Los Angeles’ Streetcar Plans: Too Duplicative of Existing Services?

» Los Angeles submitted an application for U.S. TIGER funds with the intention of building a downtown streetcar line. But the alignments proposed are very similar to those offered by existing rail and bus services — and each would operate in a one-way loop, a failed transit concept.

Los Angeles has big hopes for its downtown, and, like most of the country’s major cities, it has seen significant population growth in the inner core over the past ten years. Now, to extend this renaissance, the city — also like many others — is planning a streetcar line that would traverse the district from north to south. Last month, it applied for $37.5 million in U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant dollars, which it hopes to supplement with local and private funds to complete an initial route of between 3 and 5 one-way track miles at

Continue reading Los Angeles’ Streetcar Plans: Too Duplicative of Existing Services? »

Reorganizing the Bus System within the Network Hierarchy

» Lyon’s bus network is enlivened thanks to reorganization and new branding.

The advantages offered by street-running bus operations, such as offering a variety of routes and the ability to alter them at will, can sometimes be a curse. Many individual routes may provide direct service to and from specific destinations, but if they are not able to attract enough riders, the resulting low frequency of service makes them ultimately difficult to use for both those dependent and those choosing to use transit.

The New York Timesstory last week on the cancellation of a bus route in Los Angeles raised a number of questions about the manner in which bus routes operate. The Times signaled out L.A. Metro for supposedly being willing to sacrifice the mobility needs of a heavily transit-dependent community, forcing riders onto indirect buses that require transfers. But Metro’s efforts — intended to concentrate users on its Continue reading Reorganizing the Bus System within the Network Hierarchy »

For Federal Transportation Investment, a Difficult Prognosis

» A new plan for the country’s transportation financing system from Congressman John Mica would cut spending significantly — but Democrats have yet to provide a serious counter-proposal.

With everyone from Mitch McConnell to Barack Obama arguing — no matter the evidence to the contrary — that the federal budget must be constrained in order to save the American economy, it is perhaps no surprise that the long-expressed hopes of a greatly expanded transportation bill have fallen to the wayside.

The revealing today of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica’s (R-FL) plan for a six-year, $230 billion reauthorization bill is the latest evidence that support in Congress for expanded investment in the U.S. transport network is weak. Though the bill is by no means final — Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA)’s own two-year plan, slightly larger (and with $12 billion in missing revenues), was

Continue reading For Federal Transportation Investment, a Difficult Prognosis »

Realizing the Impossible: Los Angeles’ Subway Extension

» A broad consensus in America’s definitive car city makes a $6 billion subway extending far down Wilshire Boulevard a realistic possibility.

Admittedly, there have been plans for a high-capacity subway extending from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica along Wilshire Boulevard for decades. In both 1980 and 1990, L.A. County voters approved referenda that increased taxes to pay for transit expansion programs; one of the primary elements of both of those programs was the Westside subway, intended to provide an alternative to the rapidly expanding congestion in the region’s densest district. In the 1990s, subways were under construction — and the Purple Line made it as far as Wilshire and Western Avenue — before voters, worried about cost increases and the dangers of digging through areas with methane gas underground, mandated that no more transit funds could be used for the construction of subways. A similar resolution in

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L.A.’s 30/10 Plan Advances Suddenly with a $546 Million Loan for the Crenshaw Light Rail Project

» Federal commitment will move project forward, increasing prospects for Mayor Villaraigosa’s massive 30/10 transit plan. This could be a model for other cities, though the availability of more financing is unclear.

Los Angeles’ 30/10 plan, designed to shoehorn three decades’ worth of transit construction into just ten years, always seemed like a long-shot. Though backed by a voter-approved sales tax, the proposal would rely on the unlikely commitment of billions of dollars in loans from the federal government. In the process, L.A. County hoped to have by 2020 twelve new or extended fixed-route transit lines at the cost of some $14 billion.

Thanks to the ambitions of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the apparent willingness of the Obama Administration’s Department of Transportation, the process has suddenly made a major jump forward with the announcement today of a $546 million low-interest loan and a $20 million grant to spearhead

Continue reading L.A.’s 30/10 Plan Advances Suddenly with a $546 Million Loan for the Crenshaw Light Rail Project »

The Site / The Fight

  • by Yonah Freemark
  • Twitter: @yfreemark
  • yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com
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