How We Roll, Friday, July 24

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ART OF TRANSIT: A cargo ship on the mighty Columbia River near Astoria, Oregon. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Raise the gas tax already: our view (USA Today)

This editorial drills a few holes in its paddle and then takes a few swings in the hallway at Congress, arguing fixing our nation’s roads and expanding transit service in cities should be easy: raise the gas tax to 1993 levels and index it to inflation. As the editorial points out, Congress refuses to do that and has instead resorted to the kind of budgetary tricks that would get most private citizens into all sorts of trouble if they attempted with their own budgets.

In the meantime, Congress is still working on a multiyear transportation bill.

Bus schedules in chaos: mathematics might explain why your bus never comes when you expect it (Pacific Standard)

Fun article. A recent study found that it doesn’t take much — a bus speeding up a little or slowing a little, an aggressive driver, a traffic signal staying red a few seconds longer — and chaos theory kicks in. Meaning that a bus a couple minutes early one day may be a couple minutes late the next day even though much else hasn’t changed.

Bikes, sweat and tears: getting to work on two wheels in Los Angeles (KPCC)

T-reporter Meghan McCarty joins a ‘bike train’ for a ride from Silver Lake to JPL in La Canada Flintridge. Easy, it’s not. Fun fact: percentage wise, chilly-willy Minneapolis has a higher rate of bike commuters than sunny L.A.

L.A. business and cultural leaders want to see an Angels Flight plan (L.A. Times) 

The Metro Board approved a motion yesterday to have the agency recommend ways to get Angels Flight reopen. The funicular between Hill Street and Bunker Hill has been closed since 2013 because state regulators want several safety upgrades that the nonprofit that runs Angels Flight has not yet made, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

An online petition to reopen Angels Flight has attracted hundreds of signatures, but it’s unclear how Metro may help — the motion’s sponsor, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti — said it’s not his intent for Metro to take over the line, which presumably would be an expensive proposition. I assume it’s also a steep order for the city of L.A. Is it something downtown residents/businesses would pay for?

Hard to say. That’s one issue of having a giant downtown. Angels Flight probably means a lot to folks in the area around Bunker Hill, the Civic Center and Grand Central Market, but perhaps not so much to other downtown neighborhoods.

Folson, Orovilla and Shasta reservoirs, July 2015 (California Department of Water Resources) 

Not directly transportation related, except the people who take transit in California presumably need some water now and then.

Review: In “Oregon Trail,” two brothers take an 1800s-style road trip (New York Times) 

Photo by Baker County Tourism, via Flickr creative commons.

Photo by Baker County Tourism, via Flickr creative commons.

For those looking for something to read during their Transit Time, this one sounds fun — and is on my short list after I leave the company of Karl Ove Knausgaard, who is making for an excellent Gold Line companion.

Quasi-related: I recently watched “Meek’s Cutoff,” the 2010 film about a few families who get lost in eastern Oregon trying to find a shortcut along the trail. I certainly don’t mind films with slow pacing, but this one takes it to a whole level. But the film’s true crime is its ending, or lack thereof. Again, it’s one thing to have an ambiguous ending. It’s another to simply end the film in mid-narrative and to call it art. In other words, don’t waste your time or money.

In the spirit of not being entirely antisocial, yeah I’m on Twitter but lose five followers every time I tweet. I do slightly better (or is it slightly less worse?) on Instagram. My photo website and blog haven’t been kicked off the Internet. Yet. 



3 replies

  1. It’s too bad that Metro seems to have no interest in running Angels Flight. Although its use is primarily for downtown residents (a good reason for it to be part of Metro, IMHO), Angels Flight is actually a great way to get to Grand Ave. for those visiting MOCA or going to Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Colburn School and even the Music Center. It eliminates a long, steep two-block hike from the 1st St./Civic Center Red/Purple Line station because you can exit Pershing Square at the 4th St. side and you were right at the Angels Flight station. When the Broad Museum opens up, Angels Flight would make a great alternative for Red and Purple Line riders to the Regional Connector station now planned for 2nd and Hope because those riders don’t have to transfer. Treat Angels Flight as a transportation link, not a gimmick.

    • Thinking of Angels Flight as just a tourist attraction comes from the old car-centric culture we are leaving behind. But there really is no easy way by foot up to Bunker Hill from the historic core. Not everybody wants to or is capable of making that climb.

  2. Strictly specific to LA, there’s really no need for math here to explain that why our buses are late in LA.

    Anything can create gridlock or traffic jams in LA which the buses themselves rely on, anywhere from car chases, Ronald Reagan funeral procession, Michael Jackson funeral, social activism protests, paparazzis, LA Kings / LA Lakers / LA Dodgers victory parades, UCLA-USC games, CicLAvia, E3, Anime Expo, Space Shuttle Endeavour makings its way to the CA Science Center, Obama visits, 2016 POTUS hopefuls coming to town, you name it.

    Things that would be headline news in any other city is just daily life here. Obama has come here so often that it doesn’t even make big news anymore. We just take it that “oh, he’s here again. Great, now I have to adjust my commute to leave early.” That’s how we roll here in LA.

    This is our daily life here that there’s always something going on in this big metropolis of ours that’s going to cause congested streets somewhere which will affect bus schedules.