Metro hosts meeting with mayors

JS_130508_0683One of the seldom seen aspects of Metro’s work is how closely the agency works with all of the cities in Los Angeles County. The coordination covers a broad range of activities such as local permits for work on major transit and highway projects, project planning, providing funding to cities for local street and other transportation improvements, operating Metro buses on city streets and helping secure funding for city-run bus agencies in the county.
As a part of this partnership, Metro CEO Art Leahy hosted a luncheon last week at Metro for Mayors throughout Los Angeles County.

Thirty-two cities from every area of the County were represented at the lunch and were given an overview of Metro’s many activities. Leahy responded to numerous questions and comments from the group. One question was about the inconvenience of the monthly fee for transponders for infrequent users of the new Express Lanes; Leahy explained that the Metro Board had recently voted to suspend the monthly fee on a trial basis. Other attendees asked questions or made comments about Metro’s major projects, bicycle planning, master planning efforts for Union Station, highway maintenance and other issues. As a part of open give and take, the participants expressed an interest in repeating the event on a quarterly basis.


Metro’s April ridership numbers are now available

Here are the latest ridership numbers for the Metro bus and rail system. Nothing jumps out at me as big news — it looks like most numbers in recent months are holding steady. In terms of overall ridership, Metro had nearly 40.5 million boardings in April 2013 compared to 37.9 million in April 2012.

On the rail side, there were about one million more boardings in April 2013 over April 2012. The bus side was up more than 1.5 million boardings over April 2012. April was also the first month that the Expo Line didn’t have more riders than the previous month, although that was bound to happen at some point.

Here are some nice graphs showing ridership on each line. The April ridership numbers are below and continue after the jump.

Bus Ridership Estimates

Bus – Directly Operated

April 2013 April 2012 April 2011
Average Weekday Boardings 1,121,390 1,081,484 1,112,424
Average Saturday Boardings 745,684 737,868 754,637
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 546,304 539,510 539,704
Total Calendar Month Boardings 29,838,532 28,360,186 29,292,905

Directly operated bus ridership includes Orange and Silver Line ridership.

Bus – Contract

April 2013 April 2012 April 2011
Average Weekday Boardings 46,832 44,356 45,419
Average Saturday Boardings 27,529 26,751 25,867
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 20,059 18,505 18,170
Total Calendar Month Boardings 1,220,649 1,130,997 1,155,820

Bus – Systemwide

April 2013 April 2012 April 2011
Average Weekday Boardings 1,168,222 1,125,840 1,158,904
Average Saturday Boardings 773,213 764,619 780,504
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 566,363 558,015 557,874
Total Calendar Month Boardings 31,059,181 29,491,183 30,471,007

Directly operated bus ridership includes Orange and Silver Line ridership.

Orange Line

April 2013 April 2012 April 2011
Average Weekday Boardings 30,231 25,055 24,074
Average Saturday Boardings 18,266 15,355 14,727
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 13,844 11,713 10,868
Total Calendar Month Boardings 793,522 646,140 622,661

Silver Line

April 2013 April 2012 April 2011
Average Weekday Boardings 12,873 11,241 9,086
Average Saturday Boardings 5,367 4,099 2,900
Average Sunday and Holiday Boardings 3,484 2,642 2,041
Total Calendar Month Boardings 318,610 265,667 213,470 

RAIL NUMBERS AND SYSTEMWIDE STATS ARE AFTER THE JUMP!

Continue reading

Metro takes second place overall at 2013 International Bus Roadeo

Metro placed second overall at the 2013 APTA International Bus Roadeo. Photo via APTA.

The APTA International Bus Roadeo took place this past weekend from May 3 – 7 in Indianapolis, and Metro fell just shy of bringing back the Grand Champion Award and took second place overall achievement honors.

The Grand Champion Award this year was won by Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and Orange County Transportation Authority placed third. Competitors in this year’s Bus Roadeo represented twenty eight states and three Canadian provinces.

Support pole installation on Expo Line completed

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Photos by Metro

This past Saturday, a portion of the Expo Line was shut down so crews could replace the support pole damaged by a wrong-way driver last month. Before the pole was replaced, trains had to stay under a 5 mph speed restriction between the Expo/Blue Line junction and 23rd Street Station. Trains may now go back to operating at normal speeds.

A bus bridge was in place to help Expo riders get from 23rd Street to DTLA, and post-game bus shuttle service ran from 9-11 p.m. between Pico and 23rd Street to accommodate those who were at Staples Center for the Blues/Kings game.

If you went to the game on Saturday, did you use the post-game shuttle? And if so, how did you find it?

May Service Council meeting previews

May Day, May 1, marks the first day of the next round of monthly Service Council meetings, with the San Fernando Valley Council once again starting things off. A wide range of topics will be covered at the various meetings. Please note that some of the presentations are tentative at the time of this posting.

For more information about each Service Council, click on the name of the Council listed after the jump to view their web page. All Service Council meetings include a report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer providing previous month’s statistics on ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service.

Meeting topics for Service Council meetings in May include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 pm, Wednesday, 5/1) Presentation on Valley Village Run Across the Valley; report on the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments’ Transportation Priorities Motion by Directors Antonovich, Yaroslavsky and Najarian; update on the Orange Line.

Westside/Central (5 pm, Wednesday, 5/8) – Presentation on Exposition Corridor Transit Neighborhood Plan; update on Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit.

Gateway Cities (2 pm, Thursday, 5/9) – Update on the Artesia Station Construction (repaving) Project; report on Director DuBois Motion for Fare Restructuring.

South Bay (9:30 am, Friday, 5/10) – Update on the ExpressLanes Program (carried over from previous month); Update on Redondo Beach Green Line Station Refurbishment; Discussion on upcoming Customer Survey; Recap of the quarterly Service Council Meet and Confer meeting.

San Gabriel Valley (5 pm, Monday, 5/13) – Report on Metro’s Bus Rapid Transit and Street Design Improvement Study, discussion on potential Line 485 regional meeting date and location; report on Director DuBois Motion for Fare Restructuring.

For a detailed listing of all Council meeting dates, times and locations, click here.

As always, the public is encouraged to attend and share their comments with the Service Councils on improving bus service throughout LA County. If you would like to provide input to a Council but cannot attend a meeting, you can submit your comments in writing through the Service Council web page or send them to servicecouncils@metro.net. If your comments are for a specific Council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing in your e-mail.


Metro Art rendezvous: May art tours

Artwork by Sheila Klein at Hollywood/Highland Station. Titled Underground Girl, the artwork frames the station interior as an undulating, organic and sensual space. Metro Art Tours begin at this station on the first Thursday and first Saturday of each month.

Artwork by Sheila Klein at Hollywood/Highland Station. Titled Underground Girl, the artwork frames the station interior as an undulating, organic and sensual space. Metro Art Tours begin at this station on the first Thursday and first Saturday of each month.

Did you know that Metro has worked with more than 300 artists to enhance nearly 100 stations in the Metro system? For those adventurous types out there, Metro offers walking tours that provide insights into the artworks, the artists who created them and the processes of making them. Explore the Metro system and learn a bit about Los Angeles County’s most far reaching art gallery.

Upcoming tours:

Thursday, May 2 at 7 p.m. Meet at the street level entrance to the Hollywood/Highland Metro Rail Station on Hollywood Bl near the corner with Highland Ave.

Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m. Meet at the street level entrance to the Hollywood/Highland Metro Rail Station on Hollywood Bl near the corner with Highland Ave.

Sunday, May 5 at 10 a.m. Meet at the information booth inside the entrance to historic Union Station at 900 Alameda St in Downtown Los Angeles. 

For directions and details about Metro Art Tours, visit metro.net/art and click on Art Tours.

While docent programs are commonly found at museums around the world, Metro is the first transit agency to benefit from such a program.

Free tours are offered the first Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of every month and focus on the artwork along the Red Line (special request tours of other lines, including the Expo Line, can be arranged by calling 213.922.2738). The tours are round trip and last approximately two hours. Tours are led by trained Metro Art Docent Council volunteers. No reservations are required! Look for safety vest-wearing docents at the meetup spot.

‘Dreaming’ in full color

Detail of City of Dreams/River of History before maintenance work. The 80 foot long mural by Richard Wyatt is located in Union Station’s East Portal.

Detail of City of Dreams/River of History before maintenance work. The 80 foot long mural by Richard Wyatt is located in Union Station’s East Portal.

View of City of Dreams/River of History following maintenance work. The mural surface, painted aluminum honeycomb panels, was thoroughly dusted and pigeon—ahem!—deposits were removed.

View of City of Dreams/River of History following maintenance work. The mural surface, painted aluminum honeycomb panels, was thoroughly dusted and pigeon—ahem!—deposits were removed.

Following an intricate maintenance effort last week, the artwork City of Dreams/River of History, a mural by Los Angeles based artist Richard Wyatt, has returned to its original luster.

City of Dreams is part of an art grouping in Union Station’s East Portal that was installed in 1996. To keep it looking bright and new, specialized Metro Art staff perched high above the mural (with proper safety equipment, of course) used compressed air and 30-foot-long poles outfitted with soft lambs wool to delicately dust the surface.

Commuters and visitors to Union Station will continue to be greeted by these ten outstanding — now refreshed — faces, representing Native Americans and settlers of the LA basin, as well as contemporary Angelenos.

Metro Art staff oversaw a major cleaning and varnishing effort by art conservators in 2004.

To learn more about the other artworks accompanying City of Dreams, including a 7,500-gallon aquarium, river bench and artifact mound containing artifacts excavated from the original Chinatown, go here.

View more images of the mural below:

Mural with sun filtering through the glass dome. Pigeon culprits survey the scene.

Mural with sun filtering through the glass dome. Pigeon culprits survey the scene.

Specialized Metro Art staff work from above the mural in the wee hours, to contain dust particles, and not hinder the flow of transit patrons below.

Specialized Metro Art staff work from above the mural in the wee hours, to contain dust particles, and not hinder the flow of transit patrons below.

Specialized Metro Art staff in action

Specialized Metro Art staff in action

The refreshed mural, one day following maintenance.

The refreshed mural, one day following maintenance.

See Metro Art as you CicLAvia to the Sea

Glass mosaic artwork, designed by artist Tom LaDuke, at Culver City Station.

One of eight glass mosaic art panels, featuring artwork by Tom LaDuke on the station platform at Culver City Station.

This Sunday, when you’re walking, cycling, skating or otherwise playing your way through the streets at CicLAvia, be sure to check out bounties of art along the way! The 15-mile CicLAvia route – the longest yet – connects with six Metro Rail stations, each featuring artwork created specifically for the site. (See map with Metro stations here. Explore Metro Art here.)

Five of the six stations are in downtown Los Angeles and the sixth is in Culver City, the current Expo Line terminus, which features some of the newest artwork in the Metro system.

So here’s an idea: Take Metro to CicLAvia (Expo, Red, Purple, Blue or Gold Lines)  and explore L.A.’s unique artistic landscape along the way. Here’s a peek at the art in stations touching the CicLAvia route — from downtown L.A. to Venice Beach.

Union Station

Mural by Richard Wyatt at Union Station's East Portal.

Eighty foot long mural by Richard Wyatt at Union Station. The mural is part of a grouping of artworks in the East Portal, which also includes an aquarium and river bench.

Civic Center Station

Artwork by Faith Ringgold at Civic Center Station

One of 52 smalti (glass) mosaic artworks by Faith Ringgold.  The mosaics are located across four mezzanine walls at Civic Center Station.

Pershing Square Station

Neon artwork by Stephen Antonakos at Pershing Square Station

One of 12 neon sculptures by Stephen Antonakos at Pershing Square Station.

7th Street/Metro Center Station

Tile artwork by Joyce Kozloff at 7th St/Metro Center Station

Detail, one of two ceramic tile murals by Joyce Kozloff. The artworks are located on the mezzanine level at 7th St/Metro Center Station.

Westlake/MacArthur Park Station

Detail of artwork by Sonia Romero at Westlake/MacArthur Station

One of 13 ceramic mosaic tile artworks by Sonia Romero. The mosaics are located on two facing mezzanine walls at Westlake/MacArthur Park Station.

Culver City Station

Two of 8 glass mosaic art panels by Tom LaDuke at Culver City Station.

Two of eight glass mosaic artworks by Tom LaDuke at Culver City Station.

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.