NextGen, climate change, free transit: Metro News Now, Jan. 22

Dept. of Baseball


Art of Transit: 


Dept. of Any Which Way You Can:

The Paris Metro has been beset by strikes the past few weeks.


And in the news…

Currently, 48% of Metro bus riders have all-day service every 5 to 10 minutes. Click to see larger.

•The rollout of the draft NextGen bus restructuring plan began earlier this month and there has been plenty of press coverage, including this news article in the LAT followed by an LAT editorial. Excerpt from the editorial:

The NextGen bus plan is a worthy start. To truly improve bus riders’ experience, Metro’s board — which is made up of local elected leaders — and city governments will have to put the interests of those riders first. That means giving buses priority over cars. It means paying for better bus service and not ignoring buses for flashier rail projects.

Part of the plan would involve investing millions of dollars into bus infrastructure such as bus lanes, traffic signal priority, bus pullouts and moving bus layovers to better locations.

The Metro Board of Directors will consider voting to formally release the plan at its meeting this Thursday. Once the plan is out, Metro will be rolling out line-by-line maps that show the changes before the workshops begin next month.

•Nice public service post from last month at Streetsblog LA with its list of protected bike lanes in the city of L.A. — there are 19.4 miles over 11 projects. There are also pics that show what the lanes look like and the protected aspect — bollards plus double white lines.

I’m curious what regular and occasional cyclists think of the lanes. They certainly seem better than the usual bike lane but the distances are on the short side.

•The Pasadena City Council quizzed Metro security officials about security at L Line (Gold) stations in their city, reports Pasadena Now.

•There was an uptick through the third quarter of 2018 in national transit ridership, reports Citylab. But there’s a catch: most of the gains are in the New York and Washington D.C. areas, both of which have managed to win back some riders after service-related losses the past few years.

•Speaking of ridership, the NYT asks the question “Should Public Transit Be Free?” and covers the debate around that. One takeaway in the article based on limited evidence at the big city level: when free, ridership does tend to go up but questions persist on how to pay for it.

On the other hand, here’s an op-ed in the S.F. Chronicle arguing:

“Free Muni” is a convenient political tagline, but not a real solution. If we want more people to use public transportation, Muni needs to attract riders by offering a great experience.

Metro is launching a Traffic Reduction Study and Metro CEO Phil Washington has said he wants to explore the idea of using tolls to ease traffic, improve transit and possibly offer free rides.

•Last but hardly least — and a bit lost in government-related news — NOAA and NASA declared 2019 as the second hottest year since 1880. Excerpt from the news release that neatly sums it up:

Globally, 2019’s average temperature was second only to that of 2016 and continued the planet’s long-term warming trend: the past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.

It’s not exactly a state secret that a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions are gasoline-powered motor vehicles. As we’ve said umpteen times in the past: switching from driving solo to transit is, generally speaking, a good way to help reduce overall emissions.

And this, also from a different federal agency:

Related, this op-ed in the NYT has some suggestions about tackling climate change. The gist: don’t freak out and tackle the big systemic issues that cause emissions. All good suggestions but I still like the idea of trying to do the little things count, even if it’s as simple as taking transit instead of driving when you can.



5 replies

  1. I have to say that the new 2-way protected bike lanes (Main and Spring) have changed the way I get around downtown L.A. The convenience of being able to go two ways on these streets is fantastic. I didn’t realize just how good they would be.

  2. I heard the proposal to extend 4 Green Line platforms to 3 train cars. This is overdue since all other platforms are 3 train car lengths. When will they extend the Green Line further east? This is needed. It should go as far as the City of Whittier, maybe join the Gold Line extension at Imperial Hwy.

    • The “west” end of the C Line (Green), needs to curl back around into Wilmington, then hit the A (Blue). The “east” end needs to go to the Norwalk Metrolink station. The current L (Gold) needs to go from East LA into Whitter, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, and Norwalk. It needs to connect to the C (Green) at the current (or new) end station and then stop at the WSAB Pioneer station.

      This will make more sense when the Crenshaw line takes over the tail of the C and when the “Eastside Extension” of the L becomes part of the E (Expo). The system will have more interconnects and be much more useful.

  3. The bike lanes featured are a improvement over the standard bike lanes we see in Los Angeles but still not the best approach. In Long Beach along Broadway they have a far better idea although it has proven to be unpopular with businesses. They have essentially traded the parking lanes with the bike lanes creating a buffer between the motor vehicles and the bikes. I grew up in Los Angeles and my preferred mode of transpiration from Silverlake to Hollywood for instance was on my bike on Sunset and Hollywood Bl. On more than one occasion I had drivers of parked autos open their drivers door into my path causing me to fall into the street. Bike Lanes are just a painted area for which I traveled to avoid traffic that offer little safety and in fact exhibit a false sense of security. If the cities and the MTA are serious about Bike Lanes they would adopt the Long Beach example.

    • I happen to live on Broadway where these bike lanes were built and well I love them. I don’t use them as I don’t use a bike but it’s gotten bikes off the sidewalk and it’s slowed traffic down. Some of my fellow Long Beach citizens are not so happy with it because they “claim” that it’s made the streets unsafe for pedestrians and has caused more traffic. Being on the front lines I can tell you the traffic is no worse than it was before, you may even argue it’s improved. Furthermore as of right now I have not heard of any incidents with car vs pedestrians or cyclists. Totally worth it!