Black holes, 213 vs 513 traffic, bike share, for whom the toll may toll: HWR, March 14

Things to read whilst transiting: the NYT’s excellent obituary for Stephen Hawking.

Hawking on a zero gravity flight on a Boeing 727 in 2007. Photo: NASA.

Art of Transit: A tale of two cities traffic-wise this morning at 12:50 EDT, 9:50 PDT. Even with the traffic, I’d rather be in the top than near the bottom today. Hoping my exile to the Queen City is over in the next couple of weeks but let’s just say time moves ever so slowly when it comes to health care (not mine, the parents).

A shocking amount of red on that bottom map, btw!

Pasadena May Pull Out of Metro’s Bike Share Program (Pasadena Now)

City of Pasadena staff are recommending the city stick with the Metro bike share program for now — although city staff note that fares haven’t covered as much of the operating expense as anticipated.


Metro is developing marketing plans to increase ridership and working to secure a Title Sponsor, according to the report, and is also re-evaluating the existing fare structure for the system based on user surveys and bike share operations in partner cities.

Accordingly, according to the staff report, “given the timing of the overall performance period of the MOU and the potential cost to the City to terminate early, continued participation is the recommended course of action.”

As Source alum Carter Rubin (who now works as mobility, climate and urban solutions advocate with the NRDC) notes:

I live in Pasadena. There are some good bike lanes and great residential streets to ride on, but the bike lane network often feels far from complete.

The [New York Subway] trains are slower because they slowed the trains down (Village Voice)

The gist of it: while deferred maintenance and overcrowding are the two reasons most given for recent subway delays, it’s often overlooked is the degree to which the New York MTA has slowed trains down for safety reasons.

State bill to create pilot programs for congestion pricing in CA could mean ‘go zones’ are coming to a city near you (KPCC)

Assembly Bill 3059 would allow congestion pricing pilot programs. What that means in reality: tolls could be imposed on all vehicles entering a particular stretch of road or a geographic area.

Attentive Source readers know that SCAG — our region’s regional planning agency — has been pushing for this since last year. The idea is to use tolls to lower demand and, thus, reduce congestion. Some cities overseas, including London and Stockholm, have used congestion pricing to lighten traffic loads in their downtowns. And New York City is, again, taking a hard look at it.

Could it work in our area? As I’ve written before, it’s always going to be politically difficult. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is picking a road or area where there are extremely good alternatives for motorists who want to avoid tolls or can’t or don’t want to change the time of day they are driving.

If I was suddenly thrust into the role of being the King, I’d probably mutter to a minion that the LAX horseshoe might be a good test area in a few years — after the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens, the Aviation/96th Station is built and the people mover to the terminals is up and running. Between trains, buses, shuttles, Ubers/Lyfts, there will be a lot of good options to avoid entering the horseshoe.

Also, when I’m king, I’m totally talking like this and getting me a tiger and Jerry, both of which are useful when it comes to disciplining walkers and saviors.


9 replies

  1. Honolulu has a great plan where you can rent a bike for a hour or two or for about twenty dollars you have about three days of use picking a bike up and dropping it off while at the beach for instance.

  2. It’s not a fair fight, between Santa Monica and Pasadena, re bike-share. Dockless-bikes make a huge difference. For me, it was an integral daily part of my commute. While on the Expo I’d pull out the app and either reserve a bike at Bergamot, or find an undocked bike and claim it for the $1 refund. On my way out of the office at the end of the day, I’d find one in a dock close to work or look for a nearby orphan and ride it back to the train station.

    Now that I work in Pasadena, I drive (because I’m not taking the Red to LAUS to transfer to the Gold thankyouverymuch) but I’m guessing it’s more difficult to locate bike hubs near stations built on overpasses and even if they’re relatively close, there’s going to be a lot of cars to contend with. (There is a dock right outside our office. I’d guess I see at least one bike in use each day, but the streets aren’t nearly as bike-friendly and if you have to know where you’re going – next dock – before you start, that’s going to eliminate a lot of random use.)

  3. For congestion pricing, say they put it on interstate ten east of downtown. That’s racist right?

    What about if we put it on the 405. Doesn’t affect the gajillionaires living in west la, that’s their white privilege, not having to pay congestion pricing. But all the workaday folks and minorities forced to commute to the Westside now have to pay this tax.

    I’m sure every downtown law firm will immediately jump to pay all congestion pricing fees… for attorneys, but paralegals, secretaries, clerks, and all service personnel will all be forced to pay this extra tax just to work while the rich get off tax free. (Even though they’re the only ones that can afford it)

    Regardless of how it’s implemented, congestion pricing is a policy assault on the middle class, poor and minorities explicitly designed to increase inequality.

  4. Metro’s pricing can be improved – here’s my suggestion, targeted at the lunch and errand crowds. Instead of $3.50 for 30 minutes, make it $2 for 60 or $3 for 90 minutes, multiple rides included in that timeframe. With this price, someone can run to the store, dropping off the bike at a nearby bike station, and then come back afterwards, probably on a different Metro bike, for $2 or $3. Right now, that would be $7…. that’s just too much for a simple errand or to get lunch. I think that would work great in Pasadena.

    • Hi bixnix;

      Good suggestions. I think a few more strategically placed bike lanes in the DTPA core would be helpful, too.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. It’s a shame to hear about Pasadena’s doubts in the utility of bike share, In their defense, I realize that I’ve ridden every system in the area except theirs.

    Could be a demographic thing too. From an urbanist standpoint, Pasadena is much better laid out than much of the region, but it is also notoriously “sleepy” and monied. If they are active enough to ride, they already have $5k Pinarello or Cannondale

    RIP Stephen, the brain of the century.

  6. Steve H

    May I disagree with the King, without being sent to the dungeon…

    You’ve brought up the LAX horseshoe before, but ticket taxes and FAA involvement makes that highly unlikely. Even if it were feasible, airport travel costs are either reimbursed by businesses or considered an annoying necessity by travelers (i.e. prices for airport food). Business travelers will not accept being dropped at a tram station. Also, once the rental car vans are removed from the horseshoe, traffic should improve.

    Because our region is so spread out, there’s less likelihood of congestion pricing working in LA. San Francisco might work.