A Better Blue Line: test demonstration of track work in downtown Long Beach to start June 9

Fresh out of the paint shop, this rail car is refurbished inside and out. Next stop: components overhaul or replacement.

Fresh out of the paint shop, this rail car is refurbished inside and out. Next stop: components overhaul or replacement.

As part of the ongoing work to upgrade and refurbish the Blue Line, a test demonstration of work on the rail tracks will take place in the downtown Long Beach area from Monday, June 9 through Friday, June 20. Regular train service will NOT be affected.

This work is being done as a test operation in preparation for the major work on the tracks to start later this year. The work includes lifting of the track, insertion of rubber boots and use of asphalt grinders. Residents or anyone traveling in the area near 8th Street and Pacific Avenue are asked to stay away for safety reasons.

Work activity is subject to weather conditions. Emergency access will be maintained. For more information on the Blue Line upgrades, visit metro.net/bluelineupgrades.

Everyday is Earth Day when it comes to Metro’s sustainability efforts

We know that taking public transportation is a great way to go green. But what you may not know is that Metro has a number of initiatives in the works that will make the agency even greener…which will make it easier for you to be green.

Metro’s current transit network and infrastructure requires approximately $70 million per year in energy costs to keep everything running. This includes electric and natural gas energy for facility operations and fuel. Energy needs will exponentially increase over the next few years as the system expands and costs are anticipated to increase to about $120 million per year once Expo Phase II, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension open.

Red/Purple Line Westlake-McArthur Park Station WESS.

Red/Purple Line Westlake-McArthur Park Station WESS.

To reduce the fiscal impact of these expansions on the overall energy demand, Metro has been actively looking at ways to be more energy efficient. On the renewable energy front, Metro is currently developing flywheel technology energy projects at the Red/Purple Line Westlake-McArthur Park Station and near the Gold Line Avenue 61 location. The flywheel energy storage system is able to capture energy regenerated by trains as they brake into a station. Metro is also increasing solar panel installations to include the new bus Division 13, which is scheduled for completion in 2015. Collectively, these projects will contribute to the agency’s goal of 33 percent renewable energy use by 2020.

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Metro named a winner of the CEAC Veterans Employer of the Year Award

Metro has been named one of nine winners of 2014 CEAC Veterans Employer of the Year Awards for its proactive stance in veteran hiring. 

Since Metro’s Veterans Hiring Initiative started in 2012, Metro has hired 156 veterans and has established a very ambitious goal of veteran new hires of 12% over a 3-year period and for the Bus Operator Bridge Program, a goal of 20%.

Metro will be participating in the following job fair for veterans. If you are a veteran, active duty military member, guard/reserve member or military spouse, drop by our table and say hi! Some of the job fairs are for veterans only, while others are open to the public–please check the linked sites for more info.

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Metro explores new green energy options: placing a wind turbine in a subway tunnel

Photos: Evan Rosenberg/Metro

You’re standing on a subway station platform, waiting for the train. Suddenly, the wind picks up. You know this means the train is coming. Many of you may also know why there’s wind: it’s displaced air being pushed through the tunnel by the fast moving train. And some of you — including Tom Kefalas, Metro Environmental Compliance and Services Manager — may have wondered if there was a way all that generated wind could be utilized as a renewable energy source.

Thanks to Tom Kefalas and Cris Liban, Director of Metro Environmental Compliance Services, we now know the answer is yes. From August through September 2013, Metro conducted a one-month pilot program to see if wind energy could safely and effectively be captured and used. The project involved working with engineers from WWT Tunnel, LLC, a subcontractor to Arcadis U.S., to create and install a unique 10-foot multi-blade mass airflow collection equipment (MACE) in the Red Line tunnel. To our knowledge, this is the first time a transit agency has tested the effect of having a wind turbine in a subway tunnel.

The MACE was installed between the North Hollywood and Universal City stations, a segment of the tunnel that sees trains reaching speeds of up to 70 mph. Each time a train left the station, the MACE fan blades would start spinning, thus capturing energy up to a minute before the train actually passed by. The blades would continue to spin up to 2 minutes after the train passed, and exceeded 1,070 revolutions per minute (RPM). The amount of electricity produced by these train initiated events was nearly double the amount that had originally been anticipated.

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Six Metro divisions recognized as International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001 certified facilities

Division 20 EMS Facility Core Team with Chief Operations Officer Debra Johnson and EMS Executive Sponsor K.N. Murthy. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro.

Division 20 EMS Facility Core Team with Chief Operations Officer Debra Johnson and EMS Executive Sponsor K.N. Murthy. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro.

Six Metro divisions were recently recognized as International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001 certified facilities for their exemplary efforts in developing and implementing Metro’s Environmental Management System (EMS) at their facilities. Over the last month, transportation and maintenance staff at Divisions 9, 10, 11, 20/Location 61, 21 and the Central Maintenance Facility each received their facility’s 14001 certificate.

Becoming ISO 14001 certified signifies a level of international excellence in the operations of a facility and its staff and management. EMS is a collection of best practices that assist the agency in reducing its environmental impact and safety risks as well as minimizing waste and costs. It also improves productivity and efficiency and empowers staff to formulate innovative solutions on critical issues.

Additional Metro divisions are scheduled to be folded into the program and become ISO 14001 certified in the coming months. Metro is considered a leader among the few other ISO 14001 certified transit agencies across the country and is the first to receive this recognition for a multi-site system.

Here’s a video from SoCal’s first pop-up street design event

A few months ago, Santa Monica held a pop-up street improvement event to show how Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGo) can be improved. The event was very successful, with numerous participants stopping by and providing feedback.

Check out the above video to see the temporary installations featured at the event, including traffic calming devices, curb extensions, enhanced landscaping, places for neighbors to gather and wayfinding signage.

Culver City staff report on bus routes serving the Expo Line

Report on Expo Line impact on CC bus ridership by sourcemetro

Above is a powerpoint from Culver City on the Expo Line’s impacts on bus ridership. The bottom line: there has definitely been an uptick in ridership since the Expo Line’s first phase fully opened in June 2012.

Equally interesting, there is also some information on potential expansion of bus service to serve Expo Line riders — i.e. bus service between Playa Vista and the Expo Line. Intriguing, for sure.