Expo Phase 2 design update meetings coming in November

A rendering of the planned Olympic/26th Street station adjacent to the Bergamot Station arts district

Here’s the latest announcement from the Exposition Construction Authority, which is building the second phase of the Expo Line. This Measure R project will extend Expo Phase 1 from its terminus in Culver City to Santa Monica. Here’s our story from May’s construction kickoff meeting; we’ll be stopping by one of the two November meetings, so stay tuned.

Join us for a design update on Expo Phase 2!

The Exposition Construction Authority invites you to a design update community meeting for Phase 2 of the Expo Line project. Stakeholders will receive information on design progress and will have the opportunity to view progress renderings.

The format will include a short presentation followed by an Open House session to facilitate dialogue and community input. The information presented at these meetings will be identical, so interested individuals, organizations and public agencies are welcome to attend on either of the following days:

Monday, November 14, 2011
6:30 p.m.
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services Gymnasium
3200 Motor Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Parking available on campus

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
6:30 p.m.
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium East Wing Meeting Room
1855 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Special Event free parking

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The future of Westwood Village discussed at cityLAB forum

Westwood Village then and now. Image via Curbed via cityLAB.

Of all the neighborhoods slated to be connected to the growing Measure R transit network, perhaps none generates as much interest and debate as Westwood Village. It’s a tremendously busy district, with more than 105,000 vehicle trips daily to and from UCLA and thousands more going to office towers along Wilshire Boulevard.

Westwood was the premier entertainment and shopping destination on the Westside for nearly half a century. But the village has lost much of its luster in recent decades, with higher vacancy rates and rougher edges than some of its competitors, such as Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade and Century City’s Westfield mall. Traffic and parking are notoriously frustrating.  While there is a plethora of bus service to the area, there’s no rail access — at least until the Westside Subway Extension arrives with a station along Wilshire Boulevard. And that’s still many years away, depending on the federal funding picture.

There has been a lot of conversation over the years about reviving the village. Now, into the discussion has stepped UCLA’s cityLAB, “a think tank within UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design [that] is concerned with contemporary urban issues, urban design, and the architecture of the city.” With the sponsorship of the Westside Urban Forum and support from UCLA, cityLAB has worked over the last year to diagnose what presently ails Westwood and identify what some of the cures might be.

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Community meetings to discuss start of Van Nuys Corridor Rapidway studies

The news release is below. It’s about a 45- to 50-minute trip on the Rapid 761 between Pacoima and Sherman Oaks at present — this project aims to speed that up:

Metro, in cooperation with the city of Los Angeles, will hold three community workshops in late October to inform the public about the start of a study that will identify options for improving transit service along the Van Nuys Boulevard corridor in the San Fernando Valley.

The community meetings will provide the public with background information on the beginning of the Van Nuys Corridor Rapidway Study and allow public input on various ways to better connect the corridor to the regional transportation network.

The Van Nuys Rapidway study area extends from Ventura Boulevard north to the I-210 freeway. Initial alternatives under consideration as part of the beginning of the Alternative Analysis (AA) include Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), Streetcar, a “No Build” alternative and a Transportation Systems Management (TSM) alternative aimed at better managing the flow of traffic along the corridor.

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Project team evaluates single station entrances, knock-out panels for Regional Connector project

As planning and preliminary engineering continues to unfold for the Regional Connector project, Metro is evaluating different options for the three new stations — including building two of the stations with one entrance instead of two. The Little Tokyo Station is still configured to include two entrances to accommodate a high volume of riders and transfers.  The different options, naturally, have created a buzz in the downtown community.

The project team is studying these options to help mitigate impacts from the project and keep the project within the $1.366-million project approved by the Metro Board of Directors. This type of value engineering typically occurs in the preliminary engineering phase of a construction project to bring costs in line.

The Regional Connector is set to receive $160 million from the Measure R sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008, with much of the remaining funds to be requested from the federal government. The project was still in its very early planning stages when Measure R was approved by voters in 2008 and the cost of the Connector subsequently increased when Metro, responding to community concerns, decided to make it a fully underground line.

Staff is also integrating knock-out panels into stations designs. The panels would provide additional access points for future joint development opportunities at the stations.

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Metro's response to Texas Transportation Institute's annual congestion rankings

Click above to see a larger image.

The annual Texas Transportation Institute congestion survey was released today and, as usual, the L.A. metropolitan area didn’t fare well — ranked third in the U.S. for time delays per auto commuter per year and first when it came to overall time and fuel wasted due to traffic jams.

As I posted yesterday, this isn’t exactly shocking news — we live in a big, sprawling six-county region with millions of cars and trucks on the road. I encourage you to check out some U.S. Census Bureau statistics in yesterday’s post that I believe better explains how we’re getting around the L.A. region these days.

Here is the official response to the TTI study from Metro:

Texas Transportation Institute’s 2011 Annual Urban Mobility Report released today is the nation’s barometer of the rising pressure caused by traffic congestion in 439 urban areas. Although traffic congestion continues to rise in American cities of all sizes, the urban area swath of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana is holding the line in the battle with traffic congestion and holding promise of future mobility.

In terms of congestion and fuel costs and delays in travel time per auto commuter, the Los Angeles – Long Beach – Santa Ana urban area ranked third in the nation for very large urban areas with a population of over 3 million. On the downside, the region ranked first when measured in terms of an aggregate population wasting 521,449 hours in travel delay and consuming an excess of 278,318 gallons of fuel which costs the region $10.9 billion. The just-released mobility report notes that congestion in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region chokes 57 percent of the freeway and major arterial system during the 8-hour peak periods, causing the average peak period traveler to spend an extra 64 hours of travel time – up from 25 hours in 1982 — and an additional 34 gallons of fuel per year. Congestion costs the solo driver an additional $1,334 in cold, hard cash to operate an automobile.

There’s more response after the jump!

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Metro Board approves final environmental document for Crenshaw/LAX Line

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The Metro Board of Directors on Thursday unanimously approved the final environmental impact statement/report for the long sought Crenshaw/LAX Line, a 8.5-mile light rail project that will run along Crenshaw Boulevard, Florence Avenue and Aviation Boulevard between the Green Line and Expo Line, passing through Inglewood along the way.

The line, with a budget of $1.715 billion, is scheduled to open in 2018 under Metro’s long-range plan and is funded largely by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The train will take an estimated 21 minutes to travel between the line’s northern terminus at Exposition Boulevard and the Mariposa station on the Green Line. It will also connect those living in the Crenshaw corridor to Metro’s growing rail network, which in the next several years will reach from Santa Monica to downtown L.A. to Azusa.

A streetcar at Crenshaw & 54th in 1955. Photo by Alan Weeks, via Metro Library's Flickr page.

“Today’s approval of the final EIR for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project brings us one step closer to delivering another Measure R light rail project that will bring thousands of badly needed jobs to LA County,” said Los Angeles Mayor and MTA Board Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa. “Once completed, the new light rail line will connect residents of South LA to Downtown and provide all Angelenos a new transit option to LAX.”

“This is a historic moment,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Mark Ridley-Thomas. “For 25 years, community leaders have worked to make a high-quality light rail line a reality. This was the dream of Julian Dixon, of Diane Watson, of Mayor Tom Bradley and many, many others. Today’s vote means we’re ready to start right away — not 15 years from now as originally was slated to happen. We’re not done pushing forward, we’re still working to see that the Crenshaw-to-LAX line ultimately includes a station at Leimert Park Village, but from many vantage points, in terms of job opportunities, economic development and improved mobility and transportation, today is a day to celebrate. “

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Metro to update community on Eastside Transit Corridor phase 2 — first meeting is tonight

The first of the two meetings on extending the Eastside Gold Line further east is tonight at 6 p.m. at the Montebello Senior Center at City Park, 115 South Taylor Avenue.

The Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 is a Measure R-funded project. The draft environmental study is expected to be released next spring. Here’s the full update from Metro staff:

We will be conducting two public meetings September 21 and 22 to provide an update on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (Draft EIS/EIR), which studies extending the Metro Gold Line to cities farther east of Los Angeles.

The Draft EIS/EIR evaluates two build alternatives, SR 60 Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Washington Boulevard LRT, in addition to the required No Build and Transportation System Management (TSM) alternatives. The document will be ready for public review in the spring of 2012.

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