Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Does Metro Board Chair Take Metro? Apparently, Yes...(updated)

(ed note: I think the entire chat can be viewed here. Longtime readers will remember I had trouble figuring out Metro's website during the first one of these...The Update Is at the Bottom)

Today's chat with Metro Board Chairwoman Pam O'Connor stayed in reasonably safe ground avoiding topics such as the end of reciprocity between Metro and DASH, where the funding is coming from for those ever-popular turnstiles and whether or not there's plans for a fare hike in 2008. I know it's not that Metro didn't receive any questions on these topics, because I asked them myself...

On top of updates on future rail expansion, dealing with minor issues like damaged bike lockers and on-bus annunciators, O'Conner did find time to repeatedly promote Metro's HOT Lanes proposal (although she didn't use those words) as both a means to fight congestion and a way to raise funds for future projects.

There were two questions/answers that stuck out for me though...

Question: Why did MTA remove the "Bus Only" lane on Wilshire Blvd between San Vicente and (past) Bundy? Philip
Answer:
Good afternoon, Philip. Well, the one mile peak-period bus-only lane on Wilshire Boulevard was recently removed by the City of Los Angeles after 3 years of operation. The performance of the bus lane was very good with transit riders stating the bus lanes allowed their buses to move faster and more reliably through this often congested segment of the boulevard. But the City of Los Angeles stated that the lane was too short to be effective and should be removed until such time as a longer segment could be implemented. (For the rest of the answer see the full chat.)

Wait a second...transit riders said the bus-only lane was effective and cut down on their commute but the city decided unilaterally that the lane was too short and should be removed? That doesn't sound like effective government...

Question: Pam, As a straphanger in New York and Los Angeles for many years, I am intimately familiar with both systems. (I might add that while NYC is called metro, most folk still recognise it as three agencies: the BMT, IND and IRT.) Anyhow, the mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, rides the east side line (4,5,6) to work (Brooklyn Bridge station) at City Hall in lower Manhattan. Which train or bus do you take to work at One Gateway Plaza?
Answer:
I don't "work at Metro...it's a part time policy making position. But I have several options to get downtown LA. For me the #10 Big Blue Bus works best if I'm going directly. But, depending on my path of travel I can take the Metro Wilshire Rapid downtown and take the DASH, or Metro Rapid to subway...and Dash to get around central LA!

Happy Holidays everyone....next live chat is Jan 23 at noon!

He didn't ask what lines you could take. He asked what lines you did take. Big difference.

UPDATE: One of the great things about blogging as opposed to writing in a more traditional media outlet is that you can correct mistakes immediately. I've gotten a comment and a personal email letting me know I was way off base questioning whether or not Metro Board Chair O'Conner takes transit. Apparently she regularly does. Instead of making a comment about transit officials who don't take transit, I just nitpicked the way someone answered a question. I'm certainly no grammar and spelling expert, and I apologize for the insinuation in my commentary.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. Knowing the way Pam O'Connor speaks in real life, her saying "I can take" means "I do take, depending on where I need to be." If you knew Pam as well as those of us who have been following transportation issues for years, you would have known that Pam does use public transit. Your snide remark makes you look petty.

2. If you go a little research at the Metro website, you will find that questions that are unanswered during the live chat -- because they require research, not snap answers -- are posted later, with full answers.

I'm very disappointed in your sniping without doing a little homework first.

DAYMEN said...

Fair enough...I have to admit I'm used to public officials that talk big on how everyone should use transit and don't take it. I'll apologize for that.

I'm not sure what you're second comment is addressing...if its my other point, I was expressing dissapointment with the city for removing a bus lane that was apparently popular with the riders that used those buses.

Anonymous said...

Daymen, my second comment was in reference to your remark about questions you submitted that weren't answered during the live chat.

It is very likely your questions could not be properly answered without some research, so I would bet they will be included in the post-chat release of questions that were submitted but not immediately responded to.

My compliments and respect to you for making the correction regarding Pam's use of public transit. My disappointment is hereby lessened.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, were you aware that one of the members of the San Fernando Valley governance council not only uses public transit, she does not own a car at all?

I believe she is also a director of the Southern California Transit Advocates group.

DAYMEN said...

I'll make a deal with you...if they answer those questions later (I did submit them over a month ago) I'll do another post just about them...but any chance I can know who you are? Email me at thedaymen@gmail.com .

I don't consider myself a needlessly negative blogger (Lord knows there are plenty of them) and would like a chance to explain the thought process that went into the post.

The purpose of StreetHeat is to introduce myself to folks in LA and chronicle my learning process about transportation life out here before I transition over to more professional digs in 2008. If you're someone I've only met once or twice, I'd like a chance to followup on some of this.

Steven Higashide said...

...Who is this person who thinks New Yorkers think of the BMT, IND, and IRT instead of NYC Transit?

BusTard said...

Steve,
I am that person who knows New Yorkers think of the two previously private and one public transit service that later became the NYC Transit. (I would have answered earlier, but I was not only unaware of this blog until this second week of January, but am just back from new York, to boot.) And if you wish me to corroborate that fact, let us convene in New York, where I will introduce you to a friend of mine who is a conductor as well as editor of Brooklyn! and Watch The Closing Doors. he will fill in all manner of blanks about how other New Yorkers regard the trains and why there are numbers on some and lettres on others.
You can find out more about me at www.TheBusBench.com.


Anonymous: I posted that question to Pam at the tail end of her last little chat—and despite someone else's assumption that Pam DOES ride public transit, her vernacular clearly states otherwise. I answered your comment before you posted it at http://www.thebusbench.com/2007/12/quickly-posted.html

Daymen, you are doing a damn fine job. I am only sorry I was not aware of your blog some months ago. I am already an avid fan.

-Randall BusTard