Transit Coalition Communications Director Numan Parada announces that he will leave The Transit Coalition after 9 years of service. Since 2005, Parada has been responsible for writing and editing the eNewsletter and the monthly print newsletter alongside colleagues and contributors. The Feb. 11 eNewsletter will be the final one written by Parada. Nevertheless, he hopes to continue advocating for better public transportation in Southern California even as he pursues other endeavors, and he thanks readers for their loyal readership.
After months of study, and at the behest of private freight rail companies, the National Transportation Safety Board issued three new rules aimed at protecting the public from dangers associated with the transport of crude oil. The NTSB expedited release of the new rules in response to an explosion in North Dakota that involved a crude oil tanker. The most critical new rule calls for better route planning for trains carrying crude oil so as to avoid heavily populated areas. The other two rules call for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to develop new standards for tankers so as to avoid punctures and for carriers to properly classify the flammability of crude they are transporting.
Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey was interviewed on the future of LAX. Lindsey was not lost on how the airport has devolved into a drab and dreary campus of transport instead of the grand public space that other airports are becoming. Even with the opening of the refurbished Tom Bradley International Terminal and a better relationship with airlines that use the airport, Lindsey warns that there is still plenty to fix. In particular, Lindsey hopes that a new intermodal facility just outside the airport will remove commercial vehicles from the airport roadway. Lindsey also believes a bright future is in store for Ontario Airport, which has suffered on account of changes in the airline industry. Ontario city officials have until January 31 to reach a settlement with the agency that may seal Ontario’s fate.
Apart from Metro’s efforts to direct LA Union Station’s future role in regional transportation, not much is discussed when considering the iconic station as a public space. However, a recent film screening hosted at the former ticket hall reexamined how the station can be used to unite disparate persons through entertainment. The station has a long history as a filming site and continues to be popular for film and television production. The screening was meant to be seen as a way for travelers to connect with the station, its glamorous past and its promising future. Sadly, some of that excitement has been recently muted by new regulations that discourage transients from using the station.
In other opinions, an op-ed published by the Los Angeles Daily News laments the lack of accurate real-time traffic information caused by damaged sensors on roadways. Thanks to the advent of GPS and maps on smartphones, drivers increasingly depend on these systems to travel in the most efficient manner possible. Ideally, when these sensors work properly, drivers can be more confident in the information they receive, which in turn would help them find alternate routes and make the road system more efficient by evenly spreading out traffic. Also, Los Angeles Times readers react to the Metro-North train in New York that crashed due to excessive speed, leading to four deaths and scores of injuries.
Given the boost in highway construction across Los Angeles County afforded through Measure R, there has been little news from the ongoing widening of Interstate 5 between the 605 Freeway and the Orange County line. 220,000 drivers drive through this 6-lane stretch, which has changed little since the freeway opened in the 1950s. The project, however, enters a new phase with multiple ramp closures starting this week. The project will widen the I-5 through the Gateway Cities to a total of 10 lanes, including 2 HOV lanes. When completed in 2018, the revamped facility will keep the freeway on par with the Orange County section that was significantly widened years ago. A consortium of cities fought for the project and is now aiding residents who have been affected by construction. Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed, however, opines that the $1.6 billion spent on the widening would be better used for transit and that, in any case, the finished product will move the bottleneck further away. Those who want to learn more and receive updates can visit the official website.
In the Bay Area, commuters celebrated the opening of the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel on Saturday, November 16. The new tunnel will improve connections between Oakland and eastern Contra Costa County communities. Safety tests were completed before the new tunnel opened. The fourth bore will feature the latest designs in tunnel safety, on top of the safety features in place inside the existing three bores. Said features helped drivers escape to safety and first responders to reach the tunnels quickly during a recent fire in one of the existing bores.
It’s no secret that attaining an education that prepares young people for the competition of the national and global marketplace is growing increasingly difficult. School budget cuts, perpetually increasing tuition increases, and the lack of employment and internships are bad enough but students young and old also face transportation barriers that make it hard, and expensive, to access the opportunities they need to build a future. As school districts have been forced to cut budgets, they’ve also cut back, or even entirely eliminated, bus service. This has left families on the hook for the costs of driving to and from school. For lower and middle class families still struggling from the Great Recession, this is a burden that makes life difficult.
Enter free and low-cost transit passes for youth. Pilot programs are popping up around the state to provide transit passes to K-12 and college students. In addition to the economic benefits for students and their families, the passes also help to reduce traffic, which in turn helps clean the air. However, for these programs to have a lasting impact they must be expanded and become permanent. An op-ed from TransForm published in the San Diego Union-Tribune this week proposes using state cap-and-trade auction revenues to expand these programs as a way to fight climate change and provide a boost for hard-working families.
Your help is needed to achieve our fundraising campaign goal of $5,000 in order to continue publication of our weekly eNewsletter and monthly print newsletter. Thank you for contributing a total of $2,115 as part of our drive! However, today is the last day and we are well short of our $5,000 goal. If you have not made a contribution yet, we invite you to do so. If we do not reach our fundraising goal by the end of today, November 8, we will have no choice but to suspend publication of both newsletters. Please help us reach our goal by making a donation. Your contributions are greatly appreciated!
Much has been written and debated on the dangers of distracted driving, and the problem shows no signs of abating. However, there have been fewer efforts to curb distracted bicycling and walking. While pedestrians are legally protected, they and cyclists will almost always lose in a collision with an automobile thanks to the laws of physics. Columnist Sandy Banks wrote an article lamenting the death of a woman’s son who walked onto a busy street without paying attention. The responses received, however, were much more critical of the teenager and of pedestrians in general. While no one wants to sound as though the victim is the one who should be blamed, Banks concludes that a dialogue should be had as to what the responsibilities of pedestrians should be. One problem not noted in these series of articles is the lack of amenities that would increase safety for pedestrians, such as additional crosswalks to reduce jaywalking. LA Streetsblog editor Damien Newton responds.