Art of Transit
To avoid boring you to tears, I’ll just say this: the change to state law happened a while ago and could make it easier to build transit stuff in the future. As Source alum Carter Rubin explains:
I would say new projects and possible retrofits. Bus lanes in particular would now be presumed to have no significant impact, which is exciting for a bus agency that runs 2000 buses through traffic caused by mostly empty cars.
— Carter Rubin 🏒 (@CarterRubin) February 21, 2018
As for the Expo Line, it’s ultimately up to the cities that control the traffic signals to determine who waits at red lights — car traffic or the train. As for much of the Expo Line being at street level, that was a decision made by based on available funding.
For obvious reasons, the police pursuit the other night that resulted in a vehicle driving into the Gold Line tunnel in Boyle Heights has received a lot of attention.
In this LAT follow-up, two key stats are cited: most chases (not a shocker) end in an arrest but LAPD pursuits between 2006 and 2014 also resulted in 334 bystander injuries.
Reporter Richard Winton also cites a report on police pursuits (see page 143 and posted below)) by the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury. It makes for some interesting reading given that the volume of police pursuits is something very unique to our area.
Here are two key graphs from the report:
Elevated Risk Justified?
According to a report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Institute of Justice, 91% of high-speed chases are initiated in response to a non-violent crime. The study analyzed nearly 8,000 high-speed chases in the IACPs database. It found that 42% involved a simple traffic infraction, another 18% involved a stolen vehicle, and 15% involved a suspected drunk driver.
Similar statistics are expected for the County. These results suggest some questions. Is it worth putting lives at risk by traveling through urban areas at high speed to apprehend somebody who ran a red light? Or who failed to signal a turn? If a driver is drunk, does it make sense to engage him in a high-speed pursuit, making him even more dangerous to bystanders?
My hunch is that many chases are not necessary. That said, I would also love to know the average sentence for those who are apprehended. Given the risk these chases pose to bystanders, other motorists and the police, I personally believe offenders deserve significant time up the river, so to speak.
Indeed, like so many things, the reason U.S. cities lack Wakanda-level transit is for lack of political will. As CityLab’s Brentin Mock notes, the closed-door African monarchy of the Black Panther film and comic book promotes freedom, equality, and prosperity for all denizens. It is also a very urban place by necessity. To shield itself against colonialism and plunder, Wakanda poses on the world stage as a poor, arid backwater; this pushes dense development (with a conspicuous lack of private cars) to its hidden interior. The U.S. is urban too, with more than 80 percent of the population living in urban areas. But the distribution of political representation, and hence the dollars, favor rural areas.
I haven’t seen ‘Black Panther’ yet as I’ve been taking time off from comic book movies. Feel free to try to persuade me in the comments that now is the time to end my Marvel diet.
Categories: Transportation Headlines