Hit-and-runs take a rising toll on cyclists (L.A. Times)
Using data from the CHP, the Times found that hit-and-run collisions involving cyclists increased 42 percent from 2002 to 2012 in Los Angeles County — even as the overall number of hit-and-run collisions dropped 30 percent during the same time span, when 5,600-plus cyclists were injured and 36 were killed in accidents in which drivers fled. Excerpt:
The chance of being convicted is so slim that “if you wanted to murder someone, it would almost be better to just hit them with your car,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), who has pushed for stiffer hit-and-run penalties.
Traffic investigators say that they are faced with thousands of hit-and-run collisions a year involving bikes, cars and pedestrians, and they must focus on cases with strong leads, such as eyewitness reports or the car’s license plate number, and on crashes that kill or maim the victims.
“There are a lot of cases where we don’t have a lot to go on,” said Sgt. Daniel Dail, who works in the Sheriff’s Department’s traffic services detail.
Scary stuff. The article also includes some excellent photography of victims by Jay L. Clendenin and graphics that show locations of accidents (which you can view by the year) and other trends.
On a related note to cyclists: please be careful riding this time of year, especially with it getting dark in the midst of the evening commute. Use multiple lights and consider getting a construction yellow jacket to wear while riding. Or ask for lights/jacket as a holiday gift!
5 freeway project widening still has four years to go (Pasadena Star-News)
Adding a general lane and HOV lane to the Golden State Freeway between the 605 and the Orange County border is proving, as expected, to be quite a chore. Hundreds of parcels had to be purchased and bridges demolished and rebuilt, not to mention the actual widening of this narrow section of road. People interviewed for the story agree it’s a needed project although some aren’t loving the traffic hassles that go with it. Metro, btw, is providing funding for the project.
More headlines after the jump!
Joe Mathews: Southwest’s decline could boost high-speed rail (Sacramento Bee)
My former colleague at the Times delivers a flurry of punches to Southwest Airlines, which he says was once extremely reliable but has become too much like its competitors: expensive, late and not very customer-oriented. Although Joe has expressed deep skepticism about California’s bullet train and its cost in the past, now he’s wondering if perhaps the train is the way to go. Excerpt:
In this context, high-speed rail looks less like an extravagance and more like a necessity. Critics of high-speed rail, including me, used to point out that the projected cost of tickets, in the $40-to-$120 range, wasn’t any cheaper than flying.
But with fares from Burbank to Oakland running $223 next week on Southwest, that’s no longer the case. The three-hour train travel time between L.A. and San Francisco also doesn’t seem so bad with all of Southwest’s delays.
This editorial is in favor of new rules that would change the way that development and transit projects are studied in California. The traditional way is to see if a development or new transit project impacts traffic and, if so, to force the project to adopt mitigations to keep cars moving (usually in the form of adding lanes and/or turn lanes).
It’s a particularly burdensome/ironic process for transit projects intended to provide an alternative to traffic.
The editorial points out that new rules could exempt transit projects and the new rules would shift those mitigations more toward asking developers to provide things that would reduce the need to drive, such as charging for parking and/or providing transit passes to residents.
The editorial also points out that many transit-oriented developments don’t really reduce car use that much and urges lawmakers to force those developments to pony up other things that may reduce the need to drive. Good point! My three cents: perhaps that could include things that would help with first/last mile connections to transit.
Categories: Transportation Headlines