Sneak peek into fabrication for artwork at future Expo/Sepulveda Station

Susan Logoreci inspecting color in ceramic tile sections at artwork fabricator's shop. Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

Artist Susan Logoreci inspecting color in ceramic tile sections at artwork fabricator’s shop. Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

Detail of artwork rendered in ceramic tile pieces.  Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

Detail of artwork rendered in ceramic tile pieces. Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

This is the third in a series of Source posts providing a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork fabrication process for each of the seven new Metro Rail stations under construction along the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The artworks will create a welcoming environment for future riders and connect the stations to surrounding neighborhoods. Commissioned artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.

This post introduces the artwork of artist Susan Logoreci, which will be featured at Expo/Sepulveda Station. Logoreci’s original artwork, Right Above The Right-Of-Way, uses colored pencil drawings to express the area’s urban form and housing. The original drawings were translated into hand-cut ceramic tile pieces that were kiln fired. The eight hand-glazed, hand-cut ceramic mosaic panels will be installed in overhead structures at Expo/Sepulveda Station entries and throughout the platform, highly visible to transit customers and the general public.

Logoreci is integrally involved in the process to ensure that the ceramic tile artwork matches the color and hue of her original drawings.

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Sneak peek into fabrication process for artwork at future Palms Station

Artist Shizu Saldamando in her studio, with one of her original artworks in the background.

Artist Shizu Saldamando in her studio, with one of her original artworks in the background.

This is the second in a series of Source posts providing a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork  fabrication process for each of the seven new Metro Rail stations under construction along the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The artworks will create a welcoming environment for future riders and connect the stations to surrounding neighborhoods. Commissioned artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.

This post introduces the artwork of Los Angeles-based artist Shizu Saldamando, which will be featured at Palms Station. Saldamando’s original artwork, Artist Educators, uses wood, graphite pencil and Japanese washi paper. It consists of 10 large scale overhead panels and was translated in a variety of mediums, including ceramic tiles that are fired in a kiln using different techniques. The 10 panels will be located in overhead structures at Palms Station entries and throughout the platform, highly visible to transit customers and the general public.

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Sneak peek into fabrication process for artwork at future 26th St/Bergamot Station

Artist Contance Mallinson in her studio, with one of her artworks in the background.

Artist Constance Mallinson in her studio, with one of her artworks in the background.

We invite you to the first in a series of Source posts providing a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork fabrication process for each of the seven new Metro Rail stations under construction along the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The artworks will create a welcoming environment for future riders and connect the stations to surrounding neighborhoods. Artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.

First up is the work of Los Angeles-based artist Constance Mallinson, which will be featured at 26th St/Bergamot Station. The station is adjacent to Bergamot Station, home to art galleries and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Mallinson’s mixed media work, Local Color, consists of 24 large scale overhead panels and is being translated into porcelain enamel steel.

Porcelain enamel steel is a highly durable material often used in transit environments as well as national parks and other outdoor locations. Because of its durable properties, the material was used in ancient Egypt on pottery, stone and jewelry, and in modern times is used on on everyday objects like cookware, dishwashers and washing machines.

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How do they do that? Dig a subway tunnel

How do they do that? is a series for The Source that explores the technology that helps keep Metro running and passengers and other commuters moving. Some of it applies directly to the trains, buses and freeways and some of it runs in the background — invisible to nearly everyone but essential to mobility in our region.

Lowering tunnel boring machine into the ground — Dec. 15, 2005 — for construction of Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension.

With the Crenshaw/LAX line, the Metro Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension readying for construction, there will be plenty of digging going on in L.A.County. But how do you dig a subway tunnel? Dynamite? Giant corkscrew? Spoon?

In the U.S. we’ve been mining subway tunnels for more than a century. At first there were men and shovels and dynamite and excruciating physical labor. (Think Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey. Think pressurized compartments holding workers who had to be depressurized at the end of a shift to avoid getting the “bends.”) Fortunately, we now have machines to do the heavy work.

During the past 20 years Metro has constructed three sets of tunnels: one for the Metro Red and Purple lines, another for two stations of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension and a third to carry the Expo Line under the busy Figueroa-Exposition Boulevard intersection.

Tunnel boring machine

Tunnel boring machine

For the Gold Line Eastside Extension, two tunnel boring machines nicknamed Lola and Vicki (see video above) were lowered into the ground in Boyle Heights to bore twin subway tunnels from First and Boyle to First and Lorena streets at a depth of 50 to 60 feet. Each TBM weighed more than two million pounds and was 344 feet long. Each built a tunnel that was 21 feet in diameter.

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How do they do that? Unlatch the gates automatically for wheelchair patrons

How do they do that? is a series for The Source that explores the technology that helps keep Metro running and passengers and other commuters moving. Some of it applies directly to the trains, buses and freeways and some of it runs in the background — invisible to nearly everyone but essential to mobility in our region.

Hands-free intercom for wheelchair patrons.

Hands-free intercom for wheelchair patrons.

The subway gates are being latched one station at a time and given that we are an advanced civilization, Los Angeles seems to have survived. (The Red and Purple lines are on schedule for latching completion Aug. 5.) For most of us the gate latching has turned out to be no big deal. We pull out our TAP cards — either plastic TAP or TAP-enabled paper tickets — and we march on through.

But what if we were commuting in a wheelchair?

A new hands-free intercom system developed by Metro for ADA patrons opens the gates automatically upon verbal request by a wheelchair patron or silently, if the patron cannot speak.

How do the subway gates unlatch for customers in wheelchairs?

Attendants on duty 24/7 monitor the wheelchair-accessible gates on closed circuit TV. As passengers in wheelchairs approach the special hands-free intercom (a silver box with a blue wheelchair sign next to it) a round camera above the hands-free intercom transmits the image to attendants standing by to help. Or, if they are able, patrons can press a red button to call for help with the gate. The attendants also are alerted to the presence of a wheelchair by a small sensor posted below on the same column.

The attendant verbally greets the wheelchair patron and, if possible, the patron confirms verbally that assistance is required. If the patron cannot speak, the attendant can see that and respond by triggering the ADA gate to unlatch. When it does, the patron can proceed through the opened gate.

The technology required for this innovation is not unusual or particularly high tech — camera, telephone, speaker, lights and an electrical connection to the gate that facilitates the opening of it remotely. Yet used in partnership in this particular combination, it is a simple but innovative way to make travel a little easier for patrons in wheelchairs.

How do they do that? Measure sound levels in stations

How do they do that? is a series for The Source that explores the technology that helps keep Metro running and passengers and other commuters moving. Some of it applies directly to the trains, buses and freeways and some of it runs in the background — invisible to nearly everyone but essential to mobility in our region.

Sound monitoring microphone.

Sound monitoring microphone.

Buses, trains, cars and construction all make noise. That’s why Metro monitors sound levels at Metro properties and projects.

How do they do that?

Sound level measurements are taken throughout the Metro system … but not everywhere. The measuring can be part of routine maintenance. It can be in preparation for a construction project. Or it can be the result of a question or complaint from a patron or someone who lives or works near a Metro project or facility. Whatever the reason, the analysis is done pretty much the same way.

Typically an acoustical engineer measures noise levels with a microphone connected to a sound level meter or other sound recording device that collects the sounds for later analysis.

Sound level meter.

Sound level meter.

Noise levels measured at a moderately busy downtown bus stop generally are about 70 decibels. The highest noise levels collected at Metro stations are found at trains running down of the middle of a freeway. Those could be 85 to 90 decibels — by far the noisiest places in the system because of the surrounding vehicle traffic but still safe for human ears in part because the sound exposure doesn’t last long.

By comparison, the humming of a refrigerator is 45 decibels; normal conversation is approximately 60 decibels. Noise-induced hearing loss can result from short bursts of sound from firecrackers or small firearms emitting sounds of 120 to 150 decibels. But sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. Since bus and train noise is brief and noise level takes into consideration duration as well as intensity, stops and stations are well below what would be considered harmful to the human ear. And that, of course, is what’s important. 

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How do they do that? Repair the seats on the buses

How do they do that? is a series for The Source that explores the technology that helps keep Metro running and passengers and other commuters moving. Some of it applies directly to the trains, buses and freeways and some of it runs in the background — invisible to nearly everyone but essential to mobility in our region.

Photo by Kim Upton/Metro

Photo by Kim Upton/Metro

How much does Metro spend each year to repair and recover bus seats ruined by food, drink, gum and graffiti? In 2012, the cost was $865,000 in taxpayer dollars to replace stained, carved, graffitied or torn seat inserts. The covered inserts that fit into the back and bottom of Metro bus seats range in price from $10.44 to $23.46 each. In addition to the cost of the inserts, Metro bus divisions expended $1.5 million in labor, replacing both window guards and seat inserts.

The most common reason that a seat insert is changed? Graffiti.

Last year was not unusual. More than 55,000 seat inserts were replaced … or about one every nine minutes. Bus maintenance works constantly to keep up with seat damage so that the buses look good and we don’t have to sit on dirty or destroyed seats. It’s not easy to keep up.

Each bus has between 40 and 57 seats, depending on the size and the style. And with just over 2,200 buses in the Metro system, that’s 88,000 and 125,400 seats that are targets for graffiti.

It takes less than 10 minutes to replace a bus seat insert but 1 1/2 hours to replace an entire seat section. An insert, which looks something like a seat float (see photo above), can be unscrewed from their metal supports, pulled out and the new insert pretty quickly added and screwed back in. But a seat section installation — replacement of the entire seat — is more complicated, requiring assembly of the seat supports and inserts before the whole thing can be carefully fastened back into the bus. Replacement of the entire seat is only done as a result of severe damage. In 2012 there were 79 seat installations — the whole seat including metal supports for the 2-to-3-passenger covered seats — on Metro buses. The cost, not including labor, was an additional $220,000.

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