Things to read/look at while sitting/standing/waiting/stuck on transit: The above photos are a fraction of the thousands of photos collected by Kipp Teague at his Project Apollo page on Flickr. Pretty great stuff to thumb through, especially if you saw “The Martian” over the weekend. All photos courtesy of NASA.
HWR quickie movie review: “The Martian” is great and well worth seeing on the big screen. While I’m not personally persuaded (yet) that we need to send humans to Mars, I really like the movie as both a celebration of human ingenuity and diversity. The movie was based on the book, “The Martian,” which is available in paperback and gets into a lot of the science behind the decisions made — but does so in a very entertaining fashion. Also this: Popular Mechanics considers whether it’s possible to grow potatoes on Mars.
Things to read/look at while sitting/standing/waiting/stuck on transit 2: If you liked “The Martian,” you may like another book about exploration, “In the Kingdom of Ice,” by Hampton Sides. This one is set in the late 1800s and follows a doomed American expedition to the North Pole — at a time when some experts thought only America had the gumption and know-how to reach the Pole. I’m about halfway through and it’s a page turner. Also available in paperback or on tablets. Article here on the lingering dispute over who first reached the North Pole.
Things to read on transit 3: if you’re interested in exploration closer to home, I also heartily recommend Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage about the Lewis & Clark expedition and Tony Horwitz’s Blue Latitudes about working on a replica of Capt. Cook’s ship. Both will keep you fine company while on the bus, train or wherever. Bill Bryson’s “Walk in the Woods” about hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail is also hilarious and informative.
Could overnight deliveries be the solution to traffic congestion? (Washington Post)
Probably not, but there’s a new federal program — with a whopping $200,000 in funding — to help cities encourage more trucks to deliver goods at nights instead of blocking streets during the day. Of course, there’s a challenge that comes with that: night-time truck noise in neighborhoods with a mix of residential and commercial.
LAX officials announced the agreement late last week. Fares will begin at $7 and could rise after six months. Good news for those who don’t like driving themselves to the airport via the 405 or other congested South Bay streets.
Not so fast: unintended consequences of TODs (Architects Newspaper)
The concern is that new parking rules in Chicago — rules that allow new developments near transit without parking — could encourage more tear-downs of historic or near-historic buildings. Long story short: another story about gentrification not going down easy.
Three surprising negatives of low prices at the pump (Motley Fool)
Not sure about the ‘surprising’ part, but the recent plunge in gas prices — California included — could encourage people to drive more and will likely hurt economies in countries that depend heavily on the energy sector.
Here’s a Wall Street Journal article from earlier this year about the impact of gas prices on transit ridership. Some say it’s a big impact, others say not so much. Attentive readers know that Metro’s ridership has dipped since April ’14, a time span that includes gas prices well over $4 a gallon. Other factors likely at play: fare evasion crackdown, fare increase, more gate locking, an improve local economy, delays due to maintenance or service disruptions.
The reign of recycling (NYT)
A critical look at recycling that suggests that many recycling efforts fail to have a beneficial impact on the environment and cost a lot more than simply burying trash.
Read the article for a full explanation. I include it here because it’s a skeptical piece about an important topic that many local governments and elected officials have pursued. Nothing wrong with kicking the tires of something, especially something that many hold up as a righteous cause.
Quasi-related: a friend of this column dropped me a note reminding me to be cautious of the way I discuss electric buses (Metro has purchased five of them, which are in the testing phase). Her issue is one that I have noted before: electric buses (and trains, too) rely on electricity that may have been generated using coal, meaning that the buses aren’t exactly zero emissions — it’s just that the emissions are burped into the atmosphere in another location.
That point is duly noted. I appreciate the skepticism. That said, we’ve also noted this: the cleaner that electricity becomes, the cleaner that the buses become. California has become increasingly less reliant on coal in recent times and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has said it is phasing out purchasing electricity generated by burning coal at the infamous Intermountain and Navajo stations in Utah and Arizona, respectively, in coming years.
Things to read on transit 3: How Ned Yost made the Kansas City Royals unstoppable in the NYT Magazine. The oft-criticized manager explains why he doesn’t overly rely on analytics and his rationale for decisions that others think are dunderheaded, at best. A Dodgers-Royals World Series would certainly be fun, even if we’re getting way ahead of ourselves.
Related: the Dodger Stadium Express is running in the post-season with service to Games 1 and 2 against the Mets this Friday and Saturday. We’re still waiting for Major League Baseball to set game times with all four division series set to play that day. The Cubs and Pirates certainly aren’t looking ahead, with Chicago’s Jake Arrieta starting against the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in Wednesday’s wildcard game.
Quasi-related: a discussion on the L.A. Reddit page about the appropriateness of Metro’s Twitter feud with the New York MTA. It’s reddit, so there’s some AOL, adult-oriented language.
Recent How We Rolls:
Oct. 1: all about cities — gentrification, TODs vs parking, the changing DTLA skyline, Show Me a Hero, cities and transit and diversity.
Sept. 30: Can Uber and Lyft solve our first-mile-last-mile problems?, trains and cleanliness, the blessing of the infrastructure.
Sept. 29: Richard Katz weighs in on the San Fernando Valley’s transit needs, bill signed for hit-and-run alerts on electronic freeway signs, Shell exits the arctic, the N.Y. Islanders new goal horn brought to you by the NYMTA
Sept. 28: Lunar eclipse over Metro, the San Fernando Valley wish list of transit projects, things to read on transit (profile of Grimes in the New Yorker) and an update on the five electric buses delivered to Metro earlier this year.
Sept. 22: New York subway’s ‘pizza rat,’ more on China’s bid to build high-speed rail to Vegas, a motion that seeks to make college/vocational TAP cards easier and cheaper to obtain and books versus tablets on transit.
Categories: Transportation Headlines