How We Roll, Thursday, Sept. 24

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Newsflash!: U.S. District Court Judge Fernando M. Olguin upheld the environmental studies for the Crenshaw/LAX Line in a ruling on Wednesday. The Crenshaw Subway Coalition had sued Metro, alleging the studies were flawed and that street level sections of the project would have too great an impact on local residents and businesses.

From the Dept. of AC/DC: 

Well, you have to love YouTube cover songs done dirt cheap. If you’re headed to the AC/DC show on Monday, the Dodger Stadium Express is running. Looks like there are still some tickets left — and that Angus Young & Co. are gonna be playing in front of a big crowd.

Speaking of the Dodger Stadium Express: looks like the last possible date it will run this year could be Nov. 1, barring any rainouts in Toronto, Kansas City, Arlington, New York or Los Angeles (El Nino?). My three cents: ending the baseball season in November is silly late especially if playing outdoors in Chicago, N.Y or many other parts of the country. Not to sound like Grandpa Simpson, but when I was a kid regularly scheduled doubleheaders kept the season from starting too early and ending too late.


Assuming the current team standings hold, interesting fact — only one of the top 10/11 hitters in baseball will make it to the post-season. The Royals have a couple of guys almost in the top 10 and are the best hitting team in baseball. I would think the Dodgers with Greinke and Kershaw would be happy playing any of the light-hitting teams in the playoffs, which include the Mets, Cubs and Astros. The Cubs with Jake Arrieta could be a problem — as I would expect L.B. (Los Brooklyn) wouldn’t want him to cancel out a Greinke or Kershaw start.


Open thread: Metro considering bus stop thinning in network plan (Streetsblog LA)

Metro is in the process of studying a frequent bus network that add service on some routes and lessen it on others — while also possibly reducing the number of bus stops to speed bus travel up (especially local buses). The idea behind the plan is to increase bus ridership, which has been flat or decreased in recent years.

As Streetsblog notes, bus stop thinning is usually controversial because it means some folks will have to walk farther to their stop. But some agencies have pulled it off. The frequent service plan is expected to go to the Metro Board in late fall.

Why nonstop travel in personal pods has yet to take off (NPR)

A key feature of pod transit: the pods go where the tracks go. Photo: Wikipedia.

A key feature of pod transit: the pods go where the tracks go. Photo: Wikipedia.

An extremely un-skeptical look at a firm in Minneapolis that wants to build personal pod transit systems. I’m happy to supply the answer to the headline: pod cars lack the capacity of buses and trains and, contrary to what the NPR story asserts, they can’t simply go anywhere they want. They have to go where the tracks go. I think perhaps they could work as a first-mile, last-mile solution, i.e. connecting a rail line to different buildings in an office park type setting. Dumb story.

Bicyclists shouldn’t get a free ride when it comes to repairing roads (LAT)

It's frowny face time when bike races get in the way of a Tahoe vacation. Photo by Steve Hymon.

It’s frowny face time when bike races get in the way of a Tahoe vacation. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Some fairly tortured logic here. The gist of it: columnist George Skelton got stuck trying to reach his getaway cabin at Lake Tahoe because of a bike race. Such road closures for bicyclists, he argues, should be paid for by cyclists, as should general road repairs. A small bicycle license fee, he also argues (perhaps more coherently), might help raise more money for bike projects.

One stat not in the article: when I’m on my bike, I weigh about 200 pounds — not exactly an asphalt beater. When I’m in my Subaru Outback, I weigh about 3,500 pounds. I would humbly suggest that vehicles have a significantly bigger impact on roads than do bikes. There’s nothing wrong with barking up a tree. Just make sure you’re barking up the right one 🙂

Things to read while sitting/standing/stuck on transit: With homelessness in L.A. again in the news (homelessness is always there while news coverage waxes and wanes), former LAT city editor Bill Boyarsky has a good three-part series at truthdig looking at the issue. It’s not that long a read and covers a lot of ground. Excerpt:

I have visited Los Angeles’ Skid Row for years while reporting for the Los Angeles Times and now for Truthdig, but I have never seen it so bad. It is now smaller and much more crowded than it once was. Gentrification has come to once sleazy parts of downtown, squeezing Skid Row into fewer blocks. Old hotels, which once offered low-cost housing, and office buildings have become expensive lofts, and tattered saloons have become fashionable purveyors of craft beer.

That’s probably a paragraph that will make some readers uncomfortable. After all, many — including me — are glad to see DTLA enjoy a revival of sorts. An interview with LA. City Attorney Mike Feuer lays out the dilemma: homeless encampments seem to be spreading, many people of all stripes want the city to crackdown on them and yet, there are still few places for the homeless to go. I don’t have any answers but I think Bill’s series is a worth a read and helps explain some of the many challenges at hand.

Things to read on transit 2: If you’re in the market for something different, the NYT’s obituary of baseball great Yogi Berra is excellent and covers a lot of ground. He played on 10 Yankee teams that won the World Series and four teams that played in the WS but lost. The Yankees were American League champions 14 of the 17 years he played for them. Incredible. And, of course, there was also the other great things about him, including his insistence that Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson did not, in fact, steal home plate in the ’55 Fall Classic (which btw ended on Oct. 4):

Looks to me like Robinson got under the tag.

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!

6 replies

  1. Every time I see someone advancing the idea of personal pods, I’m reminded of the scene in “Analyze This,” where Billy Crystal tells Robert De Niro to hit something, he’ll feel better. De Niro pulls out a gun and shoots the pillow. “You’re right. I do feel better!”

  2. “One stat not in the article: when I’m on my bike, I weigh about 200 pounds — not exactly an asphalt beater. When I’m in my Subaru Outback, I weigh about 3,500 pounds. I would humbly suggest that vehicles have a significantly bigger impact on roads than do bikes.”

    Let me throw in another wrench into this:

    Scooters and motorcycles fit somewhere between there (obviously a lot more heavier than a bicycle, but much, much more lighter than a car).

    One of the popular “vintage” type scooters that are being sold and becoming popular with the Millennial/hipster crowd today is the Buddy 150cc scooter, model shown below:

    It weighs approx. 220 lbs itself. And let’s say the person riding it has an average 180 lbs weight, the total weight is only 400 lbs. That’s about as heavy as an obese person, but not necessarily an asphalt beater either.

    Furthermore that Buddy 150cc scooter is a lot more fuel efficient that any hybrid vehicle out there with an average 70 MPG.

    Would it be fair to say that a scooter should pay the same registration fee as a normal sized car, despite that it’s lighter and more fuel efficient than any gas-powered car out on the road today?

    • Hey Drew;

      Good catch, pun intended. I fixed it. Thanks!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. Somebody should tell Mr. Skelton that less than 35 percent of roadway spending in California is funded by fuel taxes and other user fees:
    The remainder is paid from general funds and federal sources. That means we all pay, whether we drive or not. I have no problem with requiring everybody to pay their fair share. But until the fuel tax, or some other user fee is raised to pay for the auto/freight share, don’t complain that bike riders are getting a free ride.

  4. RE: homeless issue

    Well gee, you raise business taxes and sanction more ridiculous regulations, driving big job creators away to other states and raise the minimum wage that only encourage remaining businesses to move toward more automation, manufacturing and even filming isn’t even a major industry in LA anymore, with increasing rent prices all over town, what do you expect?

    You want to really fix homelessness, start creating jobs back to LA. And by that, I don’t mean jobs like working as an Amazon warehouse employee or as a barista of Starbucks.