How We Roll, May 30: emerging from the holiday weekend

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend and was able to get in some R&R. Need something to read whilst transiting today? Try this New Yorker story about efforts to bring virtual reality to the office to help workers escape — at least digitally — the tedium of their cubs.

Dept. of Project Progress: 

This is final decking needed for the Wilshire/Fairfax Station. Next up will be the decking for the Wilshire/La Cienega Station, the final station of the PLE’s first section.

Dept. of Bike Share: Metro’s Bike Share program comes to Pasadena and the Port of Los Angeles in July.

Art of Transit: 


A Blue Line rider giving thanks to the heavens in Long Beach last week. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.


Art of Transit 2: 

With 710 tunnel killed, millions of dollars up for grabs for new transportation projects (KPCC)

A good followup on last week’s news that the Metro Board voted to select the local street improvements alternative for the SR-710 North project instead of a freeway tunnel to close the 710 gap.

After some funds are used for projects mentioned in the project’s environmental study (traffic signal upgrades and synchronization, local street and intersection improvements, improved connections to existing bus service and the promotion of rideshare in the area) there is expected to be about $600 million available to cities impacted by traffic from the gap for traffic mitigation projects.

How will it be spent?

Local officials, like Pasadena’s mayor, are also excited about the potential to develop land that had been set aside on either ends of the freeway called “stubs.”

In Pasadena, the 710 stub is directly adjacent to the city’s thriving Old Town, which Tornek said could be used to build more housing, retail and green space.

“I see magical things happening there,” he said.

It’s probably worth noting that the 710 stub in Pasadena isn’t going anywhere. As the Google Maps view below shows, there is a good chunk of land between the Del Mar and California exits that isn’t being used. There has also been occasional talk over the years about building atop the stub, but there is nothing officially in the works there.

Click to see larger version. Credit: Google Maps.

TriMet statement on slayings of two riders in Portland on Friday

You have probably heard the sad news out of Portland last week, where two male riders on a TriMet light rail train were stabbed to death after trying to intervene against a male rider shouting racial slurs at two women passengers who appeared to be Muslim (Portland Oregonian news story here). Here is TriMet’s statement posted to their Facebook page over the weekend:

There are a number of comments from riders asking for more security on local transit in Portland. There are also a number of comments involving a TriMet employee who posted on her FB page a screed blaming illegal immigration for the deaths. That post has been deleted.

Op-Ed: how to fix L.A.’s failed parking policies (LAT)

Hardly the first and probably not the last op-ed to complain that the city of Los Angeles has far more parking than it actually needs. The authors — Ethan Elkind and Mott Smith — call to “Eliminate or reduce parking requirements for any new development projects” among other things while conceding that has, and likely will continue to be, a tough sell.

Why? A lot of people fear that neighborhoods with tough parking situations will become tougher if these new developments are occupied by residents or businesses that attract people with cars. That said, I think the authors raise a good point that a lot of parking in the city is under-utilized and if used better wouldn’t require so much new parking to be built.

Of course, the big issue here is this: L.A. County has as many vehicles registered (more than eight million!), according to the DMV. And about 83 percent of commuters are driving to work, a number that has not decreased in recent times, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Olympic Committee favors Paris in 2024 (Wall Street Journal)

The WSJ reports that behind-the-scenes officials are putting together a deal to give Paris the 2024 Summer Olympics (Paris last hosted in 1924) and L.A. the 2028 Games. This has been rumored for months. Stay tuned.

SF BART Twitter Town Hall (BART) 

The heavy rail system in the Bay Area got a workout on Twitter last week when fielding all sorts of questions from riders. Here’s a taste: