Really nice Art of Transit:
Things to read whilst transiting: the obituary for Robert Ebeling, the engineer who tried in vain to warn superiors at his company and NASA that the Challenger space shuttle would explode if launched in excessively cold weather. It wasn’t until many, many years later that Ebeling forgave himself. This is really more than just an obit — it’s a story about finding the courage to speak up in the workplace. Speaking of…
I’m still in catchup mode and wanted to circle back to this blog post earlier this month about the frank tweets recently dispatched by BART about some recent maintenance and service woes. The tweets got national
media attention, perhaps because they felt like a message that wasn’t run up the flagpole and edited/watered down to death.
The tweets also inspired transportation planner Jarrett Walker to write:
Politeness and deference are always the first impulse of transit staffs dealing with the public, but sometimes politeness turns into a habit of apologizing for everything and anything, and at that point, staff is consenting to abuse. Few public servants take as much public abuse as transit agency staffs do, almost always because of problems that are out of their control.
As Jarrett also writes, there are sometimes issues beyond the control of a local transit agency — namely the lack of state and federal funding to keep buses and trains running in tip-top shape or to fund the very best alternatives when it comes to transit projects.
That’s certainly true. There’s almost never the funding anymore in America to build (or rebuild) the ideal version of transit.
That said, it’s also certainly true that every transit agency wrestles with issues within its control. I don’t think complaints about those type of things constitute “abuse” as long as the tweets are somewhat civil.
My question for those who read this blog often or follow Metro on Facebook and Twitter: are we honest enough for your liking? Is there something we can do better? Comment please.
Related: we did a podcast last year about how we handle service alerts on Twitter and why we use particular language.
There are 88 cities in Los Angeles County. Most of them pay a sales tax rate of nine cents on the dollar but a few cities pay either 9.5 cents on the dollar (Avalon, El Monte, Santa Monica, San Fernando, South El Monte) or 10 cents on the dollar (La Mirada, Pico Rivera, South Gate) due to previous sales tax increases in those cities. Full list here — scroll down to Los Angeles County.
As Meghan McCarthy notes, the half-cent sales tax increase that Metro is proposing for its potential ballot measure would result in a sales tax rate of either 10 or 10.5 percent in the cities mentioned above — some of which also have low average incomes compared to other parts of the county.
A couple of experts note that while sales taxes are regressive — they consume a higher percentage of a lower income person’s money — they are often the most practical way of raising funds for transportation projects and programs.
Here are the challenges Metro faces for building light rail to South El Monte or Whittier (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
A good look at the obstacles facing each of the proposed alignments for an extension of the Gold Line from East Los Angeles to either South El Monte (a superfund site, to name one) or to Whittier (finding a feasible route south to Washington Boulevard).
Under a 40-year sales tax increase, one of the alignments would be completed in the mid-2030s. If the ballot measure included a new 50-year sales tax increase, the other alignment could be constructed in the 2050s.
Metro has been holding community meetings this week on the ongoing technical study for the project to identify the best routes. Two meetings remain — more info here.
Recent How We Rolls
March 29: more reax to the ballot measure spending plan and why cars and cities can be a bad marriage.
March 21: the spending plan lands and reaction begins.
March 14: a skeptical look at the Gold Line extension to Azusa, housing woes in Santa Monica, recommended podcasts for riders who need a diversion.
March 11: another Gold Line Foothill Extension review, more ballot measure talk.
March 10: take our poll — have you ever seen police give a ticket to driver for a crosswalk violation?: in praise of transit networks and options.
Categories: Transportation Headlines