Art of Transit:
From the Department of It’s Important: Dive into the weeds and learn about Metro’s potential 2016 ballot measure and long-range plan update. Work is well underway to figure out which projects may be included and if you care about that list, now is the time to get up to speed and get involved.
From the Department of Self Promotion: My colleague Joe Lemon has constructed a fascinating look at 12 L.A. area communities before and after transit. Check out the satellite maps such as this one of Little Tokyo in DTLA:
From the Department of Different Mets Opponent, Similar Bad Feelings:
And, yes, the Dodger Stadium Express is ready to go on five days rest for the big game Thursday afternoon against the Mets and then will be ready to take the mound again on Saturday and Sunday against the Cubs.
A critical look at the project that will build a new platform for the Silver Line adjacent to the Patsouras Transit Plaza at L.A. Union Station. The cost of the station has risen to $37 million from $17 million and construction has yet to start.
One of the big hold-ups, according to Metro: accurate mapping of the subway station underneath the location of the platform. That’s important, as the platform will be elevated and needs to be anchored into the ground. The initial cost projection by the agency was also low — Metro didn’t realize the scope of the work that would need to be done, including widening of a freeway bridge sitting on top of utilities and the subway.
Obviously a tough story. On the plus side, the people interviewed inside and outside of Metro seem to agree that it’s a good project that will make it easier to access the Silver Line at Union Station while making the station safer than the current stop adjacent to the freeway ramp on Alameda. The project is currently scheduled to be complete in spring or early summer 2017.
Attentive readers already know (and many dislike) that TAP cards do eventually expire, although not as often as in the past. The Weekly reports that riders who have purchased TAP cards have a cumulative of $1.3 million that they have yet to transfer to new TAP cards. As the story notes:
So what does the MTA do with the stranded $1.3 million? Right now, nothing. The TAP cardholder agreement gives the MTA the right to draw down the balances on expired or inactive cards at the rate of $1 per month. However, the agency hasn’t gotten around to doing so yet. [snip]
You just have to find your expired card, and call the toll-free number during business hours.
If you have an expired card and money still on it, call 866-TAPTOGO during business hours to transfer the money to a new card. It may not be an ideal arrangement, but Metro wants to see customers get their balances restored.
Farhad Manjoo uses his State of the Art column to look at one of the notable startup failures of recent times: the luxury buses that briefly trolled San Francisco for $6 a ride and complete with vegan snacks, a coffee bar and wifi. This is an awesome column.
Leap, in retrospect, was a bold idea that might have had legs. Muni, San Francisco’s public bus system, is overloaded and underfunded, and the success of ride-hailing apps like Uber suggests a public willingness to try new tech-enabled options. But in its design and marketing — in its full-frontal embrace of the easily pilloried paleo-snack-bar techie lifestyle — Leap exuded a kind of bourgeoisie exceptionalism that fed into the city’s fears of gentrification and won it few fans. As I stood inside the abandoned buses, it became obvious why the start-up failed: Leap was created by and for tech bros. It was born inside the bubble, and it could never escape.
If you have time, read this. The column is entertaining, well reported and insightful. Farhad doesn’t necessarily think private transit buses are doomed to fail, citing the popularity of something similar, Uber. But he shows that Leap’s approach to the private transit thing was begging was trouble.
Speaking of Uber…
Uber is taking millions of Manhattan rides from taxis (ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight)
HWR always enjoys a good debunking. A statistical analysis shows that fears of Uber adding traffic to lower Manhattan appear to be overblown, although the carsharing service has certainly eaten into taxis’ slice of the pie in many parts of Gotham.
Better buses make a better city (Washington Post)
In this op-ed, David Alpert (the founder of the pro-transit Greater Greater Washington blog) asks readers to imagine standing on any street corner and being able to board something fast, reliable and that whisks them in any direction they want to go. And then this:
But a certain technology can provide this: the bus. All it takes is the political will to modify our streets and traffic signals to make the bus frequent, attractive, reliable and speedy.
I humbly suggest the key phrase there is “all it takes.” If elected officials could do any of those things easily — or really strived to do them — I suspect they would have been done.
Attentive readers will note that we’ve discussed this a few times. Bus lanes are often unpopular with other motorists and merchants, who want street parking. Traffic signal priority — and it depends on what the meaning of “signal priority” is, btw — is usually just extending a few green lights a few seconds, at least as practiced here and in most places.
On the upside, Metro is looking at adding bus rapid transit in two key corridors — from the NoHo Red/Orange Line station to Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena — and along Vermont Avenue. Also, Metro is looking at developing a frequent bus network that would add buses to key corridors while possibly subtracting them from less busy routes. More on that soon.
From the Department of Foresight: It could be decades until new rail tunnels connecting New Jersey and Gotham are built. But Amtrak and N.Y. area rail officials are taking a big step by building concrete tubes under western Manhattan to preserve the rail right-of-way between the future tunnels and Penn Station.
Watch the video. Someone in San Francisco East took their smart pill! 🙂
Things to read on transit 1: HWR’s unofficial second-favorite NFL team gets some love in the Tuesday Morning Quarterback column. They’re playing our (for now) unofficial favorite NFL team on Sunday in Buffalo in what could be a classic trap game.
Things to read on transit 2: Fun coverage by National Geographic of the latest Solar Decathlon, a competition to design the solar homes of the future. Check out the entry from Team Orange County:
Recent How We Rolls:
Oct. 12: transit stations and gentrification, the residential rise in DTLA, cool map showing where the jobs are in our region, the impact of Metro fare increases on ridership on the different rail lines.
Oct. 9: shade versus bus shelters in our region, pics of the community replaced by L.A. Union Station, a greenie looks at the issue of whether should we love or hate self-driving cars.
Oct. 8: more buzz on a potential ballot measure and potential transit projects, why guys lie about carburetors, a transit Armgeddon below the Hudson and Lex Luthor’s plans for the West Coast.
Oct. 7: ideas for Metro’s new Chief Innovation Officer, Paris sucker punches smog, Uber vs Lyft vs transit, an airplane seat arrangement scheme spawned by the Devil herself/himself.
Oct. 6: Gov. Brown signs bill allowing double-articulated buses, the ivory tower gives letter grades to Metro stations, thoughts on the non-war on driving, the cost of L.A.’s Olympic ambitions.
Categories: Transportation Headlines