High Desert Corridor draft environmental study is released

map_corridor_hidesert_eng

Caltrans and Metro today released the long-awaited draft environmental study for the High Desert Corridor project, which contemplates a new 63-mile freeway between Palmdale in Los Angeles County and the town of Apple Valley in San Bernardino County — along with a possible high-speed rail line, bikeway and green energy transmission corridor. The study also considers the legally-required No Build alternative.

The draft study can be viewed by clicking here.

The High Desert Corridor sits north of the San Gabriel Mountains, traditionally the divide between the heavily populated Los Angeles Basin and the rural Mojave Desert. In recent years, however, desert cities such as Palmdale, Lancaster, Adelanto, Hesperia, Victorville and Apple Valley have grown tremendously and now have a combined population near 700,000. The study predicts more growth — and more traffic — in coming decades.

Transportation, however, has remained a challenge in the High Desert with Highway 138 remaining the primary east-west option. Highway 138 is narrow — two or four lanes, often with no center divider — and long ago earned a reputation for its safety issues.

As with other transportation projects, funding for the High Desert Corridor project will remain a challenge. At this time, the project is not funded, although Measure R helped provide money for the project’s environmental studies. Among the alternatives studied is a toll road that could raise funding needed to help finance the project.

The news release from Caltrans is after the jump.

Continue reading

Crenshaw/LAX Line: Two week full street closure on Rodeo Road rescheduled for Oct. 24

The news release from Metro:

Metro’s contractor Walsh/Shea Corridor Contractors (WSCC) has rescheduled the Rodeo Road two week closure to Friday, Oct. 24.

The full street closure is needed to complete the underground perimeter wall with steel piles for the Crenshaw/Expo station box. The work schedule and the detours remains the same.

Originally rescheduled for Friday, Oct. 3, the two-week full street closure of Rodeo Road at Crenshaw Boulevard will precede excavation of the underground station. Nightly closures are taking place in this location from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day as crews continue to work on storm drains and utilities in the area.

This location is of vital importance for the project since this is where the tunnel boring machines will be lowered to begin digging the southbound tunnel through Crenshaw/MLK station and finalize the Crenshaw/Vernon station. The lowering of the tunnel boring machine is expected to take place next year.

Dodger Stadium Express will run from Union Station and Harbor Gateway for the playoffs

map

After thumping and humiliating the Giants last Wednesday night, the Dodgers are National League West champions and owners of the second seed in the NL. They’ll open the playoffs at home this Friday, Oct. 3, at 3:37 p.m. against the St. Louis Cardinals followed by Game 2 on Saturday night at 6:37 p.m.

Game 1 features a match of the very best pitcher in the majors, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, versus a top-five pitcher in Adam Wainwright. Should be a great game.

With huge crowds expected for the playoffs, the Dodger Stadium Express will be running to the ballpark from two locations: Union Station and Harbor Gateway Transit Center (731 W. 182nd Street, Gardena, CA) along with stops at Rosecrans Station, Harbor Freeway Station (for those transferring to/from the Green Line), Manchester Station and Slauson Station — all in the median of the 110 freeway (see above map). Those with tickets to the game ride for free. The new Harbor Gateway service is funded with revenues from the Metro ExpressLanes on the 110 freeway.

Please note that service from Harbor Gateway begins for the playoffs. For this weekend’s home games against the Colorado Rockies, Dodger Stadium Express service will only be from Union Station. 

Union Station is served by many Metro and municipal bus lines and Metro Rail’s Red, Purple and Gold lines, as well as Metrolink and Amtrak. Parking is available for $6.

131999_unionstaarea_final

Harbor Gateway Transit Center is also served by several Metro bus lines, the Metro Silver Line and Torrance Transit. Free parking is available although may be limited if the lot fills.

132001_hbrtwy_final

Dodger Stadium Express details for the playoffs:

From Union Station:

  • Board at Bus Bay 3 of the Patsaouras Bus Plaza.
  • Service leaves Union Station every 10 minutes, starting 90 minutes before game time through the 3rd inning for all home games.
  • You can exit inside Dodger Stadium at one of two stops – behind Center Field and at the Top Deck. Service will pick up at the same stops after the game.
  • Return service runs until 45 minutes after the final out.

From Harbor Gateway Transit Center:

  • Board at Bay 9.
  • Buses run every 15 minutes starting 2 hours before game time, with the last bus leaving at game time.
  • You’ll be dropped off behind Right Field. Service back to Harbor Gateway Transit Center will pick up at the same stop after the game.
  • Return service ends 45 minutes after the final out.

Game Day Tips:

  • Your Dodger ticket is good for the Dodger Stadium Express fare*; otherwise, regular Metro fares apply.
  • Arrive early; crowds are heaviest near game time.

 

Metrolink’s Angels Express will run for playoff games beginning Thursday

Photo by Ray Smith, via Flickr creative commons.

Photo by Ray Smith, via Flickr creative commons.

The American League West champion Angels open the division series at home on Thursday against the Kansas City Royals, who won a thriller wild card game on Tuesday night.

Thursday’s game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and Game 2 on Friday is 6:30 p.m.

Metrolink’s Angels Express will be running for the post-season with train service between Los Angeles Union Station and the ballpark in Anaheim with stops at Norwalk, Buena Park and Fullerton — there will also be trains between Oceanside and Anaheim. The train station is in the parking lot for the stadium (beyond left field) and is a short walk from the ballpark.

Please click here for schedules. Round-trip is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors/disabled and $4 for those aged six to 18. Kids five and under are free with a limit of three free sprouts per paying adult.

 

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, October 1

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! 

Art of Transit: New Metro Rail light rail vehicles being assembled in Palmdale. In this pic, two halves of a light rail car are being joined together. Photo: Metro.

Art of Transit: New Metro Rail light rail vehicles being assembled in Palmdale. In this pic, two halves of a light rail car are being joined together. Photo: Metro.

Metro breaks ground on key downtown L.A. subway link (L.A. Times)

Officials break ground on $1.4-billion Regional Connector (Downtown News)

Coverage of yesterday’s groundbreaking for the Regional Connector project that will tie together the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines in downtown L.A., making for a quicker ride to and through downtown for Metro light rail passengers. Officials emphasized that the Connector will reduce the need for transfer and should hopefully make taking the train into DTLA more convenient and possibly even quicker than driving.

I thought it was interesting that no one at the event noted, however, that the Pasadena Gold Line was originally intended to connect to the Blue Line. That was cut from the project in the 1990s due to budget woes, with officials figuring the subway could be used to bridge the gap between Union Station and 7th/Metro. Complicating matters, the Gold Line platform and subway platforms aren’t exactly adjacent — something I’m not sure you would appreciate unless you’re the one walking it day after day, month after month and year after year.

Metro’s Union Station Master Plan a significant shift (L.A. Times)

Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne takes a look at the Union Station Master Plan that the Metro Board will consider in its October round of meetings (the Board delayed taking action in September). Overall, he likes many elements of the plan and considers some of the challenges — such as how new development adjacent to the station will blend in with the historic station structure. One note from Metro: officials emphasize that raising the tracks at Union Station as part of the run-through project and providing room for the concourse below would not impact nearby bridges over the Los Angeles River.

Making Los Angeles streets safe, zero pedestrian deaths are mayor’s and LADOT’s goal (Daily News) 

LADOT’s bold new strategic vision: eliminate L.A. traffic deaths by 2025 (Streetsblog L.A.)

A look at the “Great Streets” document released by the city of Los Angeles earlier this week. The goal of ending pedestrian deaths and all traffic fatalities in the city by 2025 is certainly commendable — and will certainly be a challenge given the size of the city and the amount of traffic within it. As the article notes, there were 80 deaths last year and that number hasn’t moved much in recent years. My humble request: improving the often lousy pedestrian environment on sidewalks near the Blue Line would be a great place to start.

From Damien Newton and Joe Linton at Streetsblog:

There have long been holistic thinkers at LADOT, but they’ve been in the minority, squeezing in opportunistic improvements in the midst of a departmental culture that prioritized car convenience. In the past half-dozen years, under the leadership of previous General Manager Jaime de la Vega and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LADOT has warmed up to a broader mission that balances the needs of all road users.

But today’s plan is a quantum leap forward.

I couldn’t agree more.

 

The document from the city is below — looks like it has some interesting facts and figures, although I haven’t had a chance to read yet in its entirety.

A high-frequency bus network: is it worth the cost? (Edmonton Journal)

Excellent intro to a longer series about an ongoing discussion in the city: should high-frequency bus service be the goal or should the city continue to spread bus service around so everyone has at least a little service? Transportation planner Jarrett Walker was hired to help city officials make some decisions — see his blog for more coverage.

Of course, this is a hugely relevant conversation in Los Angeles County, where Metro and many other municipal agencies provide bus service. Some of it is certainly high frequency (at times) and much of it dives deeply into the ‘burbs and has low ridership but is obviously critical for the mobility of those who do ride. The catch: funding for bus service is never unlimited, meaning that to some degree the number of high-ridership, high-frequency lines are limited by the number of low-frequency bus lines.

 

 

Happy Walktober!

It’s that time of year again, when pumpkin spice takes over the land and the air starts to feel just a little bit crisp. Hard pass on the pumpkin spice (eggnog only, thanks!), but I do plan on enjoying the cooling fresh air with a lot more walking…especially as it’s Walktober!

During the month of October, get out and add a few more steps to your day. Not only will it be good for your health, it’s a great way to explore and connect with your neighborhood and other transit options, reduce your carbon footprint…and it could change your daily commute for the better.

Commuter Ryan Long walks to his Metrolink station so early in the morning, it's still dark out!

Commuter Ryan Long walks to his Metrolink station so early in the morning, it’s still dark out!

Don’t take our word for it! Here’s Ryan Long, who commutes via walking and train ride from Lancaster to downtown Los Angeles every day:

“The early morning walk to the train station for me starts at 4:30 a.m. Living in Lancaster, I see rabbits, coyotes, lizards and many other cool walks of life along the way. A short 12-minute walk is a great way to stay fit and clear my mind. I exercise daily, and this is a great jumpstart. I arrive at the station and am greeted by a lovely church group that hands out donuts and coffee for free! How great! The two-hour ride from Lancaster to Union Station provides me with time to sleep. My coworkers poke fun at me, thinking I am greatly inconvenienced by making this trip. They do not know that I get an extra four hours of sleep per day! I can also catch up on my books, movies and television shows! I have met many great people along the way and would not trade this for the stressful car drive ever again.”

Ryan shared his story with us when pledging to share the ride, and you should pledge too, for a chance to have your story featured on The Source (and the chance to win some awesome prizes).

Want to get walking but not sure where to start? CicLAvia is just around the corner, and all walkers are welcome. So as tempting as it is to spend the entire weekend marathoning Gilmore Girls on Netflix…break out the walking shoes and put those feet in gear!

Preview of October Metro Service Council meetings

The San Fernando Valley Service Council leads off Halloween month (how did we get here so quickly?) with the first of our five monthly Service Council meetings beginning tonight. Fortunately, none of the meetings will be held on a Friday the 13th.

All Service Councils are scheduled to receive the monthly Director’s report, which provides statistics on ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service. Two of the Councils — San Fernando Valley and Westside/Central — will receive updates on the implementation plan for Line 788, a new express service scheduled to begin in December that will link the San Fernando Valley and the Westside using the Sepulveda Pass HOV lanes on the I-405.

For more information about each Service Council, click on the name of the Council to view their web page. Meeting topics for Service Council meetings this month also include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 pm, Wednesday, 10/1) – Recognition of Dr. Richard Arvizu and Kymberleigh Richards for their service to the San Fernando Valley Service Council; Update on Line 788 Implementation.

Westside/Central (5 pm, Wednesday, 10/8) – Swearing in of Maria Sipin as a new Westside/Central Service Council member, Update on Line 788 Implementation, Election of 2015 Chair and Vice-Chair for Westside/Central Service Council.

Gateway Cities (2 pm, Thursday, 10/9) – Presentation on First – Last Mile Connectivity, Report on Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 public hearings.

South Bay (9:30 am, Friday, 10/10) – Recognition of Division 18 Bus Operators Gordon Green and Rickey Griffin; Presentation on Access Services.

San Gabriel Valley (5 pm, Monday, 10/13) – Presentation on Access Services; Report on Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 public hearings.

For a detailed listing of all Service Council meeting dates, times and locations, click here. As always, the public is encouraged to attend and share their comments with the Service Councils on improving bus service throughout LA County. If you would like to provide input to a Council but cannot attend a meeting, you can submit your comments in writing through the Service Council web page or send them to servicecouncils@metro.net. If your comments are for a specific Council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing in your e-mail.