Thursday, February 18, 2016

WHAM (West Hollywood Advocates for Metro Rail)

West Hollywood is putting its efforts on bringing the Metrorail to West Hollywood through an alignment connecting the under construction Crenshaw/LAX line with the Hollywood/Highland Red Line station.

Full disclosure.  I joined WHAM. 

I hope you do too.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

More Progress on Passenger Rail between Los Angeles and Palm Springs

The Desert Sun has reported that the Riverside County Transportation Commission had selected a passenger rail route between Los Angeles to Fullerton to study even further.

That route would run from Los Angeles to Fullerton, swing north to Colton, and then continue southeast through the San Gorgonio Pass to Indio.

According to the article, "If the train only stopped three times between Los Angeles and Indio, officials believe the trip would last around 3 hours and 10 minutes — only about 40 minutes slower than traveling by car."

Well, I don't know about you, but I'd happily bring a laptop and a Kindle and enjoy my journey even if it takes 40 minutes longer than being behind the wheel.

The article also states that "in earlier studies, Coachella Valley officials have suggested three stations, in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Indio."

So cannot wait.

West Hollywood's New Flyer to Advocate for Metrorail

As a current member of the West Hollywood Transportation Commission, I cannot and will not discuss items appearing before the commission in my blog.  However, I was told at last night's meeting that I can share the following with you.

Below are two sides of a draft flyer that West Hollywood will be disseminating to advocate for bringing Metrorail to West Hollywood -- in this case as the connecting link between the Crenshaw/LAX line and the Red Line station at Hollywood/Highland.  The proposed connection with the Purple Line would be a transfer between a proposed SanVicente/Wilshire station and the coming LaCienega/Wilshire Purple Line station.

Fun huh!.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

West Hollywood City Council Candidate Sends Mailer on Public Transit (They all should)

City Council Candidate John Heilman is seeking to return to the West Hollywood City Council.  I was so excited to see a council candidate fully engage on the topic of public transit I jumped for joy when I saw this in my mailbox.  

We have a tremendous opportunity for West Hollywood to discuss and debate improving public (and bicycle/pedestrian) transit prior to the June 2 special election.  Transportation was unfortunately narrowly discussed around the issue of traffic and parking meters for single-occupancy automobiles in the general election in March.  Let us have the fuller transportation discussion we should have had then in the remaining two weeks of the campaign for the special election for West Hollywood City Council.

I look forward to the other candidates mailers and campaign materials on public (and bicycle/pedestrian) transit.

I also invite any of the candidates who wish to submit their public (and bicycle/pedestrian) transit platform to me which I will happily post on this blog for your consideration and discussion.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Exciting Transportation Questions to ask West Hollywood City Council Candidates

As I stated in my prior post, West Hollywood City Election 2015: The truth no one will say about traffic and parking, it was very depressing to watch a West Hollywood City Council election where the only transportation issues discussed, if at all, were about traffic and parking for single-occupancy automobiles.  How retro.

It is not 1987 anymore, and Measure R passed in West Hollywood by 85% of the vote, more than any other city in Los Angeles county.  While the well-being of driving and parking single-occupancy automobiles is obviously important to many people, it should not be the only discussion we are having about transportation in this city.

Here are examples of transportation issues that I, and you, can ask the City Council candidates, and discuss among your friends and neighbors, in the upcoming West Hollywood June 2nd special election directly:
  • Do you favor a transit option that connects West Hollywood to the Red Line in Hollywood directly, without requiring people to transfer, perhaps running non-stop between West Hollywood and Hollywood/Highland or Hollywood/Vine (my preferred option)?
  • Do you favor reconfiguring Fountain Avenue in West Hollywood so it is no longer a "speedway" and gives up a lane of traffic for bike lanes and more residential parking?
  • How would you help bring Metrorail to West Hollywood?  
  • Should we hold out for a below-ground Metrorail option that make take a few decades to be built or an above ground option that can be built in a few years?
  • She we create transit-only lanes for buses on Santa Monica Boulevard, similar to what is coming very soon to Wilshire Boulevard?
  • How can we partner with neighboring cities and neighborhoods to create transit projects that will serve this whole region?
  • Where else can we add bicycle lanes to West Hollywood and how else can we improve bicycle infrastructure?
  • As West Hollywood is considered a very "walkable city", how can we continue to improve the pedestrian experience?
  • How does West Hollywood adapt to the world of  Uber/Lyft and its relationship to Taxi and Limosuine services?
  • How do we add mobility to the Sunset Strip? 
  • Are parking meters on Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. really the most efficient use of that road space and should we try relocating that parking, by acquiring or building new parking, to free that space up for more mobility?
So if these questions are at least as interesting to you as the same old debates about parking meters for single-occupancy automobiles, feel free to ask them of our candidates, so that our transportation discussion for the special election is much more well-rounded than the general election we just completed.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Sunset - Santa Monica Blvd. Light Rail Line would be popular. Should we advocate for one?

The Expo Line project, the second-half opening of which we are eagerly awaiting within months, began as a grass roots advocacy project.

One project idea that people talk to me about as a dream of theirs is a rail project on Sunset Blvd. between Downtown and Sunset Junction, which then continues on Santa Monica Blvd. toward West Hollywood. Such a project could then potentially be extended further west on Santa Monica toward the beach or south on La Cienega.

I think such a project would be nifty and very popular, and I know I would ride it almost every day.  Here is what a sample map might look like for such a project:

Does this idea have any grass roots support?  Such a project would likely need to be above ground if enough money were to be raised to build it.  This means taking road space away from parking and possible traffic in places.  I think that is a price worth paying, but there would be some community opposition as there is to every transit project.

What do you think?  Do you like this idea?  Are you willing to work for it?  We'd have to bring political, business, community, environmental, labor, and neighborhood leaders of every variety aboard in a coalition to make this happen.

The important thing to remember is that the Expo Line has already proven that it CAN happen.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Silliest Question of the Election Season: "Where are we going to park (in Downtown L.A.)"? - Gloria Molina

One candidate made me laugh at loud with a question so utterly ridiculous that I was literally stunned speechless (but not for long).

After complaining about "too much density" in downtown Los Angeles, former Los Angeles Supervisor Gloria Molina asked the question "where are we going to park?"

I am frequently baffled by people who genuinely still expect a 1970's Southern California style low-density, low-traffic, car culture transportation experience in 2015 in the middle of popular urban neighborhoods, as opposed to in the genuinely low-density suburbs.  But for any politician who's been in office for as long as former Supervisor Molina to imply that Downtown has "too much density" in hope of extending her political career just a little longer is among the worst form of NIMBY-ism I've seen in awhile.

Here is a hint to Ms. Molina and anyone else who may be upset about "too much" density in downtown Los Angeles.  Downtown is where density is SUPPOSED to go.

The Red and Purple heavy rail subway lines are there.  The Blue and Gold and Expo light-rail lines are there.  The regional connector is being build there.  Union Station and Amtrak and Metrolink is also there, along with the DASH bus system and buses from every transit authority in the County.  Even modern streetcars are coming back there soon.  Every major metropolitan city in the world has a vibrant downtown area with lots of density and lots of transportation options in addition to driving an automobile and parking a car.

So let me answer the question for the former Supervisor with sincerity rather than being snarky -- for it is entirely possible that someone who is still caught in the old car culture mindset is genuinely baffled about how to respond to the changes taking place to Southern California transportation to make it multi-modal as every other world metropolis.

The answer to "where do I park?" in Downtown Los Angeles is as follows:
  • You leave your car at a Metrorail or Metrolink train station, or an express bus park and ride and commute into downtown.
  • You leave the car at home and hop on a bus heading downtown with millions of others, or grab a Taxi or Uber or Lyft.
  • You use a mode of "active transportation" and hop on a bicycle and walk part of the way.
  • You use one of the downtown parking lots with expensive parking rates because the law of supply and demand rations those limited spaces according the laws of capitalism.
To find out more about Metrorail and Metro buses, click here.

To find out more about Metrolink Commuter Rail, click here.

To find out more about Los Angeles Department of Transportation Commuters Buses and Dash circulator buses, click here.

Your local transit authority probably also has an express bus going to/from Downtown.

Is this really so hard?  Downtown Los Angeles is NOT a suburb.