Uber’s bus like service, Grand Theft Auto, why I’m wrong on earbuds and crosswalks: HWR, Feb. 21

Dept. of Los Angeles Area Police Pursuits: 

The truck was removed from the tunnel. No damage to tracks or other equipment.

Here’s a New Yorker video and article — the article is from 2006  — about the police pursuit phenomenon in our region (subscription required). FWIW, most large cities don’t have this many car chases. It’s frightening how many lives are risked by these things.

Art of Transit: 

Dept. of Called It: I wrote yesterday that I thought it was a good idea that Montclair banned the use of smart phones and headphones in crosswalks. As I also predicted, readers did not agree with me. Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong in the comments.

Oh, and here’s me double-downing on my original position!

Dept. of Transit Oriented Classic Rock: 

A few of my younger colleagues recently confessed they had no idea who Robert Plant was. This is shameful and grounds, IMHO, for some type of immediate and immersive re-education. Plant is coming to the Orpheum March 2, which is near a whole passel of bus lanes and a .7-mile walk from 7th/Metro Station that serves the Blue, Expo, Red and Purple Lines.

Below video is pretty awesome and I wish I was going to California soon instead of dealing with the joys of assisted living here in Cincinnati:

Dept. of Weather

High temp in Los Angeles on Tuesday: 59. High temp in Cincinnati: 79, a new record and 40 degrees over the average temperature for Feb. 20.

Uber brings to L.A. its Express Pool service, which sounds kind of like a bus (LAT)

It’s cheaper than regular Uber Pool and directs passengers to pick up spots to avoid backtracking. It also may drop passengers off a few blocks from their destination in order to build more efficient routes.

It’s not quite what Metro’s Microtransit project proposes but similar in the sense that the routes are dynamic and on demand using the Uber app.

Don’t widen any more freeways. Just make buses better. (LAT)

In this op-ed Gustavo Arrelano argues:

But buses are our most workable answer. The infrastructure is already there. A bunch of them are already on the road, whether used by public agencies or private companies. This means that investing in buses is far cheaper than building and sustaining new rail systems or highways. More importantly, buses aren’t on fixed paths, allowing for flexibility as commuting or even population patterns change.

Gustavo has some ideas, including more bus lanes and more tax breaks for firms that buy bus passes. Attentive Source readers know that Metro is working on its NextGen project to restructure and reimagine its bus system. A contractor, Cambridge Systematics, is looking at the system this year and proposals and public hearings should happen in 2019. Stay tuned.

Transit-oriented development? More like transit rider displacement. (LAT)

In this op-ed, Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal argues that the drop in Metro ridership should be blamed more on gentrification and rising rents/real estate near busy bus lines. That, she says, has squeezed out the folks who were Metro’s core riders. Excerpt:

If we want to stave off further transit ridership losses — not to mention meet our obligations as human beings to each other — we need to establish a new common-sense planning policy. We must prioritize tenants, not the supply of housing units. Stable housing should be a human right. With universal rent control and more public housing, we would link the well-being of low-income Angelenos of color to a greener future for our city of cars.

We’ve pointed to several factors that could be influencing ridership losses, including more people buying cars, lower gas prices, a strong local economy, changing ridership patterns, the popularity of Uber and Lyft and slower bus speeds due to increasing traffic. What’cha think riders?

Improve and fully use the Alameda Corridor instead of widening the 710 Freeway (LAT Letters section)

Two letters from readers: the first says instead of widening the 710, as proposed by Metro (among other corridor improvements), it would make more sense to run the Alameda Corridor at full capacity. The second letter — hmmm — proposes putting clean truck lanes in the L.A. River.



7 replies

  1. On the subject of Uber Express Pool: Yes, the pickup point will be at a nearby intersection and will depend on which direction you are trying to go as well. However, I’ve used it 3 times so far and Every time I was dropped off at my actual destination and not about 1-2 blocks away.

    In terms of that completely idiotic Montclair law: I hope it fails, cause as many others had said, it comes down to who is going to enforce it. I only see Motorcycle cops trying to meet their monthly quota enforcing this. But you are NOT necessarily wrong on the subject either Steve, at least not completely.

    A person has complete control of their actions on their own hands. For me to foolishly cross the intersection and expect someone else to make a right call would make me just as much as a fool as the driver who was probably distracted to begin with.

    I don’t get it, I’ve seen drivers run past a red light even mid-cycle, so why would any pedestrian trust someone operating a 2-ton moving metal contraption is beyond me.

    So yeah, just like the ban of texting while driving, this law was placed because well, the pedestrian is also being distracted and may even cross the intersection without look. The pedestrian is just as responsible to safely cross an intersection just as much as a driver is responsible to make sure they are able to operate a vehicle without endangering anyone.

  2. I don’t believe there is a issue withe listening to ones IPOD or cellphone but the issue we saw in West Hollywood was pedestrians texting and stepping out into the street without looking. Does society need to be retrained to look both ways before crossing the street and note if the on coming cars are going to stop?

  3. I saw the car chase live on the news. Even though the guy was driving on the right side of the tracks, he was hitting speeds over 90mph. It was frightening enough that he’d already t-boned a taxi, but rear ending a light rail could’ve injured so many more. Glad to hear it ended without any further collisions.

  4. I enjoy my smartphone and earbuds. However, there is a time and place for everything, and I agree with Steve Hymon. Driving or walking with earbuds is very dangerous. There is, however, an ideal and safe time and place for them. That is on the bus (and eventually, the Metro trains). The earbuds not only shut out the outside world, but they also ensure that you do not annoy other passengers. They are a really ideal way to make good use of your time while enroute. While driving an automobile or even just walking requires your complete undivided attention, doing your work or play on a smartphone equipped with earbuds while riding the bus is a very good use of your time. You arrive at your destination relaxed, and have already completed much of what you would otherwise have had to wait for later to do. Now, “later” is available for other things.

  5. Re: Montclair ban
    There’s a HUGE difference between something being a good idea, and it being enforced by a ban.
    Putting the weight of law behind something means ultimately that people can go to jail for it.

    See jaywalking as an example. Is it a good idea not to cross a busy street with fast moving cars without a signal? Yes. So most people don’t, unless there isn’t a good alternative. A slow moving street without a lot of traffic or sidewalks? Shouldn’t be an issue.

    But jaywalking is against the law, which means that law enforcement is empowered to enforce the ban at their discretion. Regardless of whether there was a viable alternative for jaywalking due to street design, or if it was unsafe to do so at the time. This has inevitably meant that low-income and minority people are disproportionately targeted and slapped with fines. If you can’t pay a fine, you get pegged with a late fee, or an arrest warrant for unpaid fines.

    Why should we expect the Montclair ban to be any different? It’s easy to say something ought to be against the law, but that is a big escalation in consequences that should not be treated so casually.

  6. When I hear about pedestrian incidents involving motor vehicles I often wonder how many involved folks using their cell phones or lost in their music. To be sure, if a pedestrian is hit or killed it is almost always the fault of the driver. However, that does not absolve each of us the responsibility to remain vigilant and take responsibility for our own safety. Yes, you may have the right-of-way as a pedestrian, but you could be dead right.

    I applaud the attempt by the City of Montclair to address what they rightfully believe is an issue, but here is the thing; policing it may be (will be) difficult. Add to that, the issue is not always one of distraction but a false sense of security regarding your rights as a pedestrian. How many times have you witnessed an individual step out into a well-defined crosswalk without even looking around first? That’s foolishness….

    I read that someone regarded the new law as a form of “victim shaming”. Well, that point of view may lead to additional pedestrian incidents. How about considering that the misguided law may serve to create a greater awareness that we each have a responsibility, regardless of right or law, to watch out for our own safety and teach it to our kids.