Today’s Zocalo Public Square Metro rider profile: a student and skateboarder traveling from 23rd Street to Melrose Avenue.
Wilshire Boulevard will truly be a multi-modal street (in a decade) (Los Angeles Magazine)
Actually in less than a decade in part of Wilshire! The article looks at two projects: the Purple Line Extension that is pushing the subway further west from its current terminus at Wilshire and Western and the peak hour bus lanes that are scheduled to fully open later this year in the city of Los Angeles portion of Wilshire.
The subway project is being built in three phases — Wilshire/Western to Wilshire/La Cienega, then to Century City and the third phase to the Westwood VA Hospital. The first phase is under construction and scheduled to open in 2023 and the second phase is scheduled for the mid-2020s. President Obama earlier this week included money for the second phase in his proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, a very positive sign for Metro. Please see this earlier post for more about that.
The bus lane is a nice addition to help transit riders along Wilshire until the subway opens. After that, I think the lanes will help those who live/work between subway stations get to and from the train much more quickly.
Quasi-related observation: I’m surprised the copy editors at L.A. Magazine let the word “multi-modal” go forth in a headline. I don’t even like using that phase on this transit-themed blog. It’s too jargony and non-Plain Englishy-like for my tastes, FWIW.
L.A. tied for fourth in CALPIRG U.S. city wired transportation rankings (Streetsblog L.A.)
Joe Linton takes a more critical look at the new report that ranks L.A. as tied for fourth in terms of its technology offerings to help people get around. Excerpt:
Unfortunately, with any 50-state comparison, some of CALPIRG’s analysis is somewhat broad-brush.
A top ranking only signifies that a given city is doing well technologically, but not that a city is actually a great place to get around without a car. The report ranks Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City as all tied for fourth place. But a different picture emerges comparing other metrics, for example public transit modal share: NYC 55 percent, Boston 35 percent, L.A. 11 percent.
The tech tools are these days a must have — here’s a link to the Go Metro app for smartphones running Android or Apple software — but obviously it will be even better to have more transit. And it will certainly be interesting to see if the five Metro Rail projects currently under construction change the above numbers.
Interesting point-counterpoint article that’s not about transit per se, although the issue of transit comes up in the pro-gentrification argument. Excerpt:
Gentrification offers L.A. a historic opportunity to create more diverse schools. In a sense, gentrification is multiculturalism — a type of community cohesion in the form, for example, of improved public transportation that connects the creative class with the working class. The long-awaited Expo Light Rail, connecting DTLA to Santa Monica, will help. It isn’t about homogenizing the city into one giant shopping mall for white people; it’s about reconstructing L.A. into America’s greatest city — where the Wild West mentality of “sticking to your kind” is washed away into a metropolis where everyone can eat, drink and ride together. Without gentrification, L.A. would remain a sprawled-out mess that resembled nothing close to an authentic city.
I agree that building better transit is good for everyone — and that transit can, and should, bring together people from different walks of life.
As for the larger gentrification issue, I think this is a good piece that offers powerful arguments for both sides. This is certainly not an issue unique to our area and I think it’s terribly complex. Cities change as time goes by and investment is usually a good thing (especially in the form of transit). But let’s be real: rising real estate prices and rents has proven to be a very real concern in many cities.
The article was prompted by the horrific accident on Tuesday that killed six when a Metro North commuter train slammed into a vehicle that was behind the crossing gates and trying to cross the tracks. The decreasing nationwide numbers have occurred as rail-road crossings are eliminated (usually by building under- or over-passes for roads or train tracks). Yet the decline has been less steady in the New York region where three commuter rail lines — New Jersey Transit, the Long Island Railroad and Metro North) — are running on tracks that routinely have street crossings, especially in the ‘burbs.
One interesting excerpt:
Augustine F. Ubaldi, a railroad engineering expert who is not involved in the official inquiry, said investigators would examine, among other factors, whether the crossing was properly synchronized with the traffic light to keep traffic moving. Although the line of sight at the crossing was not ideal because of the curve in the road, he said the lights and the gate were sufficient to make it clear that a train was coming.
Mr. Ubaldi said he was more concerned with finding out why the woman stopped on the tracks. In such a situation, he said riders should break through the gates if necessary.
“The gates are designed to break,” he said. “If you get stuck at the crossing, floor it. Smash the gate. It’s a far less severe consequence than staying on the crossing.”
Pretty obvious advice. All Metro Rail lines and the Orange Line busway have intersections with roads. The best advice: drivers on those roads should always err on the side of caution. Don’t try to beat the gates and never stop in the area between the gates even when they’re up. Wait until there’s sufficient room to pull across them.
The article features renderings of Cohen’s plans for the lot, although it’s far from clear that the project will ever go forward. Metro and Cohen in 2013 entered into a 24-month exclusive negotiating window to develop the 10-acre bus yard at Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente that once upon a time was home to a streetcar depot.
Things to listen to on transit:
•Good Fresh Air interview with my former Times colleague Jill Leovy on her new book “Ghettoside” about murders in parts of Los Angeles that go unsolved and were historically under-reported by the media. My three cents: Jill, through a lot of grit and hard work, produced the kind of unique and hugely important local reporting that media should be investing in as a way to save itself.
•Judge John Hodgman considers a case involving Jamie, who wants to turn an entire room in his new home into a shrine to the animated movie “Frozen.” Problem is, Jamie’s husband Sean disagrees with his plans. As always with this podcast, it’s pretty hilarious.
Categories: Transportation Headlines