— Cincinnati Metro (@cincinnatimetro) December 11, 2018
We need a star athlete to doubt the Gold Line goes to Azusa, etc. //t.co/zpsSKBJT5F
— stevehymon (@stevehymon) December 11, 2018
The American West is like a box of chocolates. You never know what wildlife encounter you’re gonna get. //t.co/QzZ5n9uSZw
— High Country News (@highcountrynews) December 12, 2018
I found where the Teslas sleep pic.twitter.com/oj8pzOZ8Rx
— Laura J. Nelson 🦅 (@laura_nelson) December 12, 2018
The beyond-obvious starting point today is an op-ed in the LAT wearing the headline “Free public transit and roads without traffic? Sounds like a fairy tale, but L.A. can have both.”
That, of course, is a rather bold assertion — which comes on the heels of Metro CEO Phil Washington telling the agency’s Board last week that congestion pricing could be one way to fund building all 28 major projects in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
The fact that the Board was moderately supportive and didn’t throw El Jefe out of the room says something. As does the fact the largest media outlet in our region is also supportive of the idea of charging tolls to discourage motorists from driving in certain areas and/or times of day. In fact, much of the online discussion I’ve seen has leaned toward positive (see this thread on Reddit).
Nothing is on the table at this time and we don’t have specifics to report. Metro staff will be bringing a 28×28 funding plan to the Board early next year — and that’s when discussion of C.P. might heat up. The LAT suggestion:
Congestion pricing is really only fair if a city has good, reliable public transit. Otherwise, people who live in neighborhoods with poor transit service and no alternative but to drive are penalized by the fee. It would make sense, for example, to toll drivers heading downtown, where there are ample transit options during rush hours.
DTLA seems an obvious target as it’s the region’s transit hub — although high-capacity rail doesn’t yet serve DTLA from all directions.
If I was elevated to The Throne, I’d probably spitball LAX as a place to test congestion pricing after the Crenshaw/LAX Line and people mover open. LAX is chronically gridlocked and that same traffic is also clogging up Westside freeways and roads. And this: It’s a place where there are already plentiful options to driving.
NBC 4 has a new segment on assaults on bus operators on Metro buses. The agency is putting more police on buses and testing live closed-circuit cameras to monitor bus activity.
Another LAT op-ed: this one calling for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to do more to help transit, in particular giving green lights to light rail trains and adding more bus lanes.
Two headlines in the LAT today caught my eye — both involving the the difficulty of making transportation public policy.
The first story is about a state law that requires cities (in this case Los Angeles) to adjust and often raise speed limits in order to have the ability to write speeding tickets. That strikes me as less than ideal — and not exactly a great companion piece to the city’s effort to eliminate traffic-related deaths. But efforts to change the state law have gone nowhere over the years.
The second story is about the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ 4 to 1 vote on Tuesday to approve the 19,000-home Tejon Ranch development in far northern L.A. County. The area to be developed is about 70 miles from DTLA, 34 miles to Santa Clarita, between 40 and 50 miles to both Palmdale and Lancaster and 50 miles to Bakersfield. The nearest Metrolink stations are in Palmdale, Lancaster and Santa Clarita, btw.
Proponents have pointed to the need for new housing (including affordable housing), the jobs the development will create, the forward-thinking plans that will emphasize walking and biking within the development and the agreement between Tejon Ranch and several environmental groups (including the Sierra Club, NRDC and Audubon Society) that could permanently protect 240,000 of the ranch’s 270,000 acres. Pretty much everyone agrees the ranch encompasses a very ecologically rich area.
Still, it’s hard not to see shades of gray here — and how stated goals on housing and transportation can seemingly be at odds. A lot of the folks involved in this debate, including the supes (who are also Metro Board Members) and members of enviro groups are pushing for more alternatives to driving as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ranch will likely be a nice place to live and be a better kind of suburb — and there could be new jobs within its commercial sections. But it seems likely, too, that future residents will depend heavily on driving, especially on the 5 and 138.