The last week has certainly been a long one. Among some of the transpo news that I’ve been saving…
Very moving scene as we drive on 101 freeway in Thousand Oaks. Residents, firefighters, law enforcement have packed every freeway overpass awaiting procession for Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of Ventura County Sheriff's Office, killed in #borderlineshooting @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/s71N8Lq7rZ
— Josh Haskell (@abc7JoshHaskell) November 8, 2018
I’ll leave it to others to say/write something sensible about our country’s latest mass shooting.
Wildfire coverage in both the LAT and NYT has been excellent. The NYT has an article with a headline worth reading: “Forced Out by Deadly Fires, Then Trapped in Traffic.” The subject is the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in Northern California, the worst part being that by most accounts Paradise was more prepared than most cities when it came to evacuations.
But it’s hard to imagine that many people having to flee so quickly at once — and the challenge in any city pulling that off.
The NYT also had a great story on why California has so many wildfires. As noted, many of these landscapes were shaped by wildfire (and other forces) but ignitions by people are up, the weather is getting hotter and drier and there is considerable development in areas that are likely to burn.
Here’s an alarming stat I gleamed just from reviewing the fire reports on the Cal Fire website: In just over the last year, 15,417 structures have been lost in six wildfires: Woolsey, Camp, Carr, Tubbs, Thomas and Mendocino Complex. Many of those structures were homes, which is heartbreaking. And this: does California — in the midst of a housing crisis — feel like a place that can afford to lose that many homes?
And let’s talk air quality for a moment. It’s rarely great and it has been downright awful over much of the last year as the rains can’t be counted on to clean things up. Here’s what it was like at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The photo was taken in Debs Park about four miles north of DTLA.
Finally, a shout out to the folks at the Santa Monica National Recreation Area, for their updates on open space and wildlife in the Santa Monicas. The LAT has a story today that 83 percent of the area has burned. I quibble with the notion that it is lost. It will remain open space. The mix of native and non-species, however, is to be determined.
We've received many inquiries about wildlife in light of the #WoolseyFire. First, our hearts go out to all who have lost homes. Some of you are anxious about the wildlife and some of you are trying to figure out you'll sleep tonight. Read on if you want to know about wildlife… pic.twitter.com/suUHiGNSIr
— Santa Monica Mtns (@SantaMonicaMtns) November 12, 2018
Finally, this: a friend of mine was on social media lamenting the current state of California. Which I get. The state can feel too big for its own good and some of the problems insurmountable and/or intractable. And, yet, I think hope can and should survive. Nothing mentioned above can’t be fixed.
Dept. of Elections
Yeah, that happened last week. Remember?
The big transpo item on the ballot asked voters to consider repealing the gas tax and vehicle fee increases the Legislature approved last year and approved by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Click above to go to an interactive version of the map.
The ballot measure failed by a considerable margin — slightly over one million votes. But it was really the lopsided votes to keep the gas taxes/vehicles fees in just five counties that mattered, those counties being Los Angeles, Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Contra Costa.
Perhaps not a five-star shocker given the traffic congestion and transpo needs in those urban counties. Still, I don’t think the results should be interpreted as showing Californians have unfettered love of transpo spending, or this type of it.
On a related note, the Prop 6 results were certainly greeted warmly in the building where I’m typing this. Metro received $1.8 billion in state funding agreements this past spring, with money going to a healthy list of road and transit projects. If those funds were to go away, Metro would have to look elsewhere, the obvious problem being there aren’t a lot of elsewheres any more.
If I was the king — and I’m not even the chimney sweep — I’d love to see some of that gas tax money go toward the Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing that could help native species reach the habitats they need.
Dept. of Interesting But Not Surprising:
People are 30% more likely to ride transit when they live nearby. But LA's population density is not high near current @metrolosangeles stations, and transit ridership in the region has fallen in recent years. pic.twitter.com/6p8W8TW7Cs
— UCLA Lewis Center (@UCLALewisCenter) November 8, 2018
I also thought this slide was interesting:
The point here is that there is considerable room to build near the stations shown above. I’m most familiar with Fillmore Station on the Gold Line in Pasadena (I live there) and there are three commercial/industrial streets with virtually no housing on them — Arroyo Parkway, Raymond and Fair Oaks.
Would folks who live there tolerate housing being built? Hard to say. The area already has considerable car traffic (the street-level rail crossings along the Arroyo Parkway don’t help) and there is a major hospital and health center nearby.
I’ll leave it to others to make the housing call — I don’t live in that neighborhood — but I think it’s fair to say that the area around the station is mostly low-rise. Your thoughts, Pasadenans and those who work in the area?
Check out this headline and see if you can find the word that leaps off the page:
Hint: the word is “for.” Attentive Source readers know that similar headlines about transit projects are too often arrive with the word “against.”
As for the story, the city of WeHo is hoping to get the Crenshaw/LAX Line Northern Extension project accelerated. It’s a tall order but I admire their tenacity.
Categories: Transportation Headlines