UberChopper skepticism, microtransit, bike helmets: HWR, Nov. 8

Dept. of Sportsing: 

The Expo Line and Silver Line are good options for those headed to the Rams’ game on Sunday at the Coliseum. All the info you need is here.

And the L.A. Kings have the second-best record in the NHL after their win over Anaheim last night. The Kings next five games are at Staples Center, which is an easy stroll from Pico Station shared by the Blue Line and Expo Line. More here.

Art of Transit: 

Uber says it will bring its flying taxis to Los Angeles by 2020 (LAT)

To quote Jon Stewart, if you smell something, say something!

The money graph from this article:

Designs for the aircraft — which differ from helicopters in appearance, technical features, efficiency and fuel consumption — are yet to be finalized. Proposed take-off and landing zones equipped with aircraft charging stations have not yet been built.

And this:

“L.A. is a model city for this in that it’s highly congested from a traffic perspective, and there’s not a great mass transit relief on the horizon,” [Uber’s Chief Product Officer Chris] Holden said.

Ooooh! Zinger! Of course, the ? part of Holden’s statement is the presumption that: A) most people will be able to fly around town; B) the equipment will be in place by 2020, and; C) folks around town are just dying for heliports in their neighborhoods.

Color me skeptical. If I’m wrong, tell me why please.

If I was reading this instead of writing it, I’d perhaps comment: “see: Santa Monica Freeway. That’s why you’re wrong, egghead.”

Don’t believe the microtransit hype (Citylab)

The article is mostly about privately-run microtransit services — i.e. small on-demand buses that operate like Uber and Lyft. As the article rightly notes, no one has managed to get stinking rich off the concept, at least not yet.

But what about microtransit, like the type that Metro is proposing? Well folks, here’s the caveat: Metro is not a for-profit company. Metro — like nearly all transit agencies in the U.S. — subsidizes the cost of operating transit because transit is for the public good. Metro’s micotransit program may be no different in this regard.

Metro isn’t in this to make a profit, people. We’re in it to test a new type of transit that may work in some parts of the region and provide better service for new and existing riders. Read more about our microtransit program here.

Valley leader sides with Orange Line-area businesses against Metro’s planned light rail yard (Daily News)

This involves the project named the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor. In English, that means “bus rapid transit or light rail” between Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station.

L.A. Council Member Nury Martinez has asked Metro to choose another location for a rail maintenance facility serving one of the light rail alternatives. That’s significant because L.A. Council Members generally have a lot of influence on projects in their districts.

The proposed location is north of the Orange Line and west of Van Nuys Blvd. and critics say that 186 businesses could be lost through parcel acquisitions, although Metro’s count is lower.

Here’s the chapter in the project’s draft environmental study that spells out the costs in terms of jobs and real estate and impacts on businesses. One thing that needs to be stressed: although there appears to be wide support for the rail options for this project, no decision has yet been made whether it’s going to be bus rapid transit or light rail. Stay tuned, please.

Buckle up a helmet to save a life (NYT)

Jane Brody begins her health column with this:

I will start this column with its conclusion: Riding a bicycle without wearing a properly fitted helmet is simply stupid.

She points to one very compelling stat to support her argument: “97 percent of cycling deaths and 87 percent of serious injuries occurred to people who were not wearing helmets.”

Helmets have been widely debated in the cycling community. This Guardian article on the helmet debate is a good one. The counter-view: some folks argue that the best way to make cycling safer (it’s already very safe) is by building better bike facilities.

Metro, of course, has a bike share program and the agency says this on the bike share website: “Helmet use when using Metro Bike Share is strongly encouraged but not required by law for adults. Minors under 18 are required to wear a helmet by law.”

Which I think is a perfectly reasonable position to take. Between car traffic, some very uneven street surfaces and the speeds that can be reached on bikes, a cyclist can do everything right and still occasionally end up in an accident. Better to have the melon protected should that occur, me thinks.



5 replies

  1. I’m not at all disputing Brody’s figures, but consider this one: more than 99 percent of motorist deaths occurred to people who were not wearing helmets. Conclusion?