Zocalo Public Square’s daily Metro rider profile: a woman traveling between Sunset Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard.
Nice column by Steve Lopez on Metro CEO Art Leahy, who earlier this month announced that he will be leaving Metro in early April after six years on the job. Both of Art’s parents were streetcar operators in Los Angeles and Art began his transit career driving a bus.
Lopez also takes a look ahead. Excerpt:
Despite huge investments in transit since then, the population has exploded and Southern California is said to have more cars per square mile than any other metropolis. Thanks to Measure R and Leahy’s considerable powers of persuasion in Washington, Metro has $14 billion worth of highway and transit projects underway, including five rail lines.
When all of that is completed, commutes will be a little easier for those who go by bus or train, and the current number of daily boardings — 1.4 million — could shoot up significantly. But will there be any less congestion on roads and highways?
Don’t bet on it. If the population continues to grow, and the economy continues to improve, traffic could very well be worse than it is today.
I think that’s a pretty realistic way of looking at things — and one I wish everyone would hear more often. Big transit systems across the world have consistently not cured traffic. The transit systems, however, have provided a good alternative to everyone sitting in traffic and have likely helped prevent traffic from growing worse than it is.
Lopez also discusses bus rapid transit and asks Art about what he’ll do next after working in transit the past 40 years. Give the column a read for Art’s answer 🙂
A rundown of the First Lady’s guest list, which includes Crenshaw/LAX Line apprentice LeDaya Epps, who lives in Compton and got her job thanks to Metro’s Project Labor Agreement and Construction Careers Policy. As Politico notes, the First Lady’s guests are often clues to policies that President Obama will discuss in the State of the Union. Here’s our earlier post.
Adam Schiff opposes HSR tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains (California High Speed Rail Blog)
The Congressman says he would prefer the bullet train tracks follow the 14 freeway (the same route used by Metrolink) rather than tunnel under the mountains that are a barrier between the Antelope Valley and the San Fernando Valley. The tunnel route is being studied even though some SFV Valley residents have said they oppose it. With funding still a giant challenge for the bullet train project, dollars may prove to be the determining factor when it comes to choosing a route. The project still needs to find money to tunnel under the Tehachapis to connect Bakersfield and the Antelope Valley.
The wreck of the Kulluk (New York Times Magazine)
In short: the Beaufort Sea versus the Shell oil rig Kulluk. As the headline implies, the Beaufort Sea emerged the clear winner in this adventure yarn. Nonetheless, Shell announced last year that it still intends to explore for oil from special leases it holds in the Arctic. This is a long story — a good read while riding transit.
The American decline in driving actually began earlier than you think (Washington Post)
Fascinating series of graphs show that miles-driven-per-person in many states peaked in the 1990s or early 200os. In other words, the decline in driving — which has been well documented — isn’t just a product of the Great Recession that ramped up after the housing bust in 2008.
In some states, driving declined even as the economy rose. In California, peak driving occurred in 2004 when there were 9,250 miles driven per capita (still an awful lot considering a lot of people don’t drive). So what’s happening? One theory holds that Americans are simply choosing to spend their money in other ways.
My three cents: driving just keeps getting more expensive from the price of car to insurance to maintenance to parking and driving citations. I also tend to think the rise of home entertainment may have more people staying put and perhaps the worst of sprawl in many places is over. On a national level, I don’t think transit has a lot of influence on the overall numbers.
Sales have been very underwhelming. Worse, perhaps, is that many users felt stigmatized as being lazy and no one was ever sure what the rules were for their use. Should they be used on sidewalks? In the street? And where to park them?
Very interesting article that doesn’t include this question: as much as I detest these things, could they be a first-mile/last-mile solution? I don’t know. Discuss.
And from the Department of Transit-Proximate Food: Above is the extremely tasty breakfast burrito at Little Flower in Pasadena (1422 W. Colorado Boulevard between Avenue 64 and Melrose Avenue), a great and very small place for breakfast, lunch, coffee and dessert. Metro Bus 180/181 (which runs between Hollywood and Altadena/Pasadena) and the 256 (which runs between East L.A., Highland Park, Pasadena and Altadena) stop within a few hundred feet of Little Flower.
Categories: Transportation Headlines