Video: Bike Week L.A. kicks off with new bicycle ridership report

This morning at Union Station officials kicked off “Bike Week L.A.” a week-long effort this week to encourage people to bicycle as a way to commute to work and for recreation. See full details of Bike Week L.A. here. 

Los Angeles City Councilman and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin joined with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to announce the results of the LACBC’s biannual survey of bicycle riding. The report found that bicycle riding in the City of Los Angeles has increased 7.5 percent since 2011. The count also found that:

  • The busiest time for bicycling is the evening commute period, suggesting that most people are riding for transportation.
  • People strongly prefer riding on dedicated facilities like bike paths and bike lanes over streets with no bicycle facilities.
  • Fewer than one in five bicyclists are female while female ridership is highest on bike paths and bike lanes, suggesting that the lack of safe and comfortable facilities is causing a gender disparity among bicyclists.
  • Bike lanes improve bicyclist behavior, cutting sidewalk riding in half compared to streets without and reducing wrong-way riding as well.
  • This report shows that as ridership continues to grow in Los Angeles, not everyone feels safe riding without better bicycle facilities.

Download the full report here.

 

Metro launches new bike ad campaign in time For Bike Week L.A. May 12-18

Nina & JohnIn anticipation of Bike Week L.A. May 12-18, 2014, Metro has launched a new bicycle ad campaign entitled “Every Day is a Bike Day” to encourage more Angelenos to bicycle for every day transportation.

Running on county billboards, the Internet and Metro buses from May through July 2014, the new ads normalize bicycling as part of everyday life and show that bicycling is for everyone. The ads also remind drivers about bicyclists’ presence, encouraging safe and shared interactions on L.A. county streets.

The new campaign builds off Metro’s 2013 “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” campaign that encouraged motorists and bicyclists to share the road to decrease incidents and increase safety. The popular campaign helped raise awareness that bicyclists can ride in the full traffic lane in certain situations and have equal rights and responsibilities on the road per the California Vehicle Code.

Metro also partnered with the bicycling community on the campaign. Members of local bicycling groups and non-profit organizations, including Multicultural Communities for Mobility, Bici Libre, Wolfpack Hustle and Eastside Riders Bike Club are featured in the ads.

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Very first segment of new northbound 405 carpool lane opens in West L.A.

Earlier lane preparation work on northbound carpool lane in West L.A.

Earlier lane preparation work on northbound carpool lane in West L.A.

Early Monday morning, Metro’s contractor quietly completed lane restriping and freeway sign installation work needed to open an initial 2.4-mile section of northbound 405 carpool lane between the Santa Monica Freeway and Wilshire Boulevard. But hold on: it’s not the official opening yet of the full carpool lane. The remainder of the 7.5-mile lane that extends to the 101 freeway in the San Fernando Valley remains under construction.

Metro’s contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, has been conducting a series of nighttime northbound freeway closures — with more planned in the coming weeks — to get the entire lane through West L.A. and the Sepulveda Pass ready for prime time. So, for the time being, the new northbound carpool lane will ultimately convert back to a general purpose lane.

Contractor gets ready to open new carpool lane segment with installation of HOV signage at the freeway median.

Contractor gets ready to open new carpool lane segment with installation of HOV signage at the freeway median.

Carpoolers traveling on the existing northbound carpool lane prior to the I-10 freeway will notice new striping and “HOV Lane” signs for the very first time. For those keeping track, the southbound 405 carpool lane through the area was opened by Caltrans in 2007.

The addition of the carpool lane officially brings the total number of vehicle lanes on the northbound 405 to six. The project also added an extra auxiliary lane between the eastbound to northbound 10 freeway connectors and the Santa Monica Boulevard off-ramp. That’s an extra project benefit to help keep traffic moving as quickly as possible through this heavily traveled portion of the 405.

Metro, Caltrans and Kiewit anticipate the whole 10-mile stretch of new carpool lane will open sometime in late May. An exact opening date has not been finalized, but progress is clearly being made and the full lane opening is in sight. That should be music to the ears of every motorist who drives the 405 on a daily basis.

Metro finds concrete cracks on Metro Gold Line Bridge abutment

During a routine investigation of Metro Gold Line bridge structures on Wednesday, March 26, Metro Operations discovered cracks in the concrete on a bridge abutment between Union Station and Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. The inspection occurred prior to the 5.1 earthquake on March 28.

Metro’s Engineering & Construction and Facilities Maintenance departments performed a preliminary investigation, analyzed the scope of the cracking and determined that the cracking does not pose a risk to public safety. A speed restriction of 8 mph has been implemented for trains crossing the bridge as a precaution. Metro will monitor the situation on a daily basis.

The cause of the cracking is still under investigation. In an abundance of caution, Metro will conduct a thorough assessment of transit aerial structures. Metro is arranging for its contractor to make needed repairs immediately.

New “Jamzilla” public service announcement available for public use

Continuing the urgent drum beat to raise public awareness on the planned northbound 405 80-hour paving operation in the Sepulveda Pass this Presidents’ Day Weekend, Metro, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol have released a new public service announcement that is now freely available via Youtube.

Anyone who is interested in helping spread the word on their web sites or social media are welcome to link to the 30-second video. Here’s a transcript:

Hi, I’m Chief Dan Bower with the California Highway Patrol. We are again asking for the public’s help to avoid a major traffic jam here on the 405 this Presidents’ Day Weekend.  Metro and Caltrans will be conducting an unprecedented, 80-hour paving operation.  Motorists are advised to avoid delays, reduce driving and to simply stay away. The CHP will do its part to keep motorists safe.  The rest is up to you!

Jamzilla countown clock, banner ads now available for public use

Sample 405 80-Hour Counter

Sample 405 80-Hour Counter

In efforts to help individuals, businesses, agencies and other organizations count down to the planned partial daytime and full nighttime closures of the northbound I-405 freeway in the Sepulveda Pass Presidents’ Day Weekend Feb. 14-18, Metro has created an official online countdown clock and banner ads that are freely available for public use here.

The  online clock counts down the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds before the anticipated 80-hour northbound I-405 paving operation between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard officially begins.  On Friday night, February 14, ramps along the 5.6-mile closure area will begin to be shut down as early as 7 p.m., and closure of freeway lanes will begin at 11 p.m. to ensure full freeway closure by 1 a.m.  The operation and related daytime/nighttime lane closures will continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, February 18.  For specific information on the operation, click here.

The clock and banner ad will remain live on Metro’s home page at metro.net and project page to serve as a constant, urgent reminder advising motorists to “Avoid Delays, Reduce Driving or Stay Away” to avoid potentially significant congestion and multi-hour delays.  A selection of “I-405: 80-Hour Closure” banner ads in various sizes and options can also be used to help raise public awareness as much as possible.

The web page provides code enabling webmasters to easily add the clock and banner graphics to their web sites.

Jamzilla 405 operation more complex than Carmageddon

The Presidents' Day northbound 405 paving operation will realign a portion of the freeway centerline to the west in the San Fernando Valley.

The Presidents’ Day northbound 405 paving operation will realign a portion of the freeway centerline to the west in the San Fernando Valley. Photo taken from project area on the southbound side of the 405.

The planned 80-hour “Jamzilla” paving operation now scheduled for Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 14-18 is more complex, requires new construction and is more time-consuming than the epic “Carmageddon” bridge demolitions of 2011 and 2012.

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements project contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, will not benefit from gravity in the frenzied destruction of an iconic freeway bridge. Instead, the contractor will take its time to pour a single layer of pavement at a time.  Each concrete layer takes its own time to cure.  The operation is similar to baking layers of a wedding cake.

“Operationally speaking, demolishing a bridge is a much simpler operation than paving and striping freeway lanes that must return to public use as quickly as possible,” said K.N. Murthy, Executive Director of Transit Project Delivery at Metro. “It’s the essential difference between destroying a structure and building a structure. Building something is much more difficult, and the paving methods we are using vary between each material type and have specific requirements that must be adhered to.”

A car drives on the No. 1 lane that will receive a final pave during Jamzilla lane closures.

A car drives on the unfinished No. 1 northbound lane that will receive a final pave during Jamzilla lane closures.

The operation officially begins Friday night, February 14.  After a full northbound freeway closure at 1 a.m., Kiewit will begin excavating and paving multiple areas within the 5.6-mile area of the northbound I-405 in the Sepulveda Pass simultaneously. In order to complete as much paving work as possible, the contractor will use new polyester pavement that cures and reaches specified strength within hours instead of days, and provides an extremely durable roadway surface for the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that drive on the northbound 405 every day.

But the operation depends on the weather.  The polyester paving requires favorable temperatures in order to cure properly and give strength. If temperatures are less than favorable or if it rains, it could complicate the operation, or at worse, cause it to be rescheduled over several consecutive 55-hour weekend operations.

Polyester concrete has quick-dry, high-strength properties and is very compact.

Polyester concrete has quick-dry, high-strength properties and is very compact.

The contractor will perform up to four separate paving operations during the 80-hour period on various portions of the northbound 405.  The contractor must grind, tack, pave and stripe the freeway in a carefully choreographed sequence. Because the paving areas abut one other, the contractor will operate in a very confined work zone.  Maneuvering construction vehicles within this area for all needed work will be a logistical challenge.

Adding to the complexity of the operation, the contractor must shift the freeway centerline 20 feet to the west for approximately 1,000 feet as the northbound I-405 winds its way down into the San Fernando Valley.  There was no room for the freeway to be widened to the east due to the existence of a multi-residential building adjacent to the northbound 405 in Sherman Oaks.

A 1,000 portion of the freeway centerline in Sherman Oaks must be shifted 20 feet to the west.

A 1,000 portion of the freeway centerline in Sherman Oaks must be shifted 20 feet to the west.

Also in this area, approximately 1,700 feet of freeway and shoulder lanes must be completely excavated to full depths and rebuilt in order to realign the freeway to the west.

The most complex work will occur where the northbound 405 meets the Sepulveda Boulevard undercrossing bridge just before the U.S. 101 connector ramps.  The contractor must demolish and then rebuild the approach slabs on both sides of the freeway bridge to upgrade the slabs for seismic safety and roadway durability.  This includes first building a seat to accommodate the new approach slab. The contractor must also reinforce the concrete with rebar for seismic safety and ensure the new approach slabs comply with state highway standards.

Three concrete pours will be required to rebuild the approach slabs.  Each of those pours requires its own 8-hour cure time.  The extensive work required to rebuild these slabs drives the critical path for the entire 80-hour operation.

Approach_Slab

The Sepulveda undercrossing approach slab has to be rebuilt. The new roadway surface will be much improved for motorists.

Finally, when all paving and approach slab work is completed, the contractor will restripe the freeway prior to reopening lanes by 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, February 18.

Compared to the flurry of activity of the Carmageddon bridge demolitions, this new paving operation will have little visual excitement.  There will be periods during the 80-hour operation when concrete is curing where nothing appears to be happening. However, the contractor will still be working from a meticulous schedule to complete all tasks within the 80-hour period.

A Caltrans engineer shows the different layers of paving needed for the 80-hour operation.

A Caltrans engineer shows a cross-section of freeway to indicate the multiple layers of needed paving during the 80-hour operation.

Motorists are reminded to fully cooperate with agency calls to stay off the freeway just as they did during the previous Carmageddon closures.  Motorists should eliminate unnecessary auto trips, avoid the area and/or divert to other freeways to avoid major traffic delays.

“Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches” Bicycle Ride a Dandy Success

More than 300 participants dressed in their finest tweed and joined the Metro-sponsored C.I.C.L.E. bicycle ride last Saturday, January 18. The Tweed, Moxie and Mustaches Bicycle Ride convened at the Highland Park Metro Gold Line Station and visited historic landmarks in the Highland Park neighborhood on bicycle. Stops included stained glass manufacturer Judson Studios, the historic Lummis House, and the Audubon Center at Debs Park. Check out our video!

Metro/C.I.C.L.E. rides provide an opportunity to comfortably practice riding a bike within the safety of a group, become acquainted with bikeways, and reach local destinations by bike in Los Angeles County. This program helps implement the Board-adopted 2006 Metro Bicycle Transportation Strategic Plan policy to promote bicycling as a legitimate and healthy mode of transportation by providing leadership in building partnerships, funding, and resources for marketing bicycle use. This particular ride had the highest participation to date and was well attended by families and bicyclists of all experiences. The next Metro/C.I.C.L.E ride will take place in Watts on Saturday, February 15, so mark your calendars.

Jamzilla is coming: Unprecedented 80-hour paving operation planned for northbound 405 Presidents’ Day weekend

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Northbound traffic on the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass will be greatly curtailed President’s Day weekend. Avoid the area if you can. Photo by Jonathan Poh, via Flickr creative commons.

Los Angeles transportation officials are alerting I-405 and regional freeway motorists of an unprecedented 80-hour northbound I-405 freeway lane closure operation in the Sepulveda Pass this Presidents’ Day weekend, February 14 to 18, 2014.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), in conjunction with California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), and a host of law enforcement and emergency response agencies throughout L.A. County are giving the public advance notice that if they do not have a critical need to travel northbound through West Los Angeles and the Sepulveda Pass during the Presidents’ Day three-day weekend, they should eliminate unnecessary auto trips, avoid the area and/or divert to other freeways to avoid major traffic delays.

Traffic conditions on local streets and freeways within the region of Los Angeles County and beyond could become severe, with significant, hours-long delays if motorists do not cooperate with authorities and limit northbound freeway trips.

Motorists who must travel during this weekend are advised to prepare their itineraries in advance, monitor real-time traffic conditions prior to beginning their trips and follow alternate routes that are provided. Motorists will be continually informed of the closure in advance by Caltrans-operated freeway message signs.

The I-405 contractor will be paving a major segment of the future northbound I-405 High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane in the Sepulveda Pass. The work is considered key to meeting the project’s scheduled completion date of 2014.

Work over the Presidents’ Day weekend will eliminate the need for several consecutive 55-hour freeway closures from the project schedule. This closure operation will save significant time and minimize future closure impacts to the community and traveling public.

The closure operation consists of a partial day-time lane reduction and a full night-time directional freeway closure on the northbound I-405 between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard.  The closure area is approximately 5.6 miles long, or nearly two-thirds of the entire I-405 project area.

During daytime hours, two northbound lanes will remain open while the remaining three lanes will be closed.  During night-time hours, all five northbound freeway lanes in this area will be closed.

The southbound I-405 will remain fully open during the day, but some southbound lanes may be closed during night-time only paving operations.

Work is scheduled to begin Friday night, February 14 starting at 11 p.m. and will last until Tuesday, February 18 at 6 a.m.

Ramps within the project area will begin to close as early as 7 p.m. Traffic officers provided by LADOT will help guide motorists at each I-405 northbound on-ramp.

Full northbound night-time freeway closure times are as follows:

  • Friday night, February 14 – 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Saturday night, February 15 - 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Sunday night, February 16 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Monday night, February 17 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The designated alternative route for night-time full closures will be for motorists to take the Wilshire northbound to westbound off-ramp to northbound Sepulveda Boulevard, returning to northbound I-405 at the Greenleaf northbound on-ramp.

Sepulveda Boulevard also will be fully open with two lanes in each direction during the paving operation.  However, Sepulveda Boulevard will not have the capacity to accommodate all diverted northbound freeway traffic, and could become severely congested. Freeway motorists should instead divert to other freeway routes.

I-10 connectors to the northbound I-405 also will be closed. Motorists detouring from the closed I-10 connectors should use freeway detour routes rather than local streets.

The connector detour routes will be as follows:

  • For eastbound I-10 to northbound I-405 – use northbound I-110, northbound US 101, to northbound I-405.
  • For westbound I-10 to northbound I-405 – use northbound I-5, westbound SR 134, northbound US 101, to northbound I-405.

The construction schedule is subject to change, and paving work is dependent on favorable weather conditions. In the event of inclement weather during the 80-hour closure, the project will commence continuous 55-hour weekend closures of the northbound freeway starting the following weekend, February 21 for up to four weekends to complete the originally intended work.

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements project has now concluded most major freeway widening work between the I-10 and U.S. 101. The contractor is now building the future northbound HOV lane that will connect West Los Angeles with the San Fernando Valley.

The project will officially complete the last remaining gap in the entire I-405 lane network.  Additional project benefits include improved freeway safety through standardized lane and shoulder widths, greater ramp capacities at key locations, new sound and retaining walls, widened overpasses, widened and seismically updated bridges.

The project is a joint effort between Metro and Caltrans, and is being constructed by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

Carmageddon Revisited: Metro, Caltrans and Kiewit reopen iconic Mulholland Bridge

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The iconic Mulholland Bridge that spawned two unprecedented weekend closures of the nation’s busiest freeway and introduced the word “Carmageddon” into the American vernacular was fully reopened to traffic in Los Angeles at 6 a.m. Wednesday after nearly two-and-a-half years of intensive bridge reconstruction work.

The contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, implemented the final traffic switch, signal and lane striping work needed to reopen the new northern half of the bridge, returning all lanes to full capacity in time for the mid-week morning rush hour today. Approximately 20,000 vehicles travel over the bridge on a daily basis.

The return of the new bridge to full capacity is the latest milestone for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, which is building a 10-mile carpool lane on the northbound I-405 between the 10 and 101 freeways.  As the administrator of the design-build project, Metro and its project partner Caltrans have committed to continue opening parts of the massive freeway widening project as soon as they are deemed safe and ready for public use.

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