Today’s Headlines

4th Street Catalina Islands Rendering by Aaron Kuehn ## For more on the 4th Street Bike Boulevard, check out this post by our friend Joe Linton at the ## Blog.##
  • LAT: No on Prop. 23 to Overturn State Greenhouse Gas Law
  • LAT: No on Prop. 22 to Protect Transit Funds from State Raids
  • Brown and Whitman Face Off on TV (LAT)
  • New Lanes on I-5 Will Do little for Cyclists, Pedestrians (LA_Now)
  • Major Bus Cuts in South and Southeast L.A. Are a Slap at Civil Liberties (BRU Blog)
  • USDOT Hints at Support for 30/10 (The Source)
  • Downtown Streetcar Could Cost $100 Million.  Who’s Going to Pay? (Downtown News)
  • A More Positive Review of Friday’s Critical Mass (Engaged Observer)
  • Words to Blog By: If You Mean “Car” Say “Car” (Human Transit)
  • Segway Corporate Owner Rides “Off-Road” Segway Model Off a Cliff (NY Daily News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Once the downtown streetcar goes online, there are going to be demands for them all over the region from areas that are unlikely to ever see HRT or even LRT any time soon.

  • I heard that the downtown street car will only improve school test scores by less than 1% – is that true?

  • Eric B

    Is it just me or is that picture one of the prettiest things I’ve seen all day?

  • True, @Eric B – I am super happy with that picture, too! Thanks Aaron for creating it, and thanks Damien for running it here. Everyone should get involved the 4SBB campaign and make that pic a reality!

  • @ Dan Wentzel: I see no problem with that. Plenty of places didn’t make the 30/10 list.

    San Pedro is not high on the HRT or LRT list, but it has a streetcar.

    Streetcars at Venice Beach! Streetcars at Redondo Pier! Streetcars in Orange County! From Burbank to Griffith Park!

  • Let’s start with bus only lanes and increased service. After that, if all the buses are at capacity running at 3 minute headways, then you can start talking about justifying spending $100M on streetcars.

  • People have a mental block when it comes to buses. People prefer rail. Call it superficial, but it’s the truth.

    So all you’re really saying is “give the people what they DON’T WANT. If they accept what they don’t want, then we’ll talk about giving them what they do want.”
    (See also Orange Line)

    Funding is a whole separate issue. I’m not asking for Measure R funds to be spent on the idea, but if they want something badly enough, they’ll find a way.
    (See also Gold Line, Foothill Extension)

  • James, I tend to agree that people prefer rail more than buses, but I think it’s mostly a symptom of the types of investments that are deliberately made with rail that aren’t with buses.

    When streetcars and LRT are put in, there’s a political willingness to put in the features that make people more comfortable with public transit, like real-time arrival signs, stations with seating and shade/rain protection. And on top of that, rail infrastructure is more visible than bus infrastructure, so the average first-time transit user doesn’t have to hunt around for a Sign with a number on it and then figure out where that bus goes.

    I’m saying: instead of spending a ton of money to rip up the Downtown streets and put down rails – even though that won’t make getting around faster or easier – use that money and invest it in the kinds improvements that will make the existing Downtown bus network feel like rail.

    Give it the visibility and predictability that is usually only given to rail, i.e. bus only lanes, nice shaded stops with benches, real-time arrival signs, frequent service. These are the things that matter, not that the vehicle is running on parallel metal bars.

    Because at the end of the day, if they do build the streetcar, but only run it until 12am and it only comes every 20 minutes and it’s hard to find the next arrival time, people aren’t going to ride it. Those factors have nothing to do with rail and everything to do with investing in public transit in general.

  • L.A. Layla

    Want to improve L.A. public transit? From a true actual user, I’ll tell you how right here:

    Two of the longest (distance-wise) and most-used busses are the Sunset and the Santa Monica, Both of these run once an hour about after 9 PM, which is ridiculous. These busses should run at least every 15 minutes, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

    These 2 busses are jam-packed crowded, day and night. This unpleasant experience is something that will be tolerated only by those with no choice.

    ALL train lines should run 24/7. Having the train lines stop at 11 PM is ludicrous, and also means people can’t use the train for a night on the town or for an evening or night job. You can’t even use the train to get to something that starts at 6 a.m. This is insane.

    Reduced-fare cards for elderly or handicapped should not be valid during peak rush hours. A lot of these folks cause delay or cause troubles. If they need to get to a job at a certain time, they can afford to pay like everyone else.

    People prefer rail because:

    1) It keeps moving and therefore takes a predictable amount of time, vs. busses, which stop and go, take forever, get stopped in traffic;

    2) Rail is preferable for wheelchairs, because they can roll right in; vs. on a bus, where a wheelchair boarding means a 10-minute delay;

    3) On a train, you can easily move away from someone who is stinky, filthy, harboring insects, dangerous or insane; vs on a bus, where they create an obstacle in the narrow aisle or seating and make the whole bus stinky and disgusting.

    Part of the issue with LA transit is that LA has so mentally severely mentally ill people using the transit. Each long trip on a bus is like a trip to an insane asylum.

    I’m just telling it like it is — because I know it well.

    4) BUS STOPS — THIS ONE IS SO OBVIOUS! At any given intersection, all possible busses should stop at one bus stop sign on one side of the intersection. What do I mean? Often on a street, there will be a bus, or the “Express” version of that bus. Many riders just want the first bus that comes along. However, the Bus stops for the different busses will not be on the same place — one will be across the intersection. This is true in MANY LOCATIONS on the Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset routes, I think also in some places on Hollywood Blvd.

    5) LADOT busses. Those 25 cent busses? They are too unpredictable to be worth the city expenditure.