Dept. of Transportation Funding
Mobility 21 held a press event and workshop on Friday morning at Union Station to discuss the importance of Senate Bill 1, the legislation that raised the gas tax and vehicle fees in 2017. Attentive Source readers know that Metro was this week awarded about $1.8 billion in state grants — backed by SB 1 funding — for a long list of road, transit and freight projects.
Speaker after speaker — including the always-blunt Gov. Jerry Brown — highlighted the importance of maintaining the state’s transpo infrastructure, as well as building the roads, transit and freight corridors of tomorrow. Hard to argue with that. What’cha think readers?
Bike Night: It’s tonight at Union Station from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Source’s Lexi Hinton will be spinning tunes, btw.
Things to read whilst transiting: How Fortnite captured teens’ hearts and minds, in the New Yorker. Fun read about the video game, especially for older Source readers or those who haven’t played video games since the days of Caterpillar.
U.S. transit systems are shedding riders. Are they under threat? (The Transport Politic)
This is an excellent and thoughtful post by Yonah Freemark, who looks at the many reasons for the rise and decline of ridership over the past 25 years or so. Metro — like many other large agencies in the U.S. — has seen a decline in ridership since 2014 (you can slice+dice our ridership numbers here).
Yonah doesn’t feel like it’s a hopeless situation. He notes that ridership has tended to be cyclical and that there are some real service issues across the country — especially in New York and Washington D.C. We’re not immune. Metro is preparing for closures on the Blue Line in 2019 to bring the system up to modern specs.
If there’s a fear, Yonah writes, it’s that officials and people will wrongly view the ridership declines as irreversible and abandon efforts to improve transit and build new transit. Should that happen, he writes, millions of people who rely and use transit will be left behind.
Again, this is a really good post and I urge you to read it and share it.
Metro is considering expanding its homeless outreach teams from two to eight — with the teams operating on more lines and every day. The staff also provided the Metro Board an inventory of agency properties that could possibly be used for temporary housing and other services.
The five properties included three under-used Orange Line parking lots (Reseda, Sherman Way and Van Nuys), the old Division 6 bus yard in Venice and an abandoned right-of-way that had been used for parking in northeast L.A.
The Metro Board will consider the outreach expansion at their meeting on Thursday. The temporary housing issue is being discussed but is not currently scheduled to be decided.
The community meeting featuring Musk — reservations and photo IDs required, btw — was a chance to preview The Boring Company’s efforts to build a series of tunnels that would whisk people and cars around the L.A. area.
The first step is to build a 2.7-mile test tunnel in West L.A. A lawsuit was recently filed to stop the firm from building the tunnel without environmental review — which the city of L.A. gave them permission to do. Excerpt:
Before that expansion, he said, the Boring Co. will open the West L.A. tunnel to the public to solicit feedback and discover how to create the best rider experience. He described a system that could eventually carry commuters from downtown to Los Angeles International Airport in less than 10 minutes. A ride from LAX to Sherman Oaks would cost “like, a dollar.”
In response to previous criticisms that the tunnel network could spark more traffic congestion by creating more available space to drive — a phenomenon known as “induced demand” — Musk said the company could build many layers of tunnels to accommodate as many people as necessary.
“Highways are at the outer limit of their capacity, and you’re really just barely moving the needle on capacity,” he said. “But for tunnels, you can have hundreds of lanes. There’s no real limit.”
Clearly Musk has a lot of supporters — owing to his success with Tesla and Space X — as well as some skeptics who want more details. Lots of interestingness to come on this one, I think. Stay tuned.
A Los Angeles City Council motion by Jose Huizar — who represents parts of DTLA — would provide city funding for environmental studies for an Arts District Station. That’s certainly news, but it’s also worth noting that a station still needs to be funded.
The hmmmmm moment of this article: the number of candidates who won’t call back a reporter with questions about high-speed rail, which still needs tens of billions of dollars to complete the coveted L.A. to S.F. segment.
Should you move to L.A.? (Curbed LA)
Fun article about the virtues of our region, as well as the challenges. My three pennies: I’ve always thought the L.A. area is an easier place to live than visit.
If you reside here, it’s easier to find a groove and learn how to get around and find all the great little pockets. Whereas tourists often end up driving from crowded place to place to see everything there is to see in a short amount of time.