Congestion pricing, tax bill and traffic, U2: How We Roll, Dec. 1

Dept. of Holiday Gifts

Some fun items in the online Metro Store that may interest you. I’m kinda digging the Rude Dude shirt — he’s the big fuzzy knucklehead who is vanquished by Superkind in the recent etiquette videos.

Art of Transit/Art of Recent Sunsets

‘This will mean more traffic’: Southern California transportation officials rail against the GOP tax bill (LAT)

The quote is from Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti, describing the Republican tax proposal that will likely be voted on today in the U.S. Senate. The bill, critics say, would eliminate private activity bonds that can be used to finance big transportation projects.

The bill, according to media reports, is headed toward a vote in the full Senate today. Critics also fear the loss of an alternative fuel tax credit that has saved Metro about $18 million annually and changes to the commuter tax benefit that would provide less incentives for companies to offer the benefit. That could be especially tough for those with more expensive transit options (i.e. commuter railroads such as Metrolink).

Stay tuned.

New York’s tilt toward congestion pricing was years in the making (NYT)

Gotham/Metropolis has flirted with charging tolls for motorists entering Manhattan (or parts of it) for years. The idea is to reduce the number of cars on city streets. Excerpt:

This time congestion pricing is back at a moment of crisis — above ground, streets are becoming increasingly snarled in large part because of the boom in ride-hailing apps, while below ground the problem is even worse as the city’s aging subway system is riddled with delays and in dire need of money. The state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, faces a litany of problems, including antiquated signals and overcrowded cars, that have led to frequent breakdowns — much of it documented by smartphone-toting commuters for the world to see.

Attentive Source readers know that SCAG – the regional planning agency for the L.A. area — has been pushing congestion pricing lately as a way to reduce traffic. Thus far, there are no takers and no proposals are on the table as far as I know. The social media commentary I’ve seen from the public has been mostly negative ( in fairness, “social media commentary” and “negative” are a redundant phrase).

As I’ve said before, I think tolling a part of town here is a tough sell because you need to have really a really thorough set of transpo alternatives in place before hitting motorists with tolls big/scary enough to pry them from their cars. Downtown L.A. is moving in that direction, but I don’t think it’s quite there yet.

I do think the one place in L.A. where the region might — emphasize ‘might’ — be able to one day do congestion pricing is the LAX horseshoe. The reason: the horseshoe is often very congested and there are a variety of ways to reach the airport without driving. There will be more non-driving options when the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the airport’s people mover are completed.

Again, to emphasize: I’m just spitballing some ideas here. There is a flip side, of course: flying is already an expensive proposition and let’s face it: a lot of the traffic on the LAX horseshoe is from various shuttles circling endlessly. What do you think, folks?

LAX is removing half the spaces in its cheapest parking lot. No word on when they’ll return (LAT)

About 2,100 spaces will be removed from sprawling Parking Lot C, which at $12 a day is the cheapest option for those flying out of town. The parking lot will be reconfigured as part of the work.

Officials recommend using the FlyAway bus as an alternative to driving to the airport. Another option: the Green Line and the free G shuttle from the Aviation Station.

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. to bid on Chicago airport transit link (Endgadget)

The city of Chicago hopes to find a private firm to finance, build and operate a transit line that offers 20-minute rides O’Hare Airport and downtown Chicago. CTA trains currently take about 45 minutes.

Musk, of course, has also said he would like to build a tunnel for cars along the 405 between LAX and Westwood. He has put forth a lot of ideas about transportation but none have become reality. Yet. Stay tuned.

Things to listen to whilst transiting: I listened to the new U2 album “Songs of Experience” on the Gold Line this morning and the songs are good — some are exceptional (“The Little Things That Give You Away,” “13” and “Get Out of Your Own Way”). As for the sound, maybe a little too clean — a little more crunch and grunge a la “Achtung Baby” would have been welcome. I know U2 rubs some folks the wrong way, but I like they still care enough to put out new, well crafted music four decades into their existence. iTunes/Spotify


6 replies

  1. I didn’t know I couldn’t edit my post anyways this is one of my favorite blogs about LA keep up the great posts. I think there are many problems with public transit in Los Angeles, the biggest problem is there’s a pipe dream that exists where everyone gets rid of their cars, the only way that happens is if we adopted a Singapore level car licensing system where to drive the car it would be like way more than it should be due to the traffic/population.

    Even if they put tolls on every road people would still prefer their cars over public transit, why? Well for one people don’t like being in the same space as crazy people, they don’t like not have WiFi underground in a subway, they don’t like not being able to eat/drink waiting for a subway or ride a bus, they don’t like how the LADOT system doesn’t use Metros passes. I don’t get why for example LADOT buses don’t have some of them run 24 hours especially on routes with a lot of bars/places open at night, The transportation system at night is broken and during the day the payment/transfer system needs an upgrade. We should be able to pay the bus fare with our phones using NFC (Apple Pay/Android Pay/Samsung Pay), there should be free Wifi on buses, putting TVs on buses was a dumb idea even though the trivia was fun, Metro should embrace more advertising because once Musks Boring and Hyperloop start putting in projects and full embracing advertising Metro will be in trouble.

    The answer isn’t we won’t have cars in the future it’s that we will have options in the future, the fatal flaw in thinking is you can’t be pro-car/anti-car or the same with parking.

    Congestion Pricing:

    I think that congestion pricing should be applied to Hollywood on the weekend, if people want to come from other areas and mess up the neighborhoods and tourists cheese it up they should pay for the congestion they create. With that said DTLA is a place my friends actively avoid once they fix it up it wouldn’t be smart to create reasons for people to not go to DTLA such as a 10 dollar additional congestion fee, because the businesses downtown might have made a ton more than that on whatever those people would have ended up doing, now that money will just be spent in a dif prob closer neighborhood.

    Overall congestion pricing isn’t solving anything, it’s creating more problems. It prob only works in places that have a good set of transportation options like I think you pointed out like London.

    I wish this rail stuff wasn’t so political the places that I think would use the rail the most would be that Pink Line in WeHo that should have been built 20 years ago and the one that goes over the Sepulveda pass and they should start putting in more rail and subway and get rid of that gross fake rail system called “The Orange Line”, I feel like the SFV has kinda gotten the worst of the LA transit dollars I feel like there is a lot of opportunity to get the SFV looking more like DTLA and how Hollywood is growing to be.

    I think the major flaw of this city is that there isn’t enough destination areas and public transit to go with it. Like they should build something like The Grove in East LA or South LA or the valley, I know there’s malls elsewhere but I’m just trying to imagine something over the top and touristy that would also attract locals. We are stuck too much with these ugly strip malls, I think once this city gets denser and the transit gets better maybe people will start to love LA like they love SF on their first visit.

  2. I don’t know if you ever get to meet with Metro officials in charge of the express lanes but can you suggest rideshare integr

  3. Don’t forget, another cheap option to get to the airport is to take any bus line that stops at the LAX City Bus Center, which is right next to the C lot. Passengers take the same C shuttle, which goes to the arrival area.

  4. Not sure if it’s legal for congestion pricing on LAX property. A portion of each ticket tax goes to transportation improvements at the departing and arriving airports. Effectively, each passenger is already paying for those roads through the tax. To charge an access fee could be construed as double taxation.