New Metro video: TAP the target, sings Steps of Doe

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And here is the second of the trio of new videos from Metro’s marketing team, this one featuring the L.A.-based folk duo Steps of Doe with instructions for reloading your TAP card at ticket machines.

The new videos are intended as a fun way to help folks learn to ride the Metro system and remind everyone that taking transit can be fun and/or interesting. Please feel free to share/comment/review on social media using the hashtag #metrorocks. Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The first video, which debuted last week, featured Galactic Flo promoting Metro’s and Google’s trip planner.

One other note: the musicians who appear in the videos (and the firm that made them, Conceptive, Inc.) are entirely local. If you’re a musician and would like to share your song about local transit, you can email us here.

The Metro Trip Planner is on the metro.net homepage. If you prefer, Google Maps can also be used to plan transit trips.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Oct. 21: to park or not to park at Metro stations?

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.  

Lack of parking drives many away from mass transit (L.A. Times) 

Parking at the Expo Line's Culver City Station. Photo by Metro.

Parking at the Expo Line’s Culver City Station. Photo by Metro.

An updated look at a long-debated issue in transit circles: how much, if any, lack of parking at transit stations. Forty of Metro’s 80 stations have parking — and parking at some of the most popular stations is often gobbled up early on weekday mornings (Norwalk, NoHo, Universal City and Culver City are a few examples).

On the other hand, Metro has thousands of free spaces — as well as some paid ones — and I can definitely point to places where parking is relatively easy. This interactive map gives you an idea where the parking is located.

Excerpt from the Times article:

“Today I got lucky,” said Ashley Scott, 30, as she waited for her train to Hollywood on a recent Thursday morning. “I was this close to just getting on the 101.”

Scott’s daily dilemma illustrates an often overlooked but significant choke point in the ambitious growth of L.A.’s light-rail system. Metro’s six-line network, which has seen steady ridership gains over the last five years, now carries about 350,000 people on work days. Parking shortages could complicate Metro’s goal of shifting hundreds of thousands more drivers to public transit in coming decades.

Planners say it’s impractical, perhaps impossible, to build enough free parking. Train station lots have low turnover because most commuters leave their cars all day. To meet demand, Metro lots would have to sprawl far beyond the station—or, in dense urban areas, rise several stories.

It’s a tough issue as many planners believe that it’s far wiser in the long-term to build developments with more jobs and/or residences near transit. Their belief is that promoting density near transit will ultimately produce more riders than sprawling parking lots and also lead to building cities with a higher quality-of-life.

On the other hand, it’s undeniable that — at least for now — parking is the carrot that makes taking transit possible for some of our riders.

And then there’s the issue of expense and space. For example, there is no parking planned along the Purple Line Extension subway, which largely follows densely developed Wilshire Boulevard. On the other hand, the Gold Line Foothill Extension — in the more suburban San Gabriel Valley — will eventually have parking at each of its six new stations.

As it happens, I just got off the phone with Andrew Young, who recently co-authored a study with David Levinson at the University of Minnesota that ranked Metro areas according to their transit accessibility to jobs. The Los Angeles area ranked third, so I asked Andrew what he thought about the parking conundrum.

“You can build parking lots that makes transit useful to those who live some distance away from stations or you can build housing and destination adjacent to that station that will be used by those in future who will work and live there,” he said. “The question is: do you want to build for an existing constituency or do you want to build for a currently nonexistent constituency that one day will live next to the station. In many places, building for the future is hard for current politicians….people like the status quo and people in the status quo are the ones who vote and it’s always hard to change that.”

Well said.

Of course, there’s a related issue here, too — whether parking, where it exists, should be free? Streetsblog L.A. has written about that, criticizing Metro for offering free subsidies for auto users that it doesn’t necessarily offer for those who get to stations on foot, bikes or even transit.

Personal disclosure on this item: I often pay $2 to park at the Gold Line’s Del Mar station, where there is always plenty of parking to be had. I could ride my bike, walk or try to snare a ride from the Domestic Partner (when not working herself), but I’ve found driving to be quicker.

More headline funtivitity after the jump! 

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Go Metro to LA Dance Project and you could save on meals in DTLA’s Historic Core

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L.A. Dance Project returns to its home of choice, The Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, for three performances this fall. The program features a new work by Benjamin Millepied with music by Phillip Glass, and there are shows on Friday, Oct. 24, Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26.

Plan a night on the town by combining dinner with a show. You’ll be able to save on meals with your TAP card at the following venues near the theatre:

  • Umami Burger – Receive free Thin Fries or Sweet Potato Fries with purchase of a burger
  • Terroni – Save 10% on your bill
  • Peking Tavern – Save 15% on your bill

To get to Ace Hotel, take Metro Bus 30/33035/38 or 40 to Broadway/Olympic. You can also take the Metro Red or Purple Line to Pershing Square Station, then walk four short blocks south on Broadway.

Go Metro to Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween Half Marathon & 5k

Rock out at the world’s largest Halloween Half Marathon and 5K!

Want to get a head start on your Halloween festivities? Wear your favorite costume this Sunday, October 26 and run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon and 5k. Those with valid TAP cards can save $10 on registration when using promo code LAMETRO14 online.

Participants will run a loop cruise at 7:30 a.m. starting and ending at L.A. LIVE in Downtown L.A. Live bands and cheer teams will be encouraging runners at every mile! Bring your friends and celebrate your accomplishments at the free finish line concert and festival. To get to L.A. LIVE, take the Metro Expo or Blue Line to Pico Station and walk toward Figueroa Street.

For the costume contest, staff members will select finalists in the categories best overall, best rock star, best superhero, scariest and most original costume. Winners will be announced at the end for a chance to win awesome prizes!

Go Metro to Lit Crawl LA: NoHo this Wednesday night

Photos from last year's LA Lit Crawl: NoHo by Rosalind Helfand.

Photos from last year’s Lit Crawl LA: NoHo by Rosalind Helfand.

The second-ever Lit Crawl LA: NoHo returns this Wednesday evening, Oct. 22, from 7 p.m. to midnight–and getting there via Metro is as easy as A-B-C!

Over 170 writers, literary organizations, and series will offer free readings and cultural events at 30 venues along Lankershim and Magnolia Boulevards. Each Lit Crawl location is within walking distance of the other, and of course, the entire NoHo Arts District is reachable by Metro Red Line, Orange Line, or bus. Simply hop on the Red or Orange Line to North Hollywood Station, or bus lines 152/353, 156/656, or 183 to Lankershim/Chandler.

Lit Crawl LA is organized into three 45-minute phases. At each phase, visitors chose from a diverse program of 10 to 12 events. The night ends with a “speakeasy” party at the Federal Bar at 10 p.m. All events are free to attend, however, food and drink are not included. That’s where Metro can help again: present your valid TAP card at the Federal Bar or Bow and Truss restaurant and save 10% and 15% on food, respectively. Just keep in mind that Metro Rail and Orange Line close around midnight Sunday through Thursday.

Transportation headlines, Monday, October 20

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.  

No winners in this MTA train wreck (L.A. Times)

In his opinion column, Jim Newton looks at the dispute between rail car manufacturer Kinkisharyo and a local union that resulted in Kinkisharyo announcing that it won’t build a permanent manufacturing facility in Palmdale. Excerpt:

That won’t be quite the end of it, of course. Kinkisharyo will still do assembly work in Palmdale as long as its MTA contract lasts and will still employ almost 200 people in its existing assembly plant, but the company says it’s finished with the idea of a long-term manufacturing plant in the area. Labor leaders maintain that the company has an obligation under its contract to create these jobs in Los Angeles County, but the MTA disagrees. Officials at the agency say that while Kinkisharyo had committed to doing the rail car assembly locally, the agency cannot, under federal law, force the company to build in the area. Lawsuits already are being filed, and courts will sift through the arguments for months, maybe years.

But that’s all squabbling over the wreckage. The undisputed fact is that a stubborn company and a stubborn union went to war, and because of it, the residents of Palmdale, who could have had a couple of hundred good new jobs, instead will be looking at a vacant lot. Who won that battle? No one. But there are plenty of losers, including California, Los Angeles County, Palmdale and the of men and women who would have built and staffed the manufacturing facility.

 

As Newton writes, the real story here is probably the difficulty of doing business in California. In the meantime, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich — also a member of the Metro Board of Directors — held a news conference this morning at the County Hall of Administration to discuss the situation.

Photo by Paul Gonzales/Metro.

Photo by Paul Gonzales/Metro.

Antonovich called again on Gov. Jerry Brown to ask the union, the IBEW Local 18, to drop its state lawsuit against Kinkisharyo. He also accused the union of supporting a different rail car manufacturer during the bidding process with Metro and that this is a back door attempt by that firm to gain business with Metro. The union is perhaps best known recently for its significant financial support for the losing candidate in last year’s election for mayor of Los Angeles.

Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford said that he was devastated by the news and that it reinforces the notion that California is not business friendly. He reiterated that Palmdale is very open to working with local businesses to keep and create job and that he remains committed to building the new permanent facility for Kinkisharyo.

Officials celebrate Gold Line milestone in Azusa (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Coverage of the last piece of track work being completed in Saturday for the 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension between Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border. Azusa officials say they are using a Metro grant to study the best ways to use and/or develop land around the two stations in Azusa — one is downtown and the other is adjacent to Citrus College, Azusa Pacific University and the Rosedale development.

Streetsblog L.A. also had a four-part series over the summer on the Gold Line Foothill Extension which includes a ton of photos. Part one, part two, part three and part four. Just to give you an idea how quickly the track work was done, here’s a pic I took back in February when the work was getting underway:

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Did diversity miss the train in Union Station’s architecture (Denver Post) 

A bar in the refurbished Union Station in Denver. Photo by Misty Facheux, via Flickr creative commons.

A bar in the refurbished Union Station in Denver. Photo by Misty Facheux, via Flickr creative commons.

Post architecture critic Ray Mark Rinaldi has been visiting the newly revamped Union Station in downtown Denver and by his own counts found the place to be filled with white faces. He finds that troubling, given that 47 percent of Denver’s population are minorities.

His take: the local transportation agency, the RTD, put too much emphasis on restoring the building to its older European roots and put too much emphasis on attracting businesses that catered to an exclusive, upscale and white clientele. Excerpt:

Still, something is missing. There’s no traditional Mexican restaurant, no soul-food restaurant, no sushi bar, as if no one noticed that the Mexican-American, African-American and Asian-American families that own and operate those places across the city are also our best food purveyors.

This country is full of union stations, old train depots, once the center of civic life, that fell out of use in the auto era. St. Louis fixed up its station by adding a mall. It’s not as successful, but it’s diversified. Kansas City filled its hall with a science center, and kids from across the city’s neighborhoods are regulars there.

Washington, D.C.’s train station now has swank shops, but also a food court. It has, notably, a B. Smith’s restaurant, part of a small, African-American-owned chain that is a touchstone in the black community.

Interesting article and worth a read. I haven’t been to the station in 20 years and have no idea what it’s like now — so it’s hard to form an opinion about the article. Obviously with our Union Station on deck for a major refurbishment and expansion, it’s worth considering such opinions.

The emptying of New York City (Salon)

Manhattan has gotten taller in the past century. But it has also gotten much less dense. The suspected reason: wealth, with fewer people taking up more space. Reminds me of a recent item here on a new Gotham skyscraper that will be the tallest in the city (1,396 feet) and will house only 104 residential units.

Again, something to chew on as development continues in downtown.

CYPHER students to demostrate health and climate solutions at Sustainable Earth Decathlon

photo by Saad Faruque via Flickr/CC

photo by Saad Faruque via Flickr/CC

Multiple college students from CYPHER, a youth organization promoting environmental readiness, will demonstrate strategies to build human health and discuss climate change solutions during the 2014 Sustainable Earth Decathlon (SED 2014).

Support the youth and their ideas Saturday, October 25 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Metro’s Gateway Building in Downtown L.A. Go Metro and take the Metro Red, Purple, Gold or Silver Line to Union Station, and walk towards the East Portal up to Pastsaouras Bus Plaza. Show your valid TAP card at the registration table and save $5 on admission.

SED2014 will also feature the 1st Annual Global Health Symposium on Youth Engagement with prominent policy and research leaders such as Senator Kevin de Leon, Wm. Jahmal Miller, Deputy Director of CDPH-Office of Health Equity to name a few.