To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Monday, December 8, 2014

It Turns Out That Millennials Do Drive

In many metros, young people today commute by car as often as they did in 1980.


By Eric Jaffe, December 8, 2014


It's become an uncontested truth that young Americans dislike driving, and indeed, Millennials do seem more fond of public transportation than their elders are. But a new Census tool comparing 18-to-34 year olds now and in the past raises questions about just how much things have changed. In many major U.S. metro areas, young people today drive to work as often as they did in 1980, if not more.

Late last week, the Census released "Young Adults: Then and Now," an interactive map outlining social trends among 18-to-34 year olds at four different moments: 1980, 1990, 2000, and today (more precisely, the 2009-2013 American Community Survey). One of those trends highlights the share of this population that gets to work by car. Using the raw data, we took the 25 most-populated metros today and compared commuting figures of Millennials to those of young people circa 1980.

First, a quick frame of reference for the country as a whole. In 1980, 83.8 percent of young Americans got to work in a car or a carpool. Today, 84.5 percent of Millennials say the same. That's a very modest rise in the share of young adults driving to work—and it's a drop from figures in 1990 (85.6 percent) and 2000 (86.7 percent)—but it's an increase nonetheless.

Now let's drill down into the 25 major metros. True to recent wisdom on Millennial driving patterns, nine of these places showed a decline in car commuting among young people today compared with 1980. New York experienced the biggest shift, with a 9.4 percent decrease in car share that actually puts driving in the minority, followed by Boston (7.8 percent), San Francisco (4.6 percent), and Portland (4.3). Washington, D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and Miami round out the list.


Nine metros barely moved the commuting needle, with young car shares today falling within one percentage point of 1980 figures. Three of these metros saw car shares decline ever so slightly: Tampa, Houston, and Denver. The rest saw them increase a smidge: Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago—with Millennials in the latter two cities driving almost a full percent more despite considerable transit upgrades in the past 30 years.

The data also show that in seven metros, younger Americans drive to work at greater shares today than they did three decades ago. The biggest rise occurred in San Diego (8.1 percent), followed by San Antonio (4.8 percent) and Baltimore (3.6 percent). Car-commute shares among young people in Minneapolis, Riverside (California), St. Louis, and Pittsburgh all jumped between 1 and 3 percent over the years.


So the notion that Millennials are spurning cars across the board is clearly oversimplified. In many big cities, young people today are commuting in much the same way they did three decades ago—tape decks notwithstanding.

That's not to say Millennial driving habits aren't changing. They clearly are changing for a number of reasons (incredible shrinking incomes perhaps chief among them). Carmakers recognize as much; hence, the rise of the dashboard selfie. From the perspective of city mobility, it's at least encouraging that many of the metros pushing hardest for alternative transportation options have seen the biggest declines in car commuting among young people—but it's also important not to forget that even within this transit-friendly segment of the population, in every place but New York, most Americans still get to work by car.

Opinion: Four ways the 405 freeway project has not made your life better


By Carla Hall, December 2, 2014

The 405

 The stretch of the 405 freeway that connects the Westside to the San Fernando Valley.

After four years of lane closures, bulldozers, orange cones, and K-rails, the $1.1-billion 405 Freeway construction project was declared completed in May -- more or less.

The big accomplishment:  The new 10-mile stretch of carpool lane on the northbound 405, carved out of the side of a mountain, was opened and destined to make your life better.  Has it? Of course not.

OK, maybe here and there.

Yes, the new untangled on and off ramps at Wilshire Boulevard now allow you to get off the freeway without having to pray for your life while crossing the traffic coming onto the freeway.  But here are the reasons that the construction has not made your life better:

1. Traffic is just as bad! I swear it’s worse.  

INRIX, the traffic monitoring firm, reported afternoon rush-hour speeds on the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass have stayed constant -- or slowed some -- since the carpool lane was completed, according to a post on then-L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website in late October.   The firm monitored the freeway between the 10 and the 101 for two weeks during rush hour -- or, more aptly, the sludge hour when cars are simply stuck.

The good news -- in a holistic sense-- is that the economy got better.  That’s why traffic isn’t budging. More people are on their way to more jobs.  Metro officials see the bright side -- imagine how bad the traffic would be if there were not the extra lane this year, they say…

2. Construction just won’t end.  

Those construction workers are a little like Eldin, the painter working on Murphy Brown’s house on the hit '90s sitcom who never finished the job and stayed around so long he became her confidant.  (“Murphy Brown.” If you don’t know it, go check it out. It’s a classic. ) Not that I see many drivers stopping to chat up construction crew for advice.

3. Not all the new ramps are so fabulous, according to some drivers. 

The on-ramp to the 405 at Skirball Center is configured at a steep angle with a sharp turn, reports a friend of mine who drives that ramp most weekdays. “Impossible to stay in your lane unless you are a stuntman,” he says.

4. And just when we thought we were out, they pull us back in…

All that roadblock fatigue over the endless 405 project (see #2) has sent us into post-construction stress disorder (PCSD) over yet another project that has cropped up on the Westside.  A new set of lane closures, K-rails and construction crews has sprouted like invasive ground cover along both sides of Wilshire Boulevard between Federal and Bonsall avenues.  It’s all part of a 12.5-mile Wilshire Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit project that will create a peak-hour bus lane on eastbound Wilshire.  In the process, they’re widening Wilshire in this area.  Which just means we can’t get to the newly widened 405 freeway unless we want to sit in the stalled traffic on the widening Wilshire Boulevard.  It will be done next year, the signs say.

We can dream.

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