Metro operator places first in Southern California Regional Bus Roadeo

The Southern California Regional Bus Roadeo was held last Saturday, April 13 at OCTA in Santa Ana. Metro bus operator Mark Holland came in first place in the Overall Bus Operator competition, beating out operators from eleven other transit agencies. Metro’s maintenance team came in third out of the four maintenance properties that competed.

The next competition is the APTA International Bus Roadeo in Indianapolis, Indiana, which will take place the first week of May. Metro won the Grand Championship in 2007 and 2009 and hopes to bring the title back again this year.

Inglewood Through the Eyes of Wakana Kimura

Detail of artwork design by Wakana Kimura. The work is part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series, which commissions local artists to create original artworks that express the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore new destinations.

Detail of artwork design by Wakana Kimura. The work is part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series, which commissions local artists to create original artworks that express the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore new destinations.

Four artists have designed new posters for the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists series highlighting Metro accessible destinations. One of the artists, Wakana Kimura, discusses her original artwork celebrating Inglewood and what she hopes to share with transit riders who see the poster on Metro buses and trains in the coming months.

Inglewood poster spotted on a Red Line train, part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series.

Inglewood poster spotted on a Red Line train, part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series.

Now in its tenth year, the Through the Eyes of Artists poster series commissions local artists to create original artworks that express the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore destinations served by the agency.

The four new posters will bring the series to a total of 29 neighborhoods featured. Explore Through the Eyes of Artists posters.

Wakana Kimura in her Inglewood studio.

Wakana Kimura in her Inglewood studio.

What is your connection with Inglewood and how did you choose this imagery to represent the city?  

I had my studio in Inglewood while I was a student at the nearby Otis College of Art and Design. For this project I wanted to translate the environment of Inglewood, the experience of the place. I felt a circular energy there and wanted to capture that.

You were inspired by the circle form as you approached your poster design. Can you elaborate on that?

Circles and dots permeate my work. After I was awarded the poster project I began my research and drove around the area.

One day last year I was visiting the Hollywood Park race track and parked so I could make some notes. I had just stopped by Randy’s Donuts—next door to my former studio—and was sitting in my car, donut in hand, when there was a solar eclipse! Earlier, from my vantage point underneath the LAX Airport flight path, it appeared that planes were flying through the big donut (Randy’s). The cycle of planes taking off and landing was itself a form of circle.

So the circle became a dominant motif in my design for the poster. Also, LAX was my entry point into LA so I wanted to include that imagery. When I see planes landing I wonder where they’re coming from. Maybe from Japan.

I wrote a poem about Inglewood as I was developing the concept and imagery for the poster:

Inglewood:  a myriad of activities. I see an excitement in the city. When I ordered a donut, it became my megaphone, amplifying variations of sound that reflected the oval racetrack, the flight path of the airplane above and transcended to the eclipse and then bounced back to me, my shadow and the oval shadow of the donut in my hand.

Tell me about your artistic practice more generally (materials, themes, ideas).

In my artwork my tools are ink, brush, pen, sharpie, my fingers, the edge of a piece of paper. I studied oil painting on canvas in Japan but now I prefer working on paper. With paper I have to take responsibility for every mark I make. Paper is less forgiving than other surfaces. But I view all marks as adding to the harmony of an artwork.

I desperately try to create beautiful objects. I try to draw something beautiful again and again every moment, but my sense of beauty is always changing. I try to craw something beautiful; however, I realize that it is impossible to make something permanently attractive. Every day I draw till I feel satisfied, but it looks totally different the day after. I learned my feelings and sense of value were not concrete and I myself cannot trust my own sense of beauty. I critique my sense of beauty in the moment. Thus, my pursuit of beauty and in the moment started, and this pursuit will keep me creating forever.

How do you feel about having your work seen in the public realm of transit?

I’ve never had a painting move around. I wanted to translate the energy of Inglewood onto paper and now the poster is literally moving around! It was important to include literal and abstract elements, and for the imagery to remain accessible to anyone looking at it. I see myself as an interpreter through color. Language isn’t stable anyway. Painting can express more than my words.

Metro staff provides preview of coming year’s budget

Metro officials gave a brief preview of the agency’s budget that will soon be released for fiscal year 2013-14 to the Board of Director’s Planning Committee on Wednesday afternoon. A few highlights that may interest Source readers:

•The budget is balanced without a fare increase.

•The budget proposes an increase in Orange Line service to relieve mid-day crowding.

•The budget proposes additional late night service for the Expo and Gold lines.

•The budget proposes improved headways for weekend service on all Metro Rail lines. CEO Art Leahy said that some shorter trains will be used; the idea is to make service more frequent and convenient to grow ridership. Longer trains then could be used as the new rail cars that Metro ordered last year are delivered.

•The budget proposes $20 million to address Blue Line safety issues.

•The budget proposes $261 million for deferred maintenance of Metro buses, trains and facilities. The budget also includes a new policy to ensure that maintenance is not deferred in the future.

•The budget proposes systemwide camera/video enhancements for improved security on the Metro system.

•Staff said that the proposed overall budget will be $4.9 billion for 2013-14.

•The Metro Board of Directors is scheduled to consider and vote on the budget in late May. There will be a public hearing on May 15. We’ll have more details on The Source after the draft budget is publicly released.


March ridership numbers; Expo Line continues to climb and numbers remain strong for Metro Rail

March ridership graphs

Ridership estimates for Metro buses and rail lines in March have been released; the above charts show the current trends. The takeaway in one sentence: ridership for the Expo Line continues to climb, ridership across the rail system remains strong and bus numbers continue to be flat.

If you would like to see charts with stats recorded in March of the past three years for the rail lines and bus system, please click here.

Metro Rail saw 359,855 average weekday boardings in March 2013 compared to 294,801 in March 2011 — a significant increase. The record for average weekday ridership was 362,091, set in November of last year 362,904 set in June of last year.

Pico Rivera through the eyes of Ramon Ramirez

Artwork design by Ramon Ramirez. The work is part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series, which commissions local artists to create original artworks that express the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore new destinations.

Artwork design by Ramon Ramirez. The work is part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series, which commissions local artists to create original artworks that express the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore new destinations.

Four artists have designed new posters for the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists series highlighting Metro accessible destinations. In the conversation below, one of the artists, Ramon Ramirez, discusses his original artwork celebrating Pico Rivera and what he hopes to share with transit riders who see the poster on Metro buses and trains in the coming months.

Pico Rivera poster spotted on a Red Line train, part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series.

Pico Rivera poster spotted on a Red Line train, part of the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists poster series.

Now in its tenth year, the Through the Eyes of Artists poster series commissions local artists to create original artworks that express the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore destinations served by the agency.

The four new posters will bring the series to a total of 29 neighborhoods featured. Explore Through the Eyes of Artists posters.

Ramon Ramirez in his Pico Rivera studio. His poster design is visible pinned to the wall behind him.

Ramon Ramirez in his Pico Rivera studio. His poster design is visible pinned to the wall behind him.

You live and work in the Pico Rivera area—how did you choose this imagery to represent the city?  

I grew up in East L.A., and after attending college in the Bay Area, where I studied art and architecture, I moved to Pico Rivera. I paint from memory based on what I see. For my poster on Pico Rivera I wanted to focus on Whittier Boulevard because it bridges the city of Whittier, East L.A. and downtown. The downtown skyline was always present in the visual landscape of my childhood. As a kid I spent a lot of time on Whittier, going to movies and other shops with my family. The poster pictures a commercial stretch that evokes the boulevard, but could also be a similar street in another L.A. neighborhood. I want the viewer to experience that kind of familiarity.

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New substations being installed on the Blue Line

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The pictures show Metro’s traction power crew pulling new high-voltage cables and installing new substations for the Metro Blue Line. This is an ARRA-funded project to replace all 20 Blue Line traction power substations, which power the trains through overhead wires with modern, energy efficient substations.

So far, Metro has replaced 16 substations. The pictures are from the 17th substation at Pacific Coast Highway substation in Long Beach, meaning the project is now approximately 85% complete. Metro has perfected the site work so that the removal and replacement of each substation does not create any major disruptions to Blue Line service.

Metro in Overdrive: Transportation Library & Archive resources featured in new Getty exhibit

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The Metro Transportation Library & Archive is participating in a landmark joint exhibit of the Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute.

Overdrive: L.A. Constructs The Future, 1940-1990, which runs from April 9 through July 21, 2013, is part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture In L.A.

The exhibit is the first major exhibition to survey Los Angeles’ complex urban landscape and diverse architectural innovations. Drawings, photographs, models, films, animations, oral histories and ephemera illustrate the complex dimensions of L.A.’s rich and often underappreciated built environment.

Library & Archive staff has been working with the Getty for the past year in preparation for this exhibit. Several historic items from the Archive have been lent to the Getty for display, along with additional items for the exhibit catalog publication as well as film footage that runs in the Overdrive exhibit.

The exhibit moves on to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. later this year.

More information on the exhibit and Metro’s contributions to it can be found on the Research Library’s Primary Resources Blog.

New artist opportunities at El Monte Station

View of artwork location at transit bay concourse wall. Each panel measures approximately 8’ x 8’ (there are four identical bays with four identically sized panels).

View of artwork location at El Monte Station transit bay concourse wall. Each panel measures approximately 8’ x 8’ (there are four identical bays with four identically sized panels).

Metro is seeking four artists for El Monte Station. 

The two-level El Monte Station opened in 2012, and is located at the corner of Santa Anita Avenue and Ramona Boulevard in El Monte, 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The station provides transit service on numerous lines for Metro, Foothill Transit, LAX FlyAway airport shuttle and Greyhound and serves over 18,000 customers a day. A bus rapid transit service, the Silver Line connects all Metro Rail lines.

Artwork opportunities have been identified for the concourse level walls at each of the station’s four transit bays.

For complete details and information regarding submittal requirements, download the Call to Artists and ARRA Requirements.

Deadline:  Monday, May 6, 2013

Pics of damage to Expo Line last night

Photos by Metro.

The pole was completely lifted from its support by the collision. Photos by Metro.

Crash3

Crew is suspending the power support pole in order to pull the car out from under the pole and tow it away.

Crash2

Lots happening here. The elevated crew is using a wire straightener to work out kinks in the overheard wire caused by tension from the impact. Crews directly underneath them are disassembling power support pole from support arms as the pole must be scrapped although the support arms were undamaged. And the crew further down are working to replace train control signal heads which were sheared off by the SUV.

The Expo Line is running a normal Friday schedule today with minor delays around 23rd Street due to an accident Thursday evening in which a wrong-way driver on Flower Street struck and knocked over one of the poles that helps support the overhead wires that supplies power to trains. The pole still must be replaced.

The above photos were taken last night and show the extent of the damage. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for suspicion of driving under a controlled substance, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

Eight artists selected to create art for Expo Line Phase 2 stations

Olympic/26th Street Station artwork concept proposal by Constance Mallinson.

Olympic/26th Street Station artwork concept proposal by Constance Mallinson.

The Expo Line Construction Authority Board this afternoon authorized the CEO to issue art program contracts with eight highly-qualified and well-regarded artists, selected by panels of arts professionals and community members.

Selected artists include: Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhaes, Constance Mallinson, Carmen Argote, Judithe Hernandez and Walter Hood. The artists were selected from a pool of over 400 submittals. Artworks will be included at each of the new rail stations currently under construction. More to follow as the artwork designs progress.

Interested in art opportunities with Metro? Visit metro.net/art and click on “Artist Opportunities” to download the latest Call to Artists for projects at El Monte Station.