Transportation headlines, Monday, Jan. 7

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

ART OF TRANSIT: An eastbound 20 bus passes by MacArthur Park on Friday afternoon. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: A westbound 20 bus on Wilshire Boulevard passes MacArthur Park Lake on Friday afternoon. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Mayoral candidates split on Westside Subway route (Daily News) 

Here’s the first sentence of the story: “In a mostly amicable race so far, one of the first issues to divide the leading candidates for Los Angeles mayor involves another city altogether – Beverly Hills.”

The story is a followup to last Thursday’s mayoral debate at a Beverly Hills synagogue, in which candidates briefly discussed their views on the Westside/Purple Line Subway Extension and whether the route should go under the Beverly Hills High School campus  on its way to a station in Century City at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars.

For those keeping score at home, Eric Garcetti said on Thursday it should  go under the High School which would put the Century City station at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars. In the article in the Daily News, Wendy Greuel clarified that she supports Metro’s decision to route the subway under the campus  to the Constellation Station location. Kevin James has called for alternative routes for the subway while Emmanuel Pleitez criticized these sorts of projects as “grandiose.”

Jan Perry said the subway should not go under Beverly Hills High because there are oil fields and instability at the campus. Excerpt:

Perry’s decision to oppose the tunnel came after attending Metro meetings and reading documents related to the project, she said in an interview Saturday.

She said her position wasn’t influenced by her longtime friendship with Lisa Korbatov, who sits on the five-member Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education, and is a vocal opponent of the route.

Korbatov helped throw a fundraiser for Perry in 2011, and was scheduled to help throw another one over the recent holiday period, an event canceled because of scheduling issues. Korbatov has been quoted in Perry’s campaign literature, saying Perry has the “kind of independence and leadership” needed by the mayor of Los Angeles.

Korbatov’s parents helped establish the garment district in downtown Los Angeles, and the family is longtime supporters of Perry, who represents parts of downtown. Lisa Korbatov and her family members have contributed at least $4,700 to Perry’s mayoral campaign, according to the City Ethics Commission.

Asked about her ties to Lisa Korbatov, Perry replied: “I make my own decisions, I don’t make them based on friendships. I talk to a lot of people.” Korbatov also dismissed any notion Perry made her decision based on the two women’s friendship.

The Metro Board of Directors in May selected an alignment for the subway last May when they voted to certify the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report; the Board chose the alignment under the campus because of safety concerns over locating the tunnels and station under Santa Monica Boulevard along active earthquake fault zones. The Federal Transit Administration issued their “Record of Decision” approving the FEIS/R also last year. Utility relocation work on the  first section of the  subway project has begun.

In order to change the route, Metro would have to re-open the environmental study phase of the project, the Metro Board of Directors would have to approve of the new studies and the FTA would be required to issue a new Record of Decision. The project could be delayed as a result.

Colorado Boulevard Bridge work begins in Arcadia for Gold Line Foothill Extension (Arcadia Patch) 

A short stretch of Colorado Boulevard just west of Santa Anita Avenue will be closed for the next three months as work ramps up to replace and widen the bridge carrying tracks over the street. The work is part of the project that is extending the Gold Line for 11.5 miles from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border — look for a lot more construction work along the entire alignment in the coming months.

Santa Monica Council weighs names for Expo Line stations (Santa Monica City Council agenda) 

The Council wants its three stations named “Downtown Santa Monica,” “Colorado/17th Street/SMC” and “26th Street/Bergamot.” This differs from the more generic names currently being used by the Expo Line Construction Authority, the independent agency building the second phase of the Expo Line. Station names are ultimately the decision of the Metro Board of Directors. In this case, the “SMC” — as in Santa Monica City College” — is interesting because the closest part of the campus is about .6 miles from the Expo Line station at 17th and Colorado.

$3-billion road repair bond proposed for Los Angeles (L.A. Times)

Two members of the Los Angeles City Council — Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino — have proposed asking voters to consider a property tax increase on the May 21 ballot that would raise three billion dollars to repair streets in the city. The proposed tax increase would initially raise property taxes by $24 on a home valued at $350,000 with that increase rising to $120 in the peak year of the bond. I know many readers on The Source do not live in Los Angeles, but many of you ride buses that get a good bounce or two (or more) while traveling along Los Angeles streets.

No more free meters on Sundays in San Francisco (San Francisco Chronicle)

The tradition of free meters dates back to 1947 but it’s all over now. The move is intended to raise money for mass transit, perhaps nudge more riders to transit and help local businesses that need more parking turnover to lure customers.