How We Roll, Oct. 24: P3s, self-driving promises and the Cubs are no untouchables

Things to read whilst transiting: I love this. The Chicago Cubs have had to yank an offer that would have allowed Chicago aldermen — their equivalent to a City Council — to purchase World Series tickets at face value. Why anyone thought that passed the ethical smell test is beyond me. Then again, Chicago hasn’t always been known for its ethics…and if you’re one of the Source’s younger readers and haven not seen “The Untouchables,” go do that tonight and thank me tomorrow.

Source World Series prediction: Inspired by the Cavs, the mostly unheralded Cleveland Indians — hailing from the great state of Ohio — will win their first World Series title since 1948. And they’ll win it in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field in five games. (Best Cleveland moment in history of cinema is here — warning adult language).

Art of Transit: 

I wonder if Manhattan ever serves as L.A. for film and TV shoots. As seen on Sat night in DTLA. Photo by Steve Hymon.

I wonder if Manhattan ever serves as L.A. for film and TV shoots. As seen on Sat night in DTLA. Photo by Steve Hymon.

A-Line design questions that have caused delays were brought up as early as 2013 (Denver Post) 

A good piece of local journalism on the new airport rail line in the Denver area that opened earlier this year. The project has received a fair amount of PR-love from the Denver RTD in part because it was financed partially with a public-private partnership, also known as P3. That means the RTD is basically paying a contractor to operate the line.

But the line has also been bedeviled at times since it opened with delays and other on-time performance issues. As the article notes, this P3 project is being closely watched by other American transit agencies (including Metro) who are also interested in using P3s potentially to accelerate projects or get projects financed that would otherwise be lacking.

Related: Metro receives unsolicited proposal that could accelerate several Measure M projects and, a second post, explaining P3s by the Office of Extraordinary Innovation.

Are Angelenos still an ‘automotive people?’ Measure M will tell (LAT)

LAT Editorial Board member Kerry Cavanaugh looks at the failure of a 1968 transpo ballot measure in L.A. County (actually one of four that failed at the polls in ’60s and ’70s) and notes that opponents, including the LAT, argued against the measure by saying “We are an automotive people, unlikely to change our habits.” 

Of course, while L.A. County was infighting during those two decades, the last of the streetcars went kaput and other regions such as San Francisco and Washington D.C. got going on new heavy rail systems. Adding insult to self-inflicted injury, it’s worth noting that this was at a time when the feds were more likely to kick in grants covering a higher percentage of the cost.

With that in mind, Kerry speculates on whether things have changed much since 1968 and thinks the impending election could provide an answer one way or the other. One of her blunt observations:

Right now, many people don’t have a good choice. They’re either stuck driving in traffic, assuming they own a car; or forced to navigate a half-built transit system that requires multiple transfers; or stuck biking or walking on unsafe streets that were designed for car traffic.

Tesla’s self-driving car plan seems insane but it just may work (Wired)

Elon Musk — Tesla’s founder — has said a self-driving car can make it from New York to Los Angeles by the end of next year. Wired has his doubts, but ultimately concludes that Musk generally does deliver on his promises, although not always by the target dates that he promises.

As I’ve said in the past, I think cars with self-driving features will almost certainly make it to market, but I’m still skeptical about many aspects of this — including safety — and wonder if self-driving cars will do all (or any) of the things their backers say they will do.


4 replies

  1. As I see it, if tickets cannot be purchased at face value, then what is the point of HAVING a face value? (And in case you’re wondering, whenever practical, I buy my LAPhil tickets from the venue box office, or by season subscription from the LAPhil, and have always regarded outfits like Ticketmaster to be only marginally better than the sleaziest scalper.)

    • No, “Major League” was a minor league movie far outshadowed by better baseball movies, in particular “Bull Durham.”

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source