Things to read whilst transiting: A Pulitzer went earlier this week to the great New Yorker article about the Pacific Northwest’s earthquake challenges and the lack of response to it by public officials. The gist of the article: the Pacific NW seems likely to have a bigger quake than anything that the San Andreas Fault in California may trigger.
Great story by Gene Maddaus that builds to this point: on street-running segments for the Expo Line, trains in Santa Monica tend to get more green lights than in the city of Los Angeles. Why?
“The local jurisdiction decides what it wants,” says Paul Gonzales, an MTA spokesman. “LADOT does not favor preemption. Santa Monica has a different viewpoint. We work with both cities to accomplish goals, even though on this issue their viewpoints are a bit different.”
[Transit advocate Gokhan] Esirgen points out that the DOT could change its mind, if there were enough political pressure to speed up the train.
As Gene also points out, there are likely times when the train will be faster than traffic between DTLA and Santa Monica — just as there will likely be times when driving will be quicker. Would a ride a few minutes quicker make a difference in terms of ridership? We’ll see. Ridership has been strong on the Expo Line, but it will soon grow from 8.5 miles to 15 miles, meaning longer trips are possible.
It’s worth noting that the Expo Line to Culver City has been open since 2012 and, thus far, signal priority has never gained much traction as a political issue. Another excerpt from the LA Weekly’s story:
The train runs at street level through downtown, and it stops for cross traffic, almost like a bus. It’s not uncommon for the train to sit at Jefferson Boulevard, or Adams Boulevard, or 23rd Street, or 18th Street, or 12th Street, for 20 or 30 or 40 seconds waiting for the light to change. It’s not as if these are all major thoroughfares. At USC, the trains stop at Watt Way, which is a campus entrance road, and at Trousdale Parkway, a pedestrian crossing.
To a transit advocate, this is craziness. Why should a three-car train, with maybe 250 people on it, sit and wait for vehicle traffic, which carries 1.1 persons per car?
Related: check out the new marketing video for the Expo Line extension. It shows some great views of the line.
Discover the social and economic benefits of transit (All Transit)
Kinda fun new tool has debuted online that allows users to crunch transit data from across the U.S. — and compare transit in different cities and regions. Most notably, I think, users can easily see how many residences and jobs are located near transit.
And, yes, there are rankings!
Perhaps the only thing surprising about the above map is that seven of the nation’s top 10 cities population-wise are west of the Mississippi River. Among those, L.A. ranks higher but still trails the eastern cities with older, more established transit systems.
Here’s something neat you can do with All Transit that shows that 96.1 percent of commuters in the city of Los Angeles live within a half-mile of some type of transit — although obviously it may not be a type of transit that gets those commuters directly to their jobs.
As with other online tools that depend on tons of data from other places, I have my quibbles. For example, the site seems to vastly undercount the number of jobs near the Gold Line’s Duarte/City of Hope Station, which is adjacent to a sprawling hospital and research campus and office/warehouse park. Also, the site defines “high frequency” transit as transit that runs at least every 15 minutes on average around-the-clock. In many areas, that definition probably excludes transit routes that don’t run at night but are high-frequency for many hours of the day.
I encourage you to play around with the site and please post anything interesting you find in comments or mail me a map/chart and I’ll try to include in the next How We Roll.
Beverly Hills City Council creating an autonomous vehicle program (Beverly Hills press release)
Obviously resolutions are not the same as actually doing something — especially something that will likely require some legislative lifting from the state and some insurance hurdles.
That said, it’s interesting to see that the city of Beverly Hills is hoping to eventually create a program that would allow residents to summon a self-driving municipal shuttles. “A.V. shuttles would provide on-demand, point-to-point transportation within the City, with users requesting a ride using their smart phones,” says the release.
The release also notes, correctly, that the two Purple Line subway stations to be built in Beverly Hills will not have parking (actually, none of the new Purple Line stations will have parking), and that the new shuttles could help serve first-mile/last-mile connections. If so and the price is right for consumers, the plan sounds good to me.
Related: the federal lawsuit brought by the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District against Metro over the Purple Line Extension’s environmental studies is still in court. The latest update is here (scroll down).
Categories: Transportation Headlines