergency button to speak to a train operator. You may also want to check out the TransitWatch app to report security and safety issues on the Metro system.
Categories: Transportation Headlines