Officials discuss motion seeking to improve Orange Line at media event in NoHo

Three Metro Board Members and other elected officials, activists and business leaders held a media event on Friday morning at the NoHo Orange Line station to discuss the Board’s passage Thursday of a motion calling for feasibility studies of improving the Orange Line and potentially connecting it to Burbank, Glendale and the Gold Line in Pasadena.

A video with some nuggets from the media event is above. Sorry about the shaky camera — I left a key piece of my tripod at home :(

I’ve had several people ask why is this an issue now and the answer is twofold:

Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, who represents Van Nuys and the surrounding area, wrote a bill reversing a 1991 bill that banned any kind of rail project on the old Southern Pacific rail corridor that became the Orange Line. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month.

•With a potential Metro ballot measure on the horizon in 2016, officials and activists realized that could be an opportunity to fund such a project but that having some studies done would help this effort.

I can’t emphasize enough that the motion only asks Metro to study possible upgrades for the Orange Line. Despite what may be said, at this time no decisions have been made about any possible improvements, nor is such a project funded or in Metro’s long-range plan.

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“Notice to Proceed” granted for construction of Regional Connector project!

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It’s official: there are now four Metro Rail projects currently under construction after the Metro earlier this week gave its contractors — the Regional Connector Constructors, Joint Venture — the official “notice to proceed” on building the line. Until recently, Metro never had more than two rail projects underway at the same time.

The Regional Connector will be a 1.9-mile underground light rail line that will connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line and Expo Line in downtown Los Angeles. With a scheduled opening of 2020, the Regional Connector will allow trains to run directly between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles on an east-west line and between Azusa and Long Beach on a north-south line.

That should pass along several benefits to Metro Rail riders: faster and more frequent trains through downtown Los Angeles; fewer transfers for most riders; three new stations in Little Tokyo, Civic Center and 2nd/Hope, and; eliminating the need to turn around every Blue Line and Expo Line train at 7th/Metro Center, where both lines currently dead end.

Utility relocations and other advance work on the project began last year.

The three other Metro Rail lines under construction are a 6-mile extension of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica, an 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border and the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line that will run between the Expo Line and connect to the Green Line south of the airport.

The Expo Line and Gold Line Foothill Extension projects are currently scheduled to open in early 2016. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is scheduled to open in 2019; it will eventually connect to a people mover to be built by Los Angeles World Airports to connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line to terminals at the airport.

The Metro Board is also scheduled to consider awarding a construction contract later this month for the 3.9-mile first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway between the existing Wilshire/Western station and Wilshire/La Cienega. When work begins, there will be five Metro Rail projects under construction.

All five of these projects are receiving funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by two million Los Angeles County voters in Nov. 2008. Measure R included funds for 12 transit projects and a number of highway projects, as well as money for operations and funds for smaller transportation projects in cities in Los Angeles County.

Century Boulevard Bridge to be demolished July 25-28, 2014

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Here’s a traffic and construction alert that is still a little down the road. But it’s important, especially for those trying to reach LAX: the old rail bridge over Century Boulevard has to be demolished to make way for the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Aviation/Century station.

The demolition will close Century Boulevard at the intersection of Aviation Boulevard from Friday night, July 25, through Monday morning, July 28.

A detour map and alternative routes will be posted as they become available. We wanted to provide ample warning for those who already know they need to travel to or from the LAX terminals that weekend.

The company in charge of the demolition project will be Penhall, the same company that demolished the Mulholland Bridge during the Carmaggedon closures on the 405 freeway in 2011 and 2012.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project is a light-rail line that will run between the Expo and Green Lines. The $2.058-billion Measure R transit project will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the LAX area with eight new stations, a maintenance facility and park and ride lots.

For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project visit metro.net/crenshaw or by email to crenshawcorridor@metro.net, by phone at (213) 922.2736 or follow the project at facebook.com/crenshawrail or twitter.com/crenshawrail.

Caltrans reopens reconstructed Shoemaker Avenue bridge

Photos: Juan Ocampo/Metro

Metro Deputy CEO Lindy Lee joined Caltrans this morning for a milestone ribbon cutting ceremony for the Shoemaker Avenue Bridge project. It is one of three bridges associated with the $180 million I-5 South HOV Widening/Rosecrans/Bloomfield Bridges widening project.  Shoemaker Ave. bridge is the first completely reconstructed bridge to open to the public. Metro was a significant funding partner, programming $40.4 million from Proposition C towards the total project cost.

The newly reconstructed bridge serves as a vital artery for local commuters in the cities of Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs. It is also a major thoroughfare for school buses from the La Mirada-Norwalk School District.

Keep reading after the jump for the full press release from Caltrans.

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More pics of recent work on the Expo Line Phase 2

Retired Metro scheduler Alan Weeks was gracious enough to send along the above photos that he has taken recently of construction along the six-mile alignment of the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The project is funded by Measure R and at this time is forecast to open in early 2016.

The Expo Line Construction Authority — an independent agency — is building the project. Metro will take ownership of the line when it is complete and operate it. The Authority estimates that it will be a 46-minute ride between downtown Santa Monica and 7th/Metro Center.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

City of Malibu broke ground on two Measure R funded traffic safety improvement projects

Photos: Ben Jong/Metro

The City of Malibu broke ground this week on two new new traffic improvement projects along the Pacific Coast Highway. One project will replace traffic signals at Big Rock Drive to include a left-turn phase and improve the bus stop and pedestrian access. The other project will realign, extend and widen the truck arrester bed–the gravel lane that helps stop runaway vehicles–and improve signage in the area at Kanan Dume Road and PCH.

Both projects are funded by Measure R. Big Rock Drive received approximately $300,000, and Kanan Dume received $900,000. These are the first Measure R funded roadway improvement projects to begin in the City of Malibu.

Watch construction work on Gold Line Foothill Extension and ‘Get Lucky’ at the same time!

Seven minutes of awesomeness from our friends at the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency building the 11.5-mile project between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border.

I’ll be touring the project next week — I’m looking forward to seeing all the work done. The project is about half complete and is forecast for an early 2016 opening at this point. The project also includes a large maintenance campus in Monrovia for light rail vehicles — it’s the large construction site just west of the Home Depot on the south side of the 210 freeway

Sign up for e-updates from the Construction Authority here.

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RELATED POSTS:

Gold Line Foothill Extension project continues to take shape; check out the photos of the bridges and canopies

Another big bridge rising for Gold Line Foothill Extension

Gold Line bridge over eastbound 210 freeway is complete! Check out the slideshow

And it begins: Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project begins construction

The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project this week began construction activities along the 8.5-mile alignment that includes old railroad track demolition, building demolition and tree removal and pruning.

The contractor Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructor (WSCC) began removing old railroad tracks at two locations: Florence Avenue between Crenshaw Boulevard and Manchester Avenue and Aviation Boulevard between Manchester Avenue and Imperial Highway.

The work will be done between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and will last for the next four months. No traffic impacts are expected since this will be done in Metro’s right-of-way.

The demolition of buildings at the northeast corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road will have the same work schedule but is expected to be completed in two weeks. At the same location trees will be removed beginning Thursday, Feb. 6. This is expected to take only two days and will have the same work schedule. This location will be used as a construction yard and will ultimately be the location of a future underground station.

In addition, tree pruning will take place at four locations along Crenshaw Boulevard: between Exposition Boulevard and Rodeo Road, between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street both sides of Crenshaw Boulevard and both sides between 43rd Place and 43rd Street.

The last location will be the center island at Crenshaw and 48th Street.

For more information on construction activities please contact Metro Construction Relations at (213) 922-2736, visit the project webpage crenshawcorridor@metro.net or metro.net/Crenshaw and follow the project at Twitter at twitter.com/crenshawrail or Facebook.com/crenshawrail.

Here are the construction notice on these activities:

City of El Segundo held ribbon-cutting ceremony for Measure R Maple Ave. project

From this afternoon's ribbon cutting. Photo: Metro

From this afternoon’s ribbon cutting. Photo: Metro

Earlier today, the City of El Segundo held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Measure R Maple Avenue highway project. The project was fully funded by Measure R to the tune of $2.5 million and came in $350,000 under budget. The project improves access to the I-105 from Sepulveda Blvd. and relieves congestion at the intersection of Sepulveda and Imperial for commuters and residents.

This is the first ribbon-cutting for a Measure R project in the South Bay, the the South Bay Cities Council of Governments is looking forward to the completion of more highway improvements in South Bay cities that have been funded by Measure R.

Metro staff report looks at issues involving potential ballot measure to accelerate and fund transportation projects

First, the caveat: The Metro Board has not — emphasis on the HAS NOT part — decided to take a ballot measure to Los Angeles County voters.

That said, in recent months, both the Board as a whole and individual members have said they want to explore the idea of taking a ballot measure to voters in 2014 or 2016. Furthermore, the Board has instructed Metro to ask local cities what kind of transportation projects that may want funded in such a measure.

As the above Metro staff report explains, there are still many decisions to be made.

Perhaps the most significant: should a ballot measure seek an extension of Measure R to accelerate projects? Or should it perhaps be a new sales tax to provide more money for some Measure R projects and perhaps pay for some new ones?

Some quick background. The Measure R half-cent sales tax increase was approved by 68 percent of county voters in Nov. 2008. The Measure R expenditure plan spread money around to many transit and road projects across the county.

In some cases, Measure R provides most of the money needed to build a project — a good example is the second phase of the Expo Line. In other cases, Measure R only provides partial funding and not enough money for more expensive project alternatives and segments.

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