Playing With Politics

A Blog on Law, Politics, Planning, Development, and Other Vices

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Round Two: LA Area vs SF Bay Area

Posted by Roobs on March 12, 2014

vs

Yesterday I posted my first LA vs. SF comparison list, where San Francisco beat out Los Angeles in a pure city on city fight.  My list addressed what I thought was a gaping oversight on most internet lists on the same topic.  They would often (though, not all of them) grant LA regional status, while limiting SF to its city borders.  Meaning, some lists gave LA points for things like Disneyland, even though the happiest place on earth isn’t even in the same county.  HOWEVER, one of my earliest posts on this blog also addressed this ill comparison.   “In Defense of Los Angeles” showed how you can’t say Los Angeles has, for example, a horrible public transit system and SF has a great one because SF is tiny compared to LA.  The scales are different.  So  now that we have seen how city vs. city stacks up, let’s make this a fair fight by comparing the two general areas together.  So how does the LA Area stack up against the SF Area?

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Posted in Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

LA vs. SF in 15 Categories!

Posted by Roobs on March 11, 2014

SF-and-LA

Lists on the internet comparing two different places abound.  But, perhaps, no list appears more than lists comparing the City of Los Angeles vs. the City of San Francisco (with maybe the East Coast of the United States vs. the West Coast coming in a close second).  But the one thing that has always annoyed me about these lists is that they never seem to grasp the fact that places like Disneyland are not in the City of Los Angeles.  In fact, Disneyland is not even in the same county.  So, as an urban planner (aka: map Nazi), I thought it would be fun to create my own LA vs. SF list.  Here is my totally subjective yet totally awesome comparison of Los Angeles vs. San Francisco.

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Posted in Pop Culture, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Trading Places: Dodgers to DTLA, NFL to Chavez Ravine

Posted by Roobs on August 19, 2013

Dodger Stadium

The process build a new NFL stadium in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as draft an NFL team to fill it, has hit more than a few hurdles in the last few years.  But one thing that has fascinated me, both as a baseball fan and as an urban planner, about a new NFL stadium in LA is the choice of location.  Why would you want an NFL stadium in Downtown LA?  With new owners, the Dodgers are spending hundreds of millions on new payroll and upgrades to Dodger Stadium.  But perhaps they should consider a move to a brand new facility in Downtown and leave Chavez Ravine for a future football franchise.

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Trolley Buses Won’t Solve LA’s Transit Woes

Posted by Roobs on April 22, 2013

san-francisco-trolleybus

SF Muni Trolley Bus

When I was at UCLA for my urban planning master’s, one of my professors told us that whenever you are provided with a potential solution, you have to ask if that solution solves the problem you set out to solve.  A post by Alexander Friedman on Streetsblog LA makes a decent argument to bring back trolley buses – electric buses powered by overhead wires – to Los Angeles as a way to provide a temporary fix to LA’s transit woes.  While I have no problem with trolley buses given their great environmental benefits and long-term savings, I believe Mr. Freidman overestimates the effect trolley buses have on transit ridership and their benefits to overall transit service.

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The Insulting Fallacy of HSR Critics on the Central Valley

Posted by Roobs on July 10, 2012

During much of the debate leading up to and even during last week’s vote to fund HSR, many legislators and critics of HSR either implicitly or outright insult the Central Valley as a poor place to begin construction of the nation’s most ambitious infrastructure project.  After the years of listening and responding to HSR critics’ arguments, I really am simply and unquestionably irritated and downright tired their statements on the Central Valley.  I have to force myself at times not to just go off on many of these individuals who fancy themselves experts on planning issues – many the most outspoken are those who have no background in the subject at all.  But specifically regarding the Central Valley, I think they just need to stop.  Just stop talking.  As native son of California’s (and arguably the country’s) most productive agricultural region, catchphrases like “train to nowhere”, the Norcal-Socal centric statements that “no one will ride it between Madera and Bakersfield”, and that it should go along Interstate 5 as opposed to State Route 99, are just downright offensive to all residents of the Central Valley.  There are many reasons why the Central Valley is an excellent place to begin construction.  Here are just a few. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Not to Handle a Protest

Posted by Roobs on August 16, 2011

Yesterday, The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit authority (aka: BART) did the world a public service.  By shutting down stations, previously shutting down cell and data services and all in all pissing people off, it showed other government agencies how NOT to handle a civic protest.  In other words, had BART demonstrated some very basic common sense in crisis management, or at the very least spent the last decade watching protests around the world, it would have known preventing a planned protest from happening isn’t the best way to calm people down.

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Posted in Law, Urban Planning | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Missed Opportunities – A look at the Brookings Institute’s Study

Posted by Roobs on May 21, 2011

What does the Brookings Institute’s Study on Transit & Jobs Really Tell Us?


On May 12, 2011, the Brookings Institute released a first-of-its-kind study that looked at job accessibility in metropolitan areas via transit.  This exhaustive study took on the issue of job sprawl – the decentralization of jobs from the traditional downtown or urban core and out into the suburbs – and found that Western US cities’ transit systems, such as Los Angeles and Honolulu, have better job accessibility than their compact East Coast counterparts.  The reason is because Western cities’ transit systems were designed post-automobile.  That is to say, Western transit systems were designed to connect suburbs to central cities.

In summary, the Brookings study made the following conclusions:

  • Nearly 70% of large metropolitan residents live in neighborhoods with access to transit service of some kind.  This includes bus and light rail.
  • In neighborhoods covered by transit, morning rush hour service occurs about once every 10 minutes for the typical metropolitan commuter.
  • The typical metropolitan resident can reach about 30% of jobs in their metropolitan area via transit in 90 minutes.
  • About one-quarter of jobs in low- and middle-skill industries are accessible via transit within 90 minutes for the typical metropolitan commuter, compared to one-third of jobs in high-skill industries.
  • Fifteen of the 20 metro areas that rank highest on a combined score of transit coverage and job access are in the Western US and 15 of the 20 metro areas that rank lowest are in the Southern US.

Download the Study Here!

The Brookings study did not do one thing that has some critics crying foul.  The study did not look at performance as a function of ridership.  Because the study ignored ridership, instead to focus on job accessibility, does that make the study flawed?  Are its conclusions and ranking of transit systems somehow incorrect because of it? Some say yes. I say no.

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Quotes by Taylor, 4

Posted by Roobs on March 9, 2011

Professor Brian Taylor on the necessary skills of driving a bus:

“Driving a bus in San Francisco is truly amazing.  This takes some great skill.  I once saw a Muni bus driver at a bus rodeo broad slide his bus at 70 mph so it would line up perfectly with the curb. Meanwhile the suburban drivers were just mowing people cut-outs over.  It was jaw dropping!”

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