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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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, 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.
Metro’s Board of Directors approved the name changes of three Metro Rail subway stations during the Thursday, Jan. 24 Board Meeting.
The Metro Red Line Civic Center Station will now be the “Civic Center/Grand Park/Tom Bradley Station” in honor of the recently opened Grand Park, which is served by this station, and the former City of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
The Metro Red Line Universal City Station will now be known as “Universal City/Studio City Station” to reflect the station’s location in Studio City. Metro Bus lines 150, 155, 224, 240 and Metro Rapid 750 connect this station with the rest of Studio City and San Fernando Valley.
The Metro Purple Line Wilshire/Western Station will now be known as the “Wilshire/Western/Alfred Hoyun Song Station” in honor of Alfred Hoyun Song, former Mayor of Monterey Park and the first Asian American legislator elected to the California State Assembly in 1962. He was also the first Korean American to be elected to the California State Senate, where he distinguished himself as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Saar’s work in progress at the fabricator’s studio. A full-scale rendition of the sculptural windscreen had been carved in foam. From this carving, a mold was made—shown above. The final artwork is cast in stainless steel and measures 10ft. h x 10ft. w.
A new sculpture by Los Angeles artist Alison Saar will be installed later this month at Metro’s 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.
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. The Preserve is one of the few remaining pristine willow marshes in Los Angeles, and willow groves, Saar learned, are known for their soothing shade.
Saar designed the sculpture so it would also serve as a windscreen, located on the busy west end of the station platform. It will be mounted on a 12-inch stainless steel base containing a quote by Japanese poet Saigo:
By the roadside
Cool spring water flowing
In the shade of a willow
“My artwork will be a reminder of the terrain’s natural history and provide passengers with shade and protection from the sun and wind,” states Saar. “Perhaps viewers will imagine an earlier time when the area was a haven of marshlands, and perhaps encourage investigation of the nearby Preserve.”
Saar’s sculpture was commissioned by Metro Art as part of a series of Metro improvements to the station’s physical environment.
Alison Saar exhibits nationally and internationally and her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, and The Hirshhorn Museum. Her work was recently featured at Otis College of Art and Design’s Ben Maltz Gallery. She is recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
It involved a 1963 vision for the future of local transportation that even included TAP-like “magic eye” machine-readable fare media…and a subway to Westwood by 1968 by the Executive Director of Los Angeles’ first MTA.
Smart-card fare collection and subterranean transit to the Westside obviously would not come to fruition for decades.
But the inability of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA) to levy taxes and its Board to build broad public support or acquire real property through eminent domain set the stage for the creation of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, in 1964.
The speech was part of ”Rail Rapid Transit: A Reality,” a proposal for ”a new 58-mile regional rapid transit system” to begin construction by 1964.
Ironically, it proposed four corridors for transit — to Long Beach, North Hollywood, El Monte and West Los Angeles — all of which were eventually constructed through public support and funds (with West L.A. on the way).