Open Thread: What Do We Think of the First Peek at Measure R2

Earlier this afternoon, Los Angeles Times transportation reporter Laura Nelson reported on many of the details of the sales tax ballot measure that will be presented to Metro Board committees next week. With the approval of the Metro Board of Directors, the measure would go on this fall’s ballot where it would need the support of two-thirds of L.A. County voters to take effect.

The measure would generate $120 billion over the next four decades to fund massive transit expansion and at least one very problematic highway project. The revenue stream would be created by two tweaks to the county sales tax: extending to 2050 the existing sales tax created by Measure R in 2008 and an additional half-cent sales tax, also extended until 2050. Those tweaks would increase the base sales tax in L.A. County to 9.5 cents, one of the highest in the country.

There's going to be a lot more media events, for a lot more rail station openings, if Metro and voters approve the sales tax plan outlined in the Times. Image: ##http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/03/05/metro-unveils-1-billion-gold-line-extension-through-san-gabriel-valley/##CBS2##
There’s going to be a lot more media events, for a lot more rail station openings, if Metro and voters approve the sales tax plan outlined in the Times. Image: ##http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/03/05/metro-unveils-1-billion-gold-line-extension-through-san-gabriel-valley/##CBS2##

But the benefits are substantial: an extension of rapid transit to Santa Ana, the construction of the “Pink Line” (connecting the under-construction Crenshaw Line up to West Hollywood), a rail station at LAX, heavy rail under Vermont Avenue connecting the Purple Line to the Expo Line, and, finally, a reliable transit connection from the Valley to the Westside.

The Times has a more complete project list with descriptions, here.

The plan also sets aside billions of dollars for part of a public-private partnership to build a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass for a toll road. Conceivably, some large foreign financier is jumping at the chance to help pay for this tunnel in return for a portion of the tolls collected. The tunnel could be large enough to have rapid bus lanes or even light rail.

For me, this last part is certainly a bummer but not enough of a reason to vote against the sales tax. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to propose a Streetsblog endorsement of the measure, at least not until we see a complete project list and expenditure plans. What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below.

  • calwatch

    I’m voting against any additional sales taxes for transportation, because we are paying 1.75% already – the highest rate in the country by far. (The 0.25%, which everyone forgets, is the state TDA local transportation fund: http://www.sco.ca.gov/aud_transportation_development_act.html) We have so many needs in other sectors – water storage and wastewater/stormwater treatment, education, public safety, health care, parks, housing. These areas need more funding before transportation gets more, especially from a regressive tax like the sales tax.

    Transportation gets so much funding already but it is not collected or allocated desirably. For instance, the gas tax doesn’t cover the maintenance of local and state highways and some of that money comes from sales tax local return funds. The transit farebox recovery rate for LA County is extremely low and not getting any higher, and rather than doing small ball projects that may have a greater impact for dollar spent, like densifying near existing train stations, creating bus lanes through elimination of street parking, and increasing crowded HOV-2 carpool lanes to HOV-3, we are trying to hit home runs by building lots of expensive tunnels. I’d like to see the “Moneyball” view of improving public transportation instead of trying to spend Yankees-level money on pricey projects.

  • effron

    It’s gonna be a tough sell –especially with recent news of Metro’s decline in ridership still very much part of the conversation. Sure, they’ll be able to tout the openings of Gold 2 and Expo 2 but those events aren’t all good news all the time. Metro needs to work on their message discipline and get off their “eases traffic” hobby horse because their service –while arguably beneficial– does next to nothing to relieve traffic and everyone knows that’s empty talk. The majority of tax payers don’t ride Metro and so the majority of tax payers have zero experience with Metro as a panacea for traffic. The campaign for Measure R last time around sold it as traffic relief and that dimension hasn’t played out if they dare go there again they’re going to lose the votes they need. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOkdMaPSbv4

  • The east side of the county is missing a north-south connection. A train that runs from the Gold Line (perhaps in Irwindale) down through El Monte TC, catch the end of the Green Line, then continues to and down the coast to Irvine would be pivotal.

  • cygp2p

    Transportation sales taxes have to be passed via a vote. A vote means politics and pandering, by definition. This idea that we should wait for a perfect package to vote for is illogical, because a perfect package won’t pass. Because voters are stupid.

    If you want any transportation at all, you have to comprimise. The other option is quite simply nothing at all. See: Measure J.

  • I’d like to know what, if any, goals Metro has for regular old bus service. If this thing passes, are we still going to have bus lines with frequency worse than once every half hour? Are cities going to step up their land use regulations and allow walkable urbanism around bus lines and train stations? Are we still going to have crappy bus stops with no seats, shade, covered trash cans or schedule info? Are we expanding marginal rail lines at the expense of the services that most LA County transit riders use? Would spending the same money on affordable housing near transit have better bang for the buck?

  • sigaba

    The “Moneyball” solution is MOAR UBER EVERYWHERE, where the Uber drivers are paid in Food Stamps and company scrip, and if you live where the Ubers do not tread, tough nouggies. And 2 hours to get over the Sepulveda Pass is just the cost of doing business.

  • Stvr

    This is great. I wish more of the money would get spent on the urban core so that people who live north of the 10, west of the 5/110, south of Sunset, and east of PCH can live totally car free. A bunch of this is like the sprawl version of commuter rail. LA county is just too big!

  • Matt

    There was just a huge water bond around $10B that passed a few years ago and water users can pay for any new water projects on top of that. The current drought is not a reason to go crazy. I do agree that this tax is a tough sell, but it might be the one tax I vote for. With the state sales tax dropping 0.5% this year it might have an outside chance.

    If it fails, Metro fares will quickly go up to $2 and then $2.25. I don’t think people realize that. I think we could see a big extension of HOT lanes, which could bring in some money in lieu of a tax. I’d be in favor a toll on all the 405 lanes through the Sepulveda Pass to fund a PPP to build a rail only tunnel in case the measure fails.

  • neroden

    Sepulveda Pass has needed rail transit for decades, and idiots are proposing a toll road instead?

    Oy. I can’t figure out who’s behind this particular lunacy.

  • Matt

    Tolls are the only way to attract private money and with this thing costing more than the Subway to the Sea or close to $10B it would be impractical or politically impossible to build. With the whole measure only providing $30B for rail construction out of the entire $120B, it would cause a revolt in most of the county if a third of the entire rail budget was spent on one project.

  • It’s true that Metro is setting up pretty high expectations by promising traffic reductions that the average person would notice from its projects. Not just transit, but also things like the 405 project, which was a freeway expansion and couldn’t show a reduction in travel times (versus conditions before project) after it was built. I think the bigger problem is that by framing their plans in terms of traffic reduction they are failing to properly argue for the wide-ranging benefits of a diversified transportation system. They’re essentially trying to transform LA County’s transportation system to be less car dependent by making a windshield-perspective argument.

    Better arguments for a balanced transportation system include:
    – Traffic is irrelevant if you don’t have to be in traffic because you’re on a train or busway and you can read and relax instead of being stressed out behind the wheel of a car.
    – Transit, walking and biking are much more efficient ways to use the limited space that we have for transportation. They move more people per unit of space, and we can’t create more transportation space in an existing city except at extraordinarily high cost.
    – A balanced transportation system with walkable urbanism is better for reducing air pollution and climate change, better at preserving natural habitat, better at giving people chances to exercise, better at serving people with low incomes, better at serving people with disabilities, better at serving youth.
    – Transit expansion creates opportunities to build badly-needed housing to attack the County’s affordable housing crisis.
    – Transit expansion creates badly-needed jobs that (mostly) can’t be outsourced to people in foreign countries.
    – The sprawling status quo fails to do anything about traffic or environmental problems. More people living in the Inland Empire means more people clogging LA County freeways, because guess what, the jobs are still here.
    – If we ever get motorists to pay the full cost of driving cars powered by fossil fuels, which is necessary to combat climate change, driving is going to become a lot less attractive, and it will be good to have strong alternatives in place.

  • Ed

    I eagerly anticipated riding the gold line extension to/from work. So far, I have ridden it a grand total of zero times due to the extremely poor execution. Not voting for any more of the same.

  • User_1

    We need more tunnels! A tunnel from LA to LB would be awesome! Tunnels will take care of all our traffic problems.

  • effron

    Well said. These are most every point that needs to be made yet continues to go unsaid by Metro and it’s public proponents. Inst ad look for them to dust off the talking points from the 2008 Measure R campaign. Hell, look at their current billboard campaign to attract riders! The rebuttals write themselves.

  • Slexie

    Amen! Perfect answer! I wonder how much more money they would have if they actually collected fares from everyone instead of the honor system? I’m done voting for transit measures that do nothing.

  • Slexie

    In their new Mobility Plan 2035, there is nothing said about reducing traffic times. All they want to do is make bus lanes to clog the roads so everyone goes as slow as the buses.

  • Casey Maddren

    While I personally wouldn’t mind paying a higher sales tax for better transit, I really have to question the MTA’s priorities. They’re so focussed on big ticket rail projects that they’re letting the busses go to hell. The MTA is proposing yet another round of “service changes” which are mostly service cuts. If I want to go from Hollywood to Downtown, the Red Line is great. But many of the other trips I make involve taking lines that run once an hour. Trips that used to be fairly easy sometimes take twice as long because it’s so difficult making connections.

    Los Angeles is not New York. Trains work well for the NY transit system because it was built around a dense urban core. (It was also built when construction costs were much lower.) Los Angeles covers a much larger area, and I think requires a different strategy. Busses are cheaper and more flexible. We’ve spent years building rail projects, and we haven’t seen the promised boost in ridership. It’s time to change directions.

  • Casey Maddren

    When you say “poor execution”, are you referring to the delay in opening the APU station? Or is there something else going on?

  • Jason

    I definitely feel like Metro is setting itself up for failure with these promises of traffic reduction. Look at NYC for example. Sure, the rush hour period may be a bit more sharply delineated as opposed to the 3-8 PM rush hour here in Santa Monica, but NYC has plenty of bad traffic.

    Transit doesn’t reduce traffic, it lets you get around DESPITE traffic.

  • calwatch

    Or you could make the I-405 carpool lane HOV-3 or HOT-3, use automated enforcement with infrared cameras to catch people who set the switchable transponder incorrectly, and build a couple of direct access ramps to allow buses to enter and exit from Victory Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard, for the cost of well under $300 million.

  • calwatch

    So? Fares do need to go up, and we need more HOT lanes combined with converting many of these poor-performing HOV-2 lanes into HOV-3. The Federal government has already declared many HOV lanes in the County as violating standard, since they do not meet the 45 mph speed threshold. Caltrans officials keep giving the FHWA excuses on why 45 mph isn’t being met, but eventually this number will need to go up or the region will be sanctioned.

  • calwatch

    I do want transportation, but I think we’ve focused on transportation to the detriment of education, health care, and public safety. We need schools that train our children for the jobs of the 21st century; our trauma care, mental health, and public hospital system is still in shambles; and thanks to Proposition 47, petty criminals are getting their hands slapped and causing crime. While I get that our society can walk and chew gum at the same time, at some point the other areas need to be covered as well.

  • Slexie

    – If people wanted to relax on the bus or rail and double their commute times, they can do that now. No one wants to do that so they can whip out their Macbook on the bus for 2 hours. They would rather be stressed out driving.
    – They already built the Gold Line and most of the stations are no where near any type of residential density. Proof that the city will do what it wants, is more in love with shiny new things and doesn’t really consider density before or after building transit.
    – People are free to live where ever they want. The expensive housing that has gone up around newer transit stations is nothing the average worker or family can afford. The few affordable units being built have thousands of applicants for a few apartments. It’s not enough of a boon to get people to leave their cheaper larger houses in the suburbs. Traffic will continue to come inbound to LA from the Inland Empire.
    – I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with people whining about the gas tax. We are all aware that half of road work is covered by the gas tax. Then all we hear is the crowing about the other half and the subsidies that pay for it. Well guess what? Those subsidies come from US, the taxpayers. Be it money from the general fund or other sales taxes, that is a subsidy paid for by US. So everyone who doesn’t have a car is only contributing to half the road costs because of whats not covered by the gas tax. But the drivers contribute to what goes into the general fund and they pay the increased sales tax just like everyone else. So in essence, drivers are still paying for most of the road work and we know for sure at least a full 50% of it. The people who don’t own or drive cars are still using the buses on roads we all pay for. The bikers are still using the roads we all pay for. Try riding a bike to work on an unpaved road, it ain’t pretty. So anyone not buying a car or driving is getting the benefit of paying per ride without buying the entire bus. So drivers pay more because they are paying twice. So the true cost of the roads is still mostly covered by drivers.
    – How are emergency vehicles benefiting from bus only lanes? If they can’t get through the traffic, where are the buses going to go to get out of the way? If you’re down to one lane in each direction, and a bus only lane, I don’t see how that makes it easier for the ambulance. Perhaps we can use the idea someone else suggested about making all roads with no left turns. Then we will have even less room to maneuver out of the path of an ambulance or fire truck. Then when the bus breaks down, as they often do, they will block the lane. That’s going to force the other buses to take the traffic lane with all the cars that are already squeezed into one lane to begin with. This will make it easier for an ambulance how? And don’t tell me they’re not going to narrow the remaining traffic lane in the process. So good luck getting an ambulance through that during rush hour.

  • Joe Commuter

    “People are free to live where ever they want….The few affordable units being built have thousands of applicants for a few apartments. ” Sounds people can’t live where they want, but if they could choose, sounds like people want to live in affordable units near reliable and convenient transit.

    “How are emergency vehicles benefiting from bus only lanes? If they
    can’t get through the traffic, where are the buses going to go to get
    out of the way?” If there is a (comparatively) empty bus lane, an emergency vehicle can cruise down that lane. Alternatively, the cars can pull into the bus lane and make room for the emergency vehicle to go down the middle.

  • Matt

    He was complaining earlier he couldn’t use the line because the last station parking garage was full.

  • Darren

    Sales taxes also distort spending priorities because the geography of transit need does not match the geography of where transit money comes from. E.g., rail or dedicated bus lanes along Vermont Ave, Santa Monica Blvd, etc. would experience high ridership and help relieve very crowded bus lines. However, projects like the Gold Line through lower-density, pedestrian-unfriendly, and predominantly freeway-adjacent areas are prioritized because folks in the SGV who pay for transit expansion through the Measure R sales tax want a return on the money they spent.

    LA might benefit by taking Seattle’s approach and making a sales tax that only applies to LA city residents, thus reducing the need to spend big money on transit projects in far-flung areas. Though that would not address issues of low farebox recovery, the regressive nature of sales taxes, etc.

  • Slexie

    People are free to live where they want. If they want to live beyond their means they can do that too. Sorry, people with families would rather live in a house outside the city center. Who wants to live in a crowded city in an apartment with kids and no yard? I know people do it all the time, but it’s not for everyone.

    What you’re saying doesn’t make sense. If there is an ambulance in the bus lane, he has to get over at some point.
    When, if ever, will there not be buses in the bus lane? The 3 or 4 hours in the middle of the night when the buses don’t ruin? And with one lane in either direction and a bus lane, will the ambulance be able to squeeze between a bus and cars going the other way? And when the bus lane has a bus in it, how are all the cars supposed to give enough room for an ambulance or a giant fire truck to get by? Because, for example, on Wilshire when 2 lanes worth of traffic gets squeezed into one lane, it’s going to create more gridlock. And for those cars to get out of the way of a moving vehicle by pulling to the right, they’re not all going to fit in the bus lane. How is that even legal? You are prohibited by law from using the bus lane, but you’re supposed to pull over and let an emergency vehicle pass, but you have to pull into a lane that it’s illegal to be in!

    Have you ever been on Virgil during the day when it’s gridlocked? One lane each way and a useless bicycle lane. Ain’t no emergency vehicles getting down that street at all.

  • 1) I know that transit is often slower than driving. That’s why I advocate for adding density, which allows for more frequent and higher capacity forms of transit service.
    2) Totally agree. The Gold Line Foothill Extension serves a land use pattern which is car dependent and the cities along the line have so far done a poor job of encouraging transit-supporting land use patterns around the stations.
    3) People are free to live wherever they can AFFORD to live. Attacking the affordable housing problem is going to require a combination of market-rate and affordable housing. Of course some people prefer to live in the far suburbs. Others would rather have the convenience of living somewhere more centrally located and not driving over 100 miles a day. Over most of the past century we’ve been overbuilding drive-only neighborhoods in no small part due to federal transportation and housing policies. Now it’s time to re-balance the housing market and give people more opportunities to live in walkable urban settings. The high rents these areas command prove that there is a high demand for this type of neighborhood.
    4) Gas taxes haven’t been adjusted for inflation at the CA or national level since the early 1990s. America has massive backlogs of road and bridge maintenance because gas taxes don’t pay the full cost of road maintenance. They also don’t pay for the full cost of air pollution or carbon emissions. I say gas taxes should rise and pay for infrastructure maintenance and low-carbon transportation systems.
    5) Emergency vehicles benefit from bus-only lanes because bus-only lanes give them a clear path to drive in, compared with the status quo where all lanes of arterial streets are locked up. Buses can turn right to get out of the way and then back up to get back into the lane. Also, when you reassign a lane from buses to cars you don’t get the same number of cars trying to use the road. People take other routes, switch modes or take fewer trips to compensate for the reduction in space.

  • calwatch

    You can pull into a bus lane when an emergency vehicle is coming down – same as a bike lane. Just like you can, and are required to, use the bike lane when making right turns. This is a straw man.

  • calwatch

    You almost have to draw a transit benefit area where you impose taxes on anyone within, say, one mile of a rail station or a half mile of a frequent bus network. I can assure you the Antelope Valley will get very little benefit out of the 2.25% and it will pressure more folks to drive over to Mojave to do their big ticket shopping. The same for people in the West San Fernando Valley, who already drive to Camarillo and Simi Valley, or in the east San Gabriel Valley, where Montclair Plaza, Brea Mall, and the Shoppes at Chino Hills capture the people trying to flee high sales taxes. The difference between shopping at Brea versus shopping in West Covina is currently $1 for every $100 spent and with the new tax, will be $1.50. If someone was going to be buying a laptop, iPad, or some fancy purse, they will go to Brea Mall and save the money.

  • Slexie

    1. You can push for density all you want, but you and I have very little say in what gets built in the city. All that is getting built are luxury towers bought by foreign investors as investment properties. And it’s happening in the suburbs too. They don’t care if the property sits empty, or if it’s a second home. The same thing is happening in NY. THAT’S what is creating the demand.

    2. Yes people live where they can afford. People need to move closer and shouldn’t have to choose to live in a $3000 luxury apartment just to be close to work. You should be able to live in the Valley and get downtown without it taking hours. That’s ridiculous. Those are the people voting and living and supporting the city. It shouldn’t take 2 hours to go 10 freaking miles. But the housing that is available is nothing anyone else can reasonably afford. That’s not demand. That’s an over-inflated real estate market being catered to rich people and being built by billion dollar developers. No reasonable person living or trying to raise a family is ever going to NEED that. Do you get that? You can’t just say flippantly, “Oh well because they’re in demand it’s what people want.” No! It’s the city selling off the future of itself to the highest bidder. Have you been paying attention that LA is one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world? Do you honestly think the people who live here are creating that demand? No! They are not! Because if that were true, we would all be paying cash for our houses and people who worked in the city could live there too! We would all be owning $1 million dollar condos at the W and taking the subway to work. If that were true the domestics would move to The Vermont over the Red Line Station at Vermont and Wilshire to be closer to transit and have a shorter commute. Because those are the people using transit aren’t they? But they’re not doing that are they? No they’re not because most of them have kids and a 3 bedroom at The Vermont is around $5000 a month. The suburbs of LA are not 50 or 100 miles away. They’re all over the city.

    3. No! We are not talking about people who are choosing to live 50 or 100 miles away and choose to drive to LA everyday. Why does everyone think that those are the people creating all the congestion? If you lived 50 miles outside of downtown, that’s pretty much San Bernardino you’re not doing that because the city is so expensive. There are a myriad of places in that direction that you can live in without going out that far. Those people are choosing to live that faraway because they have horses, or a school district or something, they’re going to drive anyway. It’s not like it’s DTLA or San Barnardino. No metro system is going to solve your problem if you’re living that far away.

    We are talking about the 5 and the 14 S 20 miles away that are PACKED BUMPER TO BUMPER every morning starting at 5am to come into LA. We are talking about the domestics coming from the east side to the west side who have to take 3 buses and a train to go 12 miles in a time of two and a half hours twice a day. We are talking about people living in Northridge taking the packed Orange Line to get to the Red Line to get downtown and to the west side because for some Godly unknown reason all transit has to route itself downtown. So I’m sorry, the Feds aren’t making developers or the city do that. And if you want to live in the Valley you should be able to do that without taking 2 hours a day by transit to get over the hill and into USC or UCLA or Santa Monica.

    4. The gas tax is something I don’t care about. I pay it, and funds for road repairs come out of other taxes we all pay. Big whoop.

    5. Buses aren’t going to turn and get out of the way of a firetruck or an ambulance when it’s traffic is gridlocked. And with the rest of the gridlock, how are those wide vehicles getting anywhere? It’s a dumb idea and we will suffer because of it. Every road diet I’ve seen has made traffic way worse. Our brilliant leaders thought it would be a good idea to take out a lane of traffic on Virgil which routes itself to be a thoroughfare to the 101. They put in a dangerous bike lane that I never see anyone using. It’s bumper to bumper most of the day, with an empty bike lane and one lane in each direction. They didn’t move the freeway did they? So you are incorrect in your assertion about reducing traffic lanes. It’s created more gridlock and no emergency vehicles could squeeze through there. If anything, there is a firetruck almost always on Virgil just north of the intersection of Beverly on Virgil. I wonder if they just wait there, or if every time I’ve driven there they’ve been stuck there. Oh well.

  • Slexie

    No it’s not. How are you pulling off the road anywhere during rush hour or gridlock? You’re not. And people are using the bike lane to park, and people are already driving in the bus only lanes and the police want the buses to ticket the violators. They have no plan or way to stop people from driving in the bus only lane during rush hour. It’s not a straw man, it’s happening.

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    Funny… This was the same thinking that lead to the dismantling of the red and Yellow cars and building of the freeway system. Since it was too expensive to to rebuild the rail system, lets build freeways and run buses on them (1950’s to 60’s thinking).

    Since L.A. has a great bus network, there is not reason to build a rail system (1960’s to 1970’s thinking).

    Since subway construction runs over budget and is underused, let’s pass a ballot initiative to prevent building more (1990’s thinking).

  • 1) I disagree. Demand for housing is a function of our city’s population, household income and people’s preferences for different neighborhoods and types of housing. New developments are often expensive because land is expensive, because new housing if often built larger with lots of luxury features targeted at the high end of the market and because we do not build enough housing to keep up with demand. That’s why rents and home prices keep soaring. It’s a mistake to blame developers for that. They’re actually adding supply to the market. I blame regulations that make it too hard to build the amount of housing that is needed.

    2) Actually, I can say that because people are building something and selling it and not going out of business, that they are building something that people want and are willing to pay for, because that is a fact. Again, I don’t think it is productive to blame developers for the housing crisis, since they are actually adding product to the market. I’d rather rich people live in new luxury housing than bid up the price of housing that I am trying to rent or buy. Rising demand in the face of stagnant supply equals higher prices. I’m the one advocating for a lot more housing to be built so that we actually keep up with demand and start to stabilize prices. This requires building at a higher density, because land in LA is extremely expensive and higher-density forms of housing spread that high land cost over more units. I also advocate for public funds to be used to create housing that is affordable to people with low incomes. We need a combination of more housing supply at market rates and subsidized housing.

    3) Of course there are closer suburbs, but there aren’t a lot of close-in suburbs that are affordable. To get to true “affordability” you really do have to go 50+ miles away from Downtown LA to places like the Inland Empire and the Antelope Valley and that is very problematic because of traffic, pollution, climate change and the fact that your transportation costs eat away your savings on housing out there. We need more housing that is located close to jobs and close to transit so people don’t have to do soul-sucking mega-commutes.

    Yes, we all acknowledge there is a lot of traffic. Does that mean you’ll be voting for this new ballot measure so that Metro can build a Sepulveda Pass tollway and railway? Tolls reduce traffic, since when you force people to pay to use road space, they think harder about using it. If we created more opportunities to live near transit like the Red Line, it would take a lot less time to get over the hill. But that’s not going to happen if people keep shooting down every “evil developer’s” attempt to build housing.

    5) We just disagree on this. It actually seems pretty straightforward to me that giving an ambulance a clear path to drive in beats forcing it to wait in an ocean of gridlock.

  • Joe Commuter

    So in your universe there is more traffic in a bike or bus lane than a general travel lane? An ambulance has an easier way getting through the Beverly Hills portion of Wilshire Boulevard (no bus lane) compared to the Miracle Mile portion (has a bus lane)? Or is there no difference? There is a real world example of the same street, with nearly identical conditions, except for one has a (rush hour) bus lane and the other doesn’t.

  • Joe Commuter

    If the bus has an easier time getting through traffic when there is a rush hour bus lane compared to situations where there is not. I ride the 720 and know this from experience. Why would an ambulance not have an easier time navigating a street if there were a bus lane compared to a situation where there is not a bus lane?

  • Patrick Spence

    The pink line route is foolish. LA needs to design its transit around a “grid system”, and the Crenshaw Line needs to go to Hollywood & Highland via La Brea. Santa Monica Boulevard needs its own rapid transit line along a UCLA-Beverly Hills-WeHo-Silver Lake-Dodger Stadium-Union Station-San Gabriel Valley route. Such a route would likely not be built for a long time, but to keep WeHo happy in the short-term, bus only lanes could be constructed along Santa Monica Boulevard form La Brea to the Beverly Hills City Limits.

  • cygp2p

    Transportation is the glue that makes those investments in other areas even work. Countless studies have shown that having jobs and services that can’t be accessed by those that need them drastically reduces their effectiveness. Physical mobility directly equates to economic and societal mobility. Transportation chokes can render whole cities worth of investment worthless.

    If you want a better city, a better county, a better state etc, you start with transportation investment. And transportation aint cheap, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than the alternative.

  • Slexie

    So what? That’s still not the same as a bus only lane is it? No it’s not. We are talking about bus only lanes, not lanes that are bus only during rush hour. It’s not a real example because the bus lane isn’t 24/7 and the police have already said they don’t know what to do about cars that keep getting into and driving in the bus only lane during rush hour. I can’t say what the difference is in your example because I don’t know. Wilshire is 3 lanes in each direction now and that’s going to change.

  • ranzchic

    Bus only lanes would also need to be implemented for this to be truly a great rail replacement. I think it’s easier to sell rail (that are usually built on old ROWs) for this reason.

  • Slexie

    Because there won’t be any buses in the bus lane. Uh-huh. You know the police aren’t doing anything about cars that are using the bus only lanes, right? They have no plans to do anything either. They actually want the bus drivers to give out tickets or inform the police of said violators.

    I would advise you to learn a little more about the real estate market and the recent increase in foreign investors buying up LA real estate. A Chinese millionaire buying a house for his teen age son and letting him live there alone isn’t driving the market like you think it is. You say you want closer housing, but then you don’t care if all that is being built is luxury. So how does that make sense?

    Developers left the Sunset Gordon Towers sitting empty because they didn’t have the proper permits, developers did the same thing to the Target at Sunset and Western. So sorry if I don’t trust greedy developers to do the right thing. We need affordable housing, so encouraging more luxury building isn’t helping anything.

    You’re throwing out a bunch of buzz phrases and it’s tiresome. I haven’t really seen you give examples of anything. It’s just a lot of rhetoric, like you’re repeating what you’ve read on the internet. I would encourage you to experience what you’re actually talking about. Because if you really wanted people to be closer to where they work, you wouldn’t want places the average person needs to be ignored.

  • sigaba

    They should have just made the extra 405 lanes BRT…

  • Joe Commuter

    The Miracle Mile portion and the Beverly Hills portion are nearly identical except for the fact that Miracle Mile has a rush hour bus lane and Beverly Hills doesn’t. You claim emergency vehicles will have just as difficult a time, if not a more difficult time, getting through traffic if there are bus lanes. Well, the buses have an easier time getting through Miracle Mile during rush hour than through Beverly Hills. Why would an ambulance be any different? If your claim were true, the bus would be just as slow, if not slower in Miracle Mile. There is absolutely no reason why an ambulance would have a more difficult time navigating a street with a bus lane. The Miracle Mile and Beverly Hills portion of Wilshire are only 2 lanes in each direction. During rush hour, the Miracle Mile portion is 2 lanes + 1 bus lane whereas the Beverly Hills portion is 3 lanes.

  • ohana2

    Both the Sunset Gordon Towers and the Target Store developments are tied up in the courts thanks to a attorney organizing neighbors to oppose them after the projects have been built.

  • ohana2

    The MTA has again chosen to ignore the Sunset Bl. / Santa Monica Bl. traffic corridor from Santa Monica/Westside to Downtown Los Angeles. Grid-lock larger and longer than any other region in the Los Angeles County area. The Westside was developed with the promise of the extension of the two freeway many years ago. Said freeway extension was cancelled but a alternative has never been proposed by the state,the cities or the MTA.

    It’s interesting that another project is proposed for the 405 freeway although two billion dollar projects have been completed thru the Sepulveda Pass in the last ten years. They tried to address the problem twice and have failed. And a interesting impact on the Westside is the above mentioned corridor has become impacted further by those so called improvements to the 405. Judging from what has happened to the east/west corridor so far one can only predict the east/west corridor will go from total grid-lock to a virtual disaster forcing traffic to snake via residential streets as the only alternative 24/7 for autos, trucks and yes buses.

    I urge voters to say “NO” to the MTA unless they address the real problems within central Los Angeles instead of catering to those who live in areas where livestock out number humans.

    There used to be a law that prohibited the shooting of rabbits off streetcars on Hollywood Bl. Will we need new laws to cover areas where light rail is being built by the MTA?

  • Phantom Commuter

    Not voting for the measure unless it contains funding for hourly Metrolink service throughout the county.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Livestock, really ? L.A.’s suburbs are the densest in the nation. There is no livestock. Sounds like you need to get out a bit more.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Frequent BRT service would be a good start.

  • Phantom Commuter

    The measure should include funding for frequent bus service, including nights and weekends, on all major bus routes. The lack lack of off-peak frequency in L.A. is unique among major North American cities.

  • Phantom Commuter

    Leaving California is the best option. There are plenty of less insane places to live.

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