Homelessness, walkability and planning in LA, freebie rides in Bay Area: HWR, Sept. 18

Dept. of Dodgers Stadium Express: Within 48 hours I may be able to write — with certainty — that you can Go Metro to the Dodgers playoff opener on Friday, Oct. 6, against either the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Brewers or Cardinals. More here about our freebie bus to the ballpark from Union Station and Harbor Gateway.

Things to read whilst transiting 1: Metro Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank offers some thoughts on the hyperloop and self-driving cars. Read it here.

Dept. of Pro Football: 


Rough day for the Local 22, but Carson and Los Angeles almost won! More here about how to ride Metro to games at the Coliseum, Rose Bowl or StubHub Center.

Art of Transit: 

Dept. of Fresh Served: Agendas and staff reports for the Metro Board’s September committee hearings are posted. Bon appetit!

LAPD officers ‘overwhelmed’ by homeless problem on Metro (KPCC)

I’m not sure the six-minute segment on the ‘Take Two’ program quite matches the headline. But it’s a good listen, with an LAPD rep talking about what officers are trying to do when it comes to dealing with homeless who use the Metro system.

The gist of it: everyone is expected to follow the Metro Code of Conduct. If not, officers try to gently ask people to leave buses or trains and, if necessary, match them with the appropriate social services. It is not, of course, an easy problem and the Los Angeles area is hardly the only metropolis dealing with homelessness these days — although I suspect the scope of it here may be larger owing to our size and mild year-round weather.

Metro has also convened a Homeless Task Force to think more holistically about issues and connect homeless to health-care and services. More here.

Obviously, the impact of homelessness is not just on transit. I was driving on Silver Lake Boulevard yesterday and noticed that sidewalks on both sides of the street under the 101 were partially blocked by homeless encampments and crash. The economy here may be humming along for some folks, but it’s hardly universal.

It’s worth noting that voters in both the city of Los Angeles and L.A. County last year approved sales tax increases to pay for more housing for the homeless. Your thoughts on the homeless situation in our region?

Related: America is building more three-car garages than one-bedroom apartments, Bloomberg reports.

As transit expands in L.A., will walkability follow? (Streetsblog)

Key graph:

L.A. is becoming more compact, but its built environment is still more conducive to driving than to walking and transit. Even as the region’s rail network grows, too many stations remain engulfed by single-family housing and park-and-ride lots, development patterns that make it harder to walk to transit. And the less people walk to transit, the less they ride. To make the most of its investments in trains and buses, the L.A. region has to do a better job aligning land use and transit.

Ultimately, Yonah Freemark gives our region a C+ for land-use planning, a grade that might be generous IMHO. He thinks more single-family neighborhoods need to grow more dense to be more walkable.

Me thinks (as an actual resident of the region and a single family homeowner) that can only do so much and the real chance to add density is on the commercial corridors, which tend to be under-developed and closer to bus and rail lines.

Lyft’s redesigned street concept could fix L.A. traffic (CNN)

Attentive Source readers know the headline chafes like a bike seat made of sandpaper: car traffic rarely gets “fixed” in this world of ours.

Anyway, Lyft takes a stab at reshaping Wilshire Boulevard and says a lot more people could be moved along the street if there was more transit, more bike lanes, more bus lanes (there’s already one at peak hours in the city of L.A.) and more…Lyfts.

Well, okay. No mention is made of the Purple Line Extension, btw, which is extending the subway for nine miles, mostly under Wilshire, to the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood.

BART randomly hands out free tickets to boost weekend ridership (Chronicle)

Ridership on weekends has dipped 10 percent in the last couple of years (perhaps due to maintenance work scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays), denying the agency fare revenue.

The response: try to get people riding again by handing out about $200,000 in free tickets for use on weekends. Does it work? Officials say they’ll be tracking the use of the tickets.

The suburb of the future, almost here (NYT)

Fun op-ed piece that notes that millennials in the 25- to 29-year old age bracket are still more likely to move from the city to the ‘burbs than the other way around.

Meaning that while Urbanists can rightly say urban centers are being revived, pronouncements on the demise of the ‘burbs are tad premature.

But MIT planner Alan Berger notes that suburbs can certainly be better designed — with more shared car parks, more shared gardens and parks, increased ability to absorb storm water (see: Harvey and Irma), fewer driveways, larger yards and less need to drive everywhere because delivery of goods via drone will be common.

Hey, if a drone can successfully and quickly deliver a few boxes of soup dumplings from Din Tai Fung in Arcadia to the 91106, I’m on board.

Things to listen to whilst transiting: In the past six years, the Foo Fighters have hardly rested on their fannies. Dave Grohl & Co. have released three albums, an EP and an HBO series on their many influences. Their latest record, “Concrete and Gold,” was fine company on the Gold Line this morning. “The Line,” “The Sky is a Neighborhood, “Arrows,” “Run,” “Dirty Water” and “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” are my favorite tracks, so far. None are as sublime as “Outside” from the previous LP, but still a lot of good stuff.

Things to read whilst transiting:Seven days of heroin: this is what an epidemic looks like.” A harrowing look by the Cincinnati Enquirer at the opiates crisis in southwestern Ohio (I’m from Cincy, btw). In the span of a week there were 18 overdose deaths, 180 overdoses, 200 arrests and 15 babies born with heroin-related medical problems. As others on the internet have noted, this is the kind of local journalism our country badly needs and it’s absolutely heartbreaking so many people see no way out.




10 replies

  1. I caught security guards lying to a homeless person at my train to lure him away from the station by telling him the red line passing was the last one and he needed to get on. Not LAPD, but also not a holistic approach.

    To LAPDs credit, they have dealt with the homeless in a nice way. Im glad they are not being bullies on the system and respect the culture of riders. Its almost like they’re not their, but in a good way.

  2. My biggest issue is not the homeless being on the train per se, but it’s when people (homeless or not) act out inappropriately. Loud radios/cell phones, eating, loud and rude behavior, and more rarely fights and harassment all stand out to me as what upsets, scares, and discourages people from using Metro. Moreover, many people become uncomfortable when the many mentally ill persons get on and begin to act out. Most people don’t know how to (and not that they should) deescalate and must endure the episode until them or that person gets off. It puts a large burden on the riders to endure when there are no authority figures there to help.

    On the former point, I believe if there is a concerted effort to saturate the code of conduct on all trains, buses, and stations it would help people begin to realize they are being rude because I truly think most of it is people just not realizing what they are doing is disturbing people. People are susceptible to suggestion so if there are exposed to it more the issue may resolve itself.

    On the latter point, perhaps using the Prop HHH money on hiring more crisis personnel that can ride the trains and buses be able to intervene when a person with mental issues acts out. If there is a faster response to these people, perhaps they themselves and the other riders would be better served.

  3. In the Program Management report in one of the Board agendas, Purple Line Section 3 is forecasted to open in March 2026. Wasn’t it the case that a couple months ago (when the Olympics were potentially going to come to LA in 2024) that Purple Line Section 3 was forecasted to open in 2024? What caused the delay?

    • Hi Andrew:

      The agency is shooting for 2024 although that date depends on securing the federal funding portion of the project for section three. The Measure M expenditure plan has a range of 2024-26.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. The suburbs can and should get denser. This will be good for housing affordability and the ability to run more frequent bus service. State law was recently changed to facilitate the construction of accessory dwelling units. Lots of homeowners want to build them.

    • ^^^ yeah those Suburbs can be a problem……

      especially those certain (inferior) people that occupy them..

  5. Walking to my local red line station at Sunset/ Vermont is a very unpleasant experience. I walk in from the north on Vermont. Two banks and a gas station have cars weaving in and out of parking lots all day long. Ive seen many near misses involing cars, children and the disabled who are trying to make thier way to the station and the medical facilities. Across the street is just as bad, with the barnsdall square shopping dominating a huge city block. Add the homeless who regularly hang out on all parts of the nearby streets and i can see why many of my neighbors refuse to use the station. Whatever happened to the idea of transit oriented decelopment around rail stations or traffic calming on this section of Vermont.

    • That’s the thing with commercial corridors worth mentioning: businesses with parking mean cars coming and going all day. Residential developments: not as many cars coming and going at all hours. Obviously the businesses have to go somewhere but I hear you loud and clear: walking on these streets can be serious un-fun. That said, I’m not sure what the solution is when it comes to getting (for example) cars into and out of gas stations and those kind of businesses.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. One easy thing to do would be to resume sweeping the trains out of people when trains reach their end points. It used to be done on the Red and Blue Lines when they hit downtown after 9/11, but seems to have ceased in order to get trains back in service quicker. That way it allows other people to occupy spaces that otherwise would be held by those riding back and forth.