A good look at yesterday’s big announcement that the Gold Line to Azusa will open on Satruday, March 5 — the first of the Metro Rail projects funded by Measure R to debut. Excerpt looking even further ahead:
And officials have already begun advocating for a plan, backed by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, to push the line farther inland, to the San Bernardino County border.
“I completely support the Gold Line going further east,” Garcetti told reporters after a press conference at Metro’s downtown headquarters. “Getting out to Claremont is incredibly important to me.”
Garcetti has said this previously, but it’s interesting to hear again given that Metro is now much deeper into the process of updating its long-range plan along with a potential sales tax ballot measure in 2016 to help pay for projects, such as a Gold Line extension east of Azusa. More on the long-range plan update and ballot measure here — and a related item below, this involving an extension of the Crenshaw/LAX Line.
RTD rail service to Denver International Airport begins April 22 (RTD press release)
Thursday was a big day for rail announcements in the West. In L.A., Metro announced Gold Line service to Azusa will begin March 5 while in Denver, the new 22-mile rail line to the airport will open on April 22. Obviously, the eastern U.S. boasts most of the country’s really big transit networks but it’s been impressive that in the past 30 years cities such as L.A., Denver, Portland, Seattle, San Diego and Phoenix are turning to rail — and have made serious progress.
The RTD University of Colorado A Line takes its name as a result of the first sponsorship through RTD’s naming rights program. The line is 23 miles of new electric commuter rail, which is part of the Eagle P3 project, the nation’s first full public-private partnership for transit. Local RTD taxes combined with a $1.03 billion federal grant and $450 million from Denver Transit Partners, the 34-year concessionaire that will build, operate and maintain the trains, make up the $2.2 billion project.
The rail line is not light rail. It’s a commuter rail line and can travel up to 79 miles per hour. For those not familiar with Denver, the old airport — Stapleton — was close to downtown but was very small and worn out. The new airport, conversely, is very nice and also very way out on the prairies east of town. It will take the train 37 minutes to run from Union Station to DIA with service every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and every 30 minutes between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. More here on the project, which is part of the sales tax increase package of transit projects approved by Denver area voters in 2004.
Of course, Metro CEO Phil Washington — who started here in May — was for years the CEO of the RTD. He also brought with him several executives and recently hired a Chief Innovation Officer who has a deep background in transportation funding.
Bigger picture: There’s either existing rail service or will be rail service to most of the major airports in the Western U.S. For those new to the game, Metro is building an additional station on the Crenshaw/LAX Line at Aviation/96th that will allow riders to transfer to a people mover that LAX will build; the people mover will have three stations near airport terminals and also serve a new ground transportation center and consolidated rental car center, according to airport officials.
The Crenshaw/LAX Line will offer connections to the Expo Line and the Green Line. Attentive readers know that Metro is looking at updating its long-range plan and a potential sales tax ballot measure in 2016 to fund projects. As part of that process, local cities in L.A. County have expressed interest thus far in extending the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the north to a connecting with the subway and there has been talk about extending the Green Line to the east to connect to Metrolink in Norwalk. Nothing is firm yet, but such projects would certainly make it easier to get to LAX.
The resumption of tunneling for a new road tunnel in downtown Seattle is now set to resume in late December — a month later than originally thought. The tunneling machine (aka Bertha) broke down in 2013, thereby delaying the project to move the Alaskan Way Viaduct from a waterfront bridge to a tunnel. Shocker, but lawyers have also gotten involved with the state transportation department and the contractor soon to be sparring in the courts.
The most recent extension of a federal multi-year transpo funding bill (it also funds transit projects, btw) expires next week. Congress has a choice: either pass a new bill or keep extending the most recent one from 2014.
The House and Senate have passed their own versions of the bill, but the pols can’t agree how to reconcile them. One problem is that most in D.C. want to avoid raising the federal gas tax to help fund these type of programs — the federal gas tax was last raised back in 1993.
Can’t remember that year? Well, it’s Friday so here’s a musical reminder…
Oslo moves to ban cars from city centre within four years (The Guardian)
Two political parties say the ban would help the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions. No details are available yet, but it’s interesting that city centre only has about 1,000 residents and 90,000 jobs, according to the Guardian.
Quasi-related: Speaking of Norway, I recently finished Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle: Book One.” It’s insightful, clever, funny, sad, deeply confessional — and kept me good company on transit.
Things to listen to while sitting/standing/stuck on transit and/or the freeway: Judge John Hodgman considers whether the plaintiff’s father — who has suffered hearing loss but is extremely stubborn and funny — must get a hearing aid. A high-quality JJHo episode that is almost as tearfully hilarious as the one featuring yours truly.
HWR Super Bowl Predication Update: Our selections, the Patriots and Packers, are a combined 11-0. Our unofficial second-favorite team, the Bengals, are 6-0. We said we’d be rooting for the Bills this season — mostly out of sympathy — but they’ve been so woefully coached so we are turncoating and pulling for the Jags in London on Sunday to teach Rex Ryan a lesson.
But nothing the Bills have done is as criminal as what the Santa Clara 49ers did last night when they repeatedly punted in the fourth quarter at home while down by three scores to their arch-rivals, the Seahawks (“I was trying to get the field position changed,” explained their coach, who added he wasn’t giving up). NFL owners are again discussion putting a team in L.A next week. Even if the team plays in a stadium that won’t get intimate with transit, HWR will enthusiastically root for the new L.A. team to absolutely destroy the 49ers. Go Raiders, Go Chargers, Go Rams!
Categories: Transportation Headlines