Transportation headlines, Thursday, March 19

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ART OF TRANSIT: MacArthur Park and the Metro 20 Bus. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: MacArthur Park and the Metro 20 Bus that runs along Wilshire Boulevard between DTLA . Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.


Today’s Zocalo Public Square profile of a Metro rider: What’s a garage rock opera?, Green Street to Mission Road

CicLaVia — the Valley; tips for families, getting there and more (Streetsblog LA)

A very comprehensive guide to the open streets event this Sunday, reachable from the Red Line’s Universal City and North Hollywood stations. Here’s the route:



710 tunnel, as predicted, is freeway favorite of Caltrans and Metro (Daily News) 

The editorial takes a look at the SR-710 North Study draft environmental document that was recently released and expresses some mild skepticism that the freeway tunnel alternative (the only freeway alternative studied) would have the largest increase in freeway and road performance. The other alternatives studied are a light rail line between East L.A. and Pasadena, a bus rapid transit line between East L.A. and Pasadena, intersection and traffic signal improvements and the required no-build option.

Meanwhile, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that a working group in Pasadena plans to present its objections to the freeway tunnel to the Pasadena City Council.

It’s pretty clear that the study will likely remain in the news over the next several months as the public comment period continues and public meetings are held. A lot of opinions will surely be bouncing around — which is appropriate and fine — but I do urge anyone in the area interested to take a look at the actual study. More about the study here.

County supervisor races (L.A. Times)

A brief look at the candidates thus far vying to replace Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Don Knabe, both of whom are termed out of office near the end of 2016. County supervisors automatically get a seat on the 13-member Metro Board of Directors. As the story notes, a current Metro Board Member — Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian — intends to run for Antonovich’s seat.

Does San Francisco need another private bus? Well it’s gone one (Grist)

You can ride the Muni bus from the Marina District or Russian Hill to downtown or SOMA for $2.50…or you can cough up $6 and enjoy the distressed wood and counters on the Leap bus, just one of several private choices. Here’s the promotional video just so you have an idea what’s happening in the Bay Area:

The key excerpt from the Grist article explaining the tensions between private buses and city buses:

This smorgasbord of new transit options feels new — but it’s very, very old. Like, 19th century old. The first public transportation in San Francisco was a privately owned horse-drawn omnibus that began hauling people between downtown San Francisco and the Mission Dolores in 1851. It cost 50 cents — which would be about $7 today — and a dollar on the weekends, but once competition emerged, the fare dropped to 10 cents. In the early 1900s, these private transit lines began to be acquired by a company called United Railroads of San Francisco, and then, in 1944, the whole shebang fell into the hands of Muni.

One of the questions in Leap’s FAQ section is “Do you use Muni stops?” The answer is: “We do not use any Muni stops and we actively try to stay out of Muni’s way.” An earlier iteration of Leap, which ran for several months in 2013, did use Muni stops, which brought down the wrath of city officials. Muni itself is hard to love — it’s slow, it’s late, it’s crowded — but every Muni alternative has had a hard time staying away from Muni’s infrastructure. The city was already fielding complaints about the congestion caused by shuttles operated by Google, Facebook, Apple, Electronic Arts, and Yahoo, which negotiated the ability to use them years ago.

Interestingly, the private bus thing isn’t really taking off in many other metro areas, as far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong). As far as San Francisco goes, there’s a lot of tech money floating around these days and some folks are enjoying luxuries far out of reach of the average Angeleno. Of course, few things last forever in life….

Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Photo: 20th Century Fox.