How We Roll, Thursday, July 23

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For bus riders, less is more for some and nothing for others (KCET)

Writer and long-time transit rider D.J. Waldie ruminates on a possible policy change at Metro that would shift bus service hours from low-ridership lines to busier routes in order to offer more frequent service in those corridors. D.J. is concerned, however, that this amounts to offering better service to discretionary riders on higher-income corridors while leaving the truly transit dependent — the folks he meets on buses late at night — behind.

Jarrett Walker at Human Transit also wrote about this recently — and offers a different perspective. I’ve met with Metro staff and will also be writing about this soon. One point of emphasis: this is certainly important and is something that is underway but requires approval of the Metro Board of Directors. I do want to emphasize that the intent is not to reduce overall bus service hours but rather to redistribute some of them — and to make some other improvements to help boost bus ridership and make it more financially viable.

Metro’s dreary, dangerous Rosa Park Station in Willowbrook to get a major makeover (L.A. Times) 

So much for the days of short headlines when the number of adjectives were somewhat limited! The article looks at the proposed project to provide better lighting, signage, access to buses and more at the Rosa Parks Station, which serves as a transfer point between the Blue and Green Lines and is the fourth busiest Metro Rail station behind Union Station, 7th/Metro and North Hollywood.

The project would cost $65 million — funding that Metro is trying to patch together from a variety of sources. Excerpt: “The station has a long way to go to make it nice,” said Tim Lindholm, Metro’s executive officer for capital projects. “We want to flip it on its head, make it a bright, safe and secure place where you’d want to be.”

A Senate bill that makes roads and railroads less safe (NYT)

The NYT editorial page is not crazy about aspects of the Senate’s version of the multiyear transportation funding bill. In particular, the Times criticizes a provision that would delay implementation of anti-collision technology for our nation’s railroads and other provisions that would allow 18-year-olds to drive freight trucks on the interstates. Excerpt: “Even by the low standards of the current Congress, these bills are egregious examples of faithfully saying yes to everything industry wants, in this case the transportation companies.”

One note: Metrolink, which is funded in part by Metro and runs commuter rail in our region, has already started to install the anti-collision technology, putting it well ahead of many other railroads.

The art of the interchange (Politico)

Aerial photographs of freeway interchanges. Surprise, surprise: Our region is well represented 🙂

Quasi-related: Utah is doing some interesting things with its basic freeway entrances and exits, flipping the direction of travel on bridges above to eliminate left turn signals needed for motorists to enter and exit the freeway. Here is an example of what they’re doing in Utah, although I’m not entirely sure this pic is from Utah:



A new climate change danger zone? (New Yorker) 

When it comes to climate change, I consider anything written by Elizabeth Kolbert to be a must read. In this article, she looks at one of the thornier points of climate change: no one really knows exactly how much the average global temperatures need to rise to provoke all types of havoc from rising sea levels. A new study suggests that two degrees Celsius is the trigger, which is lower than political agreements.

As we’ve mentioned before, switching from driving — especially driving alone in a vehicle with average fuel efficiency — to taking transit, biking or walking is a good way to lower your carbon footprint.

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7 replies

  1. Love the photo series on interchanges – brought back real memories.

    When I lived in Ontario the 400 / Alan Expressway (with a TTC – Toronto Transit Commission subway track running through the middle – look hard!) was the major bottleneck – big decision was whether to take the 401 west – up in the picture – on the express lanes (5 lanes in the middle) or the collectors (3 lanes on the side). Usually express was faster, but not always. I also worked on the concept lighting design of the 404 / 407 – at the time, computer modelling wasn’t what it is now and we couldn’t decide whether the bottom decks needed tunnel lighting or not. Good times!

    I also wonder if the I 10 / 101 interchange has killed more people that the gallows. To another poster’s point: Cloverleafs have fallen out of favor because of the speed differentials at the conflict points – people coming off a tight curve are trying to merge with high speed traffic.

    I don’t live in LA, just a frequent visitor and transit geek, which is how I know the Trimet (Portland Or) is also called “How we roll”. They had the name first, but this blog is way better.

  2. Diverging diamond interchange. Interesting concept, although I don’t see it doing anything better than the time-honored (albeit real estate intensive) full-cloverleaf pattern.

    It reminds me of at least one or two Silver Line stations, the ones with a single central platform.

  3. Interchanges (Sigh). The beautiful beast. Ive had a ironic love affair with them since I was a kid. I say ironic because i’ve NEVER driven in Los Angeles my whole life here. Luckily the Blue and Green lines were there at the age I shoudlve got my drivers license. Living in L.A. though, you’ll always need a freeway at some point and interchanges have always fascinated me because they are precise and BIG! Watching the 105 get built when I lived in Lennox was always amazing at sunset. The silhouettes were always very futuristic to me. And being an 80s baby, id always thought, it would kinda look like that after the (if there was a) nuclear apocalypse. CRAZY! I can also remember the time before the 110/105 Interchange was built and how that area is fully devoid of sunlight now. That thing is a great piece of engineering and architecture with Metro integrated. Ideal right? These things will be relics in the future, and I’m glad that someone was able to take these photographs. My friends just think Im an engineering geek when I talk about the interchanges or romanticize them. Then they realise I don’t have a car too. lol

    Metro could take note though. I think interchanges are a good template on configuring train/subway lines. Almost like the regional connector, but a bit more complex. Maybe expensive, but rather efficient and possibly longer lasting than the interchanges themselves. Why transfer, when your train could just make a left hook? In example Wilshire/Normandie left hook before Vermont/Wilshire and just connect with Vermont and beverly, and so forth. It would create a more fluid system if the tracks could handle the frequency. Im pushing it, but Id even extend a segment of the line further up Vermont to the foot of Griffith/LosFeliz (if allowed) and boom, a new line is born between potentially Wilshire Western and Griffith/LosFeliz. I I probably would see this in my lifetime, but hey; these things just cross my mind.

  4. Steve – That’s a divergent diamond interchange – It works surprisingly well in city simulator called Cities Skylines 🙂

    • Thanks! After using such interchanges a couple of times I think I like them. It’s just a little confusing first times through!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. They made a mistake on the 110/101 interchange image (the four level). They called it the 10/101 interchange.