How We Roll, June 29: safety videos, Expo Line, DTLA streetcar

Catch of the Day:

Art of Transit: 


New Metro safety ads, featuring stick figures, are too graphic for some (Today Show) 

You’ll get a kick out of Metro’s hilariously macabre safetyville videos (Daily News)

Cartoons lose body parts and die brutally in these safety ads (Buzzfeed)

Tons of coverage, including Jimmy Kimmel. I like ’em as being safe around trains (and car traffic) is literally a life and death issue.

As for these being graphic, come on — these are nothing compared to your average Itchy and Scratchy (or Tom & Jerry) or the “Dumb Ways to Die” video. And it’s not a horde of hungry zombies descending on the stick figures after they go to demiseville.

My advice for my Metro colleagues: I’d encourage viewers to make these hackable so folks can tailor the videos to the type of dumb things they see people do on and around transit and car traffic.

Jezebel also made an offering on Twitter that was funny but pottymouthed, so I can’t embed. Warning: adult language!

I took the Expo Line in Los Angeles — it’s crowded and buggy (The Wrap) 

A broken down train and a crowded train inspires complaints from fellow riders — many of whom want longer trains. Metro has an order of new light-rail vehicles coming — some cars are here and in service, some are being tested/broken in and others will be delivered in the coming months. In the meantime, there is a shortage of cars, meaning that some Expo trains are two-car trains and others are of the three-car variety. (I’m trying to find out the breakdown percentage-wise).

It’s obviously a tough situation, although we knew it was coming. The majority of Expo trips are uneventful and go as planned, but when things go awry — we do hear about it and deservedly so. One suggestion for avoiding crowds, especially on weekdays: the trains are most often crowded during the westbound morning rush hours and the eastbound afternoon rush hours. Those are the travel times when we can pretty much guarantee the trains will be crowded.

Also, one other thought and not to sound like a PR tool: there are folks taking the train who are happy with it.

Metro Bike Share opens July 7, mobility advocates team up for equity (Streetsblog LA)

A good look at the DTLA Metro Bike Share, which opens on July 7 for monthly and annual pass holders.

Draft EIR for downtown L.A. streetcar burps forth (LADOT and Metro)


This is mostly a city of Los Angeles project, but Metro helped produce the draft environmental study and the project would receive $200 million in funding in the mid-2050s from Metro’s proposed ballot measure (the County Supervisors must still approve it’s placement on the Nov. 8 ballot).

I haven’t read the report yet but it looks like LAT transpo reporter Laura Nelson has (this is why she gets the big bucks!). Some of her impressions:

Note: if they can keep this T-shirt at $15 or under, I’d buy it.

There are a bunch of other tweets, including some that tackle the age-old dilemma: should we build a bus or a streetcar?

Programming note: after today, I’m abandoning the Internet until July 11 and will be in Nor Cal searching for rogue apes and/or gentle Sasquatches. Have a great holiday weekend everyone, be safe and we’ll catch up on all the transportation news fit for a government agency to publish upon my return. 

13 replies

  1. Observation from the Expo Line: all four trains I saw this morning had three cars. Does this mean that we now have enough vehicles to operate Expo with three-car trains throughout the peak period? If so, Halleluiah! Now they just have to fix the bunching problems.

  2. I’m a little suspicious of some of the decisions Metro has made (ex: cutting late night rail service and opening the Expo line too early) as a way to support the call for more funding. Opening the Expo line later wouldn’t have hurt anyone. By opening too early you’ve left a bad impression to new or prospective riders. They knew very well this was going to happen and yet went ahead. Cutting rail service after 8:30 to 20 min is a joke. 15 min would have been a much better compromise or perhaps making it after 9pm instead. When your trying to convince the public that your a good alternative and justify the need for more funding, you don’t make these kind of moves unless you prefer showing a need rather than the payoff.

    • The proposed downtown trolley won’t solve any perceived gridlock or pollution issue, it is just another overpriced ‘feel good’ project that local politicos float to placate enviro-extremists and the ignorant electorate. C’mon, I would rather get another root canal than drive to DTLA but please leave the streets free for delivery trucks, buses, time critical car driving and perhaps electric trolleys (when proven technology).

      The above observations about suspicious rail car shortages ring true. Besides recent videos, some photos taken on the Gold Line show almost exclusive use of the Breda P2550 cars – why are the new P3010s absent? If a 15 minute headway on rail lines can’t be maintained for 18 hour days, some heads at Metro HQ need to be knocked.

      • Uhh, I’ve ridden on the P3010s about twice on the Gold Line so far this week, and twice over the weekend. I don’t commute to Pasadena on Wednesday’s and Thursdays but I’m pretty sure I may ride on one again this weekend, but I also have no problems with the P2550s.

        I do commute to Santa Monica on Wed and Thurs evening and noticed as I was about to jump on the Expo Train at 7th/Metro, all I had to do is wait 12 min to get on a 3-car set of a P3010, and I did just that. Not so lucky right now on my way home.

        Speaking of which, if there is now 20 min frequency of rail lines at night, why continue running 2-car sets before 10pm?? This Expo train heading east is standing room only right now.

  3. Expo has had its share of hiccups. I was in a black out this past Sunday which was pretty unfortunate. The random stops along the way too feel like I’m dealing with an inexperienced operator. I’ve ridden about thirty rides so far, and I’ve only had my fare inspected once.

    My initial rides were great. We wizzed to the beach in under an hour. What kills me is pulling into DTSM, and the operator nudging into the station, and then the doors opening after a minute of idle time.

    I wish Metro could work it out.

  4. I’d love to see the city partner with the Southern California Railway Museum in Perris to add historic equipment to the downtown streetcar system. It’s been a huge hit in San Francisco, Dallas, and San Jose, to name a few. Perhaps even the stored fleet from San Pedro’s system could be added to the roster?

  5. If the downtown streetcar proponents have not already done so, they should seriously consider a wireless tram that runs on batteries inductively recharged at each stop. Such systems are already in use in Europe and in Sydney Australia (see Bombardier ( already has such a system. A Google search for “wireless trams” retuurs numerous hits.

    The advantage is both aesthetic and practical, as there are no overhead wires to contend with. It also allows the vehicles to pass under bridges that would ordinarily not provide adequate vertical clearance for overhead wires.

  6. The article on Expo was spot on. New cars should be arriving but they don’t seem to be. In fact there seems to be less new cars than a month ago. There is some major problem with them that hasn’t been made public. Cars are breaking down constantly. With the election 4 months away, Metro needs to address and fix right away here and on the Gold Line or the election will be lost.

  7. Steve: Regarding the Expo Line: trains are crowded in both directions during both rush hours. Before Phase 2 opened the rush hour loads were what you typically expect: predominantly towards downtown LA in the morning, and away from DTLA in the afternoon. Now Expo operates as if it serves two downtowns: one in LA and one in Santa Monica. From what I’ve seen (I ride to and from DTLA every weekday) the passenger loads are slightly higher in the opposite direction (i.e. towards SM in the morning and towards LA in the afternoon), but only slightly. This ridership pattern is very different from all of the other rail lines serving DTLA, all of which are significantly imbalanced.

    • the streets where the streetcar travels should be closed to car traffic and open only to bus and streetcar travel. There are more than enough streets to supplement the closure. turning some of the one way streets back to two directional travel would help. traveling in mixed traffic is what will keep the street car moving more slowly. Also strategically placing parking structures or mixed use buildings along the line would help ridership there are plenty of buildings that go from one block to the other so the entrance to payed parking can be on an open street with an open guide-way directly to a streetcar station could be on the other. If planned well this could be great for congestion relief, tourism, residential travel to local bars and grocery stores and revenue from parking tolls from people visiting the city.

    • Well yeah, the reverse-peak commute has become the peak direction commute towards that side of the city. I really wish people will understand that not everyone is traveling in one general direction at the same time. I just happy I don’t need to travel to work west anymore. The Gold Line done Coke with this kind of stress.