Dept. of Ridership: Metro’s monthly ridership estimates just posted to metro.net and show that the Gold Line and Expo Line had new all-time highs for average weekday ridership in June.
No, I’m not trying to coat things in sugar. Overall, Metro’s ridership remains flat — and has declined since April 2014, largely due to fewer boardings on the bus system (many other large transit agencies across the U.S. have also seen ridership dips). Still, it’s good to see the rail extensions that opened last year are performing well.
Attentive Source readers know that ridership estimates are counted over the prior six months, so what you’re seeing below is really a reflection of transit boardings over that span.
Dept. of Quote of the Week:
From Alissa Walker in a long post on Curbed LA about tech and traffic in L.A.:
Instead of mocking LA’s public transportation while claiming the threat of long commutes will somehow drive away future startups, tech leaders need to leverage the power of their own industry to get behind the city’s proven solution for tackling traffic. It’s not Waze Carpool, it’s not a Lyft Shuttle, it’s not whatever Elon is digging up next—it’s championing our own public transit systems.
I think that’s a great point, forcefully written.
And I’ll add this: I don’t see a lot of the big tech firms getting that involved with public transit or providing input on the planning of various transit projects. I sit through the Metro Board meetings month after month after month and there aren’t a lot of tech or other business titans arguing for projects when there’s still time to shape them.
Dept. of Speaking of Ride Sharing:
Without going into the details, I recently had a bit of a nightmare ride from the Cincy suburbs to the Cincy airport: a driver who took a pricier longcut instead of a shortcut, wouldn’t shut up, was not a terribly good driver and who wouldn’t shut up — including saying some stuff that was inappropriate. And being inappropriate with me isn’t easy.
The company in question quickly gave me a partial refund, so that’s not the issue.
The issue: the company in question never actually met the driver in question. Assuming the drivers are the most important assets of these companies, why isn’t anyone interviewing them in person to see if they are sane human beings who can be trusted ferrying paying customers?
Compare that to your average bus driver, who goes through extensive training and is interviewed and supervised by a transit agency. As with many things ride sharing — including the ability of Uber and Lyft to take punishing losses thanks to investors — it pretty much makes little sense.
From the Dept. of Twitter:
Huge shout out to all of our riders for patience during 11-day light rail shutdown. Take a look back at all the work that was accomplished! pic.twitter.com/DBTJDvrjD5
— Metro Transit (@MetroTransitMN) July 6, 2017
We’re always looking at how other transit agencies handle their social media for ideas on how to improve. I thought the folks in the Twin Cities did a nice job with the above video.
Join us for a community information meeting in your city to learn more about the Foothill Gold Line. July thru August. See you there! pic.twitter.com/anaYvvf9oE
— Foothill Gold Line (@IWillRide) July 6, 2017
Attentive readers also know that Metro and the Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority recently signed a master agreement for the project and the Metro Board approved a budget for the extension from Azusa to Claremont. More here.
— Urbanize LA (@UrbanizeLA) July 7, 2017
It’s hard to keep track of the many developments sprouting near transit lines these days. The one above is next to the Expo Line’s Sepulveda Station and was formerly, if memory serves, a concrete plant. It’s a good location — an easy train ride to DTSM, Culver City, Expo Park/USC and DTLA and a nice stroll to Sawtelle Japantown and the stores/eateries along Pico Boulevard. Plus, Adventure 16 is across Pico for all your rock climbing, backpacking and bear repellent needs 🙂
"Regional Connector links Blue/Gold/Expo lines for one-seat ride from Azusa to Long Beach, or East LA to Santa Monica."
— Farley Elliott (@overoverunder) July 7, 2017
How does Reg Connect actually make that transfer happen? Or am I still getting out and walking to a new line at some point?
— Farley Elliott (@overoverunder) July 7, 2017
A lot of folks answered Farley and I agree the Regional Connector isn’t the most intuitive name. The best way to understand it: the Connector will link the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines and create two light rail lines: one that runs between Azusa and Long Beach and the other that runs between East Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
The two lines will share five stations in downtown Los Angeles: the new underground Little Tokyo station, Historic Broadway (at 2nd and Broadway), Grand Ave Arts/Bunker Hill (at 2nd and Hope), the existing 7th/Metro Station and the existing Pico Station. Transferring between the two lines will be easy at those five stations: step off one train and wait at the same platform for the one going to your destination.
This means riders coming into DTLA on the Gold Line — from East L.A. or Azusa — won’t have to transfer to the subway at Union Station any more to reach the heart of downtown. The same goes for Blue and Expo riders who may want to reach destinations north of 7th Street. Transfers = Time Munch and the Connector project will speed up trips to and through DTLA for current and future riders on our light rail system. The Connector will also enable more frequent service, meaning more capacity.
Maybe this map shows it best:
Now for some headlines I missed during my recent sojourn to Ohio…
Under Measure M, $200 million in funding would begin to flow to the city’s streetcar project in 2053. City officials want to get the money sooner — but under Measure M, projects can only be accelerated if they don’t impact the funding or timeline for
Speaking of streetcars…that reminds of my recent Cincy trip/imprisonment. A streetcar opened there last year after the mayor tried to stop construction fearing the thing would be a sinkhole for dollars. As it happens, the streetcar (which runs in traffic) has proven to be slow and isn’t attracting tons of riders. Most folks I talked to in Cincy pooh-poohed it although I don’t think many realize modern streetcars are really more of a development tool rather than a transit tool given their syrupy speeds.
The idea is to show residents, businesses and developers that particular corridors are important and will receive investments and infrastructure. The other idea is that people are more likely to ride a cute streetcar than a regular old bus.
Related: Over at Human Transit, transit planner Jarrett Walker argues a frequent shuttle bus will serve Providence better than a streetcar. That said, my hunch is a streetcar in DTLA may not travel at warp speed but would probably attract riders, given the size of DTLA and the number of people moving about here.
Yes, 2040 is a long ways off. And, yes, most of us can’t afford a new Volvo. Still, these are the initial steps that may help solve what has been an intractable problem: an extremely popular way of getting around also results in a lot of smog and emissions that lead to climate change.
It’s gonna be hot — record breaking hot (National Weather Service)
Be careful, folks. If you can find shade while waiting for buses and trains, please do so. Or go to Oxnard.
Programming note: I’ll be away until later in the month. Stay as cool as you can and when I get back we’ll try to delve into the many things happening around town transpo-wise. Thanks for reading!
Categories: Transportation Headlines