Bike-sharing as a bridge between commute gaps (L.A. Times)
The Metro Board approved the contractor for Metro’s downtown pilot bike-share program at last month’s board meeting. The 65-kiosk, 1,100-bicycle system is expected to be up and running by spring 2016. If all goes well, the program will be expanded to other locations around L.A. County.
This L.A. Times article gives a good perspective on what will be gained with a bike-share program, but also looks at some of the challenges it may face. On the former, the new system is poised to serve as an effective first/last mile solution to provide transit riders a faster way to connect from bus stops or train stations to their ultimate destinations.
One of the largest challenges facing the new program is coordination with other cities, like Santa Monica and Long Beach, with bike-share programs already on the way. This issue dominated the discussion at last month’s Board meeting, and a number of possibilities for coordination are being looked at. It will become a much larger issue when Metro’s bike program expands nearer to the borders of those cities (e.g. Venice).
The article also explores the potential fare structure for the new program. Excerpt:
Metro hasn’t set a pricing structure yet, but is weighing two options. Under a membership model, users would buy a 24-hour pass, or pay a flat annual fee for unlimited number of trips that are shorter than a half-hour. The other option would integrate bike-share into the existing Metro fare structure, meaning for $1.75 one-way fee, passengers would be able to transfer between buses, trains and bikes for up to two hours.
The second option seems to be carrying favor with our Twitter followers. What say you Source readers?
Hating your transit agency won’t make it better (Human Transit)
Transit planner Jarrett Walker explains why transit agencies often shoulder most, if not all, of the blame when things go wrong despite many problems being a result of the political environment in which they exist.
Walker’s article comes after Vancouver residents voted against a transit sales tax referendum last week. This result is believed to be in large part due to declining trust in TransLink, the region’s transit agency. Walker worked with TransLink in the past and knew it as a forward-thinking transit planning agency dealing with high-demand in a dense region, though not without its issues. Walker lists four reasons why it’s so easy to blame regional transit agencies when there usually are many issues at play and gives suggestions on what to do instead.
It’s a great read with many interesting points, so as to not focus on just one and leave out another, I’ll leave you to click the article for more.
Nothing like the New York City Subway on a hot summer day. And I mean that in the worst and smelliest way. Even though all of New York’s subway cars have air conditioning, the units can occasionally break down, making those humid, summer days so much worse for the unsuspecting rider. Excerpt:
The worst month is July, when 15 hot cars are reported by riders each day. On really hot days, that number can triple. Like on July 19, 2013, when 54 cars were taken out of service due to air-conditioning repairs, according to the MTA data obtained by Stevens. The high temperature that day? 96 degrees Fahrenheit.
To help commuters avoid these situations, WNYC made a nice little field guide. If you’re without the field guide — so that would be apply to all L.A. Metro riders — the article suggests avoiding empty train cars when others are full, which is usually a sign that something is amiss. In my experience, I’ve found this to be practical for a variety of circumstances.
A spotlight on Seattle Department of Transportation engineer Dongho Chang who is gaining celebrity within the transit community for his openness to experiment with new ideas, and his responsiveness and passion on bike, pedestrian and transit projects. Excerpt:
“The data shows that on that corridor, buses are serving half of that traffic at peak hour,” he said. “People were diametrically opposed, viscerally angry and we showed them the data on why it was the right decision.”
That willingness to make people angry and not bow to the loudest dissenting voices is rare among bureaucrats trained to run from controversy and seek the path of least resistance with new projects. It’s especially uncommon to see public leadership like Chang’s coming not from a DOT commissioner like Gabe Klein of Washington D.C. and then Chicago, or Mike Bloomberg’s chief of streets, Janette Sadik Khan, but from a rank-and-file engineer.
I listen to Tom Waits (Zocalo Public Square)
The latest in the Zocalo Public Square Metro rider spotlight series.
You can follow Joe on Twitter at @joseph_lem.
Categories: Transportation Headlines