Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 19

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Art of Transit: Sailboat in Santa Monica Bay. Such sunsets will be more transit accessible in 2016 when the Expo Line opens with a station a stone's throw from the Santa Monica Pier. Booyahdiddy. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Art of Transit: Sailboat in Santa Monica Bay. Such sunsets will be more transit accessible in 2016 when the Expo Line opens with a station a stone’s throw from the Santa Monica Pier. Booyahdiddy. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Law-breaking drivers disrespecting new Wilshire bus lanes (Streetsblog L.A.)

Joe Linton paid a visit to Wilshire Boulevard last Friday to see how the peak hour bus lanes are working. What he saw: many motorists illegally using the lanes, which are reserved for buses and bikes only from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with the exception of vehicles making right turns. Excerpt:

It seems that a few LAPD motorcycle officers patrolling these lanes at morning and evening rush hours could easily write dozens of right turn violation tickets. After some police enforcement, the word would likely get out, and drivers would stay out of the lane, benefiting the commute times for the tens of thousands of Wilshire bus riders.

SBLA will make inquiries to LAPD and find out how LAPD bus-only lane enforcement activity has been proceeding. The first phase of the bus lanes opened in June 2013, so, for some stretches, there should be a couple years’ worth of enforcement records.

As Joe writes, his observations were a limited sample. But still — he saw what he saw. Anyone else out there seeing the same thing?

Amtrak crash illuminates obstacles to plan for controlling train speeds (New York Times)

In the wake of the still unexplained Amtrak crash in Philadelphia that killed eight passengers last week, the NYT takes a look at difficulties in installing positive train control systems across the country. The news isn’t very good — it’s almost certain that Congress will extend a deadline for PTC to be installed beyond the original 2015 target date.

Nearly seven years after Congress instructed the nation’s railroads to install an automatic speed control system by the end of 2015, the crash of a speeding Amtrak train last week has laid bare the industry hurdles, regional rivalries and often dismal economics of rail safety.

Miles of track on Southern California’s commuter lines still lack the system years after a 2008 crash killed 25 people there, fueling the drive to install the technology, known as positive train control. Chicago’s commuter rails are not likely to have the safety system for years, while comparatively sleepy train service on Amtrak’s Michigan line already has it. [snip]

Progress has come more quickly on California’s Metrolink system, where the fatal 2008 collision prompted the congressional mandate. The system is already in use on three of Metrolink’s seven lines, covering 214 miles of track, and is being tested on a fourth, the Orange County line, said Jeff Lustgarten, a spokesman.

As many of you know, Metro and four other county transportation agencies fund Metrolink (Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties).

The story also goes on to point out that passenger railroads — already pretty safe — have been getting safer in recent years. As for PTC, not everyone views it as a panacea and some believe there are existing or lesser braking systems that would get the job done. That said, it’s also pretty clear that for Amtrak and many commuter railroads, the funding for PTC remains the greatest challenge, something which can probably be said about a lot of America’s infrastructure challenges.

Deals in place to replace Sports Arena with a soccer stadium (LAObserved)

The new soccer stadium would serve as home to a second Major League Soccer team — with the Galaxy playing in Carson at their own stadium. Whether truly necessary or not, who knows? But it’s good to see that someone (unlike the NFL) believes that Exposition Park can serve as home to a pro team. Plus the site is transit friendly, with the Expo Line’s Expo Park/USC Station a short walk away.

As for the Sports Arena, “the dump that jumps” was a fun place to see a concert.

Why your subway is delayed, explained as an 8-bit video game (CityLab)

Fun new video from the New York MTA that explains how a delay to one subway train and have a ripple effect across an entire line — and how the MTA goes about trying to get trains back on time.

Public works board approves sidewalk deficient Hyperion Bridge (Streetsblog LA)

To road diet or not on Glendale-Hyperion Bridge (KCET)

The city of L.A. is pursuing a bridge design that would only have sidewalks on one side — and would not reduce any traffic lanes. Proponents of the design say a road diet could worsen traffic. Opponents say a nearby planned pedestrian-bike bridge over the L.A. River is no substitute for direct access for pedestrians via the bridge. It’s a tough issue. The city’s Board of Public Works approved the one sidewalk configuration last week but approval of the full City Council is needed before construction can begin.

I’ve Been Doing Jiu-jitsu Since the Fourth Grade (Zocalo Public Square)

Dorian Taylor. Photo: Zocalo Public Square.

Dorian Taylor. Photo: Zocalo Public Square.

The latest in the ongoing series of Metro rider profiles by Zocalo.

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7 replies

  1. I see people eating and drinking on Metro all the time and littering the streets too. I don’t see law enforcement!! Something has to be done! We must have police enforcing every aspect of our lives for every minor offense, ranging from not being able to throw a frisbee without the consent of a lifeguard, walking your dog 1,500 from a house of worship, to women being fined for wearing a house coat while driving!!! (I’m not making these up, look it up yourself:

    Be realistic people, law enforcement are just regular human beings like you and I. They can’t be everywhere all the time, and can’t pop out of thin air either. Funding is limited, police officers require taxpayer money so take your pick: you want more money being spent on Metro or more money spent on police?

    Money doesn’t grow on trees so you have to make do with what funding there is. Alternatively, you can vote for taxing yourself more, but people don’t like that idea either, considering how our tax dollars are spent is vague and there’s no accountability or trust in our government how they spend our money in the first place.

  2. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that enforcement would be minimal or non-existent. I see people violating the No Stopping zones during rush hour on La Cienega all the time and never seen enforcement of that either, and those aren’t new.

  3. I’ve seen rampant violations of the new brt lanes on wilshire between san Vicente and fairfax (EB in the afternoon…less so WB in AM, but there is less traffic then). I know it doesn’t help that in PM they are driving in from Beverly Hills which doesn’t participate, but there needs to be better signage and more enforcement. In fact…any enforcement. Have not seen any efforts to enforce since they went into effect.

  4. If the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge were anywhere else in the city or county, there would be no talk of “road diet,” nor a nearby bicycle and pedestrian bridge. The “hipster triangle” gets nice things. It’s all about creative class property values.

    • “The “hipster triangle” gets nice things. It’s all about creative class property values.”

      Life isn’t fair so get over it. If you don’t like taxpayers being spent in one place while being overlooked at another, perhaps you should be more vocal in politics and note that to your local politician. If results are going the way you see, you can always vote against the incumbent in the next election.

      You don’t vote, you don’t participate, you get nothing. It’s simple as that.