How We Roll, August 3: Election Day is now officially interesting

From the Dept. of Grizzly Adams: I had the good fortune to spend the last few days active transporting around the Eastern Sierra. In this day and age, it’s pretty nice to be a few miles from the nearest road and to have no cell/internet access. Guess the name of this pass (email me) and I’ll declare the first person who gets it right to be the Greatest Transit Rider of All Time For One Day.

This just in: Source reader James Bourne is the Greatest Transit Rider of All Time until 12:01 a.m. Friday — as benevolent dictator of this blog, I have granted him an extra day to enjoy the throne. Excellent geographical awareness, James! That’s Pine Creek Pass below. The photo was taken from the French Canyon side looking back toward the Pine Creek side. If anyone is planning a trip in the area, feel free to email me questions!

Hint: it's about 3,700 feet higher than the nearest trailhead.

Hint: it’s about 3,700 feet higher than the nearest trailhead.

L.A. Metro’s sales tax proposal will appear on the November ballot (LAT)

County Supervisors approved Metro sales tax for ballot measure (Streetsblog LA)

Here’s which cities are for and against a half-cent transportation sales tax (SGV Tribune)

As was expected, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to officially place Metro’s sales tax ballot measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. The Metro Board, which includes the Supervisors, had previously approved the sales tax measure at their June meeting by a vote of 11 to 2. Although Supervisor Don Knabe voted against the plan as Metro Board Member, as a Supervisor he did vote to allow the issue to go to voters.

Metro has asked the County Registrar to call it Measure M. It will need two-thirds support from voters to pass and would raise the base sales tax rate in the county from nine to 9.5 percent; if approved it would raise the sales tax rate to 10 percent in a few cities. Here’s the current list of sales tax rates across the county.

Click here to learn more about the the ballot measure — called the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan. As reporter Laura Nelson notes, “County voters will also be asked to approve a parcel tax for parks and a community college bond measure” and city of L.A. voters will consider a $1.2-billion bond measure to build housing for the homeless. Over at Streetsblog and the Trib, Joe Linton and Steve Scauzillo, respectively, have a roundup of early proponents and opponents around the county. The big question, as Steve notes, is how much voters are swayed by local officials.

Surprise! Metro may have actually built too much parking for the Expo Line! (LA Weekly)

Three months ago, the media was suggesting that having parking at only three of the seven new stations was blasphemy. Excerpt:

According to Metro, the three new stations are all more than half empty (or, as an optimist would say, less than half full). The Sepulveda Station, which has 260 parking spaces, is averaging a 38 percent utilization rate; the Bundy Station, which has 217 spaces, is averaging 30 percent; and the Santa Monica station at Colorado and 17th Street, with its paltry 65 spaces, is averaging 49 percent.

Unlike the vast majority of Metro’s 26,000 parking spaces, these three lots are not free — they cost $2 a day, about as cheap as anywhere in the city.

What’cha think, readers? Is the demand for parking low because riders are finding other ways to the train? Or do you think a small fee helps discourage some people who would otherwise gobble up free parking? I pay $2 to park at the Gold Line’s Del Mar Station and there’s always spaces available — I suspect because of the fee.

Will California lawmakers make it legal to roll through red lights (Streetsblog LA)

SB 986 would permit motorists to turn right on red without first stopping — although they would have to yield to pedestrians. Hmmm. No, make that double hmmm.

Okay, let’s face it. I’m not sure how many motorists even know they are supposed to stop under current law. What I do know: I almost never in my 22 years of living in California have seen the current law enforced. Thus, this. Hmmm.

How to survive in L.A. without driving (PC)

An interview with I sat down with Ashley Z. Hand, the Transportation Technology Strategy Fellow for the city of Los Angeles. She is about to hand over a document that she describes this way: “It’s intended to be seen as a manual of data-driven innovations, best practices of what’s happening elsewhere (like the redefining of Right of Way in NYC with Times Square), a ton of recommendations, policy and administrative shifts, core ideas and strategy to put them into place.”

Two questions: 1) what will she recommend, and; 2) will the city actually implement them? Stay tuned.

Should a bike-share ride cost the same as a bus? (Next City) 

Josh Cohen likes an ongoing trend: pay-per-ride bike share, which Josh says will help attract riders — especially those who may not want to buy the different types of passes sold by bike share places around the country.

Speaking of, Metro Bike Share is now open to walk-ups and you can ride for $1.75 for 30 minutes. You will need a TAP card. If you buy the annual or flex pass, you can then link a TAP card to your account and use the TAP card to take out a bike. All the details here.

Presidents, Congress and infrastructure investment gridlock (American Prospect) 

As a colleague who donated this headline summarized, “in short, they’re not hopeful” — mostly because of Congress. Bring it, mayor of Tampa:

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn offered a revealing observation about what infrastructure-obsessed municipalities are up against: lawmakers who see no benefit, electoral or otherwise, in sending scarce funds to cities. “Convincing legislators that mobility options are important, I have found to be a frustrating and not a very productive discussion,” said Buckhorn to applause from the forum audience. “They just don’t get it; they don’t want to helpful to the urban areas for a lot of different reasons, most of which are not altruistic.”

Well, this is the exact reason that so many cities/regions are seeking their own funding for transpo. In fairness, the feds have been good to Metro — we received giant grants to help build the Purple Line Extension and Regional Connector. But Metro has done well because we used the local dollars as a lure for the bucks from D.C.







11 replies

  1. Expo Parking – The premise of this story is completely wrong. By this way of thinking we should have looked at the 405 freeway two months after it opened decades ago and concluded that two lanes is too many, traffic is light. Now we have 5 lanes on each side and that’s not enough. What happened? Growth! That’s what. In the future 100,000 riders will want to ride the Expo line daily. That’s at least 4,000 new parking spaces needed to capture the vast daily commuter customers. The parking spaces won’t be there so the growth in ridership won’t happen. Also, the writer was ignorant of the fact that in a few months the Culver City parking lot will be torn down (550 spaces) leaving 3 rail stations in a row at the heart of the Expo line without any parking. I’ve ridden the Expo line every workday for the past 4 years. We could have thousands more riders if Metro would simply plan for double current ridership.
    We should be worried that even the least used parking lots are being used at 40% at capacity. At this rate they will be at capacity in less than a year meaning there will be no parking to accommodate new ridership. If we properly plan for growth we should reach 50% capacity in 4 years and full capacity in 8-10 years. Then everyone who wants to use transit can. Now we are simply building barriers to our own service when we make it harder to access the rail line.

    • That’s exactly my initial thought. No Metro did not build too much parking. If anything I don’t think they’ve built enough for future demand. People are “heh!” Now but I’m gonna give it a few year before the swarm of complaints come back.

      For now, I will enjoy driving from Silver Lake to Westwood, park at the Sepulveda station and take the Expo Line to Santa Monica and avoid the Parking fiasco at SMC and Downtown Santa Monica. $2 is well worth not dealing with the Santa Monica headaches.

    • Hey Andrew —

      Thanks for posting the link! Okay, here’s the part where I have to put on my Government Hat and say this: it’s important to understand that we can’t officially say that such-and-such project is definitely a rail line or BRT line until the environmental process is complete for each and every project. That’s the reason that we can’t put out a similar map and that’s the reason I often use the word “potential” when discussing these projects. It’s also important to reminder voters to look at Metro’s plan and the funding available for each project — the idea is to provide enough funding to cover the expense of different project alternatives. Ultimately and hopefully, voters will educate themselves on the plan and then decide on its viability and ability to move people. Quasi-related: if you haven’t registered to vote, please do so!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. I rather like the way it works with the “prime” spaces at Wardlow: paid permit only during the hours when commuters — who are, after all, taking Metro someplace they’re being paid to be — are the primary source of traffic, then free for the rest of the day, and all day on weekends, when the traffic is lighter, and most of the riders are either going home, or going someplace to SPEND money (e.g., concerts, museums, sporting events, shopping, dining).

  3. With the Expo Line parking, you’ll probably see the garages at La Cienega and Sepulveda filling up more whenever they get around to starting construction on the Ivy Station TOD mentioned here a while ago, displacing those who park at Culver City. Otherwise, the low parking demand at the new Westside stations is probably in part a reflection of the commute pattern – many more people headed west than east in the morning.

  4. Since this is transit supportive parking, maybe it’s time to see prices for parking drop to $1, or make it free with boarding after 10 am, and see how it does.

    • I don’t even think the Parking fee was even enforced to begin with, at least on the weekend. No attendant was there to ask for anything at Sepulveda station at all.. Hell, I didn’t realize where I had to pay until today. Those machines are so well blended in the structure that I simply passed by them this whole time.

      And yes, to my surprise there’s PLENTY of parking at the Sepulveda station as of this moment.

      If Metro wants to take this seriously, they may want to seriously consider gates instead of the Same old honor system that won’t clearly work here.

  5. Any idea on when the North Hollywood pedestrian tunnel will open? It looks very close.

    • Hey Joe —

      Later this month. We’ll have the opening date soon.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source