How We Roll, Feb. 21: bad traffic, broken umbrellas and dissent

From the Dept. of Expired Umbrellas: 

As seen at 7th/Metro on Friday during the big rain storm. Very Gothamesque scene. Photo by Joni Goheen/Metro.

The worst of the storm blew through here on Friday but continued throughout the weekend up north. Skiers coming home from Lake Tahoe yesterday had a real treat:

Today, both routes between Tahoe and Sacramento are having issues: I-80 was closed in both directions over Donner Pass earlier this afternoon and part of Route 50 collapsed this morning. What a winter.

Art of Transit 2: 

Participants leaving the immigration march and riding the escalator at the Red/Purple Lines’ Civic Center Station. Click above for a post about riding Metro to marches and other big events in the weeks ahead. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Art of Transit 3: 

Work on the 2nd/Hope Station in DTLA is progressing. This is part of the Regional Connector project that is linking the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines via a 1.9-mile rail tunnel with three new stations. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

On the subject of the Connector, here’s a post with some other pics of the station at 2nd/Hope that were shot last week. Also, the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday will consider approving the names for the new stations. The proposed names are:

•Little Tokyo/Arts District, located between 1st, 2nd, Central and Alameda. It will be nice not having to cross Alameda or 1st to reach the station.

•Historic Broadway, located at 2nd and Broadway. It will be a one block walk of about .2 miles to get to Grand Central Market, which is also near the Pershing Square Red/Purple Line station. So if you think the line for Egg Slut is long now…

•Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill, located at 2nd and Hope — on the backside of Disney Concert Hall and the Broad. The station will include elevators to bring people up to a walkway level with Grand Avenue.

How We Roll 4: 

Ventilation fans for the Wilshire/Fairfax station. Decking is now underway so that traffic continue to use Wilshire while the station is excavated underneath. Click above for more about the decking work. Photo: Metro.

Dept. of Dissent: 

That is referencing this:


No surprise here: Los Angeles is the world’s most congested city, study finds (LAT)

These kind of studies have landed in our collective inboxes at higher frequency in recent times. They all try to quantify what we already know: local traffic sucks. That said, this is the first time that I’ve read that L.A.-area drivers lost more hours due to peak hour congestion than drivers elsewhere on the planet.

Moscow won the silver medal and New York City bronzed, according to Inrix, the traffic analytics data firm (presumably traffic raises the need to hire a firm to analyze it). China and India are weirdly not mentioned in the study. China and India also happen to be the world’s most populous countries with several cities — such as Beijing — sometimes experiencing a touch of traffic.

As for our region, here’s what the study has to say:

Known for freeways, Los Angeles had the ninth-worst congestion rate among US cities studied during the peak period at 23 percent, faring better than cities like Austin, Seattle, Boston and Portland. Los Angeles ranked eighth on arterial and city street congestion at 20 percent, and ranked third when averaging daytime congestion rates at 12 percent. One bright spot is nighttime travel, where Los Angeles city streets ranked 38th.

I suppose L.A. beating Austin and Portland doesn’t sound as good in the title of a press release.

Which is the reason I take these kind of studies with a few tablespoons of kosher salt. There is undeniably horrific traffic in L.A. — for example, I left home in Pasadena the other morning at 8:50 a.m. and rolled up 29.8 miles later to my doctor’s office in Pacific Palisades at 10:20 a.m.* (And after a short cooling off period in the waiting room, I still managed to pass an EKG test. Hooray for me.)

The amount of traffic we face is highly individualistic. BTW, the mean commute time to work in L.A. County is 30 minutes, according to the Census Bureau. That’s faster than a lot of other American cities/counties, including: New York (39.9 minutes); Cook County, which includes Chicago (32.3 minutes), and; San Francisco (31.7 minutes).

Look, folks. Traffic has stunk in L.A. for many decades now and will likely continue stinking for many more to come. But as the transit system builds out there will hopefully be more options for more folks who don’t wish to drive and transit probably — carefully choose your verb here — helps keep traffic from being worse than it is.

*The 19.9 average miles per hour between Pasadena and the Palisades is certainly no good but it’s worth noting that the really gnarly parts of the journey were getting through downtown on the 110 and then the 10 between Western and the 405. I don’t know how the 110 ever gets fixed through downtown, especially with the 101 and 5 junctions being so close to one another. The good news is that the Regional Connector project should shave 10 to 20 minutes off many light rail trips through DTLA by reducing the number of transfers and allowing more frequent rail service. Although, admittedly, a transit trip from the eastern side of Pasadena to the Pacific Palisades will never be an easy proposition.

Trump’s sanctuaries crackdown imperils transportation projects (Politico)

This is a long story containing a lot of interestingness. But it should be emphasized that this is also a very speculative article and such funding losses haven’t yet occurred. The article’s premise is that cities/regions that do not enforce some aspects of federal immigration law could lose money if they don’t cooperate with the feds.

California has about 40 sanctuary cities, including L.A. and S.F. This LAT story does a good job explaining the term ‘sanctuary city’ as that phrase can mean different things.

California’s common ground with Washington (SF Chronicle)

In this op-ed, Assemblyman Vince Wong and House Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy argue that stopping the state’s high-speed rail project could free up state and federal funding for other needed transportation projects in California. The U.S. Department of Transportation last week announced it was delaying funding for a project to electrify Caltrain tracks in the Bay Area — something needed for bullet trains to reach downtown San Francisco.

What a London transit agency learned from tracking riders for a month (Next City)

Transport for London tracked passengers via wifi. Yes, that was controversial — and, as it turns out, some of the data was used to try to attract advertisers. That said, some of the data culled also showed where crowding is occurring and where people are going.

That said again, one must wonder if that’s kind of like doing a study that finds L.A. has sucky traffic. Duh.





2 replies

  1. Honestly, 20 miles an hour average speed during rush hour would be great for New York City, DC, or any of the other major Eastern cities. The problem is that our destinations are so spread out, so distances are longer. Since you’re a sports fan Steve, your 29 miles is the same distance from Grand Central Terminal to the Nassau Coliseum, where the Islanders used to play. Nassau is considered out in the deep suburbs in the New York metro, whereas Pasadena and the Palisades are all inner suburbs.

    • Or to compare apples to apples, a trip from Englewood, NJ (a suburb just outside the city limits and over the GWB) to Valley Stream, NY (just over the city limits on Long Island is also comparable and about 30 miles. In the NYC mindset this is an impossible trip to make on a regular basis, when you are faced with 2 busy water crossings. But in LA, 30 miles is regular and there are plenty of people who commute from Pasadena to Santa Monica daily.