Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Interesting Expo Line Phase II Article

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For anyone interested in transportation in LA (or Southern California), I highly recommend the Los Angeles Transportation Blog. It has daily links to all kinds of interesting stories. For instance, today I read a piece by Frank Gruber about the Exposition Light Rail Line phase II development. Phase I is currently under construction, slated to go between downtown LA and downtown Culver City. Phase II is still under review, with many potential routes being discussed. Basically it's supposed to go from downtown Culver City to the south side of Santa Monica (3rd Street/Santa Monica Place ish).

Frank's article deals with the question of whether the end line should go down Olympic or Colorado Blvd. The community is nearly unanimous for Colorado but there are practical implications to consider as well. Frank also spends a great deal of time talking about potential sites for a maintenance yard and some of the other players involved (cities of LA and Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, and Verizon to name a few). Of course, I also had to make a map to orient myself.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Los Angeles has a New Downtown!

Los Angeles has a bit of an identity crises. As development and demographics change neighborhood boundaries change too. There is not central authority, indeed this lack of authority helps keep LA vibrant. Not being a city resident per se, imagine my chagrin at this post in curbed LA about Google Maps recognizing a New Downtown!

I really liked Militant Angeleno's post (although discussions/arguments pop up on a LOT of other blogs which I don't have time to link to). What is also kind of interesting is that the LA Times is also trying to tackle the subject.

But even cooler, imo, is this map of LA from Ork Posters (which is also hanging, er, leaning, in AKOY's apartment).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Google Earth pollution maps

(Image from LA Times)

Has it really been two weeks since my latest post? Fortunately a couple of interesting tidbits today caught my eye. First, I subscribe to the Google Lat Long blog, and it had a post today about a new layer in Google Earth. The new map layer shows pollution levels courtesy of The Vulcan Project at Purdue University. The LA Times also had a tidbit about it. The data isn't super duper recent (circa 2002), and from my quick perusal it seems to be only carbon dioxide (with a super sarcastic emphasis on the word 'only' - I applaud them for having so much nationwide data available in the first place).

What I found especially interesting about this article, however, was another article I read today that Obama says he will NOT tax vehicle miles traveled, instead saying that he intends to keep taxing gasoline consumption. This is a quandry: VMT more accurately tracks individual riders, which is a good for incentivizing things like paying for roads and bridges, but not necessarily good for incentivizing paying for cleaning up the environment. Essentially, auto efficiency (i.e. miles per gallon) is ignored. Taxing gasoline consumption is almost the opposite effect: it does a good job of incentivizing payment for lowering air pollution, but a poor job of incentivizing paying for projects based on mileage. I think the ultimate solution is a combination of both, but that's probably a topic for the guys over at the Freakonomics Blog at the NY Times.

(Which, by the way, is totally effing sweet).

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fabric Maps

I think I saw this fabric map by Rand McNally on notcot about a billion years ago and forgot to post it. Fortunately they offer a fabric map of the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Additionally the "tear-proof, wrinkle-proof, microfiber waterproof map is virtually indestructible." I hope ShamWow! decides to offer maps on their highly unique product.