By Ted Rall, December 18, 2014
No one likes mass transit more than me, and trains are my favorite form of it.
good for the environment, they are fun to ride, and you zip right past
all the planet-killing motorists sitting in traffic. But urban planners
often fall short when it comes to making train systems as useful as they
could be, which sets the stage for critics who call every idea that
doesn't involve more cars a boondoggle.
Here in Los Angeles, getting Metro to LAX
seems like job one, but not something we are likely to see in our
lifetimes. In New York, direct train connections between LaGuardia and
John F. Kennedy International airports remain as elusive
as a World Series win by the Chicago Cubs. Idiotic worries about
terrorism added a long walk from BART train stations at San Francisco
International Airport to the terminals.
Well, not exactly to L.A.
First it goes to Burbank.
It's hard to imagine anyone other than hardcore rail geeks wanting to do that.
talked to proponents of the so-called "one-seat ride" between Merced
and L.A. They say the Burbank transfer problem could be solved by
"blending the operations of Metrolink and the high-speed system through
track-sharing and electrification of part of the Metrolink system, much
like what the state is doing with local commuter rail service in the Bay
Alas: "Metrolink officials have been cool to the idea,
citing, among other things, the cost and complexity of overlapping
One strongly suspects that the bureaucrats who refuse
to roll up their sleeves and get this done plan to spend the rest of
their lives behind the wheels of their cars rather than schlepping up
and down the stairs at some future Burbank transfer station in 2028.
is, of course, the big problem we face: government officials without
imagination. This system may not get completed until after our children
are middle-aged, but we owe it to our grandchildren to get this right.
They are going to need and want this system to work properly. We can't
possibly know what the future will bring, with a few exceptions, and one
of them is higher population density.
drive on freeways that past generations conceived and paid for not only
with their tax dollars, but with years and years of loud, dirty
construction. This is the part where we repay our debt to the social