Today’s profile of a Metro rider by Zocalo Public Square: I take the train and just listen, Wilshire Boulevard to Venice Boulevard
Mayor de Blasio is irked by a subway delay (New York Times)
The fun read of the day. The story goes like this: The Mayor of Metropolis decided to take the subway to a speaking engagement, pushing aside his usual ride in an SUV. The subway is suffering one of its recent delays, thereby causing the mayor to fire off an email to staff about logistical issues. Problem is, the Mayor accidentally includes an NYT reporter on the email.
Unexplained in the story: why the Mayor and/or his staff seemed surprised by the delay. The New York Subway has a service alerts page accessible via smart phone.
Unreported in the story: the Mayor’s reaction to the NYT declaring L.A. as the antidote to New York. And the fact that only reader responded to my assertion that eating New York pizza is like consuming soggy cardboard proves that I must be right!
I don’t have the app and haven’t paid much attention to the attending fuss about Waze recommending motorists cut through residential neighborhoods as a way to avoid traffic. That said, as someone who lives on a residential street one block from a busy street, I’d probably be cheesed if cut through traffic descended on my sleepy ‘hood.
The Weekly, in this article, takes a dim view of an L.A. City Council motion that would encourage Waze to stop sending motorists to small residential streets. The Weekly’s argument: a lot of people live along busy streets, too, and probably aren’t thrilled at the ridiculous amount of traffic along them.
Tough issue. I can see both sides. I suppose there’s another way of looking at it: an earlier investment in speedier, high frequency and capacity transit in some parts of town — I’m talking to you Westside — might have helped prevent traffic from getting so bad in the first place.
Applause for Bonin-Huizar Council motion to reign in LAPD stings (Streetsblog L.A.)
Two good pedestrian-oriented articles. The first is about a Council motion that would ask the LAPD to justify its recent pedestrian ticketing in DTLA. The second article looks at a broader issue: why is a region with such good weather and so many old business districts, so often a lousy place for pedestrians? Excerpt:
Even in the densest, most amenity rich areas of Los Angeles, places that should be a walkers paradise, there is a startling lack of crosswalks. This is demonstrated by an analysis of a roughly 2.3 mile section of several streets to examine their crosswalks: Van Nuys Boulevard in Pacoima, Vermont Boulevard from Koreatown to USC, and Sunset Boulevard and a portion of Hollywood Boulevard through Silver Lake and Los Feliz
These streets exemplify the city’s good bones. They have vibrant commercial districts and go through high density neighborhoods. Even Pacoima, an area thought of as the distant suburbs by many Angelinos, has a population density of over 10,000 people per square mile, higher than most neighborhoods in the famously walkable city of Portland, Oregon. [snip]
On Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, only 57% of intersections have crosswalks, on Van Nuys in Pacoima only 43%. Each of these streets also has gaps between crosswalks that are over a quarter of a mile long.
Walk, bike or take transit around our region and it’s pretty obvious that the priority often goes to keeping cars moving. Perhaps there’s some benefit to that (air quality, for example), but it’s also fair to ask how many people might walk, bike or take transit if those things were more on an equal footing as driving.
The end of California? (New York Times)
A good antidote to yesterday’s trend piece on San Francisco East residents fleeing the East Coast for affordable cottage rentals in Echo Park — a story, I bet, built around an anecdote some editor heard at dinner. Anyway, in this piece the always interesting Timothy Egan looks at the drought and doesn’t think it’s the end of California. He predicts the state has enough creative types to figure out how to move around water that is available.
It’s not a transportation story but I’m including because I think the basic premise holds up: when push comes to shove, the state has the money and smarts to solve many of its problems, transportation included. Political willpower, well, that’s always another thing.
Speaking of that aforementioned trend piece in the NYT, Curbed and many others on social media call horsehockey on the assertion that you can rent a beautiful bungalow in Echo Park for $1,250. Zillow suggests the critics are correct.
There is some polling indicating that some voters would be down with raising the federal gas tax by 10 cents to preserve more federal spending on transportation. The federal gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1993 while vehicles have become much more fuel efficient, causing the federal pot of money on transportation to head into the red unless Congress decides to act soon.
But remember this: the gas tax hasn’t been raised in 21 years because some members of Congress would rather do shots of gasoline than vote to increase the tax.
•One final thought on the aforementioned Gothamites-moving-to-L.A. article in the New York Times. It’s getting some attention from journalists around town for its inaccuracies or generous helping of cliches about So Cal. But those critiques are somewhat laughable given that local papers here — in addition to producing some great journalism — have also published their share of dumb L.A. stories. Heck, I’m probably as guilty as anyone. Shhh!
•In yesterday’s headlines, I asked readers to identify the California city where I took a photo of the above monarch butterfly mural. Jose Escobar correctly answered “Lompoc,” which actually has an impressive collection of murals in its wee-sized downtown. As promised, here is Jose’s reward:
Things to listen to on transit: Really good Fresh Air features an interview with St. Louis Cardinals (boo!) manager Mike Methany and a fun appreciation piece on David Letterman. Methany is well-known for his manifesto telling Little League parents to keep their pieholes sealed. As for Letterman, I only have five words: “Guy Under the Seats.” The 1980s were a fine time to be watching Dave, especially after a hard night of, uh, collegiate study.
Categories: Transportation Headlines