How We Roll, Monday, September 14

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Art of Transit: 

SK Kakraba performs at Union Station on Friday as part of the Metro Arts Presents series. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

SK Kakraba performs at Union Station on Friday as part of the Metro Arts Presents series. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Twitter Interestingness: 

You’re welcome! HWR college football observation: It will be interesting to see how USC and UCLA perform once they’re done beating up on the early season tomato cans. Idaho? Really?

EPA calls 710 report inadequate (Press-Telegram)


The federal environmental agency said the 26,000-page document released by Caltrans in March does not assess whether a 6.3-mile tunnel extension would help or hinder air quality in the region, the smoggiest in the nation.

Specifically, in an Aug. 27 letter to Caltrans, the agency said more study is needed to determine if concentrated emission points, known as hot spots, would occur near the entrances to the proposed tunnel at the 10 Freeway near Valley Boulevard and at the 210/134 freeways interchanges in Pasadena.

Caltrans and Metro released a draft environmental review earlier this year for the SR-710 North Study. The study looks at five alternatives to help improve transportation in the area around the gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra/El Sereno and Pasadena: a freeway tunnel, light rail, bus rapid transit, road and traffic signal improvements and the legally-required no-build option.

As the article notes, the South Coast Air Quality Management District had earlier been critical of the study, alleging that it did not adequately assess impacts to air quality and public health. Comments from the SQAMD and EPA are part of the environmental review process in which people, groups and agencies comment on the studies — with agencies (in this case Caltrans and Metro) then responding.

Metro ridership update

Here are the latest systemwide ridership estimates from July 2015. DX means average weekday boardings:

July2015 ridership

For the sake of comparison, here are the ridership estimates from July 2014:


The gist of it: a slight decrease over July 2014’s numbers. One notable difference is Saturday ridership, which was likely impacted with the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Saturday this year. Otherwise, the bar charts tell the story with ridership beginning to dip in the first half of 2014 and having stayed mostly flat since. As I’ve written before, there’s probably several factors at play: more fare enforcement, last year’s fare increases, ongoing maintenance/improvement programs impacting rail service and, of course, maintenance issues and delays.

Related: Let’s Go L.A. takes a look at bus ridership numbers.

From the Dept. of Told-You-So: The four teams mentioned by HWR as potential Super Bowl suitors — the Packers, Patriots, Bills and Bengals — all won on Sunday. The Los Angeles Rams* and Los Angeles Chargers* also came up big. For those who Go Metro to Illegal Bookies, the Bills will defeat the Pats this coming Sunday.

First new subway stop in quarter century (NYT)

Cool video about the 7,000-foot extension the crosstown 7 Line, which opened on Sunday in San Francisco East. Development is already occurring near the new station and the more new buildings are expected.

And this observation:

Things to read while sitting/standing/stuck on transit: The proliferation of phones with cameras, selfie sticks and people who need to take a photo of everything they see has put photographer Thom Hogan in an understandably grumpy mood. Good article on what he dubs the Look At Me decade.

BART to reward commuters who commute during off-peak hours (

With ridership up — in June more than 429,000 average weekday boardings — the BART rail system in the Bay Area plans to run more trains, longer trains and offer cash incentives for riders willing to wait until off-peak hours to ride the rails.

Study predicts Antarctica ice melt if all fossil fuels are burned (NYT)

If humanity manages by the mid-22nd century to burn all the Earth’s fossil fuels, sea levels would rise 160 feet after the Antarctica ice sheet melts, according to a new study in the journal Science Advances. Alarming excerpt:

A sea level rise of 200 feet would put almost all of Florida, much of Louisiana and Texas, the entire East Coast of the United States, large parts of Britain, much of the European Plain, and huge parts of coastal Asia under water. The cities lost would include Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Washington, New York, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London, Paris, Berlin, Venice, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Shanghai, Sydney, Rome and Tokyo.


And downtown Los Angeles? If I’m reading Google Maps correctly, Union Station and the Metro Mothership is about 277 feet above sea level. Plus, I’m on the 19th floor. Whew.

On a more serious note, obviously this is a study that will be controversial because it reaches for some really hypothetical scenarios.Perhaps most interesting, the study seems also to confirm that current predictions for sea level increases are scientifically sound.

Sea levels rose an average of .06 inches a year because of climate change between 1880 and 2013, according to the U.S. EPA. Under different “emissions scenarios,” here are expected sea level increases this century:



As we like to occasionally current and future riders, taking transit instead of driving alone is generally a good way to reduce your greenhouse gas imprint. There are certainly variables involved but the gist of it is this: a bus or train carrying a lot of people burns fossil fuels more efficiently than a car that gets average fuel economy with a single occupant.

I’m also on Twitter, Instagram and have a photo blog where I share my non-transportationy stuff. Don’t want to comment but want to reach me? Email me!

7 replies

  1. The BART idea with points and prizes sounds too gimmicky and complicated. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just have separate peak and off-peak fares? I guess a fare structure change is a long process, while points incentives can be implemented faster.

  2. I understand that the rail option in the 710 gap study really wouldn’t provide much of an alternative for people using the 710 but if the tunnel isn’t desired by the locals then i’d say expand our rail system. it needs it!

    • The need for closing the 710 gap is primarily driven by trucks going to and from the port, and most truckers would be uncomfortable lugging their 40-foot containers on Metro. Caltrans really should’ve considered a freight rail alternative, something like “Alameda Corridor North”.

      Personally I’m in favor of the no build or traffic management systems solution. A tunnel is just too expensive, and there are better transportation uses for the money.

    • There is also trucks to consider. Trucks can’t use rail. Trucks going from the Port to the AV and points north either have to go on the 5 next to downtown or take the 101 or 405. These are not good options.