The Metro Transportation Library & Archive’s collection on Flickr now contains more than 7,500 historic images and continues to grow.
Numerous photographs from the Pacific Electric (“Red Car”) and Los Angeles Railway(“Yellow Car”) systems shed light on our transit history and what was once the largest streetcar system in the world.
This week, the Library & Archive takes a closer look at a 1940s-era Los Angeles Railway booklet containing not just historic photographs, but construction specs for nineteen different types of streetcars that rode the rails in central Los Angeles seventy years ago.
The entire story unfolds over at the Primary Resources blog, including links to the entire set of newly discovered photos and specifications.
Expanding on last week’s story on why there is no Red Line station at the Hollywood Bowl, the Metro Library continues its look at transit access to one of Los Angeles’ premier entertainment venues.
After plans proved a subway stop to be too challenging in terms of engineering, financing and ridership projections, the focus shifted to linking the Bowl to the Hollywood Highland Station via a connector.
Take a look at the six different alternatives considered for underground and elevated moving walkways and people movers over at the Library’s Primary Resources blog.
This week, the Metro Transportation Library and Archive takes us back 130 years to when cable cars were the mode of choice in our (then) very small town.
The cable car era lasted only about a decade, but the first transit system after horse-drawn cars is not well-known and the images from the Library’s collection are captivating.
You can read and see the story of Los Angeles’ forgotten cable cars on the Library’s Primary Resources blog.
Metro’s Transportation Library & Archive has announced that it is a Global Launch Partner for Historypin.
Historypin is an exciting new tool that brings together people, their communities and their shared history through mapping photographs alongside the stories behind them and an interactive timeline.
This project has partnered with Google to use their extensive mapping tools and street view imagery to begin building a compelling interactive experience.
Readers who follow the Library’s activities may know that its 7,500+ online Flickr photo collection is enormously popular — it has been accessed more than 1.3 million times in less than three years online.
Now, Metro’s vast visual resources can be viewed in geographic and chronological context alongside images from other collections to tell the story of Los Angeles — in which transportation history plays a major role.
The full story is on the Library’s Primary Resources blog.
Los Angeles’ transit history often reveals something brand new: a map we never knew existed, an angle to a story that helps us connect the dots, or new information from the past that informs planning our future.
A closer look at competing transportation studies in 1948 turned up this hidden gem worthy of a double-take: the feeder routes for proposed rail lines running down freeway medians were referred to as “bus rapid transit.”
While the first bus rapid transit system was launched in Curitiba, Brazil in the early 1970s, plans for a local BRT were actually laid out a quarter century earlier…and more than 50 years before we launched Metro Rapid or the Orange Line.
The 1948 Rail Rapid Transit Now! campaign’s plan for building a comprehensive rail system in conjunction with freeway construction never materialized, but it set in motion other events in Los Angeles mobility for decades to come.
The full story can be found on the Primary Resources Blog produced by the Metro Transportation Library and Archive.
RTD’s“Street Fleet” motorcoaches that carried beach-goers to Santa Monica in 1974 were painted to look like submarines.
June got off to a splashy start in 1974 when Metro’s predecessor agency Southern California Rapid Transit District launched its “Street Fleet” bus service to carry people to the Santa Monica beaches.
Summer beach riders were reminded that they were allowed to bring their surfboards directly onto the buses, writes Metro’s digital resources librarian Kenn Bicknell in the Primary Resources blog.
Even more revolutionary, a 1976 ballot initiative included bicycle and surfboard storage on board a limited number of rail cars of a proposed rapid transit system that would serve 43 cities in Los Angeles County.
California Governor Pat Brown praises the work of the MTA Board at a civic luncheon in 1961, where, from left, Gov. Brown, U.S. Senator Clair Engle (D-CA) and MTA Chairman A.J. Eyraud proudly show off L.A.'s imminent state-of-the-art rapid transit rail car for the proposed rapid transit system to Century City. Photo originally published in November 1961 edition of The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) employee newsletter Emblem.
50 Years Ago This Week: Planning The El Monte – Century City Backbone Route (Complete With Nuclear Fallout Shelters, Large-Capacity Helicopters And A Beverly Hills Subway)
The title says it all but Metro’s digital resources librarian Kenn Bicknell spells out exactly what happened 50 years ago this week in the library’s Primary Resource blog. That is when Metro’s predecessor agency, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, unveiled its plans for the Backbone Route, the 22.7-mile-long first leg of a rapid transit system that was to run from El Monte in the east to the yet-to-be-built Century City in the west.
And here we are in 2011 and the Westside Subway Extension is now being planned to connect downtown L.A. with…Century City.
Except for the fallout shelters, a diverse array of transit service can be found today along the actual routes proposed 50 years ago, says Bicknell. Check it out at the Metro Library’s Primary Resources blog.
A woman inspects a model of helicopter with passenger-carrying pod in photo published April 4, 1965, in the Los Angeles Times. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library.
Get your read on for “Future Stations of the Past,” the latest in intriguing news from the past in the Metro Library’s “Primary Resources” blog.
The series is illustrated with renderings of future Metro Rail stations that were envisioned but never built.
Take the Wilshire / La Brea station, for example, still on paper in 1987 when planners were mapping out a vertical alternative for an option to build transit overhead. (First in the series)
But the aerial structure couldn’t hold the future any better than the flying buses (or passenger helicopters) proposed in 1968 to whisk passengers to LAX from a proposed downtown Metroport. (Second in the series)
Check it out in Primary Resources at the Metro Library online.