Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo

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Nectali Diaz. Photo by Zocalo Public Square.

Nectali Diaz. Photo by Zocalo Public Square.

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!

New York pizza slices: pass the Tums please! Photo by Hollywoodsmile310, via Flickr creative commons.

New York pizza slices: a big pile of blech. Photo by Hollywoodsmile310, via Flickr creative commons.

How Waze can prevent you from taking a cut-through route (LAWeekly) 

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.)

At the crossroads: in order to create a more walkable L.A., start with the basics (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.

Sorry, New Yorkers, you can’t rent a Los Angeles dream home for $1,250 (Curbed LA)

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.

Poll: voters would support 10-cent gas tax hike (The Hill)

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.


Quasi-transity things…

•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.

4 replies

  1. The “end of California” is already happening as we have officially moved to a sham-nanny state complete with fake cops with ties to Attorney General Kamala Harris.

    Aide to Kamala Harris, 2 others accused of running rogue police force

    Sorry, but trust of government in CA has reached an all time low when our elected Democrat politicians allow these things to happen right under their watch. Where is the oversight? Where is the accountability? How can you trust our elected officials?

  2. Perhaps there’s been some back door dealing already on that ‘transportation’ tax. I would NOT vote for it unless it goes for at least 75% public transit use. Amtrak is starved for funds, yet we spend billions subsidizing the air transport system and rural airports.

    • You don’t get to vote for it directly. Federal gas tax hike bills are done by your elected representatives in Congress. If you disagree on how they vote for a gas tax hike bill without your conditions, you are free to vote out the incumbent in the next election.

  3. For the record as an Angeleno where there’s so many people from around the world, with a mish-mash of many different cultures and ethnic communities, I just don’t stick with arguing which is better “NY Style Pizza” or “Chicago Style Pizza,” or whether Domino’s, Pizza Hut or Papa John’s as the best delivery pizza, or what new items are on my local CPK, or what the best store-bought pizza is from the frozen food section at my local Ralphs.

    I am glad that I live in a city that offers more choices that extend far beyond our own borders that we can enjoy pizza (or pizza-like) dishes from all over the world.

    Three of my favorites are:

    Greek Pizza
    1383 Westwood Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90024

    Okonomiyaki (aka “Japanese pizza” a term pizza enthusiasts disagree with, but is the closest one to describe it IMO)
    2119 Sawtelle Blvd
    West Los Angeles, CA 90025

    Mr. Pizza (Korean-style)
    3881 Wilshire Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90010

    What I do wish we had more in LA are more Take-and-Bake Pizza chains like Papa Murphy’s and Noble Roman’s. There are some, but I wish there were more store openings. I am also partial to my childhood pizza store which was Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizza, quite predominant and famous in the SFV, but none in the core areas of LA. That’s another chain that I’d like to see some more presence in other parts of LA.