Hi everybody. I’ll be on vacation and largely away from the internet between today and July 10, meaning there there will be light posting on The Source until I’m back. Comments will be moderated while I’m gone, but not as often.
It’s been an eventful first half of 2012, with the opening of the Expo Line, the completion of the environmental studies for the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector and this weekend’s debut of the Orange Line Extension.
The second half of the year should be equally interesting, with the fall opening of the ExpressLanes congestion pricing project on the 110 freeway and the strong possibility that voters could be looking at a Measure R extension on the November ballot.
Thank you to everyone for reading The Source and I’m looking forward to carrying on the conversation after a short break!
Steve Hymon, Editor
Just a quick heads up: Metro’s Spanish-language blog El Pasajero is launching on Friday and will be prominently featured for the next few days on the Metro.net homepage in place of The Source’s usual chunk of real estate. But we’re not going away! There will still be a tab linking to The Source and, of course, you can always just go straight to our site by bookmarking http://thesource.metro.net.
Here’s the news release announcing the arrival of El Pasajero.
It’s been a while since we’ve featured the emails we get from our readers and since our last roundup we’ve received a lot of feedback on some big issues we’ve been covering.
Our lengthy post answering some of the most common TAP card related questions is one issue that sparked some interest amongst our readers.
Matt N. writes to us with concerns about the TAP website, referencing this statement from our post, “Metro officials say revisions to the website are underway and hope to have them online by the end of 2010. One suggestion from Fred and I make it easier to quickly find a list of fare products and prices.”
Just a quick note about the article about TAP cards – very informative by the way! But in regards to the statement I copied above and making the TAP website easier, I just want to say that I am a person who has bought a monthly paper pass for the last three years and only recently gave thought to changing over to TAP; the deciding reason was that my wallet was stolen last month and obviously, the paper pass cannot be replaced, which made me wish I had a TAP card, which could have solved the problem.
I usually order the paper passes on the Metro website, on which paper passes are available for purchase starting on the 5th of each month. This month, on Monday the 7th, I went to buy my normal pass and decided to check out the TAP website. I figured it would be a more secure way to buy my pass and since I knew paper passes were being phased out, I thought it was smart. Continue reading
For the last couple of weeks we’ve been running a poll asking our readers to choose a color name for the Expo Line. In addition to votes we’ve also received a lot of feedback in the form of reader email and comments left on the poll site.
While Aqua is currently the favorite, both by Source readers and Metro Staff, some have written in with concerns about the color and its similarity to the Blue Line:
My biggest issue with Aqua is that, because it shares tracks and stations with the Blue Line, it could lead to confusion. The color looks like light blue to me. Having Blue and Light Blue sharing tracks is as bad as having Yellow and Gold side by side.
However, let’s not toss out yellow. Yellow is still up for grabs, and in this case it would be good because it complements Blue, and it wouldn’t cause confusion because the Yellow (Expo) Line and Gold Line don’t even connect (and won’t for at least several years).
Anyway, if Metro is hell-bent on using Aqua, it should at least make it green-blue, so that it is a little more distinct from Blue-Line blue.
Given that the Expo line is close to the Blue line and will be connected to it I think it should be something different to make it easy to differentiate the two lines. Citrus/Lime is too close to the green line in appearance, and the Expo line will be close to the Green line. Olive I don’t think fits because whenever I think of Olive I think of Burbank and I think it may confuse others who also have that association.
So I arrive at Copper. The closest colours to copper are Orange and Gold. Since those lines run into the SFV and SGV respectively I don’t think there would be as much cause for confusion. Rose I think is also a good choice – but if/when the purple line extends to the west side it may cause confusion there.
While I agree that the busways having colours can be confusing, it gives me hope that they may one day be transformed into rail and hopefully other residents would think of that potential where they otherwise may not have. I live in Woodland Hills and I would love nothing more than to see the Orange line become light rail even though there are some political obstacles to that idea.
I used to be a supporter of the “aqua”/”teal” proposal, until I saw how similar it looked to “blue” on the map… and considering the Blue and Expo Lines share the same track and then diverge after Pico, I’m imagining a lot of annoyed riders asking “How is this NOT blue??”. If lines intersect or overlap, their colors should be a little more different than “dark blue” and “light blue”. The most different color from all the other lines (looking at just the ones proposed) is olive.
Attentive readers know that Metro fares are increasing on July 1. We’ve written a fair amount about it and the agency’s Board of Directors held a special meeting on Saturday to discuss the increases. The meeting lasted about an hour and was lightly attended.
Here are a few emails from readers, some edited for length. I also fixed a few of the more glaring grammar issues:
Can this be true? Peoples salaries are being cut and we’re losing work days to furloughs and the MTA is RAISING fares? Not to mention all the unemployed people who can barely afford to get around on the bus as it is. What are they thinking? How is this a good thing?
I agree, it is fair to raise the Metro Fares as outlined in the agency’s Board of Directors plan. What the Board is missing, is revenue can be generated with more than the simple notion of raising fare rates.
The metro system in Los Angeles differs from large metropolises across the country in that fare payment is based on an honor system. In New York City, for example, you must insert your fare card and walk through a turnstile that spans from floor to ceiling before entering the subway systems.
The, excuse the term, “dinky” turnstiles mounted in the last few months prove to be a simple hazard in the way of patrons. Any person simply walks through the turnstile without proving payment. I am unsure of the true purpose of these turnstiles. Why not follow other cities and employ turnstiles that actually stop non-paying individuals from entering the metro corridors? In my opinion the turnstiles as they stand were a waste of metro money. Use them as they are used in other cities, to enforce payment
Increasing fares will increase revenue and allow for further expansion of the metro system and that should be paired with employing an entry system that forces patrons to pay for the service provided.
I have no problem with fare increases–in fact, I would be in favor of a steeper fare increase–as long as transfers are free. It is SO frustrating to just BARELY miss a train because you had to stop to buy a ticket, or to have to wait in a long line at the bus stop for everyone to pay.
Tyler Continue reading
Our four part series on Blue Line safety garnered a lot of great feedback, some of which we’ll be featuring in this special edition of Reader email.
If you need a refresher, here are links to the entire series:
Russell Homan, Rail Fleet Service Manager for Metro, wrote to us with some clarifications of the safety features on Blue Line light rail vehicles:
Metro does not refer to the roof headlight as a “Cyclops” light. A Cyclops is a one eyed monster which is not an accurate or favorable description of a Blue Line train. The Cyclops light is a slang term started by some of our own employees.
The Blue Line trains have three headlights, including one mounted on the roof.
To catch the motorists attention, when the train operator uses the horn or gong, the two lower headlights will switch to high beam, and alternate flashing on and off between the left and right lights for 10-seconds.
Reader T.N. recognizes the efforts Metro has made to make the Blue Line safe but thinks that the line should have been grade separated from the beginning:
Even though Metro has made efforts to improve safety on the Metro Blue Line, vehicular and pedestrian accidents will continue to occur unless the agency made the effort to make the line grade almost entirely grade-separated, especially between Washington Station and Willow Station where most of the accidents occur.
Elevating or trenching parts of the line will greatly reduce the accidents, but it would be very expensive and be disruptive to Blue Line service.
If the predecessor agency of Metro built the Blue Line almost entirely grade-separated in the first place (in the similar vein of the freight-based Alameda Corridor), these accidents would almost never happen.
There’s more letters from readers about Blue Line safety issues, after the jump. Continue reading