There was a media event on Monday to check out some of the fossils unearthed as part of the Purple Line Extension project. Check out Anna’s IG story here (WordPress won’t let me embed it).
Art of Transit
A pair of nice pics of the ongoing work at the future Wilshire and La Brea station along the Purple Line Extension. Photos for Metro by Ken Karagozian.
— The Rapid (@TheRapid) March 4, 2019
In the news…
•L.A. Council Member Gil Cedillo authored a motion asking the city to ban scooters in his district, which includes Westlake, Chinatown, Highland Park and Echo Park, reports Curbed LA. The reason: not enough room on sidewalks, he says.
The city of L.A. has been working on a pilot project to regulate scooters — hard to say how the motion jibes with banning them from some places. Scooters aren’t supposed to be ridden on sidewalks but that hasn’t stopped people from doing it and that’s going to continue to be a sticking point going forward whether you agree with Cedillo or not.
•A pair of LAT articles on the California bullet train. The first says there may not be enough money to complete the Merced-to-Bakersfield segment that Gov. Newsom wants to complete. The second concerns the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s pushback against President Trump’s desire to get $3.5-billion in federal funds back from the project, which the feds allege has been mis-managed. The authority says it’s a “rash and unlawful” request.
Hey! Here are two bullet train questions I’d love answers on:
1 — Until actual bullet train service can begin, is there the possibility of using the Bakersfield-to-Merced stretch for the Amtrak train that runs between Bakersfield and Sacramento?
2 — Will the proposed extension of ACE commuter rail from San Jose to Merced connect with the bullet train in Merced? Reason I ask: that seems like something that would make sense, allowing rail riders to go from Bakersfield to rail connections to San Jose or Oakland.
•A quartet of letters to the editor in the LAT on Metro launching feasibility studies of congestion relief pricing and taxing Ubers and Lyfts.
The first letter argues that the Metro system is not robust enough to give folks an alternative to paying tolls to drive. That’s certainly a familiar argument. It’s worth mentioning that the hope is to use toll money to greatly expand transit so there is a good alternative to motoring.
One other point in the letter: the writer argues there isn’t enough parking at many Metro systems for transit to be realistic for many.
In recent times in urbanist and transit circles, the prevailing view is that parking is very expensive to build and maintain and that lots/garages are not the best use of space in cities. Metro’s customer surveys show that 32 percent of rail riders drive or get dropped off at stations versus 10 percent for the bus system.
In other words, most of our riders do not drive to the bus or train (FWIW, I drive to the Gold Line’s Del Mar station). I’m curious what folks reading this think — how big a deal is parking? Is it a deal breaker and needed if Metro tries congestion relief pricing? Or does it depend on the setting — ‘burbs verses the denser urban core?
•The Reason Foundation — long a critic of rail projects as being too expensive with ridership too low — argues that many of the projects in Metro’s Twenty-Eight by ’28 Initiative are not necessary to get fans to Olympic venues. The counter-argument is that a larger transit network sooner will help more people get around before, during and after the Games.