Density along Expo, rebuilding the NYC subway, transit in the SFV: HWR, July 5

Hope everyone had a not-so-productive and relaxing holiday in advance of the coming heatwave.

Dept. of Curious Journalists: 

If the cloth vs. plastic seat issue interests you, then check out this presentation to the Metro Board’s Customer Satisfaction Committee on different ways to boost ridership. Point of emphasis: the removal of cloth seats is a pilot program as there would be costs involved with changing all the seats. And, of course, there are probably some folks who prefer the cloth seats. Feel to free to chime in with your opinion.

Art of Transit:

LAPD seeks public’s help to identify boy found alone at Union Station (LAT)

Good news!

L.A. will allow more dense development near five Expo Line stations (LAT)

The stations are Culver City, Palms, Rancho Park, Sepulveda and Bundy. Most of the zoning changes are on major streets — such as Pico — and industrial areas. As the article notes, the plan could be a template for other areas along the Metro Rail system.

The plan could allow about 6,000 new condos and apartments, although that will ultimately be decided by developers and the market.

The Valley is a transit wasteland because of NIMBYism, not Metro’s neglect (LAT)

Letters from readers about the Metro Board’s approval of a light rail line between Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station.

One reader wonders if a bus would be better than a train and another reader asks that the train — which will run down the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard — run under intersections rather than through them.

Will the Crenshaw Line strand South Bay riders? (Curbed LA)

Metro staff have proposed an operating plan for the Green Line and Crenshaw/LAX, whose tracks are joined just west of the Green Line’s Aviation Station. The Metro Board at their last meeting asked staff to return this fall with more options to consider. Some interestingness in the comments.

The new president of the New York City Transit Authority wants to make the trains (and buses) run on time. It won’t be easy. (New Yorker)

Long story that looks at Andy Byne’s chances of improving New York Subway service. Byne performed well in Toronto and London but the New Yorker is slightly skeptical, pointing to the size of the challenge in Gotham.

The challenge: running the nation’s busiest transit system while simultaneously rebuilding it. Here’s a paragraph that efficiently describes the problem:

Part of the ongoing problem is the peculiar political status of the M.T.A., which is controlled by the governor but financed jointly by the city and the state. For governors, New York City’s transit budget is a huge expense that delivers few votes; for mayors, it is a kind of taxation without representation. Leaders in recent years, starting with Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, have found it expedient to divert transit funds to other purposes. (Giuliani redirected four hundred million dollars from the M.T.A. in his first year in office.) Top officials have encouraged borrowing that has proved financially ruinous. This lack of political seriousness is a root cause. Deferred maintenance, increasingly decrepit tracks and signals and cars, and filthy stations are knock-on effects.

Officials for years have talked about congestion pricing in New York — with money being used to help the transit system (although more funding would likely be needed). But CP has proved a tough sell and the best officials have done is a surcharge for vehicles-for-hire south of 96th Street in Manhattan.

Dept. of Skepticism About Robot Cars: 

Dept. of Some Post-Holiday Music: the kiddies out there may know this as the song from the Thor movie.


7 replies

  1. From reading the comments at the link, the potential for South Bay to use the Crenshaw line to Expo is unrealized. Thus, making the Green Line the primary rail line will potentially limit the potential for the Crenshaw line as a north south to the Expo line. I suggest they split the difference in the first 6 months (split the non-stop roundtrips from Crenshaw to Redondo or Norwalk evenly). Then update the routes depending on ridership patterns. They can allocate the trips spontaneously like extra trains to Norwalk from LAX if the ridership is there during rush hour. South Bay riders have more reasons to go to USC rather than Norwalk.

  2. Vinyl is so much easier to clean. Or leather but that will get slashed. I would opt for the kind of vinyl with some padding, like you see on BART and on Seattle buses, not the hard pure plastic seats.

    As far as extra rail service, Metro was running Gold Line service every 12 minutes at night. But they never committed to any added headway so they just said “enhanced”.

    • I am kind of worried that tagger will just use a cutter or a scribe pen to cut open a seat if it is not the thin, hard seats we have now. Theoretically we should have enough law enforcement to stop vandalism, but in reality we are far from that. I truly don’t know how to maintain a balance between vandalism proof and comfort.

  3. Cloth seats are just so disgusting. I can’t think of a single person who prefers them. If it’s too costly to switch out overnight, just make sure every new bus/train car doesn’t use cloth and over time the conversion will happen. There’s a reason that other systems don’t use cloth…

  4. In response to the presentation you linked on getting new riders…

    I’ve always wondered about the insistence of running the metro on a Sunday schedule on Holidays. Case in point, I enjoyed the Grand Park 4th party yesterday, but I did not enjoy leaving it. The staffing was there to actually be sure everyone tapped and everyone paid the full fare, yet the trains came an excruciating 20 min apart. Of course, running trains on Holidays are more expensive, but how many first time riders decided to try it for ease on the 4th only to be left with a “never again” mentality? How can we encourage people to ride the metro for major events if we are guaranteeing them the worst possible experience? These were my thoughts as I was crammed in a train full of people all the way to NoHo. At least we had all paid for the pleasure.

    In response to the actual journalist’s question… I actually prefer the cloth; however, I haven’t run across anything too awful.

    • I was left thinking they should run more frequent buses on the 4th – in particular, going in the direction of certain festivities and fireworks displays. Certain holidays, like Independence Day and New Year’s, will always have demand for transit on certain routes. The question is whether Metro and other agencies find it worthwhile to predict which routes, and run them on a more frequent schedule – if it’s not too much of a staffing issue.

    • Umm, exactly how bad was service yesterday???

      I took a day trip to San Clemente and Oceanside, and on both trips Metrolink made the end to end trip in 2 hours flat.

      But then I headed to Santa Monica and the Purple Line had 6 car sets and the Expo Line was also running on time. Although we were literally hit by Fireworks (yeah I’m not joking either), but that train just kept going.

      But from the sound of it, it seems like getting the hell out of LA for day wasn’t a dumb idea at all.