How We Roll, Jan. 31: all along the watchtower for transit funding

Reminder: will be down between noon and 2 p.m. today for the cutover to the new The tech folks have rebuilt the trip planner from the ground up, btw.

Art of Transit: 


California’s transportation funding package must do more for public transit (Sac Bee)

This op-ed was authored by State Sens. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles). The gist of it:

Two separate funding bills are pending in the Legislature: Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Jim Beall, and Assembly Bill 1, authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier. Both bills will generate about $6 billion annually. Neither bill dedicates more than 10 percent of its funds for public transit. For context, 20 percent of the federal gas tax is dedicated to public transportation. Moreover, some of the proposed public transit funds are pre-existing while others aren’t certain to ever materialize.

And this:

All of this was avoidable. Since 1980, California has grown by 16 million people (nearly doubling in size), the Bay Area has grown by 2 million, Los Angeles County has grown by 2.5 million, San Diego County has grown by 1.5 million people, Fresno has grown by 300,000 (a 60 percent increase), and Sacramento has grown by 200,000. Yet, our transit investments have not kept up, and we are paying the price.

It’s only going to get worse if we don’t change course. In the coming decades, California is projected to grow by 10 million to 15 million people. If we don’t dramatically expand public transportation, our economy, environment and quality of life will be significantly undermined.

It’s still very early in the state legislative season but as with all transpo funding, this bears watching. By most accounts, there is some type of infrastructure package coming from President Trump and Congress, but at this time no one really knows the final form that will take and how much money will trickle down to transit.

We do know this: there will likely be increased competition from around the country for federal transit dollars, given the number of regions that in recent years passed local transit tax and/or bond measures. And there will also be the always-present competition between transit and road projects at a time when Americans are driving at record levels and transit ridership has dipped in some quarters. Long story short: the more local and state dollars, the better.

Pedestrian tunnel linking Metro Rail to The Bloc opens next month (Urbanize LA)

The entrance means that people will be able to go back and forth between 7th/Metro Center (Red/Purple/Blue/Expo Lines) and the Bloc without having to cross busy 7th Street. It’s the first such tunnel on the Metro Rail system leading directly to a shopping mall.

One of South L.A.’s most prominent restaurants returns to Leimert Park (Eater LA)

From the Earle’s Grill Facebook page. Click above to visit.

The original and very popular restaurant closed due to Metro Rail construction but has moved a little south and is now located at 3864 Crenshaw Blvd. — on the east side of Crenshaw, about a .6-mile walk from the Expo Line’s Expo/Crenshaw Station. As the above pic indicates, they’re known for their hot dogs.

Dangerous drivers, dangerous roads (boyonabike)

The blogger is not pleased that he almost got smeared on a stretch of road in Pasadena that is marked as a “bike route” but is dominated by cars.

Of course, he’s right to be angry. But one of the sad facts of life for cyclists in So Cal is that in days of yore, many cities threw up “bike route” signs on all sorts of roads and then did absolutely nothing to make those roads safer for cycling — because putting up signs (or painting sharrows) is a good way to make it look like you’re doing something when you’re doing nothing.

The fact the signs stay in place only tells you how many people at the city leadership level across So Cal even notice they exist. Okay, sermon over.

Olympic historians on Trump presidency and L.A. Olympics bid (Daily News) 

Speculation on how President Trump’s policies may or may not impact the Los Angeles bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. L.A. is up against Paris and Budapest. The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to select a winner in September.

As we noted yesterday, the NYT has reported one unverified rumor that the IOC will break from tradition and aware two Games at once — Paris will get the 2024 games (it last hosted the Summer Games in 1924) and L.A. the Games in 2028.

I think it’s obviously fair game for journalists to ask the question whether politics in any nation bidding for the Games may impact said bid and the speculation is interesting. I also think it’s important to note all bid cities and nations have their issues; French politics are rough-and-tumble too.

We’re watching the Olympics bid closely in this space as local transportation is always an issue with the Olympics and there are certainly Metro projects that everyone would want open and running by the time the athletes and fans arrived in town.

1 reply

  1. Thanks for sharing, Steve. The “final nail in the coffin” of me joining the MS Society Coastal Challenge training ride from Performance Bicycle, on Arroyo Parkway, in Pasadena on Saturday. I’ll train out where I live where the streets are wider and drivers are generally good about sharing the road with bikes.