Metro Transportation School, Boring Co. in Chi-Town, scooters vs cities; HWR, June 18

I’m in catch-up mode again. Lots to discuss…

Building L.A.’s rail system will create thousands of jobs. Can a transportation boarding school fill them? (LAT)

Good coverage of plans by Metro and Los Angeles County to build a boarding school in South L.A. for students interested in careers in transportation.

From the LAT:

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote this week on an exclusive negotiating agreement with the nonprofit SEED Foundation, which runs public boarding schools, to develop more detailed plans for the L.A. school’s construction and operation.

The foundation would also apply for a charter with the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

About 400 students in high school could attend, staying on campus during the week and returning home on weekends, said Ridley-Thomas deputy Karly Katona. Room and board would be free. The school could open as soon as the fall of 2020, she said.

Interesting stuff.

With a wave of retirements expected in the coming years, workforce development is a huge issue for Metro — as a lot of people with a lot of different skills are going to be needed to plan, build, design, operate and maintain the Metro system.

Chicago taps Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build high-speed transit tunnels that would tie Loop with O’Hare (Tribune)

The Chicago area as seen from 30,000-plus feet last night. Photo courtesy Steve Hymon.

Last week’s big news. Key graph:

“We’re taking a bet on a guy who doesn’t like to fail — and his resources. There are a bunch of Teslas on the road. He put SpaceX together. He’s proven something,” [Chicago Mayor Rahm] Emanuel said of Musk. “The risk — with no financial risk — is I’m betting on a guy who has proven in space, auto and now a tunnel, that he can innovate and create something of the future. Given his track record, we are taking his reputation and saying, ‘This is a guy in two other transportation modes who has not failed.’ That’s what we’re doing.”

Attentive Source readers know that the Boring Company is also trying to build a tunnel network in L.A. — with plans for a new proof-of-concept tunnel from near the Expo Line’s Sepulveda Station to the Culver City area. The firm has already built a test tunnel under its property in Hawthorne.

Can Boring Company build this project for $1 billion, as they have said is possible? Who knows. That certainly seems challenging although having only two stations — at either end of the line — could help keep costs down.

I look at the firm’s efforts as a two-part product.

One, they’re clearly working on speeding up tunneling and making it cheaper. That alone is probably a product/service desired around parts of the world for things transportation-related or not.

Two, there’s the issue of what Boring Company wants to put into the tunnels — i.e. a modified Tesla chassis. That’s probably the bigger lift of the two things and that’s where the questions come in about workability and capacity. Stay tuned.

San Dimas prepares for Gold Line extension (SGV Tribune)

Utility relocation work is set to begin as the city and the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority continue settlement talks over the bridge the Authority wants to build over the intersection of Bonita and Cataract avenues. The city alleges the bridge will be too big and intrusive.

Santa Monica tells scooter companies: You can stay — but there are new rules (LAT)

LADOT Issues Cease-and-Desist Letter To Bird E-Scooters (Streetsblog LA)

The electric scooters have proven popular with many consumers but cities are still trying to decide what to do about them.

In SaMo, the City Council last week decided to let scooters stay but with conditions — namely filing for a permit and paying fees. Instead of a hard cap on the number of scooters, the city will have a dynamic cap that will be keyed to how much they are used.

In the city of L.A., the Department of Transportation did not take kindly to Birds suddenly showing up in the Arts District. The city said, essentially, no thanks. Excerpt:

LADOT has proposed a set of regulations that would apply to dockless shared devices: e-scooters, e-bikes, and bike-share. Those regulations are expected to return to the city council’s Transportation Committee later this month. Under LADOT’s current proposal, e-scooters would not be allowed in downtown L.A. during the initial one-year pilot.

We’ll see how this shakes out. It’s pretty clear that companies want to follow the cheap taxi model and get their products out there to prove they are popular — which influences how they’re regulated. I like the scooters — just as I like ride share — but I also think some regulations are needed for both. Thoughts?