•Metro has apologized after a contractor painted over extensive graffiti that had vandalized and concealed a mural from the 1984 Olympics along the 110 freeway in DTLA, according to LAist. The agency said it will work to help restore the mural. Here’s the full statement:
“The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has determined that a mural entitled “Hitting the Wall” was painted over by its graffiti-abatement contractor on February 26, 2019, due to extensive graffiti (see photo attached). Metro is committed to working with the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) to resolve the matter.
“As part of the Freeway Beautification Program, Metro has been providing, through its contractor, supplemental landscaping, graffiti abatement and litter removal along this stretch of the 110 freeway on Caltrans’ right of way. Due to the extensive graffiti coverage on the mural, our contractor did not recognize that there was a mural under this section of wall. We apologize on behalf of our contractor and will move forward to resolve this matter with SPARC.”
Art of Transit:
•Using Census Bureau data, the firm Geotab looks at average commute times in big cities across the United States. Los Angeles clocks in at 33 minutes, which is better than Washington D.C., Boston, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago.
The equally interesting number: Geotab looked at what percentage of commuters in each city can complete their commute within 30 minutes and 60 minutes — those times for L.A. were 54 percent and 96 percent, respectively. Which means, in short, that L.A. is on on par with other major cities when it comes to drive times.
Meaning, in short, that L.A. isn’t quite the traffic freak show that many Americans make us out to be. In fairness to those who despise our traffic, we certainly win on volume and size of the region. We also likely win on the length of our rush hours and the intractability of some of our traffic issues.
To say it plainly: our traffic is no treat and isn’t really defensible. But our sprawl and urban planning are common to the rest of the U.S. and the narrative shouldn’t be that L.A. is uniquely bad but that other American cities have more often than not followed our lead. Thoughts?
Oh, and this little issue:
•Joe Linton at Steetsblog LA has a good post on the Vermont Transit Corridor bus rapid transit project. He supports a BRT line that would run down the middle of the street and be more robust than other alternatives (entirely curb running or a mix of center/curb running). Excerpt:
Including more robust BRT in Metro staff recommendations is a bold step in an important direction. If only watered-down versions of BRT are considered for very high ridership corridors like Vermont, then bus riders are not being taken seriously. High quality BRT could exceed the $522 million in hand, but not by much. In any case, BRT would be an order of magnitude less expensive than rail. The majority (eight+ miles north of Gage) of a center-running BRT facility would have to remove parking and/or car traffic lanes, so the political cost might be a bigger obstacle than the construction cost.
That is a sound analysis.
•More on SB 50, the state bill that would pre-empt local zoning laws and allow more housing to be built near frequent transit lines across the state. This LAT story is about a new report by the city of L.A.’s planning department that found the bill would change zoning on about 40 percent of developable land in the city and about six percent of the single-family parcels in the city.
Some SB 50 related tweets — including news from the bill’s author that some of the bill’s requirements will only apply to counties with more than 600,000 people. That is designed to ease opposition from rural areas:
1/4 Today, Sen. Mike McGuire & I are announcing an agreement on #SB50, #MoreHOMES Act. Sen. McGuire will become a co-author of SB 50. SB 4 (his own zoning reform bill) will not move forward. We now have a united front behind SB 50 to reform CA zoning & address our housing crisis.
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) April 24, 2019
[READ NOW] @Planning4LA has released its analysis of #CA #SB50, and its potential effects on zoning & land use in #LA. Nearly 45% of the City could be impacted, potentially allowing for more #housing to be built near transit and jobs-rich areas: https://t.co/0OPHKrb4h2 pic.twitter.com/Wn4smGV77a
— Los Angeles City Planning (@Planning4LA) April 24, 2019
— Urbanize LA (@UrbanizeLA) April 24, 2019
This would be a disappointing compromise, making SB50 not apply to Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Marin, and Napa Counties—some of the state's most exclusive. If goal is to reduce exclusion, the bill is losing part of its purpose. https://t.co/YywptrsgdG
— Yonah Freemark (@yfreemark) April 24, 2019
— David Zahniser 🦅 (@DavidZahniser) April 23, 2019
I have no idea if SB 50 has a shot at passage this year — a similar bill by Wiener died in the Legislature last year. Two big sticking points are that many cities don’t want to hand over zoning to the state and that many single family homeowners don’t want homes in their neighborhoods to be torn down and replaced by apartments. Another issue raised by opponents: the bill could promote gentrification by resulting in more market-rate housing than affordable housing.
Proponents also have some pretty good arguments to make, namely that there isn’t enough housing in the state, not enough is getting built in places where it should and it’s often far too expensive for normal people to afford. Stay tuned.
Categories: Transportation Headlines