Dodgers, Hyperloop, L.A. River path: How We Roll, Nov. 2

Dept. of Dodgers

Art of transit: 

Rude Dude versus a TAP vending machine. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

If you haven’t seen the new Metro Manners videos starring Super Kind and Rude Dude, here are all three of them.

Things people said on Twitter:

Highly concur.

Laura is the LAT’s transportation reporter and has a lively Twitter feed on things transportationy and not.

Let’s just say that a lot of appropriately skeptical questions about Musk’s plans were raised on Twitter and other social media. I’m not quite clear on who exactly has given him permission to build a new underground transportation system and who would operate it. I think the word to focus on above is “hopefully.”

Attentive Source readers know that one of the big Measure M projects is the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, that proposes to build a rail line between the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley to LAX in two phases. Metro is trying to accelerate that project. Project home page.

Sneak peek at LA River bike path that would link Canoga Park and Griffith Park (Curbed LA)

The city of L.A. is working on this 12-mile project that will link to the existing L.A. River Bike Path in Griffith Park — near the zoo. The project, btw, is receiving $60 million in funding from Measure M.

Metro, meanwhile, is working on a Measure M-funded project to close the eight-mile gap in the L.A. River pathway between Elysian Valley and Vernon. (We’ll have a blog post soon on the project; here’s the project home page on 

That will connect to the existing bike path that runs from the southern part of Vernon (near its boundary with Maywood) to downtown Long Beach.

All very good news, meaning the area is progressing toward a bike and walking path from the western side of the San Fernando Valley to downtown L.A. and then to Long Beach, the second-largest city in L.A. County. Just as significant: that path will link to numerous other paths along the way, creating an improved biking network.

Growing pains: Denver radically expanded its transit. So why are more people driving cars? (CityLab)

The Denver airport train on the prairie. Photo by Greg Goebel via Flickr creative commons.

A 2004 sales tax measure in the Denver region has spurred the addition of several rail and bus rapid transit lines. But ridership has dipped in recent times — as it has at many other large transit agencies in the U.S., including Metro and L.A. County. And driving in the Denver area is up.

So what’s happening? CityLab thinks it’s a combination of things. One is that it’s still tough to compete with driving. Another is that the transit network still isn’t complete. Still another — and CityLab suggest the most important — is that the bus system needs to be faster and more frequent to attract more riders.

Metro CEO Phil Washington, of course, came from the Denver RTD. I took a good hard look at a job in Boulder once upon a time and took a look around the metro area — which I liked and I think the transit expansion has been impressive and will serve the region well, especially as areas near transit are developed. I also think it’s worth noting that Denver — like our region — is very, very auto-centric and things will take some time to change.

L.A. considers hiring homeless people to clean up litter on the streets (City News Service via LAT)

Some street trash I encountered in DTLA’s Industrial District over the summer. Yuck. Photo courtesy Steve Hymon.

Two of the obvious challenges for pedestrians in our region are lack of great sidewalks and dealing with traffic — the kind that pulls across sidewalks plus street crossings.

Something else that I think is less obvious but can also make the walking experience very unpleasant here: the sometimes staggering amount of trash and garbage on and near sidewalks.

The proposal to use homeless to clean trash is in the form of an L.A. City Council motion. Interesting idea, me thinks, although the devil, as always, will be found lurking in the details.

21 replies

  1. Ditto on you ideas on Elon Musk (real name?) The world needs simple, proven public transit and railway transit now!

  2. That picture of light rail going through an area with no density is so cool to me.

    Regarding Elons Tunnel, while he’s going really, where is he going? I know that area pretty well and I can only see him connecting to Aerospace, which would kind of make sense, the airport, which would also make sense, but makes this a non public utility. Interesting stuff nonetheless.

    Elon, if your reading this: Your bridge across Crenshaw has blocked the observable transfer option from the south on Crenshaw. I can no longer tell whether a 210 or 710 is coming by looking down Crenshaw unless the bus is past your bridge. Thanks but no thanks!

    • I suspect — and this is really me just wild guessing — is that he’s looking at the global markets with the hyperloop and the tunneling business. He probably knows that the chance of supplanting many local projects is minimal, but knows that transportation and transit are issues many regions wrestle with — and one may go the hyperloop route rather than try to build something themselves.

      While I think some of Musk’s pronouncements are silly or hype or even counterproductive, I do think that Tesla (even with its issues) has shown that he can get a product to market that people like. I’m even more impressed with the network of superchargers that Tesla has placed around the country. In a world where financing and planning major infrastructure projects can take decades, I think he’s generally barking up the right tree. Whether he gets real results, well, we’ll see.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • He gets products to markets by brutally exploiting his workforce. It’s sad, and it’s sick. I can’t really support anything that born out of that. It’s at the point where it’s common knowledge (and anyone working in aerospace has known for years), and it’s really disappointing and inexcusable.

  3. Nevermind the trash that’s on the sidewalks and streets…focus on trimming or cutting the grass/bushes/sticking-out branches, sweep the dirt, expand some the sidewalks (and perhaps add some bike lanes), and power wash or blast the sidewalks clean or rebuild, especially on those in most need of a rebuild or cleaning

  4. Please allow me to further my comment on the: “homeless”. Their plight became a state-wide issue when then Gov. Ronnie Reagan closed most of the state’s mental hospitals thus forcing the infirm on to the streets with bottles of new cure-all pills which didn’t cure-all even if they remembered to take them. The idea was to “balance the budget” on the backs of the mentally ill who had little to say about it.

  5. A few things to know about Musk’s Hawthorne tunnel:
    1) He does not have permission to operate a transportation system. He has permits/easements from the City of Hawthorne to build a dead-end utility tunnel for testing purposes only. Based on the filing with Hawthorne, he must have some permissions from FAA and CalOSHA. Hawthorne also accepted his CEQA analysis, though I’m not sure if it was determined to have no impact or was categorically exempt. (Read the filings: )
    2) The tunnel will run from SpaceX property east of Crenshaw, crosses Crenshaw and the municipal airport to head west under 120th St, and travels to just past the intersection with Hawthorne Blvd. If he wants to dig access on the other end, he’d need to acquire property and get more permissions. (See the plans in the previous link, but note there’s a plan for the environmental analysis which is not accurate as it shows the tunnel going along instead of across Crenshaw Blvd.)
    3) He’s using a second-hand boring machine with just under 14′ outer diameter, which was previously used for sewer and water projects. He’s digging deep enough to avoid utilities, but still has to monitor that he’s not causing settlements above the tunnel. Nothing innovative there.
    4) He claims to want to use the tunnel to test his “sled” concept, but this tunnel seems too small to test it with real vehicles or humans.

    So basically this is a test tunnel that would be unlikely to become part of the “network” he’s talked about. Even if it were, both the permitting and the technological challenges would be much greater than what he’s gotten through so far.

    • Actually, the size of the tunnel is the main point – since it’s half the radius of even a subway tunnel, it requires only a quarter of the excavation – and the “sled” concept is what makes the diameter work – even with vehicles and humans (although it does seem claustrophobic).

      Clearly the exit, and permitting therefor, is a major issue.

  6. A couple of topics:

    1) As homeless people are a major source of litter, hiring them to clean up might induce them to be more careful – when my Scout troop cleaned up litter, the boys became much more sensitive to throwing out trash.

    2) 7th & Fig – yes it should be amble/scramble – but why is the No Right Turn (from Fig, 7AM-9AM) not enforced? I’ve watched buses have to wait for cars illegally turning right, right in front of traffic control officers! The whole block is a Bus Only lane except for those turning right – and there should be no-one turning right, so any car in that block (except for parking lot entry) is out of place.

    • FYI: Traffic Control Officers can issues parking tickets, but not moving violations. They are not peace officers (like police are).

      And yes, picking up litter will make an individual more likely to want to avoid it in the future.

      • True, but they do control traffic – and can tell people not to go somewhere.

  7. As shown above, Chicago Transit gets kudos for having the best, detailed on train announcements, including which doors will open.

    San Francisco MUNI has the best platform announcements (i.e. 2 car Embarcadero in 3 minutes followed by 2 car Embarcadero in 8 minutes).

    LA Metro should consider that for future upgrades.

    • As a former SF resident, I must disabuse you of the notion that MUNI had the best platform announcements. The number of cars in the next train was usually accurate, but the wait times were often pure fiction.

  8. Street keepers! Get them little portable houses and trash cans, they can pay their rent in trash collected.

    I know a handful of homeless in my neighborhood that have expressed interest in this idea. They would be happy to keep the block clean (that they already live on) if it means having a roof over their head.

    USC made some awesome temporary / homeless shelters. That would be an awesome trade off

  9. Metro, its contractors, and the politicians who represent the elite class, will NEVER allow Musk to transform mass transit construction in this region. Look at high speed fail. The cost overruns can no longer be hidden and will only get worse. Too many big money interests want to get paid and damn the public.

    • You think Metro is the “elite class” and Elon Musk isn’t? Also, how does the high speed rail tie in here?

      I sort of agree with what I think you’re saying…but it comes across pretty confused.

  10. Leave Hyperloop aside, but if Musk can tunnel cheaper/faster than the current partners and/or Metro, why not partner with him? Seems like a potential way to accelerate the project and possibly reduce costs. Is Metro making inquiries?

  11. Subway construction typically starts slowly with lots of utility relocations. How can Musk just start digging without any such preparation?

  12. First off, Elon Musk’s Hyperloopy is just that, all hype and loopiness. Hey,maybe we should just scrap public transport and turn it all over to Uber! Elon Musk, that can’t really be his name. As for putting the homeless to work cleaning up the streets, Franklin Roosevelt did the same thing during the Great Depression and it got my pop off the streets! Where is FDR now that we need him?