Art of Transit:
Nice win in San Jose. Kings play the Avalance at Staples on Wednesday — a convenient short walk from the Blue and Expo Lines’ Pico Station.
Could Metro Rail reach the new Inglewood stadium? (Urbanize LA)
We posted last week about a Metro Board motion to create a “Metro Line to Goal Line” task force to study how Metro can best get Rams fans to games at the Coliseum and, eventually, the new stadium in Inglewood. Now there’s a second motion (below) before the Board to study a possible light rail extension on Prairie Avenue to serve the new football stadium, the Forum and the new residential and commercial development that Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build at the old Hollywood Park site.
As Urbanize LA points out, Measure R provides $272 million in funding for a South Bay Green Line Extension; keep in mind that light rail projects typically cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Under Measure R, the Green Line Extension project wouldn’t be completed until the mid-2030s and Metro has yet to select an alignment, although early studies have focused on extending the Green Line along its current path on the old Harbor Subdivision freight railroad right-of-way.
As we’ve pointed out numerous times, the new football stadium isn’t impossibly far from Metro Rail, although it’s hardly as close as trains are to many other NFL stadiums. The Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Downtown Inglewood Station is about a 1.5-mile walk from the football stadium with the Florence/West Station about 1.9 miles. The Green Line’s Hawthorne Station is about a 1.8-mile stroll.
The Metro Board is set to discuss both Rams-related motions at its regular Board meeting on Thursday, which begins at 9 a.m. The meetings are streamed online — a link will appear here after the meeting begins. Here’s the new motion:
Quasi-related: And then there is the Rams quarterback situation, as Peter King notes in his Monday Morning QB column: “Then there’s the matter of the quarterback position. Philip Rivers turns 35 this year; this will be his 13th NFL season. The Rams don’t have a quarterback of the long-term future unless either Case Keenum or Nick Foles shocks the world. So what we have here is one team for sure and maybe a second, and an iffy future for both in terms of on-field success.”
NFL fans already know that the Rams are in a conference that includes Super Bowl veterans/victors Cam Newton, Aaron Rogers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning and others such as Carson Palmer, who had a rough day Sunday but has proven to rebound from difficult situations (See: Cincinnati Bengals).
Quasi-related 2: My pre-season New England-Packers Super Bowl failed to happen but I feel pretty good about my Super Bowl prediction: Carolina 55, Denver 13. If you’re reading this while sitting on the 25th floor of the Metro mothership, it’s super easy to change anything/everything in this blog post!
Actually, the cuts approved last week in Sacramento amount to $754 million for road and transit projects over the next five years — if the Legislature can’t agree on new ways to raise revenues. Los Angeles County could potentially lose $191 million.
Bottom line: holding off the cuts could mean raising the state gas tax at some point (it’s currently about 40 cents per gallon). Surprise, surprise: that’s a politically unpopular and difficult thing to do. It would require a two-thirds vote in a state with already high gas prices, a lot of sprawl and a lot of driving.
OCTA has lost about 30 percent of its riders since 2008. Between then and now, OCTA has also cut about 21 percent of its bus service hours.
As the article points out, bus ridership is down at many other transit agencies, perhaps as a result of service cuts. In 2008, Metro had about 395 million bus boardings. In 2014 — the last full year available — Metro had about 352 million boardings, according to the American Public Transportation Assn. In 2008, Metro was budgeted to run about 7.77 million annual bus service hours. That number is now 7.06 million, although it should be noted that the declines came before 2012.
As the Voice of OC points out, many bus agencies are responding by trying to enhance bus service on certain corridors instead of following the older practice of sending buses into every neighborhood, even if those buses show up infrequently. And, as one of their sources, says:
“Cities and regions are investing heavily in car infrastructure, publicly and privately. In Orange County, the transportation priority for spending is widening the freeway,” Anbinder said. “You’re paying people to drive. People who have a choice choose to drive, because that’s what the transportation investment has prioritized.”
The California High-Speed Rail Authority had been giving signals that it intended to first finish the bullet train between Los Angeles and the Central Valley. Now the Authority is dropping hints it may be the other way around: with the train first going between the Valley and the Bay Area, which is seen as less expensive and technically challenging.
Why? Well, the southern route may mean tunneling under both the Tehachapi Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains.
Of course, north versus south is a bit of a moot point given that the tens of billions of dollars in funding to get the train to San Francisco or Los Angeles has yet to be secured yet. Let the record reflect again that I love the idea of a bullet train in California. I would probably love it more if funding was a sure thing. Also, I think a five-hour train ride between the Bay Area and L.A. will attract plenty of riders; the current goal of doing it in well under three hours will almost certainly make the train very expensive.
The chance of snagging an empty car in most big cities isn’t high, although possible late at night or early in the morning. The article includes some pottymouth language — be warned — and some amusing social media posts about those who secured some solo time on the train. Oh, and please don’t stand on the seats….
Categories: Transportation Headlines