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Ralleys, Gold Line extension, congestion pricing: HWR, Jan. 18

Art of Transit:

Instagram Photo

Dept. of All the Transit News Fit to Print, Courtesy ABC News:

Some quick hits for a Friday afternoon:

•The Women’s March LA and the One Life March are both Saturday. Hard to say what the crowds will be like but Metro is running extra service. More here . Quasi-related: the Expo Line is a good way to reach the Kingdom Day Parade on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is Monday.

On the subject of rallys and marches, teachers were out in force this a.m. in DTLA:

•The federal government shutdown has depleted Washington Metro’s ridership and the agency says it’s losing $400,000 a day as a result. Bottom line: if things keep up, the agency may have to cut service or borrow money. Hmm.

As Curbed LA notes , Metro CEO Phil Washington told a Metro Board committee earlier this week that staff will be recommending congestion pricing as one way to raise money to build 28 projects in time of the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Not a shocker for those who recall Phil’s report to the Board last month in which he noted congestion pricing could also pay for free transit. More next week on this. Here’s a presentation given to the Board by UCLA professor Michael Manville:

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Streetsblog LA has a post on the Gold Line to Montclair project. Attentive readers recall the project has a budget shortfall due to rising construction costs. Foothill Extension Construction Authority now wants to build project in phases — with the first segment to La Verne. Metro staff have recommended some strategies for stretching the first phase to Pomona, which would allow riders to transfer between the Gold Line and Metrolink. Staff report

•Here’s an eyebrow-raiser of a headline from CityLab : “Los Angeles Passed a Historic Transit Tax. Why Isn’t It Working?”

The obvious quick response there is that Measure M was approved just over two years ago and none of the M-funded projects have been built or open. And that ridership has fallen on Metro’s existing system, not it’s future one (for those of us without access to the future).

That said, the post goes way deeper than the headline and focuses on a good point: getting people to vote for a ballot measure is one thing, getting them to actually ride transit or plan their cities around transit is a different thing altogether.

Excerpt, which includes quotes from the same Michael Manville who presented to the Metro Board on congestion pricing:

The lesson should be a sobering one for transit agencies around the country, many of which have banged the gong of traffic relief to rally car-driving voters for transit plans. ( Denver comes to mind .) This tactic may be politically expedient, but it fails to map a clear path towards increased ridership. On the other hand, [Michael] Manville said, the recipe for transit success is not mysterious: Build good service, and make driving hard. The second part is politically difficult. But failing to rise to the challenge is limiting L.A.’s potential as a real transit town.

Transportation agencies should learn from L.A. and pick their fights now to take the necessary steps to price driving and make room for buses and bikes, Manville told me. In sprawling, congested, liberal-leaning cities, he said, “getting voters to the polls is the easy part.” Breaking old habits: much tougher.

Fair enough. For now. Let’s check back on the “rise to the challenge” part next week 🙂


Take the MicroTransit online survey!

Metro’s MicroTransit project has posted an online survey . The project — which will go by the name Metro Ride — will offer shared, on-demand rides up to 20 minutes in length in service areas to be announced later in the year.

Metro is currently working with three firms under contract to design the service, which is scheduled to launch in late 2019. The Metro Board of Directors still must approve the funding for the project.

The idea here is to help serve the market for short rides and to also help bridge the first/last mile gap between transit and work, home and other destinations. The advantage of Metro Ride over a fixed route bus is that Metro Ride can moved service area. And, of course, it’s on demand, meaning the schedule isn’t fixed.

We’ll have more details later in the year, including info on fares (which will be very competitive) and the mobile app that Metro Ride will use.


Draft Environmental Impact Report released for Link Union Station project

The Draft Environmental Impact Report for Metro’s Link Union Station (Link US) project was released Thursday. The report can be read here. Public comment is being accepted from today through March 4 and a public hearing is being held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 29 in the third floor Board Room at Metro headquarters , adjacent to Union Station.

The Link US project will change how the regional rail system (Metrolink and Amtrak) operates in Los Angeles Union Station by converting the “stub-end tracks station” into a “run-through tracks station” that will increase train capacity and provide one-seat rides from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.

In addition, the Link US project will accommodate a new high speed rail system, include a new above-the-tracks passenger concourse with retail and passenger amenities and a new expanded passageway. All these elements should improve the passenger experience, accommodate future growth and transportation demands in the region and transform Los Angeles Union Station to a world class multi-modal transit station.

Metro encourages the public to review and provide input on the Draft EIR during the 45-day public review period that ends March 4. Metro will respond to these comments in the Final EIR. All public comments must be received by 5 p.m. on March 4 to ensure incorporation into the Final EIR. Formal comments can be submitted via:

•Public Hearing: Comment Card or Court Reporter

•Project Email: LinkUnionStation@metro.net

•Project Website Comment Form: metro.net/linkus

•Mail: Metro, One Gateway Plaza, MS 99-17-2, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Attn: Vincent Chio, Link US Deputy Project Manager)

Here’s a project fact sheet in English and Spanish:


Go Metro to 34th Annual Kingdom Day Parade on Monday, Jan. 21

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by going Metro to the 34th annual King dom Day Parade on Monday, Jan. 21. The Expo Line Expo/Western and Expo/Crenshaw stations are just a short walk from the parade route. The Expo Line runs between downtown Los Angeles — where it connects to the Blue Line and Red/Purple Line — and downtown Santa Monica.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Arlington Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and then travel west to Crenshaw Boulevard, where the route turns south into the heart of Leimert Park Village.

To reach the parade on Metro:

All Metro Bus and Rail lines will be running on a regular weekday schedule.

Metro Bus Service

The following Metro Bus lines that operate on Crenshaw and Martin Luther King , Jr. boulevards will be on detour from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday: the 40, 102, 105, 206, 207, 210, 212, 705, 710, 740 and 757. For specific detour route information, check metro.net/advisories .


Cranes, Telecommuters, Wilma & Betty: How We Roll, Jan. 16

L.A. gets a Silver Medal! A lot of them, as far as I can tell, are near transit lines. See: South Park.

You might have guessed: It’s for a television/film shoot.

I tend to think the results hew to geography, at least in New York — the more likely you are to drive, the more likely you’re skeptical about congestion pricing. Would be interesting to see a survey in our region given that Metro’s Board was told that C.P. could potentially fund transit expansion and free rides last month.

Sigh, given the number of people who travel from outside the U.S. to visit many of our iconic parks.

Context for our younger readers:

Credit: Hanna-Barbera.

In the news…

•Two DTLA groups wants to see Pershing Square studied as the terminus for a possible Artesia-to-DTLA light rail line, reports the Downtown News .

The Metro Board last year decided to look at two possible end points: Union Station and Flower and 8th. That location is adjacent to the existing 7th/Metro Center Station and Metro staff believe it would serve as a better transfer point between this project, the Red/Purple Line subway and Metro’s light rail lines running to Azusa (and beyond), Long Beach, East L.A. and Santa Monica.

•The number of people who have the option to telecommute in our region is way up — 40 percent, so says a new study — but the number of people actually doing it varies greatly. If you guessed that folks in more affluent communities get to telecommute more, you guessed correctly.

BTW, about 5.3 percent of L.A. County workers work at home, so says the Census Bureau . I’m guessing there are a lot more jobs that could be done, and done well, from home — but that people are still required to be at the office anyway. No comment on what I’d do If I Was The King.

•A good look at an important fare issue: flat fares versus pay-by-distance through the lens of the Bay Area, in Curbed San Francisco .

•If you haven’t ridden the Expo Line to the Westside lately, great pic at Urbanize LA of the new residential complex taking shape next to the Sepulveda Station.