Union Station’s 75th: Seymour Rosen recalls the opening

This is the second of a series of posts on the history of Union Station that will run on Tuesdays and Fridays this month. The station celebrates its 75th anniversary on May 3.  

In this video interview with Seymour Rosen, a member of the Metro Citizens’ Advisory Council, Rosen talks to Metro Community Relations officer Rich Morallo about attending the opening of Union Station in 1939.

Rosen was a teenager when his father took him to the Union Station opening parade on May 3, 1939. They went early to try to secure a good vantage point and ended up standing right in front of Union Station. He and his dad were among the half-million onlookers.

What Rosen remembers most was the crowds. He had never seen so many people in a single location.

“You have to remember that Los Angeles in 1939 was not New York City. This was a major thing. There were so many people. And to see such a grand structure. It was an exciting moment in my life,” Rosen recalled.

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Union Station: A grand opening

Click on a photo to see a larger version or click on the first version to begin a slideshow-type display. Photos courtesy of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation Collection.

This is the first of a series of posts on the history of Union Station that will run on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout April. The station celebrates its 75th anniversary on May 3.  

The Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal finally opened to the public on May 3, 1939 and it was celebrated with a massive parade down Alameda Street. The theme was the history of transportation and the parade included covered wagons, stagecoaches, Pony Express riders and several massive steam-powered locomotives.

The station’s grand opening was a huge deal for what was still in many ways an unsophisticated western town, albeit one whose population mushroomed since 1920 to about 1.5 million people in 1939. The city finally had a central passenger terminal. The L.A. Times reported that people hung from trees to get a better look at the festivities. Some fainted from the heat.

The parade was followed by tours of the station and a 45-minute production called “Romance of the Rails.” The free show along the tracks inside Union Station was subtitled “California’s Story of Transportation,” and the program notes that it was adapted and directed by John Ross Reed. No one now seems to know who John Ross Reed was. Was he a famous Hollywood director of the time?

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New artist opportunities in Metro’s expanding transit system

Artwork at Soto Station by Nobuho Nagasawa

Detail of artwork at Soto Station by Nobuho Nagasawa

Metro invites visual artists to submit qualifications for upcoming opportunities throughout the expanding Los Angeles Metro system. For more information and details on what to submit, please download the Call to Artists. Questions and answers regarding the Call are posted on the Metro Art page under the “Artist Opportunities” tab.

The application deadline is Monday, April 7, 2014.

If you’d like to sign up for the email list to get information about upcoming opportunities for artists, call 213.922.4ART or visit the Metro Art page and look under “Artist Opportunities.”

Metro looking for riders, non-riders and other stakeholders to take online surveys

Have an opinion about Metro service? Here is a chance to be heard! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Have an opinion about Metro service? Here is a chance to be heard! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

I know that many readers of this blog have strong opinions about Metro and the agency’s transit service and highway programs. That’s great. It’s your taxes and fares that keep Metro rolling.

With that in mind, I wanted to give everybody a heads up that Metro’s Research department is in the midst of creating a group of riders, stakeholders and non-riders who would be willing to take occasional online surveys about specific issues facing the agency (fare changes, route changes, TAP, projects in the works, etc).

If you’re interested, please click here. The survey is also available in Spanish. And, if at any time, you want to leave Metro’s survey panel, simply send an email to research@metro.net with “Remove from Survey Panel” in the email’s subject line.

I think this is a very good opportunity to have your voices heard. Leaving comments here is great, too — and I regularly pass along comments to Metro staff. But the blog comment board is hardly scientific and the new online surveys also hold the promise of being easier to conduct than expensive, time-consuming surveys done over the phone.

Please check it out if you’re interested. As far as I’m concerned, the more public participation the better.

Six Metro divisions recognized as International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001 certified facilities

Division 20 EMS Facility Core Team with Chief Operations Officer Debra Johnson and EMS Executive Sponsor K.N. Murthy. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro.

Division 20 EMS Facility Core Team with Chief Operations Officer Debra Johnson and EMS Executive Sponsor K.N. Murthy. Photo: Josh Southwick/Metro.

Six Metro divisions were recently recognized as International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001 certified facilities for their exemplary efforts in developing and implementing Metro’s Environmental Management System (EMS) at their facilities. Over the last month, transportation and maintenance staff at Divisions 9, 10, 11, 20/Location 61, 21 and the Central Maintenance Facility each received their facility’s 14001 certificate.

Becoming ISO 14001 certified signifies a level of international excellence in the operations of a facility and its staff and management. EMS is a collection of best practices that assist the agency in reducing its environmental impact and safety risks as well as minimizing waste and costs. It also improves productivity and efficiency and empowers staff to formulate innovative solutions on critical issues.

Additional Metro divisions are scheduled to be folded into the program and become ISO 14001 certified in the coming months. Metro is considered a leader among the few other ISO 14001 certified transit agencies across the country and is the first to receive this recognition for a multi-site system.

Metro named finalist by CivilianJobs.com as “Most Valuable Employer” for military job seekers

Metro’s Veterans Hiring Initiative has been named a finalist for the 2014 Most Valuable Employer (MVE) award by CivilianJobs.com.

The MVE recognition serves to help military-experienced job seekers and veterans identify the top employers to target for civilian careers. The recognition is open to all U.S.-based companies and finalists are selected based on surveys in which employers outline their recruiting, training and retention plans that best serve military service members and veterans.More than 100 businesses are being acknowledged based on the quality of their veteran hiring focus.

Winners will be announced in May, but in the meantime Metro staff will be attending the following job fairs to increase awareness of Metro career opportunities in military communities:

Tuesday, March 25

Military Spouse Employment Program Hiring Fair and Career Forum U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hiring Our Heroes Pacific Views Event Center Bldg. 202850 – San Jacinto Rd., Camp Pendleton, CA 92055

Friday, March 28

Job Fair America’s JobCenter of California, Northeast SFV Work Source Center 11623 Glenoaks Blvd., Pacoima, CA 91331

Saturday, March 29

19th Annual Community Job Fair Los Angeles Dodgers Dodger Stadium – 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Thursday, April 17

Hiring Fair U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hiring Our Heroes 2035 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA  90068

Metro officials promote transportation jobs at Crenshaw High School


Metro CEO Art Leahy and other agency officials visited Crenshaw High School on Friday morning as part of African American History Month and to promote careers in the transportation industry to students who live and go to school along the route of the future Crenshaw/LAX Line. The high school is a short walk from the future Crenshaw/Vernon station. Five students from Crenshaw High will be joining Metro as interns this summer.

Next stop: Art will be visiting Inglewood High on March 3.