Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – Vanessa Gray, C.I.C.L.E’s new executive director!

We are collecting nominations for the Year-Round Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a monthly Why you Ride series because for many Angelenos, Bike Week never ends!

  • Name: Vanessa Gray.
  • Origin and destination: From Silver Lake to destinations around Hollywood and Downtown L.A.
  • Distance: Short and medium commute – Vanessa rides anywhere from 3 to 10 miles each way.
  • Type of commute: A combination of multi-modal and clever commute.
  • The commuter: Seasoned (she’s been doing this a while); chic (riding with flair); and zealous (encouraging others to try pedaling to school or work).
Vanessa Gray, new Executive Director of C.I.C.L.E accompanied by her cute doggy and awesome vintage bike.

Vanessa Gray, new Executive Director of C.I.C.L.E accompanied by her cute dog and awesome vintage bike.

The Bike Week LA team is thrilled to give Vanessa Gray the July Golden Pedal Award.

Vanessa is known for living and breathing the bicycle lifestyle. She’s out riding in style on her vintage Bridgestone bicycle practically every day. She is a true role model and example when it comes to showing everyone that one can use a bicycle to get around town and look good while doing it!

Vanessa recently became C.I.C.L.E.’s new executive director. We’re sure she will work hard to further the organization’s mission to promote bicycling as a viable and everyday form of transportation.

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Century Crunch video: the process of demolition with Project Director Charles Beauvoir

Crenshaw/LAX Line Project Director Charles Beauvoir takes us through the bridge demolition process and talks about the impact the Crenshaw/LAX Line could have on airport congestion once it’s complete.

Transportation headlines, Monday, July 28

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

And 30 years ago today…

So how many people are paying to ride? (L.A. Times) 

This article about fare evasion, turnstiles and ridership estimates is generating a lot of discussion on our Twitter feed. The story looks at the sometimes wide discrepancy between Metro’s ridership estimates and data from the TAP system. The problem is that ridership is more than the TAP numbers, suggesting that the difference consists of people either not paying to ride and those who have paid but aren’t tapping. But pinpointing the number who are evading fares has proven difficult.

Excerpt:

Reducing fare jumping as much as possible has become increasingly important to Metro, which is under pressure to boost ticket revenue as its rail network rapidly expands. Income from fares covers just 26% of Metro’s bus and rail system operating expenses, one of the lowest rates of any major world city. That ratio must increase in the next few years or the agency risks losing crucial federal funding needed to continue building and operating the train network.

Metro has responded by raising fares, starting in September, with more hikes proposed for coming years.

In addition to fare hikes, some elected officials are asking the agency to examine other ways to bring in more revenue. And they are taking note of the disparities between Metro’s ridership estimates and the numbers of tickets being counted at rail stations.

“They owe it to you and to anybody else who’s interested to explain the difference,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a Metro board member, who says it’s still too easy to get on trains without paying.

 

Those four graphs frame the issue. It’s a considerably longer article accompanied by some interesting graphics. Please read if you’re interested in the issue.

As the article mentions, there is some evidence that increased fare enforcement and latching the turnstiles present in half of the Metro Rail stations might be having an effect. I also think it’s important to remind everyone that paying fares helps keep the system running and that it’s important for everyone to always tap when boarding a Metro bus or train. That will help riders avoid potentially costly citations and also help Metro because having better ridership data will also help the agency better plan future service and projects.

Metro picks Skanska venture to build first phase of subway extension (L.A. Times) 

A look at some of the issues in play in the Metro Board’s decision last Thursday to award a $1.6-billion construction contract to build the first phase of the Purple Line Extension between Wilshire/Western and Wilshire/La Cienega. Metro did not pick the low-bidder price-wise and instead selected a contractor — in this case, Skanksa, Traylor and Shea — based on a variety of criteria including price, project management and technical approach.

Metro July meeting recap: subway, SRTP, active transpo and more (Streetsblog LA)

A good recap and analysis of the many issues tackled by the Metro Board at their meeting last Thursday. Streetsblog has been keeping an eye on the short-range plan and funding for pedestrian and bike projects. As Joe Linton notes, the short-range plan approved by the Metro Board is being seen by some as a “casting call” for a potential 2016 ballot measure and thus the interest in particular projects.

Gold Line on schedule, on budget for Azusa extension (L.A. Register) 

A progress report on one of the Measure R-funded projects, the 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border with six new stations along the way — and considerable development opportunities near the tracks and stations. Construction continues to progress well and is on schedule to be completed by next September, when the process would begin of handing the line over to Metro and testing. Metro is currently forecasting opening the line in early 2016.

Mayor sets out to transform L.A. streets through ‘urban acupuncture’ (L.A. Times) 

A deeper look at Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initiative to transform sections of 15 streets in the city — one per council district — into more walkable, bike-friendly and transit-friendly streets  to encourage residents to eat, shop and play locally instead of driving to distant points in the L.A. megalopolis.

As the article notes, there will be hurdles to cross and this type of effort has been tried in the past. Most notably, some residents say don’t necessarily want streets that will slow down their journey to the nearest freeway.

My hunch is that zoning regulations spelled out in local community plans will play a big role in this effort in terms of attracting the type of development — commercial and residential — that could help re-establish a Main Street type feel to some streets .

Century Crunch final update: Aviation/Century intersection on track to open 2 a.m. Monday

The intersection reopened at 1:30 a.m., four-and-a-half hours ahead of schedule.

The intersection reopened at 1:30 a.m., four-and-a-half hours ahead of schedule.

Work on the demolition of the old railroad bridge and the bridge abutments remains ahead of schedule. The intersection of Aviation and Century boulevards is on track to reopen at 2 a.m. Monday, four hours ahead of the original schedule. 

Traffic congestion on the roads around Los Angeles International Airport was either light or manageable for most of the weekend thanks to the public taking heed of warnings to avoid the area, use the appropriate detours and/or take FlyAway bus or transit.

“The successful completion of ‘Century Crunch’ shows that when we all plan and work together, we can avoid undue burdens as we build the transit and airport infrastructure necessary to reduce congestion in the long-term,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti.

Over the weekend, the old railroad bridge and its abutments on the north and south side of Century Boulevard were removed. Traffic lanes on Century Boulevard were also reconfigured on Sunday to allow for construction of the new aerial Aviation/Century Station that will be part of the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

The light rail line will run for 8.5 miles between the Green Line and Expo Line and include two rail stations near the airport — one serving Century Boulevard and the other, at 96th Street, that will allow passengers to connect to a people mover that will carry them to LAX terminals. The project is funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

The demolition work on the bridge began early Saturday morning add was completed by early Sunday afternoon. Crews commenced to clean the streets and install new street signal posts at the Century/Aviation intersection — the old traffic signals were mounted on the bridge.

Below are a pair of time-lapse videos taken of the demolition work. The first one covers Friday night through Saturday morning and the second shows the work done Saturday to topple the bridge.

Century Crunch, update #6: new photos of bridge demolition work

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Photos by Jose Ubaldo/Metro.

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With many travelers returning to Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday afternoon — as is typical — there has been some traffic congestion on roads around LAX.

The intersection of Aviation and Century boulevards will remain closed the rest of Sunday with a reopening by 6 a.m. Monday. If headed to or from LAX Sunday evening, please avoid the area, take the FlyAway bus, use Sepulveda Boulevard if driving or take transit.

The above photos were taken Sunday afternoon and show the work thus far in demolishing the old railroad bridge over Century Boulevard to clear way for the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s new Aviation/Century Station. Again, a lot of helpful info in this earlier post about getting to and from LAX this weekend.

If headed to LAX, check for traffic updates on the airport’s main Twitter feed with the hashtag #centurycrunch. We’ll also continue updating the Source as necessary and update Metro’s general Twitter feed with the hashtag #centurycrunch.

For those who enjoy demolition videos, here are a pair of short timelapses from the weekend:

Friday night to Saturday morning — closing the intersection and demolition beginning

Saturday morning to Saturday afternoon — knocking the bridge span down

 

 

Century Crunch, update #5

Good morning!

Demolition work overnight went according to plan and traffic to and from the airport is flowing well. The intersection of Aviation and Century boulevards remains closed and is scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Monday.

Work today will include demolition of the bridge’s abutment walls, removal of the final rubble from the bridge demolition, picking up steel plates, installing K-rails and re-striping the roadway.

By all accounts, people heeded the warning about the closure on Saturday and traffic moved well for most of the day. Everyone would like to see a repeat of that today. Avoid driving in the area, use Sepulveda Boulevard if driving, take the LAX FlyAway bus or use transit. Again, a lot of helpful info in this earlier post about getting to and from LAX this weekend.

If headed to LAX, check for traffic updates on the airport’s main Twitter feed with the hashtag #centurycrunch. We’ll also be updating the Source over the weekend as well as Metro’s general Twitter feed.

 

 

Century Crunch, update #4

Work on demolishing and removing the old railroad bridge over Century Boulevard was slightly ahead of schedule through late Saturday afternoon with the road scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Monday. The above video was taken about 4:15 p.m. today.

The portion of the bridge spanning Century Boulevard has been taken down and about 1,000 tons of debris is being removed from the road and is being moved to a nearby staging site for further “processing.” The material will be removed at a later date in an effort not to clog up traffic in the LAX area.

That work will continue through Saturday night. Any time saved on bridge demolition will be used to get a head start on tearing down the bridge approaches to the north and south of Century Boulevard. That will help reduce long-term impacts to traffic on Century and Aviation boulevards over the next 16 months.

Los Angeles World Airports reports that planes are mostly full this weekend and traffic is flowing well in the LAX area. The airport said more buses, taxis and shuttles are also being used this weekend.

Please see this earlier post for traffic, detour and transit information for those going to or coming from Los Angeles International Airport this weekend. Long story short: avoid driving in the area, use Sepulveda Boulevard if driving, take the LAX FlyAway bus or use transit. Again, a lot of helpful info in the earlier post, which will remain at the top of the blog roll.

If headed to LAX over the weekend, check for traffic updates on the airport’s main Twitter feed with the hashtag #centurycrunch. We’ll also be updating the Source over the weekend as well as Metro’s general Twitter feed.