New Metro video: how to slay Nextrip, sings Rusty Eye

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And here is the third of the new videos from Metro’s marketing team, this one featuring Hollywood-based Rusty Eye promoting Nextrip, which allows users to get real-time bus and train arrival information on GPS-enabled smart phones or computers.

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 featured Galactic Flo promoting Metro’s and Google’s trip planner. The second video had the folk duo Steps of Doe explaining how to reload your TAP card at ticket machines.

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.

Other actions taken Thursday by the Metro Board of Directors

It was a mostly quiet agenda, but these three items may be of interest:

•Item 20. The Board approved a motion by Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas to provide $2.8 million in funding to continue environmental studies and planning work for a walking and bike path on the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way that Metro owns. The path would run between the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Florence/West Station and the Los Angeles River. The project is not funded at this time. Several Board Members said that they hoped to attract funding by further refining plans for such a project. Here’s more information from a Source post earlier this year.

•Item 7. The Metro Board adopted a Complete Streets policy. Metro doesn’t manage or maintain streets in our area — that’s up to local cities and the county in unincorporated areas. But there are some types of project in which Metro can influence what gets done to roadways and this policy is designed to ensure that safety, pedestrian, cycling and environmental improvements are considered by the agency in conjunction with those projects. Metro staff report

•Item 40. The Board approved a contract amendment with New Flyer to add two video monitors on the final 128 buses on order from the firm. The monitors can show images captured by cameras on board the buses — the idea is to remind Metro bus riders that security cameras are installed on the buses and criminal acts will likely be caught on video at multiple angles. Metro staff report

 

Go Metro Weekends, Oct 24 – 26

Gorgeous photo "Dia de los Muertos 2007 #22" by Daniel Ivan via Flickr/CC.

Gorgeous photo “Dia de los Muertos 2007 #22″ by Daniel Ivan via Flickr/CC.

Happy Friday Source readers and mass transit riders! So: you already know Metro can get you to tons of great events across our fair City of Angels with ease. And this weekend, with Halloween and Dia de los Muertos around the corner, our buses and trains can also take you from the land of the living, to the land of the dead, or, the living-dead. Read on, if you dare…

Friday

Honor your departed with creativity at The Museum of Latin American Art’s Dia de Los Muertos altar making class this Friday from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Participants bring $9, a photo of the loved one(s) to be honored and a box out of which to build the altar–the rest is provided by the museum. Only 30 spaces are available, so be sure to register ahead of time! (Metro Blue Line to 5th Street Station, then walk 12 minutes east on 6th Street and north on Alamitos Avenue, or hop aboard various Long Beach Transit buses to 7th/Alamitos.)

Join residents of Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo for Beats & Bridges, a block party spanning the 1st Street Bridge. Enjoy music, storytelling, performances and altares from artists on both sides of the river, followed by a Halloween dance party. Event runs from 7 p.m. through midnight and is free to attend. (Metro Gold Line to Mariachi Plaza Station, or Metro Bus 30/330 to 1st/Boyle.)

Saturday

Take advantage of the LA Law Library’s Free Public Legal Services Fair this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair includes over 50 legal aid organizations, government agencies, social services and community-based groups to provide free services, information and classes for the public. (Metro Red/Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station, or various Metro buses serving Broadway, Temple, 1st or Hill Streets.)

If you’re attending the Music and Comedy Festival Supreme at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall, consider going Metro! Metro Expo Line Jefferson/USC Station and Metro Silver Line 23rd Street Station both put you steps away from all the side-splitting action.

Grand Park and East L.A-based Self Help Graphics & Art welcome visitors to La Noche de Ofrenda this Saturday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. in Grand Park. The free event will unveil 50 altares by Los Angeles artists and feature music, poetry and traditional Aztecan, Oaxacan and Michoacán dance performances. Show your valid TAP card at the Grand Park booth and receive an admission pass for a future visit to the Museum of Latin American Art. (Metro Red/Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station, or various Metro buses serving Grand Avenue, Hill, Temple, or 1st Streets.)

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Comic fans unite! Go Metro to Stan Lee’s Comikaze and save on admission

Above is the official teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron (also known as “Tony, what have you done now?!?”). And of course, you can’t mention the Avengers without also talking about Stan Lee…’s Comikaze Expo, Los Angeles’ first and only large-scale, multi-media pop culture convention. The expo will take place Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Go Metro to Comikaze and save 10% on admission! Just show your valid TAP card at the ticketing booths, or use the exclusive promo code if purchasing tickets online.

To get to the L.A. Convention Center, take the Metro Blue or Expo Line to Pico Station. You can also take the Metro Silver Line to Flower/Pico or Figueroa/Pico. And if you see any great cosplayers on bus or train, ask for a photo and share with us on Twitter or Instagram.

And finally…

Transportation headlines, Thursday, Oct. 23

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.  

Going off the rails on Metro’s rail cars (L.A. Times) 

Photo: Juan Ocampo/Metro

One of the new rail cars after delivery to Metro. Photo: Juan Ocampo/Metro

This editorial says there still could be a glimmer of hope that rail-car manufacturer Kinkisharyo — contracted by Metro to build new vehicles — will build a permanent light rail car manufacturing facility in Palmdale. The firm has said it will take the facility out of state because of a union-backed lawsuit challenging the factory on environmental grounds.

The union wants to organize workers at the new facility. Kinkisharyo wants a formal vote on unionization, which would allow the firm to make its case to workers that a union is not necessary. The Times’ editorial board says that a compromise is still possible:

Both the company and the unions are wrong, and their intransigence could cost L.A. County good jobs. Political leaders, including Metro board members Mayor Eric Garcetti, who chairs the Metro board, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has close ties to labor, should be working overtime with their colleagues to broker a deal to keep the jobs here.

The Times would like to see Kinkisharyo fully flesh out the environmental impacts of a new facility. The newspaper also suggests that some local union leaders are working on behalf of another rail car manufacturer.

Related: here’s a post with more pics of the first new light rail car delivered to Metro.

The fundamental rule of traffic: building more roads just makes people drive more (Vox)

A new study reaches an old conclusion that has now been long-debated in transportation and activist circles. Not surprisingly perhaps, the photo accompanying this blog post features our very own 405 freeway all gummed up with traffic. Excerpt:

Turner and Duranton have also found that public transportation doesn’t really help alleviate congestion either — even if it takes some people out of cars and puts them on buses or trains, the empty road space will be quickly filled up by new vehicle-miles. Other researchers have found exceptions to this rule (say, when a transit route parallels heavy commuting corridors) but it doesn’t seem to be a large-scale traffic solution, at least given the way US cities are currently built. (Note that transit can have other beneficial effects, like making a city more affordable. But it doesn’t seem to have much effect on congestion.)

So why does traffic increase when new road capacity is added? Turner and Duranton attribute about half of the effect to people’s driving decisions. “Think of it as if you made a bunch of hamburgers and then gave them all away,” Turner says. “If you make hamburgers free, people will eat more of them.”

Again, not exactly a shocking conclusion. Those who attended last month’s Zocalo Public Square forum on can-we-fix-traffic heard UCLA’s Brian Taylor explain:

Can traffic be fixed or seriously improved? The short answer: probably not much can be done unless the region embraces drastic and politically unpopular measures such as heavier tolling across all lanes on freeways to reduce peak hour traffic, passing laws to greatly restrict driving, building many billions of dollars of new freeways (which includes the challenge of finding places to put them) or going the Detroit route by shedding jobs, residents and the local economy.

If you would like to listen to the forum, please click here.

Does that mean all road projects are pointless? Well, no. There are places where roads can be made safer, bottlenecks can be fixed and capacity added via HOV lanes. Roads can be made more complete by adding pedestrian and cycling improvements.

More headlines are after the jump!

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Metro Board approves Union Station Master Plan, allowing near-term projects to go forward

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors today approved actions to officially move the Union Station Master Plan, an ambitious long-range roadmap for L.A.’s single largest public transit hub, from planning to implementation.

Metro can now pursue its initial implementation strategy for near-term projects, which includes a programmatic environmental review of the recommended transit improvements as well as the commercial development program. Metro can also seek immediate funding opportunities for improvements to the station’s perimeter, and will form partnerships with the city and county, real estate and investment communities to support related implementation efforts.

“Today is a milestone day in our goal to bring ‘America’s Last Great Train Station’ into the 21st century,” said Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair. “Metro is now on the move to make Los Angeles Union Station a world-class transit hub.”

Planned improvements to Union Station’s perimeter include a series of streetscape, open space and transit stop improvements that soften the edges of the station, improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience, strengthen connections to and from the station’s entrances and create a more welcoming environment to transit riders and visitors. Foremost among these improvements is the planned removal of the surface parking lot on the northern side of the forecourt and the creation of a public plaza. This and other improvements will directly link with the El Pueblo Historic Monument, where apprxoimately $1 million in local open space funds has been identified to support the design and implementation of these improvements.

Metro was recently awarded other grant opportunities to improve four bus stops along Cesar Chavez between Alameda and Vignes, which includes creating shelters, additional seating and information, and bike facilities.  Metro has also received a grant from the Congestion Reduction ExpressLanes Net Toll Revenue Project and is providing matching funds to create a Metro Bike Hub on the west side of Union Station that will offer parking for about 300 bicycles, 24-7 secure access control, a space for bike retail and repair services, and a meeting/training space to conduct bike safety training workshops. This bike hub is expected to open in 2017.

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Metro Board awards contract for Business Solution Center for Crenshaw/LAX Line

Here is the Metro staff report and below is the news release from Metro:

In another unprecedented step today the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors awarded a two-year contract for $646,462 to Del Richardson & Associates, Inc. (DRA) to operate Metro’s pilot Business Solution Center (BSC) to help small businesses impacted by Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project construction. The contract includes two one-year options for $349,682 for total of $996,144.

“We’re finally making desperately needed investments to our public transportation system in South Los Angeles, but construction simply cannot come at the expense of our businesses,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “This Business Solution Center will ensure that businesses along the Crenshaw Line will be able to thrive despite any temporary inconveniences to customers and employees.”

“Rail construction is always challenging and it’s particularly difficult for nearby businesses, that’s why we are committed to standing with these merchants during the whole construction process,” said Metro Board 1st Vice Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This Business Solution Center – while not solving all problems – is an important first step toward helping the local business community survive and thrive during the difficult days. We are happy that we could make this happen.”

The Business Solution Center is expected to open in November, 2014 and will be located at the Los Angeles Urban League, 3450 Mount Vernon Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008.

The Metro pilot Business Solution Center (BSC) will provide hands-on case management services for small businesses along the Crenshaw corridor between 48th and 60th streets.
Services will include marketing help, business plan development, financial planning, small business operations advice and legal assistance counseling. In addition, BSC will help small businesses apply for capital via existing loan programs. It also will help them gain certification as small, disadvantaged, disabled, veteran-owned, minority-owned and/or woman-owned businesses.

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