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Chatting with Los Angeles transit expert Ethan Elkind

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Post your questions in the comments

Welcome to Open Thread, where we pass the mic to readers to speak up about topics of interest, distress, horror, etc. Have something you want discussed? Let us know.


Editor’s note: This chat is now closed. A sincere thank you to Ethan Elkind for answering questions from readers. There were some very thoughtful ones—the conversation touched on monorail, the subway extension to the westside, and an old idea to build a people mover in Downtown. Scroll down to view the entire Q&A.

Ethan Elkind.
Via University of California, Berkely

In honor of Transportation Week, Ethan Elkind, author of Railtown: The Fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the Future of the City will join us this afternoon to answer questions from readers.

Of the book, California Planning & Development Report says it “tells a straightforward, well researched story—with little embellishment or dramatic flair—not about the politics of rail writ large but rather about the specific political process that birthed, delayed, and, eventually, gave rise to today's system.”

If you haven’t read the book, don’t fret. Elkind is happy to answer all types of questions about the history and future of transit in Los Angeles, and the “messy politics” that have shaped and hampered it. As he wrote in the Los Angeles Times in March, “L.A. transit leaders have a habit of prioritizing politically expedient projects over ones that would benefit more riders.”

Right now, he’s especially interested in the prospects for bringing high-speed rail to LA sooner and using congestion pricing to both alleviate traffic and raise money to grow Metro’s network.

Now that you have a sense of Elkind’s expertise, post your questions in the comments. He’ll sign on from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. today to post his replies, but feel free to start asking questions before then. Be sure to check back to hear his response. Now, fire away!