Friday, October 30, 2009

Update on Little Tokyo / Regional Connector

Some interesting ideas presented here. Given LT's opposition to anything transitioning to grade, this seems like it'll help win community support. I find it interesting that there's a bit of a PPP involved here, too--good to know some developers are thinking outside the box and recognizing that this "generosity" could be a good negotiating tool for their development as well as provide increased economic activity for them due to transit proximity/access.

Little Tokyo Asks Metro to Study Grade-Separated Alternatie for Regional Connector

A 5th Option?

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The End of LOS?

Is it too good to be true?

California may drop LOS requirement in CEQA. Adding more traffic lanes at the expense of other modes may no longer be required by "environmental" laws.

Bike lanes to create jobs?

People are finally starting to realize that people will only bike if there are bike lanes to safely use bicycles on.

This blog post highlights more details about this.

But it does make sense that bike lanes can create jobs and create some economic revitalization in areas that have high potential bike ridership but little to no bicycle infrastructure.

Anyone want to run a survey and find the areas with largest potential bicycle ridership in America?

Monday, October 19, 2009

In reference to Professor Kodama's Post

Here is the link to the article about Santa Monica and Parking

Santa Monica to experiment with parking psychology

Don Shoup and San Fransisco can be found below

Donald Shoup on San Francisco’s Groundbreaking Parking Meter Study

and finally the last one about Green port, NY

Putting Greenwich Street Back Together

If any of these articles are incorrect lemme know.

Santa Monica, Don Shoup, San Francisco, New York

Anyone see the Los Angeles Times article on parking in Santa Monica? How about Don Shoup talking about San Francisco - and two other cities? How about parking in Greenport, New York?

Let me know your thoughts in class...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parking thoughts from the other side of the world

I find that when anyone discusses parking and Japan, people often think of those really cool ferris wheel-esque designs where you drop your car off in a slot and then all of the cool automatic and digital mechanisms go into place and swiftly take your car off to this amazing hidden magical place...

Well, this isn't about that.

In doing my language studies, I read an interesting article about a parking structure owner who could never fill all three stories of his lot in part because there was another structure owner who had a better location.

However, with a little creativity he decided to stratify the daily and monthly cost per floor. The top floor was the cheapest with the bottom floor being the most expensive. What is unusual about this case is he didn't raise his overall price for the bottom floor to account for charging less on the 2nd and 3rd levels. Rather he saw that he was never getting any cash flow from the upper levels and decided to "cut his losses" when in actuality he accommodated market demands and ended up making multiples of what he would have otherwise.

This presents a novel yet effective method in solving the empty roof level parking problems in many vertical parking structures since, as we all know, the higher the floor the more it costs but the less likely it is to be used.

You can pay me later for the idea :-p

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Congestion Pricing and the Environment

There was some hoopla about the recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming that congestion pricing would actually increase emissions by making driving easier. As a cyclist first, transit user second, and pedestrian third, I'm all for giving these modes advantages over driving, but increasing and/or ignoring congestion is not the way to do that. As the only person qualified to judge the value of my time, I want there to be a driving system priced appropriately that gets me where I need to go when I'm in a rush and willing to pay. Some people will always drive, but if the economics are right, that will be much less common. Giving me the freedom to choose which appropriately-priced mode of transportation I consume for any given trip is no different than any other market. I don't expect chocolate volcano lava cake for the price of grocery store ice cream and I don't expect to cruise through the heart of a major urban area at 55 mph for the price of, well, free. And as a primary user of alternative modes, making driving harder does not make my life easier. If the cost of driving is included in its price, consumers can make informed choices about their travel. It would be nice if bicycle, transit, and pedestrian infrastructure received even a fraction of the attention that our roads get.

As for the actual merits of the WSJ piece, I'll leave it to Streetsblog to point out that every city that has tried congestion pricing saw a reduction in congestion and emissions, while improving the travel times of all modes. It's amazing what good economics will do.

More Streetsblog commentary that is right on point.

Monday, October 12, 2009

George Costanza

Who is right? The person backing into a parallel spot or going in head first?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Schwarzenegger could end part of 710 Freeway debate

The full article can be found here:

Full Article

An article from the LA Times on 10/11/2009 discusses how a bill on the Governors desk that can end any hopes of a surface level connection of the 710 to the 210.

Our favorite resource Bob Huddy is quoted at the end about the feasability of building a 4.5 mi underground tunnel that would connect the 710 without cutting South Pasadena in half.

His quote is here, "Robert Huddy, who retired last year as the Southern California Assn. of Governments' manager for regional transit planning, agreed, adding that a public-private partnership could build the tunnel as a toll road.

'This has been done in Spain, in France, in Russia, in Switzerland, in Germany, in similar conditions," Huddy said. "We have had advances in tunneling technology . . . but it's very expensive.'"

A PPP financing option for the 710 might work but what would be the incentive or capital that the South Pasadena/Glendale area be able to offer that can bring a viable private partner to the table?

Let's hope Bob Huddy will chime in.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Congestion Awareness


I just joined this blog site to speak about traffic congestion and transportation issues. As a retired planner from
Caltrans and having worked with many agencies and local communities, it is distressing that congestion is still
one of major, unsolved problems in urban planning. There are many reasons for congestion, such as inadequate transit services, personal preferences to drive, urban sprawl and poor planning in where we locate homes and work sites. I don't think there is a single solution.

However, energy consumption and climate change have to be a part of the dialogue. More investments in public transit must also be in the mix. Adopting technology from the internet and wireless devices might also be used. And we should include more community involvement in our planning processes, particularly from those underserved communities who often bear the burden of noise, pollution and hazards from this congestion. I would be interested in hearing what others think about this broad topic. Thank you.