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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


And the MTA Subway...

Who can dispute that the subway's been a great, if badly overdue, addition to the L.A. public transportation system? When it opened, the trains were nice, and the subway stations artsy, and tasty, and it looked more professional than the bus.
But even here, the missing points seem to strike in the typical manner. One is the Red Line which westbound direction from Downtown ends abruptly at Wilshire/Western. Hideous forces must've prevented that line from extending all the way to the coast line (was it politics more so than budget issues?). The other one is the Green line train which is supposed to link the rail network to LAX. Which, funnily, it almost does, but for some very obscure reason, doesn't. It ends abruptly a couple miles short of the actual airport. And not just so, but the reason for why it ends there is hard to make sense of. What would've been the big deal about extending the Green line all the way to LAX? Just hard to figure out, but the consequences are irritating. You must now transfer to a shuttle bus, which isn't obviously free (adding to the perplexity), which then proceeds to the airport proper.
In NYC, Paris, London, Tokyo, and countless of other cities, including in much poorer countries, the subway covers all, if not most, logical routes, and doesn't stop halfway toward intended destinations.
It's not as if those additional two miles or so that would've closed the gap could've been prohibitively expensive to build compared to the rest of the rail system. So, then what is it? Is it that the MTA doesn't feel its riders worthy of such a luxury?
The Redline on the other hand, is obviously terribly expensive to build, since it must be dug underground. But, instead of extending the line all the way through an immensely trafficked business and resident corridor (the Wilshire corridor), the Metro Gold line to Pasadena was built instead, suggesting that MTA's priorities are indeed out of whack. Personally, I think regardless of any NIMBY politics that may have stood in much of the way of the red line's logical extension, are given overdue importance. Los Angeles isn't primarily some suburban idyll where traffic and people can be wished away. It seems people go to the Westside and the beach anyway, only they now have to slog through traffic via car or bus. And the traffic problem remains as bad as ever, and is getting worse. All this because some people confuse Los Angeles with some Santa Barbara community and are afraid of subway trains? When is Los Angeles going to wake up the fact that it's the second largest city in the United States, not some damn gated community in the desert. Please. To those who are afraid of subways, there are places, even within California, where they could move if the Red line turned out to be the scary monster they seem to perceive it as. Anyway, it's not viable to ignore reality forever.
Seriously, the Metro Red Line extension would be a superb addition for 99% of the people. From office workers to janitors, to shoppers and commuters, basically, there are so many people and such a diverse crowd that travel the Wilshire corridor anyway, that extending the Red Line would only relieve traffic congestion, inconvenience, be good for the environment, and possibly even increase sales for businesses along the line. What could've been better from MTA's point of view? Not doing it, or doing something lesser if possible?

Can we count on you to help support the fight in Sacramento and Washington to get money to build the subway extension?
Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention: The Gold Line was built despite MTA wanting to do other projects ahead of it because politicians not affiliated with the MTA stuck their noses in it.

The Gold Line was built because the city councils of Pasadena and the other cities in that region pushed it ahead of other, more worthy projects.

The Red Line extension didn't get built because a Congressman pushed legislation prohibiting tunneling west of Western.

Do some research. You'll see I'm right and that your comments aren't.
I'll help out if possible.

And sure, I'm not a technical writer. But regardless, the MTA sloppyness is real.

They are not slaves under the Pasadena city council, right? They're supposed to lead, right? MTA.

I knew who he was: Henry Waxman. But don't you believe there were NIMBY agendas behind him as well? He said it was about subterranean gases. But common, NIMBYISM is well and alive in L.A. and surely there were also more trivial reasons to refuse to build a subway that would've helped hundreds of thousands people.
The Gold Line was built because when MTA halted the project, those politicians ran to Sacramento and got a separate authority created to build it anyway.

Those same politicians are now pushing for an extension east of Pasadena all the way to Claremont, defying the usual rules of extending a rail line because of demand on the existing service, because they want their prize, and never mind that the money could be spent elsewhere.
Alright. The thing is, that whomever it is, that's responsible for illogical decisions that concern the MTA deserves the criticism.

Even if a particular service within the MTA transportation network is lacking due to some other entity or person than the MTA per se, transportation will still be suffering for it, which will affect all riders.

I don't care if it was the politicians or the MTA per se who made this or that decision. The public transportation system ends up suffering anyway.
This blog is about the MTA, not about individuals. So whomever is responsible for why the MTA sucks is the target of the criticism. Since public transportation is in everybody's interest.

Just wanted to make that clear.
I take the Venice Blvd. bicycle lane to the beach all the time. I ride from Highland Park, and the only annoying bit is getting through Downtown in a timely and convenient way (too many cars blocking my way).

Once I get on Venice Blvd. by the Staples Center it is a straight shot to the coast.

The trip takes me 56 minutes on a fast day, and more if there is wind, or if I stop to get water or kick back.

I pass that damned 33, or 333, bus (packed to the gills, typically) 8 out of ten times. I always feel a little sad for the shmucks on board who are stuck in that screaming tin can.
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