Bus lanes in LA, scooters in DTLA, parking requirements, Lyft IPO: HWR, March 29

Everything old is new again. In days of yore — the 1990s — I can recall working at a certain newspaper that sat next to a bus lane on Spring Street. The bus lane is gone and the newspaper is now in El Segundo. As for Bus Lanes 2.0, I’m eager to see what’s in the works. Click on the tweet above to see the entire thread from Laura along with some informed speculation.

Looking forward to seeing how the “don’t ride on the sidewalk” part goes. And this:

Yes, this is actually fairly easy to do — bus or train to Union Station or bus to Harbor Gateway and connect to Metro’s Dodger Stadium Express to the ballpark. Maybe it’s not quite the D train to Yankee Stadium or the El to Wrigley Field, then again neither of those ballparks were built atop a really big hill.

Nice to see someone on the Dodgers social media team knows their early Stones. Quasi-related: I watched Pirates-Reds (I’m from Cincy) and Yasiel Puig’s 0-fer was not exactly a work of art. That said, I stand firm on my prediction+conviction that Metro will be tweeting “Go Metro to Reds-Dodgers NLDS” in about six months’ time. The Dodgers have tons of talent. The Reds have that great intangible: team chemistry and a lot of guys with something to prove.

Interesting and unsurprising at the same time.

And in the news…

•In an op-ed in the LAT, cyclist Matthew Fleischer finds the MyFigueroa bike and bus improvements to be good in places but overall half-baked. Excerpt:

Last month, I rode the Silver Line bus north on Fig, got off a stop before 7th and walked the almost half-mile to the Metro station. I arrived five minutes before my bus. As I stood and waited, I saw a dozen cars turn right illegally from the bus-only lane.

Drivers no doubt complain about the loss of traffic lanes along the corridor, but, in reality, MyFig makes too many concessions to cars. Between 7th and Wilshire, for example, the city allows a valet stand to operate during rush hour, making the 7th Street intersection even more chaotic.

What’cha think, folks? I haven’t ridden Fig on a bike but have ridden through DTLA on a Silver Line bus. Let’s just say it doesn’t always move at the speed of sound thanks to DTLA traffic.

Over at Streetsblog LA, here’s a look at a couple of political reactions to SCAG’s congestion pricing feasibility study that was released Thursday. The study called for $4 tolls to be imposed on motorists entering a zone covering some of the Westside. As we wrote yesterday, Metro is doing its own feasibility study on congestion pricing and that should not be confused with SCAG’s efforts:

Our agency is working with SCAG and will use their research as a starting point for Metro’s feasibility study. The important point here: the Metro feasibility study will be the one that determines what is done on a pilot basis for congestion relief pricing in Los Angeles County.

To repeat: At the end of the day, Metro and its Board of Directors will decide how and where congestion relief pricing is tested in our county. The other counties that are members of SCAG — Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura — may decide to draw on SCAG’s work and develop their own congestion pricing programs, too. But it’s up to those counties to decide.

L.A. City Councilman and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin  — whose district includes the Westside — doesn’t like SCAG’s proposal, saying the Westside doesn’t have good enough transit alternatives. He said a better place to test fees would be DTLA or LAX once it is served by Metro Rail and the automated people mover (Metro’s new rail station at Aviation & 96th and the people mover are both scheduled to open in 2023). Assemblyman Richard Bloom — whose district is also on the Westside — said that he supported the study and would sponsor legislation to make congestion pricing pilots possible.

Let’s repeat it again: Metro will decide what happens congestion pricing-wise in L.A. County. But the SCAG study might offer a preview of the debate ahead.

Work on the Regional Connector project under DTLA. Photo for Metro by Ken Karagozian.

•On the subject of the LAT, there are now about 1,100 residential units in two towers proposed for the newspaper’s former home at 1st and Spring, reports Urbanize LA. That’s a lot of units — and if built they’ll be next door to the new Metro Rail underground station being built at 2nd and Broadway as part of the Regional Connector project.

From that station, future residents will be able to catch light rail trains to East L.A., Pasadena and the Foothill Corridor, Long Beach and Santa Monica. And, in a few years, to LAX via the Crenshaw/LAX Line and airport people mover. Residents will also be a short walk from the Red/Purple Line’s Civic Center Station with trains to Union Station, the DTLA core, North Hollywood and (eventually) the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood. There will also be buses, sidewalks (gasp) and (presumably) bike share and ride share and things such as scooters to help folks get around.

And this:

The Times Mirror Square development, located across the street from an under-construction subway station at 2nd and Broadway, would feature 1,744 parking spaces within a five-level podium and nine basement levels.

That’s kind of a lot of parking for a mobility rich area, eh? Developers are still required to build parking for new residential buildings in DTLA. Not everyone loves those requirements and the city is reconsidering them as part of its DTLA 2040 plan to update DTLA’s zoning codes.

I can see it both ways. Parking likely makes residential units easier to rent/sell and perhaps get built in the first place while also helping existing parking from getting overwhelmed with new demand. On the other hand, building parking certainly adds significant expense to the construction of such buildings, which is passed along to you-know-who — renters/buyers, many of whom aren’t taking money baths on a regular basis.

Perhaps it’s best to let the market decide. Thoughts?

•Lyft shares hit the stock market on Friday and rose 21 percent, so says the NYT. Both Uber and Lyft bring in a lot of money but remain famously unprofitable at this time. We’ll see how investors feel down the road and whether those robot cars ever come around.

It has been said that robot cars will eliminate the cost of drivers for ride-sharing firms. But what about all the humans that will need to be hired to maintain the robot cars? Or will there be robots taking care of the robots? And, if so, isn’t that kind of Skynet-ish?

Concurrent with going public, Lyft today announced they will pump some profits back into transportation initiatives in cities where they operate. Excerpt from their news release:

To supercharge the collective efforts of this movement, today we’re announcing a major new commitment called Lyft City Works. Each year, Lyft will invest $50 million or 1% of profits—whichever is larger—to support locally-driven transportation and other initiatives to improve people’s lives in every city where we operate.

My skepticism aside, it’s probably worth mentioning that I’m one of the people who uses ride-sharing. Not a lot (I’m pretty well covered between transit, my car and my feet) but my frequent trips to Cincy to help the parental units are a lot easier because of the cheap Uber rides between the airport and the distant ‘burbs. Perhaps that’s the biggest reason for investor and political excitement. Even without profits, the service is often convenient and cheap.

 

 

10 replies

  1. The article on “TheFIg” does not, as the author contends, show that too many concessions were made to the automobile, exactly the opposite. It demonstrates why these projects will ALWAYS FAIL and should never be built. This was a waste of 20 million dollars that could have gone to actually improving public transit.

    • Yea, it failed because too many concessions were made to the automobile. These projects are very necessary but should be built with less consideration for people traveling alone in their automobile and more consideration for people walking, biking and riding the Bus.

  2. Congestion pricing in the proposed Westside zone would kill the concept regionwide. Bonin is correct about the lack of transit. One train line at the southern portion of the zone doesn’t cut it. He has the backlash against the Playa Del Rey road diet fresh in his mind.

    This zone could be reconsidered only IF and AFTER the Purple Line gets extended to LAX with a stop between the VA Hospital and Bundy.

  3. The “New Fig” does little or nothing to remedy Metro’s astonishingly bad job of making the connections necessary to expedite transit connections for passengers approaching DTLA from the south.

    Never again will I try to use the Silver Line (so-called) BRT to reach the Red/Purple Line from the south. If ever again I make the mistake of riding the Silver Line northbound, I will get off soon after it exits the 110 fwy and walk over to the nearest station on the Expo Line–which, slow as it often is, still is faster than getting stuck in a bus in the permanent traffic jam on South Figueroa.

    Similarly, when trying to make a connection for travel in either direction between Blue/Expo Line trains, it is usually faster and simpler to take the eight-minute walk along Flower between Expo’s 23rd-street station and Blue’s Grand/LATTC station rather than to use Pico station for the transfer, which requires enduring two snail’s-paced trips through the overloaded and badly designed “wye” connection at Flower & Washington.

    Way to go Metro!

  4. The Urbanize LA piece doesn’t say how much of the parking in the Times Mirror Square development will be dedicated to office or retail. If they’re expecting a grocery store and restaurants, they’ll need to set aside a bunch of spaces that might not necessarily fill up.

  5. I know this has nothing to do with the article above but I was wondering what had happened to that Phone App where you could basically use your phone as a TAP card? Did it get Delayed? Cancelled? What is its progress, if any? We haven’t heard anything about it since last year and the last article about it said something about a Fall 2018 release. Well that time has come and gone.Maybe another article about it with updates?

  6. It would be worth looking at the economics of Disney Hall before considering the benefits of five levels of parking in DTLA. My understanding is that Disney isn’t a theater with a parking garage. It’s a parking garage with a theater. Which is to say, the financing on the costs of building all that parking is what directs the theater schedule– how many shows they need, how much ticket sales need to generate, and so forth.