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America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: San Francisco vs. Hillsboro, Oregon

Oh, the terrible places you’ll go to catch a bus. So far this week in our hunt for the Sorriest Bus Stop in America, a bus stop in Boston knocked off a real catastrophe in Nassau County to advance to the second round. Meanwhile, voting remains open until midnight in a tight contest between Maryland and Delaware.

Help narrow the field of 16 dangerous, uncomfortable bus stops down to eight by voting on these two West Coast competitors.

Hillsboro, Oregon

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 1.46.46 PM

This sad space comes to us from Sameer Moudgil. People really do wait for the bus here — notice the human being on the left side of the Google Street View. Moudgil writes:

It has no bench, no shelter, no sidewalk and no crosswalk access within 0.3 miles. It sits sandwiched between the edge of a 50mph 7-lane stroad (including 2 bike lanes) and a heavy railroad track. The cherry on the cake is the Ford car/truck dealership on the other side of the stroad. I wanted to get a better angle from near the bus-stop but I couldn’t muster up the courage to cross this freeway-like behemoth. I wonder how the lady in the Google street view image managed to do it.

Here’s an alternate view that better captures the atmosphere:

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Seattle’s New Park-and-Rides Cost a Fortune But Won’t Move Many People

Seattle area voters will vote this November on a $53 billion transit expansion package. But along with new light rail lines stretching across the region, Seattle will also be getting a publicly owned parking empire.

In total, the plan calls for $661 million in spending on parking at transit stations. At an astounding $80,000 per stall, that will fund 8,300 parking spots.

Zach Shaner at Seattle Transit Blog notes that with 18,000 parking spaces already operated or planned by Sound Transit, the system will have about 26,000 stalls when complete. He set out to visualize all that parking and created this excellent map:

Seattle's $53 billion light rail expansion plan also calls for a new ? of parking. Map: Zach Shaner, Seattle Transit Blog.

So many resources devoted to parking spaces that will serve such a small fraction of potential transit ridership. Map: Zach Shaner/Seattle Transit Blog

Despite all the space and money these parking spaces will consume, Shaner writes, they won’t serve a large share of light rail riders, because “parking fundamentally can’t scale”:

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Streetsblog USA
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America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Silver Spring vs. New Castle

From the pathetic to the desolate, our parade of sorry bus stops continues today with the fourth match of the first round in this 16-bus-stop tournament.

Two Mid-Atlantic competitors, each bad in its own special way, face off today.

Silver Spring, Maryland

awful bus stop

This bus stop comes to us from Dan Reed, who writes:

This one is on a busy state highway in Silver Spring, Maryland, immediately north of Washington, DC.

Metrobus (which serves this stop) should get props for having great service – buses come every few minutes during rush hour, and service runs 22 hours a day, 7 days a week. That is, if you can actually get to this bus stop, and we’ve got the Maryland State Highway Administration to blame for it. There are no sidewalks leading to it. It’s at an intersection, but there’s no crosswalk and no stoplight. And, of course, there’s a steep hill next to it. I’ve lived here my entire life and I’ve only ever seen one person waiting for the bus here. I’m pretty sure they were dropped from a plane or something.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Metro Renting Azusa Gold Line Station Parking Structure Spots (SGV Tribune)
  • South L.A. Demographic Changes Mean Latino-Black Common Causes (KCET)
  • Metro Spokesperson Harassed On Bike In Pasadena (The Source)
  • Bicycling Is Healthy, Even In Polluted Air (KPCC)
  • Metro Bike Share Has Over 1600 Pass Holders Already (KPCC)
    …DTLA Bike-Share Is Better Late Than Never (Downtown News)
    …Urban Scrawl Bike-Share Editorial Cartoon Focuses On Safety Gear (Downtown News)
  • Metrolink Unveils Greener Safer Locomotives (ABC7)
  • Near Exide, Some Lead Levels 100 Times Above Health Limits (LAT)
  • Boyle Heights Rents Are Rising (KPCC)
  • Some Tenant Activists Opposing Build Better L.A. Initiative (LAT)
    …Tenant BBLA Opposition Is About Self-Interest, That’s OK (Better Institutions)
  • Large Mixed-Use Project Planned On Figueroa Across From Expo Park (Urbanize)
  • Free Street Parking Is Problematic, Regressive (Cato)

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Via Streetsblog California
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Voices from the OCTA Active Transportation Leadership Program

Seventeen-year-old Alma Perez , from left, and Sergio Nieto, 16 in blue shiirt, of Anaheim High School listen to a presentation from a representative of the Orange County Transportation Authority. Residents of Anaheim and Garden Grove are currently attending workshops to learn about how transportation goes from policy to reality.

Sixteen-year-old Alexandra Retana, front left, and Sergio Nieto, 16, front right, both students at Anaheim High School, listen to a presentation by a representative from the Orange County Transportation Authority. Residents of Anaheim and Garden Grove are attending workshops this summer to learn about transportation policy and design, and how the state, counties, and local cities play a role in the funding and planning process.

Last week, I stopped by Garden Grove’s and Anaheim’s third Active Transportation Leadership Program workshops to meet some of the attendees.

The third workshop invited staff from each city, from Orange County Transportation Authority, Southern California Association of Governments, and from Caltrans to present their sector’s work in forwarding active transportation initiatives. Though the presentations pretty much stayed in the realm of wonky planner-speak, both the Anaheim and Garden Grove groups learned a lot.

Garden Grove’s more than fifteen attendees were mainly older adults, and the Anaheim group’s 24 participants were all teenagers. That’s reflective of the program partners, said Caro Jauregui, California Walks’ Southern California policy manager and ATLP lead. All of the young men in the Anaheim workshop are members of Anaheim Bros, a Chicano student leadership group out of Anaheim High School, and the young women are members of its sister group Crown, Jauregui said. Orange County League of United Latin American Citizens has been leading the efforts to invite Garden Grove residents.

Some attendees shared their thoughts with me about the program, the improvements they hope to see on their city streets, and the ways they get around town. Spoiler: running is one of their preferred modes. Read on after the jump to meet some of them. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

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Streetsblog SF
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SPUR Talk: Gabe Klein on Technology and Past and Future Cities

Transportation guru Gabe Klein presents to an audience at SPUR in Oakland. Photo: Streetsblog.

Transportation guru Gabe Klein presents to an audience at SPUR in Oakland. Photo: Streetsblog.

Gabe Klein, entrepreneur, writer and former head of transportation for Chicago and Washington DC, spoke yesterday afternoon at the Oakland office of the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) about how technology can be guided to shape the future of our cities.

He put up a slide with a chilling number on it: 1.24 million–the number of people killed in car wrecks every year globally. That number will reach 3.6 million by 2030, as driving becomes more prevalent in the developing world. He wondered why people tolerate so much carnage. “We [the US] lost 35,000 people on the road last year–an increase of 10 percent because gas was cheap and people were driving more.”

Sadly, those alarming numbers don’t even account for deaths from automobile pollution or rising sea levels and other effects of global warming. “The transportation sector is spewing out more [greenhouse gas emissions] than everything else,” Klein said. Global warming “…is man made. We’re the only country with people who think it’s not real; convenient if you’re a Koch Brother, but not for the rest of us,” he quipped.
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Streetsblog USA
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Vox Pulls Back the Curtain on “Scam” to Save Lives With Red Light Cameras

You can usually count on Vox for accurate, research-based explainers of public policy issues. That’s why the new Vox video on red light cameras is so monumentally disappointing.

Researchers have established that red light cameras make streets safer by reducing potentially fatal T-bone collisions, though they do lead to more rear-end crashes, which tend not to be very serious. But motorists upset about receiving fines for dangerous driving mobilize tenaciously against automated enforcement. The use of red light cameras in Colorado, for instance, is consistently under siege in the state legislature. They are currently outlawed in more than a dozen states.

Campaigns against automated enforcement could hardly ask for better propaganda than this Vox video. Here’s a look at what’s so wrong with it.

1. Red light cameras save lives — but who cares?

Once you get past the click-bait title, “Why Red Light Cameras Are a Scam,” the piece starts out well. There are more than 30,000 traffic deaths every year in the USA, we’re told, and “23 percent are intersection related.” Vox also notes that the cameras reduce T-bone collisions and that they “really can and do save lives” — but for some reason this is immediately overshadowed in the video by the increase in less deadly rear-end fender-benders.

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Tuesday Tube: Bunker Hill in Downtown L.A. 1940s and Today

The New Yorker’s YouTube channel has a clever new video that lines up 1940s film footage on downtown L.A.’s Bunker Hill with contemporary video. It is a great peek into the heyday of L.A. transit, and, frankly, the anti-urban results of late 20th Century “urban renewal.”

7th Street then and now - part of the xxx

7th Street then and now – part of A Fare to Remember up now at El Pueblo. Images via PERHS website.

If readers enjoy that video, plan to catch a similar series of still photo juxtapositions in the “A Fare to Remember” show at El Pueblo‘s new El Tranquillo Gallery at 634 N. Main Street in downtown L.A., located right next to La Golondrina Restaurant on Olvera Street. The free exhibition is open now through July 28. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Details at Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society.
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Houston FTW: Transit Execs Aim to Fix Sorry Bus Stops

Houston METRO officials recognize that poor walking infrastructure and uncomfortable waiting environments are a big problem for transit riders. Photo: Christopher Andrews

The lousy state of American bus stops is a serious problem. Transit riders say bad waiting environments are one of their top concerns, according to a recent survey and report by TransitCenter [PDF]. That’s why Streetsblog is highlighting some of the sorriest bus stops in the nation this month.

Poor walking conditions and uncomfortable bus stops are not just the transit agency’s responsibility. Local governments and city and state DOTs are also to blame. It takes some coordination to improve bus stops, and not enough public agencies are stepping up to solve the problem.

One exception is Houston METRO, the same agency that became a national model by redesigning its bus network. Ryan Holeywell at The Urban Edge, a blog of Rice University’s Kinder Institute, spoke with METRO’s new board chair, Carrin Patman, and CEO Tom Lambert about how the agency intends to coordinate with the city to make the experience of getting to bus stops and waiting for the bus better for riders:

METRO sees fixing things outside of their vehicles — namely sidewalks and bus stops — as a critical way of boosting ridership. That means coordinating with lots of other players. “In order to have accessible shelters, you need to have the City of Houston fully on board,” Patman said. She says METRO will be more involved in public and private planning efforts and suggested she wants to explore the idea of asking private developers to install bus shelters when they’re making major improvements to their properties.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Arguably the Worst Expo Line Article Ever (NYT)
    …Expo Line Rebuttals (LAist, The Source, Curbed)
  • Carnage: Two Killed In Angeles National Forest Car Crash (ABC7)
    …West Covina Police Pursuit Car Crash Injures Seven (SGV Tribune)
  • Bunker Hill 1940 and Today (New Yorker YouTube)
  • More Photos Of Nearly Completed North Hollywood Metro Underpass (CiclaValley)
  • Koreatown Needs Parks With New Developments (Ahbe Lab)
  • Pokemon Go Craze Brings Out Experts Decrying “Distracted Walking” (KPCC)
    …Is Pokemon Go the Ultimate Planning Tool? (Alta Planning + Design)
    …Where To Catch Pokemon In Los Angeles (Curbed)
  • Republican National Convention Raising Cleveland Parking Rates (Parking Today)
  • These Fake Fingernails Are TAP-Compatible (Timeout London)

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Get State Headlines At Streetsblog CA