How We Roll, Friday, September 25

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Newsflash! — From our Regional Connector team:

Weighing in at approximately 373,000 lbs. and standing as high as 280 feet tall, the hydraulic crawler crane shown below is ready to install approximately 80 piles at the 1st/Central Station Yard starting Monday, September 28th. With piles to be installed at depths ranging from 40 to 81 feet, this activity is the first step in preparing for station excavation and support of excavation efforts at the 1st/Central Station. For more information about pile installation efforts at the 1st/Central Yard, click here.



Art of Transit: 

From Dept. of Twitter: 


Foothill Gold Line construction done, Metro to prepare for riders (SGV Tribune)

Gold Line clearance testing this spring -- looking east toward Arcadia. Test trains are currently running under their own power. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

Gold Line clearance testing this spring — looking east toward Arcadia. Test trains are currently running under their own power. Photo: Steve Hymon/Metro.

Nice wrap-up of the announcement Wednesday that the Gold Line Foothill Extension had reached “substantial completion” and was ready to be handed over to Metro, which will operate the project. As you may have also heard, Metro CEO Phil Washington told the Metro Board on Thursday that an opening date will be announced within 30 days, with the news likely to come at the next Board meeting on Oct. 22. That’s great news.

In the Trib article, Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian also says that there was $50 million left over from the Pasadena-to-Azusa segment that will be used for design and engineering on a future Azusa to Montclair segment. Balian says that he wants the project to be shovel-ready in case funding is secured through a potential Metro ballot measure next year.

Some background important for everyone to understand. An extension to Claremont is in Metro’s current long-range transportation plan (LRTP) but there is no current funding available (San Bernardino County would have to contribute to get the tracks to Montclair, which is just beyond the L.A. County line). Metro is working on a potential update to the LRTP and potential ballot measure next year to raise funds for projects, but the decision to go forward with either has not yet been made by the Metro Board of Director, the agency’s ultimate deciders in such matters. Undoubtedly, there sure seems to be considerable public and political support in the SGV to extend the project beyond Azusa.

Stay tuned. There’s a lot happening with the project and I know a lot of people are looking forward to riding instead of dealing with daily mess that is the 210 freeway and all the other roads that people use to avoid the 210.

From the Dept. of TOBs, i.e. transit-oriented breweries: After a hard day of government blogging, HWR likes to slake its thirst with a finely crafted adult beverage. Thus, some new interestingness on the TOB front, i.e. Transit-Oriented Brewing. Speaking of the Foothill Extension, Lagunitas Brewing Co. is building a new brewery and taproom in Azusa, about a mile’s walk from the future downtown Azusa Station. And 10 Barrel Brewing Co. — which is big in the Pacific Northwest and makes the excellent Mike Saw a Sasquatch — recently announced this:

Let’s hope they mean Los Angeles County and somewhere near transit.

Of course, craft beer is no stranger to our transit system. Stone Brewing Co. has their tasting room just steps from the Gold Line’s Del Mar Station and Angel City is an easy walk from the Gold Line’s Little Tokyo Station. Also, Three Weav3rs Brewing Co. is near the future Westchester Station for the Crenshaw/LAX Line. In addition, there are a ton of restaurants and bars with great craft beer menus near transit across the county; Father’s Office in Culver City is an easy walk from the train and has great food and beverage selection.

One other interesting note: The owner of Budweiser this week announced the purchase of Glendale-based Golden Road (good but not terribly transit accessible) and they previously bought 10 Barrel. It’s hard to say what difference that will make, if any. No offense intended to small or large brewers, but HWR secretly wishes a Deschutes Brewery outpost would appear in our area. Hint: try the Summer Twilight (if you can still get it), River Ale or Pine Mountain Pilsner.

Eight cities that show you what the future will look like (Wired) 

The new mini-bus map for Nairobi.

The new mini-bus map for Nairobi.

I started scrolling not expecting to have to stop soon and lo-and-behold, L.A. is the first city mentioned because of its ongoing LED streetlight program, high-end airport lounges, an opera that will take place in moving vehicles and the city’s response to the drought.

A lot of other interestingness in the article, including a new transit map for Nairobi and some other transportation-related features in the Netherlands and Mecca (yes, the article takes into account this week’s tragic stampede). Perhaps most interesting is Medellin, Columbia, which has received all sorts of great press in recent times for its public spaces and transport. Quasi-related: After three episodes of Netflix’s “Narcos,” I’m hooked, pun intended.

Medellin. Photo by Jose Duque, via Flickr creative commons.

Medellin. Photo by Jose Duque, via Flickr creative commons.

Mapping the cheapest and most expensive places to rent in L.A. right now (Curbed LA)

The proverbial pile of money many renters in our region need each month. Photo: Thomas Hawk, via Flickr creative commons.

The proverbial pile of money many renters in our region need each month. Photo: Thomas Hawk, via Flickr creative commons.

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Santa Monica is $3,200, so says Curbed’s map. Perhaps that’s one reason that everyone is so excited about the Expo Line: few of us can afford SaMo although many of us like to visit. Perhaps the greater concern is that median rents for one-bedroom units in our area is now about $1,800, a price that is sky high for many — and a price that also means that renters will have little money leftover to save for an eventual home purchase.

My three cents: this is one more good reason to keep building out the transit network as a lot of people are priced out of a lot of areas. And it’s good reason to keep building housing of all types near transit.

Dept. of Climate Change: I attended a super-interesting talk by Pepperdine’s Stephen Davis, a professor of biology, at Eaton Canyon the other night (a short walk from the Metro 264/267 stop at Washington and Altadena and a nice place to hike).


The concluding slide in Stephen Davis’ lecture.

I’ll boil down his message to two sentences: due to the ongoing drought and climate change also heating things up, the chaparral that covers our local mountains is drier than ever. The science shows the mix of species in our mountains is going to change and that likely means greater fire danger, more landslides and less habitat for our native wildlife.

If you find that to be a minor or massive bummer, a gentle suggestion: try walking, biking or taking transit occasionally instead of driving alone. Transit, generally speaking, burns fossil fuels more efficiently and results in fewer greenhouse gases than solo drivers.

Some recent How We Rolls: 

Sept. 28: San Fernando Valley eyes Metro potential ballot measure in 2016, lunar eclipse over Metro, electric bus update, things to read on transit (New Yorker profile on Grimes).

Sept. 24: Metro considers bus stop ‘thinning,’ personal pod transit nonsense, things to read on transit, baseball stats and the Dodger Stadium Express.

Sept. 22: New York subway’s ‘pizza rat,’ more on China’s bid to build high-speed rail to Vegas, a motion that seeks to make college/vocational TAP cards easier and cheaper to obtain and books versus tablets on transit.

Sept. 21: L.A.’s mobility plan, things to listen to on transit, sins of two carmakers, bike riding along the L.A. River.

Sept. 18: My so long to long-time Metro flack Marc Littman, will it take China’s dollars to finally build a train between L.A. and Vegas and a horse rides light rail in Ireland.

Sept. 15: Trying to find a route for a light rail line between Union Station and Artesia, parking at Bakersfield’s bullet train station to-be and a rider revolt against the Washington Metro.


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6 replies

  1. RE: TOBs

    If the Hindry station is built for the Crenshaw/LAX project, it would be very close to the Three Weavers.

    BTW, I also think that Sec 25631 (reason why CA stops selling liquor and bar closes at 2 AM) should be repealed.

    • YES! 2am is too early to close the bars mostly because metro’s reboot time is at around that time county wide so I’m a way it’s encouraging drunk driving. (Owl service would be nice)!
      4am seems more reasonable; hopefully less drunk drivers on the roads? For sure more tax revenue for the city and businesses.

  2. “My three cents: this is one more good reason to keep building out the transit network as a lot of people are priced out of a lot of areas. And it’s good reason to keep building housing of all types near transit.”

    How “far out” are we talking about? To the next county over? Because that’s pretty much how far people do have to go out to in order to find a decent priced homes these days. And as it expands out, again comes around the question, at what point does paying the same price to go from A to B regardless of travel distance makes sense? Because you can’t really keep spreading out farther and farther out and expect everyone to keep paying the same price.

  3. It would be nice to save the red cars but they are so far away from anything down there! I went out there when the line was built just to ride the trolleys but haven’t made it out since. It would be nice if it connected to the regional rail network. When I visited a few years back I tried taking one of the bus lines that that take the 110 to San Pedro on a weekend and the service what hourly. made a full day of it but all I really did was ride the trolley and get some lunch. It was worth it though to experience a red car