Orange Line Update

Though the Orange Line is not grade separated from cross traffic, it does receive numerous priority treatments.

Six years after its opening, the Metro Orange Line in Los Angeles remains one of the few true BRT corridors in the United States. Right of way is almost entirely an exclusive busway, and buses receive well-enforced signal priority against cross traffic.

The 14 stations along the 14 mile route currently see approximately 24,000 weekday boardings. A second branch, from Canoga Station in the west north to Chatsworth, will be opening in June 2012. Though only one service currently operates along the route (serving all stops between Warner Center and North Hollywood), the extension will lead Metro to consider other services, such as north-south between Chatsworth and Warner Center. A limited-stop service to the North Hollywood Red Line station might also make sense, given that there are passing lanes at stations and peak headways, currently at 4 minutes, will be high enough to support such service after the extension opens. Though given Metro’s propensity for simplifying service patterns, like the elimination of Metro Rapid Express 920, this seems unlikely. Pictures from a January ride are included below, as is a Measure R construction update on the extension.

Google Transit for LA Metro

The Los Angeles County MTA finally launched Google Transit, or at least a “data test” for it.  Too bad SEPTA beat them by a week.

Picture of Mayor Villaraigosa

Photo I shot of Mayor Villaraigosa talking with members of the Bus Riders Union

Photo I shot of Mayor Villaraigosa talking with members of the Bus Riders Union

As part of my work for greenRELAY, I went to a special meeting of the MTA Board today.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came an hour late and seemed a bit out of it, but he took a couple of minutes after the meeting to chat with members of the Bus Riders Union.

Singing Bus Drivers

Los Angeles MTA Metro Local Bus

Los Angeles MTA Metro Local Bus

A few weeks ago, I moved up to Los Angeles to start work on greenRELAY, my Lang Opportunity Scholarship project.  On my rainy commute last week, my bus driver was singing “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” incessantly.  It was amusing, but nowhere near as good as the New York MTA’s Christopher Dolan.

Congestion Pricing and Anti-Sprawl Legislation

The California Legislature recently passed two awesome bills.  I’m especially excited about them in light of the Urban Economics course I took last year at Swarthmore.

SB 1422: High Occupancy-Toll Lanes

This bill authorizes LA Metro to proceed with its congestion pricing plan.  Metro plans to charge a toll for single occupancy vehicles to drive in the HOV lanes on the 10 and 110 freeways, and, as the Botttleneck Blog reports, potentially the 210 (which my Urban Economics final paper covered).  The funding for this project comes from the Federal grant that was going to fund congestion pricing in Manhattan before Albany killed it.

SB 375: Transportation Planning

According to Streetsblog, this bill is the first of its kind that

ties land use patterns to emissions and penalizes cities and municipalities that encourage development that leads to sprawl.

Now if they could just pass a budget, maybe some of this would actually become law…

Switching to Public Transit

A fun article entitled “A couple of easy fixes and we’ll take the bus to work

I think it has some pretty realistic and helpful suggestions for transit in Southern California.  And, anecdotes like the following:

Hector Barbosa, 41, whom I encountered twice during the week as he traveled to and from his home in Pacific Palisades and his job in Beverly Hills, said local bus lines take some getting used to.

“The problems are especially huge when it comes to the homeless and the mentally ill,” he said. “Sometimes you see people getting violent, sometimes defecating.”

Or in my case, there was the elderly gentleman who sang what sounded like pirate chanteys for about 15 minutes.


Metro Rail – The Future is Now

Pretty funny video from 1985:


Spike in Transit Ridership

There’s been a lot of coverage lately about the recent increase in transit use due to high gas prices.  SEPTA Regional Rail is seeing 11% more passengers than last year.  Ridership on LA’s Gold Line has jumped 19% over last year.  The BBC recently covered the LA subway’s rising popularity.  Even Garrison Keillor is making fun of new bus riders.