•Streetsblog LA reports that L.A. City Council Member and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin has introduced a motion at City Hall instructing the city’s transportation department (LADOT) to maximize traffic signal priority for the Expo Line in the area where it is street-running. In the city of L.A. that’s mostly the area between DTLA and Vermont Avenue, although street crossings at Vermont and Crenshaw also lack gates.
I’m wild guessing Expo riders will welcome the news. Attentive Source readers probably recall Metro runs the trains but local government — the city of L.A. in this case — controls the traffic signals. The Expo Line’s first phase to Culver City opened in 2012 and Metro and LADOT officials have worked together over the years to improve the signal timing but trains are not guaranteed green lights and the shared section of tracks with the Blue Line (between 7th/Metro and Washington Blvd.) poses its challenges to keep both trains and traffic moving.
The issue resurfaced in the past few weeks due to complaints from riders about over-crowding after Metro changed peak hour train frequencies over the summer from every six minutes to eight minutes. Metro has since added some trains and staff has observed that crowding tends to correlate with trains falling off schedule and time increasing between trains. One potential remedy: more green lights for trains to keep them running on time.
We’ll keep an eye on the motion as it works its way through the City Council. For those who want more background, here is a 2016 article from LA Weekly and here’s an op-ed from 2016 that ran in the LAT on the issue of traffic signals and Expo.
And this background: why aren’t there more crossing gates or street separations at the western end of the Expo Line? The short answer is that at the time Expo’s first phase was planned and built — without funds from Measure R or M — gates were deemed impractical at some intersections while bridges/tunnels were too expensive.
•More layoffs at Uber, apparently to appease investors concerned the company is losing too much money trying to keep fares low, reports the NYT.
•With LAX traffic growing — and people mover construction upcoming — the LAT editorial board supports the new airport requirement that Uber and Lyft pick up riders from a designated lot instead of curbside.
Interesting issue. What this means: the priority for curbside pickup goes to friends/family over for-profit firms such as Uber and Lyft (my domestic partner is definitely not a for-profit entity!). Seems to me that’s probably the right call but with LAX’s passenger counts on the rise, traffic is traffic whether for-profit or not.
Fast-forward a few years…once the people mover is running and the Crenshaw/LAX Line is open, there will be a lot more places where fliers can be picked up and dropped off. Crenshaw/LAX and Green Line stations. And people mover stations outside the LAX horseshoe (including the new rail station at Aviation and 96th, the consolidated rental car center and a giant new parking garage). There will still be traffic in the LAX area — but the people mover and Crenshaw/LAX and Green Line stations should help take the pressure off the horseshoe.
•Motorists on the 15 freeway last week were treated to some bygone days train action, courtesy Union Pacific and their restored Big Boy steam locomotive. My dad would have loved to have seen this:
Dept. of Let’s Talk Baseball!: The Dodger Stadium Express’ winter began earlier than we hoped. But that’s life and baseball.
Two observations: The Dodgers have put together a very competitive team year after year — which is more than most pro sports franchises can manage. And their fans have been generous and big-hearted in their support. The hunch here is that the Dodgers, with a solid farm system, remain a very strong team and that a World Series trophy is coming sooner rather than later to Chavez Ravine.
That said, here’s the thing with modern sports: the pro leagues have eagerly added teams and revenues while encouraging fans to overlook the byproduct of that: more teams and fewer championships. At the start of every baseball season, each team (all other factors put aside) has a 3.3 percent chance of winning the World Series. There are factors that improve those odds such as good management and weak opponents, but still — 3.3 percent is not a great starting place.
Major League Baseball is already toying with the idea of expansion from its current 30 teams. It’s a bad idea if you want to see your team win it all in your lifetime. Sure, baseball can invite more teams to the post-season but that would only devalue what is already an overly long 162-game regular season.
Instead, I’d do this: shrink the regular season to 154 games (the old standard), allow the regular season champ in both leagues to advance directly to the League Championship Series, cap the number of Major League teams to 30 and force some teams to play a few games in other large cities that don’t have a big league team.
The Mariners, for example, should play a couple series each season down Interstate 5 in Portland, Ore., each year. One of the Florida teams could play some games in Nashville while the other tosses a few in Birmingham or Charlotte. Toronto, meet Buffalo. All these games should be in minor league parks, which will only enhance their appeal.
Quasi-related Dodger things to read whilst transiting: the Dodgers fleeced the Reds last winter in a big trade and one Reds fan recommends they do it again by trading SS Corey Seager for, I’m guessing, the entire Reds farm system and the entire Graeters ice cream franchise (the more important and presumably better tasting of the two). The Dodgers are too smart for that and the bet here is Mr. Seager will still be as blue as the sky come Opening Day 2020.
Categories: Transportation Headlines