Metro responds to op-ed in L.A. Times on 405 freeway detour and construction signage

The following statement is from Metro in response to an op-ed that ran earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times saying there is a need for more detour signs for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project:

The buck stops with Metro. We are the lead agency responsible for communicating 405 impacts to the public. We take that responsibility seriously. Overall, we have a very good track record for getting the word out about this project’s construction work. Metro has implemented a program of portable message signs that exceeds Caltrans requirements for freeway construction projects. Portable message signs are activated on a 24/7 basis on both the northbound and southbound 405. When there are no ramp closures, these message signs display 55 MPH limit information. At Skirball Center Drive, needed ramp closures are shown on message signs in advance near the northbound Getty off ramp. Metro has confirmed with its contractor that correct signage for the Skirball ramp closure the night of October 28 was in effect, providing a strong indication that the system is in fact working reliably on a daily basis. Drivers’ view of the signs can be temporarily obstructed by other passing vehicles. Fortunately, this project is winding down and we anticipate ever dwindling impacts to drivers. The public is still encouraged to track remaining work utilizing any one of Metro’s numerous outreach channels. Metro updates construction information twice per day, seven days a week at:

Project Hotline: 213.922.3665
www.metro.net/I-405
http://twitter.com/I_405
www.facebook.com/405project

Metro and Caltrans hold public hearings on High Desert Corridor draft EIR/EIS

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Here is the news release from Metro:

To continue informing the public about one of the most comprehensive transportation plans ever proposed for north Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will host a series of public hearings to receive input on a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) on the High Desert Corridor (HDC) released September 30, 2014.

The public comment period, open until December 2, 2014, seeks input on the HDC, a 63 mile corridor connecting SR-14 in Los Angeles County with US-395, I-15 and the SR 18/Bear Valley Road in San Bernardino County. HDC aims to improve travel safety and reliability while connecting residential, commercial and industrial areas in the Antelope Valley and Victor Valley, with major elements under study including a new highway/ expressway, tollway, high speed rail feeder service, potential green energy production and/or transmission facilities and a bikeway. The Draft EIR/EIS considers four build alternatives and the legally required “no build” alternative.

The hearing dates are:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Lake Los Angeles Elementary School
16310 East Avenue Q
Palmdale, CA 93591

Thursday, November 6, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.*

Endeavour School of Exploration
12403 Ridgecrest Rd
Victorville, CA 92395

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.*
Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, Manzanita Ballroom
38350 Sierra Highway
Palmdale, CA 93550

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Apple Valley Conference Center
14975 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley, CA 92307

*These meetings will be broadcasted live on the Internet. To participate, please go to ustream.tv/channel/metro-high-desert-corridor. Webcast begins 30 minutes after each start time.

The Draft EIS/EIR may be viewed online at: www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/HDC and at www.metro.net/hdc

The public is encouraged to review the Draft EIR/EIS and plan on attending the upcoming public hearings. The public is asked to assess whether or not the potential impacts have been addressed and provide any information that should be included in the final document.  Following the comment period, Caltrans and Metro will evaluate the comments received, revise the document as needed and select a preferred alternative.

The public can submit written comments until December 2, 2014, using the following tools:

Mail -Ronald Kosinki, Caltrans District 7, Division of Environmental Planning, 100 South Main Street, MS 16A, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Electronic comments can be submitted through the Caltrans and Metro websites at-  www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/HDC and www.metro.net/hdc

Public Hearings – Verbal and written comments may be submitted during any of the four public hearings noted above.

For those going Metro to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval

street-closures-west-hollywood-halloween-carnaval-503x400As per usual, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval will draw a huge and freaky crowd Friday night (we mean that as a compliment!). That means the street closures shown above will be in effect and a few Metro Bus Lines — the 2, 4, 10, 30, 105, 704 and 705 — will detour around the Carnaval.

Another reminder for those attending Halloween events throughout Los Angeles County: as per usual on the weekends, Metro Rail and the Orange Line and Silver Line will be running until 2 a.m. both Friday and Saturday night. Maps and timetables are here. Please consider taking transit, a taxi, ride-sharing or using a designated driver if you plan on celebrating (or over-celebrating) the holiday/weekend.

Specific line-by-line detour info is here for the WeHo Halloween Carnaval. Please note that you can use all the above buses to reach the Carnaval, although there is some walking involved between bus stops and the Carnaval.

If you are taking the 4 Bus or 704 Bus that runs on Santa Monica Boulevard, the eastbound detour begins at Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Drive — a half-mile walk to the beginning of the Carnaval. The westbound detour begins at Santa Monica and Fairfax — a .7-mile walk to the start of the Carnaval.

The city of West Hollywood is also running its trolley on the east side of the closures — the trolley will get you close to the start of the Carnaval.

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Transportation headlines, October 31, 2014: Halloween edition

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.

ART OF TRANSIT: Evening in the East Portal of Union Station. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: The dark of evening in the East Portal of Union Station. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Happy Halloween, everybody. Below is a screen grab from one of the scariest scenes filmed on transit; I remember watching this from under my seat at the Carousel Theater on Reading Road in Cincy thirtysomething years ago. Elder Source Readers should be able to name this classic movie and they likely recall that the dude below is correct. Things are about to get even less amusing for him. Please feel free to nominate other Halloween-worthy transit scenes in the comments section!

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Trains are not the silver bullet (Zocalo)

In advance of Monday night’s Zocalo Public Square forum on “Are Trains the Future of L.A.?,” Zocalo asks five local transportation experts for their opinion. There seems to be consensus that trains certainly can’t and won’t be the only mobility option around — and shouldn’t be seen as such. Streetsblog editor Damien Newton sums it up nicely:

The future is going to require us to provide more choices as a growing population makes car-driving-for-everyone impossible. A transit system—with trains as its backbone—will also encourage more busing, biking, and walking for anyone who needs to get from one place to the other.

Not everyone will choose to ride a train, even if the stop is right outside of their front door. The key is providing a lot of transportation modes so that people can make choices. Many will still choose to drive. That’s OK too. But I choose a future that doesn’t require me to get on the 10 to get downtown or the 405 to get to my brother’s house. I suspect that many people will join me.

It’s a good topic as four Metro Rail lines are under construction and a fifth will soon join them, thanks to Measure R funding. For those scoring at home, the quintet are Expo Line Phase 2, the Gold Line Foothill Extension, the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension subway. Which reminds me: I have some nice photos from the Expo Line Construction Authority of recent that we’ll post next week :)

Gold Line an economic catalyst for San Gabriel Valley (SGV Tribune)

Gold Line Foothill Extension CEO opines that the 11.5-mile Foothill Extension to the Azusa/Glendora border isn’t just a plus for mobility in the Valley — it will boost the economy throughout the corridor. Excerpt:

The Gold Line is a true example of how public investment in transportation creates bigger opportunities for our region as a whole. Since the project’s first phase, to Pasadena, opened 11 years ago, more than 1,800 residential units and 175,000 square feet of retail and commercial space have been built within an easy walk to Pasadena’s six stations. In South Pasadena, the Gold Line has helped transform the downtown into a vibrant shopping district, filled with higher density housing, restaurants and boutiques.

Similarly, the 11.5-mile Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa, which is on budget and more than 80 percent complete, offers built-in economic development opportunities between and around its six new stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa.

My three cents: There are a lot of good opportunities remaining along both the existing and future Gold Line tracks — I’m talking to you, downtown Arcadia! :) And it has been great to see South Pasadena take advantage of the existing Gold Line, something which took a while to come to fruition.

L.A. officials: no active fault under Hollywood development site (L.A. Times) 

The fault under a proposed 16-story building near the Hollywood/Vine Red Line stop is deemed inactive and, thus, poses no danger to the future structure. That could have implications on the nearby Millennium development, where a pair of skyscrapers are proposed and investigations are underway as to whether the Hollywood Fault runs under the site.

57/60 freeway improvements on the way (Press Telegram)

Another opinion piece on another San Gabriel Valley topic: the dreaded 57-60 interchange in Diamond Bar, where the 57 from Orange County blobs into the 60, creating one of the big freeway messes in the country. There’s a project being planned to fix the interchange — which just received $10 million from a federal grant. This is one of those freeway corridors beyond the reach of regional transit.

Photos from last night’s Invisible Cities’ performance

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There was a huge crowd on hand for Wednesday night’s “Invisible Cities” performance in Los Angeles Union Station’s historic ticketing hall brought to you by the Metro Presents series. Thank you very much to The Industry for their hard work putting on the concert and for everyone who attended!

Transportation headlines, Thursday, October 30

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.  

ART OF TRANSIT: The Dodger Stadium Express will hitting the gym this winter to prepare for some heavy lifting in April -- particularly the 27th through the 29th. Let's hope for a Bumgarner versus Kershaw game.

ART OF TRANSIT: The Dodger Stadium Express will hitting the gym this winter to prepare for some heavy lifting in April — particularly the 27th through the 29th. Let’s hope for a Bumgarner versus Kershaw game.

Bullet train just a blur in California’s governor’s race (L.A. Times)

The high-speed rail line planned to eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco (and one day San Diego) has been mentioned scarcely in the race between incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown and Republican opponent Neel Kashkari. That surprises some observers, given that the bullet train is widely considered to be the nation’s largest infrastructure project and one that needs political attention.

The noise near Santa Monica’s airport is getting louder (New York Times)

Nice overview story about the ballot measures in Santa Monica that will decide who controls the airport’s future — residents or elected officials. Well, sort of control — the Federal Aviation Administration which continues to contend that the city of Santa Monica must operate the airport for the benefit of the public.

Of course, there’s another big question if the airport (described as like an aircraft carrier in a sea of homes) should ever close: what does the 227-acre site become? Whatever happens, the second phase of the Expo Line will be about a mile away — but on the other side of the Santa Monica Freeway.

BART’s Oakland Airport Connector on track for holiday debut (Chronicle) 

Which holiday — Thanksgiving or Christmas — is still in question. But officials say the people mover that will run for 8.5 minutes between the BART regional rail line and the airport is almost ready to go and just needs approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

Attentive Source readers know, of course, that LAX is planning to build a people mover system to connect the airport’s terminals to a station at Aviation and 96th Street along the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Please see this Source post from June for much, much, much more about that.

 

Zocalo Public Square event Monday: are trains the future of L.A.?

Our friends at Zocalo Public Square have been all over transportation issues this year. That trend continues Monday night at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles (317 S. Broadway). Here’s the description from Zocalo:

For a century, the hearts of Angelenos have belonged to cars and to flying machines, not trains–even though we never would have become a city without the railroad, and couldn’t survive as a global trade center without the rail links to our seaports. But today, in a potentially historic shift, Southern California governments are betting billions that trains can win us over. Five rail lines are under construction right now in L.A., part of a 30-year wave of projects that could give Southern California the most highly developed rail system in the country, save New York. But will we go along for the ride? Only a small percentage of us use the Metro rail regularly, and California’s high-speed rail project is unpopular in L.A. Will we change our ways and depend on trains daily–and embrace development around rail networks? What is it about rail that captures people’s hearts–and why has L.A. remained immune to this almost universally beloved mode of transport? Journalist and Chapman University English scholar Tom Zoellner, author of Train, and UCLA and UC Berkeley legal, business, and environmental scholar Ethan Elkind, author of Railtown, visit Zócalo to discuss the past and future of trains here, and whether Los Angeles will finally fall for rail.

 

Sounds intriguing. BTW, I’ll be recording a podcast with Ethan Elkind that we’ll have on the Source soon talking about transit past, present and future in our region.

More info on registering to attend the event at the Zocalo website. Grand Central Market is a short walk from the Red/Purple Line’s Pershing Square Station and numerous Metro Bus lines, as shown on the map below. All Metro maps and timetables are here.

Click above to see larger.

Click above to see larger.