Dept. of Local Governmenting
The deadly Camp Fire has also caused brutal air conditions in Northern California. Some transit agencies in the Bay Area responded wisely:
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) November 16, 2018
— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) November 16, 2018
Here is how bad it looked:
Air quality levels have hit hazardous levels in Arden Arcade, Folsom, Roseville, and Sloughhouse.
Officials urge residents to stay inside and avoid all outdoor physical activity. https://t.co/K9qi4TJ1HC
— CBS Sacramento CBS13 (@CBSSacramento) November 11, 2018
Wow. Today, San Francisco has the #1 worst air quality in the world. The Camp Fire smoke has virtually shut down the town. All schools canceled tomorrow. It’s a toxic, frightening smell. pic.twitter.com/12DOrCYUP5
— David Pogue (@Pogue) November 16, 2018
Our region wasn’t doing much better last Saturday when the scene looked like this from Debs Park near DTLA at about 2 p.m.:
It’s interesting to see agencies offering freebies at the pace they have. Many, including Metro, went free on Election Day. We also had free rides on this past Earth Day. Now air quality is added to the list.
Let’s look at some of the other news…
Metro announced yesterday that the Crenshaw/LAX Line would likely open in mid-2020; the agency had been targeting a fall 2019 opening. Here’s our blog post. Some commenters expressed disagreement with our word choice. Media coverage at Streetsblog LA and Curbed LA.
As Streetsblog explains, Metro’s Board is also scheduled on Dec. 6 to vote for an operating plan for the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line, whose tracks are tied together. There are two choices: C1, the Metro staff recommendation, and C3, which has the support thus far of six Board Members. I’ll write more before the next Board meeting.
The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority’s Board voted 5-0 on Tuesday to build the Gold Line Extension 2B project in two phases due to construction bids being far higher than the project’s budget (the Authority says high tariffs were a factor). The first phase will go to Glendora, San Dimas and La Verne. A second phase to Claremont and Montclair would later be built if at least $570 million in funding can be secured. As Steve Scauzillo explains in the SGV Tribune, state cap-and-trade and SB 1 funds are possible sources of money, but as with all state or federal grants, those always come with challenges. The Gold Line project was one of six Metro projects awarded about $1.1 billion in state funding this spring.
Metro’s Board of Directors Executive Management Committee tackled the line renaming issue yesterday. For the most part, the Board liked the plan floated by Metro staff to use Letters and Colors to signify rail and bus rapid transit lines. However, concerns were raised about using the letter ‘F’ for the Orange Line due to that letter also serving as locomotive for a certain word currently outlawed on Government Blogs. There were a concern voiced about riding a future Brown Line. FWIW, New York has an ‘F’ Line (I used to ride it from Brooklyn) and Chicago has a Brown Line. The full Metro Board gets to mull the issue on Dec. 6. Bring some popcorn and a dictionary!
The New York MTA is eyeing fare increases in 2019 that could bring the base fare to $3 per subway ride from the current $2.75. The problem: a growing budget deficit and looming maintenance and upgrade costs for the system, which has been beset by service issues in recent times.
Key graphs from the NYT story:
The latest deficits were caused in part by declining ridership, which has led to lower revenue projections, officials said. The decline is worrisome because it is happening as the city’s population is increasing and tourism is booming.
Officials blamed the drop on competition from Uber and other ride-hail apps, and on night and weekend closings for construction work that are needed to fix the system. Some riders, fed up with constant delays, have simply abandoned the subway.
On our end of the continent, Metro officials have talked about the need to raise fares at some point in the future as part of periodic financial forecasts to the Board. Costs do rise as the years go by and Metro’s base fare of $1.75 — last increased in 2014 — remains below most other large metro area fares around the U.S.
The Summer Olympics and Paralympics are coming to Los Angeles in 2028 — and Metro’s Board last year adopted a ‘Twenty-Eight by ’28 Initiative‘ to try to build 28 major projects by then. The Olympics are coming here, of course, because L.A. already has many of the facilities needed. Elsewhere, the Olympics are a tough sell because of the cost. Calgary officials pushed for the 2026 Winter Olympics, for example. Calgary voters pushed back and said ‘no thanks’ earlier this week.
Things to read whilst transiting: Excellent NYT interactive story on how climate change is changing Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area. Spoiler: probably not for the better. Idea: generally speaking, taking transit instead of driving alone is one way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Things to listen to whilst transiting: As usual, I’m late to the party but season 3 of the ‘Serial’ podcast is beyond excellent. The reporters detail the inner workings of the Cleveland criminal court system and some of the people who pass through it and/or get stuck in the cogs of justice. All in all, a great way of explaining how a vital part of government works, for worse and for better.
Categories: Transportation Headlines