Transportation headlines, Friday, Oct. 24

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A lovely lineup of Metro buses past and present. Photo by @el_transit_foamer #MetroBus #buses #buslife #metrolosangeles

A photo posted by Metro Los Angeles (@metrolosangeles) on

Basics: the math of park-n-ride (Human Transit)

Boy, Laura Nelson’s article in the Times earlier this week on parking and the lack thereof at some Metro transit stations got people talking. That’s a good thing as parking at transit stations is an interesting public policy issue. The latest to chime in is transportation planner Jarrett Walker who says he doesn’t believe parking is needed in many cases to attract people to transit. Excerpt:

The claim that Park-and-Ride is needed to attract riders is true only in the earliest phases of development, or on transit services with limited utility like peak-only express service.   Once land value rises in response to transit access, the highest source of ridership is also the economically highest use of the land: dense, transit-oriented development around the station combined with good provision for the space-efficient forms of access (i.e. everything but Park-and-Ride).  This is why Park-and-Ride is often a logical interim use of land, but not one that you should plan on having forever.  Once a city has grown in around a transit system, there may be little Park-and-Ride left at rail stations, and only massive, distorting subsidies will make it free.

Read his entire post — it offers more context and there are some situations in which Walker feels that parking is appropriate.

LADOT pilots pedestrian-first signal timing on Broadway (Streetsblog LA)

Some good news: it’s an experiment, but the city of Los Angeles has been tinkering with the timing of walk signals on Broadway in DTLA. The walk signal now comes on several seconds before the green light for cars, the idea being to give pedestrians a head start so they’re more visible to motorists who may otherwise quickly turn right or left into a crosswalk. I think they’ve been doing the same thing in Pasadena near City College and I love it — after spending years avoiding students who are driving too fast or too dumb-dumbly.

Faces of transportation (AASHTO)

The American Assn. of State Highway and Transportation Officials shows off their annual photo contest winners. A few nice pics in there if you’re into this sort of thing. Some even nicer transpo photos on the Mobile Photography Awards’ website — not sure when they were first published, but they’re really good.

Speaking of mobile photography, I’m a big fan of Hipstamatic and have been giving their new TinType app a whirl. It’s designed for portrait photography, but folks I’ve taken pics of say it makes them look bug-eyed. Took this one on the Gold Line yesterday. It’s a little dark, but I do like the effect:

Trying new app. Think I like it. #TinType #Hipstamatic

A photo posted by Metro Los Angeles (@metrolosangeles) on

Santa Monica Airport could save us from alien invasion (Streetsblog Lite) 

So says one letter writer in the Santa Monica Daily Press, suggesting the airport could be used for a military staging area to fight the outer-space people/things/creatures. Hmmm. But what if the alien invaders are friendly and just want to borrow some earthling stuff for a while?:

Take note, aspiring directors. It’s hard to do much better than that.

2 replies

  1. There is no “lack of parking” at the Metro stations which offer it. There is a lack of common sense regarding the pricing of a commodity that is now very much in demand. Free parking at stations may have made sense at opening to spur interest, but once the spaces started filling, pricing should have been implemented to ensure turnover and availabilty. How sad that Metro has kissed off millions of dollars in revenue for so many years.

  2. Steve, your hero Jarrett Walker states in his article “…parking at a high-utility rapid transit station is a price subsidy, exactly the way the Soviet Union’s caps on retail prices were.” Later he states, “The claim that Park-and-Ride is needed to attract riders is true only in the earliest phases of development,…”

    You are right that he thinks that there are some situations where parking is reasonable but this is what he says, “Low-cost Park-and-Ride can make great sense where a station area is undevelopable (floodplains etc).”

    Hilarious reading Steve. Since you either read the article and believe what he stated or you just want to point to a viewpoint from an academic/transit planner that lacks common sense, you certainly provided readers today with an opinion on how Metro would be on par with the Soviet Union if it provides if more parking. I am sure there are readers that will agree with you and Mr. Walker that Metro is subversively persuing communism.

    Steve, do you believe Park and Rides, whether in the Metro system or not, should be built on Floodplains? What happens to the cars when or if it rains?