New video: Metro awarded more than $20 million in TIGER funds

As Steve posted Friday, Metro is the recipient of two TIGER grants and this is a pretty big deal, since there were 800 applicants and TIGER grants are based on merit. The gratitude and celebration continued Saturday morning, as Washington D.C.-based U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez flew in to make the official announcement.

The announcement was made at the Blue and Green line Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, which will benefit with enhanced connections between rail and bus, bicycle and pedestrian as a result of the grant. (The other grant is for the Little Tokyo/Arts District 1st and Central Station on the Regional Connector, which began construction earlier this year.)

Secretary Mendez was joined by Mayor and Metro Board Chair ERic Garcetti, U.S. Congresswoman Janice Hahn; U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas.

A video of the event is posted above. As you can see, even in the heat … everyone was happy.

T&Y Bakery opens at Union Station!

coconut thingUnion Station’s has a brand new attraction. T&Y Bakery opened this morning with pastry and cookies and French macaroons and this amazing coconut confection that turned out to be the perfect way to calm a 3 p.m. hunger attack.

T&Y stands for Tbilisi & Yerevan (the capitol cities of Georgia and Armenia) and the bakery selections reflect that heritage. Pierogi, baclava, cannoli, breads, black and white cookies. What more could we want? Well, maybe ice cream but Ben & Jerry’s is just next door and Starbucks is across the concourse.

There are T&Ys in two other L.A. locations, in West Hollywood and at the Farmers Market at Fairfax and 3rd Street.

What with the Japanese convenience store Famima, Wetzel’s Pretzels and this new Russian bakery, Union Station is becoming quite the international destination … just like L.A. itself.

Here’s the T&Y Bakery video from The Farmers Market site.

 

Metro will send a speaker to your class or organization this fall

Members of the Metro Speakers Bureau are available this fall to talk to your group or classroom.

Whether it’s about bike paths or rail lines, clean air or jobs at Metro, the Metro Speakers’ Bureau has it covered.

Where future jobs are concerned, Metro employs a vast array of professions and specialties, including bus and train operators, mechanics and maintenance people, clerks, bus and rail transportation and maintenance supervisors and security guards. Speakers can also address issues such as Measure R, rail construction around Los Angeles, bus lines, urban planning, security aboard buses and rail and even marketing and media relations.

If you have questions or would like to request a speaker for your organization or school, contact us at metrospeaks@metro.net.

Metro Motion wins Emmy at 66th Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards

Metro has won an Emmy for the Metro Motion Union Station 75th Anniversary TV show, which aired prior to the May 3 Union Station anniversary celebration. The show contains interviews with many key players in the Union Station story, including Metro CEO Art Leahy.

The Emmy award in the public programming category for news was received Saturday night, July 26, at the 66th Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in North Hollywood.

Metro Motion Union Station is the story of the last of the great rail stations: its history, its important role as a transit hub anchoring today’s expanding transit network and its future as the center of mobility for our region.

Since opening festivities in 1939 that attracted half a million spectators to downtown Los Angeles, beautiful Union Station has played many roles throughout its 75 years, including one as Hollywood’s rail station. It has appeared in hundreds of films, TV shows and commercials. Currently it serves 70,000 daily commuters who link through Union Station via Metro rail and bus, Metrolink, Amtrak and municipal carriers.

Metro Motion is co-produced with Santa Monica City TV and runs quarterly on 80 cable stations throughout Los Angeles County and on metro.net.

Here’s the Emmy-winning show:

 

Full closure of the ‘Carmageddon’ Bridge tonight

The Mulholland Bridge over the I-405 — made infamous by Carmageddon I and II — will be fully closed tonight (7/25) so that the deck can be resealed to coat some non-structural cracks that were discovered during routine inspection. The resealing will help ensure the long life of the surface.

Tonight’s closure will begin at 10 p.m. and last until approximately 8 a.m. Saturday. It will be followed by four nights of lane reductions — but not fully closures — Saturday (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) through Tuesday nights (10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday).


Summer Metro Motion explores unique So Cal journeys via Metro

In the summer edition of Metro Motion, we hear from two millennials – one a scientist, the other a teacher – and find out how climate change inspired their journeys to lives without cars. Sure, they’re saving money. But that’s not their point. They see public transit, bikes and walking as the best ways to take care of our ailing planet and ourselves.

Summer is here and that means peak produce and time for a trip to L.A.’s fabulous farmers markets via Metro. The produce and prepared food is primo and these modern markets offer tools to teach healthy eating and cooking skills.

Looking for the quintessential So Cal biking experience? Watch as cyclist Mike Ryan loads his bike onto the Expo Line to Culver City, jumps on the Ballona Creek Bike Path and cycles to Marina del Rey for a free concert with the ocean and the stars as backdrop. Beautiful!

We also travel back in time to bid a fond farewell to I-405 construction as the Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project opens the completed HOV lane. We look back at Carmageddon I and II, Rampjam and Jamzilla — and at the same time we look forward to smoother sailing through the pass.

Metro Motion runs quarterly on cable stations throughout Los Angeles County. It’s co-produced by Metro and Santa Monica City TV.

New light-rail car makes its first public appearance

Here’s a peek at the first Metro P3010 prototype rail car operating under power on the Kinkisharyo test track in Osaka, Japan. Note that it’s decked out in chic new colors that are attractive as well as eminently visible. And those colors will be enhanced, in the final design, with reflective side graphics.

A solo rail car traveling down a track may not seem all that engaging but to those of us counting the minutes until the new Kinkisharyo rail cars arrive, this video is pretty exciting.

The cars are much needed for the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa. Expo 2 and Foothill are scheduled to open in early 2016; underscoring the need for new cars.

When a previous agreement with AnsaldoBreda — the Italian contractor originally hired to manufacture Metro Rail cars — failed, the car construction process was set back about two years. But Kikisharyo is working aggressively to deliver the cars quickly and to ensure they are of the highest quality.

As the test video indicates, car construction is carefully watched. Testing begins even before the cars are assembled, with progress monitored throughout design and construction. Currently, Metro staff is watching over something called “the floor fire test” (We can pretty much guess what that means) along with operation of the prototype vehicle.

All systems — a car is composed of numerous systems — must be tested and pass before the car can be delivered. But you can’t mess around with a rail car that must safely carry thousands throughout its hopefully long lifetime.

If all goes well in testing, this car and 23 others will arrive in L.A. by the end of 2015. After that, the cars will arrive at a rate of four per month until the contract for 78 new vehicles is complete. Metro has already exercised two of four options to buy an additional 97 vehicles to be used on other projects — the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Regional Connector and fleet replacement. Final assembly of the rail cars will be at a new facility in Palmdale in the Antelope Valley

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New rail car designs in the works

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Work on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, is expected to begin later this year. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles..