Metro Deputy CEO Paul Taylor soon to retire

Metro’s Deputy CEO Paul Taylor is retiring next month, which is certainly a well deserved move for Paul and a bit of a bummer for the rest of us at Metro. Above is a short video about Paul that was shown at this morning’s Metro’s Board meeting.

My quick three cents: Paul has been enormously supportive of this blog and of Metro’s expanded efforts in recent years to help inform the public about the agency and its projects and programs. In short, he knows it’s government’s duty to get the word out.

On behalf of yours truly and the rest of Metro’s staff, we wish Paul nothing but the best in the years ahead and thank him for his hard work on behalf of the agency, our riders and the taxpaying public,

Steve

New artwork at El Monte Station will be on display at Rio Hondo College next month

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Here’s the news release from Metro:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has commissioned four talented Los Angeles based artists – Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez – for artworks that will enhance the transit experience at El Monte Station, the largest bus facility west of Chicago that sees up to 40,000 daily riders. Each artist has created four artworks that will be installed at the station January 2014.

Rio Hondo College will be exhibiting the original artworks to facilitate a dialog between the artists and the community. The exhibition will be on display from Feb. 3 – 28. Gallery hours will be 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with additional evening hours Monday through Wednesday from 6 – 9 p.m.

A panel discussion will provide an opportunity to meet the artists and learn about the process of translating their artistic vision into works of art for public transportation sites. The panel will take place Thursday, February 6 from 7 – 8 p.m. in the Ray Theatre at Rio Hondo College and will include the artists Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez, and moderator Jorge Pardo, Metro Director of Art & Design. Admission to both panel discussion and the exhibition will be free. Parking at Rio Hondo College is $3.

Rio Hondo College is located at 3600 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier, CA, 90601. It is accessible from El Monte Station via Metro Bus 270 and Express Bus 577. Use the Trip Planner at metro.net for more routes and connections.

The exhibition physically reveals a critical and often challenging process for the artist in negotiating the changes that occur when an artwork is fabricated for a public site. Durable artwork materials are necessary to withstand outdoor transit environments and to ensure long-term artistic integrity. Each artwork panel represents the culmination of a process of translation-in concept, practice and material. The exhibition presents a variety of media used in the artists’ studios, including painting, drawing, and digital collage that have been interpreted into powder-coated aluminum panels.

Vincent Ramos pays homage to the rich cultural contribution of the El Monte Legion Stadium, a hotbed of activity in its heyday. The artwork focuses on the musicians who played at the stadium and the promoters (radio deejays and TV personalities) who organized and hosted these events. Individuals represented in the artwork reflect the early worlds of rock n’ roll, rhythm and blues, and country music.

Eloy Torrez explores transitions and movement to visualize the movement, energy and patterns that people create on their travels. His work depicts our monetary encounters as we cross paths with each other in our daily lives and within the transit environment.

Artist Martin Durazo uses swirling vibrant colors such as metallic blue, electric yellows, pinks, and silvers, to energetically mirror the ever-changing intersection of cultures and environments in the Los Angeles area.

Phung Huynh’s artwork is informed by the city’s rich history through the use of symbolic and metaphoric imagery. Her stylized treatment of forms, shapes, and figures is inspired by papel picado (Mexican papercut art) and Chinese papercut art.

To request images of artwork for publication, please email gomezpa@metro.net. For more information on Metro’s art program, visit metro.net/art.

Artist Christine Nguyen to sign Metro Long Beach poster at Stearns Champions Park on Jan. 11

Long Beach Through the Eyes of Artists poster

Metro and the City of Long Beach will host a free poster signing event for artist Christine Nguyen on Saturday, Jan. 11 at Stearns Champions Park Social Hall. Nguyen was commissioned by Metro to create the artwork for the Through the Eyes of Artists poster series. The poster is currently on display inside buses and trains throughout the Metro system.

Event Details:
Saturday, January 11 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Stearns Champions Park Social Hall
4520 23rd St.
Long Beach, CA 90815

“The poster shows the diversity of local ecologies while evoking the beauty of Long Beach in a playful, fantastical, underwater cosmic dreamscape,” said Nguyen. Nguyen, who is also a musician, also will be performing with fellow musicians Michael Wysong and Whalesound during this event.

The park is accessible via Long Beach Transit.

First Metro Art tour of the year takes place tonight

If your New Year’s resolution is to get to know L.A. a little bit better, don’t waste any time: come join Metro Art Moves tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Meet at the information booth inside the Alameda Street entrance to Union Station. The art tour ends around 7 p.m. at the Downtown on Ice skating rink at Pershing Square (see photo above!), which offers $1 off admission for Metro riders who show their valid TAP cards at the admission window.

If you can’t make it tonight, there are more tours taking place this weekend! The regular year-round weekend tours begin this Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, Jan. 4, meet at the street level entrance of the Red Line Hollywood/Highland Station. On Sunday, meet at the information booth inside the Alameda Street entrance to Union Station. Both tours start at 10 a.m. and end at 12 p.m.

January Metro Service Council meetings preview

Metro Service Councils are ringing in the new year with four January meetings. The San Fernando Valley Service Council will not meet in January as their regular meeting would have been on New Year’s Day. The other four Councils will hold their meetings on the usual days and times, as listed below.

January Metro Service Council meeting details are provided below. Please note that some of the presentations listed are tentative at the time of this posting. In addition to the monthly report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer, all Councils will receive updates on the February public hearing schedule, Fare Forums that are being targeted for March (originally scheduled for February, but moved back one month) meetings, and a presentation on Metro’s “Seniors On The Move” program, which is aimed educating older adults about using public transit. Other agenda items at Council meetings this month include:

San Fernando Valley – MEETING CANCELLED due to conflict with New Year’s Holiday (Jan 1). Next meeting will be Wednesday, February 5.

Westside/Central (5 p.m., Wednesday, 1/8) – Presentation on Santa Monica Blvd. / 3rd Street Corridor Studies update; Presentation on Metro’s Accident Reduction program.

Gateway Cities (2 p.m., Thursday, 1/9 –Swearing in of new Gateway Cities Service Council member Aja Brown, Mayor of Compton; recognition of accomplishments at the Artesia Blue Line Station for Lt. Leo Bauer and Long Beach Transit Operations Supervisor Mike Wilson; update on Blue Line gate latching; update on (new) location for February Gateway Cities meeting and public hearing.

South Bay (9:30 a.m., Friday, 1/10) – Presentation on Metro’s Bike Program; update on upcoming Green Line gate latching.

San Gabriel Valley (5 p.m., Monday, 1/13) – Summary of November’s Line 485 workshop; Metro’s Customer Complaint process.

In February, four of the five Service Councils will be conducting public hearings to receive comments from the public on proposed service changes that, if approved, would go into effect in June 2014. Because none of the proposed major service changes are proposed in the SouthBay region, that Service Council will not hold a public hearing. Details on the proposed June ’14 service changes and February hearings are posted on Metro’s web page. The public will also be notified about public hearings and proposed changes through media releases, rider notices placed on buses and trains, and other means.

Also At all February March (moved back one month from Feb to March) Service Council meetings, there will be a Fare Forum (Please note that .  Attendees will be able to express their opinions on a potential transit fare adjustment and offer their suggested alternatives.  All comments will be recorded and provided to the Metro Board of Directors for their consideration.

For a detailed listing of all Council meeting dates, times and locations, click here. As always, the public is encouraged to attend and share their comments with the Service Councils on improving bus service throughout LA County. If you would like to provide input to a Council but cannot attend a meeting, you can submit your comments in writing through the Service Council web page or send them by email. If your comments are for a specific Council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing in your e-mail.

Advisory: seating area at Union Station now open only to Amtrak and Metrolink passengers

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UPDATE, 1:50 P.M. WEDNESDAY: Metro is working on creating a smaller waiting area for BoltBus and Megabus customers. 

Los Angeles Union Station patrons may have noticed a change that went into effect Monday: the seating area at the front of the facility is now available only for passengers with tickets to board Amtrak or Metrolink trains within two hours of their departure times.

Union Station is owned by Metro and agency officials say the change was prompted by an increased number of homeless individuals who have been using Union Station as shelter — an average of 135 per night in recent weeks (numbers were higher over the summer). That, in turn, has at times created extremely unpleasant sanitary issues in the seating area that in some cases posed a health threat to passengers using the station.

Metro had been receiving complaints about the number of homeless in the station for quite some time and over the past summer began trying to find some remedies to the issue, said Ken Pratt, the director of Los Angeles Union Station Property Management for Metro. That has included bringing in workers from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority who have been meeting with homeless individuals to try to connect them to shelters, potential housing opportunities as well as psychological and medical care.

The new rules for the seating area are part of a pilot program. Security guards will be checking tickets in the seating area. The seats are not open to Metro riders because Metro bus and rail service at the station is frequent compared to long-distance and commuter rail offered by Amtrak and Metrolink.

The pilot program comes as Metro is beginning more work to restore Union Station, which opened in 1939. In coming weeks, some of the seats in the waiting area will be removed so that wood and metal materials can be reconditioned.

“All this really comes down to this question: who does Union Station really serve?,” Pratt said. “Our customers were being accosted and couldn’t even use the restroom at times because people have been camping in there. We really are trying to do this on two fronts — not just enforcement, but with outreach to homeless in the area surrounding Union Station to bring people to services they need and services to individuals. We are trying very hard to figure things out and working to solve this problem in the right way.”


Long Beach through the eyes of artist Christine Nguyen

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Have you spotted the latest poster from the popular Through the Eyes of Artists series riding rail and bus? Long Beach artist Christine Nguyen designed an imaginary, underwater dreamscape that playfully intertwines jellyfish, sea vegetation and caves with iconic Long Beach landmarks, including the Astronaut Islands, El Dorado Nature Center and the Walter Pyramid at California State University, Long Beach.

Metro commissions local artists to create original artworks for the Through the Eyes of Artists poster series, which expresses the uniqueness of Los Angeles County neighborhoods, as a way of encouraging people to take Metro to explore destinations served by the agency. The newest design, celebrating Long Beach, is the 30th poster in the series.

For more information about this award winning series and to view all 30 posters, click here.

Union Station has starring role in new Pharrell Williams 24-hour video for ‘Happy’

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At the risk of sounding like I’m aware of current trends in pop culture, you simply must drop everything and watch Pharrell Williams’ new music video for his song “Happy.”

It’s not just a regular video — it’s a 24-hour video featuring different people dancing to the song across Los Angeles. That includes more than a dozen different people dancing at Metro-owned Los Angeles Union Station beginning at 9:53 a.m. of the video’s 24-hour clock.

Screen grabs are above of the different dancers (I think I got most of them). The video was filmed earlier this year.

P.S. If the dancer at 9:57 a.m. would like to be extensively interviewed for The Source, click here to reach me.