How We Roll, June 28: transit-oriented skyscrapers, Gotham subway, Tokyo subway smoosh

Art of Transit: Some Instagrams from our region’s latest Metro Rail-adjacent skyscraper, the Wilshire Grand. The 7th/Metro Station — served by the Blue, Expo, Purple and Red Lines — is right across the street for those contemplating a visit.

Every New York subway line is getting worse. Here’s why. (NYT)

In the wake of the major derailment of a train Tuesday on the C Line in Harlem, comes this: the NYT finds that overcrowding is the primary reason for subway delays. Ridership has been hovering at six million riders a day, levels not seen since the 1940s.

That said, as the NYT notes elsewhere, there is also no shortage of subway infrastructure woes that must be addressed. That begins next month with some line closures, with many predicting a “summer from hell” on the underground, so to speak.

Metro’s Measure M (see attachment A), btw, includes $2.39 billion in its first 40 years for State of Good Repair projects. The idea is to use M money to build new transit projects and keep them in good working order.d

Related: As Curbed LA notes, the Metro Board last week approved an $81.5-million contract to add new cross tracks and revamp signal systems on the Blue Line. That should help reduce delays because it will be easier for trains to get around problem areas.

FWIW, $38.5 million of the funding for this came from the state’s cap-and-trade program that regulates greenhouse gases by charging polluters a fee to pollute. Cap-and-trade is a major funding source for the state’s bullet train project and has a ‘Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program’ to help fund local transit projects. Of course, cap-and-trade has had an up-and-down history although it’s pretty clear here that the program has done some pretty good things.

Quasi-related: striking photos by Michael Wolf of commuters smooshed on the Tokyo subway. Here are two examples:

Carbon in atmosphere is rising even as emissions stabilize (NYT)

The NYT asks: “If the amount of the gas that people are putting out has stopped rising, how can the amount that stays in the air be going up faster than ever? Does it mean the natural sponges that have been absorbing carbon dioxide are now changing?”

The concern is that the CO2 will cause temperatures to keep rising this century beyond some already dire projections.

Looking for something to do about it? Generally speaking, taking transit instead of driving alone is a good way to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking of emissions…

Hundreds Of US mayors just backed 100% renewable energy by 2035 (Buzzfeed)

It’s a steep goal but the mayors say their cities will give it a whirl. I’m guessing it would be a lot easier if a lot more homes and buildings had solar panels to cut back on demand.

Things to read whilst transiting: Why you don’t want to have a baby in a car (in Los Angeles), by my old newspaper colleague Jia-Rui Chong. Well, I’ve told her to get a TAP card 🙂

How Sepulveda Canyon became the 405 (KCET)

The photos provide the answer: an awful lot of Earth was moved.

7 replies

  1. Steve – Does the $81.5mm contract for the Blue Line include the signal priority upgrades that were previously announced or is that a separate project?

    • Hey Kyle —

      The signal priority projects is separate. That is being overseen by the city of Long Beach with funding from Metro’s Call for Projects program.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Speaking of which, when is the Blue Line getting quad gates at all crossings? I know some crossings don’t have enough room such as Nadeau St. and Gage Ave, but crossings like those can have the exit gates’ masts on the median. Can Measure M cover this upgrade too? – Chris Fort

        • 1 more thing: On the Long Beach Ave crossings, the cantilever masts can have walkout cantilever gates installed so they don’t have to be removed.

        • Hi Chris —

          I don’t know if there is such a project — generally speaking gates are not added to street-running segments of light rail lines whether it’s the Blue, Expo or Gold Lines. I’ll ask around and see if such a project exists. Measure M does have some broad funding categories that can be used for certain types of projects but I don’t think there is a gate project.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

          • I meant Long Beach Ave in L.A. between Slauson and Washington, where the train still shares the 4 track RoW with UP. I understand you misunderstanding of LB Ave, and LB Blvd.

  2. Rail adjacent is NOT transit oriented. This tower cost 1.2 bn to build, while north crossing of 7th street for over a year. Now the tower is open, and people still have to wait at two lights to cross at either Wilshire or 7th. Why are these towers not required to have pedestrian tunnels or into them. Metro just built one to the block, cmon folks.

    The result when this hotel is open is jay walkers and a clogged intersection. Not even a scramble crossing will solve this problem. Not to mention the fact that we already have issues further south with the Expo and Blue Lines.

    Its like Los Angeles fixes one leak and creates another. This tower is cool as an icon, but its utilitarian value for people that it affects is crap. I may never even live or stay in this tower, but it sure as heck will add some minutes to my commute; great.Stop selling our city off without helping the ones that already are down here