Turkeys on a train:
Winning arguments with your family: don’t fall for the traffic trap (Streetsblog LA)
Well, I guess we know what Streetsblog editor Damien Newton talks about at Thanksgiving dinner: transit versus traffic!
In this post, Damien offers some very helpful guidance for those who must defend themselves against charges that building more transit won’t fix traffic. His tips don’t include hurling a drumstick at family members (an option we refuse to take off the table, so to speak). Among them:
Concede the unwinnable points: Building a rail line won’t make traffic disappear. Nobody is arguing it will.
If all else fails, fall back on math: Just ask how worse would traffic be if those 30,000 commuters getting on the train all got into single-passenger vehicles instead.
Read the entire piece. It’s fun and helpful.
Valley Metro CEO resigns amid Republic investigation (The Arizona Republic)
News out of Phoenix that Stephen Banta, the CEO of Valley Metro — the region’s transit agency — will be resigning in January amid an investigation over his meal and travel expenses. Banta didn’t specifically cite the investigation as the reason for his sudden departure but the chairwoman of the agency’s light rail board said it’s “absolutely” about it.
The receipts found by The Republic include airfare for first-class on eight trips Banta took this year, meal reimbursements between $230 and $470 to allegedly entertain guests — though many of those guests claim they never meet with Banta — and unitemized receipts in excessive amounts for meals and alcohol. Banta’s defense:
Before submitting his resignation, Banta defended the spending, saying his attendance at international conferences allows Phoenix to be a player in the worldwide transit industry. He said he learned how to better leverage public-private partnerships. Banta also defended the expensive dinners as a cost of doing business, and he said in most cases he flew first class by exchanging his frequent-flier miles to upgrade his seat. However, Valley Metro records do not indicate such transactions occurred.
Click the article for the full description of Banta’s expenses.
Attentive readers who were following the process of choosing our new CEO in March may recall that the LAT reported, based on anonymous sources, that Banta was on the shortlist the Metro gig. Attentive readers may have also noticed that Banta was not selected by the Metro Board.
Pumpkin Pie in Miami: Thanksgiving flight patterns (N.Y. Times)
It’s Thanksgiving and that means it’s time for Vegas baby! And maybe Miami, too. That’s right, according to the Upshot blog’s analysis of Google Flights data for the Thanksgiving travel period, Americans prefer to have their awkward conversations with family members over Blackjack tables and all-you-can-eat buffets or while air-boating in the Everglades and huntin’ gators (that’s what I imagine they do in Florida anyway).
The truth, at least in the case of the Sunshine State, may be that Americans are going to where their family has moved, which is most likely where their parents have retired.
The data of who is going where is summarized nicely in a handful of animated maps, which you’ll need to click on the article to see in action. From what I can tell, Angelenos choose Hawaii or Florida for their long-haul Thanksgiving travel plans, but with the latter, it’s nowhere near the extent northerners do. I suspect it’s because Angelenos don’t need to leave home to experience warm weather and cray cray motorists.
Upshot’s analysis of data also found that the busiest time to fly for the holiday is noon Thanksgiving Day, suggesting that travelers either take the entire week off or jam all their travel in within the four-day Thanksgiving vacation time.
Editor’s note from Steve Hymon: you can avoid awkward holiday familial conversation by traveling to your hometown any time in the month leading up to Thanksgiving, thereby providing an excuse not to travel back. You’re welcome.
Move LA takes a look at the accomplishments and goals of Metro’s Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas, including the work he is doing in the Second District he represents. Among the projects they laud are the renovation of the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station and the Rail-to-River project along the Slauson Corridor, which just received a big federal grant.
Move LA also attributes Metro’s efforts to assist small businesses in construction project areas — an effort started largely in his district on the Crenshaw/LAX project — as a direct result of his leadership.
Earlier this week Amazon plastered New York City Subway cars with World War II-era insignia of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire to promote its fictional show, “The Man in the High Castle.” The show takes place in an alternate reality where the Germans and Japanese won WWII and divided the U.S. into two occupied zones. Naturally, a lot of the imagery and symbols from that period are seen throughout the show.
Of course, applying that imagery outside of the show setting is highly controversial — perhaps Amazon knew this — and it raised the eyebrows of a few riders and politicians:
The MTA defended its decision to run the ads, maintaining that they fell within the bounds of advertising standards that preclude ads with a “political viewpoint” unless the advertiser’s name is clearly visible. Local politicians also joined in on the uproar Monday evening. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged Amazon to pull the “offensive” ads, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat, even called for a boycott against the Seattle company.
Yesterday Amazon did in fact pull the ads. Despite the uproar over the advertisements, what I’ve seen so far of the show is pretty good and I’d recommend checking it if you have an Amazon subscription and a little time this holiday weekend. The show is a good reminder of what our nation and its veterans fought for in the 1940s and what exactly was at stake.
And with that, Happy Thanksgiving Source readers! We leave you with this N.Y. Times article giving you the green light to enjoy that Turkey Day meal with no regrets.
Nov. 24: California has work to do as world environmental leader, shifting money from trains to water
Nov. 23: Will the LAX people mover be up and running by 2023?
Nov. 20: how to address all the short trips county residents, more reaction to Reason Foundation’s traffic plan.
Nov. 19: the Reason Foundation’s $714-billion plan to fix traffic in Southern California.
Nov. 18: A new mobile fare app in S.F., scramble crosswalks and aerial tram (using airplane bodies) proposed between Vegas and L.A.
Joe is also on Twitter.
Categories: Transportation Headlines