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-   -   Are LA's rail transit expansion plans enough to shift the city away from the car? (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=249564)

craigs Jan 17, 2022 11:13 PM

For those who are unaware (like I was until I moved back in June), LA Metro has renamed all of its train lines. Per wikipedia:

A Line (opened 1990 as Blue Line) is a light rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Long Beach.

B Line (opened 1993 as Red Line) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood.

C Line (opened 1995 as Green Line) is a light rail line running between Redondo Beach and Norwalk, largely in the median of the 105 Freeway.

D Line (opened 2006 as Red Line, then changed to Purple Line) is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles.

E Line (opened 2012 as Expo Line) is a light rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

L Line (opened 2003 as Gold Line) is a light rail line running between East Los Angeles and Azusa via Downtown Los Angeles.

jd3189 Jan 18, 2022 9:27 AM

Just finished watching this video on the old streetcar system. This furthers the point that LA should continue to focus on building a public transportation system that is decentralized. The urban region of Southern California was established by the streetcar; the car followed in its footsteps.

Video Link

kittyhawk28 Jan 18, 2022 3:06 PM

Jake Berman's map of LA Metro (including busways) by 2028 under the "28 by '28" proposal:
https://i.imgur.com/xU2GwFw.png?3

Higher-res map here: https://www.reddit.com/r/lostsubways...to_expand_its/

Quixote Jan 18, 2022 4:22 PM

What percentage of the actual respective populations of the “Big Six” actually live totally car-free? Even NYC clearly has sections of more auto-oriented urbanism. Staten Island, a huge chunk of Queens, and decent-sized portions of Brooklyn and the Bronx all have homes with driveways.

SF represents less than 10% of the Bay Area population, and within those 46 square miles, only maybe 33% of it is what I would call ideally urban or unequivocally more conducive to pedestrians than automobiles.

Same goes for the other four. Half of the cities’ respective populations probably live “car-lite.”

LA’s a megalopolis of 18 million, but OC and IE are and will always be their own thing. Seems to me that if we can build a city to accommodate car-freedom for, say, 2-3 million Angelenos, then that would be enough to “shift” the culture of the city. DT alone could probably accommodate 450-500,000 or so car-free residents. East Hollywood, Hollywood, and West Hollywood could accommodate 300,000. Koreatown and Westlake (using Google Maps’ definition) together another 250-500,000. Throw in parts of South LA, the Fairfax District, Culver City, Palms, Santa Monica, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Glendale, and Inglewood for good measure.

Is it that hard to envision? The challenges aren’t urban structure but infrastructure, smart planning, and political will.

homebucket Jan 18, 2022 6:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quixote (Post 9506507)
Seems to me that if we can build a city to accommodate car-freedom for, say, 2-3 million Angelenos, then that would be enough to “shift” the culture of the city. DT alone could probably accommodate 450-500,000 or so car-free residents. East Hollywood, Hollywood, and West Hollywood could accommodate 300,000. Koreatown and Westlake (using Google Maps’ definition) together another 250-500,000. Throw in parts of South LA, the Fairfax District, Culver City, Palms, Santa Monica, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Glendale, and Inglewood for good measure.

Is it that hard to envision? The challenges aren’t urban structure but infrastructure, smart planning, and political will.

It is actually hard to envision. Getting rid of parking minimums would be a good first step. As well as adding more protected bike lanes, narrowing the streets and widening sidewalks. DTLA has added a lot of residents in the last few years, but I wonder how many of them are actually car-free, let alone car-lite. If the podiums and parking ratios are any indicator, I'd wager very, very few.

Crawford Jan 18, 2022 8:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quixote (Post 9506507)
What percentage of the actual respective populations of the “Big Six” actually live totally car-free? Even NYC clearly has sections of more auto-oriented urbanism. Staten Island, a huge chunk of Queens, and decent-sized portions of Brooklyn and the Bronx all have homes with driveways.

Most NYC households are car-free. That's particularly notable in the auto-crazed U.S. context, as even European transit meccas like Paris don't have higher core splits. The % of car-free households is also pretty high in urban North Jersey; comparable to % car-free in the most transit oriented U.S. city propers excepting NYC.

Yeah, there are sizable portions of NYC (and inner suburbs) with driveways, but a relatively small % of the overall population lives in those areas. Obviously those types of neighborhoods don't have density remotely comparable to the more urban enclaves. The southern half of Staten Island and the really suburban parts of Northeast Queens might have 125,000-150,000 people each. Outside of those two areas there aren't any large suburban geographies in city proper.

The other cities (DC, Boston, Philly, Chicago, SF), yes, have relatively high vehicle ownership. But they're different from LA in that they A. Have a high(er) share of non-poor choice riders; B. Have a traditional dominant core that's ideal for transit corridors; and C. Have a significant share of urban landscape built pre-auto and not particularly adapted to auto age.

It would be difficult to envision LA overcoming these factors. Doesn't mean it isn't worth trying, but it would be a fundamental rethinking of the region, which is tough when a region is mature and developed. LA Koreatown just isn't built like SF Nob Hill, even if the densities are roughly comparable, and I'm not sure how you'd make such a transition.

accord1999 Jan 18, 2022 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homebucket (Post 9506704)
It is actually hard to envision. Getting rid of parking minimums would be a good first step. As well as adding more protected bike lanes, narrowing the streets and widening sidewalks. DTLA has added a lot of residents in the last few years, but I wonder how many of them are actually car-free, let alone car-lite. If the podiums and parking ratios are any indicator, I'd wager very, very few.

In articles that looked at the severe decline in bus ridership in LA pre-COVID, one of the factors that are mentioned are lower income residents who are higher transit users being pushed out of transit friendly areas by rising rents. This would imply that the higher income people moving in to replace them don't use transit as much. They may love the idea of being near a train station but don't use it very much.

Easy Jan 30, 2022 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9494059)
Transit ridership is much if not mostly by people who can't afford a car. It only takes a single car to enable 4-5-6 dirt-poor people to almost completely avoid riding the bus.

This is true primarily in the sunbelt and is true in LA. Conceptually people that can afford a car, but chose transit are called "choice" riders as in they have choices/options and choose public transit. Metro used to focus on attracting such riders, but they are secondary now to serving riders that are at-risk and have been treated poorly in the past. Without going into detail choice riders have abandoned metro and the riders that remain are doing all that they can to get a car. I don't see that changing without a policy shift within metro and I don't see that happening either. Metro is a disaster right now imo.

Doady Jan 30, 2022 11:51 PM

"Choice riders" as non-car owners only is misleading. Maybe they choose not to buy a car, or they choose to live in a place where a car is not a necessity. To build a city where the car is not a necessity is the main goal to begin with. Such definition of "choice riders" means continuing to strive towards facilitating cars and satisfying the demands of car owners as the main goal.

Easy Jan 30, 2022 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edale (Post 9494068)
As a sometimes transit user in LA, I can tell you the biggest obstacle to using the system for me was the 'first mile/last mile' challenge. I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood that actually is served by a metro stop. However, I am just a little too far to comfortably walk to the station (~25 min walk). I don't have a bike, and I wouldn't want to take it on the train and to work with me anyways. I can take a bus, but it takes a bit of planning and good luck to make the bus and make the train. Subway headways are 10 mins (at peak! more like 20 outside of that). Just way too many hurtles to jump when I can drive in 25 mins and park pretty cheaply. If there was a better connection to the subway, I'd use it way more. But it's just too much effort to use, when driving is faster, easier, cleaner, etc.

You don't have a bus that you can take to get to the train station? As a frequent/daily metro user that can get pretty much anywhere I think that most of the first mile/last mile concerns are from people that won't consider riding a bus. Not you of course, but LA has really good bus coverage and prior to the pandemic it was pretty frequent depending on your location.

I agree that the subway frequencies are atrocious. We elect people that want our system to be the cheapest/freeest as well as the most equitable with no goal of it being the best or even good. So here we are.

tablemtn Jan 30, 2022 11:52 PM

California seems incapable of building big infrastructure projects anymore. What happened to the high-speed rail network which was approved in 2008? How big is that system after 14 years and billions of dollars? Etc.

Easy Jan 30, 2022 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doady (Post 9519535)
"Choice riders" as non-car owners only is misleading. Maybe they choose not to buy a car, or they choose to live in a place where a car is not a necessity. To build a city where the car is not a necessity is the main goal to begin with. Such definition of "choice riders" means continuing to strive towards facilitating cars and satisfying the demands of car owners as the main goal.

No, it means striving to create a system that meets the needs of people that have the financial means to facilitate their travel by other means. It means that you have directors that want to build a world class system for a world class city.

Easy Jan 30, 2022 11:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tablemtn (Post 9519538)
California seems incapable of building big infrastructure projects anymore. What happened to the high-speed rail network which was approved in 2008? How big is that system after 14 years and billions of dollars? Etc.

It's about 200 miles so far but it's still under construction.

Easy Jan 31, 2022 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 9495253)
some subway is good out there for sure, but more than any other city la is the one i wish for the most to bring the streetcars back.

i guess car drivers would never go for it anymore, but still i wish they would experiment with it somewhere to see what happens.

LA streetcars didn't work in 1960 and they really wouldn't work now. When they were built and LA only didn't have as many people they averaged 30mph. At the end after the population exploded, it was something like 14 mph. Now it would be more like 10 mph. The biggest issue though is that a minor fender bender on a street shuts the line down. They wouldn't be reliable. I wouldn't want that for LA.

Easy Jan 31, 2022 12:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 9495792)
Marketing is just part of it. I'll say it again....but lanes would speed the buses dramatically, as they've done in other cities. LA has very little bus-only infrastructure.

How fast are buses in LA compared to "other cities"?

Easy Jan 31, 2022 12:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quixote (Post 9496922)
Also would like to point out that LA's decline in rail ridership was due in large part to the partial closure of the Blue Line and that douchebag Phil Washington (Metro's now ex-CEO) reducing headways to 20 minutes after 8 p.m. just to save a few million dollars.

Phil Washington didn't reduce purple/D line headways to 20 minutes. They've been 20 minutes at night forever. Maybe he he moved it a little earlier, but the headways have always been bad.

SFBruin Jan 31, 2022 3:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Easy (Post 9519560)
How fast are buses in LA compared to "other cities"?

I think that it's a mixed bag.

I used to ride the 720 a lot, and thought it was great.

I once rode the bus down Slauson, and it was awful. Other buses seem to be somewhere in the middle.

jd3189 Jan 31, 2022 5:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Easy (Post 9519557)
LA streetcars didn't work in 1960 and they really wouldn't work now. When they were built and LA only didn't have as many people they averaged 30mph. At the end after the population exploded, it was something like 14 mph. Now it would be more like 10 mph. The biggest issue though is that a minor fender bender on a street shuts the line down. They wouldn't be reliable. I wouldn't want that for LA.

Interesting. I wonder if dedicated lanes would also be helpful. Either way, streetcars seemed to be the solution, since prewar LA was built for it.

I would be interested to know how fast Toronto’s streetcar system goes. Toronto seems to be a good analog to LA, also having a dense suburban layout.

Other than that, I can’t think of any other mode of mass transit that would work for LA to compete with the car. Nothing available right now (Metrorail, Buses, etc) comes close.

pwright1 Jan 31, 2022 5:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 9495107)
And the Purple Line extension isn't being built just solely for them. More others will ride it.

And, that's just one particular stretch of Wilshire. And guess what, there won't be any stops along that Wilshire Condo Corridor anyway.

Going west, there'll be a Wilshire/Rodeo station in Beverly Hills, and then the next stop is in Century City, and then the next stop will be Wilshire/Westwood---completely bypassing that high-rise condo stretch.

Exactly. This is when great bus service comes to play. The 720 and 20 buses serve the Wilshire Corridor well. Along the Wilshire Corridor there are plenty of doorman, parking attendents, janitors, Westwood Cemetary employees, groundskeepers and others that ride the 720 and 20 buses which run frequently along the corridor.

SFBruin Jan 31, 2022 6:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jd3189 (Post 9519722)
Interesting. I wonder if dedicated lanes would also be helpful. Either way, streetcars seemed to be the solution, since prewar LA was built for it.

I would be interested to know how fast Toronto’s streetcar system goes. Toronto seems to be a good analog to LA, also having a dense suburban layout.

Other than that, I can’t think of any other mode of mass transit that would work for LA to compete with the car. Nothing available right now (Metrorail, Buses, etc) comes close.

I think that grade-separated LRT is the answer for LA.


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