Today’s Zocalo Public Square profile of a Metro rider: My whole life used to be Chinatown, College Street to Waverly Drive
The data comes from Metro about trains that go past train signals that indicate a train should stop. A motion by Board Members Michael D. Antonovich and Hilda Solis was approved by the Metro Board on Thursday, requiring staff to hire an outside consultant to review the issue and make recommendations toward lowering the number to zero. “Metro trains are equipped with technology that automatically stops the train when the operator runs a red light. It isn’t clear whether that happened in the 83 cases analyzed,” reports the Times.
“Metro welcomes the independent review and remains committed in our efforts to reduce violations of this type and look forward to implementing any and all elements to improve the safety of our system,” spokesman Rick Jager said in an email.
The one accident cited as a result of missing a red light was a 2012 accident in which a Blue Line train ran a red signal and struck a Metro bus in downtown Los Angeles, injuring 31 people.
The man driving the pickup truck towing a trailer that got stuck on railroad tracks was released from jail and no charges have been filed. He was apparently driving on Rice Street and intended to turn onto 5th Street but instead turned onto the railroad tracks and then got stuck. The tracks — with a gated crossing — are 55 feet before the road intersection.
As a previous Times article noted, Ventura County doesn’t have a dedicated transportation tax, thus meaning the county has to usually turn to the state or federal government for any type of major transit improvements. The County is served by Metrolink and Amtrak — mostly on a single railroad track that is mostly at street level.
A thorough look back at the history of the Blue Line, which will turn 25 in July. Key excerpt:
[Supervisor Kenny] Hahn dreamed of building the Blue Line along the old P.E. Red Car route from downtown L.A. to downtown Long Beach. Resurrecting the old P.E. Red Line, he told Angelenos, would be the fastest, most efficient, and least costly means to reestablish rail transit in Los Angeles County. Bolstering his argument was the fact that a route between Long Beach and L.A. would connect to the region’s two major employment centers and the two largest cities in the county. It didn’t hurt that the route served some of the region’s most powerful politicians, such as Congressman Glenn Anderson and Assemblyman Bruce Young. 12 It helped too, from a cost perspective that Hahn’s proposed route ran along a low-density industrial corridor east of the more trafficked and populated Vermont Avenue.
Yet, Prop A and Hahn’s dream of a resurrected P.E. encountered challenges. For example, Prop A had to wait two years to go into effect because of legal challenges to its validity under Prop 13. In other instances, politicians claimed that Hahn’s route bypassed more deserving corridors. Westside pols claimed that a Wilshire starter line or one to Santa Monica from downtown would serve more riders and that many of the Long Beach riders projected to use the light rail already rode the bus, meaning it would do little to diminish automobility. Moreover, commissioned studies found that the Long Beach line would cost approximately $194 million while a Santa Monica downtown light rail would run only $138 million even if it served slightly fewer residents. 13 Others objected to the location, such as the NAACP, which argued that a Vermont Avenue line would better serve ridership.
I think it’s important to keep in mind two key points: the Blue Line was built as a modernized version of the streetcars — meaning it was largely at street level with many road crossings — and that it was competing with the future Red/Purple Line for funding with only 1980’s Prop A to help pay for those projects (another sales tax measure was approved in 1990 after the Blue Line was completed).
Hindsight is never really fair. Many improvements have been made to the Blue Line since it opened to improve safety, but it’s hard get around the fact that the 22-mile rail line runs along or down the middle of some very busy streets.
What should downtown L.A. do to get ready for bikeshare? (Streetsblog L.A.)
A review of some of the many bike upgrades in DTLA made in the past few years. As I’m sure many of you know, Metro is working on implementing a countywide bike share program, with bikeshare in DTLA scheduled to open next year if everything goes well.
The issue involved where to place tripod-shaped handrails, originally slated for the middle of cars. Wheelchair users complained that those handrails would block access to the cars. Things were rejiggered to also accommodate bike racks.
Categories: Transportation Headlines