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Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

What “Carmageddon” Says About LA County

July 15, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s virtually impossible to avoid hearing about this weekend’s shutdown of I-405, as the media has been hyping “Carmegeddon” for weeks, but the fact that there is such a big deal to be made over the closure of such a short stretch of freeway (only 10 miles) over a mere 52-hour period, highlights what the rest of the nation has long criticized L.A. for: extreme auto dependency.

Hopefully, the right people are taking note and regarding the weekend freakout as reason for something to be done about L.A.’s auto addiction. Providing Los Angeles county citizens with the transportation options of other comparable cities would be a step in the right direction toward solving multiple problems in the area, including the infamous smog issue. In addition, wider freeways will probably just mean more cars, and not less traffic. In fact, a University of Toronto study recently found exactly that.

In all likelihood, enough people will be too afraid to use a car this weekend that the traffic situation will be no worse than any other weekend in L.A. Carmegeddon will probably be laughed about years later, and we’ll all feel foolish for worrying about nothing. Fortunately for those of us living in Long Beach, there’s plenty to do without needing to leave the city anyway, including a college volleyball tournament, free movie on the beach, and motorcycle festival at the Queen Mary.

Amidst all the hype however, the situation might encourage people to explore their immediate neighborhood. My advice? Take a walk! Ride your bike! Take advantage of free rides on Metro rail! Do something that doesn’t involve driving. You might find something really cool nearby that you never knew was there.

Bike Lane Construction Makes Progress Despite Weather Delays

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s a couple of pictures I’ve taken of the construction of the new protected bike lanes being added to 3rd Street and Broadway in downtown Long Beach.

 

The new curbs will reduce both streets to two lanes of vehicle traffic instead of three, and only take away a couple of parking spaces per block. Traffic signals for bikes were installed a while ago. The construction is expected to last until the second week of March.

Drivers living in areas affected by the construction can still obtain a free parking permit for a city parking lot while construction is taking place here: https://www.thepermitstore.com/lb/event/

More info can be found at: http://www.dlba.org/downtownprojects

SR-710 Conversations asks about Transportation in your town

February 20, 2011 1 comment

First off, I apologize for the lengthy, unannounced hiatus I’ve taken. I know I don’t have many followers right now, but nevertheless, I’ve been away for too long.

If you are following Metro’s SR-710 Conversations on Facebook, you probably will have seen this morning’s post:

 

SR-710 Facebook Post 2/20/11

SR-710 Facebook Post 2/20/11

 

Regardless of your opinion on the 710 Gap project itself, this presents an interesting opportunity to tell Metro what can be made better by by explaining what you like about existing transportation in your area.

Since I’m in Long Beach, at the very South end of the 710 Freeway,  I have mixed feelings about the project: Do we really need to be investing more money in an already absurd highway system? Will the benefits of extending the 710 to Pasadena outweigh the cost, environmental impact, and inconvenience of the affected neighborhoods? Who are we really trying to please with this project, local commuters or the trucks coming from the port? Would this money be better spent expanding light rail and freight rail?

To address the actual question SR-710 Conversations poses, there’s a lot to be said about transportation in my area. For the most part, the streets of Long Beach are mapped out on an easy-to-navigate grid system, which makes the time it takes to get from home to the store considerably less than if we had winding suburban roads.

Right now, construction is underway on a project that would add to the bike friendly reputation of Long Beach. We are adding protected bike lanes downtown on Broadway and 3rd Streets, complete with separate stop lights and sidewalk planters, to make bike travel easier and considerably safer. This is in addition to our miles and miles of bike paths, the sharrows in the Belmont Shore neighborhood, and the downtown Bikestation.

Public transit here is something to be proud of. In addition to it’s stellar service, Long Beach Transit operates four bus lines that are free to ride downtown which benefits locals and tourists alike. The Downtown Transit Mall, also under construction, will provide a central commuting hub for the LBT fleet, Metro buses, Metro Rail, Torrance Transit, and LADOT.  I love taking the Metro Blue line in and out of Long Beach whenever I can.

As far as freeways go, I’m somewhat pleased with the way they connect Long Beach to the rest of the Los Angeles/Orange County area. In St. Louis, the freeways cut right through the heart of the city, and in many cases, restrict new development. In fact, there is a large movement in St. Louis to remove and reroute a section of I-70 through downtown, replacing it with a pedestrian and vehicle-friendly “boardwalk.” Traffic in the LA area may be bad, but we also have things like HOV lanes to help alleviate the congestion. Perhaps the traffic problems on the 710 would be partially alleviated if the trucks had a separated express lane like St. Louis has on I-70 North of downtown.

If you live in an area affected by the SR-710 study, you are only doing yourself and your community a favor by responding to their social media outreach.
http://www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations/