Art of Transit:
The article takes a skeptical view of the new residential/commercial structures, museum expansions and the Purple Line Extension along already-busy and oft-congested Wilshire Boulevard.
As for the subway, the story suggests the project won’t be worth the construction hassles because it won’t fix traffic. The LA Weekly, too, suggests that the lack of parking at the future subway stations is a really bad idea.
Fair enough. That’s one view of things. Nothing wrong with administering skepticism, especially on a multi-billion dollar project.
Of course, there’s an alternative view. While subway construction will be a pain in the toochus for a few years, the project will benefit the area for many decades to come by providing a fast, reliable and easy transit alternative to traffic (transit hasn’t fixed traffic btw even in cities with giant transit systems). As for development, it’s nothing new on Wilshire and it makes sense to put new buildings on an already busy transit corridor.
About parking at those new subway stations: the primary reason that Metro didn’t pursue it is because of the already high cost of real estate acquisition and construction along Wilshire. I’m sure some folks feel like big parking lots and/or garages would not be a good fit for Wilshire, too.
And the upcoming closures at Wilshire and La Brea:
Metro is currently evaluating traffic data as part of scheduling the closure of Wilshire Boulevard at La Brea in April to install the decking for the Wilshire/La Brea Station (the first major piece of construction on the project). The decking will allow vehicle traffic to resume on Wilshire while the Wilshire/La Brea Station is excavated underneath over the next several years (there will still be some lane closures in the Wilshire/La Brea area throughout the life of the project).
There are two options for closing Wilshire for the decking work:
Metro has been asking community members to chime in with their opinion on which closure scenario they would rather have. Metro will host a community meeting in January to share its findings. Once a decision is made, we’ll do our best to keep everyone informed about street closures and detours for transit and traffic.
Here’s a time-lapse video taken earlier this year of decking work on Crenshaw Boulevard that was done as part of the work on the underground Crenshaw/Vernon Station:
The Purple Line Extension is being built in three phases and is funded by the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase approved by 68 percent of L.A. County voters in 2008. The first 3.9-mile segment from Wilshire/Western to Wilshire La Cienega is expected to be complete in late 2023.
Mexico City thinking about pod cars (Quartz)
Transit is stuffed, traffic is bad and the city’s innovation office is thinking a 15km pod car system such as the above could move 237 million people. Of course, the skeptical view is that pod cars is one of those things that some transit fanboys like to trumpet, yet such systems rarely get built outside of airports or other confined areas.
Mostly, more of the same with the cutting of some red tape here and there. Excerpt:
On balance, then, the FAST law more or less keeps federal policy toward urban transportation right where past legislation left it. Which is to say it remains centered on the sort of highway spending and road expansion that has historically worsened traffic and sprawl for U.S. metro areas—even as federal funding relies less on the gas tax paid by drivers and more on general taxpayer funding that further weakens the traditional “user pay” system. Cities hoping to see more money go toward public transportation, or other forms of shared mobility, or preparation for autonomous cars may find themselves locked into a familiar frustration.
This is one reason you hear a lot of talk about innovation from Metro. A big focus of that innovation is finding ways to secure funding for transit, perhaps through partnerships with private firms.
Bad smog but cheap beer! (The Guardian)
One Beijing bar owner sends this message to his bar’s contacts when smog gets really bad (as it did last week) : “Kill your liver, not your lungs, breathe clean air while you drink.” Others, too, are offering smog discounts to lure people out when they’d rather not for obvious reasons.
Things to listen to whilst transiting: A really good Fresh Air takes a look at a new documentary “The Spymasters” on Showtime in which 12 former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency are interviewed — with some of their assertions challenged by the filmmakers. I haven’t seen the film, but the Fresh Air episode certainly offers some of the highlights, including a revisiting of who-knew-what-and-when in the months before the 9/11 terror attacks.
You can listen below or click this link to read a transcript of the show.
BTW, if looking for something to read whilst transiting, the CIA now has a blog and all sorts of interestingness on their website, including a pilot’s manual on how to fly a U2 spy plane. I searched the site and couldn’t find a single mention of Carrie Mathison but did find a page about development of the U2 at the supposedly super secret Area 51 in Nevada. Interesting.
As for Area 51, I just finished the 2011 book “Area 51: an uncensored history of America’s top secret military base.” The book was very entertaining and, I suspect, rife with errors or omissions. I also suspect that a lot of the material wasn’t so secret before the book burped forth (you can easily see Area 51 on Google Maps). Still, I give the author credit for putting the info together into a good narrative. An even better account of America’s history with nuclear weapons is in Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control.”
Recent How We Rolls:
Dec. 3: a new name for Pasadena’s bus system, flying versus the environment.
Dec. 2: Monrovia considers loaning 1.5 million to restore Gold Line adjacent historic train depot
Dec. 1: what can you do about climate change?
Nov. 30: Does too much cheap or free parking in L.A. County doom transit? And a futurist looks back at L.A.’s transpo past.
Nov. 25: How to talk about traffic with your family, transit chief resigns in Phoenix amid allegations of inflated travel expenses.
Categories: Transportation Headlines