Traxx Restaurant: if you walked through Union Station today you may have noticed that Traxx restaurant and its bar have closed. Here is Metro’s statement:
Metro is disappointed by Tara Thomas Enterprises’ decision to vacate its Traxx Restaurant and Bar locations in Union Station this week, prior to the lease expiration date of September 2020. Metro, which owns Union Station, believes that there will be substantial interest in the space and will continue to market and manage the property in a manner that is in the best interests of the public and the taxpayers.
Story of the week: “The No. 2 Metro bus connects the fantasies and realities of L.A.” in the LAT. Reporter Frank Shyong spent a week riding the bus between DTLA and UCLA meeting a variety of people. Excerpt:
What I most appreciated about the bus, and what I think a lot of us love about the idea of public transit, is the people. Because a city is its people, and in L.A., people are from everywhere and go through everything. Poverty, mental illness, struggle, exhaustion and kaleidoscopic diversity — the bus makes you look all of that in the face.
According to a recent survey, 92% of Metro’s bus riders are people of color, and 66% of riders are Latino. The median income of riders is $16,218. The bus is an environmentally friendly commute, but more importantly, it’s a safety net — most people ride the bus in L.A. because they have no other option.
Really nice story by Frank, who deftly gets some riders talking about their lives.
From the Twittersphere:
— Edward Russell (@ByERussell) April 29, 2019
Pasadena City Hall moonlighted as Pawnee, Indiana, City Hall in “Parks and Recreation.”
Half of our subscribers immediately deleted this newsletter. pic.twitter.com/OX8gzaPOOU
— Jenna Chandler (@jennakchandler) April 29, 2019
The above tweet refers to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiling a ‘Green New Deal’ plan for L.A. on Monday. The LAT described the plan this way:
“Los Angeles needs to lead, but the whole world needs to act. This plan gives us a fighting chance,” Garcetti said in an interview. “It’s sort of a ‘greenprint’ for every other city in the country and the world, hopefully.” [snip]
The mayor’s sustainability plan imagines a city where, by the mid-2030s, 80% of the cars run on electricity or zero-emission fuel, 80% of the electricity comes from renewable sources and Angelenos drive 2,000 fewer miles each year than they do now. It’s a far cry from today’s L.A., where gridlock, tailpipe pollution and smoggy air have come to define a way of life.
I don’t think those numbers sound crazy although they represent a big sea change and, as the LAT notes, some policy decisions that could impact the above are outside the city’s direct control.
Example: seems to me that big state and federal tax breaks could influence a lot more people to buy electric cars and install solar atop their homes. Or, to put this in question form: if you could deduct the entire cost of an electric vehicle from your taxes, would you buy an electric vehicle? Heck yeah, I would! But that’s something our friends in D.C. control.
Driving 2,000 miles less per year? That’s about 5.5 miles each day. Seems to me that a greatly expanded and/or improved transit network — i.e. bus system — coupled with great first/last mile solutions could entice more people to take transit a couple times a week and reduce their driving.
As mayor of L.A., Garcetti has been a member of the Metro Board since 2013 and has three appointees to the 13-member Board under his control (his second term as mayor ends in late 2022). So he will continue to have the opportunity to influence Metro policy while overseeing the city’s transportation (with its DASH buses), airport and port.
Shocker: there was some pushback on social media! To wit:
After 10 days in LA, it’s clear to me that LA’s going to make no transition toward sustainable transport until it massively reorients streets to peds. Sidewalks are too narrow, crosswalks are hostile, streets are too wide. I love this city, but it’s painful to be a walker here. https://t.co/mCT9ivUffZ
— Yonah Freemark (@yfreemark) April 30, 2019
This is where we’re going. I can’t wait to kill the Go Metro app. https://t.co/DhrLlzGXJd
— John Gordon (@j6ordon) April 28, 2019
John is Metro’s Director of Social Media. One big complaint of users of the app is the lack of accurate real-time arrival data for buses and trains. FWIW, that’s certainly a problem but that’s a problem that goes beyond the app — and something that Metro is working to fix. The idea John is emphasizing is he wants Metro to create great data and then let others use it to their best ability.
Quasi-related is the tweet below. The issue is that the delays this morning were more along the lines of 20 minutes (due to a problem with the doors on a Red Line train) than “slight.” In this case, we have the equipment, we just didn’t get the messaging right. Criticism received and acknowledged.
Metro is running periodic test trains between 103rd St/Watts Towers and Downtown Long Beach now through end of May. Please be alert and obey all rail crossing signals — trains may run day and night. pic.twitter.com/Nar1ajAFFA
— LA Metro (@metrolosangeles) April 29, 2019
We’re heading into the final half of the Blue Line closures for the southern half of the line with the northern closures on deck. We’ll have lots more news on the blog and Metro’s social media streams as we get closer to the flip in the work. New Blue Improvements Project website is here.
Things to read whilst transiting and Dept. of ?: check out the list of companies that paid zero corporate taxes in 2018, as reported by the NYT. Shocker: some are energy, oil and car companies.
In the news…
•With “Infrastructure Week” approaching, President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders say they will work together on a $2-trillion infrastructure plan, reports the NYT. Details are in extremely short supply at this time.
•The cities of Alhambra, Pasadena and South Pasadena have sent a letter to Metro asking that funds for the 710 North project to enhance mobility in the area of the 710 gap be used for a wider variety of projects — and not just those to improve car traffic.
One city official says they want to take cars off the road — not add them. In fairness, proponents of the freeway tunnel that was rejected by many cities (including South Pas and Pas) said the tunnel would do precisely that by pulling car traffic off surface streets. Here’s the story in the Star News.
•An item that was scheduled to be heard by the Metro Board last week would have launched the formal studies for the North Hollywood to Pasadena bus rapid transit project. But the item was pulled for further discussions of the route.
The issue, as reported by the Star News: Pasadena officials want the BRT line to terminate at the Gold Line in Old Pasadena and not continue to Pasadena City College. Officials say that 60-foot articulated buses would be a poor fit for Colorado Boulevard and that BRT infrastructure would need to be moved each year for the Rose Parade.
Here’s the map that was before the Board:
•The NYT’s editorial page backs Senate Bill 50, which would pre-empt local zoning laws and allow more housing to be built near frequent transit lines across heavily populated counties in California — including some in single-family neighborhoods. There are a lot of strong views on both sides of this bill and, as the editorial notes, its passage is no sure thing.
•A town in Ontario, Canada, has been using Uber in lieu of bus service and offering discounts. The program has been popular but costs are going up — and so are the fares, reports Citylab.
•Sad to hear that film director John Singleton passed away — here’s the obit in the LAT. “Boyz n the Hood” from 1991 remains, I think, the best movie made to date about South L.A. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend — the film is available to rent on many large streaming services. Here’s a clip about gentrification. Warning: very adult language. And here’s an NYT appreciation of the film.
Categories: Transportation Headlines