transport | urbanism | adventures | pontification
Zócalo Public Square will be hosting what promises to be an interesting forum this week –
The 710 is one of the most important freeways in Southern California. It’s also shorter than originally planned: For nearly 50 years, legal and environmental challenges have stalled the freeway in Alhambra, 4.5 miles short of its intended destination, Pasadena. Over the decades, discussions about extending the freeway have cast its future as a local issue. But the 710 causes traffic, produces pollution, and affects commerce across Los Angeles and even beyond. How broad are these impacts, and what role might the stalled extension play in them? What would the five options now being debated for dealing with the Alhambra-to-Pasadena gap–implementing new surface traffic technology and strategies, new rapid bus transit, light rail transit, a freeway tunnel, or building nothing at all–mean for our region?
The $780 million set aside for the project in Measure R would go a long way towards transit, but most of the alternatives being considered, especially a highway tunnel, would require major additional funding. With Caltrans so heavily involved, and with the clout of port traffic, it’s hard to imagine the advocates of expanding the “concrete commons” won’t win out. Though maybe continued strong community opposition and a winning Braess’s paradox argument could be successful in finally killing the project.
On a related note, the release of draft environmental documents for the project has been pushed back to February 2015.
Morning takeoff from SNA, after a few weeks’ respite from the polar vortex. From 2009-2011, the Los Angeles region exceeded federal ozone standards on 120 annual weighted average days.
After 100 days in office, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his first executive directive – the Great Streets Initiative. As Marie Sullivan at Metro’s The Source writes, “It was during this speech that I realized, the Mayor is a straight-up Planner!” Indeed, a mayor whose first major announcement mentions Red Cars, bioswales, and WalkScore has me optimistic.
Garcetti asserts, “Design matters…We have ignored the aesthetics of our city too often. But the way a neighborhood looks and feels has a lot to do with its livability and vibrancy.” Aesthetically pleasing street furniture is a good step, and I hope this initiative can help strengthen connected public health, green space, and transit corridor projects.
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.
Yesterday was the parade celebrating the Lakers’ victory over the Celtics in the NBA Playoffs. Police estimated 65,000 fans showed up. I took Metrolink up to Los Angeles for the day and watched the parade from the same spot in front of the Convention Center that I did last year.
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I’m now back on campus after a thoroughly relaxing winter break. Highlights included spending time in the Sierra Nevada and San Bernardino National Forests, surfing and enjoying bonfires at the beach, and riding the new Silver Line and Gold Line Eastside Extension.
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Time lapse video of fog rolling into the Tule River Valley (Windows Media Player required, go to full post, right click video, and select Play/Pause to start):
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I spotted some NJ Transit rolling stock at Los Angeles’ Union Station last Friday. I should have taken that instead of flying back to the East Coast.