Sports Update: The Dodgers bounced back from a gutpunch of a loss Wednesday night to win their 90th game of the season in Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon. Barring the collapse of human civilization, the Dodgers are guaranteed to be headed to the playoffs, meaning Metro is also headed to the post-season with the Dodger Stadium Express.
Expect huge crowds and game traffic the rest of the season as the Dodgers try to capture the best regular season record in Major League history — they can start by emptying the Brewers’ mugs this weekend. The bus runs from Union Station and Harbor Gateway to the ballpark and is free AND has its own lane to make trips faster. More info here.
Wanna walk to the game? You can certainly do that. Here’s our video, if you haven’t watched it already.
Art of Transit
Dept. of Bike Share
— BikeSGV (@BikeSGV) August 25, 2017
Los Angeles bus service declined as rail expanded (Streetsblog)
Urban and transportation writer Yonah Freemark looks at bus service in our area in a well-researched post. He argues that Metro’s bus cuts in 2010, following the Great Recession, likely had a big impact on Metro’s ongoing ridership declines that started in 2014.
But it’s a nuanced story, as Yonah writes. I agree: see the item below for some other thoughts on ridership.
He points out that bus speeds have also dramatically declined, a sign that not enough is being done to get buses through intersections and traffic. That’s a tough one. Metro runs the buses, but the 88 cities and/or county control traffic signals.
As a motorist, transit rider, pedestrian and occasional cyclist in our region, I’d have to say that traffic signal timing…to be Very/Extremely Diplomatic …feels like it could be a whole letter better. Too many bus stops are double stops. The bus gets stuck at a red light and then rolls through and stops again to drop off and pick up riders.?
Yonah also points out that while many residents in our area live near frequent bus/transit service during peak commuting hours, but that service is hardly available day-round. And commuting times increase greatly outside of the established job centers, making transit more difficult to take.
There’s also this: A lot of bus service in our region is provided by other agencies. In my city of resident — Pasadena — we have bus service provided by Metro, Foothill Transit and the city of Pasadena. It’s fair to ask if those services are aligned and also it’s fair to wonder why the city’s bus is often under-utilized.
Good piece of journalism and I’m looking forward to a promised followed-up that looks at urban planning issues in our region.
One last thing: if you haven’t heard, Metro is embarking on a big study and effort to restructure and reimagine its bus service. There is a parallel effort underway looking at bus service from the many muni providers in L.A. County.
Related: Here’s a recent Metro staff report on improving bus speeds and on-time performance. The gistiness of it: the agency wants to work with cities on identifying solutions for hot spots where buses get bogged down.
Good post on California’s ongoing attempts to lower its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Those are the nasties responsible for climate change.
Long story short: the state is making progress on increasing renewable energy supplies. But that progress is being canceled out by so many people driving gas- and diesel-powered vehicles.
Which leads writer David Roberts to conclude that one solution is to vastly increase the number of electric-powered cars on the road. The other solution:
…is reducing commuting times by solving that housing crisis, and getting people out of their cars by increasing infill and density via building out proper public transportation systems (which themselves will need to be electrified). Unfortunately, cheap gasoline lately has meant a decline in per capita public transportation use in almost every major California city.
My three cents:
•The home of every single Californian is connected to the state’s road system. Californians are going to drive and drive a lot, period. That’s the reason I think creating electric cars that appeal and are affordable to the masses is of paramount important.
•Can’t argue with building out “proper” transit systems that are electrified. The only way for transit to compete and get some people out of cars is to build systems with speed, capacity and frequency. As some of the Source’s commenters frequently point out, there’s no doubt an electrified Metrolink system with frequent service through the day and night could get a lot more riders.
•Declines in ridership due to cheap gas? That’s probably one reason, but I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Other possible reasons for transit declines: a strong economy that means people have money to purchase/lease cars that are increasingly affordable, transit service and maintenance issues and — last but not least — the rise of cheap and fast taxis courtesy of Uber, Lyft, etc.
There are certainly transit expansion programs across the state. Metro, of course, has its Measure R and Measure M projects to greatly expand our rail and BRT system. The state’s bullet train project is inching along even though many opponents have tried to put a bullet in it. The Bay Area has several notable transit projects underway. In our area — and others — there is no shortage of proposals to build more housing in cities and other urbanized areas.
And, finally, this: if lawmakers had the will, they could easily spend some $s create some incentive programs to get more people in electric cars and transit.
Click above to listen to Zocalo Public Square columnist Joe Mathews on some of the flaws in the Bay Area transit network, i.e. Marin County, BART crowding, Caltrain to local transit connections. Gist of it: the Bay Area can be as dysfunctional as anyone when it comes to transit and traffic issues.
Attentive Source readers know that Joe has been critical of our system, too.
Using a tunneling machine purchased from the Bay Area (it was used to dig a sewer line), Elon Musk & Co. have received permission from the city of Hawthorne to dig a two-mile tunnel extending beyond the grounds of the SpaceX HQ.
Musk’s interest in tunneling is no secret although it’s still not entirely clear if he wants to dig tunnels for car traffic or perhaps his Hyperloop that proposes to whisk vehicles at high speeds across long distances.
Interesting stuff. Attentive Source readers know that I was initially pretty skeptical about some of Musk’s endeavors. But I’m increasingly impressed with Tesla and I’m also impressed that he’s publicly taking chances on potential new technologies.
BTW, Musk’s company is using Metro’s specs for its two-mile tunnel. Which is a nice endorsement, I suppose.
Progress report for Union Station’s Silver Line station (Urbanize LA)
It’s still a little hard to envision the future platform that will be accessible from Patsaouras Plaza at Union Station — it doesn’t exactly look like a bus platform yet.
The current Silver Line station is a small plaza surrounded by roadway on Alameda Street just above the 101 freeway. It’s a bit of a slog from Union Station proper and perhaps not The World’s Most Pleasant Place to Wait for a Bus.
Generous headline about the 7th Street riding experience in DTLA, IMHO.
5 ways Metro plans to fix the Blue Line (Curbed LA)
Not a completely accurate headline as the Metro Board hasn’t yet approved of two of the ways — an express train and street separations. Both still must be studied further and then funded, and the funded part is never easy given the costs involved. Here’s a recent Metro staff report on the potential upgrades.
Things to read whilst transiting: good New Yorker profile of St. Vincent, whose new album is coming out soon. I’d post her latest single but it contains a certain non-governmenty word that is a no fly zone in these parts.
Dept of Sports Predictions: After a rough start, Rocky triumphed over Thunderlips. Expect the same Saturday evening.
Categories: Transportation Headlines