Nipsy Hussle memorial, electric cars, ‘burbs vs baseball: HWR, April 10

On social media…

The article is proof that any academic study (this one from the University of Michigan) can get some ink if it has a sexy enough headline or premise.

John is Metro’s Director of Social Media. See the thread — lots of questions about real-time bus and train arrival, as would be expected.

I still wish they had built it in downtown proper rather than up on a hill — look how fresh those hillcuts look in the pic.

For those of you looking for something to read whilst transiting. I’m a little behind and have seen only the first two episodes of season one ’cause The Domestic Partner isn’t into GOT although she has won the GOT when it comes to our remote. Hmm.

In the news…

At Streetsblog LA, Joe Linton argues that fixes are “needed yesterday” to protect the Gold Line from traffic on the 210 freeway. He also points out that while the final cost of the project is not yet known, it will be worth every penny in terms of keeping transit rides safe. Excerpt:

One quibble with the Times headline, which asserts that this project “could get expensive.” When Streetsblog questioned a Metro staff person involved in the project if it was a billion dollar project, the staffer responded with a guess that is would be closer to a $100 million. This is expensive for individuals, but, in a landscape where Metro has multiple multi-billion projects to widen freeways and build new rail lines, the freeway barrier is comparatively inexpensive.

Metro inaction has its cost, too, in responding to ongoing crashes. Fixing today’s dire situation would be cheaper than responding to liability from a truck crashing into a train.

The LAT wrote about the issue on Sunday and we provided some additional pics and background info on Monday.

•A nice look in the LAT at how South Los Angeles was reflected in Nipsey Hussle’s lyrics, including his ode to the 108 Line in “Question #1.” For those who have not ridden the 108, here’s map of the east-west line portrayed in a north-south orientation to fit onto the timetable.

•A bi-partisan bill in Congress would greatly expand $7,000 tax credits for those who purchase electric vehicles, reports Reuters. Can it pass both the Senate and House and be inked by President Trump? Open question, it is.

Of course, if the goal in the U.S. is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, seems to me that getting as many electric vehicles on the road is pretty good policy (while also reducing the number of power plants that depend on fossil fuels, of course).

•More than 90 percent of the freight in NYC arrives and leaves by truck. Regional officials want to change that by investing more in a little known freight railroad — with just 80 customers present — that serves the area, reports the NYT. I’m guessing more than a few cities may rue the day train vs truck became so lopsided.

•A look by the Congress of New Urbanism at highway/freeway projects that were stopped, including the 710 between Alhambra and Pasadena.

•An op-ed at Urbanize LA says that as currently written Senate Bill 50 — which would allow more housing to be built near busy transit lines — would produce a lot market rate housing than affordable housing.

•Smart piece at Strong Towns about suburban sprawl and the need to build smarter, more sustainable ‘burbs since they’re not going away.

•Finally, attentive readers know that I frequently visit the Cincinnati area (my hometown) caring for my aging parents/elders. Most recently, Pa has been doing time in a suburban hospital that is 25 miles from downtown Cincy. In other words, a place that was mostly farms when I was growing up — but is now covered by suburbs and strip malls and vast parking lots.

This is the trend across the metro area. As the city of Cincinnati itself has seen a declining population over the last half-century, the suburbs have exploded. When I was a kid, most of the population of the metro area lived within the 275 freeway that circles the metro area. Nowadays, development continues for as much as 10 miles beyond 275 in many places.

What’s interesting to me is that while everyone at the hospital likes talking about the Cincinnati Reds, most folks don’t go to games. They, too, live in the ‘burbs and say the drive in traffic is no longer worth it. The Reds attendance has plummeted in recent years — mostly because they stink. But I think there’s more to it. Traffic in Cincy has gotten much worse, the transit alternatives to driving are few + far between and I think most people don’t want to bother attending games unless the team is extraordinary. Which the Reds will not be most years due to market size and the economics of baseball.

That stings a bit. The Reds were the first professional baseball team and have a pretty good legacy of drawing fans from across the Midwest. But some rough urban planning (or not planning) and traffic aren’t helping them. So as much as I whine about Dodger Stadium being on a hill, at least it’s in downtown L.A. and we can connect the stadium to Union Station via a bus and perhaps a future aerial tram.

But I suspect that in a few years the Reds will look to another example for their future survival: moving the ballpark to the ‘burbs, as the Atlanta Braves did a few years ago. At least the city’s MLS team (to be pummeled at Banc of California Stadium this Saturday – Go Expo Line to bear witness) is building a new stadium downtown. But soccer is not baseball and baseball, I hope, remains in downtowns across America.



6 replies

  1. I hated the fact that the new Rams/Chargers stadium didn’t happen in DTLA. The existence of Metro and accessibility, plus the 8 billion parking spaces at the Convention Center could have worked out well for everyone involved. But it’s in a suburb and the options to not drive are going to be inconvenient as heck plus I don’t believe they will charge any less for parking. They’re just offloading the pollution and congestion to the community and onto local freeways.

  2. Are those the Reds playing against the Dodgers in that vintage Dodger Stadium photo?

    • Hi William —

      It sure looks that way! The 1960s were not very kind to the Reds (besides the ’61 team that got swept by Yanks in the World Series) although pieces were being acquired that would be building blocks of the Big Red Machine. There was also that Frank Robinson trade….hmm…

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. Hey Steve here I go again- Cincy gets to reactivate and build bigtime! the Cincy subway.

    • Hi David;

      My hunch is that bus rapid transit might work best here — the ‘burbs are very spread out and it would likely take multiple rail lines, meaning it would take a giant mountain of money that presently does not exist. That said, some BRT lines running between the city proper and the sprawling office complexes in the ‘burbs could be successful with things like bus lanes and other treatments that give buses priority. There is talk of a transit sales tax headed to a ballot in 2020. I think it stands a good chance given the traffic here.

      I like to write about it because when I’m here I get a lot of people telling me they could never live in L.A. because of the traffic. I sometimes gently suggest that they acquire a mirror 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. LA Dodgers have a bigger problem. People getting beat up into comas.

    Trump will sign it if they give him Wall funding. I agree.

    Riding Metro with lots of gold chains isn’t the best idea.

    210 Freeway will get a 5 feet wall. That’s barely 2 feet taller than the 3 feet wall it has now. How will this prevent another breach? I have my doubts.