Vae Viator31
What it says:
Measure J: "To advance Los Angeles County's traffic relief, economic growth/ job creation, by accelerating construction of light rail/ subway/ airport connections within five years not twenty; funding countywide freeway traffic flow/ safety /bridge improvements, pothole repair; keeping senior/ student/ disabled fares low; Shall Los Angeles County's voter-approved one-half cent traffic relief sales tax continue, without tax rate increase, for another 30 years or until voters decide to end it, with audits/ keeping funds local?"
What it means:
The LACMTA wants to keep its’ hand in your pocket for another 30 YEARS. Another 30 YEARS of cost overruns, scheduling delays and spending that makes a drunken sailor appear to be a miser – such as the minimally necessary and massively expensive “downtown connector” which this Mole prefers to term the “Downtown Band-Aid” and funding NextBus rather NextTrip, a money pit that contributes ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to operational improvements, bi-annual bus line cancellation and service reductions which decrease the value of one’s’ pass and on and on ad infinitum.

Here is another way of looking at Measure J.  Measure R has another twenty-six (26) years (until 2038) left to dip into our pockets, the LACMTA which is generally NEVER proactive about anything, suddenly feels the need to keep their hand in our pockets for an additional THIRTY (30) years beyond that, until 2069! 

Your Mole says, that if they are going to give us jobs and etc. from those funds, let’s take a look at it again in 2037 and see what measure R has done for us by then, what is the rush]

The alternative to Measure J:
The first step is fixing the LACMTA!  By factoring out the political component and professionalizing the organization.  This involves placing PROFESSIONAL project managers in charge of work so that taxpayers receive maximum value for their money AND citizens are provided with safe, comfortable and reliable RAPID transit systems. A professional Transportation/Industrial Engineering Division is BADLY NEEDED, so that incremental improvements, best practices and self sufficiency all become mantras for the LACMTA.  N.B. One easily appreciated aspect of comfort is to have access to rest room facilities at ALL RAIL STATIONS and BUS CENTERS.  When the above recommendations are implemented then, and only then should we again consider giving the LACMTA what amounts to carte blanche!
Time and time again the LACMTA, which is largely influenced by politics, rather than by professionalism and technical skills, has proved itself unable to manage projects in a professional manner.  This results in less than optimal solutions to Los Angeles’ public transportation needs.
Budget Cost overruns, mediocre work and schedule delays are all signatures of the LACMTA.  And the worst result of all – their failure to provide rapid transit, i.e., most newly built or extended lines end up sharing their “right-of-way” with LOTS of other traffic, vehicular and pedestrian.
To cite just a few examples of failures on the part of the LACMTA:

The LACMTA appears to be more secretive than the CIA and is not transparent at all about the way in which is spends taxpayers monies;
The Expo line is presently short of its’ goal and over its’ budget;
A problem with a section of track shared by the Blue and Expo Lines has mechanical problems which were, as best I can determine, hidden instead of remediated;
The Expo Line was built without access control, so that if it is ever added it will prove much more costly than building it at the time the line was constructed;
No attempt is made to statistically analyze traffic patterns in order to better route and schedule bus lines – the result is long waits for riders;
The LACMTA just doesn’t get it!  They are responsible for a transportation system and cancelling bus lines which tie rail lines to bus centers (e.g. the 439 Line killed over a multi-year period) results in severing the LINKS which makes a system out of individual pieces;

Much taxpayer money is wasted on cosmetics.  For example the recent “Rail Station Renaming Project” yields lots of expense with really no return on the expenditure!

Limited bus service (the LACMTA calls it “Rapid” service) often does not stop when it crosses another bus line's route.  This is discriminatory since it reduces the value of my monthly pass without a logical reason.  Other than the Limited service is made to appear faster because it skips many stops therefore denying service to those in my class.  Such buses are usually much lighter loaded, reducing the requirement to stop even at stops which they do service.  Lawyers, start your briefs;

Abdicating the LACMTA's transportation responsibilities to LAWA and its’ Fly-Away buses, which charge about FIVE time the fare which was available to riders on the now dead 439 Line, which also served as a system link.  The LACMTA could have provided and SHOULD provide almost identical service over nearly the same route while serving the Culver Bus Center, the LAX City Bus Center and Aviation Station, at a fare which is less than HALF of that charged by LAWA on a time-line which in not significantly longer to LAX!


BBB Maxella Trash Fix??

The photograph above documents the “fix” applied at the Maxella AV and Lincoln BL stop on their number 3 Line.  It is the sort of “work” one would expect from the LACMTA.  The taped or caused to be taped shut the aperture in the plastic pipes associated with power poles.  These pipes were used as improvised trash cans. BBB N.B. The stop still needs a trash can!

Su Topo will lead every post with the above until BBB corrects the problem.

White Line Incursion Series

The series of pictures below document that, and this is important, even though there is no Metro bus at the stop, a never ending stream of airport rent-a-car shuttle buses fail to use the lane as required by law.  Please note that the drivers of these vehicles all hold a class of license which allows them to transport passengers; although perhaps not safely!



The photo above was taken at the intersection of Airport BL and 96th Street.  The Enterprise shuttle zoomed around the stopped bus, illegally crossed the solid white line and shot ahead of the bus.




He drove fast, but I caught another view of the Enterprise shuttle as ignores he driving laws and continues on its’ way to the airport.



Another day, another ride on the 111 and yet another incursion by a rent-a-car shuttle. The photographer lead the passangers in debussing and since he is  a rent-a-car shuttle, which had just crossed the solid white line in front of the Metro bus while it was just beginning a northward turn onto 96th Street.
Mr. Leahy, I know you read this blog.  Did you read the posting about how San Francisco intends to use the cameras mounted on Muni buses (2012-05-31)?  As an update, just for you, please read ABC’s San Francisco affiliate, KGO-TV’s news team member* Ms Heather Ishimaru’s succinct report on the matter. (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/san_francisco&id=8666405).  Over the three year pilot program, 2009~2012, citation revenue is reported to be up by close to 70%[Mole’s calculation].  That increase means that more drivers have become aware of how important it is to obey traffic laws. 

*A team member who is obviously intelligent, lovely and writes about transportation.  All la Taupe can say is “magnifique!”

Reluctantly, back to business – So, Mr. Leahy, here is your Mole’s recommendation for you.  First assemble a team, whose combined IQ should be close to 100, and have them visit Muni’s headquarters in San Francisco.  They should spend the day, carefully shepherded by someone from Muni.  They should ride the busses that have the cameras mounted.  Observe how the drivers take photos, and leave with a detailed written description of the system including the comple processing requirements and exactly how the policing agencies interface with Muni. 

Once back in Los Angeles the team should implement San Francisco’s system exactly as described, with no ad hoc modifications.  In other words, don't try this at home; if it works leave it alone!  We both know what happens when the LACMTA is left to its own devices to "work its magic".

The first line to implement the system?  Of course, the 111 Line!  After a month or so in operation, with police, at last, taking action where action screams to be taken you should see a positive result. 

Viz., the scoff-law behaviour at 96th Street and Airport BL will come to an end. your Mole will have to find a new topic about which to write J.  The by-products?  Your Mole will have to find a new topic about which to write J and You will be able to claim that you have taken positive action to make bus riders safer! 

But you understand, I’m sure, that all LACMTA buses already have front-facing cameras installed.  It occurs to me, that you could have your drivers start taking pictures of law-breakers tonight or tomorrow for sure.  This would eliminate the arduous task of putting together the team, which I described above,while maximumizing IQ summation and minimumizing head count.

As a reminder, here is what an LACMTA bus camera looks like.

Bus Camera♪

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-10-09 ~ 1921-12-16)

If art has no country, artists have one.


The Mole reads the papers and other things, obviating the necessity of your doing so.

The LA Times informs us (Weikel 1) about yet more Expo Line problems. Although their headline says “problem”, la Taupe sees several problems.  The first problem seems to be a section of track at the merge point for the Blue and Expo Lines which “… presents a risk of derailment if left uncorrected.  Why such a problem was not identified and corrected in the lengthy period during which the Expo Line was supposedly tested is a mystery for this Mole.  Even more mysterious is the question as to why, as reported by the Times, a consultant, Susan McAdams “dropped” as a consultant “… after she complained about the tracks and other issues.“  MacAdams :… said that she told the [LACMTA’s]inspector general’s staff about the problems at Washington and Flower almost a year ago and that nothing was apparently done.”  Let’s see, the LACMTA’s inspector general is going to investigate its’ own staff?  One would think that a “Special Investigative Office is called for in this case, wouldn’t one??

 Also, the design, designers and builders of this particular section of track should be investigated for possible financial responsibility due to malpractice.  Perhaps the curve, if one exists, is too sharp and the track can’t take the stresses since the agency is reported to have “… tried welding extra metal to the track to solve the alignment issue, but the work had to be repeated twice in the last few months because of cracking and chipping.”

 The Los Angeles Times reports on yet another Expo Line fiasco (Weikel 2) while documenting exactly how ill suited the LACMTA is to manage anything, especially transportation.  This time, an expenditure of close to $300,000 (want to bet it will end up being more?) will be required to make the “Expo Line” safer.  The piece, which I encourage you to read, tells us: “Among the safety enhancements are more fencing, louder train horns and, under certain circumstances, speed restrictions of 15 mph at stations.” and “Plans call for 14 improvements to the crossing, including barriers, additional signage for bicyclists, audible warning signals, and directions for motorists and pedestrians.” 

The retrofitting is a result, not of the “reactive” LACMTA but “[t]he improvements stemmed from a request by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in late May to have the MTA assess the safety of Expo's crossings.”

Now, had they built this “bad idea” as rapid transit (no contention with other vehicles for the right-of-way) instead of as cheaply as possible it would have been safe from day one!

But no, they know worse and continue to build infrastructure with neither a good plan nor even a good idea of what constitutes a proper “fit for purpose” transportation system.

This well written article indicates that the Expo Line is even further behind schedule and over budget than was thought.  Your Mole’s limited research has pointed out that there is virtually NO ACCESS CONTROL built into the system and like most other Metro botched jobs lacks even elementary creature comforts like lavatories.

The most telling quote from Mr. Weikel’s piece is from “… Najmedin Meshakti, an engineering professor and safety expert at USC, …”  who said: “This is good news to hear. Any step to improve the grade crossings is music to my ears," said Meshkati, who added that he is still concerned about the Exposition and Rodeo intersection [Emphasis added – Mole].”

 Behind the curve, again, the LACMTA has spent millions on NextBus, I mean Nextrip, features of which may likely be available on the new iPhone and really, can Android phones be far behind?  Or so one might think after reading an article in Arstechnica  (Please see: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/09/transit-app-developers-see-ios-6-maps-as-a-chance-to-shine/)

 They talk about Buster 3 which deals with Chicago transportation (Please see: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/buster-chicago-bus-train-tracker/id312109511?mt=8 ) and Embark NYC (Please see: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/embark-nyc-subway-new-york/id450991137?mt=8 ).  Su Topo is endorsing neither of these app(lication)s he live in Los Angeles, and has no simple way of field testing them.  Rather, he suggests that you start with a free app, if available, and determine exactly what you like and don’t like about it.  Then check out the availability of chargeable applications and see if they can deliver the value which you require.
At this point su Topo doesn't know the system details neither of Buster 3 nor Embark NYC.  But perhaps the LACMTA had the capability of performing a "literature review" before committing $30 million PLUS [Mole's estimate] to the Next whatever a third party might have steped in and for a few dollar's one might have had a much better, more fully featured "app" than that provided by the LACMTA for, again, your Mole's estimate $30/user (lack of features means fewer users)

The fact that Los Angeles exist without a transportation system, often there is NO METRO bus link to a rail station and no attempt to schedule bus route intersections so that passengers can easily, with limited waiting, make transfers.

 This fact makes it difficult for pass holders to easily obtain routings from a computerized system.  Keep in mind, that NexTrip aka NextBus, does no more than extrapolate the arrival time of a given bus at you location based upon its present rate of progress.  In truth, they are only one passenger trying to find out how to get to “X”, of one difficult wheelchair load to negate that estimate.

How about some musica?  Let’s watch Yuridia sing “Como Yo Te Amo”.
As always, to youtube.com, “Thank You!” And to skyboy85, many thanks for the upload!

Cautionary Note: Those employed by the LACMTA should NOT view the following videos.  The speed of the trains in the videos, because they are truly rapid transit, their quietness, the clarity and sound level of the onboard announcements will likely make you dizzy, and/ or nauseous and frighten you.

Here is a video from our friends at youtube.com to help the LACMTA understand why running a light rail line along Aviation Bl is NOT running a subway to LAX, no matter what you name the station nearest LAX.

Russia - Moscow

Here is a nice ride on a train from Paveletsky Station in Moscow to Domededovo airport.  You know, city center to the airport the way professionals plan and implement a SYSTEM (lines seamlessly inter-connect, Rapid Transit, and etc.!)  Sigh, if only our LACMTA could operate that way and less like they do it in, what shall I say?  Toonerville??

Good job Moscow!
Thank you, epll0725 for your upload!


The pencil nebula is fast!  500.000 kilometers per hour!!?  Here is a picture.
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ ap120922.html

Galaxies located 7,000,000,000 light years away from earth?  Please read the details here.

Here is some recent work which is a product of the Hubble telescope.  Please view the short, impressive video which is included. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/sep/26/hubble-astronomers-deepest-view-night-sky  


The Mole rides again, so you won’t have to help the LACMTA plan a more efficient shunting scheme fro the Blue/Expo Lines.

(All times are expressed in the 24 hour system.)

2012-09-13: At 7th and Metro Center, watching operations.  There is a lot of shunting going on here.  Blue Line and Expo Line trains all arrive on Track 2 and all leave from Track 1.  This Mole believes it would be more efficient to have all Expo Line trains arrive and leave on/from Track 1 and all Blue Line trains arrive and leave on/from Track 2. 

That way only trains going out of service need be shunted.  And passengers could be made to understand that Expo Line trains could  always boarded on track 1 and all Blue Line Trains could  always boarded on track 2.  This eliminates the confusion which is created when people can’t or don’t hear the announcements and can’t see the signs on the train or vice-versa. 
I wanted to include a diagram of the track layout at the station but, there was nothing available.  Therefore, as an example I have included below the layout of the Ginza Subway station layout in Tokyo.   Thes people really know what they are doing.  Diagrams like this make it increidably easy to move around the giant metropolis which is Tokyo.

Ginza Subway Station

212-09-18. Early morning:  The big orange disk of the sun is balanced on the horizon as my 111 Line bus pulls up to the stop at 96th Street and Airport Bl.

As soon as we stop an Enterprise Rent-A-Car shuttle bus and a white van which shuttles people between off-airport lots and the airport cut across the solid white line and shoot ahead of the bus.  The bus, almost imperceptibly, starts to pull away from the bus stop when a white civilian car speeds ahead of us. 

Come on, Mr. Leahy, does someone have to be killed before you use your position to light a fire under the policing agencies responsible for stopping these scoff-laws?

While waiting at the LAXCBC, I see the latest addition to the BBB fleet.  It is number 5519 and is a two-section articulated vehicle, nice!

Fare Box Score Box and related Lists of Shame

I.D. Numbers of buses with Outs of Order Fare Boxes: xxxxx, xxxxx;

Note: No or few entries above do not necessarily mean all fare boxes are in operation. 

I.D.Numbers of Distracted Drivers: xxxxx (i);

None included here, but observations of a minor nature may be included in the main posting;

Codes: (i) Extended conversation(s) with passenger(s) or (ii) cell phone call(s).  Frequently, details can be found in the text above, (ii*) cell phone call(s) which are aggravated by some other action, (iii) Self-distracted.  Codes (ii*) and (iii)  will ALWAYS be explained in the posting.

I.D. Numbers of Buses Defaced by WhoIs stickers: xxxx;

~UR or +UR = (+UR) whois sticker and the ugly residue left after passengers partly remove the sticker. (~UR) = Only the ugly residue left after passengers almost completely remove the sticker. +L = an old (legacy) sticker black letters on a plain white background these are the original form of defacement.

* Another reason for displaying the operator's ID on the internal display and the headsign.

ID numbers of Buses whose Head and Tailsigns disagree: xxxx; xxx/xx     ;

Format is Bus number followed by Headsign number/Tailsign number.

ID numbers of Buses without Braille signs: XXXX;

METRO drivers' Basic Technical Skills Report

The format is Driver number F[{Y/-n/+n} C[{Y/N+/-}].  Meaning of F if Y the driver stopped with the Bus stop “flag pole” somewhere between the bus front door frames.  A negative number, e.g., -3 is the approximate distance in metres (think yards dear readers) between the nearest bus door vertical frame member and the flag pole signifying that the bus stopped short of the flag.   A positive number, e.g., +3 (metres) is the approximate distance between the nearest bus door vertical frame member and the flag pole signifying that the bus stopped past the flag.    The value for C[{Y/N}], “Y” tells us that the driver stopped within an easy step from the curb to the bus, “N” means it was NOT an easy step from the curb to the bus.   It is this Mole's belief that an average experienced good driver should be able to control his bus so as to position in near the curb and with the flag pole slightly to the front of the bus.  

xxxxx F[-6] C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y]; xxxxx F[Y], C[Y];  N.B. distances are in metres, think yards.

nnnnn* = Contract Driver

I.D. numbers of drivers who are almost guaranteed to give you a Rough and Jerky (R & J) ride.  xxxxx;

I.D. numbers of drivers who will give you a potentially life-threatening ride.  XXXXX(-); XXXXX(-);

Codes: S = not wearing seat belts; J = bad judgment (unsafe driving practices).

La Taupe's Abréviations

ADADO = Automatic Destination Announcement (on) Door Opening. This feature is installed on many buses and operates on extremely few.  Another “money down the toilet” LACMTA investment.  La Taupe that this is intended for the visually impaired because people who can see can read the “head signs”.

ASAS = Automatic Stop Announcement System the GPS (Global Positioning System) driven mechanism for generating audio for the upcoming stops. N.B. Because of the low power (read weak) processors used in the on-board stops may be too close to identify stops separately.  This is known as a granularity problem.  Then too, if the driver operates the bus at speed above the speed limit you will find the system back announcing stops which you have already passed.  I find that this will NOT keep some drivers from complaining that you didnt signal (ring) in time.  They dont understand their relationship to the system and how, by driving faster than the GPS computer, they can bias it.

BBB = Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus

CC or CCMBL = Culver City (Municipal) Bus (Lines)

CCTC = Culver City Transportation Center this is the place formerly known as FHMTC = the Fox Hills Mall Transportation Center (Sepulveda & Slauson)

FFE = Full Fare Equivalent (presently $1.50)

GMBL = Gardena Municipal Bus lines

LAXCBC = the LAX City Bus Center.

OCTA = Orange County Transportation Authority.

Rapid Transit = does not compete for right of way, that is, it will not run at grade unless it has EXCLUSIVE DEDICATED USE of the right of way).

R & J = Rough and Jerky [ride].

TT = Torrance Transit.

T1 = the normal type of driver/staff.

T2 = is the non-stop talker type of driver/staff, on the phone or to passengers,

T3 = the uncommunicative type of driver/staff, sometimes surly.

WLATC = the West Los Angeles Transportation Center (Fairfax & Apple)

Su Topo’s Disclaimer and apologia

Your Mole always attempts to write an easy-on-the-eyes page using text input.  Blogger.com however, has other ideas and will often not stay with a single font type or point size, produces extraneous spacing and etc.  I wish I had time to debug the HTML which they produce, it is NOT the straight text which I pasted into the form, but I don’t.  Therefore, I apologize on behalf of Blogger.com for the changes which they make, of which I do not approve.  Sometimes, what I see, thankfully you don’t, is 24 point type –it is giant and other times they swallow my text, although it still seems to be there.  In fairness to them, things seem better, although this is partly because I do understand which of their “features” do the most damage to me and consequently do not use them.  Communicating these problems to them, for me, is something like having teeth extracted without the benefit of anesthetic, actually it is less fun than that.  By their design, there is no simple e-mailing them with "Please look at my say, posting of 2009-06-28, it is weird!” I am hoping that one of their developers will someday read this, copy my code and improve their text to HTML engine.  Until then, lo siento.

Mole’s Copyright Statement

All photographs and original written materials are copyrighted © 2007~2009 by LAmetroMole.  ♪Clicking a photo will often* present you with an enlargement (sometimes successive clicks will further enlarge the photo). *This feature is dependent upon the Internet browser which you use and possibly other factors.


This site contains or provides links to copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, sustainable development, environmental, community and worker health, public disclosure, corporate accountability, and etc. We have often included relatively brief quotes from articles and etc., sometimes in addition to a simple link, because we have found that links frequently go "bad" or change over time. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without fee or payment of any kind to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes and to those who access the site via any and all other channels. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Music or other recorded material on this site, or referred to by this site are copyrighted by their respective artists and are made available here for evaluation purposes only. Please support the artists you like by buying their commercial CDs, MP3s and downloads.

Your Mole’s Conflict of Interest Statement

This  is to certify that I, the blogger who is known as the LAmetroMole, with respect to this blog, except as described below, am not now nor at any time during the past year have been, nor it my current intention to ever be:

1) A participant, directly or indirectly, in any arrangement, agreement, investment, or other activity with any vendor, supplier, or other party doing business with any of the entities about which I have written, which has resulted or could result in personal benefit to me.

2) A recipient, directly or indirectly, of any salary payments or loans or gifts of any kind or any free service or discounts or other fees from or on behalf of any person or organization engaged in any transaction with any of the entities about which I have written. 

Any exceptions to 1 or 2 above are stated below with a full description of the transactions and of the interest, whether direct or indirect, which I have (or have had during the past year) in the persons or organizations having transactions with any of the entities about which I have written.

There are no exceptions.

Date: 2009-06-24                  S/LametroMole                  

Works Cited

Weikel, Dan. “Metro’s inspector general to probe Expo Line problem.” Jul. 28, 2012:AA3. Los Angeles Times. Print.

Weikel, Dan. “MTA making safety improvements at Expo Line street crossings.” Sept. 22, 2012. Los Angeles Times. Web. http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/22/local/la-me-expo-safety-20120922

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The above is  ### 30 ###  in Braille

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