Cubs stare into the abyss, ExpressLanes cheaters, Van Nuys rail yard: HWR, Oct. 16

Dept. of Dodger Stadium Express: 

The bus will run from anywhere from two to six more games this season, depending on how the Dodgers fare in the rest of the NLCS and then the World Series.

The Dodgers own the No. 1 seed in the majors, meaning Games 1 and 2 of the World Series would be in L.A. on Tuesday, Oct. 24, and Wednesday, Oct. 25. Games 6 and 7 — if necessary — would be in L.A. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Wednesday, November 1.

Games 6 and 7 of the National League Championship Series would also be in L.A. this Saturday and Sunday but those are looking increasingly unlikely to happen.

The Dodger Stadium Express is a freebie bus to the traffic-chocked ballpark from both Harbor Gateway and Union Station. Details here.

Oh, and called it!

Bad traffic in L.A.’s toll lanes? Blame the 25% of drivers who don’t pay to use them, officials say (LAT)

Tough story, as the cheaters are causing more traffic and higher tolls for those who do pay the ExpressLane tolls. Excerpt:

To tally the cheaters, Metro workers stood on overpasses, counted the number of occupants in each vehicle that went by and compared that figure to the transponder setting.

The findings — that 25% to 30% of drivers are driving alone and are not paying — have been fairly consistent for more than a year, surprising some Metro executives.

“We thought people would be more honest,” Metro deputy executive officer Kathleen McCune said.

As the story notes, Metro is working on purchasing automated technology that could detect how many occupants are in a vehicle. The challenge with enforcement — done by the CHP — is that traffic is heavy in the lanes and that makes chasing down violators and pulling them over harder to do.

The popularity of the ExpressLanes has continued to increase (here’s a recent Metro staff report) and the increased congestion that slows traffic on the 110 is basically a peak-of-the-peak problem. As the LAT article notes, Metro and Caltrans are looking at other ways to reduce vehicles in HOV lanes — one of those would raise the carpool requirement to vehicles with three or more options.

That’s being studied now. If it were to occur, vehicles with one or two occupants would be required to pay tolls on the 110 (that rule is already in effect on the 10 freeway’s ExpressLanes). More about that study in this post.

One other thought: it’s not cool to cheat, especially when it impacts other motorists.

Memo to Metro: may we survive? (SFV Business Journal)

Editor Charles Crumpley does not like the light rail alternative for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project that would require a rail yard be built in Van Nuys that could displace up to 186 businesses by one count.

He writes:

Business operators also see a need for a new train line and therefore a new train maintenance yard and that means some businesses will be evicted. But they don’t understand why government can’t be more judicious in selecting a site that is the least disruptive. They don’t understand why government officials can’t seem to see that it is not easy to relocate and could be permanently harmful, even fatal, to the businesses. They don’t understand why elected officials like Nury Martinez fail to come to their defense. They don’t understand why, if their alternative ideas don’t work, the government officials won’t help them come up with ones that do.

Surely there are other sites out there that would be less disruptive. Panorama City actually wants the train yard.

Of course, the project at this point is looking at building either a bus rapid transit line or light rail on Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road between the Van Nuys Orange Line station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station.

If the project is to be built as light rail, either much more funding will be needed or the rail line, as proposed, would have to be significantly changed to lower its costs.

Editorial: Would you buy a self-driving car from these guys? (NYT)

Although Americans have serious doubts about robot cars, Congress is more optimistic. The Old Gray Lady writes:

Yet, members of Congress, encouraged to do so by auto and tech lobbyists, have proposed bipartisan bills that would let industry roll out automated cars more quickly by exempting them from existing safety regulations, like those that govern the performance of steering wheels, airbags and brakes, and by directing the Department of Transportation to come up with new rules instead.

Lawmakers have to do better than that if they care about what the public is saying. A bill passed by the House last month would let manufacturers sell up to 25,000 automated cars a year without meeting all federal safety standards, and up to 100,000 cars after three years. The companies would not even have to establish that their cars are as safe as conventional vehicles before the number of exemptions increased.


FWIW, we’ve been raising some of these concerns for quite some time and have a hard time believing totally self driving cars are something that will happen any time soon. Here is our (read: my) list of doubts.


9 replies

  1. The amount of deadheading required for Orange Line trains to be stored in Panorama City would be unusual, but not unheard of. I would think a good place for an Orange Line yard would be along the Warner Center – Chatsworth branch, which theoretically could see Division 8 converted to rail.

  2. The ESFVTC has 3 rails yards to choose from if the rail option is the locally preferred alternative: Van Nuys (between Kester & Van Nuys at the Orange Line), and two Panorama City sites located just west of Van Nuys north & south of the Metrolink (LOSSAN) tracks. Panorama City stated they are open to the rail yard, which would be fine to serve the maintenance needs of the ESFVTC & Sepulveda Pass light rail lines, but when the Orange Line does get converted to light rail in the 2050s, it will also need a rail yard, and the Van Nuys site (known as the ESFVTC MSF option A in this study) would already be in operation for future Orange Line light rail maintenance needs, otherwise, if the Panorama City options B & C are chosen, in the future, the Orange Line will still need to seek a rail yard for itself because the potential Panorama City rail yards would be 2 – 3 miles north of the Orange Line.

  3. I ride the Orange Line every day. The number of people who just walk on is amazing. There is an increased police presence on the Red Line, but not much on the Orange line.

  4. Just wondering if dividers like the ones on the 91 will ever be installed on the 10 and 110. That would be an easy way to help.

  5. Steve, I thought the Board earmarked enough funding to build an at-grade LRT. More funding would only be needed if the subway option is chosen as the LPA, no?

    • The project as proposed includes an underground section. As we wrote last month, removing that underground section would definitely lower the costs and that’s still a possibility. I don’t think anyone has definitively said that the project is within the funding without that section. Stay tuned!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. ”’We thought people would be more honest,’Metro deputy executive officer Kathleen McCune said.”

    You expect humans to be honest?? – That. Is. Hilarious.

    Also, get rid of the requirement of having actual Carpools needing to have a transponder. How is that supposed to be of an convenience?

  7. It reads like the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor will get a bus rapid transit line. The Bus Rapid Transit line would connect will with the Orange Line. But, isn’t the Orange Line going to be converted to a light rail line in the future?

    • No decision has been made on the ESFVTC project — that will ultimately be up to the Board. Yes, at this time the Orange Line is scheduled to be converted to rail in the 2050s although Metro is working to try to accelerate projects. I don’t know which way public opinion is leaning although I do know a couple of Valley-based groups have said they support rail.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source