A grand idea — a coast-to-coast rail-trail for cyclists: HWR, Friday, May 10

Credit: Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

•It’s National Bike Month and one of the cooler ideas I’ve read is above: a network of rails-to-trails that a cyclist could use to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Obviously this is more a recreational effort, but it’s something that would be unique and, I suspect, end up on a lot of bucket lists. Including mine.

About that route. Hmmm. Those with a geographical bent may notice it veers to the north. Armchair climatologists may be thinking “won’t that be cold and snowy for much of the year.” And Californians may be thinking “WTH, we’re California.” Don’t even get me started on the route through Ohio, which hews a little too close to Dayton ? and Columbus ?, neither of which are on par with someplace as grand and historically important as Cincinnati, which is also the birthplace of a certain Local Government Blogger.

Routing issues aside, the Great American Rail-Trail strikes me as a potential federal project that would be relatively low-cost and high-impact and be something our country could do to promote itself, walking, cycling, fitness and the frontier spirit. Fill up those panniers with some jerky and let’s go!


In the news…

•On the subject of bikes, Alissa Walker opines at Curbed that cities that really want people to bike more should be building protected bike lanes. This tweet from a former Metro staffer adorns the story:

I feel likewise about some of the other bike lanes I’ve seen across the region where there’s only a thin white line between an awful lot of traffic and a tiny strip of pavement for bikes. I’m talking to you, bike lanes on Huntington Boulevard and Mission Road. To be fair — there are, of course, some very fine bike lanes in our region, often along less trafficked streets.

•Metro updated its proposed budget by adding some bus service hours. Here’s the Source post.

•On the budget front it’s tough times for BART, which relies heavily on fares but is facing declining ridership and all sorts of costs. San Francisco Chronicle

At Streetsblog LA, Sahra Sulaiman takes a critical look at a proposal to raze 196 units in the Dorset Village garden-style apartments in Hyde Park and replace them with 782 new units. Dorset Village is a short stroll from the future Hyde Park station for the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The Village also made prominent appearance’s in Nipsy Hussle’s work.

•Uber’s stock price fell on the company’s first day as a publicly-traded company, observes the NYT. That said, Uber still raised $8.1 billion as part of its initial public offering.

Why the tumble? Concerns that “the deeply unprofitable company” could ever turn a profit, says the NYT. Lyft had its IPO in March and its stock didn’t take long to tumble below its initial price.

What’s this mean for consumers? I’m guessing fare increases at some point in time — although the competition between Uber and Lyft encourages both to keep fares low. Could one of the companies every try to buy the other? Just a guess on my part and I have no idea if that would pass muster with the law of the land.

Art of transit — good pic!

•Housing crisis news: with all the hubbub over SB 50, here’s an interesting story: the city of Glendale will soon require many developers to either build affordable units or pay a fee to the city in lieu of those units, reports the LAT. The state bill is taking a different approach by pre-empting local zoning laws to allow more units (including affordable ones) to be built near frequent transit lines.

•Not transit per se, but interesting NYT read: Amsterdam is overloaded with tourists — the reason tourism officials are now steering tourists to under-visited parts of the Netherlands.

•I’m taking my first-ever Amtrak ride to San Luis Obispo later today — it’s only a 5.5-hour, 200-mile journey. I shall offer some musings on that next week.

A lil’ train music to finish off the week…


11 replies

  1. Do you have any evidence that anyone, let alone a decent sized portion of the Metro ridership, really wants to hear about your ongoing Bruce Springsteen fetish — or your Game of Thrones cosplay on the taxpayers’ dime? What a pathetic joke.

    • Hi Evan;

      I think fetish is a bit off the mark — please look up the definition — although I’m certainly a fan of his music. Also, the vast majority of the post doesn’t involve Bruce Springsteen. I like to add music to blog posts and it’s usually something that requires about 15 to 30 seconds to do. As for Train of Thrones, we try different things to get people interested in transit and that means sometimes hitching our wagon to things that are very popular, such as GOT. There’s no real cost involved other than time — and honestly it requires very little time.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • If one searches The Source for “Springsteen,” they will find DOZENS of references and embedded videos, and that total doesn’t include posts where his videos are embedded without referencing his name.

        For a government agency blog, I think that qualifies as a fetish. Now, I suggest you look up the definition of “journalism” and “propriety.” Have a great day!

  2. That coast Startlight / Surfliner train is one of the best in the country! Enjoy the parts through Vandenberg AFB. On that note, I’d love to see a national bike trail with some rail assistance. Our own Autobahn offshoot, the “Bikebahn”.

  3. I fell out of love with the rail-trail concept when I found out that rail-trail supporters generally oppose attempts to bring old rail routes back for transit or commuter train lines.

  4. The Great American Rail-Trail looks great. It’d be even greater if there were several. Maybe one through the Upper South and another along the Gulf Coast.

  5. While we’re on the subject of dangerous roads for bicyclists, let’s not forget the City of El Monte, home of the huge bus station, terminus of the Silver Line, and the location of the first Bike Hub. It’s hard to understate how terrible bicycle access to that station is other than the connection to the bike lane next to the river, and for all the promotion that Metro Bike is trying to do over there, the Bike Hub never has more than 10 bikes in it, and it is really an embarrassment.

    Just a few examples: Santa Anita is a 6-lane road next to the station with a traffic lane right up against the curb, no bike lane, and narrow sidewalks. There is, however, a big center turn lane that looks pretty bored most of the time. Valley Blvd has street parking but no bike lanes. Arden Road which is a residential street and frequently used by bikes further north in Temple City abruptly turns into a 4-lane highway south of Lower Azusa with traffic lanes next to the curb and cars go by there at 50 mph. Recently, curb bumps were installed, I would imagine for the safety of students who cross the street to get to Gidley Elementary, but made it even more dangerous for bicyclists because now I have to merge into traffic to avoid the bumps. It would also be nice for the bike lane on El Monte Ave. to be connected to the bikepath on the river but again Lower Azusa is a 4-lane road with traffic lanes abutting the sidewalk.

    I know Metro is pushing biking quite hard, but without some incentives for neighboring cities to improve access to hubs, it is always going to suffer from the fundamental problem that is safety.

  6. Where are you leaving from that puts SLO 20 miles away? You can bike that in less than the 5.5 hours that you posted.

    • It was a typo — 200, not 20. It’s fixed. Thanks for heads up!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source