The city of L.A. opened its latest and most prominent scramble crosswalk this weekend at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland in the heart of Hollywood. It’s an area that receives a lot of foot traffic, mostly from tourists checking out the attractions (and traps) along Hollywood Boulevard.
The short clip above shows the new crosswalk in action. The idea is simple: pedestrians at all corners of the intersection get their own simultaneous walk signal, during which they can cross in any direction. That’s a huge improvement in L.A. where pedestrians often find themselves at odds (to put it politely) with impatient motorists turning right or left. Pedestrian traffic seems a relatively sparse in the video, but anyone familiar with the intersection knows that this crosswalk will see plenty of foot traffic.
Streetsblog LA has coverage of the new crosswalks and also notes two future scramble crosswalks planned for downtown L.A., one of which will be in front of Union Station.
SFMTA enters the 21st century with a mobile app (SF Business Times)
A review of SFMTA’s new mobile app Muni Mobile released by the San Francisco transit agency yesterday. The app’s key feature is the ability to pay fare using credit card or Paypal.
Exciting news for S.F. transit users, but when looking to see how this might apply to Metro, the Muni Mobile’s FAQ suggests that using the ticket is enforced via the honor system — something from which Metro is moving away:
“In the subway, activate (“use”) your purchased mobile ticket before passing through metro station fare gates. Show your active ticket to the station agent, and pass through the fare gate closest to the station agent booth. If the station agent is not present, you may still pass through the gate as long as your ticket has been activated. Do not attempt to “tag” the gate.”
For buses, passengers need to show the operator an active ticket upon boarding. This sounds a lot like LADOT’s mobile fare payment system, and it’s no surprise that GlobeSherpa is the company behind both LADOT and SF Muni’s mobile payment systems.
A brief clip in the LAT summarizing the outlook for driverless vehicles after the first sessions at this year’s L.A. Auto Show. The takeaway: there’s still a loooong way to go. Driverless vehicles have yet to be proven to safely and reliably operate in a category that is sometimes easy to forget in Southern California — inclement weather.
Here’s a fun proposal: an aerial tram between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Who’s in? It’s kind of like flying — it’ll be 50 feet in the air and the initial passenger “cars” will be made out of retired airplane fuselages. What a great combo, right? Hope they remember to provide ample leg room in those coach seats!
The idea conceived by the Portland-based firm Sky Tram International is clearly a long-shot, but it will actually be one of three ideas presented to the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority. The project technically doesn’t meet the authority’s specifications, which requires the use of old freight tracks. To that, the founder of the firm, Ben Missler, had this to say:
“They’re using 1860 criteria for the tracks,” he said. “It’s time to move up. We need to move into the 21st Century.”
Elevated tracks, he said, would better protect the system from tampering while allowing higher speeds and negotiating terrain trains can’t.
At 100 to 250 mph, which would approach the speeds of the the fastest commercial maglev trains, the Sky Tram would make the trip from Las Vegas to Anaheim, Calif., in 1.2 hours.
Hey! The year 1860 was only 155 years ago!!!
The firm garnering much more favor for the project is XpressWest — featured in a previous How We Roll when it announced a joint venture with China Railway International USA Company, a consortium of Chinese railway companies.
The idea of using elevated tracks on its own isn’t unprecedented — see the Wuppertal Suspension Railway — however, the scale and proposed speeds of the Sky Tram concept would be.
The uncommon resilience of Parisian street life (N.Y. Times Magazine)
A great piece that documents in photos and vivid description how the make up of Paris has evolved and changed through the years and many of the city’s neighborhoods and streetscapes — including the locations where last Friday’s attacks took place — still remain relatively unchanged.
The author believes that perhaps the city’s resiliency to change is also manifested in the everyday life and habits of Parisians, and in that way, it’s the urban fabric of the city that propels its residents to carry on living even in the face of tragedy. Perhaps. Excerpt:
These images attest to the fact that there is something essential to the experience of living in Paris that involves spending time outside on its streets, whether to shop, observe, drink, eat, dance, talk or listen. Despite all of the technological innovations since the end of the nineteenth century that give Parisians incentives to stay at home — televisions, computers, refrigerators, washing machines and even toilets — people still go out because going out is something that Paris invites us to do. And when people go out, it is to the same places — quite literally inside the same walls — as generations of Parisians before them.
Recent How We Rolls:
Nov. 19: will expanding roads fix traffic?
Nov. 17: can transit beat traffic, electric cars and total global emissions, fossil fuel programs vs. climate goals
Nov. 16: L.A. transit vs S.F. transit, a cartoon car neatly explains sprawl, traffic and parking woes and determining the environmental impact of Uber and Lyft.
Nov. 13: Readers recommend books to read while in transit, bike sharing debuts in SaMo, induced demand and Caltrans.
Nov. 12: Regional Connector cost increases and potential delays, suspect in bus slaying arrested, bike share and bike infrastructure, Missy Elliot in the subway.
Nov. 10: crime stats and Metro, the fare structure for Metro’s bike share program, a suggestion for future Metro transit projects.
Categories: Transportation Headlines