October 06-In a new statewide evaluation of rail transit stations, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received an average rating while the best marks went to two Bay Area agencies. The report was done by UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment.
The study examined how transit stations serve people and communities. “Poorly run stations are in the outer reaches of the system with limited pedestrian access, low ridership and few attractions to draw riders”.
Metro Transit planner Jeremy Fichter said the proposal would funnel more commuters to the light rail service, which is more reliable and can handle more capacity. It is also situated in a highly auto dependent area; only 5.94% of residents do not own cars.
Sacramento’s Longview Drive and I-80 station is next to a major interstate, and is used for park-and-ride services.
Of Metro’s 88 rail stations, there were 18 A’s, 34 Bs, 21 Cs, 14 Ds and an F. All stops on the Red and Purple subway lines received A’s and Bs and were among the best-performing facilities.
The San Joaquin Valley is California’s fastest-growing region, but lacks rail transit. Both received B grades.
A new study by the San Francisco-based group Next 10 and UC Berkeley rated rail stations from six cities in California for accessibility, connections to housing and commerce, walkable and what percentage of people in the neighborhood use them.
The Best grade went to San Francisco’s MUNI system which received a B. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority earned a C- with the Japantown/Ayer station in San Jose scoring best for that system and the Middlefield station in Mountain View scoring worst.
“Stations serving walkable neighborhoods with plenty of conveniently located homes and businesses scored highest”, said Ethan Elkind, lead author and associate director of the Climate Change and Business Program at CLEE. He says proximity to transit stations in urban areas is a factor that needs to be considered.
According to the study, about 58.8% of residents and 18.8% of workers in the area use public transit.
Perry explains that the goal for grading transit stops and locations is an effective way for the public and its officials to understand where improvements can be made, “Transit provides an opportunity to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, take cars off the road, and protect open space, which is important given that the state’s population is expected to increase by almost 30 percent over the next 35 years”.
Researchers offered recommendations to improve station area performance, including prioritizing rail transit for neighborhoods that already contain high concentrations of jobs and housing and financing development projects in under-performing regions.