Transpo avengers assemble as there’s lots to discuss; HWR, April 27

Things to listen to whilst transiting: “The rational madness of the used car salesman” on the Planet Money podcast. A very entertaining 18 minutes. Acting crazy may make consumers believe they have the upperhand. Or not.

And from the Dept. of Real Life:

Interesting there here is that 30 years later you can find lease deals on new cars for about the same price. Which is probably one reason so many people are driving these days.

A gondola from Union Station to Dodger Stadium? It could happen by 2022, Mayor Garcetti says (LAT)

The big transpo story yesterday. Not much I can say on the particulars other then here’s Metro’s news release saying we’ve received the unsolicited proposal for the proposed Union Station-to-ballpark aerial rapid transit. The agency will be putting it under the Giant Proverbial Microscope.

As the LAT notes, gondolas/trams are used for urban transit in some places around the U.S., including Portland and Gotham. As part of a draft Griffith Park Master Plan in 2005 there was a proposal to use two gondolas to connect the Griffith Observatory to parking lots below. But that proposal ran into neighborhood opposition and never got off the ground, punnily enough.

The Los Angeles County Transportation Commission also studied a Dodger Stadium gondola in a 1990 study, but that also never went anywhere. Also studied was a light rail spur and a series of escalators to climb the hill to the stadium, both ideas which soon departed to the Idea Boneyard.

The Portland Aerial Tramway travels between the City’s South Waterfront area and the campus for Oregon Health and Science University. Photo: Getty Images.

Metro might put showers in some train stations for LA’s homeless: ‘It’s a humanitarian issue’ (Curbed LA)

The Metro Board on Thursday approved the following motion to come up with a pilot program to put mobile shower and hygiene stations at two stations — Westlake/MacArthur Park on the Red/Purple Line and NoHo on the Red Line.

The motion has some layers of interestingness, including a call for a plan to have restrooms at new stations. Attentive Source readers know this is an issue that surfaces from time to time but is tough to resolve.

On the one hand, when you gotta go…you gotta go. On the other hand, public restrooms aren’t the easiest to maintain, cost money and, thus, are lacking on many transit systems, at least in the U.S.

The comments at the Curbed LA post are all over the place on this one. Your thoughts?

Billions from gas tax and vehicle fees will go to transit projects, California officials announce (LAT)

Metro scored $1.792 billion for a variety of big road and transit projects — basically one-quarter of the pie the state was handing out. Just one example why this is a big deal: the dollars will help the Gold Line extension to Claremont and Montclair close a significant funding gap. (Here’s the entire list of Metro projects to receive funds).

The big question hovering in the background involves Senate Bill 1, which raised the gas tax and vehicle fees in 2017. SB 1 provided a lot of the funding for these grants, but there’s an effort underway to repeal SB 1 via ballot measure. The Metro Board has voted to oppose a repeal. I get the temptation of a repeal, but I’d rather have the infrastructure, thank you. (I also know exactly where I eat).

Any predictions on the fate of SB 1, people?

NYC Transit Unveils Plan to Reimagine Bus System & Deliver World-Class Bus Service (New York MTA)

There is still a lot of work to be done on New York’s bus system overhaul — this is not a final plan that will be fully implemented any time soon. But all-door boarding figures prominently.

I’m sure most of you also know that Metro is restructuring our bus system — an effort called the NextGen Bus Study. There’s a new for those who would like to weigh in. Please see this post. We also have all-door boarding launching in the months ahead on the 720 and 754 Rapid Lines.

Omar Said: Decision to expand Bruin Bike Share fails to acknowledge program falls flat (Daily Bruin)

Interesting op-ed that begins with a quote from Batman’s Harvey Dent. The gist of it: electric scooters look to be more popular than UCLA’s bike share program. Omar writes:

While the idea of a bike share program was noble – and even enticing – at first, electric scooters cater more to students’ transportation needs. Stubbornly maintaining the bike share program would only result in UCLA throwing more money into a deflating program.

Beyond UCLA, this is obviously an issue as electric scooters — no pedaling! — are proving very popular with consumers, if not with city officials who have struggled to regulate them. Metro, of course, has its own Bike Share program.

How will all this shake out? I don’t know. It remains a Source Tenant that the future is very, very hard to predict. I do think it’s good that we’re seeing a vibrant market for first/last mile solutions and other ways to cover shortish distances. Stay tuned.

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6 replies

  1. Various Metro stations need public toilets more than they need showers. Even though the latter does include a drain in the floor, it doesn’t seem like the most practical use of limited space.

    Which agencies are receiving funding via the recent approved ballot measures for homeless initiatives? They should be the ones to implement a solution here.

  2. Can an aerial tramway handle the surge in demand before and after a baseball game?

    The problem with ballparks and other out-of-the-way venues is that peak demand is much much higher than non-peak demand, and it’s hard to justify the cost of dedicated transport infrastructure that will only be used around game times. The most cost-effective way to handle these peaks is to block off a lane of traffic and run buses.

    Alternatively, build the ballpark where there’s already all-day demand for high-capacity transit, but that’s not where Dodger Stadium is.

  3. North Hollywood Park is a couple of blocks away from the Metro station. The park is a magnet for homeless camps, with dozens of homeless at any given time living there. There are bathrooms in the park, which they use. They would welcome the addition of showers and toilets on Metro property, but… a) this encourages people to live in the park. The sheriffs have the opposite goal. b) The showers and toilets are going to be used as places to shoot up. They are going to be filthy and ordinary Metro users are not going to use them. c) I would expect that the druggies will steal whatever fixtures they can, and wreck those they can’t. It only takes a few bad apples to ruin the facilities for everyone. Nevertheless, I would be interested in seeing the results of a small pilot program. Just don’t spend much money on it. And bring the sheriffs in as consultants.

  4. When I worked at the MTA there was public restroom at the Plaza end of the Union station tunnels that was filthy and closed much of the time. At the Hollywood/ Vine Station there was a public restroom built next to the elevator on the street level. It had to be be shut down due to it becoming filthy and a refuge for homeless to sleep in.

    On the other hand there is a public restroom outside of the Santa Monica/Vermont station on Vermont Ave. I’m guessing it is like the ones I have seen in San Francisco that self clean after each use and have a time limit. That I believe could be the answer. In addition I have seen public showers situated on trailers in San Francisco as well. Both the showers and the restrooms seem to be monitored much of the time by city employees.

  5. Last week I noticed vehicle sensors had been installed in each of the spaces at the Arcadia Gold Line Station. They may not have been installed just last week, but I just noticed them last week.

    When I saw the sensors I realized that Metro probably plans to begin charging for parking at Arcadia Station, but I cannot find any official news about this.

    Do you know when Metro intends to begin charging for parking at Arcadia station?

    • Hi Arcadia Rider;

      Metro is looking toward implementing fees at Arcadia in late summer or early fall of this year. The Metro Board of Directors last year approved charging a fee at Arcadia Station. When that happens the daily rate will be $3 and the monthly rate $59 for transit users. The carpool rate will be $45.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source