How We Roll, Dec. 23: Star Wars characters on a train

Art of Transit:

From the Dept. of Search Your Feelings (no spoilers):

Lyft can pick you up at LAX starting Wednesday (LAT)

Significantly cheaper than taxis, Lyft’s lower-end service can now pick up passengers at LAX — on the upper level horseshoe road. Uber has also applied to pick up passengers at LAX. As the article points out, it’s one more option for getting to LAX, which doesn’t have direct rail service (LAX plans to build a circulator train that will allow for easy transfers to the Crenshaw/LAX Line, but current plans call for that happening no earlier than 2023).

FWIW: I think the FlyAway buses remain the best deal in town and I’ve found the one from Union Station to be pretty quick. If you need to park at Union Station, it’s $8 a day versus the $12 a day at good ol’ Parking Lot C.

WeHo adopts complex plan to woo Metro for a rail extension (WeHoVille)

Bottom line is the city — which was very supportive of Measure R — wants to be on the Metro Rail network. Metro is in the midst of updating its long-range plan and putting together a possible sales tax increase ballot measure for Nov. 2016. Metro staff is scheduled in March to release a project list (i.e. “expenditure plan” in government-speak) for the ballot measure.

The big infrastructure projects to watch in 2016 (Citylab) 


A far more critical project from the perspective of urban mobility is the opening of the second segment of the Expo light rail line in Los Angeles. Phase II, which extends the route from downtown to Santa Monica at a cost of $1.5 billion, is about to enter final testing, with an expected service launch in spring 2016. All told the Expo is expected to carry some 64,000 daily riders by 2030, following the city’s general timeline for giving residents a network of reasonable non-car travel options by 2035. The Expo line might not have done much for traffic on I-10 so far—thank you, induced demand—but there’s evidence that it has indeed reduced car-reliance along the corridor.

Well said. The Gold Line extension to Azusa opens March 5, too, and should provide a nice alternative to those who don’t want to sit on constipated 210 each morning suffering miles of back ups because of the poorly designed, God-awful WB 210-134 interchange in Pasadena.

Speaking of….

Los Angeles seeks to revive ‘worst’ public space in America (Next City) 

That would be Pershing Square in DTLA, according to one silly list. I think that’s a tad overstatement, although I’m also looking forward to what the four firms chosen as finalists for a Pershing makeover will come up with.

My big idea: take pictures of some of the nicer promenades in NYC’s Central Park and make it look like that but without the snow:

BRT debuts in downtown Chicago (Streetsblog) 

Goodbye general traffic lane and hello to a red bus-only lane and green protected bike lane on some streets. The stations are more rail-like, too.

The bigger story is that BRT is widely touted as a lower-cost way to make transit attractive and speed up bus service, but many regions in the U.S. still gravitate more toward pricier light rail projects. Chicago has a vibrant rail system, so seeing BRT in DT Chi-town is certainly interesting.

Here’s a video:

A proposal to turn New York’s Broadway into one long park (de zeen) 

What if Broadway — which cuts a diagonal swath across lower Manhattan — was turned into a 40-block-long park? One architectural firm has pondered it and they have some neat drawings. Will it happen? The odds are probably on the long side, but in terms of adding transit, parkland, public squares and protected bike lanes, Gotham has done much better in recent years than much smaller, supposedly more nimble cities.

2 replies

  1. And I’m convinced that it’s the operators of taxi services, the Flyaway, and such services as Lyft and Uber, who are responsible for preventing direct one-seat rail between downtown and LAX from happening within my lifetime.

    My last visit to Chicago, I walked from baggage claim to the Blue Line at O’Hare, had a single-seat ride to the Loop, then transferred by elevator to the Pink Line for a one-station hop to the stop nearest to my hotel (and if I’d known the geography a little better, I’d have just trundled my bags the additional 2 1/2 blocks directly from the Clark/Lake Blue Line Station).

    My last TWO visits to Boston, I took their Blue Line in from Logan, transferring to the Green Line (where I was headed, it could have been any of the four Green Line branches) at Government Center, before emerging at Copley, half a block from my hotel.

    I’ve never flown in or out of Philadelphia, but my last two visits there, I just caught their Blue Line from the train station to within a couple blocks of my hotel. Cheaper and safer than a cab (Philly cabs are SCARY).

    The only reason why, on my last visit to New York City, I didn’t take the subway in from the train station or out to JFK is because I didn’t know which train to catch from Penn Station to Long Island City (it was only my second visit; now I know that it would be an E train from 34th to Queens Plaza) and so I paid for it with a lot more money and a lot more time. The only reason why I didn’t take the subway from my hotel to JFK is because (surprisingly) JFK doesn’t have direct subway service (and neither does LaGuardia)

    • In Philadelphia, you can take a the train quite easily into 30th Street Station from the airport. NYC to JFK has gotten better. But still… And the only way to LGA is by bus!