Art for the Orange Line: Owensmouth/Canoga Park by Margaret Lazzari

Teams of SICIS artisans piece together mosaic artwork paving designs for Sherman Way Station.

Margaret Lazzari’s designs for Sherman Way Station on the Orange Line Extension includes two, 27-foot long maps that will be embedded into concrete platforms.

A mosaic map and a porcelain mosaic art panel will be displayed alongside station seating.

The west platform will house a map of 1910 era Owensmouth, with a free-flowing Los Angeles River and an undeveloped natural landscape. An adjacent art panel will depict a collection of native plants that once grew alongside the river.

The east platform will include a map of the same section of river 40 years later, in the city re-named Canoga Park. The river has been channelized and is integrated into a growing geometry of housing tracts. Agricultural production has become a powerful industry. Fruit trees replace native plants in the art panel imagery.

Each piece of glass and stone mosaic is hand-placed.

Lazzari hopes riders will make a connection between the physicality of their foot travel and the area’s deeply embedded topographical and ecological history.

The completed mosaic maps are ready to be crated and transported to the job site.

More Art for the Orange Line: Artists discuss station designs

San Fernando Valley's big anniversary: Passenger rail service from LA to Van Nuys began 100 years ago

Image via Los Angeles Public Library

Transit users in the San Fernando Valley probably didn’t notice anything different last Friday when the second century of public transportation in the area got underway.

December 16, 1911, was the first day of rail service from Los Angeles to Van Nuys, a development which quickly transformed the Valley from outlying area to commutable suburb, arguably altering the face of Los Angeles as a whole.

What did Van Nuys and the opening day celebrations look like a century ago?  Metro Library’s Primary Resources blog has some amazing photos to share with you.

Transporting rail cars: another view

 

Source reader Darrell Clarke — also the mover and shaker of Friends4Expo — posted a link to this great photo in the comments section of our earlier post about getting rail cars to Metro.

Darrell took this photo on the Golden State Freeway going up the Grapevine. Regular Metro riders probably recognize the AnsaldoBreda car that is used on the Gold Line.

How do they do that? Ship rail cars to L.A.

How do they do that? is a new 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 Metro transport rail cars from manufacturing sites around the world to L.A.?

Metro operates five rail lines that include three light-rail lines and two heavy rail (subway) lines. Train cars running on the lines are thus far manufactured by three companies: AnsaldoBreda (made in Italy), Nippon Sharyo (made in Japan) and Siemens (made in California).

Obviously, cars made in Italy and Japan can’t just be rolled here on rail. But the same is true of cars manufactured in California. Unless the cars are made adjacent to the Metro rail lines on which they will run (none are), they must be transferred via some means.

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Shadow retires: Service planner's Guide Dog was also systems tester, poster girl, hospitality greeter, tour guide for Metro

Photos courtesy of Access Services, Inc.

  • I myself have known some profoundly thoughtful dogs. – James Thurber, humorist and cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine and a great lover of dogs.

Here at Metro, that would be Shadow, the 10-year-old black Labrador who recently retired as a Guide Dog to Agustin Moreno, a systems analyst in service planning who’s been totally blind since the age of 16.

Shadow

Shadow wears her Metro employee badge for the last time.

A constant and unerring companion, Shadow seemed always at Moreno’s side since taking up the post in 2004.

At first, Shadow’s job description was strictly within the scope for a Guide Dog.

Whether it was on the elevator, in the cafeteria, on trips to bus or rail divisions, taking transit home to Highland Park or napping in Moreno’s cubicle on the 7th floor of Metro’s HQ, Shadow’s presence was calming, giving all of us a reassuring pause that grace and ease will get us to where we’re going.

It didn’t take long before Shadow’s attention to detail and expert assistance to Moreno caught the attention of managers looking for an eager upstart who could handle whatever they threw at her.

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How do they do that?: Metro's solar program

“How do they do that?” is a new 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 much energy does Metro’s solar panel program generate and what’s it used for?

Solar panel collectors at facilities in Chatsworth, Sun Valley, Carson and downtown L.A. reduced Metro energy costs by approximately $1 million and its carbon footprint by about 16,500 metric tons in 2010, the equivalent of removing 3,200 private cars from L.A. roadways.

At one facility alone – the Support Services Center in downtown Los Angeles (Metro’s central maintenance facility for buses) — 6,720 individual solar panels generate 1.2 megawatts, or 1,200 kilowatts of renewable, emission-free power. Along with other energy-efficient improvements, the Regional Rebuild Centers project is cutting its annual $1.1-million energy bill in half to approximately $550,000.

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Urban Land Institute advisory panel shares vision for Union Station area

A crack team of urban design and development experts from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) descended on Los Angeles last week to help Metro and the city of L.A. develop its vision for the area surrounding Union Station. After several packed days of interviews and site visits, the panel presented its findings this morning to a crowd of community members, local elected officials and planners who gathered at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in Little Tokyo.

Attentive readers will recall that Metro bought Union Station earlier this year, along with the rights to build roughly six million square feet of development around Southern California’s largest transit hub. Since then, Metro has begun soliciting concepts from a number of design firms for a master plan for the Union Station property itself.

The ULI panel’s job, then, was to help Metro envision how a present and future Union Station can better integrate with the surrounding areas of Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street, the Arts District, the Civic Center and the Los Angeles River.

Each of the panelists presented different components of the vision, so rather than summarize what each said, here’s a distillation of some of the key points, and hopefully we can post the PowerPoint presentation later on:
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New Metro Motion TV show explores attractions along Expo Line

With finishing touches being applied to the Exposition light-rail line, the just released winter edition of Metro Motion takes a trip to Exposition Park — one of the first stops on Expo south of downtown L.A. There it discovers a variety of world class museums and attractions. And just in time for Metro Motion, Space Shuttle Endeavour Commander Mark Kelly dropped by to celebrate the arrival next year of Endeavour to the California Science Center, where the shuttle will make its home.

Winter 2011-12 Metro Motion also explores the changing habits of 20 somethings who may be the first generation in recent years to turn away from cars and toward mass transit to help the world’s atmosphere heal itself while they invest in pursuits they see as more interesting than driving.

There’s an interview with artist Sonia Romero, whose beautiful porcelain mosaic mural installation at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Station has been named one of the best public art projects in the United States. Romero talks about her work and explains what inspired her.

Also in the show, Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles has plenty to say on the essential unified focus of highway and transit planners and the importance of coordinating the two for the good of regional mobility.

Metro Motion runs quarterly on cable stations throughout Los Angeles County. Check local listings for dates and times in your area.

How do they do that?

Metro bus wash; photo by David Daniels/Metro.

How do they do that? is a new 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 do they wash those tall buses?

It’s a good soap-water-and-wax cleaning for Metro buses, which pass through massive bus washers followed by blow dryers like those we use for our cars. But that’s where the similarities end. For one thing, the buses are washed daily. For another, their very size makes hand drying impossible. A typical 45-foot bus is 11 feet high and weighs 19 tons. A 60-foot bus is 11 feet high and 21 tons.

Each of Metro’s 11 bus maintenance facilities has at least one bus washer, maybe two, depending on the number of buses assigned there. Maintenance facilities are sprinkled all over L.A. County to make them more accessible to the 2,000-plus buses in Metro’s fleet as it navigates 1,400 square miles of service area.

Kings center Anze Kopitar gets a facewash, courtesy of a Metro bus wash. Photo by David Daniels/Metro.

The special bus washing machines are constructed on the spot, just for Metro. Most have bristle brushes — so out of fashion for our cars but so good for buses, which are constantly out in sun, wind, weather and traffic. Buses are washed once a day. And every four months or so they go in for a detailed cleaning, sort of like the detailing we get for our cars.

To clean the interiors, service attendants use high-pressure air to blow out the debris. The debris is then sucked into a giant vacuum and deposited into a trash compactor that makes a large paper ball out of what can be a significant amount of refuse … despite the fact that no food or drink is supposed to be consumed inside the buses.

The attendants hand clean the bus interiors with soap and water and towels, with window cleaner for the glass and stainless steel cleaner for the metal surfaces. It takes approximately 20 minutes to fuel, blow and wipe out the interiors, drive through the bus wash and park. And it means an average of 120 Metro employees on any given day are working to keep the buses clean.

How do they do that?

Metro bus with full wrap

How do they do that? is a new 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 do they cover the buses with those giant ads?

It’s all done by hand and it’s a time consuming process. Installing a full wrap ad covering the sides and back can take four to six hours per bus.

No paint is applied. Designers work from a template of the bus that will carry the ad to create the design, which is then printed on pressure sensitive vinyl like a giant sticker — but one that strips off easily so the bus surface is not damaged on removal.

Two or three people may work on a single bus installation. They start at the top, drop a wide vinyl roll down the side and then press it into place with a hard plastic tool. The pressure releases tiny balls of glue in the vinyl that attach it to the bus. Once a roll is posted the installers move over and post another until the bus is completely covered. They have to carefully trim the vinyl around windows, doors, vents and other features of the bus. A scant four to six hours later, they’re done.

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