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
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?
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.