Happy New Year’s, folks. Some desk clearing…
•If you missed it and have some time to kill, I managed (with hours to spare) to post our 2010s-in-review here.
•For those of you who rode Metro to the Tournament of Roses, how did it go? Looked to me like all the lines at Gold Line stations in Pas had cleared by 12:30 p.m., which is pretty good for such a big event.
•Dept. of Clear Skies, Finally:
And in the news…
•A good roundup in the LAT of the many toll lane projects either in the works or being proposed across California. That includes Metro’s current efforts to install ExpressLanes on the 105 (between the 405 and 605) and the 405 (between the 10 and 101).
The article quotes experts and studies that mostly back toll lanes — and I think it’s worth mentioning the Metro ExpressLanes have proven popular and gained users over the years. My hunch is there’s a little more skepticism in the world at large. Your thoughts?
•Another nugget of interestingness in the LAT on California’s barely-growing population — which is offset by people moving to other states. Excerpt:
The most common destinations for those leaving the state were Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington, he said, as the economy has picked up throughout the west and other parts of the country. Aside from a lower cost of living, some Californians are drawn to areas with no state income tax.
The word ‘traffic’ doesn’t appear once in the article, btw — although nearly everyone I’ve met who has left California cites it as one reason, along with the cost-of-living. Funny thing is that traffic has worsened in many of the places people are fleeing to (see: Austin, Texas), but I think what gets people here are gas prices, volume of traffic and the 100 mile by 100 mile size of our region. If you’re trying to travel from one part of the region to another (L.A. to Joshua Tree, for example), chances are you’re going to run into congestion somewhere.
•A dramatic photo gallery of the Australian wildfires in the NYT. Brush fires are common down under and this article discusses the role that climate change may be playing in these fires, which are happening on a scale rarely seen. Want to do something about climate change? Try taking transit occasionally, btw.
•This tweet found some traction:
All my New Yorkers, which is the best seat? pic.twitter.com/PeAQ7UEdC9
— gabe ? (@gplatinum_) January 1, 2020
The NYT even wrote a story about it in which the CEO of the NY MTA says they’re all exemplary seats. My preference in order: 4, 5, 1 and 3. I’d stand before using #2.
•The city of Los Angeles’ Planning Department is looking to rezone neighborhoods around three Orange Line stations to add more housing, among other changes — NoHo, Van Nuys, Sepulveda. Two community meetings are upcoming.
•Streetsblog USA picked the Kansas City bus agency’s decision to go fareless as the boldest plan of the year. Metro and the L.A. area was nominated for several projects, including Metro’s rail expansion plans, LAX’s booting of Uber/Lyft to a pickup lot and the city of L.A’s efforts to add more trees and shade to bus stops.
•Someone likes Metro Bike Share more than they like the Peloton TV ad…
•Things to listen to whilst transiting: the Filmspotting podcast reviews “The Rise of Skywalker” and these critics liked it better than many of their colleagues. As someone who went to the original “Star Wars” on its opening weekend in 1977, I thought Episode IX’s script clearly needed more time in the oven. If you get lobbed by your son into the (presumably) nuclear core of a Death Star and said Death Star explodes, I think reanimation is unlikely even if you’re really good at the Sithy stuff.