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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Orange Line Squeezed

Today, the MTA finally opens its latest "mass transit" project, the 14 mile long Metro Orange Line busway. I've never been a fan of this project, seeing it as an absolutely ineffective and poor alternative to either extending the Metro Red Line or at least installing light rail. However, I do think the stations, landscaping and the bus that will be used itself are all very pretty.

Besides its obvious limitations compared to rail, many Orange Line critics also cite the issue of safety. Along its course which is primiarly a former railroad right of way, the bus path crosses numerous intersections at grade, but with no crossing gates like a railroad. As well, the approach across some of the intersections required different angles than the old railroad did. For example at the intersection of Fulton and Burbank in Van Nuys, the busway's path slices through the intersection at a 45 degree angle. Already, before the line even opened, a collision between an Orange Line bus and a vehichle has already occurred.

On Friday, a special sneak preview was held for politicians to get all the photo ops they could have. Oddly, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tried to make some comparison between the opening of the busway and the recent death of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

Grand Opening celebrations will begin in a few hours with music, glad handing by the local pols and free rides. I hope that the Orange Line can achieve its goal of reducing gridlock, but I am not optimistic. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, the Transit Coalition has put together a tounge in cheek ode to the latest MTA project.
We love the Orange Line, here’s why…

The “bus that acts like a train”…err, it doesn’t have the capacity of a train, Or the speed of a train Or as smooth a ride as a train Or as quiet a ride as a train Or the lower labor costs of a train

But hey…This is (North) Hollywood! Image matters, not substance.

It’s so Convenient!!!
It’s only a half-mile to a mile walk to jobs and shopping in Warner Center!
It’s only fill in distance to bus stops on cross-streets!
It’s only a half-hour wait for most connecting routes to Ventura Boulevard.
It’s only a three-bus trip with two transfers to get to Ventura Boulevard.
It’s only a day or two wait if you want to use the Woodley Flyaway Bus on Sat.
It’s only a minimum three-bus conectionif you want to get there from the Northeast Valley.

It’s Sooo FAST!!!! 14 miles in 42 minutes (20 miles per hour)!!!

It goes EVERYWHERE that I want to go….
Except it totally misses Ventura Blvd., the commercial spine and downtown business district of the San Fernando Valley.
Except it doesn’t actually connect to the Red Line Station.
Except it doesn’t actually serve ANY destinations at Warner Center.

In honor of the Orange Line opening, we have some photos of different transit systems over at MS2.


Blogger Phil Krakover said:

Outside of that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

October 29, 2005 3:46 AM  

Blogger SS Sam Taylor said:

We love those guys over at The Transit Coalition. Check out this secret link: http://thetransitcoalition.us/TTC_FOOL.htm

Remember, Zev designed this whole thing on his flight back from a fan tour to a third world country.

While flying back, he had the runs and had just returned from the restroom with a wad of toilet paper just in case of ...

While, the idea hit. Zev rolled out the TP and started sketching. Voila: His fabulous idea. A second class solution from a third world country: The Zev-Way!

Never mind that these exact plans had been shown to him at the MTA just two years before.

And, it must be noted, as the Zev-Way opens in the Valley, that Busway in Curitiba is being torn up and replaced with Light Rail. The public hated the elected official who gave them the Curitiba busway so badly, he was voted out by someone who promised a rail line. Irony.


October 29, 2005 3:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Bart, stop the astroturfing. Seriously.

October 29, 2005 8:50 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zev is the biggest media whore, blowhard in local politics -- and that is really saying something when the locale is LA.

That would be OK if he did something to improve the community but he does nothing of any value to anyone. Too bad that he didn't plot out a way to fix the county's health care system on that napking our tolet paper or whatever it was.

October 29, 2005 9:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Seriously. Did you see the photo from Friday where Zev was pushing AV out of the way in the front of the bus to be photographed as the bus crashed through the opening ribbon?

October 29, 2005 11:18 PM  

Anonymous Tom LaBonge is an Idiot said:

"The morning saw Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky out greeting riders, while later on Councilman Tom LaBonge was on hand and Councilwoman Wendy Greuel brought her toddler out for a look."

Only 30,000 people from the Valley showed up. Four of them were those above. Poor Wendy, having to deal with her kid, got shoved out of several photos by MAV, Zev and LaBonge.

October 30, 2005 9:15 AM  

Blogger ubrayj02 said:

I rode on the bus last night, and after reflecting on it - I think it is an okay ride.

But they HAVE to fix the hanging bike racks on the bus. A confusing 8 step process is involved, while the vehicle is in motion, to get your bike where it is "supposed" to be (hanging vertically from wall mounted hooks.

It's nuts, and what's more, it's dangerous.

One cool thing, though, are the almost-contiguous bike paths that run alongside the bus route. I got up to almost 30 mph last night riding on these perfectly flat black-top bike highways. Pretty neat.

October 31, 2005 2:33 PM  

Anonymous konerko is god said:

It's a goddamn shame that the Orange Line (which isn't even going to make 5000 daily riders once the fuss has died down) and the Pasadena Gold Line got built and the vastly more worthy Expo Line and Eastside Gold Line have had to wait so long. Of course, the elephant in the room here is the Wilshire Boulevard subway line, which even rail skeptic Genevieve Giuliano acknowledges is desperately necessary. Thanks for that sales tax ban on subway construction, Zev!

ubrayj02, the Expo Line is gonna have a sweet bikepath system as well. If it opens before I finish my PhD (not bloody likely, but I can always dream), I'll have the choice of either riding my bike to USC or hopping the train. Right now, the fastest bus commute from Palms to USC is 50 minutes and involves a transfer at Venice and Vermont (=not pleasant at night), and biking takes 35-45 through an industrial zone. Ugh.

November 01, 2005 2:55 AM  

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