New York Times: Transit on West Coast Surging Ahead of East Coast

East Coast transit systems used to be the envy of other cities, but now the West Coast is taking big steps to expand their networks.

2 minute read

January 7, 2019, 11:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Los Angeles Metro Train

Prayitno / Flickr

Los Angeles and Seattle are pumping money into transit, while New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., are struggling with deferred maintenance on aging systems, reports Emma G. Fitzsimmons.

Ridership is also down on the East Coast, and New York is dealing with delays, shutdowns, and much-needed repairs instead of building new stations and lines. Los Angeles, on the other hand, plans to add 100 miles of rail, and Seattle is also expanding its transit system as ridership increases and car use decreases.

West Coast cities do not have established systems like the East Coast and so they have plenty of room to grow. Still, political will for transit has played out much differently in cities on each of the coasts, notes Fitzsimmons:

One key difference is the West Coast has the ballot measure, while New York State does not allow voters to directly approve measures like transit funding. In 2016, both Los Angeles County and the Seattle region approved measures to boost transportation funding. The Los Angeles proposal, known as Measure M, won nearly 70 percent of the vote, greenlighting $120 billion in spending by raising the sales tax.

In addition, the New York subway is governed at the state level, while the mayor in Los Angeles has a much more involved role in transit planning and budgeting. As a result, policymakers are much more hands off in New York and transit is less of a priority. "Instead, the subway’s leader, Andy Byford, is pleading with state leaders to approve new revenue sources when they return to Albany in January," reports Fitzsimmons.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019 in The New York Times

Aeriel view of white sheep grazing on green grass between rows of solar panels.

Coming Soon to Ohio: The Largest Agrivoltaic Farm in the US

The ambitious 6,000-acre project will combine an 800-watt solar farm with crop and livestock production.

April 24, 2024 - Columbus Dispatch

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times


Dallas Surburb Bans New Airbnbs

Plano’s city council banned all new permits for short-term rentals as concerns about their impacts on housing costs grow.

1 hour ago - FOX 4 News

Divvy Chicago

Divvy Introduces E-Bike Charging Docks

New, circular docks let e-bikes charge at stations, eliminating the need for frequent battery swaps.

2 hours ago - Streetsblog Chicago

Freeway sign with "severe weather - use caution" over multilane freeway in rainy weather.

How Freeway Projects Impact Climate Resilience

In addition to displacement and public health impacts, highway expansions can also make communities less resilient to flooding and other climate-related disasters.

3 hours ago - Transportation for America

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.