From the Dept. of Coming Very Very Soon:
A brief glimpse at new NoHo pedestrian underpass. More info on opening date to come later this week! pic.twitter.com/90MMIeeiSG
— Metro (@metrolosangeles) August 8, 2016
Things to read whilst transiting: I’ve moved on from the unfunny Seinfeldia to “Underground Airlines,” a new novel by Ben H. Winters about what America would look like in 2016 if the Civil War had never happened. The answer: slavery is still alive in four states and bounty hunters — who continue to pay a price for their own freedom — search for those who have fled the plantations of the south. Thus far, it’s gripping and scary. From the NPR review:
In “Underground Airlines,” author Ben H. Winters has imagined not only a disturbing but plausible alternate reality for the United States. But as a white author, he’s also imagined himself into the body and consciousness of his black narrator, Victor. These days in particular, that’s a controversial move. But the exceptional novel that results seems to me to be justification enough for such an act of creative crossing.
Art of Transit:
In a since-deleted reddit post, the bus operator apologized to two riders for failing to say “good night” when dropping them off over the weekend. The reason: said bus operator was having a very rough day dealing with some less-than-courteous passengers.
The comments in response are the telling part, with nearly everyone suggesting the operator chill because his/her job is hard enough and saying good night isn’t as essential as providing a much-needed lift. One such response that was unusually clean for reddit:
If you click above, be warned: there’s some adult language. But the post really drives home the point: putting aside all our PR and political hooha, there are Metro employees who really, really give a damn. In fact, residing in my email box is a message from a colleague taking me to task for posting a photo of a train with smudgy windows:
“The windows on the rail car are so streaked with water and soap residue it makes me not feel “warm and fuzzy”. When representing MTA to the world we, as a company, need to put our best forward even if it is as simple as a clean window. Perception to the public about us should be a positive one. I’ve worked on the bus side training Service Attendants for many years. If one of our busses left the division like that I’d be highly embarrassed that we did not do our best.”
Fair enough. Metro, btw, is hiring part-time bus operators.
A good overview of the crowding issues we’ve been seeing on the Expo Line since it opened in late May. With new light rail vehicles arriving at a pace of one-a-week, Metro is planning to increase Expo frequency to every six minutes as part of the annual December service changes. Those will initially be two-car trains and then will build to three-car trains as more light rail vehicles arrive.
There are some choice quotes from riders. The most disconcerting thing, of course, is that some riders say that they can’t get on trains because they’re too crowded. We don’t think that happens very often and hopefully it won’t happen any more sooner rather than later.
Transpo reporter Steve Scauzillo points out that some pretty gnarly traffic has accompanied many of the recent Olympic Games. And that it doesn’t have to be that way. By using a lot of well-organized buses and staggering work hours, traffic wasn’t an issue at the most recent Olympics held in L.A. And that was before there was even one inch of Metro Rail or Metrolink.
Attentive readers know that the International Olympic Committee are scheduled in Sept. 2017 to choose between Budapest, L.A., Paris and Rome as host of the 2024 Games. I’ve got a separate post coming on that soonly.
Related: Here’s an excellent post on the Metro Transportation Library & Archive’s blog about the RTD’s preparations for the ’84 Olympics and the expected traffic.
DamienTalksSGV: Metro Board Chair John Fasana (Streetsblog LA)
Streetsblog LA’s Damien Newton and Doug Lewis catch up with Metro Board Chair John Fasana, who serves on the Duarte City Council and has long represented the San Gabriel Valley. Perhaps most notably, there is talk about SGV attitudes past and present toward Metro ballot measures.
Austin Council moves $720-million mobility plan forward (Austin Monitor)
This actually happened in late June (whoopsy, I missed it) with some more recent news about who is supporting the measure among Austin-area lawmakers. The bond measure looks to be pretty light on transit improvements and there’s no light rail planned, given that light rail has proven to be a lightning rod in Austin.
Nonethless, Austin joins a long list of cities/regions that will tackle local transportation at the polls — a list that includes L.A. County (with Metro’s sales tax ballot measure), much of the S.F. Bay area and the greater San Diego and Seattle regions. Portland, meanwhile, is aiming toward 2018.
Since the subject of journalism comes up every so often in this space, here’s 19 glorious/depressing minutes of John Oliver’s take on the subject. Headphones please if riding transit and the obligatory warning of some adult language.
Categories: Transportation Headlines