How We Roll, Dec. 29: the year is almost over and that could be a good thing unless it’s not

Some recent Metro-related Tweets: 

Concur: please don’t hog seats while holding a bike. Either use the area designated for bikes or stand at the mid-point of the cars please, especially at rush hour.

No bueno but not usually like that. But we’ll send that upstairs as part of our weekly report.

That is a significant amount of poultry.

I get the range of opinions on the policy but I do think the policy and the ballot measure are two separate things. Or to put it another way: it would be nice to be able to projects to name or not name at a later date!

Bring some Dostoevsky. I bet that will spruce up your ride.

Pop up bookstore please!

Art of Transit:

If you’re going to the Rose Parade, you can either sit in traffic or take the Gold Line. We like to think the Gold Line is the better choice. Here’s a float under construction as seen this a.m. near the Rose Bowl.

Karl Strauss Brewery opens massive DTLA flagship (DTLA Rising) 

The brewery got its start in San Diego and — with the Chargers perhaps soon to follow — has migrated up the 5 freeway to DTLA at Wilshire and Grand in the Financial District. That’s a brief stroll to 7th/Metro, where you can catch Blue, Expo and Red/Purple Lines.

As Brigham smartly notes, DTLA still has its dead zones (mostly because downtown is huuuge) and this helps fill in the gaps.

I’ve never had the privilege of tasting the goods, food or drink, so am eager to check it out. As with many brewers these days, Strauss appears to go heavy on the IPAs although I predict that fad will wane.

Things to watch whilst transiting: the most stunning nature video Outside Magazine’s website says they’ve ever seen. It’s pretty good, especially if you like Arches National Park or Grand Teton National Park. Of course, Outside’s web editors also argue that it might be the perfect time to move to Miami, thereby undermining their credibility.

Sounding the alarm on Uber’s impact on transit, cities (Human Transit) 

Transit planner and writer Jarrett Walker does a good job tying together what many people have been saying this year: cheap taxis are better than transit. Jarrett fears that policymakers will start listening to these folks.

Key excerpt:

If travelers shift from larger vehicles (like buses) into smaller ones (like Ubers) you increase Vehicle Miles Travelled, which increases congestion, emissions, and the demand for road space.  This is tolerable in low-density areas but an existential threat to dense cities.

I encourage you to read the entire piece. I recently took a cheap taxi to the airport — boy was it fast (it was also 4:30 a.m.) — and I appreciate the appeal. But like Jarrett and others, I wonder how long the Ubers and Lyfts of the world can stay so cheap and I certainly don’t think they’re good reason to abandon transit, although I think transit is certainly losing riders to Uber, Lyft, etc., especially outside of peak commuting hours.

I think there is good news: it’s doubtful that cheap taxis will ever be able to match transit’s low prices and ability to beat peak traffic. But transit will have to also step up and offer fast, frequent service both in and out of peak times in order to compete.

Stockholm’s new buses are charged wirelessly (Curbed)

The country wants to be carbon neutral by 2050. This is a small part of the effort and still being tested. The hybrid electric buses still must be charged overnight but the system helps keep them running during the day.

Six bright ideas that are changing city driving (BBC)

As in the aforementioned post, charging cars while running or parked is one idea (goodbye parking meter, hello charging station?). So is more congestion pricing and eliminating diesel engines.

I’m betting you’ll see this first tried in Europe and Asia and then possibly spread to few American cities where pols are comfortable sticking their necks waay out.



8 replies

  1. Karl Strauss is an excellent brew pub, as by their Universal City Walk location. Not only is the food stellar, but so is their staff…

  2. Regarding Bikes on Expo, I’d like to note one thing:
    On the new Kinki Sharyo rail cars, there’s less space for bikes. The designated space is much smaller than the space created in Nippon Sharyo & Siemens cars from the ripping out of seats. Plus, frequently passengers are standing there. Also, the mid-points are much narrower than than in the older rolling stock. You may be able to fit on bike there but you will completely block the passageway.

    My last mile to work is actually 2 miles. The Culver City Bus I’d take has 45 minute headways, which is not helpful. Adding a segment of Uber or Lift to the trip would force me back into my car for the commute.

    Since Expo Phase 2 opened, I & my bike can be reasonably assured of meeting a mostly full train when I get to the station. For this reason I now commute totally by bike. However there are days like tomorrow (Friday) where it’s expected to pour in the morning then clear for the afternoon. I would like to have the option to use Expo to augment my commute. However to do that, I’d need to crowbar my bike in to the rail car which, has been noted, is not fair to the other riders.

    For me, I see two solutions, First, increase the frequency on the bus route I’d use. However, it’s a chicken and egg proposition. Higher ridership is needed to increase frequency, but increased frequency is needed to make the service useful enough for an expanded ridership. Second, enough bike share options, to allow me to leave mine at home. While that option is becoming more likely as time goes on, it’ll take quite some time before it will benefit my current commute.

    I realize I’m lucky I have options. My commute is short enough, I can bike it. Plus, I can use Metro and I have a car to get to work. There are people who don’t have these options and getting to work on time means being able to take their bike with them, even if they have to crowbar it into a crowded train. Hopefully in the future, there will be more and better options for all.

    • sns2015, you are correct there is a connection between the Blue Line and the Green Line but it has not been used since the Green Line cars were delivered. With the opening of the Expo Line to Santa Monica and the refurbishment of Blue Line equipment Green Line cars were never used. From what I understand, Green Line cars are not compatible with Blue Line trackage therefore can not be used on the line whereas Blue Line cars can be used on the Green Line.

      It’s going to be interesting when the Connection is completed severing the Gold Line’s two segments. The Pasadena/Long Beach section will enjoy two storage yards, one in North Long Beach and the other in Monrovia. But with the severed, the East Los Angeles / Santa Monica section will have only one small yard in Santa Monica. The OLD Gold Line Yard in Lincoln Heights per what is published will be unaccessible to store cars on the East L.A. segment. And again the Crenshaw Line appears to be isolated from the rest of the system unless it connects to the Green Line but as designed does not connect with the Expo Line since the Expo Line is at ground level and the Crenshaw Line is below ground.

      It’s really ashamed as designed alternate Blue Line trains can not go to LAX via Green Line tracks and alternate Expo Line trains can not go to LAX via Crenshaw Line tracks.

  3. The last New Years Day I worked for the MTA was spent at Union Station Supervising the Gold Line although I was a Bus Supervisor and had never worked in the rail sector. It was all to apparent there was a shortage of rail cars with over crowding on the trains since equipment could not be used from other lines like the Blue Line or Green Line which sat idle on Sunday schedule. Why the MTA has made each line physically separated is shear stupidity. The only exception is the Blue Line and Expo Lines connected at Seventh and Flower Station but I doubt heavy service to either Long Beach or Santa Monica will now be sublimented by the foreign division on either line. If one looks back on the Los Angeles / Pasadena Pacific Electric history it was apparent equipment was brought in from all sectors for the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game because there were no isolation of lines or trackage.

    • The currently under construction Regional Connector in DTLA will connect the Gold Line to the rest of the Metro light rail network (connecting Long Beach to Azusa directly), which will allow for a better spread of rail cars and for them to be reallocated as needed between all lines. Also, there is already a connection between the Green Line and the Blue Line where those lines intersect allowing those lines to share rail cars as well.

  4. There’s a Trump Tower, soon a Trump White House so will it be long before there’s a Trump Union Station? With Metro’s new policy, now it will only take money to be publicly honored, not good works.

    • That is incorrect. The agency doesn’t have to accept any sponsorship. The policy just provides a framework and guidelines for any potential naming proposals.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. Wireless battery charging is a game charger to implement mid-day bus charging because they don’t have to a charger for each parking space. Chargers can be installed in busy intersections so that buses on multiple lines can be charged at the same time when they are stuck near a traffic light or loading passengers. Metro should use some of the new sales tax money to test this type of useful technology.