Transportation headlines, Monday, April 20

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Lidia Castillo. Credit: Zocalo Public Square.

Lidia Castillo. Credit: Zocalo Public Square.

Today’s profile of a Metro rider by Zocalo Public Square: I always carry two books in case I get bored, Westwood Boulevard to Main Street. 

Bedlam’s big dig (New Yorker) 

Digging a tunnel for London’s Crossrail project (an east-west underground commuter rail line) has revealed the city’s first municipal graveyard, as well as other artifacts. Excerpt:

On a recent, gray spring afternoon, I went to see the latest, and largest, Crossrail dig, across the road from Liverpool Street station, in the middle of the financial district, where a new ticket hall will soon occupy the space previously filled by London’s first municipal graveyard. The New Churchyard, an acre in size, was first used in 1569, not long after an outbreak of bubonic plague, as an alternative to the overcrowded parish plots inside the old city walls. It was not attached to any church, which made it a natural resting place for radicals, nonconformists, migrants, mad people, and drifters—Londoners, in other words. It closed some time in the seventeen-twenties, full many times over. Ten thousand people were buried there; in 1984, a partial excavation found graves dug through graves, eight skeletons per cubic metre.

“There is a lot of death here in Liverpool Street,” Jay Carver, Crossrail’s lead archeologist, said as we looked down from a platform over the site. “A lot of dead people.”

Morbid but amazing.

Fast lane pay hikes for transit officials (OC Register) 

The Register’s Editorial Board doesn’t like a four percent raise given to the CEO of OCTA, saying the overall compensation of $462,913 is too much and has risen at a faster pace than median incomes in the OC. In addition, 15 other OCTA executives make more than $250,000. In a comparison, the editorial notes that CEOs at L.A. County Metro and San Diego County’s MTS make more and Santa Clara County’s CEO makes about the same amount.

A list — now dated — of Metro executive compensation is online at Incoming CEO Phil Washington is scheduled to earn a salary of about $326,000.

Garcetti says Uber and Lyft to be allowed to pick up passengers at LAX (KPCC)

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said at his State of the City speech that by summer Uber and Lyft will have access to passengers at LAX (they’re only allowed to drop them off at the moment). LAT transportation reporter Laura Nelson joins the conversation, which also covers WAZE and the reality that traffic is here to stay. As for getting to LAX, a new station along the Crenshaw/LAX Line will allow riders to connect with a people mover to be built by LAX that will whisk passengers to three stations near airport terminals.

SaMo City Council narrowly votes to roll back LUCE vision (SaMo Next) 

The city hopes to build nearly 5,000 homes by 2030 (for many years, the population of SaMo barely budged upwards while the number of jobs there increased). But the Council recently made a couple of moves that may make it more difficult to build four- or five-story homes on some busy transit boulevards. The move is seen as a pushback against the development and traffic that is more prominent in SaMo these days, especially around downtown.

Traffic likely isn’t going anywhere. SaMo has a ton of downtown parking, its residents have money to spend on cars and the city is a huge draw. The Expo Line is scheduled to open in the first half of 2016, finally bringing rail to the Westside — at least there will be an alternative. As for the Purple Line Extension, it will terminate just west of the 405 freeway in front of the VA Hospital. Once dubbed as the Subway to the Sea, funding would be needed to be found to get it to even the L.A.-SaMo border along busy Wilshire Boulevard. It remains to be seen what form the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project will take; there is the potential it could connect Expo riders from SaMo to the Westwood-UCLA area, which is currently a tough commute aboard the bus.

Looking back at the California Incline before it disappears (Curbed LA)

Nice look in black-and-white pics at the 1930s-era ramp between PCH and Ocean Avenue in SaMo that is about to be demolished and replaced. Oh, I bet that will be a heaping dose of Traffic Joy for the next year.

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