Dept. of Self-Betterment: Lots of news below as I’m in catch-up mode. But first, let’s talk about Friday the 13th, specifically the afternoon commute that included major Gold Line delays (overhead wires issue, part II) and two break-downs on the Expo Line.
It was a rough day/week on our end, to say the least — and a tough commute for many riders. I’ve read a lot of the comments that folks have left on the blog and social media, with many of you taking us to task for not providing enough information about what was happening.
I do take those complaints seriously. The flow of solid info across a big agency can sometimes be challenging but that’s my problem, not yours. We’ll do our best to improve and I certainly appreciate everyone who rides and/or reads. Always feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here.
•Dept. of Why Was the Gold Line holding at Chinatown Station this morning? Not everyday this happens outside your office window:
And on to the news:
•Pedestrian deaths have surged in the U.S. in the last decade, reports the LAT. Excerpt:
After more than 30 years of declining pedestrian fatalities, the number began to climb in 2010. Nearly 40,000 pedestrians have died since, according to federal data. Numbers are not yet available for 2018, but the death count is projected to hit more than 6,000. That would make it the deadliest year in nearly three decades, according to the Governors Highway Safety Assn.
As the LAT notes, the carnage has been particularly bad for pedestrians in low-income neighborhoods. Safety experts can’t pinpoint any one reason for the surge in numbers. I’m no expert but I walk my dog a lot and get around by car sometimes and have a working hypothesis: enforcement of traffic laws has become a rare thing, drivers have no fear of getting a ticket for anything and too many drivers playing with their dumbphones instead of driving.
You wanna see something scary? Next time you’re on the Silver Line or the Flyaway bus on the freeway check out the view of people in cars in the the adjacent lane. The number of them fiddling with their phones is pretty astonishing, based on my observations.
•Attentive Source readers know that we added some peak hour service to the Expo Line on Friday, but Curbed LA reports that some riders don’t think it’s enough to alleviate crowding. There’s a lotta comments. Expo is getting some love on Twitter, too:
Hey, Los Angeles folks: Are you on the Expo Line a lot these days? If so, DM me! I might want to talk to you for an @latimes story.
— Laura J. "???? ???????? ???" Nelson (@laura_nelson) September 17, 2019
•As has been expected, the U.S. EPA is expected today to revoke California’s right to set its emission standards for cars — a right the federal government granted the state in 1970, so says the NYT. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he will challenge the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
The move is part of a broader effort to roll back emission standards put in place under President Obama. Of course, even with the rules in place air quality in California is often pretty lousy. The good thing is even while the issue is duked out, consumers do have a choice and there are plenty of fuel efficient vehicles on the market.
And this: an easy way to reduce tailpipe emissions is to take transit occasionally. You save on fuel costs and wear+tear on your vehicle.
•Property acquisitions for the bullet train are driving up costs and could add to delays, so says the LAT. Says one state employee — anonymously: “I am going to ride this train, but I am afraid it is going to be my ashes in an urn. I told my kids to take my ashes on the bullet train.” Tough issue,
•In brighter news, the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced last week that Metro would receive $400 million in Prop 1A funds for the Link Union Station project to build run-through tracks, accommodate the bullet train and expand the station’s capacity. CASHR press release.
•L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson called for a rejection of the 577-unit District Square development — adjacent to the Expo and Crenshaw/LAX Lines — because it doesn’t include any affordable units, reports the LAT.
•Not a transpo story per se but homelessness is an issue Metro grapples with…the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to help challenge a court ruling that prohibits cities from arresting homeless people who sleep on sidewalks, reports the LAT. Those who support the challenge — Kathryn Barger, Janice Hahn, Mark Ridley-Thomas — say the status quo is not working and getting in the way of connecting homeless to help. Those opposed — Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis — say there is no place else for the homeless to go.