Subway construction, car ownership, sprawl, biking to the poppies: HWR, March 25

Dept. of Purple Line construction: the footage was shot earlier this month. Also, here are some fresh pics at the top of this gallery.


•A 26-year-old man was arrested in connection with a shooting at the Red Line’s Vermont/Sunset Station at 1 a.m. on Saturday, reports NBC 4. The victim was taken to the hospital in stable condition. This is the same station where there was a sexual assault on March 14. Metro is increasing the law enforcement presence at the station.

•Some Uber and Lyft drivers in Los Angeles County are trying to organize a strike to protest low pay by the ride-sharing giants, both of whom plan to take their stock public this year, reports the LAT. I don’t get around by cheap taxi much — but almost every driver I’ve had questions whether the pay is worth the effort.

The Center for Investigative Reporting is suing the Beverly Hills Unified School District, alleging the BHUSD failed to comply with the California Public Records Act by not producing documents about lobbying efforts to stop the Purple Line Extension. The BHUSD says no such documents exist, a claim the Center for Investigative Reporting says is “highly implausible.”

•The NYT’s Kara Swisher writes that owning a car will soon become as quaint as owning a horse, predicting folks will instead depend on ride sharing or other car services. Worldwide auto sales actually dipped last year and Swisher cites other sudden changes in consumer habits — citing cord cutting and the rise of the internet.

Count me as skeptical: I can see households owning fewer cars but in modern and sprawling and oft-transit adverse America, I think too many people see cars as freedom machines and will keep buying them.

The other thing: we have no idea yet how much it will cost to subscribe to ride sharing. The average car payment in America has gone up in recent times and is now $551, according to Edmunds. If unlimited ride sharing each month costs less than that, sure folks will sign up and car ownership could drop. But keep in mind that’s the average car payment and many folks pay less than that or keep cars for many years after they’re paid off.

On the other hand, I could be totally wrong! Some other info from the Edmunds Article:

More than 7 million Americans are now at least three months delinquent on their auto loan payments, the benchmark for many lenders to trigger a repossession.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the number of these troubled borrowers is a million more than in 2010, following the global financial crisis that led to a bailout for automakers and financiers.

One problem is the cost of cars and interest rates have both been rising — the average new vehicle costs $37,000 and interest rates are above five percent. Of course, it’s very possible to buy a car for less than that and pay a lot less interest.

Pro tip: if you’re going to take the plunge, wait for a deal involving zero percent interest. Keep the car 10 to 15 years. Great way to extend the life of your freedom machine and reduce maintenance costs: walk, bike or use transit when possible.

•Virginia transit officials checked out The Boring Co.’s tunnel in Hawthorne, reports the Virginia Mercury. Verdict: It’s a car in a small tunnel and no thanks, at least for now.

Five paragraphs in the LAT on a crash Saturday afternoon on I-5 near the Grapevine that involved 30 vehicles, injured more than 24 people and sent a dozen or so to hospitals. Attentive Source readers know Number of Media Paragraphs is usually determined by the Transportation Mode variable, with car accidents usually being on the low side along with pedestrian and bike accidents.

•Slowly but surely, zoning plans are being updated to allow a lot more housing to be built near the Gold Line Stations in Duarte and Monrovia, so says Urbanize LA. Whether said housing materializes is always another story.

•Sexual harassment and assault on transit has received its share of attention — and rightly so. And now the light is shining on similar issues on airplanes, reports the NYT.

•Excellent long-form article in National Geographic (you must surrender your email address to read) on urban sprawl and cities trying to find another way to accommodate more people in a say that’s more human and environmentally friendly. Excerpt from the section of the article on our region:

Change is happening: In Santa Monica I met one architect, Johannes Van Tilburg, who has designed 10,000 units of housing near transit lines in the past 15 years. But can the whole fabric of a sprawling city be changed?

“I think the answer is absolutely yes,” DiStefano said. It took us only 50 years to blow up a walkable urban form that had endured millennia, he said; we could undo that in another 50. DiStefano worked with Calthorpe on the El Camino thought experiment. “That corridor is Anywhere, U.S.A.,” he said. The same opportunity exists on strips around the country—the same opportunity to create walkable, connected cities to house a growing population, without cutting another tree or paving another mile.

El Camino is a long commercial corridor in the Bay area that some feel is ripe for redevelopment that could make it much more walkable and accommodate many thousands of new housing units. Sounds familiar, eh?

Singapore and its green spaces is cited as one example of how to build cities in the N.G. article. Credit: Getty Images.

•How far can you really go on an electric scooter? One writer in San Francisco ventures north of the Golden Gate Bridge to find out.

•Three college buddies take a week-long kayaking trip in remote Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Things do not go as planned. Good first-person account in NYT Magazine if you’re looking for a longer read whilst transiting.

Read the above story! Credit: Getty Images.

Tweets with some interestingness…

It’s about a 16-mile ride with 450 feet of gain from the Lancaster Metrolink Station to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. The bloom is coming on strong, so says the reserve’s website.

I guess not every donut place employee is a morning person.

Pretty good playlist. IMHO, the new Jenny Lewis album is, as usual, very good.

You know the drill: Take the Expo Line or Silver Line to LAFC games. Next home game is April 13 against Cincinnati FC. Uh-oh, split loyalties for yours truly, a native of The 513.

Dept. of Monday music: one of the great Springsteen unreleased songs — it burped out via bootlegs years ago — played live.





4 replies

  1. It seems to me that Option E for the Northern Crenshaw extension shouldn’t be considered if there will ever be plans to extend the Red Line as a subway down Vermont Ave to the Green line or beyond. If that was done and only the Purple Line went downtown, people would have to transfer to the Purple Line at Wilshire/Vermont and the tracks would probably have to be reconfigured.

  2. There’s either an error in this article or in the Incident of March 14 article. Wilshire/Vermont and Vermont/Sunset are two different stops…

    • Hi Chris:

      My error – I meant to write Vermont/Sunset not Wilshire/Vermont. I have fixed. Thanks for heads up.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. “Walkable” should mean how long it takes to get to the store or restaurant to buy what you need before returning home. In foreign cities, there’s no problem of doing that. LA has a long way to go to have that kind of integration. There needs to be smaller grocery stores like Aldi or Trader Joe’s or the Walmart mini-stores next to apartment buildings. 7-11 is often an one-stop store with reasonable prices in foreign locations. The effort to force everyone into bikes is unrealistic in LA. They might be okay for commuting in some circumstances, but it isn’t convenient to do typical stuff especially as transportation to go shopping or do errands.
    Car sharing doesn’t replace owning a car. Perhaps those who own cars can better afford car sharing services. I doubt people who are behind in their car payments can afford to keep using Uber regularly. You’re talking about $10 to $15 for each one way trip. That’s a lot of money. Many parts of LA County do not have good mass transit. What needs to happen is very tall high rises in each city where the low or middle income population live next to mass transit stations that take them point to point. I hate for California to be this urbanized.