FROM Brian Taylor
Is LA Still the Car Capital of the World? California's economy depends on transportation, but money is running short to repair an aging infrastructure. Los Angeles got a famously slow start at building light rail and subway systems, but then voters passed Measure R in 2009. Nine billion dollars will complete the Foothill Gold Line and the Expo Line to Santa Monica this spring. There are plans for more. But it turns out that public transit ridership has not been growing. In fact, LA Metro reports it's been on the decline for the past ten years. The same thing is happening in Orange County.
Making LA: Traffic Last week -- in the inaugural segment of our new ‘ Making LA ’ series -- we talked about LA’s built environment. This week, we talk about something near and dear to the hearts - or blood pressure - of all Angelenos: traffic and transportation. As long as people have cars, there will be traffic and congestion. But with more Metro lines being built and the advent of driverless cars and services like Uber and Lyft, transportation in LA may be in for some interesting changes.
Update on the 110 Toll Lanes LA County's Metro has released its first report on toll lanes requiring transponders on the 110 Freeway. Average speeds on lanes that used to be free for carpoolers have increased. On the rest of the freeway, traffic has slowed down. Our listeners have already noticed. We hear various reactions, the most common of them from people angry that they now have to pay for something that used to be free.
Congestion Pricing Is Coming to Southern California Starting on November 10, there's going to be big change on Interstate 110, between Adams Boulevard and the 91 Freeway. The same thing will happen early next year on Interstate 10 between Alameda Street and the 605. HOV lanes are going to be transformed into HOT -- High Occupancy Toll -- lanes . An extra passenger won't do the job any more. KCRW's Saul Gonzalez has been studying up on what's called congestion pricing.
Is LA Too Complacent about Carmageddon 2? Despite months of warnings before July of last year, there was no Carmageddon when Metro closed down the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass from Friday night until Monday morning. Workers took down half of the drive that crossed the freeway on Mulholland Drive, and LA drivers took it in stride. It went almost too smoothly, and now Metro's having a hard time drumming up public concern about Carmageddon II this coming weekend.
Toll Lanes Inching Our Way on the 10 and 110 Freeways Officials broke ground yesterday on what will be LA County's first freeway toll lanes , betting that drivers will pay to avoid rush hour traffic. The plan is to convert 25 miles of existing car pool lanes on the 10 and 110 freeways. Carpools and buses will still use the lanes for free while solo drivers will pay tolls varying from 25¢ to $1.40, depending on traffic. At the maximum rate, drivers would pay almost $20 to drive the 14 miles of the I-10's toll lane. A federal grant will fund most of the one-year pilot program and the lanes are expected to open by 2013. Brian Taylor is Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA and Director of its Institute of Transportation Studies.
Cuts to LA's Bus Lines For 10 years, LA's Metro, and its predecessor, MTA, functioned under a federal consent decree, which required more buses and lower fares to benefit poor people of color. But that decree expired five years ago. Metro is building new trains, and improving roads and freeways, with money from Measure R , the half-cent sales tax increase voters approved in 2006. At the same time, it plans to cut bus service by 12 percent and increase the number of riders on individual buses. Metro claims bus ridership is "astonishingly low," and that better management will mean "enhanced service." The Bus Riders Union, which was a plaintiff in the case that produced Measure R, says its benefits are being taken away.
Ciclavia Comes to Los Angeles and Santa Monica Despite breaking his arm in a bicycle accident, LA Mayor Villaraigosa is promoting bike travel on city streets more vigorously than ever. A week and a half ago, he fell off his bike when a taxi cab pulled in front of him on Venice Boulevard. The cab driver didn't get a ticket, but the Mayor's elbow was broken in eight places. With his arm in a sling, he's now appearing on YouTube with a pitch for making LA streets bicycle-friendly. Meantime, in Santa Monica last night, the City Council agreed to look into an idea that took root in Bogotá, Colombia. There, it's called ciclovía, the Spanish word for "bike path." Around here it's called cicLAvía , with the emphasis on LA. We hear more from the Mayor, the City Council and others.
Congestion Pricing: Is it Time to Charge LA Drivers for the Right to Be on the Road? New York's Mayor Bloomberg wanted to institute what's called "congestion pricing," but the state legislature turned him down cold. That made money available for Los Angeles to institute a pilot program on what used to be called "freeways." The federal government will give LA County $213 million for high-capacity buses and upgrading the Metrolink in the San Gabriel Valley. In return, the MTA will conduct pilot programs on the 10, the 210 and possible the 110 freeways.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.