County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website just posted a good story on Metro’s lost-and-found operation, which tries to reunite thousands of missing items with their owners each year.
In fact, the operation has just gone digital — it’s possible now for Metro customers to file a claim form online. As ZevWeb explains:
[There is] a new computerized system in which a barcode is assigned to each of the thousands of items left aboard Metro trains and buses each year. The items are logged in a computer database, making quick scans for likely matches possible. And the traveling public can now submit online claim forms for missing items. A personal visit to the Lost and Found, located in Metro’s Wilshire/LaBrea Customer Center, is still required to pick up missing things, although Riley will mail items to out-of-towners.
The article is a pretty entertaining read and includes breakdowns on the vast number of things left behind on buses and trains. Wallets, as expected, get separated from their owners on a frequent basis. And so do — somewhat mysteriously — bikes, to the tune of about 2,000 a year.
If you can explain to me how that happens, I’m all ears.
Magu Lujan (left) working on Hooray for Hollywood in 1997.
With great sadness, Metro Art shares the news of the passing of artist Gilbert “Magu” Luján. Magu’s 1999 installation Hooray for Hollywood at the Hollywood/Vine Metro Rail Station was a collaboration with the architect Miralles Associates, and is on view for all to enjoy. A benefit and exhibition of his work is planned at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona from August 13th to the 30th.
As Peter Clothier wrote in The Huffington Post just days before Magu’s passing, “The pioneering social work for which Magu is widely known proceeds from his creative energy, the art work. His efforts as an emerging artist and student in the master’s program at the University of California, Irvine in 1960s and the early 1970s changed the course of art history. Famously, at that time, he brought together Los Four — along with himself, the artists Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero and Beto de la Rocha — who breached the sober, Euro-centric walls of academia and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with the exuberant artistic energy that had been gathering on the streets — and particularly the walls — of East Los Angeles . . . In the constellation of our contemporary culture, Gilbert “Magu” Lujan occupies a unique and vitally important place.”
More about Magu:
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.
Observant readers will notice a few subtle changes around The Source today thanks to a little update courtesy of Metro’s web team.
Here are a few of the things we added that we hope will improve the reading experience:
- Featured posts: the most obvious addition is the box at the very top of the page that features stories we don’t want readers to miss. This week, obviously, it’s all about Carmageddon. Apologies to those who are sick of it.
- We’ve installed a new search engine that will hopefully make finding stories from our archives a bit easier. Our old search didn’t handle special characters (quotations, percentage signs, etc.) very well, but the new system does. Give it a try.
- The fonts and post formats have been tweaked slight for improved readability – check out the new block quotes!
- In an effort to keep the community active we’ve added a “Leave a comment!” link to every post and included the number of comments for each post in the “Popular Posts” sidebar box.
- Big bold badges linking to Metro’s other blogs, El Pasajero and Primary Resources, are now part of the sidebar. Make sure to visit them!
We hope these changes are an improvement, please let us know what you think in the comments.
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.
MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis (pictured above) is a series of hand-glazed porcelain mosaic artworks at Westlake/MacArthur Park Station. Commissioned by the Metro art program, the artwork was designed by LA artist Sonia Romero.
Porcelain mosaic murals by Sonia Romero depicting urban life around MacArthur Park have been named one of best public art projects in the United States by the organization Americans for the Arts. The announcement was delivered on June 16, during the Americans for the Arts annual convention in San Diego.
MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis was one of 47 artworks selected from over 400 competitors nationwide.
Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization advancing the arts in America. Their Public Art Network Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects. Continue reading
Above is the latest Metro Motion video, which runs about 30 minutes. And below is the news release about the contents of this summer’s edition:
Want to Visit L.A.’s Hot Spots This Summer? Metro Motion Will Tell You How
If your summer forecast calls for baseball, the beach, concerts or culture, the summer edition of Metro Motion can tell you how Metro — along with a bike — will transport you to some of L.A.’s hottest spots. Metro Motion is Metro’s quarterly television show that runs on cable stations throughout Los Angeles County, as well as on metro.net.
Here’s the news release from Metro:
Next Live Chat Wednesday, June 29 at Noon
Have Questions About I-405 Construction or July 16-17 Closure for Mulholland Bridge Demolition? Ask the Experts During Metro’s Live Internet Chat
Los Angeles, Calif. (June 20, 2011) — As L.A. prepares for the 53-hour closure of the I-405 freeway between the I-10 and U.S. 101 the weekend of July 16-17, the public is being encouraged to plan ahead, avoid the area or stay home. What are the best ways to avoid or minimize the impacts of the closure? Metro’s experts can give you advice. They will also answer general questions about the massive $1 billion I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project during the 1-hour live internet chat from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 at metro.net.
Share your thoughts and ideas with Doug Failing, Metro’s Executive Director of Highway Projects, and K.N. Murthy, Executive Director of Transit Project Delivery for Metro. The topic: I-405: Countdown to Closure.
Why does the freeway have to be closed in both directions? Has California had to cope with other massive freeway closures? Who’s warning tourists and trucks arriving from other places? Send in advance questions or sign on during the live chat.
The June 29 chat is another effort in an aggressive outreach plan to inform the public about the I-405 project and the July 16-17 freeway closure. For more information on the I-405 project go to metro.net/I-405, twitter.com/I_405 or facebook.com/405project. For more information on Metro’s Live Chats go to metro.net/news. To post live questions during the chat go to metro.net or to e-mail advance questions go to metro.net/chat.
Below is the good news from Metro’s government relations team. This may not be the most glamorous issue, but Metro CEO Art Leahy and others of his ilk have noted that many transit agencies will face a lack of expertise in the future if something isn’t done to reverse course.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Announces Workforce Development Grant for Our Agency – Grant is Second Largest in the Nation
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the award of $3 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s Innovative Workforce Development Program to support programs around the country that train, hire, develop and retain transit workers.
Our agency’s proposal (“Metro University: Developing the Next Generation of Transportation Professionals”) is among 12 programs selected for funding from a total of 35 applications that were received from across the nation. Our $480,000 grant request was fully funded and represents the only grant awarded in the State of California and the second largest nationwide (with a $500,000 grant ceiling). Continue reading
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.