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.


WeHoBC said...

Thanks for your insightful post! You should consider sending it to the candidates of the June election and posting their responses. Views of WeHo City Council candidates on bicycling-related issues can be found on the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition's Web site ( The responses of the four candidates running in the June election will be posted shortly.

Anonymous said...

Trying to extend a leg of the subway thru West Hollywood is nonsense. What should be built is a light rail that starts at the Santa Monica Bl. Expo Line terminal and proceeds east to Sepulvada. It should then branch off the Expo Line going north to Santa Monica Bl. and rebuild the old P.E. right of way thru West L.A. , Century City, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Hollywood and Silverlake along Sunset Bl. Going into Downtown via either Glendale Bl. or Hill St.

Then both the west side which was developed with the 2 Freeway in mind can be connected to the communities to the east and those working in Downtown will have reliable service as well.

Thomas Dorsey said...

I like most of Matt Szabo's Pink Line proposal from Downtown-Dodger Stadium-EchoPark-Silver Lake-EaHo-Hollywood-WeHo-Beverly Hills-Century City. I used to think a Streetcar covering that distance was okay until I spent time driving it. I am 100% certain that a Streetcar Line over that corridor would cause roadway chaos. Even worse, running at 11 mph only succeeds with tourists, not Angeleno commuters looking to travel several miles. After researching what many transit officials think of effective Streetcar Lines, i agree that they are best used for routes under 1.5 miles/downtown circulators.

Santa Monica Blvd (Hollywood & WeHo stations) and Sunset Blvd (Silver Lake, Echo Park & Dodger Stadium stations) corridors are dense and getting denser. Once you reach that logical conclusion that unifying them into one 10 mile or so corridor requires underground/aerial rapid transit, the question becomes what is the best long term solution to reduce congestion, smog and green house gases? Heavy Rail is the best solution because it uses 4 existing Red Line stations and tunnels and carries nearly 3 times more patrons as the best Light Rail. It costs about the same as building 4 new Heavy Rail stations from Union Station to SMB-Vermont station plus one Heavy Rail extension to SMB/LaBea. An underground Light Rail covering the same distance and 9 or 10 new stations, would cost about the same. The net additional cost for Heavy Rail would only be for 3 WeHo stations, 1 Beverly Hills station and one tunnel to Century City. Even if Beverly Hills remains a Metro road-block, Pink Line to SMB-Doheny would as popular as the Red Line. LA having 3 Heavy Rail lines out-performing any single BART Line and as popular as some DC Metro lines would attract additional USDOT funding for all of LA.

I harbor one major criticism of Szabo's proposal. Requesting Federal or State funding for Metro Hollywood Bowl station that's only useful during concerts is not only ill-conceived, it casts doubt on the judgment of LA transit officials. Bad judgment on route alignments cost Baltimore, Miami and Cleveland Heavy Rail transit funding. In LA's case, USDOT officials know that more shuttle buses to Hollywood Bowl would suffice. That's what Szabo's proposal should ask for Hollywood Bowl.

To further enhance the proposal, Szabo should align with his council-mate to connect the Crenshaw Line with the Pink Line. Congressional Transportation Committee & USDOT officials, regardless of Demo or Repub leadership, want existing Rapid Transit lines to attract more Patrons Per Mile. Towards the latter patronage objective, I've stated in the past that I think the Crenshaw Line should go underground Crenshaw-San Vincente-Fairfax/Wilshire-Fairfax/Farmers Market-SMB/Fairfax-SMB/LaBrea-Hollywood/Highland.

If necessary to secure Pink Line Heavy Rail funding, I would make a sacrificial amendment to my preferred Crenshaw extension alignment after San Vincente/Pico station. The sacrifice would be no Crenshaw Line stations at Fairfax/Wilshire, Fairfax/3rd or Fairfax/SMB. Instead, Crenshaw Line would extend up to LaBrea/Wilshire-LaBrea/3rd-LaBrea/SMB stations, then connect underground with the Pink Line. Such a connection is vital because Congressional Transportation Committee & USDOT officials know that interconnecting several Metrorail lines boosts Patrons Per Mile Per Dollar more than other extensions. This approach is doubly vital because LA is competing with Chicago, DC, Boston, SF Bay Area, Philly and Atlanta for a limited pot of Heavy Rail funding.

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