Metro Art Rendezvous: April art tours

A Metro Art tour guide discusses the artwork at North Hollywood Station. The ceramic mural by Anne Marie Karlsen, called Kaleidoscope Dreams, depicts the dreams and aspirations of generations of San Fernando Valley immigrants and celebrates the Valley’s spirit and history.

A Metro Art tour guide discusses the artwork at North Hollywood Station. The ceramic mural by Anne Marie Karlsen, called Kaleidoscope Dreams, depicts the dreams and aspirations of generations of San Fernando Valley immigrants and celebrates the Valley’s spirit and history.

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, April 4 at 7 p.m. Meet at the street level entrance to the Hollywood/Highland Metro Rail Station on Hollywood Boulevard near the corner with Highland Ave.
Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m. Meet at the street level entrance to the Hollywood/Highland Metro Rail Station on Hollywood Boulevard near the corner with Highland Ave.
Sunday, April 7 at 10 a.m. Meet at the information booth inside the entrance to historic Union Station at 900 Alameda Street in Downtown Los Angeles. 

For parking information and more details about 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.

Metro Art Rendezvous: March art tours

Artist Ronald J. Llanos talking about his artwork on a tour of Expo Line. Courtesy de LaB.

Artist Ronald J. Llanos talking about his artwork on a tour of the Expo Line. Courtesy de LaB.

Did you know that Metro has worked with over 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, March 7 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, March 9 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, March 10 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 parking information and more details about 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.

Metro Library debuts new interactive timeline and family tree for L.A. transit history

 Metro Library PeoplePlotr

The Metro Transportation Library & Archive have been hard at work producing two new tools that explain Los Angeles transit history dating back to 1874.

This week, the Library unveils an interactive timeline allowing users to better understand the 140-year evolution of local transit from numerous private street railroads into publicly-governed agencies.

Earlier this month, the timeline was chosen from the 100,000 TikiToki timelines developed so far to be the inaugural “featured timeline” on the TikiToki Blog.

A complementary tool serves as a “family tree” organization chart, explaining the complex history and relationships of Metro’s predecessor agencies.

The images above and below are linked to these new resources.  More information on how to use these tools can be found at the Library’s Primary Resources blog.

Metro Library TikiToki

Photos of track work underway this weekend at junction of Blue and Expo lines

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Photos by Stephen Tu/Metro.

Photos by Stephen Tu/Metro.

The photos above, taken early Saturday afternoon, show the replaced diamond frog at the junction of the Blue Line and Expo Line tracks at Washington and Flower in downtown L.A. Metro officials said Saturday that work is proceeding according to schedule.

The work is the reason that the Blue Line is not running this weekend between 7th/Metro Center and the Grand station and the Expo Line is not running between 7th/Metro Center and the 23rd Street station. Bus shuttles are replacing trains on both lines.

For more about the work being performed, here’s a Source post from Friday. The service alert for the Blue and Expo lines is after the jump.

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Metro’s first 20 years: an interactive timeline (part one: the projects)

It’s a week of anniversaries at Metro: The Metro Red Line began operating 20 years ago this week just a few days before Day One of Metro on Feb. 1, 1993. The above timeline is the first of two that we’ll post on The Source; you can scroll right and left on the one above or see a larger version here.

The next timeline, which I’ll post next week, will focus on key policy decisions and other milestones for the agency.

Of course, Metro did not begin as “Metro.” In 1993, Metro was known only by its formal name, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The new agency was a merger of two other agencies with clunky names: Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (CTC) and the Southern California Rapid Transit District (RTD). The idea behind the merger was to cut the inherent red tape that came with two government agencies trying to operate and/or plan transit and transportation in one county.

The irony is that there had already been a Los Angeles MTA, a city agency which in 1964 was merged into the RTD. The big idea then was that the region needed a regional transportation agency, an idea that didn’t last very long as separate agencies were subsequently created for Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino counties and last, but not least, Los Angeles County.

A big thanks to the Dorothy Peyton Gray Metro Transportation Library & Archive for doing the research that made assembling this timeline very easy; here also is their page on the history of transportation agencies in Los Angeles County. If you click on the ‘more’ button in most of the timeline bubbles, I’ve included photos, videos or links to media stories about some of the events. If there’s anything you would like me to add, please leave a factoid or link in a comment; photos must be in the public domain.


Red Line 20th anniversary video, part two: Is this what city planners had in mind?

I love the question posed in the opening of this 1989 video, suggesting that city planners could not have possibly been thinking of what Los Angeles had become: TrafficVille.

My two cents: I think this video gives city planners too much credit. I’m not sure they were thinking of anything except, perhaps, how to cram a few more strip malls into L.A. Zing!

When watching the video, also take a few moments to enjoy the music. Memo to our younger readers: there actually was some very good music created in the 1980s. This just isn’t it. This is.

If you missed it earlier, here’s Dave Sotero’s excellent analysis of the Red Line’s 20th anniversary and what the subway has done for Los Angeles — and what it will likely do in the years and decades ahead. Also, here’s another pair of videos documenting opening day on Jan. 29, 1993.

20 years ago today: videos of the Red Line’s opening on Jan. 29, 1993

Here are a pair of videos on the opening of the first segment of the Red Line on Jan. 29, 1993 — so 20th century! Thanks to the Metro Transit Library & Archive on digging these up and for all the helpful information on the 20th anniversary of the Metro Red Line.

Please see Dave Sotero’s post earlier today on the big anniversary. There are a lot of interesting factoids about the original project along with a great photo gallery and more video.

First phase of Metro Red Line celebrates 20-year anniversary

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“This day is here…”

On January 29, 1993, former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley stood among a swarm of public officials and transit agency staffers on the cramped Pershing Square subway platform. Standing shoulders above everyone else, including then-California Gov. Pete Wilson, Bradley proudly inaugurated the opening of the first modern subway in Los Angeles.

“Twenty years is a long time. That’s how long we have been pushing on this dream, this vision of what we should do in Los Angeles County,” Bradley said, referring to the subway’s quixotic path to reality in ‘93. “I made a promise when I ran for mayor in 1973 that in 18 months, we’d deliver by breaking ground for rapid transit. Well, I missed by only a few months…”

Today, Metro marks the 20th anniversary of the Metro Red Line’s first phase from Union Station to MacArthur Park, a nearly 4.5-mile construction milestone that began a brand new chapter in regional rail construction and placing L.A. among other major cities across the globe with high-speed, high-capacity subways.

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New sculpture is installed at Artesia Transit Center*

Detail of Paraje—Spanish for a resting place between two destinations—a 10ft h x 10ft w cast stainless steel sculpture containing imagery inspired by the nearby Gardena Willows Wetlands. Preserve.

Detail of Paraje—Spanish for a resting place between two destinations—a 10ft h x 10ft w cast stainless steel sculpture containing imagery inspired by the nearby Gardena Willows Wetlands. Preserve.

A new sculpture by Alison Saar is now installed at Artesia Transit Center (currently in transition to being renamed Harbor Gateway Transit Center). Entitled Paraje — Spanish for a resting place between two destinations — the cast stainless steel sculpture contains imagery inspired by the nearby Gardena Willows Wetlands Preserve.

Saar’s sculpture was commissioned by Metro’s art program as part of a broad series of Metro improvements to the station’s physical environment. Other improvements include enhanced station lighting, upgraded wayfinding signage and new CCTVs and digital message signs.

Scroll below for photos documenting the installation of the sculpture. Click here for a previous Source post about the artwork.

The 12-inch stainless steel base of the sculpture shown just before it is installed. The base contains a quote by Japanese poet Saigo.

The 12-inch high stainless steel base of the sculpture shown just before it is installed. The base contains a quote by Japanese poet Saigo.

Workers set the sculpture into its base

Workers set the sculpture into its base

The artist, Alison Saar, after her sculpture has been installed.

The artist, Alison Saar, after her sculpture has been installed.

Detail of Paraje. The sculpture’s west face depicts a willow tree, while on the east face a willow spirit emerges mysteriously from the tree. The folds of the willow spirit’s dress become the roots of the tree and the spirit’s upheld arms become branches.

Detail of Paraje. The sculpture’s west face depicts a willow tree, while on the east face a willow spirit, shown here, emerges mysteriously from the tree. The folds of the willow spirit’s dress become the roots of the tree and the spirit’s upheld arms become branches.

Detail of Paraje, depicting the willow marshes the artist discovered in the area during her research for the project.

Detail of Paraje, depicting the willow marshes the artist discovered in the area during her research for the project.

How do they do that? Provide real-time updates on Go511

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.

How does Go511, the automated phone and web service, know when freeways are jammed? How does it know what we're saying when we ply it with questions about traffic? Can it tell from our voices when we're starting to panic?

Go511 is the five-county, toll-free phone and web service that provides verbal and digital 24/7 updates on traffic and public transit. It's updated constantly so the answers are there when we need them and they change every minute with the flow of traffic.

If you're driving to the airport and running late for your plane you can call 511 on your hands-free phone and the service will verbally deliver estimated travel times including accidents, bottlenecks or potentially dangerous road conditions between you and the airport.

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