Wildfires: The Tick Fire in Canyon Country and the surrounding area continues to burn. Due to the fire, parts of the 14 freeway are closed as of Friday morning. There may also be some scattered delays on Friday to bus routes in the San Fernando Valley as a result — the road closure and mass evacuations (more than 40,000 people, according to the LAT) have made it difficult for some Metro employees to get to work.
Tick Fire closures as of 4am 10/25
NB & SB SR-14 CLOSED from Agua Dulce Cyn Rd to Sand Cyn Rd. Fire jumped from north to south side of freeway.
SB traffic off at Agua Dulce. NB traffic off at Golden Valley Rd.
— Caltrans District 7 (@CaltransDist7) October 25, 2019
14 freeway burning on both sides at Soledad canyon. It’s like Daunte’s Peak pic.twitter.com/tIKviMbHv4
— Calvin Cox (@calweise) October 25, 2019
Department of Sportsing: Fun playoff game last night, with LAFC beating the Galaxy and advancing to the conference finals against Seattle. Thanks to the many fans who rode the Expo Line or Silver Line to Banc of California Stadium. Here’s one of LAFC’s five goals and no one looks offsides to me! 🙂
— LAFC (@LAFC) October 25, 2019
LAFC hosts the Sounders on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Banc.
Also a good story in the NYT this week on LAFC’s Carlos Vela. Excerpt:
Now, after having established himself as the best player in M.L.S., Vela continues to be one of the most talked about figures in the league, mostly because he is playing in it at all. His critics include no less an eminence than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish striker who joined the crosstown Galaxy last season at age 36, and who will line up against Vela in an intracity playoff showdown on Thursday night.
“He’s playing in M.L.S., and he’s in his prime,” Ibrahimovic said of Vela in a televised interview this season. “When I was 29, where was I? Big difference.”
Vela, 30, does not know Ibrahimovic personally — “I have not had the pleasure,” Vela said with a wry smile in a recent interview — but he said the criticism did not bother him. In fact, he does not seem to care much at all what others think he should be doing. He is doing what he wants to do, he said, where he wants to be doing it. And he wonders: Is that so wrong?
•The L.A. City Council’s Transportation Committee voted 3-0 for a motion that calls for the city to maximize Expo Line signal priority to prevent trains from idling at red lights, reports Streetsblog LA. Red lights, says Metro, can toss trains off-schedule and cause overcrowding.
The full Council will consider the motion next week. It should be interesting to see what other Council Members think of signal priority for transit. Or don’t think.
•The Metro Board voted Thursday to move ahead with more study of the North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit project — which will be an east-west route that will serve CSUN.
As Streetsblog LA reports, tons of public testimony. CSUN students pushed for the project to access the busy campus. Many homeowners said it would be better on Roscoe Boulevard than Nordhoff. Metro staff said essentially that all aspects of the project will get more study before decisions are made.
•KCRW’s Greater LA podcast has three segments on Metro, all worth a listen:
•Cars were mostly banned from 14th Street in Manhattan earlier this month — it’s a major east-west cross street across the island — in favor of buses, which carry a lot more people. This NYT article previews the move (I should have posted a few weeks ago).
Update: no trafficapocalypse has resulted.
•Are rats better drivers than humans? Debatable. Jalopnik considers the issue.
Dept. of Soul Sucking Traffic: After living in the L.A. area for 25 years, I made a rookie mistake recently and tried to drive from Pasadena to Idyllwild during a Friday afternoon rush hour complicated by wildfires and road closures.
If memory serves, the route went something like the 210 to the 57 to the 71 to the 60 to the 215 to a long sojourn through strange, sprawling places such as Perris and Homeland and Hemet. It took almost four hours to travel 118 miles.
On the upside, the second season of the Ron Burgundy podcast is pretty funny. On the downside, everything else.
Yes, our local road system can deliver widespread mobility and keeps the economy chugging. In fairness, our local road system also frequently fails us unless you love sitting in traffic (not to mention carnage wreaked by vehicles, land consumed by roads and parking lots, air fouled by emissions and money sucked out of pockets by cars).
All of which is to say: I’m not exactly sure what the solution is, but the status quo is not very good and I think there’s a high cost to doing nothing. Metro is launching a congestion pricing feasibility study and I’m eager to see what the study finds and if/how the concept might be tested. Stay tuned.