Metro has launched another blog to satiate your hunger for transportation related reading. Primary Resources is what the Metro Library is calling their newest online venture – a blog that taps into the library’s vast collection of resources to provide images, videos and documents along with insightful commentary from Metro’s librarians.
Why launch Primary Resources now? The answer is found in the introductory post:
Metro is embarking on an ambitious plan for many new Measure R-funded transit and highway projects, several of which are being planned and executed at the same time.
Transit and transportation advocacy is growing thanks to social networking and other communication tools. Resources can be disseminated, consumed, and redistributed more easily than ever before.
We are actively collecting and digitizing not only Metro’s publications and reports, but also harvesting and preserving important documents and other digital assets in the field of transportation that compliment our collections
The emphasis on Measure R projects can already be seen in one of the first posts which links to a 19-page PDF document from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation entitled “The Construction Impact Of Metro’s Measure R Transportation Projects 2009-2038″.
Clearly, Primary Resources is not just going to be a collection of old-timey images and dusty publications – although there will be plenty of that as well. Check out this post featuring an incredible image of the Gold Line’s early predecessor, a Los Angeles Railway car rolling past the Southwest Museum in 1914.
The Metro Library is no stranger to blogging and social media – they’ve run the Los Angeles Transportation Headlines since 2006 (The Source rather shamelessly harvests our favorite headlines from them everyday) and have a presence on almost every social networking site there is. Check out the full list after the jump, and make sure you bookmark Primary Resources. Continue reading
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There has been a last minute change in the location for tonight’s meeting of the Westside/Central Governance Council. The meeting will now be held at the La Cienega Community Center, 8400 Gregory Way, Beverly Hills.
This is located directly across the street from the originally planned meeting location at La Cienega Tennis Center, which encountered some major, unanticipated facilities issues this morning. If you are driving, you should still park at the Tennis Center on the west side of La Cienega and walk to the new location. Staff is working to post signs to help direct you.
Nearby Metro lines: 20, 720, 105, 28, 728, 305, 550
Last month students from the Braille Institute’s Los Angeles Center spent the morning with Metro for a special event called “Getting Around Town with Metro” as part of Braille’s Solutions in Sight public education campaign.
A group of thirty visually impaired students had the chance to ride the Metro Red Line from the Vermont/Santa Monica station (just blocks away from the Braille Institute’s Los Angeles Center) to Union Station to meet at Metro headquarters for a safety presentation with Metro ADA Compliance Administrator Chip Hazen.
Hazen’s presentation focused on the safety features for people with vision impairments on Metro Rail and tips on how to effectively use these features to travel safely.
A few of the many safety features for visually impaired people on Metro Rail include:
- Braille and tactile Station ID signage
- Truncated domes tell visually impaired people where the tracks are
- Bollards that act as barriers between train cars
- One-button emergency call boxes (Braille/tactile)
- Ticket vending machines that are tactile and audible
- Stations with fare gates all have at least one accessible gate that is 36″ wide to accommodate wheelchairs
Last December, Metro launched its official Facebook page in an attempt to better communicate with customers and taxpayers using the ubiquitous social networking tool. By the end of 2009 Metro had a few hundred fans on Facebook.
This past weekend Metro’s Facebook page topped 2,000 fans and the number keeps growing.
Metro’s 2,000+ fans can easily stay up to date with what’s going on with the agency without leaving the comfort of their favorite social network. Updates from Metro – including stories from The Source and service updates – are listed on fans news feeds and can be “Liked”, commented on or shared just like anything else on Facebook. This is actually a great way to let us know what you think of our stories here on The Source – I check the page every day to see what stories are getting a lot of “Likes” and which ones are sparking discussion on Facebook.
Of course, well over a million people board Metro buses and trains every day and L.A. County has a population that exceeds nine million people – so 2,000 fans is just a drop in the bucket. So if you’re not already a fan, become one. And if you are, make sure to tell your friends to become fans. It’s really the best way to stay in touch with – and keep a watchful eye on – this massive tax-payer funded agency that is working to keep L.A. moving.
The URL for Metro’s Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/losangelesmetro
Check out some of Metro’s other Facebook pages, after the jump. Continue reading
Transit TV. Photo by sgroi via Flickr.
Love it or hate it – and according to Metro surveys, most customers prefer it – Transit TV is back, under new ownership and ready to give bus riders something entertaining and informative to occupy their time.
Transit TV is now owned and operated by TEZO Systems, a locally based company that specializes in GPS based advertising. Like all television, Transit TV funds its programming by advertising, and TEZO Systems unique and affordable “Geo-Ads” targeted advertising aims to link local small businesses with bus riders.
Here’s how it works: advertisers pay a nominal daily fee (as low as $.99) based on ridership and as the bus approaches the advertised business along the route a banner ad pops up on the Transit TV display for 30 seconds. Advertisers are also given a Transit TV email address that riders can email from their mobile devices for electronic coupons.
This super targeted advertising not only helps local business attract nearby customers, but it lets riders know what’s along their route – something I think is pretty cool.
Along with the new advertising system comes fresh programming, including national news from the Associated Press and local news in both English and Spanish from NBC and Telemundo. There’s also programming specifically aimed at Metro riders that inform riders of various Metro accessible destinations in L.A. No word on if the “Kitchen Cut-ups” are back for another season (let’s hope not).
In case you were wondering, Transit TV costs Metro nothing and does in fact generate some advertising revenue for the agency. And considering Metro’s current financial crisis, every little bit of revenue helps.
Read the full press release from Metro Media Relations, after the jump. Continue reading
Cars and streetcars on Broadway in downtown L.A., December, 1930.
Cars and streetcars peacefully sharing limited street space in downtown L.A. in December, 1930. Of course, road rage as an accepted behavior had not yet reached maturity. (Like the people who succumb?) Photo taken looking north at Broadway and Third Street. Remove the vehicles and the street looks surprisingly similar today. Here’s the image on Flickr, along with thousands of other cool photos posted by the Metro Library.
Real time bus arrival displays at a bus stop in Vancouver. Photo by Tristen.Pelton via Flickr.
Good news for Metro bus riders: earlier this month Metro took the first step in bringing real time arrival information to bus riders when the agency invited vendors to submit proposals for a Real Time Bus Arrival Information System (BAIS).
Metro is looking for a vendor who can provide an internet-based BAIS that will provide Metro passengers with bus arrival information and Metro staff with fleet management tools. The system must be able to work with fixed bus routes but be versatile enough to accommodate for situations when buses deviate from their routes. To ensure the utmost accuracy, arrival predictions must be based on the actual location of vehicles and not schedule deviations. And bus arrival information must be easily accessible and be able to be delivered to any location – web sites, transit stops, mobile devices, etc.
A real time bus arrival system has the potential to revolutionize riding the bus in L.A. We all know how unpredictable L.A. traffic can be. Combine that with the many variables buses face along their routes and it’s clear to see why a bus might not be right on schedule. But with real time bus arrival information, riders will be able to better plan their travels and hopefully avoid long waits at the bus stop wondering “Where’s my bus?”.
Vendors have until April 29th to submit their proposals. Time to implement the system after a contract is awarded is one of the evaluation criteria, so there’s no way to know right now when bus riders will actually have real time info. But it’s coming.
Pasadena City College. Photo by prayitno via Flickr.
College students are always on the look out for a good deal and full-time students at Pasadena City College are no exception.
So far, over 800 of them have picked up heavily discounted I-Pass stamps that allow students to ride Metro for just $30 for the entire semester. A typical student Metro pass costs $36 a month, so I-Pass allow students to save $114 over the course of the semester.
What’s more, the Metro Gold Line is just a free shuttle ride away from campus so taking advantage of the passes couldn’t be any easier – or cheaper.
For more information on the program, check out our introductory post from last month.
Read the full press release after the jump. Continue reading
Metro Motion is Metro’s quarterly television show that airs on cable channels around L.A. But some of us Millennials view cable television the same way we view CD players – outdated technology that’s best left alone. Luckily Metro realizes this and has put Metro Motion on one of my favorite media outlets – YouTube.
The news magazine style show is 30 minutes long and split into three YouTube videos, perfect for bite size consumption throughout your “work” day.
Here’s some highlights from the Spring 2010 episode:
- L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky talks about the importance of transit in the 3rd District and how the Red Line saved L.A.’s best pastrami sandwich.
- Metro riders share their thoughts on Metro’s newest lines: the Silver Line and Metro Line 902.
- A look at how Metro’s highway engineers are using smart technology to reduce congestion on L.A.’s freeways.
- More on dining options along the Gold Line Eastside Extension (might not want to watch this segment on an empty stomach)
- Metro’s chief librarian Matthew Barrett shares a small sampling of the Metro Library’s extensive collection of historical Los Angeles transit photographs.
Part 1 is posted above, follow the jump for Parts 2 and 3. Check out the Los Angeles Metro YouTube channel for more videos. Continue reading
Metro CEO Art Leahy
Metro CEO Art Leahy has been on the job for almost a year and yesterday he announced to agency staff his most significant initiative: he wants to “streamline” the agency, which involves eliminating some open jobs and through voluntary and involuntary layoffs.
This is how it has been explained to me:
Metro faces an historic operating deficit in the fiscal year that begins on July 1. It’s currently projected at $181 million. The causes for this: the recession, local transit sales taxes are 20 percent down from their peak, state funds that would normally go to Metro are being diverted by the Legislature and farebox revenue has declined as bus ridership has dropped during the recession.
The agency is trying to avoid using its reserves to balance the budget (the budget is legally required to be balanced). The idea is to do this while treating major service cuts and fare increases only as a last resort.
Against this backdrop, Leahy has scrubbed the agency’s overhead and other expenses and has already cut $59 million from the current budget. More cuts in expenses are planned for the next fiscal year, including the elimination of 20 percent of non-contract employee positions — up to 260 jobs. Leahy also wants to reorganize the agency to focus on its core services: bus and rail operations, planning and construction of Measure R projects and the coordination and management of countywide regional programs.
In addition, Metro officials and Board members also are actively seeking state and federal assistance to keep the Metro system in a state of good repair.
The memo is below:
Memo from the CEO Regarding Streamlining the Agency & Restructuring our Service & Program Delivery
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is at a critical juncture. In the midst of a major economic downturn, never has more been expected of this agency with regard to the delivery of capital programs and day-to-day services.
In order for us to successfully meet our broad set of programmatic and service commitments in a fiscally responsible manner, we must act now to streamline the agency, restructure our service delivery, and markedly improve the management of our capital programs. Collectively, we are committed to three essential objectives: Continue reading