Transportation headlines, Tuesday, June 30

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7th St / Metro Center Station. Photo via Instagram @losangeles.

Train at Union Station. Photo via Instagram @losangeles.

Metrolink’s new chief looks to boost image (L.A. Times)

Dan Weikel talks to former Metro CEO Art Leahy about the challenges he faces as Metrolink’s new CEO. Some of these include broken ticket vending machines, an aging fleet of locomotives and a fare structure that discourages local trips.

On safety, Leahy talks about the implementation of positive train control, which he expects will be fully operational by the end of the year. He also hints at a more expedient fix for the Rice Avenue crossing in Oxnard, known for a history of fatal collisions and where a Metrolink train collided with a pick-up truck in February.

Watch a train pull into the Expo Line’s Palms Station (L.A. Magazine)

The Exposition Construction Authority held an event yesterday at the future Expo Line Palms Station to mark progress on the construction of Phase 2 of the Expo Line that will extend the existing line 6.6 miles from its current terminus in Culver City to downtown Santa Monica. Local officials attending the event were outgoing Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti and incoming Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas (the transition is effective tomorrow, by the way).

Over at Streetsblog L.A., Joe Linton posted a photo essay and the original video from the event. As Joe says, there’s still a lot of work to do and a specific completion date hasn’t been pinned down yet.

A nifty device to stop cars from driving too close to bikes (CityLab)

A police officer in Chattanooga, Tenn. took matters into his own hands to make his state’s three-foot passing law more enforceable for police. Tennessee, like California, passed a three-foot passing law that requires drivers to give bicyclists three feet of space between their vehicle and the bicyclist when passing.

The result of the officer’s effort is a bike handlebar-mounted ultrasonic device called BSMART that measures and displays the distance of passing cars and alerts the bicyclist if there’s a violation. The device also includes a mounted GoPro camera to record an infraction in progress. So has the new device helped with enforcement? Excerpt:

[The officer] has only used it consistently for a couple of weeks so far, sometimes while in full uniform and sometimes in plainclothes, working with other officers in marked cars to conduct the pursuit. He he has already pulled over about 25 drivers. (No surprise to learn that drivers give him a wider berth when he’s in uniform.)

He hasn’t written any citations yet, preferring to give warnings to those drivers who get too close. A lot of them, says Simmons, don’t know about the law. “The device has allowed me to interact with those who commit the violation and do some education,” he says. “A lot of people don’t know and have trouble judging three feet themselves.”

Technology like this can’t come fast enough. Another of today’s headlines from Transportationist cites a recent O.C. Register article that showed bicycling deaths occur more frequently at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., according to data from the California Highway Patrol.

While it’s a long shot to say that this type of device would change the behavior of every driver, simply knowing technology like this is out there — whether it’s used by bike-patrol officers or expanded to everyday bicyclists — is another incentive for drivers to take extra care around bicyclists.

L.A. has been really good to me (Zocalo Public Square)

Juan Mejia. Photo via Zocalo Public Square.

Juan Mejia. Photo via Zocalo Public Square.

The latest in the Zocalo Public Square rider profile series.

Why I’m leaving London [and moving to L.A.] (BoingBoing)

A quick and easy read about the author’s reasons for leaving London, a city he believes is on the decline. Supporting this belief is the bulk of the article, but what will most likely interest Source readers is that he’s chosen to move to Los Angeles instead. You might think the main reason is the weather, but it’s not.

You can find Joe on Twitter @joseph_lem.

3 replies

  1. How come I never hear any discussion about a three-foot passing law for pedestrians? Ever try to get in and out of your car when it is parallel-parked along Melrose during rush hour? Most drivers seem to think that if they stay within the lines of the lane they’re driving in that they are protected from liability should they hit you. I have had cars buzz by me at full speed with a lot less than three feet separating us.

  2. People in media move to Los Angeles ALL the time… especially when they are freelancing and want a cheaper home base than a NYC or London or SF. That does not make it a “statement” about LA being better than or worse than other places. People move to different cities all the time, and most cities have a net appreciation in population through the years (due to birth rates and larger new immigrant networks which draw similar immigrants in). The only times cities have lost population have been after some economic (Detroit after the auto industry layoffs) or geographic upheaval (New Orleans after Katrina, SF after the “great earthquake”).
    A move from London to Los Angeles doesn’t necessarily endorse all the progress that LA has made in the last 25 years — instead, it shows that people are waking up to the fact that LA is progressing into becoming a destination city that people want to put down roots in at this time. I celebrate that point, for sure!
    But I still love London or NYC or SF… and I definitely love LA!