Transportation headlines, Tuesday, October 7

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ART OF TRANSPO: Yeah, I'm really into black-and-white lately. Pony kegs are unique to Cincy as far as I know--small corner markets that sell, well, you know. I shot this one last night during my ongoing sojourn to the Queen City (it's a help-the-parents thing). Photo by Steve Hymon.

ART OF TRANSPO: Yeah, I’m really into black-and-white lately. Pony kegs are unique to Cincy as far as I know–small corner markets that sell, well, you know. I shot this one last night during my ongoing sojourn to the Queen City (it’s a help-the-parents thing). Photo by Steve Hymon.


High-fives for everyone! #Royals #TakeTheCrown

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Request to the baseball Gods: a true blue Royals-Dodgers World Series please, following a Giants-Dodgers NLCS. I think the last time that the Dodgers-Giants met in the post-season was 1951…

Sure looks like Thomson may have missed third base to me. If you have a DeLorean, please check that out. Whatever happens this season, the Dodger Stadium Express is prepared to roll for Game Five of the Division Series on Thursday, the NLCS and the Fall Classic.

Metro to aid businesses chocked by construction (Intersection South L.A.)

Coverage of the Metro Board of Director’s vote last week to create a $10-million pilot “business interruption fund” program to reimburse small businesses harmed by construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Regional Connector and/or the first phase of the Purple Line Extension. Excerpt:

The pilot program will fund up to 60 percent of potential business revenue loss, as long as the businesses can document to Metro that construction is causing the loss. Since businesses are already suffering from the construction, many board members were ready to help out.

“It certainly is a way to add the most public good and create the least private harm,” said Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, a Metro board member. “Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from a business owner or a non-profit on the Crenshaw/LAX line about the impact that our work is having on them currently.”

Complaints have included blocked parking, accessibility and signage.


CicLAvia No. 10: huge, wonderful, happy, but no longer newsworthy? (Streetsblog LA)

Joe Linton looks at the lack of press coverage for Sunday’s “Heart of L.A.” CicLAvia (Metro was an event sponsor) and notes that advance coverage tends to run along the lines of “beware of closed streets!” As far as I can tell, the non-media crowd seems to love the events and treats occasional road closures as something routine and not something potentially catastrophic 🙂

There’s a brand new vocabulary being heard on the streets, NYC planning rock star says (UCLA news release) 

Former Gotham transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (an Occidental grad, btw) gave a talk to a packed auditorium at UCLA the other night. She’s best known for turning parts of Broadway in New York into pedestrian plazas, greatly expanding bike lanes across the city (including protected bike lanes) and installing more BRT lanes. Excerpt:

Sadik-Khan concluded the lecture with a word of caution and advice. Recounting the ways the media reported negatively on the changes she implemented in New York City, she explained that, “when you push the status quo, it can push back.” She added: “We are simply not going to create healthier, safer, more sustainable cities with the strategies that we followed up till now, that ignore all the other ways that a street is used.”

Her recommendation to the diverse audience of planners, academics, citizens and those who work daily in city government on these problems was this: “All sorts of new options are taking hold and planners need to adapt to these new changes and understand the way people want to get around. And we’re really just starting to glimpse what this shared economy means for transportation and cities.”

I saw her speak in L.A. a couple of years ago and thought she lived up to the hype. Here’s my write-up of that talk. Obviously, I’m a fan of hers and think it would be great to have someone like her permanently working in our region — she has the rare combination of clout, political and oratory skills to get things done.

High-speed rail line takes first step toward buying trains (Sacramento Business Journal) 

It’s a very preliminary step — asking rail car manufacturers to submit letters of interest. The California High-Speed Rail Authority will eventually ask for formal bids. Whether the cars are eventually ordered likely depends on how much of the line the agency is able to fund and build.

With no new rail tunnel on the horizon, a looming transportation crisis in New York (The Transport Politic) 

Good post by Yonah Freemark on the brewing controversy in New York. Amtrak says its two rail tunnels under the Hudson were damaged by Hurricane Sandy and need to eventually be repaired. Problem is, shutting down one tunnel at a time for repairs would greatly curtail the number of Amtrak trains into and out of Manhattan — the busiest Amtrak hub. One solution is a new set of tunnels, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie canceled that project in 2010 citing cost concerns.


But the cost of losing the rail link under the Hudson may be larger. Amtrak’s leadership of this project is an acknowledgement of the national importance of this line (is it the nation’s most important transit project?), as it is the essential rail link not only between New York City and points south, but also between all of New England, Long Island, and much of Upstate New York with points south — totaling almost 10 percent of the U.S. population. The next rail connection over the Hudson is more than 140 miles north, just south of Albany. It is also the connection that makes it possible for hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans to work in Manhattan.

Trying to think of something analogous to our region. Perhaps it’s this: imagine what would happen if two of the following — the 10, 60 or 210 — had to be entirely closed for a year?


10 replies

  1. We had pony kegs in upstate New York as well (Utica and Binghamton, at least). I remember learning the quarter-size kegs were called that. I also remember thinking, “at that point, get a 5L beer ball” — a brown, plastic sphere that took a keg pump. Ah, the Eighties…

    • A-ha! Adding Upstate New York to the pony keg list! 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. Scott
    Money doesn’t grow on trees. Christie was being a responsible, something the liberals seem to not understand.

    • Christie was offered a Federal grant for the project, then rejected it — it wasn’t based on New Jersey tax funds. Thus the money moved elsewhere. This was a political move, not merely some way to save tax money — he wanted to appeal to conservatives for a future run at the presidency.

      Since the money would have come from Federal taxes, then Christie accepting the money would have given the funds back to New Jersey taxpayers in the form of local jobs.

      It’s not like the money would suddenly have been refunded, especially since it was part of the early work to fight the Great Recession. That money wound up elsewhere instead, partially in Southern California. It’s also not like they wouldn’t make the money back rather quickly, since it would expedite transit on the most (and probably only) profitable train corridor.

      I say this as someone that doesn’t hate Christie. I thought this move was foolish on his part. Meanwhile his actions during Superstorm Sandy were downright honorable.

  3. As I recall, there was one rail tunnel project in or around Manhattan that got killed specifically because it was so poorly designed that NARP (of which I am a card-carrying member) opposed it.

  4. Cincy is such a beautiful city. It would be awesome if it had light rail, streetcars and intercity rail corridors to Chicago, Columbus and Cleveland. One can dream…

    • Hi Phantom;

      They’re building a streetcar line in downtown! Looks like stations are done, not sure when the thing will be up and running. Here’s pic from this spring of the tracks in Over the Rhine.

      As you likely know, Cincy started a subway in the 1920s and then halted it — a couple of miles of tunnels survive, including a station. There has been talk of light rail, but I don’t know if it ever made it to the ballot. I think it will happen eventually but might be tough given the suburban sprawl — the city has really shrunk (less than 300,000 now — once over half a million, I believe) but the ‘burbs have mushroomed and it’s that really ugly kind of sprawl involving strip malls and McMansions.

      Ohio flirted with high-speed rail but then killed it. Amtrak service has been deplorable since I was a kid — ridiculous that there’s not at least decent service to Indy, Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland. I’d include Dayton and Toledo on the list but really — who wants to go there? 🙂

      The collection of 19th century architecture here is amazing.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. A easy solution for those that cannot innovate. Rebuild each tunnel separately running trains in one tunnel in both directions. Might take some critical thinking and additional manpower to regulate but it can be done. But of course the bureaucrats will push for a new extravagant twin tunnels instead.

    • What is your innovative solution here? Repairing the tunnels one at a time is exactly what’s going to happen. The bottleneck due to significantly diminished capacity is going to be outrageous. This could have been avoided or at least mitigated with the ARC project from NJ, but Christie torpedoed that and the next nearest project is a decade or more from a possible completion date.