One hundred years ago this week: What prompted Los Angeles’ streetcars to change forever?

Incident site near Vineyard Crossing

A little known incident occurred in Los Angeles’ Mid-City area on the evening of July 13, 1913.

When all was said and done, Pacific Electric’s rail network replaced all of its wooden streetcars and implemented automatic train control (a topic still in the news today).

If you had any doubt how extensive our inter-urban transit system was a century ago, consider the fact that Pacific Electric’s “Red Cars” logged than 78 million passenger boardings that year alone. That figure does not include Los Angeles Railway’s extensive “Yellow Car” system.

So what took place that night? The answer lies in the Metro Transportation Library, Archives and Records Management Center’s Primary Resources blog.


Free screening of Oscar-winning film ‘Chinatown’ inside Metro’s historic Union Station on Saturday, July 20

Soak up the old timey atmosphere while watching an old timey movie! Photo: JulieandSteve via Flickr Creative Commons

Soak up the old timey atmosphere while watching an old timey movie! Photo: JulieandSteve via Flickr Creative Commons

Metro, in partnership with Downtown Film Festival L.A., will screen Chinatown at historic Union Station in a free-to-the public program on the evening of Saturday, July 20th. The classic neo-noir film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway is based on the Oscar-winning screenplay by Robert Towne and directed by Roman Polanski. The program marks the Closing Night Film of the 2013 Downtown Film Festival L.A., held July 10 – 20 in venues throughout downtown L.A.

Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, Chinatown has been hailed as among the greatest films of all time and one of the defining movies about Los Angeles since it was first released in 1974 by Paramount Pictures.

The public screening of Chinatown as the Closing Night Film of Downtown Film Festival L.A. launches Metro’s new program of arts and cultural events planned for the iconic Union Station in anticipation of its 75th anniversary celebration next year.

The event is free to the public but reservations are essential. Advance tickets may be reserved at http://www.dffla.com.

Guests are welcome to bring picnics, but no alcoholic beverages are allowed.

Show your Metro TAP card at check-in and get access to preferential seating and receive one free beverage (while supplies last).

The film was selected in part to coincide with Chinatown Summer Nights in Los Angeles, occurring the same evening just a Metro stop away on the Gold Line. Show your valid TAP card, Metro employee ID, or LA County employee ID at the event and receive a free gift (while supplies last). Learn more at http://chinatownsummernights.com.

Film Screening Details:

Saturday, July 20
Screening begins 8:30 p.m. (doors open 8:00 p.m.)
Union Station Old Ticket Concourse
800 North Alameda St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

Program is free but advance tickets must be reserved at http://www.dffla.com.

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Visit the Trip Planner metro.net for more routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Metro July 4 Art Tour Leads to Fireworks, Great Food, Special Discounts

June6previewtour_lo_resMetro will launch the first in a series of three free summer art tours, Metro Art Moves_DTLA, on Thursday, July 4. The inaugural guided, artist-led tour will end at Grand Park and The Music Center’s 4th of July Block Party event, which will feature live music, food trucks and, for the first time downtown, fireworks.

Metro Art worked with artist Sara Wookey to identify opportunities for local artists to amplify stories about artworks. The docent guides then share these stories with activities that heighten tour-goer engagement and demystify the Metro system.

Meet promptly at 5:30 p.m. at the entrance to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station, at the northeast corner of Figueroa and 7th Street. Tour has limited capacity. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Want to grab a snack before Metro Art Moves_DTLA, or feeling a little hungry afterward? Show your TAP card and take advantage of special Metro Destination Discounts at locations near the tour route including Qdoba Mexican Grill, Tossed and Boba 7. Save on your entire bill or enjoy free drink upgrades. Those who stick to ending their tour at Grand Park can use their TAP cards, provided on the tour, to score a free pair of sunglasses at the event information booth.

General Information

Tours take place on the first Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., through September.

Tours begin at 7th Street/Metro Center Station and end at Civic Center/Grand Park Station.

The tours are approximately 90% walking; there are elevators and escalators in all of the stations.

Public restrooms are available at Union Station and at Grand Park.

Metro Art Moves Tours

Metro Art Moves tours are designed to attract new riders through arts-based transit experiences. The tours highlight Metro’s diverse collection of artworks, heighten the passenger experience in fun and engaging ways to boost public perceptions about transit, promote rider etiquette and offer opportunities for discovery.

Metro Art Program

Metro Art implements the agency’s percent for art program, manages the care and maintenance of the system’s existing artworks and directs a volunteer docent council. From rail and bus stations to construction fences and poetry cards, art creates a sense of place and engages transit riders.

Since 1989, Metro has commissioned artists to incorporate artworks into a wide array of transportation projects throughout Los Angeles County. The agency has received numerous design and artistic excellence awards, and is renowned for its approaches to integrating art into the transit experience, and for engaging artists at all levels of their careers.

Docent-guided tours are offered the first Saturday and Sunday of every month. Tours for groups of fifteen or more are also available by special arrangement. For more information visit metro.net/art and click on Art Tours or call (213) 922-4ART.

Metro wins design awards, including Best in Show

Metro Expo Line Art Guide, which won Best in Show in the 2013 TMSA Compass Awards Program.

Metro Expo Line Art Guide, which won Best in Show in the 2013 TMSA (Transportation Marketing & Sales Association) Compass Awards Program.

Metro has won two Awards of Excellence in the 2013 TMSA (Transportation Marketing & Sales Association) Compass Awards Program. Our entries were judged against the best in the transportation and logistics organizations throughout North America. The winning entries are Metro’s Orange Line Extension Art Guide and Expo Line Art Guide in the Business to Consumer category. In addition, the Expo Line Art Guide won Best in Show in that category.

Metro was honored on Sunday, June 9, at the Compass Awards Gala, the capstone of the organization’s Annual Conference. Our awards were presented along with a short video of Metro Creative Services staff expressing gratitude for the Best in Show honor.

Metro Expo Line Art Guide, displaying artwork at all ten Expo Line stations.

Metro Expo Line Art Guide, displaying artwork at all ten Expo Line stations.

Metro Orange Line Extension Art Guide, which won an Award of Excellence in the 2013 TMSA Compass Awards Program.

Metro Orange Line Extension Art Guide, which won an Award of Excellence in the 2013 TMSA Compass Awards Program.

Metro Expo Line Art Guide, displaying artwork at the five stations along the Orange Line Extension.

Metro Expo Line Art Guide, displaying artwork at the five stations along the Orange Line Extension.

Metro Art Moves_DTLA starts on the 4th of July

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Photos: Metro

The July 4th Metro Art Moves_DTLA tour is the first of three summer art tours offered from July to September. Tours take place on the first Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The tour, led by Metro Art Docents, will start at 7th/Metro and end at Civic Center Station.

Wear comfy walking shoes and head to the Figueroa Street entrance of 7th/Metro. You’ll navigate the Metro system in a whole new way and learn about Metro’s diverse art collection. The tour will end around 7 p.m. and drop you off right in the middle of Grand Park, where you can partake in their 4th of July Block Party.

Want to grab a snack before Metro Art Moves_DTLA, or feeling a little hungry afterward? Take advantage of special Metro discounts at locations near the tour route. Qdoba Mexican Grill gives 15% off to those who show their TAP cards, Tossed offers a $2 discount and Boba 7 will provide a free drink upgrade. All three places are just blocks from 7th/Metro – or in Qdoba’s case, just an elevator ride away! Those who stick to ending their tour at Grand Park can use their TAP cards to score a free pair of sunglasses at the event information booth.

Claremont Through the Eyes of Jessica Polzin McCoy

Artist Jessica Polzin McCoy signs free copies of her poster celebrating the city of Claremont on May 31 at an event at the Claremont Public Library.

Artist Jessica Polzin McCoy signs free copies of her poster celebrating the city of Claremont on May 31 at an event at the Claremont Public Library.

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

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.

Claremont poster, the latest in the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists series.

Claremont poster, the latest in the Metro Through the Eyes of Artists series.

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

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

You teach in Claremont–how did you choose this imagery to represent the city?

This is a city I walk though every day, but sometimes through that repetition you miss a lot, you stop observing. So it was important to me to take a fresh look and seek out characteristics that define the neighborhood visually. When I photograph a neighborhood, I take hundreds of photos, casual snapshots, and in the end I only use about thirty. It isn’t hard to find beautiful building details or colorful objects in a location, but it is hard to edit them and achieve the essence of a location. I guess I always have in the back of my mind a kind of story about a neighborhood, and I think Claremont has a Secret Garden quality to it.

What defines the experience of living and working there?

The facade of friendliness that I perceive in Claremont is generally how I feel about all of Southern California. And I may be wrong, it may not be a facade, I may have grown up skeptical in the Midwest! I love it here. I especially like working at Pitzer, arguably the most left leaning of the Claremont Colleges, it is a warm and honest community. The people there speak their mind and truly desire to make the world a more accepting and equitable place.

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How do they do that? Measure sound levels in stations

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.

Sound monitoring microphone.

Sound monitoring microphone.

Buses, trains, cars and construction all make noise. That’s why Metro monitors sound levels at Metro properties and projects.

How do they do that?

Sound level measurements are taken throughout the Metro system … but not everywhere. The measuring can be part of routine maintenance. It can be in preparation for a construction project. Or it can be the result of a question or complaint from a patron or someone who lives or works near a Metro project or facility. Whatever the reason, the analysis is done pretty much the same way.

Typically an acoustical engineer measures noise levels with a microphone connected to a sound level meter or other sound recording device that collects the sounds for later analysis.

Sound level meter.

Sound level meter.

Noise levels measured at a moderately busy downtown bus stop generally are about 70 decibels. The highest noise levels collected at Metro stations are found at trains running down of the middle of a freeway. Those could be 85 to 90 decibels — by far the noisiest places in the system because of the surrounding vehicle traffic but still safe for human ears in part because the sound exposure doesn’t last long.

By comparison, the humming of a refrigerator is 45 decibels; normal conversation is approximately 60 decibels. Noise-induced hearing loss can result from short bursts of sound from firecrackers or small firearms emitting sounds of 120 to 150 decibels. But sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. Since bus and train noise is brief and noise level takes into consideration duration as well as intensity, stops and stations are well below what would be considered harmful to the human ear. And that, of course, is what’s important. 

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