Transportation headlines, Friday, May 15

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Metro gets a cameo in the official music video for “Pitch Perfect 2.” No Anna Kendrick-on-the-train however.

How a more inclusive “Bike Week” can help us move toward “Bike Life” (Streetsblog LA)

Sarah Sulaiman argues that Metro needs to target Bike Week more to the parts of our county where bikes provide a vital link for getting around by low income commuters. This is a good post and that’s a fair point. That said, one point that I do hope readers understand and I really don’t intend this to sound too ‘next-window-please:’ Metro can certainly supply some funding for bike projects and partner with affordable housing developers on Metro property. But it remains up to cities and/or the county (in unincorporated areas) to actually approve and build bike lanes and to allow more housing to be built near transit.

Which brings us to another issue that I’m sure will be debated going forward: the funding levels at Metro for these type of programs and how much lobbying Metro can or should do for projects ultimately under the jurisdiction of local governments.

Q&A with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (L.A. Times) 


Transportation reporter Laura Nelson throws some good questions at Foxx, who was in L.A. yesterday as part of National Infrastructure Week. A lot of ground is covered but I zeroed in on this exchange:

Times: There have been several rail accidents recently that involved at-grade crossings. Do you think there needs to be a national review of at-grade crossings to see what possibly could be done?

Look, I’m all for more grade separations. But that requires an investment, and gets us right back to the same conundrum, which is that there are things that we can do to improve safety at our rail crossings, but it’s going to require some investment from someplace. Right now, we have some resources but not nearly what we need to do more of that.

Times: Where do you think that money could come from?

From Congress. (laughs) That would be a great place for it to come from.

Two of the accidents have been in Southern California this year and certainly got the interest of the LAT: the Metrolink collision with a pickup truck that somehow got stuck on the tracks in Oxnard earlier this year and an Expo Line accident in which the train hit a vehicle making an illegal left turn across the tracks adjacent to USC in April. In both cases, wayward motorists were at fault but there’s certainly a public policy question in play involving at-grade crossings and how much (if anything) can be done to make them foolproof.

Quasi-related: Secretary Foxx spoke as part of the UCLA Luskin Lecture Series last night at Union Station. Social media round-up here and you can listen:

The sounds of Metro (KCRW)

A rider talks about her ride and some of the frequent sounds, including the “now arriving…” ear worm.

Hey, you know what sounds I heard on Metro yesterday? (your answer is probably ‘I don’t know or care’ but as benevolent dictator of this blog, I give it to you anyway…

There’s no denying Los Angeles’ growing Olympic appeal (Boston Globe)

Boston vs the Olympics. Who will win? Stay tuned. Photo by Bill Damon via Flickr creative commons.

Boston vs the Olympics. Who will win? Stay tuned. Photo by Bill Damon via Flickr creative commons.

Columnist Joan Vennochi writes: “Anyone who believes the United States Olympic Committee isn’t yearning to switch its 2024 bid from Boston to a less ornery city also believes Tom Brady can do no wrong.”

The gist of it: The United States Olympic Committee earlier this year chose Boston as the American bid city for the Summer 2024 Games without (apparently) realizing that local support for possibly hosting the Games in Beantown wasn’t quite there.

USOC must send a letter to the International Olympics Committee in September confirming that Boston is America’s choice. Officials with USOC say that there is no ongoing discussion about L.A. (or any other city) being a fallback choice. If true, that means that there is no fallback position. Which, if true, means it’s Boston or bust for 2024. Which, if true, means the earliest Olympics could be in the U.S. — something that would likely please television and/or corporate partners — would be 2026 for the Winter Games or 2028 for the Summer Olympics.

Quasi-related interestingness: Salt Lake City, host of the 2002 Winter Games and another region doing the transit expansion thing, has made noise about the 2026 Games.

I’ve got chocolate truffles for everyone (Zocalo Public Square)

Anthony Luis Sandoval. Photo by Zocalo Public Square.

Anthony Luis Sandoval. Photo by Zocalo Public Square.

The latest in Zocalo’s ongoing series of profiles of Metro riders.


Transity things:

•No one seems to want a free book. My copy of “One Summer: America 1927” by Bill Bryson is still up for grabs. Email me if you want it.

•One more reason to Go Metro: avoiding post-apocalyptic Aussie thugs on your drive home.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for my less-transity tweets and pics.

3 replies

  1. Upon further review, although I hope Boston’s 224 Olympics bid is successful, the toxic combination of residential backlash from many Bostonians, the (likely) corrupt way with which Beantown was selected by the United States Olympic Committee as its choice, the deadline of September 15 for the USOC to either (1) keep Boston as its 2024 choice, (2) select another city (Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington) to replace Boston, or (3) completely remove themselves from the 2024 Olympics bidding; and the November 3 referendum on the Massachusetts ballot to determine whether or not all Massachusetts residents SUPPORT the Boston 2024 bid; the USOC made a HUGE mistake in picking Boston over Los Angeles as its selection city for the “Games of the 33rd Olympiad.”

    I live in New York City (the borough of the Bronx to be exact) and we lost out to London for the 2012 Olympics. Many of us New Yorkers were split on whether or not we should host the Games (I was one that supported the NYC 2012 effort), but there were no major protests against the New York bid like the controversy taking place 225 miles northeast of the Big Apple. With respect to Washington (225 miles southwest of NYC) and San Francisco (about 350 miles north of LA), Los Angeles should have been the USOC’s first choice.

    Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe is right: “Los Angeles is looking better every day.”

  2. Boston is a great urban city with lots of appeal for technology, academics, american history, and cultural offerings. However, it is not a city with much appeal in athletics per se (barring its place as a mecca for sailing/rowing, long-distance running, and perhaps biking events). International tourist appeal (which the IOC looks very favorably on) is nowhere close to that of the level of other major US cities (NYC, Chicago, SF, LA, Miami, etc.). So, the fact that the USOC chose Boston as their pick to represent the US bid for the 2024 Summer Games is quite laughable — unless they are deliberately trying to sabotage the US bid.

    Deep down, we all know the USOC selection of Boston over the other competitor host cities (SF, DC, and LA) was as corrupt as they come, even in a [host city selection] process famous for historic corruption. Of all the US cities that bid, Boston is really the least likely an “Olympic” city. Its also the least likely of most US cities to be able to change its 400-year old image to that of an Olympic city, even with deep-pocketed city boosters clamoring for the ego-boosting self-aggrandizement that their wealth can usually buy them.

    I’m not suggesting LA is the best alternative, I’m simply suggesting that ANY of the other host city competitors offer a better alternative to the winning bid city — and that says a lot about the whole USOC selection process.

    • “International tourist appeal…400-year old image”

      Sounds like a great tourist appeal to me.

      Many Olympic host cities were also selected for their historical appeal. Athens (1896, 2004), Rome (1960), London (1908, 1948, 2012), Tokyo (1964, 2020), Mexico City (1968), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Beijing (2008) are all places with hundreds, if not thousands of years as a historical city which has their own international charm for tourists.

      Boston is a great city full of its own charm and historical places. It’s where the first seeds of the American Revolution began with everything from the Paul Revere House, USS “Old Ironsides” Constitution, Battle of Bunker Hill, Faneuil Hall, Boston Tea Party and all the sights on the Freedom Trail. Going back further to the colonial years, you have Salem, known for the Salem Witch Trials (popularized by Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as an allegory to McCarthyism in the 1950s) is accessible by MBTA’s Newburyport/Rockport Line.

      Boston has it’s own charm that would be good for an Olympic host city.

      Besides, I think whole idea of “LA is better than [insert whatever city] for the Olympics” is practically stupid. We should be in support of ANY US city that gets selected, not pouting and going on tantrums that one city is suited better for the Olympics over another.