Competing for riders, mulling ballparks, finance and fares: HWR, Oct. 19

Art of Transit: 

Hopefully tonight’s the night. But it would help to not strike out looking at three straight pitches, the kind of thing that would not be tolerated even in the littlest of Little Leagues.

The Dodger Stadium Express, shown above, will resume service Saturday (unlikely but if necessary) or Tuesday with freebie bus rides to the ballpark from Harbor Gateway and Union Station. The bet here is the game Tuesday will be against the Yankees, who will find a way to scratch out a win in Game 7 Saturday after losing to Verlander and the Colt .45s on Friday. More info here.

Fun fact: The Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Reds (1990 Champions!), Cardinals, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Astros and Braves have represented the National League in the World Series since the Dodgers last appeared in the Fall Classic in 1988. Also, in ’88 Metro did not exist. It took what must have been a wild date night in ’92 between the RTD and CTC for that to happen. Ah, to be alive in the early ’90s.

Can Metro’s innovation guru transport LA into the future? (KPCC)

Good segment with KPCC’s Alex Cohen riding the rails with Joshua Schank, Metro’s Chief Innovation Officer. The quote from Joshua that caught my ear:

“I think that there has been a tendency in Los Angeles to think of mass transit as a last resort for people who don’t have cars, which is a terrible way to think about mass transit. You wind up designing a mass transit system that is barely functional and is not trying to compete for customers.”

As Joshua says, Metro is trying to change that and create a system that is competitive with other ways of getting around — not particularly easy when competing against people who can summon a ride quickly with a smartypants phone. Measure M will certainly help, as should Metro’s effort to restructure the bus system, although that’s still a couple years away.

What’cha think riders? What do you think Metro should be doing to win new riders and bring back those no longer riding?

Dept. of Finances 

(pdf here)

Speaking of Measure M and money, Metro Planning Chief Therese McMillan gave a presentation Wednesday on the agency’s long-term financial outlook to the Metro Board’s Finance, Budget and Audit Committee. You can listen here.

The topic of fares is included in the presentation and created some mild buzzing on social media. Point of emphasis: there is no fare change currently on the table, nor is anything imminent. But it’s an issue that will likely be revisited at some point in the future given that Metro’s fares are low compared to other large agencies and the system will continue to expand.

The agency is in the midst of revising its long-range transportation plan, which is a financial blueprint that shows the projects and programs to be funded in the years ahead. At this time, things look positive, according to Metro staff. Of course, as with anything involving transportation funding — where there is no such thing as a money tree — there will always be challenges.

One issue involves the federal New Starts program, which helps local transit agencies pay for major transit projects. The White House has backed eliminating funding for any projects not already in the program. That’s contentious, of course, as transit agencies around the U.S. — in states red and blue — rely on the program.

At Metro, New Starts has been combined with local dollars from Measure R to fund construction of the Purple Line Extension (sections 1 and 2) and the Regional Connector. And Metro hopes to use New Starts for the third section of the Purple Line between Century City and Westwood, as well as Measure M-funded projects. This may be an in-the-weeds issue, but it’s important. Stay tuned, please.

Cubs, CTA get mocked by Los Angeles and others (Chicago Tribune) 

A few Cubs fans pointed out: A) Dodgers fans are perhaps not best known for staying until the last very pitch; B) At least in Chicago there’s a train right beyond the right field wall.

That, of course, is an excellent point. Attentive Source readers already know my position on this: the Dodgers should have moved into DTLA proper back in the early aughts when there was some very light discussion of the issue. In a world class city, me thinks, a ballpark should be readily accessible to the masses (and mass transit) and not stuck atop a hill surrounded by acres of parking, thereby guaranteeing traffic.

Dodger Stadium is certainly a mid-century classic, but there are beautiful new downtown ballparks across the U.S. A stadium doesn’t have to be old to be great, people. With the architectural talent available here, I bet a new Dodger Stadium could honor the old Dodger Stadium and Ebbetts Field and be quite awesome. Plus, that would free up land for a variety of uses at Chavez Ravine.

This is my opinion only — and I know it’s regarded as heresy and something that should earn me time at the wrong end of Negan’s bat. Should that happen Source readers, well, I’ll do my best to find you.

The Friendly Confines — it’s just steps from the El to the ballpark. Photo by Jesse Loughborough, via Flickr creative commons.

Dept. of Other Transit Agencies Grappling with Sticky Issues: 

Interesting poster on fare evasion from our colleagues at the Washington D.C. Metro:


8 replies

  1. The value of the land where Dodger Stadium is located is far more valuable if redeveloped into residential property, Condos, Apartments, Townhouses. It’s to bad the Dodgers didn’t make the move back in the 80s when downtown property was cheap compared to its value today..

    • Yes, Chavez Ravine would be highly valuable as residential, but that would actually increase traffic tremendously over a baseball stadium that is only used 6 months of the year and never during the morning rush hour.

      The Dodgers have spent millions updating the stadium in the past decade. Is the lack of a nearby train annoying, yes. But, once there Dodger Stadium feels like an oasis in this huge metropolis –a way to escape your life for a few hours. So what if you decide to leave after the 7th inning stretch, that’s what makes L.A. — L.A.

  2. I agree only if they give the property back to the people they stole it from and build them replacement home for the ones that were torn down against their wishes. Add to that the repayment of lost revenue from the oil wells that were on their property which have probably been a cash cow to the Dodgers all these years.

  3. I completely agree with you about Dodger Stadium. I hate that place. It’s in an terrible location and totally auto oriented. It turns it’s back on the community it surrounds, like a palace surrounded by a moat. If it’s a hot sunny day, it’s the most miserable place to be. The sun exposure and heat generated from all that concrete and asphalt suck. Everyone leaves games early because of the traffic. I know it supposed to be architecturally significant, but at the end of the day, to the average person its a concrete eyesore. It’s a symbol of post WW2 L.A. That terrible city building experiment we are trying to move away from today. Car oriented, segregated, where everything was decentralized and no one cared about the city they lived in. I’d love to see it destroyed and the stadium relocated to a part of town that is accessible to many and where it can be integrated into the community surrounding it.

  4. Add a gold line station at solano ave and broadway in the corn fields. Build covered walk ways and covered escalators over N Broadway and the (110) Pasadena parkway and Dodger stadium downtown gate driveway. The new station would serve the new Los Angeles river housing project, dodger stadium and the cornfields state park. It would be about a 10 minute walk by way the crow flies. Eric Sagot

  5. I see very few fare checks anymore. I have been threatened with a screwdriver recently on the Gold Line. Metro’s got to keep the crazies off, even late at night.

    • The land around the convention center is now too valuable to waste on a ballpark. With all the development in Southpark, a ballpark would not be a wise use of land. Dodger Stadium is quite convenient where it is. Sure, buses are not as sexy as trains, but they do the job okay for stadium access.