How we celebrate Christmas in America:

Thoroughbred Street will again welcome thousands in search of a little yuletide cheer. Residents have been decorating their homes with lights, yard figurines and more to delight visitors from across Southern California.

Rancho Cucamonga police will once again limit pedestrian access on what they expect to be the busiest nights of the season. According to the city’s website, portions of Thoroughbred and Jennet streets and Turquoise Avenue will be open to motorists only from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8, and Dec. 13-24, to emphasize pedestrian and vehicle safety.

The limits on pedestrian access are an expansion of an ordinance approved by the city in 2017 that police said improved traffic and cut wait times for motorists the final two weeks of the lights display.

Ok boomer

Man, if you thought your local city council had some nutcases…

This was from a 2017 meeting in Tampere, Finland. Incidentally, the Mayor presiding over the meeting went on to become Transport Minister, and will be the country’s next Prime Minister .

JBSN5A recent NY Times headline reads: Experts Back Mandatory Bike Helmets but Not All Cyclists Are Sold. This headline refers to that awful NTSB decision to recommended mandatory helmet laws. Looking at the official NTSB bio’s, it is unclear why the NY Times uses the term “experts” as neither the NTSB staff nor Board members have professional background in bicycle planning. Dr. Ivan Cheung, who wrote the NTSB report on bicycle helmets, previously worked for the insurance lobby. 

Of course the actual bike safety experts — who are are in places like Copenhagen and the Netherlands — specifically recommend against bicycle helmets. So contrary to the headline, bicycle advocates and the actual professionals are very much in agreement on the helmet issue.

However the press cannot be entirely blamed for mis-reporting, because the American cycling community has put out a confusing message:

The League of American Bicyclists, an advocacy group based in Washington, is opposed to that idea. “We certainly promote helmets,” Ken McLeod, the league’s policy director, said. “Helmets do make individual bicyclists safer. We just think a mandatory helmet law is the wrong policy for federal or state governments to pursue.”

It is incorrect to claim helmets make bicyclists safer. According to the NHTSA, virtually all bicycle fatalities involve a motor vehicle — and bicycle helmets are not designed to protect against motor vehicle collisions. It says so in the CPSC specs. Moreover motor vehicle collisions are not part of the helmet testing protocol (if they were, then every helmet would fail).

It is irresponsible for a cycling organization to promote a piece of safety equipment that is ineffective. Not only does this misinform, but it leads to this confusion. The general public doesn’t understand why cyclists are opposed helmet laws when cycling organizations themselves are promoting helmets as valuable safety gear. Cycling organizations need to be clear on the reason for opposing helmet laws: helmets don’t work.

MARTA has ordered new rolling stock. Given its similarities to BART, it is interesting to compare to BART’s troubled railcar purchase. Whereas BART staff said open gangway trains were not feasible, Atlanta apparently has no problems with the technology:

MARTA’s board of directors have approved a $646 million agreement with Stadler Rail for the purchase of 254 new rail cars. The agreement also contains options for MARTA to order up to 100 additional rail cars.

The rail cars are scheduled to be delivered between 2023 and 2028, with the delivery of a pilot car in 2022.

The cars will feature an open gangway design with modernized electronic signage and public address system, more comfortable seating plus handholds and stanchions with better functionality, two wheelchair positions, charging stations, luggage space and enhanced video surveillance.



God damn carmunists

mcpartland_0Last month, the BART Board had a presentation on parking fees. The agency currently has a cap of $3/day. This is not only less than market cost, but also less than the cost of round-trip bus fare. BART staff has been looking at updating the agency’s parking policy. But one BART Director, avowed carmunist John McPartland, is opposed:

“I disagree with market-based parking,” countered Director John McPartland. “I don’t work for BART, I work for the public, and I’m not in the business of gouging the public.”

“My goal would be giving it to them cost-neutral, whatever it costs to maintain it,” McPartland said.

It should be noted that the current policy is definitely not cost-neutral. BART’s systemwide farebox recovery is less than 60%. Much of that farebox shortfall is from the suburban park-and-ride stations. BART can either make up that loss by raising parking fees, or else replace parking with infill development. It should be noted that McParland opposes doing either.

It is curious how it is cyclists who can get their vehicle confiscated, but rarely car owners:

PEABODY, MA — Police confiscated bikes from more than 30 kids who were riding without a helmet Thursday morning as part of “a concerted effort to educate those children who are riding their bicycles in an unsafe manner.” The crackdown comes after complaints in social media forums for Peabody residents about kids riding bikes. Children who had their bikes taken by police were told they could get it back by going to the Peabody Police Station with a parent.


The BART-SJ extension includes a redundant station at Santa Clara, duplicating the existing Caltrain service. At last month’s VTA Board meeting, Director Bob Rennie asked staff the following:

Rennie: We’ve had a number of people come to our Board meeting and ask why are we spending the extra money to extend to Santa Clara? I’ve never seen a trade-off of other options. If we have not done a trade-off analysis, are we going to do a trade-off analysis? Can we do a wider station at Diridon instead?

VTA Staff (Dennis Radcliffe): Many of those things were considered, but generally we are not exploring any of those…The Santa Clara station provides parking that we’re not providing at the downtown station.

I know this is pointing out the obvious but….if VTA wants to provide more parking at that location they can build a new garage at the Santa Clara Caltrain station and have those riders board Caltrain.