The National Association of Minority Contractors, Southern California Chapter honored one of Metro’s own last week with the 2013 Minority Business Advocate Award. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon Dr. Sherman Gay, Business Outreach Officer. Dr. Gay has contributed greatly to the growth and development of minority contractors and will continue working with them as Metro looks to begin more construction projects in the coming year.
Although Metro has programs to help parents and kids as they head back to school, many parents often still feel intimidated by the prospect of sending their kids off to class via transit.
With that in mind, Metro Deputy Executive Officer of Environmental Compliance Services and transit experienced dad Cris Liban offers his point of view on why kids and transit go hand in hand:
I contemplated for a little while on this article and have come to the conclusion that I needed to write it. It was a request from a colleague, Jody Litvak, whose kids grew up using transit. Jody’s three part post from a couple of years ago has a lot of great tips on getting students to school on transit.
Well, it is back-to-school time again, an appropriate time to reflect on what Metro can do for your children. I ride transit every day, and the significance of Jody’s request didn’t really dawn on me until I started looking around.
What seems to be innocuous to me has to be highlighted for others. I happen to live two blocks from a transit stop. My son JP attends a school that is only two transit stops away and transit has been one of my family’s choices to take him to school. We live in Los Angeles and it is almost always sunny and fun to walk, bike and use transit.
As the environmental guy for Metro and with all of these great things going for me, I cannot help but sound biased. But I’m not. I am not going to convince you to get your kids and yourself out of your car and switch to transit. I will, however, try to provide you with information that will encourage you to try this great system we are expanding.
As I wondered what my point of view would be able to offer, I thought hard about my experiences riding transit with my 12-year old son: the countless hours we spent – sometimes with my wife – going to different places around the city.
As previously reported, the Metro Board of Directors recently approved purchasing new light rail vehicles from Kinkisharyo International. Metro’s Creative Services group has since been hard at work creating distinctive styling and graphics for the new rail cars as well as the entire rail fleet.
“The forward looking design is intended to capture the vibrant spirit of Los Angeles,” said Jorge Pardo, Director of Art & Design for Creative Services. “We are seeking to transform Metro’s trains into gleaming, contemporary vehicles that express L.A. as a world class urban center. We’re creating a safer train and doing it with a sense of style that the world now expects of L.A.”
The the workhorse Nippon Sharyo P2020 car were the first in Metro’s fleet to receive the bold reflective yellow markings and white super-graphics overlaid onto painted cool grays of the vehicle chassis (these cars are used on the Blue and Expo Lines). A “mocked up” vehicle with the new trimmings will roll out next week and be under close performance assessment. Slight variations and tweaks may occur until the styling is perfected and agreed to by Metro department stakeholders — they want to make sure the cars work both aesthetically and can be maintained.
Incorporating enhanced safety was a critical objective of the design. Improvements include bright, large scale, reflective white and yellow decaling that make trains more highly visible – particularly at night – and therefore create safer conditions for customers approaching trains and at intersections.
“The increased reflectiveness of the train surfaces is impressive,” said Lee Hetherington, a 16-year veteran Metro Rail Body/Paint Leader in Fleet Services. “These trains are sure to stimulate new ridership. Other transit agencies across the nation will be envious of our bold, fresh looking trains.”
With its new styling, Metro trains will present a cohesive and more visible rolling billboard for the agency county-wide, encouraging discretionary riders and creating a safer and more attractive ride for our customers.
Designs are still being finalized. Stayed tuned for updates in the coming months.
See Fleet Graphics Concept presentation for background:
As seen in the latest edition of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s Weekly Web Flash: They were the first operators to board the new Expo Line for the testing runs. On opening day, Operator Carolyn Kelly was behind the controls in the cab of the inaugural train that broke through the banner at the Expo Park/USC Station. Operator Sheila Celestain was holding the banner, train right. A few days later, the top performers scored first and second at Metro’s Rail Rodeo, a local competition that showcases rail operating skills and also determines the team who will represent Metro at the International Rail Rodeo put on by the American Public Transportation Association. This weekend, the operator team, along with top-scoring maintenance technicians Charley Houck, Blue Line Fleet Services, and Jose Padilla and Alan Addie, both of Green Line Fleet Services, are in Dallas for the Internationals, taking on rail teams from across the nation and Canada. Go Metro!
A vigil was held Monday evening in West Hollywood for slain Metro bus operator Alan Thomas, who was shot and killed by a passenger on Sunday morning while driving the 105 line bus. Many dozens of Alan’s colleagues at Metro attended, as did several members of his family.
Alan, 51, enjoyed working different bus lines out of Metro’s Division 2 in downtown Los Angeles — Division 2 serves West Hollywood, West L.A., South L.A., Compton, Long Beach and other areas — and had worked for Metro for nearly five years. He was a graduate of Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, handily beat many of his colleagues at dominoes and in his spare time rebuilt cars — mostly recently restoring a 1972 Chevy.
He is survived by his wife Debbie and his four sons and one daughter, 10 grandchildren and his mother and stepfather.
Here is a nice segment on Alan and the vigil by KABC-TV reporter Leanne Suter:
And here is a report from Fox:
To celebrate Bike Week LA, we’re publishing a Why You Ride series with the winners of the 2012 Golden Pedal Awards. The Golden Pedal Awards are Metro’s annual competition for great stories about commuting via bicycle. Our first winner is Jung Lee, a Metro intern who is seriously dedicated to biking to work.
Name: Jung Lee
Start: Torrance, CA
End: Union Station
Distance: 18 miles, one way
Time: 45 minutes
Jung commutes from Torrance to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on his bicycle – an 18-mile ride. Clocking in at 45 minutes, his commute is as fast as it would be if he were driving during rush hour!
Jung was nominated by his colleague Joe Simpson, who writes:
“Jung is what I aspire to be someday. He arrives to work dripping wet and promptly cleans up for a very productive day. Because I’m a chicken, I ride the Santa Clarita bike paths on weekends, but Jung rides through traffic, over the hillside, on the river bikeways, and anywhere to get in to work. Sometimes he even does a workout ride before riding in. He doesn’t own a car and bikes EVERYWHERE. Very inspiring.”
- I myself have known some profoundly thoughtful dogs. – James Thurber, humorist and cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine and a great lover of dogs.
Here at Metro, that would be Shadow, the 10-year-old black Labrador who recently retired as a Guide Dog to Agustin Moreno, a systems analyst in service planning who’s been totally blind since the age of 16.
A constant and unerring companion, Shadow seemed always at Moreno’s side since taking up the post in 2004.
At first, Shadow’s job description was strictly within the scope for a Guide Dog.
Whether it was on the elevator, in the cafeteria, on trips to bus or rail divisions, taking transit home to Highland Park or napping in Moreno’s cubicle on the 7th floor of Metro’s HQ, Shadow’s presence was calming, giving all of us a reassuring pause that grace and ease will get us to where we’re going.
It didn’t take long before Shadow’s attention to detail and expert assistance to Moreno caught the attention of managers looking for an eager upstart who could handle whatever they threw at her.
Top performers who operate and maintain Metro’s bus fleet competed Saturday in the 36th annual Metro Bus Roadeo. The event was staged in the massive parking area of the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia.
San Gabriel Valley Division Bus Operator Mark Holland, and the downtown L.A. Division 10 mechanics team of David Klinkenborg, Angel Feria and Jose Moya, emerged as champions in the Operators and Mechanics categories. They’ll carry Metro’s flag at the APTA Internationals set for next May in Long Beach.
The annual local competition event showcases the professional skills of Metro bus operators who traverse the 1,433 square miles of L.A. County 24/7 along 183 bus routes and 15, 967 bus stops and the mechanics who maintain the fleet of more than 2,200 buses.
The competition puts operators through a precise 11-point obstacle course. In the mechanic’s competition, teams of three raced against the clock to diagnose and repair performance-related bus problems.
Thirty-four operators and 11 maintenance teams vied for championship trophies in this year’s event. The trophies are considered badges of honor at Metro.
Below is the good news from Metro’s government relations team. This may not be the most glamorous issue, but Metro CEO Art Leahy and others of his ilk have noted that many transit agencies will face a lack of expertise in the future if something isn’t done to reverse course.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Announces Workforce Development Grant for Our Agency – Grant is Second Largest in the Nation
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the award of $3 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s Innovative Workforce Development Program to support programs around the country that train, hire, develop and retain transit workers.
Our agency’s proposal (“Metro University: Developing the Next Generation of Transportation Professionals”) is among 12 programs selected for funding from a total of 35 applications that were received from across the nation. Our $480,000 grant request was fully funded and represents the only grant awarded in the State of California and the second largest nationwide (with a $500,000 grant ceiling). Continue reading
Metro bus mechanic Marilin Archie has won TV Land’s “She’s Got the Look” modeling reality show.
“I never thought I would make it this far,” she says in the show’s blog. The mother of two, whose career as a bus mechanic spans 20 years, said she gave modeling a shot early on and even made it all the way to Ford Models in New York. ”I took a lot of chances and made big sacrifices at a very young age to achieve my goal of becoming a model,” she said. “I never stopped trying.”
The TV Land press release is below and here’s a previous post on Marilin:
38-year-old Bus Mechanic and Mother of Two To Receive Contract with Wilhelmina Models, Inc., and Photo Spread in SELF Magazine
Los Angeles, CA September 30, 2010 – Marilin Archie was named the winner of season three of TV Land’s 35 and older modeling competition “She’s Got the Look.” Host Brooke Burke announced Marilin as the winner of the competition after she impressed the judges with her stand-out performance in the final runway challenge where she faced off against fellow finalists Julie Love-Templeton of Tuscaloosa, AL and Rachelle Love of Memphis, TN.
In last night’s season finale, the three finalists strutted their stuff on the catwalk at a fashion show in an airport hanger complete with a jetliner and moving runway. Continue reading