Hiking, Olympics mobility, sandhill cranes: HWR, Feb. 11

From the Dept. of Transit-Oriented Hiking:

 

Dept. of Transit Oriented Development

The development has been waiting to get done for more than a decade. It will be sandwiched by the existing Red/Purple Line entrance down at 1st and Hill and the future Regional Connector station at 2nd and Hope.

Alternative way of saying it: only in L.A. would an architectural gem such as transit-friendly Disney Hall face the indignity of sitting across the street from such an ugly parking garage for so many years.

Dept. of Local Air Quality

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

As of 3:30 p.m. today, I can see the highest peaks of the San Gabriel (Mt. San Antonio/Baldy), San Bernardinos (San Gorgonio), San Jacintos (San Jacinto) and Santa Ana ranges (Santiago Peak) from my west-facing window at Source World Headquarters next to Union Station.

How many days will those peaks be visible before air quality zaps the view? I’m guessing one to two, based on the rising pile of brown gunk I can see to the east, where the gunk — thanks local traffic and other contributors (ports, industry, etc.)  — piles up due to prevailing winds.

The pic above, of Mt. San Antonio and Baldy, was taken last week when there were some puffy clouds to add to the scene.

A few clips from the news:

Joe Linton at Streetsblog LA looked at Metro’s list of 28 projects it wants to build prior to the 2028 Summer Olympics. In response, Joe has some smart ideas about mobility projects and programs that he believes would provide the most bang for the buck. Among them: systemwide all-door boarding (Metro has it on the Orange Line, Silver Line and two rapid lines, the 720 and 754), Olympic tickets that work as TAP cards and some thoughts about how Metro could help fight homelessness. Read the post for the entire list and Joe’s thoughts on other projects.

Attentive readers may recall that Metro is asking its Board this month to approve a funding plan for its 28 x 28 list, now known as the Reimagining LA County: Mobility, Equity and the Environment. Congestion pricing will be one of the funding strategies the Board is asked to consider.

USC has an article about bike share usage, focusing on the Port of L.A. Our quibble: Metro’s numbers for bike share outside the Port are higher for the fourth quarter of 2018. Not crazy higher, mind you, but a tad higher. FWIW, I’m pleased to see the bikes out there — but not as pleased that there aren’t as many great street-separated places to ride as some other cities.

The Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. has reviewed the four new refined concepts for the Sepulveda Transit project and has told Metro it wants the entire line underground in the San Fernando Valley, reports the Daily News. Two of the heavy rail concepts were entirely underground while one heavy rail and the monorail surface called for some aerial sections. The group represents about 2,500 homeowners but has proven to be influential over the years on a variety of matters, especially concerning development and transportation.

Dept. of Population Growth: The Census Bureau just issued an interesting release about population increases in the desert Southwest. Three telling graphics that involve our region:

Attentive readers will recall that Riverside and San Bernardino counties are part of our traffic-a-plex and the guess here is that many (read: vast majority) of the new arrivees to said counties are getting around by motor vehicle.

Quasi-related: with California on the cusp of gaining its 40 millionth resident, I’m always fascinated to find open spaces with elbow room. One new discovery: Pixley National Wildlife Refuge near Earlimart in the San Joaquin Valley. I went up for the weekend to the point the camera at sandhill cranes that migrate to the refuge each winter — something I’ve always wanted to do. Over the course of two days, I encountered only other other soul, a very nice lady from Visalia via Canada.

The cranes did not disappoint. As our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says on their website, they’re most active at sunrise and sunset — and sure enough on Saturday at sunset and Sunday at sunrise, many hundreds of them took off from one farm field, flew over the refuge and landed at another farm field. Pretty cool. Some pics for those of you who are both mobility and bird enthusiasts:

Photos courtesy Steve Hymon

 

 

 

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