Restricted access Saturday to East Portal, Plaza of Union Station

Helicopter "lifts" 4-ton cooling towers to the roof the the 27-story Metro HQ on Dec. 29. The second and final lift is set for Saturday morning. Photo by Josh Southwick.

Helicopter “lifts” 4-ton cooling towers to the roof the the 27-story Metro HQ on Dec. 29. The second and final lift is set for Saturday morning. Photo by Josh Southwick.

Here’s the advisory from Metro:

Construction to restrict daytime access to the Patsaouras Transit Plaza and East Portal parking structure of Union Station on Saturday, Feb. 23.

  • Plaza bus stops will be temporarily relocated nearby. Board FlyAway at Amtrak bus bay; Megabus on Alameda St. in front of Union Station
  • Parking? Enter at Alameda Street entrance to park at Union Station.
  • Cars and pedestrians may not enter or exit from the East Portal area underground parking structure during the closure.

Weather permitting: Construction to replace air-conditioning cooling towers on the highrise rooftop of the Metro Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles will restrict access to the Patsaouras Transit Plaza and parking structure at the East Portal entrance to Union Station from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. Cesar Chavez Avenue and Vignes Street adjacent to the Metro Headquarters building will be closed to through traffic during that time.

Pedestrians, buses and other vehicles will not be allowed in or out of Patsaouras Plaza and the parking structure or the surrounding streets. All Metro and Metrolink rail service will run normal operations and schedule. The public is advised to use the Alameda Street entrance of Union Station to access the Metro Red, Purple, and Gold Lines and Metrolink and Amtrak trains between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Feb. 23.

Passengers will need to approach the west end of Union Station rather than the east end Patsaouras Plaza for connections with any service that normally operates out of the East Portal (Metro bus lines, LAX FlyAway, Megabus and City of Commerce shuttle bus). Metro will have personnel in the tunnels to provide printed and verbal information on bus detours and alternate boarding locations.

Accomplished in two phases, a helicopter is used to bring the exisiting cooling towers down and lift the new cooling towers and related equipment onto the roof of the Metro Headquarters building.

To ensure safety during this work, the Federal Aviation Administration has required the closures of Pasaouras Plaza and  Vignes Street (from the 101 Freeway exit to Cesar E. Chavez Avenue) adjacent to the Metro Headquarters building. One eastbound lane of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue will also be closed, but the street will remain open to traffic and buses. Also closed to pedestrian and vehicle access are the Gateway parking garage, Patsaouras Plaza and the three Union Station tracks closest to the HeadquartersBuilding.

This lift will complete the cooling system maintenance. The first lift was conducted on Dec. 29. Despite the rain that continued thorughout the morning, the work was completed by noon ahead of schedule.

The following bus stop relocations will be in effect during the plaza closure:
• Line 40: Board southbound buses at regular stops south of Temple Street or take the Red or Purple Line to Civic Center Station and board at First Street and Broadway.
• Lines 68, 70, 71, 78, 79, 378, 770: board buses at regular stops at Alameda Street and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue west of Broadway.
• Line 704: Board westbound buses at regular stop on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue west of Broadway.
• Lines 733, 745: Board westbound buses at temporary stop on Temple Street west of Alameda Street.
• City of Commerce shuttle: Board at Line 40 regular stop on Alameda in front of Union Station.
• Megabus: Board at Line 40 regular stop on Alameda in front of Union Station.
• LAX FlyAway: Board at one of the Amtrak bus bays on the noth side of Union Station. Entrance is off of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue.

Small business and prime contractors meet up to team up for Metro contracting opportunities

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With major projects coming online such as the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, the Regional Connector and the Westside Subway Extension, plus some 25 highway projects in construction phases, prime contractors and small business owners lost no time in making preparations for contracting opportunities at a unique mixer Wednesday.

Twenty-five prime contractors and an estimated 700 small business representatives from approximately 400 firms filled the Metro board room, plaza level and third floor for the fifth annual “Meet the Primes” event held at Metro HQ.

Sponsored by the Metro Diversity & Economic Opportunity Department (DEOD) and the Transportation Business Advisory Council (TBAC), “Meet the Primes” is an opportunity for small businesses and prime contractors to build relationships and teams for Metro procurements. The strategy is for small businesses to have face time with primes, to pitch their service or product and ultimately become part of a prime’s team.

Metro CEO Art Leahy addressed the eager attendees in the board room while the contractors set up interview stations in the lobby and nearby meeting rooms.

This event is held in addition to Metro’s monthly “How To Do Business With Metro” workshops in support of Metro’s Small Business and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs.

Check it out on the DEOD webpages at Click on the “Meetings” tab for time and date and to register to attend.

Alameda Corridor East: Construction begins on four-lane roadway underpass at busy El Monte intersection

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Photos by Luis Inzunza

Federal, state, local and railroad officials today launched the start of constuction of a four-lane roadway underpass with a double-track railroad bridge to replace a congested railroad crossing on Baldwin Avenue in the City of El Monte.

The grade separation at Baldwin Avenue is a project of the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE), which works to mitigate the impacts of significant increases in rail traffic along this 70-mile stretch of the east Alameda Corridor. The ACE project consists of multiple construction projects including safety and mobility upgrades and grade separations, where the road goes over or under the railroad.

The railroad crossing is on Baldwin Avenue between Valley Boulevard and Lower Azuza Road. Baldwin Avenue is used daily by 28,000 vehicles, including significant truck traffic, and blocked by an average of 20 Union Pacific freight trains a day.

“The project will eliminate train delays, deadly crossing collisions and locomotive horn blasts, help improve the region’s air quality and create 1,370 jobs during the two years of construction,” noted ACE Chairman and San Gabriel Councilman David Gutierrez in his remarks.

Metro is a funding partner with the ACE program. Metro’s contribution to the Baldwin Avenue grade separation is $14.2 million.

Measure R funding of $400 million and $271 million from Proposition C is committed to the overall ACE program. With the Measure R funds, Metro’s total contribution of $671.4 million covers more than one-third of the overall estimated $1.6-billion Alameda Corridor East program.

Construction 101: The path to a career in construction trades

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More than 100 community members interested in construction careers attended the “Construction 101” workshop put on by Metro, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and other community partners at Inglewood City Hall on Saturday, Jan. 29.

The workshops put eager residents on the career path by covering the basics and putting first things first. Interested participants learn how to find out about construction projects, where to apply, where to get training, how to get union certification and how to acquire the required level of skills.

The workshops also bring together resources for pre-apprenticeship, life skills and professional development.

“It’s a college prep for the construction trade,” said Metro’s Construction Careers outreach coordinator Miriam Scott Long. “I was grateful to hear from two young men attending the workshop who told me they were tired of street life and wanted to have a career.”

The Construction Carreers Policy (CCP) is part of the transportation agency’s Project Labor Agreement (PLA)

The nationwide program aims to encourage construction employment and training opportunities on Metro construction projects to those who reside in economically disadvantaged areas.

The City of Inglewood hosted the confab and the program’s mentors. They are: Metro, LAANE, Trade Union Apprenticeship Coordinators, Black Worker’s Center, 2nd Call, WINTER (Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles), YouthBuild , Workforce Investment Board representatives, WE Build and Southeast LA Worksource Center.

The Inglewood workshop was fourth in an ongoing series on construction careers preparation. Similar workshops will be offered throughout Los Angeles County in the coming year.

Gold Line scores points with Roses on New Year’s Day

Parade goers exit as Rose Bowl fans arrive at Memorial Park Station. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Parade goers exit as Rose Bowl fans arrive at Memorial Park Station. Photos by Gary Leonard.

Coming and going: Gold Line scores on New Year's Day.  Photo by Gary Leonard.

Coming and going: Gold Line scores on New Year’s Day. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Metro once again offered plenty of service to both the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day. Ridership was pretty typical and Metro was able to clear lines at the Memorial Park station in Old Pasadena within an hour of the parade ending. Post-game crowds were particularly strong. For those who used the Gold Line yesterday, how was service? Comment please!

Metro buses await exiting parade crowd.

Metro buses await exiting parade crowd. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Update: Gateway Transit Plaza and underground parking reopens following construction at Metro HQ

UPDATE 2 p.m.: Patsaouras Transit Plaza and the underground parking structure at the East Portal entrance to Union Station have reopened following a helicopter operation to lift equipment to the high-rise rooftop of Metro Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. The transit plaza and surrounding streets were closed for safety precautions from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29.

All Metro buses have returned to regular routes but the LAX FlyAway, MegaBus, and City of Commerce shuttle will continue to use assigned temporary boarding locations through Sunday or until further notice:

  • Megabus: Board at Line 40 regular stop on Alameda in front of Union Station.
  • LAX FlyAway: Board at one of the Amtrak bus bays on the Cesar Chavez Avenue (north) side of Union Station.
  • City of Commerce shuttle: Board at Line 40 regular stop on Alameda in front of Union Station.

The helicopter operation will complete the maintenance rooftop work on January 26, again requiring the closure of the transit plaza, the underground parking structure and surrounding streets.

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Ride along with Metro Motion: Winter edition takes in Hollywood, ExpressLanes, and future L.A.

 In this latest edition of Metro Motion, transit expansion is transforming the car capital of the world.

Ride along on the brand new Metro ExpressLanes on the 110 Harbor Freeway and check out the digs at the new El Monte Station. Next, take the Metro Red Line to old Hollywood for blast from Tinsel Town’s past. Then “Go Metro” for a glimpse of the walkable, bikeable and sustainable communities of future L.A.

Relax. There’s lessons to be learned from the Great California Shakeout, including why Metro Rail is one of the safest places to be during an earthquake. It’s all there in the winter edition of Metro Motion.

Metro Motion is produced in partnership with CityTV of Santa Monica. The 30-minute news program runs quarterly on cable stations throughout Los Angeles County. Check local listings for dates and times.