Dept. of Sneak Peeks:
Dept. of Groundhog’s Day: The Sierra snowpack is at its highest level for this time of the year since the mid-1990s, some of California’s reservoirs are refilling, we’ll have spring skiing this year and our hills are nice and green again. Plus the western U.S. is producing scenes like this:
— US Department of the Interior (@Interior) February 2, 2017
Thus, HWR is fine with winter ending whenever it feels like, the later the better. We can push our backpacking trip into August, although snows have been melting earlier in recent times thanks to…
Art of Transit 1:
— NASA Climate (@NASAClimate) January 31, 2017
As we often say, generally speaking, taking transit instead of driving alone is a good way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More about that here. It’s probably worth noting that Phil the groundhog (actually a marmot) has his critics, who say that spring has already begun to sprung in some parts of the U.S. despite the fact that it’s only Feb. 2.
— Theresa Crimmins (@TheresaCrimmins) January 30, 2017
Art of Transit 2:
A couple more pics from my journey Tuesday into the Crenshaw/LAX tunnel between the future Martin Luther King, Jr. and Leimert Park stations.
Art of Transit 3:
First, an important point: nothing has been decided yet. The technical study that is being presented to Metro’s San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley Service Councils looks at some concepts for a bus rapid transit route between the Red/Orange Line station in North Hollywood and the Gold Line in Pasadena.
The project is due to receive $267 million in funding from Measure M, the sales tax increases approved by L.A. County voters in November. The 501 express bus began service between NoHo and the Gold Line in Pas in early 2016 and the idea is to build on that concept.
As you can see in the above presentation to the Service Councils, the primary planning question in this corridor is whether the BRT should primarily run on surface streets or the 134 freeway. The freeway route would be less expensive and faster while a street running would likely attract more riders and be closer to more work/live/shop/play destinations.
The next step is to present the technical study to elected officials who serve the area and then the Metro Board. After that the formal environmental review process could begin that would more thoroughly evaluate different routes. The Metro Board will eventually be the ultimate deciders when it comes to a route.
Actually, Metro CEO Phil Washington said during his State of the Agency remarks last week that Metro will be studying such a train. As Curbed reports, the study will be funded by a Measure M-funded program for “visionary” projects.
There isn’t money for an express train in Measure M, but it’s certainly an interesting topic that has been discussed occasionally over the years. Measure M, however, does supply funding to build the Airport Metro Connector/96th Street Station that will serve the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Green Line and many muni bus lines and serve as the transfer point to the people mover that will carry riders to the LAX terminals.
That may not be ‘express’ service, but it should result in a faster transit ride to the airport. The Green Line does have a station near the airport, but it requires a bus shuttle ride to reach the terminals and the shuttle, at times, gets caught up in airport traffic.
City of Los Angeles voters in March will consider a ballot measure that would put delay approvals of large developments that would require zoning changes in the city for two years or until the city updates all its community plans.
Proponents say zoning changes are too often tied to campaign contributions and increase real estate prices and traffic while opponents say that worthy developments that would increase the housing supply and improve neighborhoods would be needlessly halted.
Transit is a related issue as some of the controversial larger developments in the city are near either existing or future lines.
Uber was criticized for turning off surge pricing on trips to/from Kennedy Airport in NYC last weekend — with people saying that undercut the minority-heavy taxi driver community. The criticism grew quickly to the #deleteuber hashtag (here’s an NYT explainer on that) and today Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said that he will not serve on the council after all.
Will Uber’s business really be impacted by all this? Hard to say, given much of their data is private.
Quasi-related: in an op-ed in the N.Y. Daily News, the former transportation chief in NYC says that Uber isn’t providing data from its drivers that would help cities better plan their transportation networks.
Musk’s company did dig a test trench recently at Space X headquarters, which Musk said was to determine how fast one can tunnel. With Metro in the process of digging actual rail tunnels, KCRW points out that digging is just part of the work involved in building anything underground. Good to know.
One month after it opened, it appears that the new Second Avenue line in New York is making a small dent in the crowds on the nearly Lexington Avenue subway. I liked this line from one regular Lexington Ave rider: “I haven’t had to not get on trains as often, but they’re still very crowded when I do get on them.”