Tag: los angeles

New Amtrak Award Valuation: Major downgrade for California passengers

When it comes to rewards points, a new press release is a frequent traveler’s worst nightmare. Enter Amtrak:

A simpler process and more flexible earning and redemption options will be hallmarks of Amtrak’s completely overhauled Guest Rewards program, set to be implemented January 2016.
Travel Pulse

Translation: If you ride Amtrak California frequently, you need to use your points before a massive devaluation hits in January.

We are confident this program combines what passengers want most — the ability to grow points earnings rapidly with the freedom to use those points in the way that best fits their individual travel needs.” Click to read more!

LA to convert more crosswalks to continental style

Less than a month ago, I noted that LA hired a pedestrian czar, and one of her first duties was to begin installing continental (ladder-style, or zebra) crosswalks at dangerous intersections. I called on Fresno to follow suit, both in hiring a bike/ped expert, and in beginning an inexpensive, but highly effective process of converting crosswalks to the more visible style.

A continental crosswalk in downtown LA

Well, according to a local TV station, LA has upped their game.

Last year, Murphy, along with former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
announced a project to test the system by upgraded 50 of the most
dangerous intersections, including 7th Street and Alvarado Street,
Hollywood Blvd and Highland Avenue, Slauson Avenue and Western Avenue,
as well as others. Click to read more!

Hyperloop proposal: Bad joke or attempt to sabotage California HSR project?

Was Elon Musk’s s mega-announcement really just a last-ditch attempt to sabotage the California High Speed Rail (HSR) project, rather than a serious proposal to revolution travel? Something smells very fishy, so let’s take a look….

By now you’ve probably heard about Elon Musk’s widely publicized proposal to build a tube transit system that can get you from LA to San Francisco in 35 minutes.

I was excited to hear about the proposal, as there had been some hype attached to it.  Elon Musk is a serious guy – founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Pay-Pal – so when he says he has something big, it makes sense to listen. Click to read more!

What Fresno can learn from LA: Broadway Street Project

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Los Angeles’s new pedestrian czar, a position Fresno really needs to add. Well, that’s not the only thing Fresno can mimic from LA.

Los Angeles and Fresno both share a street downtown with the same name: Broadway. Both have/had theater activity, and were once bustling centers of activity. Today, Broadway in LA is still full of merchants, but almost all are low rent. Almost every theater is shuttered. Fresno’s Broadway is in worse shape – most buildings have simply been demolished. Of course, there are some bright spots, like the Rainbow Ballroom and the Crest, and even some new projects in the work, such as a large residential development. Click to read more!

What Fresno can learn from LA: Pedestrian Czar

I’ve mentioned before how in a lot of ways, Fresno tries to be the LA of 20 years ago. Unfortunately, that means mimicking failed policies that LA has thrown out the window. One mistake LA made was to ignore the pedestrian, but things have finally started to change.

LA recently hired a “pedestrian coordinator,” a person whose only job is to improve transportation for pedestrians. What’s interesting is that this person was not a traffic engineer, but someone with a much more varied background Click to read more!

One year after opening, Expo line ridership meeting projections for 2020

A bit over a year ago, the city of Los Angeles welcomed its newest (and long delayed) light rail line, called the Expo Line. Taking riders between downtown LA and Culver City (and eventually Santa Monica), the line had been greatly anticipated to fill a large gap in the metro system. For one, the line would have three stops serving USC, which includes a stop at the famous and frequently used LA Coliseum.

Not everyone was excited about the line. One conservative group, the Reason Foundation, which had spent years yelling about the horrors of rail transit in LA, sent out two reporters to the new line to count, and thus estimate, ridership. They used their loose estimates to declare the line a failure. Click to read more!

LA’s newest light rail line ignores the pedestrian

This past week, I was in Los Angeles and rode the Expo Light Rail Line for the first time, from end to end. I’ve written about the line before, and taken pictures of its construction, but had never been on board since it opened last April. The line runs from downtown LA to Culver City, with an under-construction extension to Santa Monica scheduled to open in 2016.

One thing I’d observed during the construction phase was the seeming lack of attention to how riders actually get to the line. A transit line cannot only focus on the immediate tracks and stations – people need to arrive safely and comfortably. And because we’re talking about rail transit within a city, many passengers will arrive on foot or by bike. Ignoring them doesn’t just depress ridership, but it can be dangerous too. Click to read more!

If light rail was built like roller coasters….

Fresno may not have a light rail line, or any plans for one, but I do like to follow the progress of construction on transit lines in other cities. In the past, I kept up with the development of the Expo Light Rail line in Los Angeles. Phase 1 opened last summer, and Phase 2 is is now well under cosntruction.

Phase 2 to Santa Monica now has almost-completed bridges, well graded sections of dirt, and even the first foray of construction deep into downtown Santa Monica. But even though the first track is scheduled to be dropped off this summer, the line isn’t going to open to passengers until 2016, if all goes well…..and these things never go well. Click to read more!

Will Megabus serve Fresno this time?

It’s been a badly kept secret, but Megabus is returning to California later this year. Megabus originally entered the California market in 2007, but left in mid 2008 due to poor ridership. Believe it or not, but Megabus served California before they began operations in the northeast corridor, which is now their strongest market.

Back in 2007, service was focused on LA, with routes to Vegas, San Francisco, Phoenix and San Diego. The Central Valley was not served, as the buses used I-5 to express between LA and the Bay Area. Megabus was unhappy with ridership, and took all their buses east. Click to read more!

Expo line ridership increasing rapidly – 16,569 in June

A little less than three months ago, LA’s Expo Light Rail line finally opened after years of delay. The launch wasn’t perfect, as there were many kinks being worked out, and travel times were slower than expected (train times are now matching their schedules).

While many were happy to celebrate the launch of a new travel option, some were quick to proclaim doom. If you recall, I wrote a couple of posts about how the Reason Foundation decided that Expo was a failure based on some random counts they made within days of the line opening. They then took those random counts, and decided that they were an accurate reflection of lifetime ridership on Expo. Click to read more!