Metro becomes first transit agency in U.S. to apply flywheel technology for rail energy savings

Metro officials met with representatives from the Federal Transit Administration and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory last week to review promising results of the agency’s first-of-a-kind use of flywheel technology to recycle power generated from rail cars.

Officials met at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Red/Purple Line Station to see firsthand how the Wayside Energy Storage Substation works. The pilot project started in August and is now saving Metro up to 18 percent of the energy normally used to power subway trains entering and leaving the station. That, in turn, helps lower Metro’s electricity bills.

The project is managed by Metro’s Project Engineering Department and uses a state-of-the-art flywheel system built by Vycon of Cerritos. The brain of the system, which assures the precise control of the flow of power, was developed by Turner Engineering of Venice. Metro performed its installation in-house, without external contractors.

The system was therefore entirely developed and implemented with resources local to the Los Angeles County. It is estimated that Metro will eventually save approximately $100,000 per year in electricity costs because of the project.

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New 2.75-mile section of San Fernando Road Bike Path opens

City and county officials this morning unveiled a brand new 2.75-mile section of San Fernando Road Bike Path between Wolfskill Street and Branford streets in Pacoima.

The new bike path segment includes safety fencing, lighting, landscaping and other amenities for local cyclists seeking to ride parallel to the Metro-owned railroad right-of-way now used by Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line and Union Pacific freight trains.

The new section is an addition to the existing bike path on San Fernando Road between Roxford Street and Wolfskill Street. The existing path is located both in the city of San Fernando and the city of Los Angeles.

Approximately 80 percent of the project cost was funded through Metro’s Call for Projects, a competitive grant process for different types of transportation projects in Los Angeles County. The Call for Projects also helped fund the original segment of the bike path and will also allow the city of L.A. and Burbank to continue building the bike path along San Fernando Road south to connect to the downtown Burbank Metrolink station.

Other project elements included the construction of a bridge over Pacoima Wash and major traffic and railroad signal modifications at Osborne Street, Pierce Street, Paxton Street and Van Nuys Boulevard completed by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. The path also has bicyclist-activated pedestrian push buttons, paved bus stop waiting areas and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required handicap ramps.

Metro seeks OK to move Union Station Master Plan from planning to implementation

The Metro Board this month will consider recommendations for finalizing and implementing the ambitious Union Station Master Plan. That process begins Wednesday at the Board’s Planning Committee meeting at 2:30 p.m., with the full Board scheduled to vote on the issue at its Oct. 2 meeting. Here is the latest Metro staff report.

(UPDATE: At the request of Board Member Diane DuBois, the Planning Committee on Wednesday decided to consider the item in next month’s Board meetings in order to have more time to digest the plan and understand some components of it.) 

The staff recommendations set a path for short- and long-term projects and future commercial development at the station. Metro purchased Union Station from a private firm in 2011 and wants to turn the facility into a world class transit hub that can better handle a growing number of transit riders, protect the historic core of the station and accommodate high-speed rail and some development in the future.

One of the Metro staff’s primary recommendations is to officially begin a program environmental impact report (a ‘program EIR’ considers a series of actions an agency wants to take) for some of the big ticket improvements in the Master Plan, such as building an expanded multi-modal concourse under the current tracks and relocating the Patsaouras Bus Plaza closer to a raised north-south plaza on the west side of the train tracks.

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New station canopy being built at Wilshire/Western Purple Line Station

Subway riders will no doubt notice a brand new subway portal canopy now being built over the Purple Line’s Wilshire/Western Station.

The new canopy will feature new components from Metro’s “kit of parts” station design concepts that’s seeking to keep Metro structures consistent in their appearance and easier and more affordable to maintain. More importantly, the canopy should shield Metro customers from the elements and help prevent weather-related damage to escalators and other station facilities.

Construction of the canopy is expected to be completed by October of this year and will give the Wilshire/Western station a look similar to that of future stations for the Metro Purple Line Extension Project now in pre-construction.

Officials celebrate completion of new freeway soundwalls in San Fernando Valley

New SR-134 Sound Wall in the City of Burbank

New SR-134 Soundwall in the City of Burbank.

This morning, representatives from Metro, Caltrans, California Highway Patrol, local elected officials and others celebrated the completion of four miles of new freeway soundwalls on the SR 134 in the City of Burbank and the I-405 in Granada Hills and North Hills.

The project, part of Metro’s Post 1989 retrofit Soundwall Program, also included widened freeway shoulders and the modification of existing bridges within the project limits.

Transportation Officials Celebrate Opening of New Sound Wall Projects in the San Fernando Valley

Transportation officials celebrate opening of new sound wall projects in the San Fernando Valley.

The total $25.5 million cost for both two-mile soundwall projects was funded by Metro’s Prop C 25% funds, and took about three years to build.  The project was designed by Caltrans, managed by Metro, and delivered on time and within budget.

 

Deadline extended for public input on potential bike share locations

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Last month Metro’s Bike Share Implementation Plan team announced it was taking public suggestions for possible Bike share locations in Downtown L.A., Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica as part of a first phase pilot program. See original post here.

To summarize, Metro is developing a regional bikeshare plan where bikes can be borrowed for shot periods of time or short distances.

The original deadline for public input was September 8, but that deadline has now been extended to September 15 so Metro can respond to increasing interest to provide comments.

So, if you haven’t already, visit Metro’s interactive map to make your station suggestions.  You officially have another week!

 

New Section of L.A. River Bikeway in the west San Fernando Valley opens

Photo Credit: City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works

Marking another noteworthy achievement for Metro’s Call for Projects Program, transportation officials from the city and county of Los Angeles this morning announced the grand opening of a brand new section of L.A. River Bikeway in the western San Fernando Valley.

Located between Winnetka and Vanowen Streets in the neighborhood of Winnetka, the newly completed half-mile segment of bikeway has an impressive list of amenities, including newly striped dedicated pedestrian/bike path, signage, bridge underpasses, landscaping, drinking fountains, benches, exercise equipment and solar LED lighting.

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