How We Roll, Thursday, September 3

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Previously on How We Roll: we talked a lot about the prospect of a 2024 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and what our transportation network will look like then.

Reminder: Go Metro to USC and UCLA football seasoner openers this weekend.

The Art of Transit:

Caltrans offers $25K reward for most innovative transportation idea (Caltrans) 

Key phrase: the idea has to be for something that Caltrans can actually do to improve the freeways or other roads/railroads overseen by Caltrans. The website has all the details. My idea: close half of the entrance and exit ramps to the 210 in Pasadena.

On the westbound side, all the motorists trying to get on and off the 210 are co-mingling with all the traffic trying to move to the right to continue on the 210 west toward La Canada Flintridge and beyond. The result: an ugly free-for-all of cars, trucks and general mayhem.

I have no idea if that’s “actionable,” but just wanted to get it off my chest. Plus, 25 boxes of ziti would be nice. You get a pretty good glimpse of the the constipated traffic on this stretch from those big bright windows on the Gold Line as it blissfully trundles along the center of the freeway between Lake Avenue and Sierra Madre Villa — and, starting next year, freeway views all the way to Arcadia! 🙂

Here’s the timeline for Pershing Square renewal (Curbed LA)

Source: Wikimedia.

Source: Wikimedia.

I just wrote yesterday that it would be great if P-Square got a makeover before a potential 2024 Olympics came to town. This has been a goal of DTLA activists and Councilman Jose Huizar has been on board. The post provides the timeline for hiring architects and doing the work — with a goal of being done in 2020.

Great news. Pershing Square is one of the very transit-accessible parks in our region, as it’s right across Hill Street from a Red/Purple Line Station and numerous Metro Bus lines serve the neighborhood. The above postcard is from sometime between 1930 and 1945. My humble suggestion: use the past as a guide!

What you need to know about the new Metro TAP cards (SGV Tribune) 

In six months, Foothill Transit in the San Gabriel Valley is doing away with paper transfers. That means that riders who want to get the reduced cost of transferring (50 cents compared to $1.50 full fare on FT) will need to have a TAP card. Excerpt:

To fill the gap, Metro plans on distributing 1 million TAP cards in the next seven months at major transfer points, said Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales. He said customers from the Antelope Valley, Foothill Transit, Gardena, Montebello and Torrance use TAP cards less often and have limited access to TAP as compared to other neighborhoods in the Southland.

A card can be purchased and loaded by going to or at 400 vendor locations, such as city halls, senior centers, rail stations and convenience stores. Friesema said Foothill Transit would like to see the cards mailed to future customers.

For Foothill, the changeover involves converting 43 percent of their riders who currently pay cash to TAP cards. Also, Foothill will need to create its own paper transfers for its riders connecting to Omnitrans in San Bernardino County and Orange County Transportation Authority buses, because TAP is only valid in Los Angeles County.

Things to listen to while sitting/standing/stuck on transit: Really interesting, perhaps depressing, Planet Money podcast titled “Hard Work is Irrelevant.” The podcast looks at Netflix, which is known for evaluating workers with an emphasis on the results they get.

Here’s the famous slide presentation mentioned in the podcast. The key one: “we’re like a pro sports team, not a kids’ recreational team. Netflix leaders hire, develop and cut smartly, so we have stars in every position.”

Interesting. Not sure entirely how I feel but I will say this: any company that had the guts to produce and air “The Unbreakable Kimmee Schmidt” must be doing something right.

Caltrans proposes wildlife overpass on 101 freeway (LAT)

Source: Resource Conservation District.

Source: Resource Conservation District.

The overpass would be in Agoura Hills near Liberty Canyon Road. The idea is to help wildlife — in particular mountain lions — travel back-and-forth between habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains and the Simi Hills and mountains to the north. Enhancing those connections would hopefully prevent more roadkill and prevent genetic bottlenecks. The population of lions in the Santa Monicas is very small and inbreeding could eventually doom them.

It’s a miracle they’ve lasted this long. It sounds like the funding ($33 million to $38 million) has not been secured yet and there is another two years of planning. Twelve lions have been killed crossing roads in the area since 2002.

Here’s my question: how much is known about whether mountain lions — which are notoriously secretive animals — are more likely to use an overpass versus an underpass? That aside, I think it’s awesome there’s a serious effort underway to help native wildlife here. I was in Pinedale, Wyoming, over the summer and there was a wildlife bridge outside of town to help the local pronghorn migration.

Photo courtesy Julie Sheer.

Photo courtesy Julie Sheer.

Caltrans selling Pasadena homes (KCRW Press Play)

A short segment on Caltrans selling the homes that it has owned for decades in Pasadena and South Pasadena. The homes were purchased back in the day when the state hoped to fill the 710 gap with a surface freeway. But that prospect has been deader than a doornail for years and now it’s time for the homes to go. The question is whether some long-term tenants can afford them.

As for filling the gap, Caltrans and Metro released a draft environmental impact report earlier this year as part of the SR-710 North Study that is considering five alternatives for improving traffic in the western San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas. The alternatives: the legally-required no-build option, local road and intersection improvements, a freeway tunnel, light rail and bus rapid transit. The public comment period closed last month and the agencies have begun the long process of analyzing and responding to the comments.

Almost completely unrelated: while googling for a photo of the homes, I found this pic that says the home used in the original Halloween movie is in South Pas (the film was set in Illinois). I had no idea. More about it from the Coldwell Banker blog. Boo!



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1 reply

  1. “Netflix leaders hire, develop and cut smartly, so we have stars in every position.”
    Would not want to work in IT there. My experience shows that ‘stars’ are often type-A ‘primadonnas’ who are a nightmare to work with. Continuous measureable improvement only works up to a point, then you have to wait for a breakthrough that is out of your control.

    In late breaking TAPTOGO news, after my duplicate account issue was resolved I noticed that transaction history is now available. If you click / tap on the ‘+’ sign by the TAP card record and then ‘View History’, it expands into both Ride and Sale History. Good job, Metro! Perhaps others didn’t find it due to the lack of ‘balloon’ help.