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Old 12-02-2010, 09:21 AM
NARVEN11 NARVEN11 is offline
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massive mass transit expansion in LA? what?!?!

Please read this article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/us...it%20la&st=cse

LA? Really? The sprawling city of low density neighborhoods, no urban or pedestrian culture and car-obsessed people is building how many miles of rail? And in Chicago the CTA can't get the Circle Line going after a decade of planning it?
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:16 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Los Angeles neighborhoods are quite high in density compared to most Chicago neighborhoods. Westside LA transit usage is also surprisingly high even though it's all bus service. Wilshire Boulevard has articulated buses running on 90 second headways much of the day. So LA plans to build their second metro line, while Chicago has eight of them, two of which are drastically underused.

Besides, the Circle Line is the answer to a question no one asked. The few guys at CTA who thought it was a good idea are all gone now.

Last edited by Mr Downtown; 12-05-2010 at 10:18 PM.
  #3  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:53 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Los Angeles neighborhoods are quite high in density compared to most Chicago neighborhoods. Westside LA transit usage is also surprisingly high even though it's all bus service.
Buses do work well for short trips, and the main muni system on the West Side, Santa Monica's "Big Blue Bus" is set up so nearly all the routes terminate at UCLA. Along the way they take in just about everywhere else in West L.A. or Santa Monica so getting around without a car is fairly easy as long as you don't plan to go further afield (like downtown, Hollywood, West Hollywood, etc.).

Quote:
Wilshire Boulevard has articulated buses running on 90 second headways much of the day. So LA plans to build their second metro line, while Chicago has eight of them, two of which are drastically underused.
With regard to the NYT article and the Crenshaw Line, I think they got that wrong; IIRC the Feds are lending us the money for that, to be paid back from the Measure R sales tax passed in 2008.

Sadly, though, at this point it doesn't look like we're going to get the West Hollywood loop on the subway, after all. At least, it's off the table for the time being, but the politics of these things has a way of changing.

Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 12-05-2010 at 10:54 PM.
  #4  
Old 12-06-2010, 07:46 AM
EvilTOJ EvilTOJ is offline
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LA has a subway system? I'm actually surprised they have one at all, much less expanding their current service.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:25 AM
Giles Giles is offline
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Originally Posted by EvilTOJ View Post
LA has a subway system? I'm actually surprised they have one at all, much less expanding their current service.
Most of it is not a subway -- it's at street level, or elevated -- and most of it is pretty recent.
  #6  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:06 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Most of it is not a subway -- it's at street level, or elevated -- and most of it is pretty recent.
And, of course, it certainly doesn't go to most places, but it works pretty well where it does go.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:49 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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Most of it is not a subway -- it's at street level, or elevated -- and most of it is pretty recent.
The LA Red Line, I believe, is entirely underground, and is fairly heavily used, with 143,000 average weekday boardings. This is busier than all but two of the eight lines in Chicago. The Blue, Green and Gold lines are what's known as "light rail," meaning they're basically trolley cars, although typically coupled together into trains during peak periods. Though not as busy as the Red Line, their ridership is comparable to lesser used lines in Chicago - see the last page of this report. I agree with Mr Downtown that the Circle Line is a misbegotten notion and am trying to talk the boss into writing something about it.

Last edited by Ed Zotti; 12-06-2010 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:58 PM
andrewesque andrewesque is offline
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As an Angeleno transplanted to Chicago (OK, I'm really a LA County suburbanite but I do live in the city of Chicago now), I thought I'd put in my two cents.

LA, which gets a bad rap for being the poster child of sprawl, has managed the impressive feat of being simultaneously fairly dense -- lot sizes are small and there are more apartment buildings than people think -- and car-oriented, which makes it a sheer joy to drive and park in. I mean, people forget that Los Angeles developed around a massive streetcar system, which accounts for its relative density throughout the city basin. Note here I'm not talking about the Orange County suburbs, which are generally a postwar development and are cookie-cutter suburbia like the rest of the country.

Last edited by andrewesque; 12-06-2010 at 04:59 PM.
  #9  
Old 12-11-2010, 12:48 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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The Blue Line is supposed to be one of the most heavily used LRT lines in the country. They're having capacity issues already. They're now using three double-length articulated cars in each train, making each one effectively six cars long. They're stuck now; they can't add more trains because it would cause too much congestion at the at-grade crossings, and they can't add more cars because some of the platforms can't accommodate longer trains.

We live in an apartment. As for parking, we're fat and happy because we have two sheltered spaces. But in our last place we only had one, and it definitely is a hassle. On the evenings before street cleaning day, it could be extremely difficult to find a place for the extra car.
  #10  
Old 12-11-2010, 10:47 AM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
The Blue Line is supposed to be one of the most heavily used LRT lines in the country. They're having capacity issues already. They're now using three double-length articulated cars in each train, making each one effectively six cars long. They're stuck now; they can't add more trains because it would cause too much congestion at the at-grade crossings, and they can't add more cars because some of the platforms can't accommodate longer trains.
The most heavily used light rail operation in the country is run by the the MBTA in Boston, consisting of the Green Line plus another short streetcar line. Average weekday ridership is 241,100. The LA Blue Line had an average of 77,538 weekday boardings as of October 2010; LA light rail ridership overall is 154,100, which puts it in a rough tie with the SF Muni for second busiest light rail operation in the U.S. Boston light rail is by far the most heavily traveled system on a per-route-mile basis according to this chart in Wikipedia.
  #11  
Old 12-21-2010, 11:36 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Chicago is a declining city while LA is still growing bigger each year.

Chicago could easily make some minor changes to their rail lines, such as connecting the brown and blue lines up north, so riders wouldn't have to go downtown and come back up or take a bus that takes forever.

Even back in the day, Chicago had restrictive rules about where street cars and El lines could go. Thus the present day trains were put into, what were once, once back alleys and places that few people, at the time objected to.

Unless you have a completely industrial area, to put an new El line or subway you're going to have lawsuits dragging on for at least ten years before construction would start.

Chicago has been seriously talking about a third airport since the mid 60s with no action. O'Hare already lost out to Atlanta because it can't grow. Soon it may lose out further to Dallas/Ft Worth.
  #12  
Old 12-22-2010, 01:34 AM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is online now
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The Los Angeles MTA Metro Rail lines consisted of heavy rail (the fully subterranean Red Line and Purple Line) and light rail (Gold, Blue, and Green Lines) that are a combination of surface, subway, and elevated lines. All use dedicated track right-of-way, not combined use in-road track or electric catenary bus as trolleys and trams do. The LA metropolitan area also is served by the Metrolink commuter system, similar to the San Francisco CAL Train and BART systems. Despite being necessarily car-dependant (as many people live in the exburbs of the Inland Empire) Los Angeles boast one of the best utilized and on time mass transit systems in the nation, and expanding the system is key to reducing congestion. LA has had a number of significant problems expanding the lines, particular the attempt to extend the Red Line out to UCLA, which would require boring under Bel Air and Beverly Hills; legal challenges purporting mythical "gas pockets" have stalled development in that area.

Mass transit in Los Angeles suffers from the same challenges as public transit in any municipality that isn't so stacked to the gills that only the terminally insane attempt to maintain car ownership, to wit that providing depot-to-destination service is a limiting factor. For instance, I could take the Metrolink to the city I work in, which would only take forty minutes (versus a 30-35 minute commute via car); however, getting from the station to my office via bus would ad over an hour. Nonetheless, when it works, it is nice. Mass transit in LA is clean, efficient, timely, and well-policed. In the occasions I've had to take it downtown it is almost always preferable to driving an attempting to park.

As andrewesque points out, the core of Los Angeles actually developed around an extensive streetcar system which was absorbed by and eventually dismantled by National City Lines, alleged (with some justification) to be a front for General Motors. Regardless of the causes, the expansion of Los Angeles metro area stretching from Santa Monica to Los Feliz (with Glendale and Pasadena being the main suburbs) to its present extent going from Ventura to Orange County as far inland as Corona, Riverside, and Moreno Valley doomed a tram system to be inadequate, just as the interstate highway system facilitated such distributed suburban development. Nonetheless, for all the screeching about urban sprawl, Los Angeles is really no worse for its population density than any of a number of large and medium size American cities; Omaha, Cincinnati, and Kansas City, to name a few, have a far worse distribution per density and longer (distance-wise) average commutes.

Stranger

Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 12-22-2010 at 01:35 AM.
  #13  
Old 12-22-2010, 02:48 AM
B. Serum B. Serum is offline
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LA? Really? The sprawling city of low density neighborhoods, no urban or pedestrian culture and car-obsessed people is building how many miles of rail?
You'd be surprised. Since my girlfriend moved in with me here in Culver City, she has a better Walkscore than she did living in downtown Boston.

Last edited by B. Serum; 12-22-2010 at 02:48 AM.
  #14  
Old 12-22-2010, 12:08 PM
NARVEN11 NARVEN11 is offline
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thanks for the great replies!

seriously!
wow.
but let me ask you LA fans something:
if you're a tourist visiting LA would you even think about using the public transportation system? you would if you're visiting chicago.

and also:
isn't the ultimate goal of mass transit to get people to give up on owning a car? Chicago already has a sizable number of people who could afford to own a car but decide not to. This number could be easily multiplied by a few extensions to the 'EL' that would make it easier to travel from neighborhood to neighborhood. Would you even consider not owning a car in LA?
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:10 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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You'd be surprised. Since my girlfriend moved in with me here in Culver City, she has a better Walkscore than she did living in downtown Boston.
My parents live in Studio City, a neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles, and have a walk score of 88. And they do walk everywhere in their neighborhood. That doesn't even count the fact that they are within a few minutes of the Universal City metro red line station, so they can easily get to Hollywood or downtown without a car.

Meanwhile, I live in a fairly close-in suburb of San Francisco, and my walk score is only 54.

There are large parts of L.A. that are still very car-dependent, no doubt. But plenty of areas are not, and that often surprises people who don't know the city.

Last edited by suranyi; 12-22-2010 at 12:11 PM.
  #16  
Old 12-22-2010, 01:21 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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Just chiming in to echo what some of the above posters have already said - the subway/rail in L.A. is actually pretty decent - it just doesn't go to that many places so if you use it you're probably going to end up taking a bus (or several) after you get off the train anyway, which sort of sucks.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:58 PM
B. Serum B. Serum is offline
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but let me ask you LA fans something:
if you're a tourist visiting LA would you even think about using the public transportation system? you would if you're visiting chicago.
I would not recommend it for tourists. While most (correct me if I'm wrong) of Chicago's attractions are mostly downtown/lakefront, Los Angeles' attractions stretch across much of it's roughly 500 square miles, from the Valley to Long Beach; from the oceanfront to Downtown. And that doesn't even include a trip to Disney. Also keep in mind that one of Los Angeles' attractions is getting away and hiking in the less-mass-transit-friendly mountains.

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isn't the ultimate goal of mass transit to get people to give up on owning a car? Chicago already has a sizable number of people who could afford to own a car but decide not to. This number could be easily multiplied by a few extensions to the 'EL' that would make it easier to travel from neighborhood to neighborhood. Would you even consider not owning a car in LA?
"Ultimate goal" suggests an ethos or doctrine that I don't think exists amongst the people who manage the disparate municipal transit services. I've always considered mass transit as nothing more than another option. Depending on the circumstance, one option may be more convenient than another. For instance, although I drive to work in Venice every day, we would rather take the bus to go to the actual beach on a sunny weekend because the parking is so hellish and traffic is so congested on those days.

Last edited by B. Serum; 12-22-2010 at 02:59 PM.
  #18  
Old 12-22-2010, 03:23 PM
guizot guizot is offline
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...the attempt to extend the Red Line out to UCLA, which would require boring under Bel Air and Beverly Hills; legal challenges purporting mythical "gas pockets" have stalled development in that area...
Interestingly, that was the original plan for the 2 freeway (through Beverly Hills), but it wasn't gas "pockets" that stopped it. The people of Beverly Hills just felt that freeways were "meant for other neighborhoods."
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The Beverly Hills Freeway

Originally, [State Route 2] was to have been the Beverly Hills Freeway from Route 405 to Route 101 just east of Vermont Avenue, flowing onto the Glendale Freeway. In fact, the proposed freeway on Route 2 west of Route 101 was the original routing of the "Santa Monica Freeway" (a name which subsequently went to the distantly parallel Route 10). However, for a variety of political reasons, the department never reached agreement with Beverly Hills to build the segment through that city. At one time, the department considered building a cut-and-cover tunnel under Beverly Hills, but even this proved a non-starter, and the freeway plan west of Route 101 was quietly cancelled in 1975. Currently, the Glendale Freeway begins as a stub at Glendale Boulevard. A freeway-wide bridge was built over Glendale Boulevard in hopes that the freeway would be built further west. Today, the bridge serves as the westbound lanes of Route 2, connecting the southwestbound freeway lanes to southbound Glendale Boulevard. A more modest freeway/expressway extension to Route 101 has been discussed.[10]
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I would not recommend it for tourists. While most (correct me if I'm wrong) of Chicago's attractions are mostly downtown/lakefront, Los Angeles' attractions stretch across much of it's roughly 500 square miles, from the Valley to Long Beach; from the oceanfront to Downtown.
I would says that's right for the typical tourist, who doesn't have that much time. For an extended visit in L.A., however, it's doable, and maybe even preferable, to rent a car for some days and use transit on others. It's probably the best way to really see the city and its people, through all of their many facets.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:55 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Originally Posted by NARVEN11 View Post
seriously!
wow.
but let me ask you LA fans something:
if you're a tourist visiting LA would you even think about using the public transportation system? you would if you're visiting chicago.

and also:
isn't the ultimate goal of mass transit to get people to give up on owning a car? Chicago already has a sizable number of people who could afford to own a car but decide not to. This number could be easily multiplied by a few extensions to the 'EL' that would make it easier to travel from neighborhood to neighborhood. Would you even consider not owning a car in LA?
Actually, I think that's a fallacy, and one of my pet peeves. The ultimate goal of mass transit is NOT to get people to give up on owning a car. It's simply to provide an alternative form of transportation which is better than a car in some circumstances. For some trips it's faster than a car. For some trips it's more convenient because you don't have to find parking. For some trips it's the only way to go because the person doesn't have a car, or doesn't have a driver's license. Etc.

I've lived in cities with very good public transit, and still had a car because some trips required it. That doesn't mean that the goal of the public transit system was not met.

ETA: Or, to put it another way, what B. Serum said.

Last edited by suranyi; 12-22-2010 at 03:56 PM.
  #20  
Old 12-22-2010, 05:12 PM
guizot guizot is offline
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The ultimate goal of mass transit is NOT to get people to give up on owning a car. It's simply to provide an alternative form of transportation which is better than a car in some circumstances.
Spot on. When I was going to UCLA I took the bus, because there's one line (#2) that goes there directly from East Hollywood, and even though I had a car and parking there, it was more convenient than driving across town on Sunset in morning rush hour. I could read papers, sleep, etc. for 45 minutes. And now, at least two days a week I take the Red Line subway downtown to work, even though there's free parking for me in the building there.
  #21  
Old 12-23-2010, 05:31 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
the core of Los Angeles actually developed around an extensive streetcar system which was absorbed by and eventually dismantled by National City Lines, alleged (with some justification) to be a front for General Motors.
The Yellow Cars, the city streetcars that served central LA, did eventually become an NCL property. But NCL kept streetcars on five of the lines until the system was under public ownership in 1963.

The Southland's interurban system was the Red Cars of Pacific Electric. NCL never had anything to do with that system.
  #22  
Old 12-26-2010, 01:05 PM
Banaticus Banaticus is offline
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The problem is that Metrolink figured out it could have a whole bunch of money right now if it took the trains that it owned, sold them, then leased them back (and the people who did the leasing arrangement could also make a whole bunch of money). Then the economy turned and Metrolink has started missing lease payments, which means it's started to lose its trains.

It's great that a lot more track and stuff is going in, but we already don't have enough money to pay for the trains we (don't) already have (since they were stupidly sold off). More track is probably nice, but it sure seems like a waste of money if we aren't going to be using it for enough years that it's going to need to be replaced anyway by the time we get around to it.

The same thing is about to happen in Sacramento, where a lot of state-government-owned buildings were recently sold off then leased back.
  #23  
Old 12-27-2010, 02:37 PM
guizot guizot is offline
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The problem is that Metrolink figured out it could have a whole bunch of money right now if it took the trains that it owned, sold them, then leased them back (and the people who did the leasing arrangement could also make a whole bunch of money). Then the economy turned and Metrolink has started missing lease payments, which means it's started to lose its trains....
Which problem in particular are you referring to? That's a pretty common thing for transit companies to do, and I think stimulus money helped to avoid large service cut-backs.
  #24  
Old 12-27-2010, 05:07 PM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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The most heavily used light rail operation in the country is run by the the MBTA in Boston, consisting of the Green Line plus another short streetcar line. Average weekday ridership is 241,100. The LA Blue Line had an average of 77,538 weekday boardings as of October 2010; LA light rail ridership overall is 154,100, which puts it in a rough tie with the SF Muni for second busiest light rail operation in the U.S. Boston light rail is by far the most heavily traveled system on a per-route-mile basis according to this chart in Wikipedia.

Is it just me or does that chart leave out New York City's subway system? Does that not qualify as Light Rail for some reason?
  #25  
Old 12-27-2010, 05:26 PM
qazwart qazwart is offline
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Is it just me or does that chart leave out New York City's subway system? Does that not qualify as Light Rail for some reason?
The Subway isn't a light rail system. It's considered a heavy rail system, and its weekday ridership is over 7,000,000 per day which blows all of the others out of the water.

A light rail system is between a street car system and a heavy rail system like a subway or El.

Light rails have their own right-of-way, but may cross streets on car level and may have pedestrians crossing their right-of-way. They tend to be single cars or double cars (not like the NY Subway which can have 10 or more cars).
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:45 PM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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if you're a tourist visiting LA would you even think about using the public transportation system?
The problem with public transit in LA is that the system is very confusing. Even long time residents have trouble with it. Chicago is laid out on a rigid grid system, and buses can usually do their entire run on a single street. This makes it very easy. Want to travel down 51st? Take the bus that goes down 51st street. No surprises. Not so in LA. The buses turn this way and that and seldom stay on one street for long. If you don't know the system, you are likely to get hopelessly lost. Even the bus drivers are clueless, if you ask them where to connect to another line, they often have no idea.

Take a look at one of the routes that I use, the 94. While it does travel in one general direction, note how it zigs and zags and seldom stays on one street for long.

Add in the fact that some bus routes run quite often, while others have very infrequent service, that some lines run all night and others shut down at 8 pm, and you have a recipe for disaster. The bus that got you there in the morning might not be running when you try to make your return trip in the evening. Then you are in for an expensive cab ride, which could easily cost as much as renting a car for several days.

You are already spending a lot to get to LA, for your hotel, eating out, and other expenses, why would you want to spend your limited time on a bus that will eat up most of your day when you would rather be at Universal Studios? You can rent an economy car for $39 a day and dispense with all that. Make sure it has nav or bring your Garmin.
  #27  
Old 12-29-2010, 05:27 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by NARVEN11 View Post
seriously!
wow.
but let me ask you LA fans something:
if you're a tourist visiting LA would you even think about using the public transportation system? you would if you're visiting chicago.
Probably not; most of the popular tourist areas still aren't reachable by rapid transit of any kind--the beaches for example. When the Expo LIne is fully operable, this will change somewhat, and it will improve more when the Purple Line reaches Westwood.

On the other hand, if you're not a beach person, you could conceivably work out a trip here and see plenty of stuff you can reach either by local rail, or by Amtrak. For instance, the San Diego Zoo is a nice day trip via Amtrak. Your experience would be a lot of fun if not exactly typical.

Stranger, the Blue line does run on shared streets for the last mile or two before it reaches 7th Street downtown.

Oddly enough I've been reading a historical novel set in early 19th Century New York, and it's startling how much NYC at that time resembled early 20th Century L.A. Wealthier residents kept moving uptown into areas that had formerly been beanfields or the like. Older areas downtown, such as Cherry Street where George WAshington had lived, became filthy, overcrowded, and crime-ridden. At the end of the century, when Manhattan was mostly developed, they started building subways. Which is about where L.A. seems to be now.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:50 PM
guizot guizot is offline
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
Stranger, the Blue line does run on shared streets for the last mile or two before it reaches 7th Street downtown.
And in Long Beach.
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
Oddly enough I've been reading a historical novel set in early 19th Century New York, and it's startling how much NYC at that time resembled early 20th Century L.A. Wealthier residents kept moving uptown into areas that had formerly been beanfields or the like. Older areas downtown, such as Cherry Street where George WAshington had lived, became filthy, overcrowded, and crime-ridden. At the end of the century, when Manhattan was mostly developed, they started building subways. Which is about where L.A. seems to be now.
Interesting point. I think just about every large city which began before the 20th century has behaved like this. Los Angeles, however, is actually two cities in this regard. The one which developed before the dominance of cars (around downtown), and which changed in the way you describe New York (CF the Jewish population going from East L.A., to Silver Lake, and then to Fairfax) and then the rest of L.A. that expanded, developed, got filled in haphazardly and gelled together almost because of cars. (That is, the expansion of these areas was to a large degree due to the new form of transportation, and not vice versa as in New York.) Parts of Pico Union or even Wilshire Center don't look that much different from many parts of Manhattan. On the other hand, places like Santa Monica in LA County and Ocean Beach in San Diego County started off as distinct places of refuge from "the city"--they were called "resorts." Now they're just the far end of one continuum which most people regard as one big city. I think--correct me if I'm wrong--Cony Island was always a diversionary day-trip. In contrast, Santa Monica and Malibu originally were developed as escapes to very separate places--often overnight.
  #29  
Old 01-01-2011, 02:37 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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I think--correct me if I'm wrong--Cony Island was always a diversionary day-trip. In contrast, Santa Monica and Malibu originally were developed as escapes to very separate places--often overnight.
This is correct to a point. For those with the means, it was quite common to have your main residence downtown near your business along with a summer house in Santa Monica, which might not even be a beach house, but just a nice place in that town. The early film stars followed this pattern in the 1910s and 20s, living in or around Hollywood or the Hollywood Hills, but also maintaining a separate beach house. IIRC Marion Davies, for example, had a beach place not far from where the Santa Monica Freeway turns into PCH.

On the other hand, once there was some sort of rail transit to Santa Monica and points north was available, I doubt that people in town considered it an overnight trip. Undoubtedly it took some time to ride out there, but presumably you just got up early and did it.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:30 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
The problem with public transit in LA is that the system is very confusing. Even long time residents have trouble with it. Chicago is laid out on a rigid grid system, and buses can usually do their entire run on a single street.
True enough. In recent years, many of the bus routes have been realigned to reach transit stations, and in some cases to end there if the rail line in question goes where the bus used to go. It's only sensible, but it can be confusing. Then as far as the rail lines themselves are concerned, the transfer points aren't really that well planned or designed; but this should improve once the Regional Connector project is in place.

Quote:

You are already spending a lot to get to LA, for your hotel, eating out, and other expenses, why would you want to spend your limited time on a bus that will eat up most of your day when you would rather be at Universal Studios? You can rent an economy car for $39 a day and dispense with all that. Make sure it has nav or bring your Garmin.
Or if you're staying in Hollywood, say, at the Roosevelt, you could get to Universal Studio by subway in 20 minutes or so. Still, I agree that for most tourists, a car would be essential, and ditto the nav system. Even though I've lived here nearly all my life, I don't like to drive without my Magellan. If I'm going anywhere the least bit unfamiliar, it's just one less thing to worry about.
  #31  
Old 01-02-2011, 07:34 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Moderator Tentatively Suggests:
This thread started as a comparison of LA vs Chicago in terms of mass transport. It's now moved into many other areas. I'm going to suggest that, for this forum, we get back to LA vs Chicago.

If someone would like to start a thread (probably in General Questions, but could be almost anywhere) on mass transport in general (citing the +'s and -'s of various cities), that'd be fine, and we'll provide a link here.

OK?

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 01-02-2011 at 07:34 AM.
  #32  
Old 02-11-2011, 12:37 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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The Master has taken up Narven's question:

http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20110210.php
  #33  
Old 02-11-2011, 01:07 PM
djelliott djelliott is offline
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Check out:
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/...transportation

Chicago doesn't even make it in the top 10 mass transit systems in the US. LA is 7th.

I despair about public transportation. I live in the northern 'burbs and the bus schedules are stupid; they cut service and complain about losing ridership. My son worked part time at the UPS in Northbrook. He could to work in 20 minutes; but that route stops at 7:30pm. It took over 2 hours to get within a mile of home on a jerry-rigged system of bus routes.

Personally, I wish the Skokie Swift worked on weekends. The only real alternative is to drive west to Cumberland to use their park 'n ride to get downtown.
  #34  
Old 02-11-2011, 04:27 PM
guizot guizot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Zotti View Post
The Master has taken up Narven's question:

http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20110210.php
I haven't used those lines in Chicago, but Cecil's well-thought plan for the Northside demonstrates something that woefully happens all too often: The people who make the big decisions about public transit obviously don't use it themselves. They should. They should be forced to. They should be forced to live a year in the city in question using only public transit.
  #35  
Old 02-11-2011, 08:24 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djelliott View Post
I wish the Skokie Swift worked on weekends.
Why doesn't the Skokie Swift "work" on weekends?
  #36  
Old 02-11-2011, 09:26 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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Hm, according to the schedule:

http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...e_Dec_2010.pdf

... the Yellow Line operates every 15 minutes in either direction from ~6 a.m. to ~ 11 p.m. Sat. and Sun.

It was pointed out to me the other day that, since the Yellow Line run averages only 8 minutes, the CTA could run trains every 12 minutes with the same number of operators and cars simply by shortening the layover at either end from 7 mins till 4. Wonder if there's some union work rule thing going on.

Last edited by Ed Zotti; 02-11-2011 at 09:28 PM.
  #37  
Old 02-11-2011, 11:28 PM
Osomatic Osomatic is offline
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Thanks for this colum, Cecil. As a long-time reader, question-asker, and former employee of the LA County MTA, it's nice to see some kudos for what we've been trying to do out here.

And LA does deserve a few pats on the back. Since the opening of that first modern rail line 20 years ago, we've been building a... well... not extensive rail network, but at least the backbone of one. And yes, new projects are in the works.

However, let's not get too crazy with the patting upon our West Coast backs. First, that "approved" Subway to the Sea is entirely without funding. At the moment, only studies and public meetings have been held. The alignment is still very much in question, and rather painfully predictably, NIMBYs in Beverly Hills are doing their best to hold it up. The Crenshaw line, which the NY Times characterizes as terminating at LAX, would only go about a mile from LAX, as does the existing Green Line. At the moment, you can take rail to vaguely near the airport, then you must transfer to a shuttle bus. Also, downtown connections can be a bit irritating - essentially, we have two downtown hubs. Currently there are plans underway for a "downtown connector," but as with the rest, the funding is up in the air.

We did recently pass a sales tax increase for construction of all these things, but realistically, unless our mayor (whose abilities heretofore seem to be a talent for getting himself into photo ops) can actually get a massive loan out of the federal government based on that sales tax revenue, we're not going to see any of this stuff finished until 2040. At least.

And in the meantime, we've been cutting bus services down due to massive budget shortfalls.

So... it's not quite a transit wasteland. But we're a long way from being a transit paradise, either.
  #38  
Old 02-12-2011, 11:57 AM
Lochdale Lochdale is offline
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I wouldn't quite call Chicago a declining city. If anything, I can see it becoming even more important as the centre of the grain belt. What I'd like to see though is a direct, non-stop link between O'Hare and the Loop.
  #39  
Old 02-16-2011, 02:37 PM
smartacus smartacus is offline
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Do we Chicagoans really love our cars?

In Cecil's article, he wrote:

Quote:
As for whether L.A. is more car-obsessed than other U.S. cities… well, that's not easy to establish objectively. But here's a suggestive data point. One might suppose that in a truly car-obsessed town, motorists would rather waste time stewing in their vehicles at rush hour than use transit, right? And in fact L.A. ranks #3 in annual delay per auto commuter. What city ranks #1? It's us.
I'm wondering if two things are being conflated in this discussion -- the metro area and the city proper.

When the "delay per auto commuter" is discussed, is that for the Chicago metro area? Because if it is, there is a pretty good reason why this figure exists, and it's not just that commuters looovvve their cars so very, very much that they are willing to waste tons of time in gridlock.

It's also the fact that public transit in the Chicago suburbs completely sucks and isn't much of an option.

Metra was designed to suit residential and work travel patterns that no longer hold true. People are no longer mainly commuting from their suburban homes to jobs in the city. They are also commuting from burb to burb, and the existing hub and spoke train system does not accommodate that. Neither are the suburban bus systems extensive enough to take up the slack.

Therefore, if you live in the suburbs, you probably commute by car and must consequently deal with horrendous traffic. Fixing the CTA (which is already pretty good) will do little to bring down the metro area's "delay per auto commuter" figure. Fixing Metra by adding "ring" or "beltway" lines might get the job done, but I figure the expense of acquiring the real estate to do that would be astronomical, without adding in the cost of building the lines themselves.
  #40  
Old 02-16-2011, 02:49 PM
smartacus smartacus is offline
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Again, metro versus city?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lochdale View Post
I wouldn't quite call Chicago a declining city. If anything, I can see it becoming even more important as the centre of the grain belt. What I'd like to see though is a direct, non-stop link between O'Hare and the Loop.
The latest census figures, highlighted in the Tribune today, indicate the population of the city of Chicago is declining slightly, but the metro area is NOT.

The suburbs added people that more than made up for the recent decline in the city population.

Overall, the metro population is pretty stable. It's just not experiencing explosive growth such as has been happening in places like Phoenix.
  #41  
Old 02-16-2011, 04:49 PM
guizot guizot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smartacus View Post
I'm wondering if two things are being conflated in this discussion -- the metro area and the city proper.

When the "delay per auto commuter" is discussed, is that for the Chicago metro area? Because if it is, there is a pretty good reason why this figure exists, and it's not just that commuters looovvve their cars so very, very much that they are willing to waste tons of time in gridlock.

It's also the fact that public transit in the Chicago suburbs completely sucks and isn't much of an option.
True, but Los Angeles is no different. Los Angeles has a Metro Area and it has suburbs. One of Cecil's points is that people habitual seem to ignore the former and focus only on the later.

To the extent that any large U.S. city has changed in the last 50 years, they are all changing in more or less the same way.
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