Art of Transport: How they build bridges in China.
Art of Transit:
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— Scott Frazier (@safrazie) March 7, 2018
Connecting the dots by transit in Los Angeles (newgeography)
A tough look at ridership declines at Metro by Wendell Cox, who deserved on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (the agency that merged with the RTD to form Metro in 1993) and who has been a longtime critic of rail expansion. Excerpt:
The reality is that the millions of Los Angeles households could not retain their standard of living if they rode transit, much less walked or cycled. Many more would be in poverty. People will choose transit (and walking and cycling) only if the travel times and geographical coverage are competitive with driving. Moreover, there is no point in delusions about radical land use transformations, especially where governments require the consent of the governed. In short, there is no roadmap to any transit utopia connecting sufficient dots, because none are feasible.
I don’t think any of this is necessarily wrong. I think it’s the kind of paragraph aimed directly at people and transit enthusiasts — largely outside the agency — who think the transit system is a replacement for cars. Attentive Source readers know that the capacity of our regional road system is huge and transit expansion really can’t replace that and isn’t pretending to.
Is this or ridership declines reasons not to expand transit in Los Angeles County? Heck no. As I’ve said before, putting all our transportation eggs in the driving basket doesn’t strike me as smart. There should be a good alternative to driving — a strategy embraced by many major cities across the globe — and one that we’re pursuing here.
As for the ridership declines, there is work underway to make transit more appealing. Needed repair work is underway or upcoming (see this post on the Blue Line). The studies to restructure the Metro bus system is also in progress. Security on the Metro system has been beefed up — a response to something riders and ex-riders complained about.
Research is under way on supercapacitors that can hold longer charges than lithium ion batteries. That could make electric cars — and buses — more convenient, rather than having to pull both out of service while being juiced.
Of course, anyone from Hill Valley knows there’s a way to quickly charge cars. It just takes a little planning…
New Yorkers are rightly outraged after the children — a one-year-old boy and four-year-old girl — were killed and their pregnant mother was critically injured by a woman that ran a red light and struck them in a crosswalk.
The woman has not been charged with a crime. Records indicate the car she was driving in the last two years had been caught speeding around schools four times and another four times was caught running red lights. But police say the woman who killed the children had a clean driving record and believe that she had a seizure while driving.
Of course, this is the kind of story that resonates in many places, including L.A. where pedestrian deaths increased in the past two years even while the city has been working to make streets safer.
Safety standards to be relaxed for trains that are too wide for tunnels (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oh dear. If you’re looking for a PR crisis communications exercise, look no further.
Ridership is down, the streetcar literally can’t run in cold weather, there is an ongoing dispute with the streetcar manufacturer and folks are upset that Kansas City’s downtown streetcar has proved very popular while the downtown Cincy version is not so popular.
Yeah, my exile to Cincinnati for parents issues continues (although there’s an end in sight). I’m stuck in the distant ‘burbs north of town, but I’ve made a few excursions to DTCI and it’s kind of obvious the Cincy streetcar is a solution in search of a problem.
A route connecting downtown to the University of Cincinnati, the many hospitals in Clifton and Xavier University would have cost a ton more, but probably would have attracted more riders and perhaps convinced a few Queen City denizens to forgo their cars (something they are very reluctant to do). The existing route is pretty easily traveled by foot.
In the cosmic scheme of things, the bigger story here is that cities across the U.S. have been racing to install streetcar systems after the successes of the system in Portland. I think it’s fair to say that results in the U.S. have been pretty mixed and the streetcars are more economic development tool than transit tool.
Los Angeles has a system on the docket that is set to receive $200 million in Measure M funds with a groundbreaking scheduled for 2053. The city of L.A. has been exploring options for accelerating the project. Below is a map of the route. Given the number of people working, living and playing in DTLA, I think a streetcar here will snag riders. I also think the route shifted a mile to the east — to the Industrial and Arts districts — would perform well once those areas are fully developed. Discuss please.
Categories: Transportation Headlines